Off the grid washing machines - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 08-18-2007, 08:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all,

I am looking for recommendations for low energy/efficient off the grid washing machines. We live off of solar power but one that plugs into a generator would be almost better do to the seasons in Maine. I figure if I have the generator on to wash clothes than it would be a good time to vacumn and all that fun stuff as well. Any one have any good brands/models to recommend? We have washed clothes/diapers by hand and at the laundry mat. I am so ready to not go to the laundry mat any more...

Thanks!
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#2 of 10 Old 08-19-2007, 12:09 AM
 
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I have a maytag washer and gas dryer. Check the energystar website for the most efficient choices. We are totally off the grid, no generator backup. I really only wash on sunny days, but here, that is nearly everyday, so not too much of a problem for us. Plus we have a pretty robust PV system. Good luck! Laundromats are no fun!
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#3 of 10 Old 08-19-2007, 05:01 PM
 
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We upgraded from our ancient wringer washer to a HE frontload LG Tromm washer because we knew that having a baby was going to make laundry a whole new adventure. We bought the one that has a sanitize cycle. We are so happy with it! We don't run it off the PV system that runs our home. We use a 2000 watt Honda generator when using the sanitize cycle, otherwise we use a 1000 watt Honda generator to run it. It has load sensing capabilities, and uses as little as 12 gallons for a wash/rinse load. Really stuff it full and tell it to tub rinse and it will use about 30 gallons. We pump our water up the mountain in the summer and haul it in buckets in the winter so water efficiency is important to us. And yes, this is the time we do our vacuuming too! The best part is that it gets stuff cleaner than I ever thought possible. And if there's a power failure (generator burps or runs out of gas) it remembers where it was in the cycle and starts it up again at the same place. It does have a computer board in it, so you'll have to have pure sine wave AC to run it safely. The price is high (we paid $1200) but its definitely going to pay for itself, and I get all the extra time from not wringer washing or going to the laundromat to spend quality time with our child... And guess what the bonus is... it has a super fast spin cycle that gets clothes to dry unbelievably fast!

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#4 of 10 Old 08-19-2007, 10:42 PM
 
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Check the Lehman's website. They have stuff made for the Amish and others in off-grid situations.

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#5 of 10 Old 08-19-2007, 10:48 PM
 
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Staber washing machine are suppose to be good. As I understand they are the only ones that the warranty is still good for off grid use.
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#6 of 10 Old 08-20-2007, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the great information. I will check out all your suggestions.
Mtn. Mama - do you have a storage tank that the washer pulls water from as it is going?
We use a handpump until our line freezes in the winter and then we haul with buckets from the spring until it thaws again. We were thinking that we would need to fill up a storage tank w/ water and then have it gravity feed into the washer. We are hoping that it will be tight enough that when the washer is pulling out the water to use the pressure will pull in water from the spring.
I am willing to spend a good amount on a washer that will work for us. I figure it will pay for itself. Plus not having to use the laundry mat will be so nice. It seems like the washers do not work so well there plus people seem to overload with their detergents so even though we are using a natural detergent/soap our clothes still are being washed with the residue and leftover detergents from previous users. Yuck.
Thanks again!
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#7 of 10 Old 08-20-2007, 02:40 PM
 
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I really wanted a Staber, but it didn't fit into our budget. I've read lots of good reviews of them, though:

www.staber.com

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#8 of 10 Old 08-20-2007, 02:47 PM
 
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We are planning on buying acreage next year to eventually go off grid. I had planned on buying a Staber washing machine because I know they are meant for that type of setting. After a bunch of research, I realized that a Staber has a way less capacity and uses more energy per load than a new Kenmore He5t. So we bought the Kenmore He5t, but an LG Tromm would have been a good choice also IMO. Its not really super important to me to keep the warranty valid and we will make sure that we have our system set up properly to accomodate it. I've been really happy with it but I'll need to buy a gas dryer to go with it when we move (no hookups for it here). We live in a rainy mold prone area so I can't depend on only air drying.

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#9 of 10 Old 08-20-2007, 05:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nuthatch View Post
Mtn. Mama - do you have a storage tank that the washer pulls water from as it is going?
We use a handpump until our line freezes in the winter and then we haul with buckets from the spring until it thaws again. We were thinking that we would need to fill up a storage tank w/ water and then have it gravity feed into the washer.
Yeah, we put in a 40 gallon storage tank that we pump water up to, then it gravity feeds for the shower and washer...

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#10 of 10 Old 08-23-2007, 02:52 AM
 
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We too have an LG Tromm HE washer and matching dryer, chosen for water/energy conservation concerns. We love them.
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