/ Home & Energy

Is your appliance lying to you?

Washing machine timer

Time remaining displays on washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers can help you plan your day around your chores. But what if the predicted time differs from the actual length of the cycle?

Whenever I hit the start button on my dishwasher at home, the screen on the front will proclaim how long I have until my dishes are done. But the few times I’ve actually taken note of the time and then keenly come back to unload my clean crockery, it’s never finished. My washing machine also suffers similar delays.

Admittedly, a small lag of time is nothing to get up in arms about, though it can be frustrating when I’m in a rush to get out the door.

However, we’ve heard reports of appliances with much more significant delays. One Which? member, David, has a washing machine that promises a cycle lasting two hours and twenty minutes. Instead, the cycle takes three hours.

Do you trust your appliance’s predicted times?

David thought his machine was at fault, but the first two engineers told him that his AEG L64850LE Super Eco washing machine was working to specification. When David spoke to AEG directly, he was told that three hours is not exceptional and the dial figure is an approximate time for a full load.

When we contacted AEG ourselves, the manufacturer told us that the time shown on the washing machine can be affected by a number of factors:

‘Our washing machine calculates a time that an optimum load will take at the start of the selected programme. The actual time taken is dependent on a number of factors e.g. water pressure, amount of soilage, laundry weight and amount of detergent used. These factors can affect the length of time taken but do not affect the performance of the appliance as your own test has shown.

‘The outcome of the report already provided, indicated that [David’s] washing machine was working to specification at the time of our previous visit. However, in light of our customer’s concerns, we have arranged for a further inspection of the appliance and all aspects of the wash cycle.’

A third engineer visit revealed the problem; David’s washing machine was unbalancing and repeating parts of the cycle. An unbalanced load is often caused by a heavy item sticking to one side of the drum. Many modern machines will detect this, pause the timer and try to readjust the load along with repeating parts of the cycle. The countdown timer will only begin again once this has finished.

Yet, doesn’t this just mean you’ll never really know when your washing will be ready? Isn’t that the point of a timer?

What I want to know is how many of you note the predicted time of a wash/drying cycle, and how accurate do you find them? Can you plan your day around your chores, or do you treat your appliances’ estimated times with suspicion?

If your washing machine/dishwasher/tumble dryer has a time remaining display, is it:

Normally accurate (47%, 87 Votes)

Just a little bit inaccurate (34%, 63 Votes)

It’s usually completely wrong (21%, 40 Votes)

Total Voters: 190

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Joanne Dickie says:
6 March 2021

My Siemens Extraclasse with IQ drive, for which I usually use the Mixed wash programme always exceeds the 63 mins stated by around 15 mins. I thought there was a problem but reading everyone else’s comments seems to be a common issue that is not due to any faults.

Debbie Burnett says:
31 March 2021

I came home tonight I put my washing machine on a 50 minute wash at 18.50 and I’m still waiting on it finishing,its bedding that I’m waiting to put back on tonight and iv still to dry it.surely this is not acceptable for a manufacturer to sell items that has false information it’s one off the reasons I bought it four weeks ago that it had a short wash.

My Siemens washing machine also seems to exceed the stated time which for me is not a problem as it finishes when it finishes, but I might have a partial explanation . . . .

Yesterday, I noticed it say ‘foam detected’ on what should have been nearly the end of the cycle, and I think the machine automatically did extra rinses that might account for some of the extended washes.

I wish my Miele would do that. I sometimes have to put it on again for a short cycle without detergent to rinse the clothes properly if the detergent capsule has become trapped in the door seal. 🙁

Martyn says:
6 April 2021

Have read some of the comments. We have a Logik which takes longer than program. Doesn’t say a lot for energy saving !!