/ 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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Comments
Member

My washing machine is too old to have a digital display, I’m the dishwasher and I don’t use a tumble drier for environmental reasons.

My Mac laptop computers have always done well in re-calculating the remaining battery life according to how the computer is being used, so the time goes down when watching video and up when sitting there doing nothing. There is no reason why a washing machine should not correct the time display automatically.

My car calculates the distance it can travel based on the fuel remaining and it is ridiculously inaccurate. I don’t really care how long my washing machine takes to complete its cycle, but it would be a good idea not to run out of fuel on a long journey.

Member

My AEG timer is accurate – The very reason why I bought it – Excellent machine.

Member

Hi Richard,

Thanks for your comment. It’s good to hear your machine is accurate – can I ask what model you have?

Member
Adrina34smit says:
19 December 2012

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.

Member

Testing my new AEG 75270FL today and it said 3 minutes remaining for a full 10minutes – and that is only once I started timing. It had been saying 3 minutes for quite a while before I was concerned enough to start timing.
Will give it a couple more goes, to see if unbalanced load was the problem first time.

Member
Caryna says:
2 June 2014

My Bosch washing machine very often if not always completes the cycle before the time stated. I haven’t noted the time as I am not usually near it as I’m busy elsewhere in the house but I set my mobile alarm to let me know when the time is up (or should be) but it has usually finished earlier. If my husband happens to be near the machine when it finishes the cycle, he will tell me that it is crying, indicating that the alarm has sounded on the machine.

Member
Shazza says:
19 September 2014

My Bosch washing machine also mysteriously jumps ahead mid cycle, sometimes it skips up to an hour mid-cycle. It doesn’t bother me hugely, but I thought the reason programmes were so long is so that the water could be heated up gradually. I’ve also started wondering if my clothes are being cleaned properly in the shorter time.

Member

If your machine is cutting short the washing cycle, you can be sure that it will be less effective at cleaning, the bonus being decreased fabric damage.

One reason for having long wash cycles is that it allows time for the enzymes in biological detergents to do their job.