If you’ve ever had to move a washing machine from one room to another, you’ll have noticed how heavy it is. So imagine what it’s like for our installers having to move them from kitchens to trucks all day long, it’s backbreaking work!
But what makes them so heavy?
Well, if you open them up (which we don’t recommend by the way), you’ll notice that at the very bottom and sometimes on top of the drum, there’s a big lump of concrete.
This is an incredibly low-tech answer to a problem all washing machines have, and that is, without a big weight, during the spin cycle your machine would dance across the room.
This problem has been solved like this for years, but it’s not ideal.
They’re typically about 25KG in weight, and if we didn’t need it, it would cost an awful lot less to transport, as well as saving our staff’s backs.
Now though, the concrete block may have had its day.
A student from Nottingham Trent University has come up with an ingenious idea, one so simple that it’s incredible that nobody has thought of it before.
Instead of a concrete block, you have a water tank. It’s empty at the time of manufacture, but then when it’s installed, you simply fill it up!
According to Dylan Knight, the inventor, this could save more than 40,000 tonnes of CO2 entering the atmosphere and 200,000 litres of fuel a year.
GENIUS OR FLAWED?
Well, let’s think about the technical issues that could crop up.
Firstly, the tank needs to be a lot bigger because concrete is over twice the density of water, so in effect, you’re going to need twice as much water.
The designer has taken this into account in his prototype, but it does mean that this method might not work in smaller, more compact washing machines.
Having to fit a lump of concrete into a machine design is bad enough, now having to find over double the amount of space will cause quite some headaches.
And then there’s the issue of filling it up.
There will need to be some checks to ensure it does get filled up with water and properly sealed before the installer leaves.
Can you imagine what would happen if it’s switched on with a full load of washing and the weight hasn’t been added?
Well, you don’t have to imagine, because someone has done it!
And what about evaporation?
Over time, water is going to be lost through evaporation and the washing machine will become unstable, so there will have to be a maintenance routine to ensure they’re fully topped up and none of the seals are broken.
All in all, a good idea, but not without its problems.