Over the past few months, a new type of washer-dryer combo has emerged on the scene in North America (Yes, Europe and Asia have had great, tiny heat pump tech for decades). These new big combo units from GE Profile UltraFast PFQ97HSPVDS and now LG WashCombo WM6998HBA (introduced at CES) are now on the market.
I’ve had the GE Profile for 2 weeks, and the LG is on the way for testing head-to-head, but for now, I want to tell you about all of the ways both of these things are amazing, and energy savings is just the tip of the iceberg…
There is a revolution in all in one washer dryers happening right now. Gone are the days of the tiny, 5 hour all-in-ones and we now officially have 2 large efficient heat pump washer dryer combos to choose from. These are both ventless, take 2 hours to wash and dry, only require aa 120V outlet and are loaded to the gills with fantastic technology.
Both of them are compared below but first, here are 10 reasons to get either one of them.
1. Energy Efficiency
Heat pump technology pulls heat from the air and also separates water from the air which makes it perfect for the application of drying clothing. Ventless all-in-one washer-dryers have existed on the market for a long time but have always been too small (for Americans), taken forever to run a cycle, and have boiled clothes, reducing fabric and elastic lifespan. These new machines are standard size and have 4.8-5 cubic feet of capacity.
The energy efficiency adds a lot of other benefits that might not be obvious. You can also make it function as a washer only or dryer only, so you can throw wet mittens in there, or wash delicates you want to hang dry
2. Saving a 240V outlet / space in your breaker box
Both the LG and the GE Profile only require a single 120V outlet, replacing the need for the additional 240V outlet of most stand-alone dryers add to the 120V on most washers.
The freed-up 240V space in the breaker box is perfect timing for those people replacing their pollution-spewing oil/gas heaters with heat pumps/geothermal or adding an electric vehicle outlet or two in their garage. This will likely save many people from the costly expense of having to upgrade their electrical service and/or breaker box for these additions. In fact, upgrading service/breaker boxes cost can often be less than the whole $2000-$2500 price of the washer/dryer upgrade!
For those people who currently have their washer and dryer in their garage, you could imagine simply removing the dryer, replacing the washer with the combo and plugging the car into the now-unused outlet. Maybe a new foldable ebike fits in your newfound space?
For new homes, fewer 240V breakers/outlets/wire runs are going to save cost and complexity.
3. No need for ductwork or air pumps, saves space
Because the machine is self-contained, it doesn’t need a duct or an air pump to move the hot, moist air out of the unit. That has a lot of add-on effects. Less energy to move the air, less lint-cleaning, and, in turn, fewer lint fires.
That also means you can put these machines just about anywhere where there is water and drain hose access. Building houses will now be easier without having to build separate venting spaces.
I can imagine a future where these live inside a walk-in closet in smaller homes, alleviating the need for clothes ever to leave the closet unless worn.
Since the combo units have the same footprint as a typical front-load washer or dryer, you split your floor space requirement in half.
Or if you stack the previous washer and dryer, you can now fold clothes on top of the washer-dryer combo.
Building Washer/dryer units in the middle of the house, away from exterior walls where venting was previously required, will now be possible
Also, if the ducts are long, a dryer will heat up a space for better or worse. In places like Texas, Arizona, and Florida, that’s extra heat for your AC to offset.
4. No longer have to move clothes from washer to dryer
Pretty self explanitory but already in the first weeks of use this has become a game changer. You no longer have to babysit laundry loads or wake up late at night to move laundry from one machine to another. Depending on the type of laundry, which the machine senses, a full cycle can take anywhere from 90 minutes to 2.5 hours. But mostly, it is like charging your car: You put a load in at night and wake up done, with clean, dry clothes.
5. Ventless means lower home heating/cooling costs
Maybe the biggest unsung advantage to heat pump dryers is that they aren’t pumping air out of the home. This is called negative pressure, and it is normalized as air is sucked through holes in your home from the outside, whether that’s windows, under door seals or holes in the insulation. If you live in a temperate climate and leave your screen door open all year, that’s not a big deal. But if you have an HVAC system running, it is going to run a lot harder to offset the outside air temperature being sucked in.
Removing 150 cubic feet of air per minute from a home is essentially like opening a door for outside-temperature air to be drawn in. Multiply that times a 45-minute cycle, and you’re replacing most of the air in a home over the course of a wash. That’s going to be expensive, particularly in very hot and very cold climates.
6. Gentler on clothes
Since clothing is not being superheated, the process is much gentler on clothing, meaning that you can leave many line-dry-only clothes in the dryer cycle. It also means clothes will last longer and need to be replaced less often. As mentioned previously, there is less lint to clean and catch fire.
7. Quieter running
Because there isn’t air blowing out of the unit, heat pump combos are typically much quieter than the resistance heat equivalents, which means they can operate much easier at night or adjacent to bedrooms without waking up occupants.
8. Long term cost savings
The LG is currently $1000 off at $2000, and the GE Profile is about $2500, depending on discounts. That is significantly more than most standalone units but on par with higher-end combinations of washer + dryer. The cost saving is pretty incredible, however. Each wash-dry cycle is under 1 kWh. That means, depending on where you live, each load will typically cost anywhere from 7-20 cents per load or less. Compare that to a typical resistance dryer, which will use between 2-6kW to dry for about an hour or around 4 times that amount for the dryer alone.
(Many variables are here, so I’m doing my math with numbers in the middle.)
Then, if you live in hot or cold climates (or both!), you have to consider all of that heated air you are sending right out of your house. That air loss creates negative pressure in your home, which then is filled with air from outside via small holes in the house or under doorways (or around that dryer vent). Your HVAC system then has to heat or cool that air again. For me, this is a huge added cost in the summer and winter, where our HVAC costs are high. I figure I’m going to save about $1.80 per load overall, and we do roughly 1 load per day for a family of 4.
That’s a conservative $700/year in savings and a mere 3-year payback timeline.
9. Easier/take advantage of time-of-use rates,
Because this is an all-in-one, the washer cycle immediately leads to drying without having to move the laundry from machine to machine. That’s not only easier, but it allows the whole cycle to be done during a night when rates are the lowest.
You put dirty clothes in at night, it runs when the rates are lowest, and you have clean dry clothes waiting for you in the morning.
10. IRA Federal, state and local rebates
Depending where you live, there may be heat pump dryer rebates available to qualified buyers. As with most government programs, the rebates aren’t straightforward but up to $840 Federal money might be available soon.
In Vermont where I currently live, there is another $400 rebate available.
Right there, I’ve reduced the initial up front price in half before I start saving money on energy bills.
11. Bonus: Smart detergent/fabric softener dispenser
Not really heat pump or energy related but both of the units have this and it is really, really cool. The smart dispenser allows you to fill up the reservoirs with detergent or fabric softener for something like 20 loads and it disperses the right amount of each depending on load size. That’s going to save time and overfilling resources and therefor some more money. I love it.
Also, you will have to change from dryer sheets to fabric softener. But the dispenser makes sure you don’t forget.
Also both of these machines have apps which seem like more trouble than they are worth but I’ll let you know after a few months of use.
While the upsides of the heat pump washer-dryer combo are plentiful, there are still some downsides.
- The biggest difference is that after a 2 hour cycle, clothes still feel mildly damp and they come out a little more wrinkled than a typical dryer. One option is to continue to run the dry portion for additiona “extra dry”. But in reality, pulling the laundry out and giving it a single “big shake” seems to magically complete the last 1% of drying and the outside air seems to grab up the last of the wetness. It certainly takes some getting used to. Clothes feel dry when worn.
- Because the heat pump doesn’t get quite as hot as the resistance dryer, it doesn’t have the same ability to sterilize clothing in the same way a hot resistance dryer does. I haven’t yet found this to be a problem but it is something to consider. GE touts mold resistant materials in its product literature.
- If you have to rapid-fire a ton of laundry, the 2-hour cycle will take longer than having both washer and dryer running at the same time. For our family, this is pretty rare but if it isn’t, a second unit could be purchased or a legacy washer dryer could be kept around to speed up these laundry marathons.
- These bad boys are heavy! The GE Profile is north of 300lbs and will require multiple people to get it upstairs.
- It is no fun to jump in a pile of 99% dry, lukewarm clothing like it is the warm clothes from a traditional dryer. Kids of the future won’t ever get to experience that joy but also won’t know the burns from metal snaps and zippers. (The GE Profile has a cooling down period at the end of the cycle that could be skipped for that enjoyment.)
So which of these 2 is the better pick? I aim to find out over the next few months when I will have both of the in my house at the same time. But for now, let’s look at the differences on paper:
We weren’t aware of LG’s entry to the market last month when we opted to purchase the GE Profile. It was delivered a few weeks ago and the initial washes have been within expectations. The “moistness” at the end of a cycle thing is real and it does take getting used to.
But now that we are looking at the LG WashCombo, it seems to meet our needs better.
One of the biggest issues is that we have some cabinetry in our laundry room which would have to be removed for the taller GE Profile model. While both units have the same footprint, the GE is 7.7 inches out of typical washer/dryer height spec. Now that might be good for repairs as the heat pump unit is seperate from the washer unit.
Also the LG’s opening is higher up for ergonomic reasons and it has its own water heating unit.
As for lint, GE Profile requires you to clean the lint catcher after every 5 washes, vs LG which requires you to do it after every wash. However, LG’s cleaning process is much easier and doesn’t involve a vacuum cleaner.
LG’s is a direct drive vs. GE Profile which is a belt drive and has someone who has replaced dryer belts, I’m a direct drive fan. LG’s also has a built-in water heater which seems like a big plus if it can eliminate running a hot water line.
It always happens. I was looking at the GE Profile for months and finally bit the bullet when we had a washer leak. Then between ordering and arrival, LG shows off their new model that seems a little better for a price $500 less than what I paid.
The GE Profile has been solid in the week we’ve had it but I’m really looking forward to the LG WashCombo to see if it will be our Forever Washer Dryer.
Some videos for the GE Profile:
Some videos I’ve found on the LG:
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