Washing Machine Cycles – An Analysis

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This is our final post in a series about washing machines.  These are same of the most common household machines that everyone has and everyone uses.  Often times over looked a well maintained and understood washing machine can last for a decade.  Here we give an overview of the machine cycles and which are best to use.

The Wash And Agitation Cycle

The timer knobs sends a signal to the water inlet valve which releases the water into the inner tub via a water hose. Once the inner tub is filled, it begins the spin cycle and small holes in the inner tub allow water to flow into the outer tub, which remains stationary. Water is now mixed with detergent and the cleaning process begins.

After the initial spin cycle is complete, the timer knob sends a signal to the motor to begin the agitation process. The motor is located at the bottom of the washer (under the tub) where it sits on top of the motor pulley. The motor pulley is connected to the drive pulley via the drive belt. When the wash cycle starts, the drive belt loops in a clockwise motion and causes the transmission to turn clockwise and counter clockwise.

Sitting on top of the transmission is the washer’s agitator which is found inside the inner tub. The agitator has large fins that quickly move from left to right. This action pushes the water out towards the edge of the tub, up the side of the drum, and then back towards the center to the agitator. This process repeats, causing the clothes to rotate in the tub. The agitator regularly changes direction because if it did not the water and clothes would both spin away from agitator.

After the wash cycle is complete, the water is pumped out of the tub by the washer’s water pump. The washer’s driver belt is connected to the washer’s pump pulley at the bottom of the washer. The belt spins clockwise, which starts the pump that uses air pressure to push the water out of the inner tub through the washer’s drain hose and out of the house.

The Rinse Cycle

The washer then refills with water and the process of the wash cycle repeats, just without detergent. If fabric softener is used it is released during the rinse cycle via the fabric softener dispenser, relying on centrifugal force. The spinning action from the agitator causes the fabric softener to rise up and escape the dispenser into the inner tub.

The Spin Cycle

In the last cycle, the washer’s motor pulley activates the belt connecting the two and it turns on transmission pulley. The transmission starts spinning, and this causes the inner tub and the clothes to spin clockwise to remove the excess water.

Once completed, the washer turns off and your clothes are now clean!

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