Does low voltage affect washing machine?

Does low voltage affect washing machine
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UPFRONT

Low voltage reduces the power in electricity. When the power is low, a washer either does not function, takes long time to perform basic function, or does not run to completion. However, it does not damage a washer’s engine or its components. 

A stalled washer can trap wet clothes, eventually resulting in bad odor.

Since the past month, I’ve been running my washing machine on generator. Reason? Low current.

Does low voltage affect washing machines?

 Yes.

How does it affect it? It will not power up.

Will it spoil your washer? No. It hasn’t spoil mine, so it won’t spoil yours.

Low voltage reduces the power in electricity, when the power is low a washer either does not function, takes long time to perform basic function, or does not run to it’s completion. But it does not damage a washer’s engine or its components. 

Washing machines needs a minimum electric power to start and/or run. When the voltage the low, the power generated also becomes lower than required, hence the washer either does not 

Let’s assume the reader is not technically inclined. So I’ll break this down to “laymanly” (sorry I just coined that)

Its a simple formular

Washing machines needs a minimum electric power to function.

Electric power is gotten by the voltage by the current.

The value is this:

W=VI

Where W = Watt (that’s the unit of electric power)

V= Voltage, and

I= Current

Well from the equation it is obvious that the volt is directly related to the power generated.

Hence when voltage drops, even if current remain the same, the power produced is reduced in direct proportion to the reduction in volt.

We’ll explain further when we discuss the next subheading.

How many volts does it take to power a washing machine?

Does low voltage affect washing machine

The image above is the data sheet on my washing machine. It states clearly that the washing needs between 220 to 240 volt to run.

 So, v = 220 (minimum)

220 volt is the minimum voltage needed to power the washing machine.

But that’s not all.

The datasheet also states that the washing machine needs between 200W to 2300W to operate.

So W = 2000 (minimum)

Going by the formular

w=vi

It means that 

2000W = 220 * current

Therefore Current = 2000/220 = 9.1Amp (Amps is the unit of power)

So, W=220 * 9.1

Notice what happens when the voltage reduces to 190v

We’ll have

W=190*9 = 1,729

At this point, only a work of 1.729W is done, which is less than the 2000W needed to power the washing machine, which in turns goes by saying:

  1. Either the machine will not power on, or
  2. Some parts of the washer turns on, (like the lcd light and the drain pump)
  3. But actions needing more power, like spining of drum or heating of water does not function.

This is what happens when the volt is low.

This takes us to the next question. 

Can low voltage damage a washing machine?

Low voltage does not damage a machine. It only prevents it from functioning at all or from functioning completely. 

For example, it water not heat, the drum will not spin, or it spins slowly.

This increases the time needed to wash a load. Or prevents it from washing at all. 

But it does not damage the washing machine or it’s components.

How low voltage affect the washing process

Does low voltage affect washing machine

Even though low voltage does not adversely affect a washing machine itself, it can interrupt the washing process, which bring along with it some side effect:

  1. Inability to generate hot water
  2. Long washing time
  3. Ineffective washing

Inability to generate hot water

About 70% of the energy consumed by washing machines is spent on heating the water for washing. 

These hot water is used for sterilizing contaminated hostpital garments and laundry.

A low voltage can delay the time needed to heat up this water, or it will prevent the production of hot water for laundry use.

This directly translate to saying there’ll be no disinfecting of badly need items, or emergency options will have to be implemented.

Long washing time

Aside from the extra time needed to heat water, low voltage can reduce the spin rate of the drum. 

This will prolong the time needed to get basic wash done.

Ineffective washing

The drum’s spin and agitation are directly related to how clean your clothes can get.

When the spin rate is below basic setting, 

  1. the garment will tumble less. 
  2. Effect of friction is reduced. 
  3. Agitator action is reduced.

The result of all three mentioned points is that less dirt are removed from the laundry. Your clothes are not cleaned.

How to solve low voltage issue

  1. Wash at nights
  2. Change power source

Wash at nights

The first problem here is bad electrical infrastucture.

In areas with poor infrastucture, there is a bigger chances of having voltage during day time when companies and business are in operation.

If the city’s power source is inefficient, this can overload the grid.

In this situation your best option will be to wash at nights when there less low on the power grid.

Change power source

Solar panel grid

In the introduction, I mentioned using generator to power my washer. This is simply because, the issue is with the state produced electricity.

Even at nights the power generated is just too low to run the washer. So we had to resort to generators to do our laundry.

Also it’s raining season, there is less sunshine, both in intensity and duration. If you rely on solar power to run you washer winter time or raining season is the worst season to do so.

Your best option is to change your power source. Switch from solar to other power sources, at least to power your washing machine alone.

By the way, you might like to read  how to use solar panels to power your washing machine.

My concluding take

The initial query of this article is whether low voltage affect washing machine. 

Well, the short answer is doesn’t damage your washer, but it can prolong or halt it’s operation.

It also will definitely affect your laundering itself. But your washer will be intact.

If you change your laundry time or your power source, you should be just fine.

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