Choice of Washing Machines in Fitted Kitchens
If you are currently thinking of updating your kitchen, you will generally have a good idea of how you want it to look. If you expect to have your washing machine in the kitchen, there are a few options available to you, some of which are more successful than others. There are also quite wide price variations to consider.
Choices open to you include:
Fully Integrated Washing Machine. This means that the washing machine itself will be completely hidden behind a kitchen door, the same as for other appliances, such as a fridge.
The good thing about having integrated applicances is that it will not spoil the look of your kitchen by seeing different types of appliances, and will give you a more aesthetic finish. However, there are plenty of things to consider before making this choice.
The integrated washing machine, although having the same programmes as the standard machine, is designed differently to allow it to be fitted under the worktop. Quite often it will not have the normal lid of a washing machine, but could be finished with an aluminium panel. The bottom of the machine will also be inset to allow the fitting of the wooden kitchen plinth to avoid any interruption of the plinth, and thus spoil the look of the units. A full size door then has to be fitted over the machine to cover it from view.
As you can appreciate the fitting of an integrated machine is not easy, and it is recommended this is done by professionals, such as your kitchen fitters, if you are not proficient in this kind of work.
Another thing to consider is that the spin speed will be slower than the standard machine, to avoid vibrations. The biggest issue, however, is if you have a fault with the machine, it means that it will have to be de-fitted and pulled into the kitchen to be checked and repaired. Due to the problems with this, many engineers will not agree to come out to the machine unless you pull the machine out first, as it is so difficult, and so easy to cause damage both to the machine, and potentially the kitchen units. It is also time-consuming and may well result in a higher repair cost than for a standard machine.
Once repaired it is also extremely difficult to get it back in place, and will need to be refitted all over again.
The final point is that these machines are more complicated to manufacture due to the modifications that are required, and this results in a much higher price. The end result may provide you with the best look for your kitchen, but if faults arise, this may cause you major problems.
Bear in mind, these machines are not designed to be used as a standalone machine, as they will be very unstable and unsafe.
Semi-integrated washing machines – these were popular at one time as they were slightly cheaper but are not as readily available as they once were, and also the price differentiation has been eroded.
The main difference between this option and the fully integrated machine is that the door does not cover the whole machine, the controls are visible. This is really the only difference, and the problems noted above are just as true
As with the warning of the integrated washing machine above, the semi-integrated machine is not safe to use as a standalone machine, due to the inherent instability in the design.
Built-in washing machines – this is quite a confusing description but what it means is that these machines are produced with the recess at the bottom to allow the kitchen plinth to be fitted. However, these do not have a facility for a door to be fitted over the machine.
The effect of this is that the machine becomes much easier to repair, as necessary.
As this type of machine is designed with a recess at the bottom, it may cause problems with the stability if you try to use it as a standalone machine.
Freestanding washing machine – this type of machine really needs no further description. They are go-anywhere machines, as long as there is a source for power, water and drainage you are ready to go.
There are many more choices of make, model and cost available for this type of machine. Servicing and repairs are also more economical as there is no issue with access.
One problem may be if you try to fit it into a tight place in your kitchen, as there may be issues with vibration, and you need to bear this in mind when making your choices.
As stated at the beginning of this article, there are many choices to be made and decisions are all personal, as the washing machine has to fit into your life style and home.
Just to reiterate, it is not safe to use any of the modified machines that are designed to be fully or partially integrated, as a free standing machine, as they will not be stable and are only suitable to be used for their original design and purpose.