Thursday, May 28, 2015

GE Filter Flo Unimatic Washer

GE Filter Flo Unimatic Washing Machine

I am a huge fan of 1950s and 1960s Americana.

I love old appliances, especially washers.

I'll even make the case that a washer that is a half-century old is actually more green than "modern" so-called intelligent washers.

Growing up, my grandmother's sister (great-aunt) had a Whirlpool—I believe it was—washer that had a “suds saver” mode.

We need this technology today.

Women of the 1950s and 1960s lived though the Depression and knew the value of frugality.

Back then, washing clothes was "women's work" so my commentary is based on that reality.

Their children saw such frugality as a fear of scarcity and they embraced abundance by being wasteful with water and many other resources.

Recycling washers need to make a comeback.

Dare I say they need to be mandated by law?

Instead of pumping the sudsy water down the drain, washers, like the General Electric Filter Flo Unimatic, diverted wash water to a basin large enough to hold it.

The washer would then rinse the clothes and spin them dry.

When it was time to do the next load, it would suck in the water and then top off as necessary.

Next load was off and running.

VERY few modern washers have this feature, so we dump about 40 gallons of water per wash down the drain when we could be so much smarter.

The oldster, "unintelligent", GE Filter Flo Unimatic could do two loads of laundry with 60 gallons rather than 80 or more.

Do we not see the brilliance?

Now what if we recycled the rinse water too?

So much of the laundry we wash is literally not dirty that we could simply rinse in the sink, wring, and spin dry, thereby saving gallons of water and probably a small fortune in electricity usage.

But we are LAF (lazy as f#ck)

We wash clothes because we are too averse to doing work.

I have dedicated to rinsing multiple loads of “undirty” clothes.

With my washer it’s tricky because my appliance has no mechanical knob for resetting.

Thus I have to catch it just before it pumps to stop it. I have to unplug it so that its brain forgets it's about to spin.

I wring out the laundry, saving the rinse water back into the washer's tub.

I place the wringed-out clothes in baskets.

I rinse the next load. If I need to top off the washer, that’s easy.

When I’m finished rinsing. I allow the water to spin out.

I hang the spun-dry clothes on the clothesline and dump the wringed-out clothes in the washer for a spin dry before hanging out.

Yes this requires more work, but I am saving water. 

We all need to save water, but I live in California.

I am also not using my dryer as much, thus saving gas and electricity all while not transferring heat into my house.

I am willing to trade the drudgery of this way of doing laundry for the savings I will reap.

The work is redemptive.

Believe it or not, there are vintage washing machine fanatics out there who buy, restore, and sell machines like the 1961 General Electric Filter Flo Unimatic.

I could spend a fortune and buy one.

Or not.

The point is that if we start living like water costs as much as gasoline, then when we experience SHTF we will already be in the frugal mode.

Enlisting the labor our children in doing laundry this way is not cruel, but instead it teaches them Depression Era values that are lost and valid today.

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