Why don't they have self contained, single unit washer/dryer units?

I was doing laundry last week (eighteen loads) at a local laundry mat and was frustrated that there simply were not enough open dryers for all of my wash. In general it has been my observation that washer capacity at laundry mats tends to exceed dryer capacity. This caused me to ponder a self evident solution to the problem. Why not have washers that were also dryers? After ending their wash cycle they would transit right into the “dry” cycle (you would still have to “pay” for the dryer cycle so that laundrymat wouldn’t be losing revenue). Obviously, certain modifications would have to be made, but it doesn’t seem like it would involve “rocket science”.

It seems to me that these units would have the following advantages for a laundrymat and for customers:

  1. Space would be maximized since every “machine” would represent a washer and a dryer unit. This would be especially important in higher rent areas like Japan and New York City.

  2. There would be less potential for back injuries since you would do only half as much “lifting” and transferring of the laundry.

  3. Because there would be less transfers of laundry between washers and dryers there would be a need for fewer “carts” which most laundry mats stock.

  4. Since laundry facilities could stock more machines with the same amount of space they would have to turn away less business during peak periods (often I will go to a laundrymat only to leave for another since it is to busy for the number of loads that I have to wash).

  5. Although, these machines would be more expensive than current commercial machines, they should be cheaper than buying a commercial washer and dryer given the efficiencies of scale inherent in building a single unit.

They do make combination washer/dryer units, like these. One of the problems with them is that they must necessarily be more mechanically complex than separate single-purpose units, and therefore more expensive. Another problem is that if one function dies, you have to do without bothn while it’s out being repaired.

The problem that I’ve experienced with washer dryers (I’ve had two) is that they’re less reliable. More working parts means more to go wrong – it seems to be the dryer part that conks out first, usually. Of course, I’m talking about domestic appliances – commercial units may be more robust. However, I’m sure they would suffer from the same problems. What a laundromat needs above all is reliability. A broken washer or dryer isn’t earning money, and costs money to repair.

I have a friend who got one a few years ago. He bought a condo in an unmodifable historic building, so he couldn’t put in a dryer vent. It was also a small cramped place, so he figured that as long as he was paying for a fancy ventless electric dryer, he might as well get a combo washer one. He ordered one from Japan where they are fairly common(at least that’s what he said). However he payed a huge amount for it, and is his words ‘It’s a freaking piece of crap. It doesn’t get anything clean or even dry.’

Believe it or not, this has been done.
Twice even (and only a month ago on this one…).

You’re paying for the search function too, ya’ know…

I just did a search for single unit washer dryer, and this thread was the only one which appeared. To be honest this site usually runs so slowly for me that I generally don’t attempt to do anything besides read posts (and post) on the first page or two of general discussion (In fact, I was composing my posts and saving them as a Word file before attempting to Post since I was losing so many posts into the vaper. Then my wife found these files and threw a tizzy). Maybe it is my 56,600 baud, AOL dial up (which usually actually connects at around 24000 Kps on a good day). However, I don’t have this problem with most other websites that I visit. Indeed sites like The Drudge Report will usually load on a “three count”. I sometimes do this as a “test” to see if it is my connection or the web site which is running slow.

I only searched on “washer dryer” in GQ (without the quotes). Helpful hint: Just like with google, if you don’t find what you’re looking for the first time, it’s probably your choice of words, rather than the limited selection of available data. However, in this case I can see where it would be an honest mistake, but in the future try to remember that everyone may not use the same phrasing as you.

Really? You seem to visit (or at least start new threads) very early in the morning when the site is at its fastest.

Also think about it in terms of equipment usage for the laundromat owner. If you replace one washer and one dryer with one washer/dryer, then they are both tied up by one customer for the time it takes to do washing and drying. If you have a separate washer and dryer, then one customer uses the washing machine while the previous customer is using the dryer. Better throughput that way.

And the idea of not disabling a washer when the dryer is broken (or vice versa), as QED brings up, is also an important issue for the owner.

When comparing capacities, it’s worth paying attention to the run times they take also. On the one hand, the dryers seem to go for much shorter times than the washing machines, and therefore you can have fewer of them. On the other hand, my experience is that you usually have to use a couple of cycles of the dryer’s cycle to adequately dry clothes, so perhaps they need more. Regardless, if the ratio of washers to dryers is wrong in that specific laundromat, that’s simply a poor business decision by the owner (who could get more revenue if he or she optimized it so that all machines were in use together).

In my experience, washer-dryers are dreadful at drying, taking far longer than a separate dryer (and obviously using a lot more electricity as a result).

Well, there’s your answer. You already have a combination washer/dryer. More time washing/drying leaves less time for tizzy throwing. :wink:

As far as dryers outnumbering washers at the laundormat it’s been my experience that the dryers hold more clothes than the typical laundromat washer. Can’t you fit like two loads of washed laundry into one dryer?

They exist and they are horrid, horrid contraptions. Maybe I’ve had a string of duds, but they leave clothes hot and damp.

I’ve foudn that when you stick two loads into one dryer, you have to run the dryer for twice as long. It seems more time efficient to just put one load in one dryer.