I have been quite happy with our Panda washing machine. And after extended use, we still liked it. But, as we have become more comfortable in our surroundings and have expanded our power and plumbing systems, we began to entertain the thoughts of something a bit more convenient.
|Time for a break Panda, you served us well!|
Enter the Sonya SYW-70S. This machine is about the same width as the Panda, but much taller (at about 36 inches) and deeper (at about 24 inches).
It has three major advantages over the Panda unit.
It combines washing and spinning in the same drum. This means we don’t have to physically move the wet laundry from one side of the machine to the other. That wasn’t a huge hardship, but it was an interruption to our other workflow, and it did often result in water splashing on the floor as it is hard to move soaking wet laundry without having a few drops go astray.
It has a permanent, automated hookup to the water lines. The Panda DID have an option to hook up to the water lines as well, but it was a very small diameter connection, which made for a slow water flow. It also was not automated, so we would have to monitor the water going into the Panda and shut it off when it gets too high. Not something I would trust to happen uneventfully over the long term.
Finally, it is larger. The Panda really choked on floor mats or heavy sheets or even loading more than one or two shirts and pants at the same time. The Sonya can easily handle these items, with room to spare it seems!
Observations after using it for a day or two (and multiple loads).
It only takes slightly more power than the Panda did. It also take longer to do a load than the Panda. This is mostly because with the Panda, I only ever set it to wash for about 10 minutes – the Sonya generally is around 12 to 18 minutes, depending on the setting you choose.
The Panda was quick to fill (with buckets), while the Sonya and our low water pressure requires a long time to fill between wash and rinse cycles.
Clothes aren’t as dry coming out of the spin of the Sonya as they were in the Panda, but the Panda had the advantage of a small, dedicated spinner, so again it isn’t really a fair comparison.
Of course, the Sonya uses more water. With our 30 gallon water tank full, the Sonya uses about 7/8 of the tank to do a heavy wash at 50% water level, or a normal wash at 100% water level. When I did a heavy wash at 100% water level, the tank ran out partway through filling for the second rinse. I don’t think that’s a big problem, it shouldn’t be a challenge to return to the washer within the hour that a heavy wash takes, and repump the water tank. Otherwise, I think if we just size the programme selected to the amount of laundry we put it, all should be well.
|Still out from the wall for the first run – don’t want any surprises to happen in behind!|
One interesting water related thing that happened with me using the Sonya – when I first installed it, I jammed the drain hose as far into my drain as I could manage. The first time I used it, after the initial wash, it seemed to take forever to refill. In fact, it kept refilling and I pumped the water tank and eventually it errored out from taking too long to refill (yes, it will eventually give up if there is not enough water coming into the machine). This was at first discouraging, but then I noticed that I could hear water going down the drain while it was filling. I believe that once again I was the victim of an unintentional siphon. I pulled up the drain hose a few inches until I heard the suction break and could feel the hose drain empty. Since I have done this, the machine has worked just fine and even with our low and slow water flow, it doesn’t give up, even at 100% water level in the machine.