Many front-loader washer doors are reversible, and almost all dryer doors have this feature. It would make sense for washer/dryer combos to be similar enough to the individual machines to also possess this ability. However, this is not the case.
There is very little information regarding the reasoning behind this seemingly odd limitation. However, I think that we can use logic to make sense of it.
Washer/dryer combo doors are most likely non-reversible because of the existence of the locking mechanism, the number of components that have to fit within the machine, and the costs associated with adding this feature.
What Would Stop the Door From Being Reversible?
When in a small space, such as a master closet or even just a start-out home, installing a washer/dryer combo can be the best way to save space.
However, if the door swings open the wrong way, or in a way where it is difficult to access the machine, being able to reverse it would be ideal.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of washer/dryer combos do not have reversible doors.
Almost all dryers currently on the market can have their doors reversed. The process is simple with steps including unscrewing, moving door hinges, and screwing in the door on the other side. So, why not the washer/dryer combo?
The answer most likely has to do with the locking mechanism.
This is actually considered to be a benefit of washer/dryer units because it stops the door from being opened mid-wash and flooding your house with soapy water.
The locking can, however, have drawbacks when it comes to the drying cycles.
If you’re like me, then at this stage you are wondering why stand-alone washers with similar locking mechanisms can have reversible doors (although this is less common).
I think that it comes down to a combination of factors, which we will discuss shortly. First, though, let’s see how the locking mechanisms work, which will help us understand why moving the mechanism can be difficult.
How the Locking Mechanism Works
A locking mechanism is an electrical component of a washer or dryer door that prevents the door from opening during a certain time in a cycle.
These devices are very common in front-load washers since the drum fills up with water and if the machine was to be opened mid-cycle, a large amount of water would spill out.
Although some locking washer/dryer doors use different mechanisms, the most popular form of locking mechanism is done with a bi-metal device.
These mechanisms work through simple heating and cooling electrical connections.
When the washer door is closed, a circuit is closed and an electrical coil wrapped around the bi-metal device begins to warm.
This heats up the metal and causes it to bend. This bending action activates the lock. Once the lock is in operation, another circuit is closed and power flows through the rest of the machine and the washing or drying cycle is started.
When the cycle is done and the power has turned off, the metal cools and straightens. This inactivates the lock.
As stated previously, it cannot only be the presence of the locking mechanism that stops the reversibility of washer/dryer doors. Here are some additional factors that come into play.
Inner Workings More Complicated
One factor that could prevent switching the locking mechanism to the other side of the machine is the fact that washer/dryer combos are more complicated internally than normal washers and dryers.
A washer/dryer combo must have the components of both a washer and a dryer within the same space as the average washer or dryer.
This makes the space a lot more crowded and complicated with a lot less wiggle room inside.
In a normal washer or dryer, the wiring and locking system can be easily found and moved without much interference. In a space that has twice as many components, it is more difficult to move the locking system.
It might be harder to find the wiring for the locking system among the other components. It may also be harder to move the locking system since the components may get tangled or stuck in other components.
While it is not impossible to move a door-locking system in a washer/dryer combo, it will be much more difficult than moving the same system in a separate washer or dryer.
Costs Already Higher
Another reason why a washer/dryer combo door may not be reversible has less to do with the inner workings of a washer/dryer combo and more to do with the manufacturing decisions.
Washer/dryer combos are more complex and expensive to assemble than a regular washer or dryer. Two completely different systems must fit into a compact space, which will take more time and more money.
This added cost and complexity is likely at the forefront of the manufacturer’s mind rather than how to accommodate a reversible door.
They are likely to prioritize the functionality and limit the cost rather than adding the option of reversibility.
It is likely that a reversible door for a washer/dryer combo is seen as an unnecessary expense that will just complicate the assembly process further.