Know anything about washing machines?

Discussion in 'The Steam Vent' started by Swerd, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. Swerd Audioholic Ninja

    Swerd
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    I have to replace a 10 or 11 year old washing machine :mad:. It was a Maytag that I bought new in either 2002 or 2003. At that time, I didn't know it, but that well-known washing machine maker was already trailing black smoke and was soon going to fail.

    All my prior experience with washing machines pointed in one clear direction – get a Maytag and ignore the other brands. A Maytag washer could easily last for 25 to 35 years. The others, maybe 12 to 15 years. Prior to the washer I now have (which is circling the drain), I had bought a used/rebuilt Maytag in 1984 for $250. I had that until 2002 or 03, so it lasted nearly 20 years in its second life!

    Unfortunately, Maytag as it once was, is history. The name exists but it isn't at all the same. Also, since the last time I had to shop for a washer, the whole industry seems to have changed. In addition to the time tested top loaders, there are front loaders, and new "high efficiency" top loading machines. All of them are controlled by "smart" microprocessors. But the shocker for me was the price. As high as $1200 :eek:!

    So without lengthy debate about the different designs, is there any washing machine that is as bullet-proof as the old Maytags were? Or should I just pick what ever model is on special and stop worrying about it?
  2. Alex2507 Audioholic Slumlord

    Alex2507
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    A purchase like that for me warrants a $25 subscription to consumer reports. That's all I know.
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  3. 96cobra10101 Senior Audioholic

    96cobra10101
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    I know what you mean. I bought a used kenmore at my old house and it lasted for over 10 years, and still serving the new owners. I can say my Samsung front loaders are doing well. They are stacked, very efficient in terms of energy, use less soap, and are much quieter than the washers and dryers from the "old days". As for price, watch for sales. I bought mine on black Friday for less than half their normal price. While everyone was fighting over laptops and flat panels, I was getting great customer service from the appliance sales person, as wifey and me were her only customers.
  4. Swerd Audioholic Ninja

    Swerd
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    I'm hoping I can avoid paying $25 to Consumer Reports. I probably shouldn't paint with such a broad brush, bu I lost confidence in them a long time ago.

    The only thing useful I could find online for free about washing machines was on Wikipedia. It said that in the US, the front loading washers are being marketed as the desirable high priced washers. In Europe and Asia, the top loaders are marketed as the premium high priced models, and the front loaders are the bargain models. So which is it?

    We spent some time in a local appliance store yesterday. It looks like $600 or more for a new one. In my local Lowe's and Home Depot, the prices are the same, unless you ask for delivery and hauling away the old machine, then it's more.
  5. TLS Guy Audioholic Overlord

    TLS Guy
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    This a huge problem these days.

    Appliances have higher failure rates than ever. One of our high end ovens purchased in 2006 recently gave trouble. I contacted the big outfit I have used for service before and bought parts from. I know the office girl well. She said these modern appliances are failing at such a rate they can't keep up. All the repair outfits in Bemidji are having to share resources and work. I asked the local vendor in Walker, if there were seeing abnormally warranty work. The owner Jeff said : - "Truthfully, yes."

    We had to replace our stove at Eagan a few months ago. I asked the repair man who looked at the old one which products to avoid. He immediately said anything made in the Far East, especially if it says Samsung or LG. He said they go wrong often, are hard to fix and it takes an eternity to get parts.

    He directed me to a small father, mother and daughter shop, in Inver Grove Heights. He gets all his parts from them. They sell and have a recycling business. They try and only stock what gives least trouble.

    They sold us an appliance for a price well below Best Buy and the lowest Internet price. The charged a very modest installation fee. They were out in an hour, took the old stove and installed the new. The installer did not like our gas hookup and asked if he could change the entire connecting hose. They would not take any extra payment in case we thought they were padding the bill.

    They say that on the whole Whirlpool and GE appliances cause the least trouble. That would include Maytag which is owned by Whirlpool. All Maytag washers are US made now, they no longer make any in the Far East because of quality problems.

    They are really nice people and I'm sure they won't mind if you give them a call. They are a really nice family. They can tell which units breakdown excessively and why.
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  6. BoredSysAdmin Audioholic Overlord

    BoredSysAdmin
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    Swerd, I can run few searches for you on consumer reports. What's your top budget?
    According to CR among front loaders reliability as follows:
    Front loaders winners: LG and Samsung
    and in Top loaders winners (about tie)
    Roper, Kenmore and Maytag
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2013
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  7. Swerd Audioholic Ninja

    Swerd
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    Thanks for the info. It confirms what little I've been able to learn. Although Whirlpool may be like the General Motors of washers & driers (they own Maytag and Amana and apparently make Kenmore under contract) at least they abandoned Asian manufacture. They may be no worse than GE, but prior(now distant past) experience I've had with large GE appliances has led me to make them last on the list.

    The Korean Samsung and LG are said to make good front loading washers, but my wife insists she won't have one. I'll gladly follow her preference on this. Her prior somewhat limited experience with them is that they don't clean clothes as well as top loading machines. When she found out about the problems with their door seals (they leak or retain moisture allowing mold growth), she said "over my dead body".

    Thanks for the tip about that local dealer. I wish they delivered to Maryland.

    Thanks for the offer: Front loading washers in the $600 to $800 price range. Lower than $600 is fine.

    A local dealer has a Whirlpool WTW5700XW on sale for $600. With delivery, installation & new hoses, haul old washer away, and sales tax it would come to $762. The salesman claims rebates of $150 are available, so the total would be $612.

    Is there anything that CR might say to eliminate that model?
  8. mtrycrafts Audioholic Slumlord

    mtrycrafts
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    Yep, at time this is also like audio, an issue of preference. ;)
    Front loaders are very efficient, much more so that top loaders and, contrary to your better half's limited experience, washing ability is better than many if not all top loaders.
    Yes, the seal needs attention, needs to be dried inside and outside after final use and the door window wiped dry as it can accumulate small particles otherwise that may cause dripping. We have an LG almost 6 years old with no issues. Saves a lot of water and it spins the heck out of clothes so the dryer uses less energy as well.
    We'll see how long it lasts. Ask me in 10 years if it is still in use here. :D
  9. KEW Audioholic Ninja

    KEW
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    Many of the front loaders have a design flaw in that they have the ability to harbor mold in inaccessable cavities.
    Especially if you or family have sinus issues, avoid Front loaders unless you can establish for certain that it does not have this issue.
    http://www.eppsteiner.com/california-lawsuits-investigations/front-load-washer-mold-investigation.html
    Moldy washer suit against Sears certified as a class-action - Chicago Tribune

    I have a <strike>Kenmore</strike> Whirlpool High Efficiency top-loading washer and I really like how it operates. I think the best feature is the high speed spin which really kicks it - clothes just feel too light coming out of the washing machine because so much water got centrifuged out!

    Edit - I bought it from Sears, but it is not Kenmore. It is a Whirlpool Cabrio Model number WTW5640XW2.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2014
    KEW,
  10. Adam Audioholic Jedi

    Adam
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    So I reached this point in the thread and thought, "Why doesn't Alex just send him some info? After all, you had him over for speakers and dinner." :)

    But then, I reached BSA - good man!

    Granted, that doesn't get rid of your lack of confidence in them... :D
    Adam,
  11. Swerd Audioholic Ninja

    Swerd
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    Part of her resistance may be learning curve related. I suggested that she hadn't given front loading washers a fair trial, and that it would require some new habits. She gave me a look that didn't require words. It suggested her willingness to have large floor standing speakers could be repealed at any time. Like I said earlier, I don't really have a dog in this hunt. It's always a successful stratgy to choose your battles wisely.

    I had a neighbor who was proud of her German-made washer, drier, and dishwasher. They were also often OOCAWP (out of commission awaiting parts). I wonder if the same problem would exist for Korean washers. No matter how energy/water efficient they might be on paper, they would have zero efficiency if they couldn't easily be repaired.


    That's good to know. The Whirlpool model I saw yesterday may be similar. I remember that odd name for a washing machine, Cabrio.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2014
  12. TLS Guy Audioholic Overlord

    TLS Guy
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    Try and find a good serviceman and ask him if they are any good. I think consumer reports are hopeless. They never could asses quality or longevity. As far as knowing if a product is any good I think they are absolutely useless.

    Its odd how top loaders have been the norm in North America. In Europe front loaders have been the norm for as long as I can remember. We bought a front loading Bendix washer back in the fifties at the OP. That was the "Rolls Royce" of British washer back then. I think it worked perfectly for nigh on 30 years. Don't think it saw a serviceman until it rusted out. It never leaked either and we never fussed with cleaning the seals.

    It really takes modern engineers to screw up simple appliances.

    Stoves and ovens are a huge problem. Most don't cook food properly and give trouble. Gas stoves and ovens are a huge problem. Back in my childhood they all worked, but not now!

    GE seem to be on a roll in this area however. We use GE Monogram electric ovens at the lake. The convection element has now burnt out on both ovens, but it is easy to replace. Cooking quality is splendid.

    At Eagan we bought a GE gas stove from their Cafe series. We have been really please with it. Cooking quality is excellent. Now a gas stove is a very simple device, but it seems beyond the engineers of most brands, which I find truly astonishing.

    The service man was emphatic about Samsung and LG appliances, and had zero time for them. He was a nice guy with no axe to grind. He was knowledgeable and experienced and could give me chapter and verse of the stupid design mistakes of a lot that is out there.
  13. BoredSysAdmin Audioholic Overlord

    BoredSysAdmin
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    Top Front loading recommended machines (up-to $900) (from best rating to lower)
    LG WM3070H[W]A - CR Score - 87
    LG WM2650H[W]A/ LG WM2655H[V]A - Tie CR score at 85
    Electrolux IQ Touch EIFLW50L[IW] - CR Score - 83

    Whirlpool WTW5700XW - is Not a front, but TOP loader and it's rated by CR at 73 (Top Scoring machine - 84 )

    A CR Best Buy, this high-efficiency top-loader offers very good wash performance and superb water and energy efficiency. But it's relatively noisy and so-so in gentleness. A large capacity and a brisk 45-minute wash time can keep the dirty laundry from piling up. The Whirlpool has a rotary dial, end-of-cycle signal, and stainless tub.
    Highs
    Using the Normal cycle the:
    • Washing performance is very good.
    • Energy efficiency is excellent.
    • Water efficiency is excellent.
    • Capacity is excellent.
    • Vibration is excellent.
    Lows
    Using the Normal cycle the:
    • Gentleness is just good.
    • Noise is just good.

    ("Just Good" aka FAIR aka 3 out of 5)
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2014
  14. Swerd Audioholic Ninja

    Swerd
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    BSA

    I mispoke. I meant to say Top Loading Washers, but typed it wrong :eek:. I'm sorry if I wasted your time.
  15. BoredSysAdmin Audioholic Overlord

    BoredSysAdmin
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    No worries:
    3 best TOP loading machines (in your budget):
    Samsung WA422PRHD[WR] - CR 82 (best)
    LG WT4801C[W] - CR80
    Maytag Bravos XL MVWB750Y[W] - CR79

    Let me know if you want details on any specific model
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  16. gmichael Audioholic Spartan

    gmichael
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    We have had an LG front loader for over 6 years. So far it works great. I had read a few reviews before we bought it that front loaders can have the whole mold thing going for them. Most of the newer models have special drains in the door area to make sure that all the vapor dissipates. We leave the front door open just a crack anyhow to be sure.
    This thing sure saves us a lot of water and the clothes come out fairly dry so that saves us even more in drying time & electricity.
    My wife liked the looks of the front washers, so it didn't take much convincing to get her to go with one. The candy apple red finish paved the way for many of my HT upgrades.
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  17. Swerd Audioholic Ninja

    Swerd
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    I had called an independent serviceman because the washer made a loud racket while in the spin cycle. He said the transmission was shot and it wasn't worth repairing. When I asked him what he could recommend with longevity and repair record in mind, he said that none of the makes that are presently available stand out above the crowd :mad:.

    That info is certainly worth remembering. Thanks.

    The front loading machines definitely do use less water, and they are mechanically less complex. Those machines were more common until the post-WW2 recovery in the 1950s. In the US water has been historically abundant and cheap compared to Europe. There may have been much less incentive to save that until recently.

    Probably because of the success of the Maytag top loading washers (there can be no doubt that they understood how to build a complex machine that could work well and last a long time), the front loading designs took a rear seat in the US and Canada.

    In the meantime, European and Asian makers continued developing their front loading machines. When US manufacturing suffered it's late 20th century crisis, the others stepped forward.

    Don't be so quick to blame the engineers. It takes marketing departments, bean counters, and greedy shortsighted management to screw up time tested, proven designs.

    My experience with stoves and ovens in the US is similar to yours in the UK. Gas and electric stoves and ovens all worked well and lasted for very long times. GE figured out high heat electric elements back in the 1950s. I often suspect the modern electronic controls, with built-in safety features, fail more often than the primary heat mechanisms.
  18. Rickster71 Audioholic Spartan

    Rickster71
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    Hi Swerd,
    Here is a nice site done by someone in the repair business.

    http://www.appliance411.com/purchase/make.shtml

    I too have a long time friend in appliance repair and he said the exact same thing TLS had heard.

    What has happened (as with most products) reliability has taken a back seat to energy efficiency and 'Green' labeling.
    The problems manifest in the new direct drive motors in washer that are made by Fisher & Paykel or any brand that copies that 'Smart Drive' technology.
    It's a very good concept that isn't quite ready for prime time. Direct drive washers are easily recognized by their lack of a center spindle in the tub.

    We ended up with a Speed Queen - no electronics to go bad, analogue dials, stainless steel tub, two speed spin, and metal gear transmission.

    Good luck and be careful out there!
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2014
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  19. Swerd Audioholic Ninja

    Swerd
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    I hear you loud & clear. Thanks. The Whirlpool model I saw Saturday with the attractive price had no central agitator post. I hear alarm bells going off in my head right now.

    I noticed the salesman was trying to steer us toward the machines with that "Smart Drive" technology. As if to seal the deal with a bonus, he offered those rebates via the electric power company. As soon as he said "Pepco" I felt a cold shudder; I will now pay attention to it.

    It made both of us feel like dinosaurs because we wanted something deemed old and out of date, even if it works better. Just like I feel with smart phones, burnt coffee, etc., I am no longer in the age group targeted by the marketing people, and therefore don't matter.
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  20. lsiberian Audioholic Overlord

    lsiberian
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    We have a top loading maytag washer we bought about 5 years ago and it's not without it's quirks, but it does the job. It was half the cost a front loader has. Though if you use a front loader you could do without a dryer in many cases. I say take your wife to the store and let her pick out the one she likes. Don't go to Sears they are way overpriced. I suggest Conn's if you have one they had the best deals back when we bought ours.

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