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Friday, 06 July 2018


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Well, I'm with you. Dryers still seem to last a while because they are so simple, I guess. We usually have an old dryer and a new washer. We have a new "Maytag" now (not sure who actually makes it). We also just replaced a 4 year old Kenmore dishwasher that still looks new. Now when it comes to appliances we always go for the 3 year extended warranty at Best Buy, because there's a decent chance we will use it. Usually those extended warranties seem like a waste of money, but not with dishwashers and washing machines.

Just wait~~ it is getting worse.
There is now a hefty tariff on washing machines imported to the US and a 50% tariff on washing machine parts.

They don't make 'em like they used to. I'm still using a ca. 1974 Amana Radar Range microwave/convection oven that my parents got when I was a kid. It weighs about as much as a washer – well, a dryer anyway – and it doesn't ding as loudly as it used to when it's done, but otherwise it's fine. For now ....

But don't get me started on the purpose of economies.

We have a similar washing machine story. When the cost of repair was $100 more than we paid for a three year old GE machine, I asked my repair guy what washer he'd buy. He directed me to Speed Queen. They're a considerably more expensive, but we couldn't be happier. If you want an American built machine ...

Makes the local laundromat mighty attractive, eh? The laundry pair we inherited in our current abode are reliable but not very good. The drier is horribly ineffictive at lint trapping and the washer is meh. I’ve considered replacing both, but as you point out, the choices are depressing.

Living in Mennonite country, maybe find someone with an extra, refurbished wringer washer to sell.

As a matter of interest Mike what's the average cost of a washing machine in the USA, here in europe they are not that expensive probably less than a thousand euro for a decently specked model.

Sounds like your machine washed out.

Hi Mike,

My thought is in every community, there exists the same old guy that repairs old appliances and resells them. Maybe there is some old Maytag or Whirlpool out there with your name on it.


No Mike, not just USA. UK too.
Over a few years old? Sorry.
New X, Y, better get a new machine?

Find an (old) knowledgeable electrics person, see if they can bodge it. Save you a mint.

A new on / off switch should be a doddle.

Similar story with our dishwasher - a fault with the "board" - we could get a new one but it would cost us half the cost of a new machine and there was no guarantee that that was the problem... Also about six years old.
Nothings lasts anymore.... well, almost nothing. I have an FM2 that still works perfectly.

Just get a lease Mike. You can write off all the washes from when you spill coffee on yourself while reading comments.

Even within the umbrella of your story, Mike, some washing machines are still more reliable than others. I would stick with top-loading machines with electro-mechanical (as in not digital) controls. GE machines still seem to be okay and are still made in Louisville, Kentucky, even if GE's appliance divison is now owned by Haier of China. Frigidaire is also still pretty good. Most made in the U.S. and owned by Electrolux of Sweden. Speed Queen also seems to get good reviews. I'd stay away from anything made by Whirlpool (including Maytag). Also, avoid high-efficiency machines. No, none of these are likely to make it to 30 years of service anymore, But if you keep it simple, you may get at least 15 years without too much trouble along the way.

As consumeris we have only ourselves to blame for the product replacement hamster wheel we ride.

Factoring in inflation, your Maytag likely cost far more when new than the Kenmore. In my experience, consumers will generally rationalize goinng the cheap route vs paying more for quality in anything that is not sexy.

Something similar happened to my now ancient, in washing machine years, Indesit. I set the switch to "on" and taped it up on the outside with white electrical tape - to remind me, "don't press that button." Switching the machine on/off is now achieved via a wall switch.

As an electronics engineer, I'd have no qualms about finding a completely different switch, one that's suitable for the load taken by the original type, and fitting it somewhere else on the machine. I also would've had a go at repairing that "board" - the main, and perhaps only electronic circuit board - that controls the various machine processes. Most washing machine engineers will just swap out the whole board, rather than try to locate a component fault. If they're capable of working to component level fault finding (I suspect few are), then they may take your board away, and "refurbish it" for selling elsewhere... or their company may.

Lots of useful how to sort your xxxx product videos about the Internet... though your property insurer may not be so keen. Plenty videos of with not recommended fixes too.

Don't leave the house when things like washing machines and tumble driers are running, when (not if) they go wrong, they can be a fairly high fire risk.

Apologies, but I'm a bit far away to come around and sort it. Passport ran out in 2010 too.

Planed Obsolesence is a Crime. (Big ripe off, man) When it’s time to buy a new one check out Speed Queen Commercial Heavy Duty. Probably the closest you’ll come to the old MayTag.

One word Miele

Two thoughts.
Look around for a pre-owned appliance outlet. (You may have to go to Rochester to locate same). They often have. used still operational machines much less than new, usually with a 60-day warranty.
If that does not do the trick, keep your eye open for places selling machines at a discount, or machines available from a location
selling scratch and dent items, the appearance is whatt allowed the machine to gravitate to the scratch and dent outlet!

Prepare foran inevitable mechanical failure, look for weekend or discount outlet sales on goods, keeping in mind the sale item should be a real sale.

Finally get a basic machine; all you are doing is washing clothes, sometimes something heavier than your normal shirts and undergarments. Best look around before hand so when that jury-rigged washing machine does finally die, you'll have a better idea of what to get. Oh and it's usually the large cities ie Syracuse, Rochester or Buffalo that have the selections. Extended warranties do nothing IMO, a sales gimmick.

Sears has gone here in Canada, so no more Kenmore; my dishwasher is a German assembled Bosch, my washer and dryer came from Mexico under the Whirlpool brand, both the basic models. Five years ago the washer and dryer which were not a set and obtained from different discount retailers amounted to C$1100.00. My replacement dishwasher was C$1400.00 and that was purchased after two repairs to my then new $750.00 Samsung dishwasher; one repair under a three month warranty was $400.00 the second repair, same component a year later would have been another $500.00 thanks to inflation however I said that's it!
Purchased the Bosch from a different whole sale supplier in Toronto. BTW the Toronto supplier sent their own technician the day after delivery to my place to do the install, he also took away the now deceased Samsung.

The new digital rendering cameras don't fail as do appliances, do they? Mind digital cameras these days could be considered anappliance, five years or so after purchase most of us want a new toy in any event...

Don't get me started on "modern" appliances. We have a 25+ yr old Maytag washer. Recently, it failed for the 1st time. I replaced the electro-mechanical timer/controller myself (bought from Sears for $120). Easy peasy. The washer is running strong as ever.

We had this "modern" wall oven with a fancy electronic control panel. We had to replace that panel 4 times over 5 years. Apparently the panels got fried from power surge during power outages. Parts plus labor was ~$500 each time. We finally got tired and replaced the oven. Alas, the new one also has an electronic panel. So far so good, fingers crossed.

When I stayed overseas a couple yrs ago, I stayed in a serviced apartment. It had this European washer/dryer, which was the most ridiculous device I have ever used. Washing takes 3 hours. Drying takes another 2.5. After 5.5 hrs, the clothes come out damp and wrinkled. And, being front loaders, I had to leave the washer door open all the time; otherwise, the door seals would get moldy, and stink to the heavens. This taught me to never
buy a front-loader. So, when we bought appliances for a new house, we got a commercial grade (Speed Queen) washer and dryer: old fashioned top load, heavy duty steel panels. We could even have gotten them with electro-mechanical controls, but, in the end, we opted for electronic ones. Downside? The things are loud!

Another real head-scratcher: dishwashers. Our 25+ yr old American dishwasher works great. A wash is done in an hour. Dishes come out dry, scalding hot. Apparently, they don't make them like that anymore. But why not? Why fix what ain't broken? Worse, why make it worse? A normal cycle now takes 3+ hours. Fancy Euro models (Miele, Bosch et al) do not offer heated drying. A few American ones still do. However, none of them manage to dry the dishes. Open the door after the 3+ hr cycle and you'll find a dripping wet tub and wet glasses and plastics. And that's using the obligatory "rinse aid."

Absolutely ridiculous.

LG. Yikes. We had a washing machine made by them die at 4 years. Also a problem with the electronics that the repair folks had no idea how to fix. Then a $2.5k refrigerator, just 2.5 years old failed. Compressor failure. They'd cover the cost of the part and we'd have to pay for the installation, and it'd take 6 weeks to get the part.

NO more LG for us!

I don't know if this is still possble, but the trick used to be to buy washing machines designed for laundromats. They were ... very tough.

Speed Queen. (Craig Yuill recommended it in your 2013 post). https://www.speedqueen.com/the-speed-queen-difference/american-quality

The local appliance repairman told me he won't touch Samsung or LG appliances ... too much bother: repairs are so expensive, you're halfway to buying a new one, and customers complain when the expensive repair part fails.

My experience (in Europe) is German washing machines are the longest lasting, most trouble free.

We bought a brand new set of Maytag appliances 5 years ago (fridge, range, microwave, dishwasher, washer and dryer). They are all made (assembled?) in the US. I like to support local manufacturing when its practical (I don't think I can do that when buying a DSLR).

Well, the fridge, which cost the same as a nice DSLR, has been put to pasture, it's compressor having failed twice. The first time it cost $800 to fix, even with the new compressor paid for by Maytag. So the second time, we just bought a new fridge (delivered this week). A model form LG...

Based on my survey of a few appliance shops, I am not sure I should expect the new item to be more reliable.

My parents have nice side by side Whirlpool fridge that has been faithfully serving them for 21 years.

I detect more than a whiff of planned obsolescence.

Hoping to be able to advise you, I looked up washing machines in the UK consumer magazine Which? Alas, LG are the most reliable according to their members, with Zanussi, Miele and Bosch close behind. I don't think their database goes back 42 years though.

Find a new or used washboard. They last and last. Rocks next to the creek also will outlast you and they are free!

When our LG washing machine died I bought my wife a new Panasonic front loader. I am nothing if not generous as I had just bought myself the Panasonic 12-35 and 35-100mm 2.8’s at the time.
The washer is terrific, best machine we have ever used and didn’t cost a bundle.

[I like the idea of a Panasonic washing machine, but I don't think they're sold in the good ol' US of A.... --Mike]

I reluctantly hauled my Maytag washer to the trash after 35 years of service. I spent $420 on parts for it in its last year and I still could not repair it so it would work reliably.

I too was frustrated by the current offerings but noticed that the coin operated laundries all used commercial Maytag or Huebsch (which is the Canadian brand name for Speed Queen) products.

I was tempted to buy a used coin operated machine but found an excellent price on a floor model commercial rated Huebsch.

So far I have had three years of trouble free reliable service from it. Bottom-line: get a commercial rated washing machine if you want a well built product that delivers reliable service.

Speed Queen. Tougher than nails, cheaper than front loaders, faster too. Still have mechanical agitators and old-fashioned dials and switches. I hate those membrane switches. Everything is repairable with parts that have been used for many model years.

I splurged and bought a matched washer/dryer for the first time in our multi-decade married life. We couldn't be more pleased with their performance.

"They want you to have to buy a new one. Bad for you and me and our budgets, but good for business."

Bad for the environment too.

[Good point. I'll add that to the post. --Mike the Ed.]

Weird timing on this one Mike. I still work part time for a large retailer who includes appliances in the lineup. I know a fair amount about them.

We had a power outage the other afternoon. The power went on and off several times with a loudish transformer pop heard not far away. When the power came on 4 hours later the 2 year old GE dishwasher did not wake up like the rest of the house did and it seems to have blown the control board. A search showed it to be no longer available. 2 years old but no longer available. There was a possible replacement but I did not want to spend $100 to find it was the wrong part for a $400 dishwasher. A service call with parts (if found) would be $200 plus easy. So a new Bosch is on the way.

Oh my LG front loader is 7 years old now and has never needed service. I hope it does not because those parts are probably not available either. LG had a reputation for lack of parts availability. This I know as fact having to deal with customer issues.

Bought a Maytag washer and dryer when we moved into our house in 1994. The washer is still going strong but the dryer dropped off the twig after fifteen years of service.
Replaced it with another Maytag that the local dealer said was built in the USA and is based on the chassis they used for commercial machines.
Works fine but did need a new board of some kind two years ago. Otherwise both are still washing and drying just as they should.

We have a Miele washing machine which is 21 years old has has never gone wrong. Highly recommended, except for the fact that the tantrums of a certain orange Neandertal have made them more expensive for you.

The remedy for today's sensitive electronic controls may be a whole house surge solution applied where the power enters the building.

Those sturdy old school appliances won't be available forever.

I think everyone has their own horror story about domestic appliances. And of course in a comparatively small group, most manufacturers will make an appearance.

In recent years we seem to have stared buying Samsung for many things - TV, fridge/freezer, washing machine. So far so good, although there was a (warranty) repair required on the washing machine.

In general we fix what we can - I replaced a shower cartridge earlier this year, and was astonished to discover that after just 30 minutes on-line research I seemed to know more about was required than the ‘plumber’ who came to fix it. And I got the cartridge for half the price the plumber wanted to charge for it.... He said that they have to buy from the official supplier so they have unquestionable evidence that they have installed the right part, they can’t just buy the alleged part from an on-line supplier. Interesting times. At least we have no smart appliances in the house that are themselves on-line.

I've got a similar story. Inherited a 20 year old washer/dryer set, used them for 10 more years, and then began a parade of cheaply made, quickly-broken replacements. After the 4th repair of a horrid samsung dryer failed after 3 days, I visited the big box appliance stores and and ended up shaking my head at the flimsy construction and gimmicky "features" on current offerings. Then I stopped into the local appliance store and found a Speed Queen, which they apparently *do* build like they used to. I placed an order immediately.

I'm sure you are inundated with dead-appliance stories but anyway here is one more.

Our just-out-of-warranty Whirlpool electric range failed because the computer board in the machine can't handle high temperatures. (Umm, wouldn't one design an oven to handle high temps?) According to the service guy it's a known problem, the repair cost is at least half the cost of a new one, and there is of course no guarantee it won't happen again.

Add Whirlpool to my brands-to-avoid list.

Most people I know who can afford it and do laundry regularly at home buy a Miele. They are heavy, expensive and good, even simple to use. I do know others who are happy with LG (brand name LG, I wouldn't trust a branded appliance, sorry but there are just not the same incentives when rebranding). I also think that there is slow but steady progress: newer machines was better and use less water and power.

I hate to even discuss this. When we had our home built 24 years ago we bought a new Amana waher and dryer. Both are still working with no repairs. Our newish (4 years old) Samsung refrigerator has been repaired 3 times since the one year warrannty ended. Our repairman says none of the machines currenlty made will give more than a few years service before a breakdown...usually just after the warranty runs out.

Well you jinxed me, Mike. I read your post while running my dishwasher. Soon after I noticed a puddle on my kitchen floor. Turns out my IN-SINK-ERATOR Badger 1 (great appliance name, really... gnarrrr!), though not seized up in rigor mortis as you might imagine, was instead leaking out all of its sides and in under-places where it really should not. Poor thing.

Good news: the Badger design hasn't budged in umpteen years so it made for an easy swap with a new eager exact clone. No doubt someday I could get one that has an app w/ wi-fi, or maybe even a camera so I could watch the foodstuffs a-whirr. There's no i-Badger yet AFAIK.

Ahh, I remember that washing machine post. I regret I didn't share my story at the time. We had a similarly long lived old American machine. When the tech finally pronounced it dead, it was at least 35, and every single mechanical part (e.g. gear and bearing) had worn out. I have since considered going to estate auctions to look for a replacement. It's actual replacement is the bottom of the line, top loading type washer, priced at something negligible. (I could have picked up a returned model for $99 from a big box store, so I think it retailed for $300 or so at the time.) It is very simple mechanically, using the standard top loading, spin-the-basket method of cleaning. The rubber-covered start switch feels a little more robust than the thin membrane type. It's an Amana, you can get them from Lowe's for about $400. Honestly, I have no complaints. It's every bit as good (or bad) as it's predecessor: slow, but not too slow, noisy, but it's in a basement, etc.

Your solution is in fact, a good one. I would have cobbled together something quite similar. You may, in fact, prolong the length of the thing quite a bit.

My appliance repairman regaled me with stories from his days as a maintenance manager at an apartment complex. The solution he has hit upon is to buy appliances (like central air conditioners) and also buy the "boards" needed to rebuild all the control circuits when they go poof. He also buys the lowest model of the highest end appliance he can, and avoids Samsung and LG. (He says he sees a lot of those in his work, and that parts are almost never available. They change the internal designs constantly.)

When I had a service man over to look at the refrigerator, he said it would cost more to repair than it was worth. It was 14 years old. So I asked about who made the best models currently. He said Fridgidaire. He said to avoid anything made by LG. So there you go. For when you look for another machine of any type. That is the quality of South Korea. Heaven healp us if North Korea gets into the act too.

My wife and I bought an Asko (Swedish) washer several decades ago on the firm recommendation of a sales lady in a department store. It was quite expensive but she assured us they had great service. Which we discovered to be true, as it broke down like clockwork every year on the day before the Christmas/New Year holidays when all service departments and technicians take summer break (we're in Australia). This happened FIVE years in a row!

Our next machine was a Bosch. So far, we've had over 10 years without a problem. It's a front loader, which we prefer as it's more gentle on clothes.

Let's not forget that survivorship bias is a thing. Every appliance I have upgraded (fridge, washer/dryer, dishwasher, microwave, etc.) has always been because the old ones failed (even after extensive heroic repairs in some cases), and the new ones are significantly better in all ways.

Appliances these days are CHEAP in real terms, compared to your old Maytag. The trade-off is disposability.

Over the 22 years I have lived in Singapore, I have had three washing machines, the last two LGs. Compared to machines of 40 years ago, they are flimsy, lightweight things. One of the biggest enemies in this very humid environment is corrosion. That's what did for the last one - it looked like an old car by the end.

The current one is still going OK apart from some worrying rattles from the main bearing carrying the drum. But I was told 5 years ago that it was about to fail, so my fingers remain crossed.

But an average life of over 6 years seems pretty good these days. I have had more problems with 'boards' on cameras than on washing machines.

(My Panasonic fridge is pretty good ... )

FYI, in California the law says:

"(b) Every manufacturer making an express warranty with respect to an electronic or appliance product described in subdivision (h), (i), (j), or (k) of Section 9801 of the Business and Professions Code, with a wholesale price to the retailer of one hundred dollars ($100) or more, shall make available to service and repair facilities sufficient service literature and functional parts to effect the repair of a product for at least seven years after the date a product model or type was manufactured, regardless of whether the seven-year period exceeds the warranty period for the product."

You may not be in California, but unless Sears is violating the law here, the part you need SHOULD be available from Sears. (If it is sold here to comply with California law, but you cannot buy it in New York, send me the part number and I will buy it and ship it to you.)

Which brings up a thought - If it is sold here to comply with California law, but you cannot buy it in New York because "it is no longer made", I am surprised that some lawyer has not already filed a class-action suit against Sears and/or LG. There would almost certainly be dozens of other parts on other products that would fall into the same category, and there would be a huge number of people in the "class".

- Tom -

Three and a half decades ago, I had a pair of used laundry machines - front-loader washer and dryer. (Our area had a water shortage, and front-loaders need less water.) They needed a few repairs, but surprisingly few. Aside from a couple of electrically operated water valves and an electric motor, there was the tub itself, which rode on teflon pads at the front, and a single axial bearing at the back. A long rubber belt went from the motor pulley around the tub. I replaced the bearing, the belt, and nothing else in the many years I used that machine, bought used. The dryer was even less trouble. Total cost for machines and replacement parts was certainly no more than a few hundred dollars. And every part had a reasonably obvious purpose. I wouldn't even attempt to fix my current machines, and I expect to replace them in a few years when they fail.

BTW, something both similar and different has happened with cars. I drive a Prius, and experienced a catastrophic failure of the hybrid system just as I was merging onto the freeway. (Fixed as a recall repair.) There was nothing at all I could have done to repair the car. By way of contrast, forty years ago my car failed suddenly on a deserted country road around 11 p.m. I'd recently done a tune-up, and still had the old parts. It took something like 10 minutes all told to figure out that the new points were defective, to replace them with the old ones using my Swiss army knife as the only tool, and get back on my way. On the other hand, most cars today are far more reliable than they were back then, and last longer. So the repair has followed the laundry pattern, but reliable service lifetime has gone the other way.

Mike, it's the step up from the Miele. If one ever broke they used to fly service techs over on the Concorde to effect overnight repairs. But really, the titanium and platinum parts rarely (if ever) wear out...

No, seriously, I have a Kenmore from 22 years ago that my repair person advised me to keep forever. Just thought the idea of a Swiss washer and dryer would so hook many of your readers that I could not resist....

I remember my mother complaining when Maytag quit making their own gasoline engines for washing machines and went with Briggs and Stratton. My grandmother used her gasoline machine for some time even after the powerline reached their farm.

Craig Yuill here again. If you really like the old top loaders then consider Speed Queen top loaders, which are still being built in Wisconsin. I understand that they are based on an Amana model built around 1990, and know from first-hand experience that they are built like old-fashioned top loaders.

I am a bit surprised about your experiences with the LG-made washer. I bought an LG washer and dryer set two years ago to replace a set that had broken down too many times. It has been fine so far. (Fingers crossed.) LG is supposedly one of the more-reliable mainstream brands. I have also heard good things about Whirlpool, Maytag, Miele, and Electrolux washers. I would stay away from Samsung washers. When deciding on a brand, figure out which brands are well serviced by repair companies, should you require their services. There is nothing more frustrating than having a washer break down and then no one can be found to fix it.

There are forums out there where people talk about their washers, detergent, and fabric softener the way people here talk about camera bodies, lenses, and accessories. One of these is the Laundry Room Forum at https://www.houzz.com/discussions/laundry-room . The other is the Deluxe forum at www.automaticwasher.org . You might get a good set of recommendations from those sites. Good luck.

A '72 Maytag could have slugged it out with a T-72 tank at the Fulda Gap (look it up). We won't see its likes again.

I recently bought a high pressure cleaner from Kärcher. A small plastic part, estimated cost less than $ 1, broke on the first day. I wrote Kärcher directly explaining the situation and attaching a picture of the part. I asked them to put a replacement in an envelope and send it to me. Never heard from them.

On the last day for returns I sent it back to Amazon for a refund. So now it is in a landfill and Kärcher has lost a customer. For a $ 1 part.

Just reading this post has probably jinxed all the appliances in our house.

Currently waiting for a replacement for our 40 year old air conditioner -- not one that goes in the window but the big one that sits outside and cools the whole house. 40 years!

While household appliances are not as good as they were in the good old days, my experience with our ever more complex and useful automobiles is that they pretty much never break and run for ever. When electrics eventually rule the land we won't even need oil changes.

My parents moved into the house where I grew up in 1980. The tiny kitchen was already stocked with a used, probably cheap stove and fridge. They moved that kitchen (in total) into the basement of the new house they built in 1996, and both appliances still work fine today. The new appliances they outfitted the house with have been replaced at least once if not twice since 1996.

They also acquired a new dishwasher in the late-1980's. I took it with me when I left for college, and I'm still using it daily at age 39. It's starting to get a bit rough around the edges, but I hope to get at least another 40 years of service...

A handsome Jesus and three smiling and wholesome looking Mormon girls. The older I get, the more I like straight-forward documentary images.

My tale of woe involves a 9 year old Kitchen Aid refrigerator. We had a power spike from our crappy electric utility (are you listening you b***s**ds at NYSEG???) and the main board blew. Simple but expensive fix -- if the board had still been available.

Kitchen Aid was no help -- when I complained they kept sending me "thanks for your input which will help us design future products" but no joy about covering the cost of the spoiled food, my need to buy a college dorm size fridge for my insulin, and a new equivalent fridge for $1500.

I've had a Kenmore "made by Whirlpool" front-loader washer self-destruct. Pot metal drum spider crumbled. Lifetime warranty on the stainless steel drum, and the spider is part of the drum part, but failure of it is not covered by the lifetime warranty. Rot in hell, Sears!

Now I have a Bosch, hoping that Germans do not hate their customers as much as the American manufacturers.

But I'd gladly have a classic Maytag washer if I could get one. Doesn't meet any Energy Star specifications, but will work reliably. I think Energy Star is what made the Maytag washer "obsolete". But the energy saved by the Energy Star washers is wasted many times over by replacing them when they quickly die irreparably.

Kenmore no-more.

Contra luddism, for a change of pace. Sometimes, newer is better. Take cars. Modern cars are so much better in every respect (power, handling, reliability, emissions, rust...) Which is why, everything considered, I count myself a progressive.

Well....believe it or not, I used to be in the laundromat business in my youth and owned a dozen pairs of machines that were placed in the basements of apartment buildings that my family owned. This started when I was 13 years old and lasted into my college years. I was partners with my first cousin. We had Speed Queens. We rapidly figured out that we would lose all of our profits if we had to pay professional repairmen, so I sat down and memorized the Speed Queen repair manuals and had at it. I used to be able to take apart a laundry machine, fix it, and reassemble it good as new. This ability blew my wife's mind on more than one occasion.

The washing machines of yore that lasted for decades were simple designs. Basically, motors to turn the agitator and spin the drum, hoses and a pump to move the water around, solenoids to actuate these functions, and a mechanical timer to direct it all. Very well worked out time tested design, that rarely broke and was straightforward to fix. The most common problem afflicting our washers back then was someone's panties would get sucked down into the pump and wrap it up so it could no longer turn, so the washer had the equivalent of a heart attack. I would open the machine up, open the pump up, untangle and extract said lingerie, and the thing would work fine. I suppose it is not a mystery that I went on to become a cardiologist who fixed pumps and unblocked hoses...er...arteries. =) The "problem" with those machines (in a modern sense) was that they used a lot of water which was cheap and viewed as available in an endless supply.

Today's machines are essentially computers that wash clothes and to save money in manufacture, they are built with panels and boards that cannot be replaced in part, they must be replaced in total. Also, their innards are on the sensitive side and prone to failure. Front loading machines seem much worse than top loading machines, and much more prone to developing issues like mold. But they do use much less water. These sorts of issues are not confined to laundry machines. Try getting someone to fix your current digital camera. I recently sent a camera to Fuji repair in NJ because it wasn't consistently nailing focus in conditions when I thought it should have. They wanted over $400 to do anything to the camera--probably would have replaced a panel and a board. I decided it is not worth it and plan to sell the camera as is. I also used to work on all of our cars myself, but, now I would need $10K of computer equipment to do what I used to do with a timing light, dwell tach, and my ears.

If Speed Queen really does still manufacture those commercial machines (unlike what your forum guys say) I would try to buy one even if used. You live surrounded by water, not in a dessert, so water economy is not likely to be a huge issue for you.

Re. the picture above: is that a portrait of Viggo Mortensen?
Now the domestic appliances, although it's a rather quirky topic for a photography blog: I happen to have an American-branded washing machine. It's a Whirlpool. It has been serving me well for almost twenty years. Never had any major repairs. More reliable than any digital camera.

Well at least the hardware on your washer is actually broken. I find the situation with some other electronic devices even more evil, specifically my wife's iPad. Here we have a piece of astonishing science fiction hardware that is in perfect physical condition, full of precious and rare metals, which is slowly being crippled by software updates. It is now painfully slow to use. Eventually we'll have to junk it, even though it is physically perfect. From an environmental point of view it's criminal.

We have been using Miele washing machines for more than 35 years. Generally change them at 10 years plus and manage to sell the old one at up to 35% of the cost of the replacement. In that time we've had an engineer out once.

One of the few Boston appliance stores that has its own service dept has a blog that is well worth reading:
Periodically, they write a blog that gives the stats on the service rates of what they sell and service. Other blogs periodically give behind-the-scenes information on products, manufacturers, how things are priced, the real reasons why there are certain kinds of sales, when you should and should not buy a service contract, etc., etc. The owner (2nd or 3rd generation) appears to be fair, ethical, and honest, and expects his employees to be the same.

I have no connection other than being a satisfied customer.

Yay! White goods.
Tips for buying white goods:
It doesn´t matter the pricepoint, they are nowadays all made to budget.

Avoid the Germans, they are really not worth it. So much so, that BSH [Bosch Siemens Group] most intelligent purchase is neither Bosch, nor Siemens, nor Gaggenau. Look for the "local hero brands": the products are EXACTLY the same.

In Europe you can find a perfectly serviceable washer for 300 euros, which is around 425 USD. Going further on than that will only carry on problems, with switchboards and programme excewss.

There used to be a difference there that no longer exists, frankly.

Plus, you have to look at the purchasing effort [what % of your wage or how long does it take to pay that good] of white goods. The only thing that has not gone down is housing. All the rest of the goods have lost purchasing grativas power, cars included.

I had the same issue with my Kenmore front-loader as John Shriver, above. Turns out that Whirlpool had subcontracted the work out to White Appliance, a 'junk' appliance maker that re-brands to all comers, including laundromats. The pot metal spider broke after about 5 years, and the replacement 'kit' would have cost almost as much as we paid for the machine, and it would have been made of the same poor metal. There were forums of mad users, all clamoring for class-action lawsuits, but because of all the re-branding, White could hide behind the actual retailers, and because there were so many retailers, it was hard to target any one of them for the majority of the consumer woes. I don't think it ever came to anything, except a lot of mad customers, and a lot of wrecked product brand names.

I determined that I wanted an all-stainless tub AND spider and direct drive (no belt), and found a pair of LG front loader and gas dryer at Home Depot that fit the bill. Knock on wood, these have done yeoman service for many years now, with zero repairs.

An off topic part of your site called, drumroll... offTOPic or some variation thereof. You're welcome. Send money '-)

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