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Washers and dryers
Old 10-25-2006, 01:11 PM   #1
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Washers and dryers

Hi all,

I'll be in the market soon for a washer and dryer. What do y'all think about the fancier front-load less-soap less-water kinds versus the old-fashioned kind? Is it worth the extra money? If I bought the fancier kind I'd probably buy new on sale and keep them for 10+ years.

2Cor521
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Re: Washers and dryers
Old 10-25-2006, 01:21 PM   #2
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Re: Washers and dryers

Right now we are living with my in-laws. They have Kenmore HE 4 series for both the washer and dryer. My wife likes them as does my mother-in-law. We went shopping for ones to go in our new house. We looked at one of the old model Maytags because they were about 500-600 less than the Kenmore.

From what the sales guy said the old style front-load Maytag was made when the company was having financial problems. Our last washer and dryer were the traditional Maytags, and only lasted about 3-4 years then we started having problems with them. The end result was the company started to take short cuts in their designs. I guess now the Maytag, Kenmore, and Whirlpool are all made by Whirlpool. So what you get with those three should be about the same. We went with the Kenmore.
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Re: Washers and dryers
Old 10-25-2006, 01:28 PM   #3
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Re: Washers and dryers

There was a thread recently on this topic

http://early-retirement.org/forums/i...p?topic=6433.0

Personally I am not convinced that the new front load washers are worth the extra money.
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Re: Washers and dryers
Old 10-25-2006, 01:28 PM   #4
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Re: Washers and dryers

How much more are the front load compared to the regular, in other words 50%,100% more? Our present washer and dryer are approximately 20 years old and still in good shape. I think now adays in Canada you can probably get a good washer and dryer at the Sears clearance for about $800.00 Does that sound about right? Now how much are the front load and can you get a good return with the energy and soap factor savings?
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Re: Washers and dryers
Old 10-25-2006, 01:31 PM   #5
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Re: Washers and dryers

Quote:
Originally Posted by SecondCor521
Hi all,

I'll be in the market soon for a washer and dryer. What do y'all think about the fancier front-load less-soap less-water kinds versus the old-fashioned kind? Is it worth the extra money? If I bought the fancier kind I'd probably buy new on sale and keep them for 10+ years.

2Cor521
I did a cost analysis on this one time and it would have taken me 50 years to get my money back in water savings where I was living at the time. Of course, the machine probably would not have lasted 50 years (even though it was made by Maytag). I wound up buying top-of-the-line Kitchenaid appliances for half the money instead, which turned out to be a good decision since I moved to a different house that already had a washer and dryer. I guess it has a lot to do with what your water rates are where you live and if you want to save some water to "help the environment."
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Re: Washers and dryers
Old 10-25-2006, 01:31 PM   #6
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Re: Washers and dryers

I'd ballpark the new front load versions at over double the price for a comparable top-loader.

Evidently a washer is more than just something to clean your clothes to some people. I guess that's why they have luxury cars. It's not just about getting from point "A" to point "B".

If you want the version with the Mission Control launch pad buttons then you pay more.
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Re: Washers and dryers
Old 10-25-2006, 01:36 PM   #7
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Re: Washers and dryers

Samclem swears by his Staber. Oops, I see MasterBlaster already got that one.

Kenmore's HE-3 and HE-4 have been a bit uneven, as Samclem has also mentioned. They seem to be working out the quality-control problems and maybe they're getting better, but dig through Epinions for their comments on the electronics.

The Samurai Appliance Repair Guy doesn't hold back. Staber seems to get good comments but Kenmore can really piss off a lot of people.

I'll warn you against Neptune. There are a lot of them floating around and one or two of them might even still be working, but the model as a whole has horrible problems with mold & mildew. The door seals on front-loading washers tend to hold in moisture and the machines don't dry properly between loads... which gets recycled into the laundry during subsequent loads. Neptune is notoriously bad for this problem and their electronics don't seem very reliable.

Whenever we do the math on front-loading vs top-loading it's not that compelling. If we found a cheap deal on a late-model front-loader we might take a chance, but so far it hasn't been worth the hassle.

MyDream, dude, 20 years on a washer/dryer? You're my hero! But how the heck would you ever get repair parts?!?

Edit: Here's one more recommendation.
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Re: Washers and dryers
Old 10-25-2006, 01:38 PM   #8
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Re: Washers and dryers

My wife's boss had a front load washer. She came home from a business trip and had to leave on another trip later the same day. She put all travelling clothes into the front-load washer, which of course broke down right in the middle of the cycle.

She could not open the washer, because it was locked shut to prevent the water from spilling all over the floor.

She had to leave her clothes soaking in there for a week until she got back from her trip and could get the repair guy to come over.
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Re: Washers and dryers
Old 10-25-2006, 02:22 PM   #9
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Re: Washers and dryers

the "old" washer and dryer more than adequately wash and dry. after many years of overuse and abuse, they're still washing and drying. when they give up the ghost, they'll be replaced by similar models ... i'll let the upwardly mobile buy the new-fangled monstrosities.
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Re: Washers and dryers
Old 10-25-2006, 02:37 PM   #10
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Re: Washers and dryers

We have 18 years on a Kenmore(Whirlpool) top-load washer and gas dryer set. In the past 18 years, I have:

Dryer
Replaced the fabric glued-on seal that seals the rear lip of the drum to the rear interior panel. The old one finally wore away enough to start dumping a lot of lint under the machine. Replaced the belt and idler pulley at the same time.
Replaced the motor this spring. It was starting to hum real bad while running, and was getting to the point that it wouldn't always start.

Washer
Replaced Fabric Softener Dispensor. It got gummed up in some product experiment and was leaving gummy stuff on clothes. Was unable to reliably clean it out. Fault was the product, not the Dispensor.
Replaced the electric fill valve this spring. Water flow rate had decreased into the machine, and was doing crazy oscillations that was transmitted throughout the house plumbing. The input screens were clean, it was the valve itself.
Changed out the two small clear plastic bearing sleeves where the top hinges. Figured out how to do this on a Whirlpool machine that I refurbished for college student, so replaced ours then.

Zero problems on part availability. I can look them up on sears parts online and check if any local repair/parts depots have them. If not, can have them shipped to me in a few days. Can see exploded parts views too. Sears sells parts for more than just what they sell/sold.
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Re: Washers and dryers
Old 10-25-2006, 02:41 PM   #11
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Re: Washers and dryers

I recently replaced the dryer because after taking it apart three times we still couldn't fix the annoying squeek. I bought the second cheapest thing out there - and then we had to disconnect the annoying buzzer. It was about $350.

It dries my clothes. I couldn't see that I was really getting any value by spending many hundreds of $ more. Didn't need the washer yet, so now my pair doesn't match. But again, I like my money more than I like any perceived value there.

But I would listen to the person actually doing the laundry most of the time about what he/she wants, since their happiness is probably more important than the money savings.

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Re: Washers and dryers
Old 10-25-2006, 02:44 PM   #12
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Re: Washers and dryers

Thanks all for your replies. Very interesting data points.

I try to be practical. The thing is, I've noticed that my clothes are getting beat up more lately than they were before. However, two things happened at the same time due to my separation. First, I started washing my own clothes -- before, my wife did most of the laundry. Second, I switched to using the older style washer and dryer in my apartment vs. the Maytag Neptune my wife and I owned.

I think there are savings in the clothes lasting longer, less soap and water. I also like that the Maytag Neptune set seemed to be more evenly matched in terms of washing and drying times and have larger capacities. The older models it seems the dry time takes so much longer than the wash time.

Thanks again to all who replied....

2Cor521
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Re: Washers and dryers
Old 10-25-2006, 02:49 PM   #13
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Re: Washers and dryers

Wow, I guess I'm the only one with a front-loader that's happy with it. I have a Frigidaire and it's been problem free for almost 7 years. I received a utility rebate for ~$300 so the cost was only a little above a comparable top-loader.
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Re: Washers and dryers
Old 10-25-2006, 03:06 PM   #14
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Re: Washers and dryers

Washer and dryers seem to last around 10 years each before they need a repair.

I had a really bad experience repairing a Westinghouse dryer. First I tried to fix it, then the reapirman tried to fix it. He must have come back a half dozen times or more. And after every visit it would blow the thermal fuse. After a couple of months with and without a dryer I decided that it wasn't worth it to save a few bucks. The repairman didn't charge me to come back but ohhh what a hastle it is not being able to wash (and dry) your clothes.

So since a dryer or washer can be had for maybe $350 or so, if I have a problem I'll just buy a new one every 10 years or so. The object isn't to see how long it will last. The object is to decrease my hastle factor.

I think I can afford that. I spend more on dog snacks than I do on my washer and dryer. But that's another story.
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Re: Washers and dryers
Old 10-25-2006, 03:20 PM   #15
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Re: Washers and dryers

We've had decent results so far with the Kenmore He3/He4 washer dryer. The washer is about 3 yrs old and the dryer about 1yr.

I replaced our 16 yr old kenmore when it started to squeek without even calling the service guy. The laundry closet is on the second floor and I didn't want to take any chances (the washer does have a tray under it).

Anyhow, aside from the other stuff everyone has talked about, one difference I notice is that my clothes last much longer with the front loader. In particular, I really notice this with Jeans. Not a scientific test mind you. But I think there's something to it.

One caveat with the washer. We began to notice a bit of mold smell before we realized that you need to leave the washer door open for a few hours after each load to let it dry out.

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Re: Washers and dryers
Old 10-25-2006, 03:30 PM   #16
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Re: Washers and dryers

Quote:
Originally Posted by SecondCor521
Thanks all for your replies. Very interesting data points.

I try to be practical. The thing is, I've noticed that my clothes are getting beat up more lately than they were before. However, two things happened at the same time due to my separation. First, I started washing my own clothes -- before, my wife did most of the laundry. Second, I switched to using the older style washer and dryer in my apartment vs. the Maytag Neptune my wife and I owned.
No doubt about this. I have a Whirlpool front loader, and I bought it for just this reason- my clothes are less likely to be twisted into knots.

I would never go back

Ha
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Re: Washers and dryers
Old 10-25-2006, 03:43 PM   #17
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Re: Washers and dryers

I'm very happy with my 4-yr-old GE front-loader. It's noticeably more gentle on clothes than previous top-loaders. Also, I had a pedestal (with drawers) built to go under the washer and dryer--no bending to get stuff in or out.

EDIT a couple of mistakes. I had Frigidaire on the brain, but I actually own mid-level GE washer & dryer (fine after 4 years, hoping to continue so). I had front-loader on the brain, but I meant to compare to top-loaders. :
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Re: Washers and dryers
Old 10-25-2006, 04:05 PM   #18
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Re: Washers and dryers

Martha and I bought a new Tromm or Tronn front loading washer a couple months ago. No noise, zip, nadda--which is very nice if you have a machine near a living area. It was the cheap-o model, I think, at about $700+ on sale at Home Depot. It takes about 50 minutes to wash a load. I figure we'll make up the cost in reduced hot water usage and our regular water bill over time. So a net of zero additional cost over about ten years over a standard top loader is my guess. Maybe we even save some money if it lasts quite awhile longer. The reduced noise and lower moisture content at the end of the cycle (saved drying time?) are just bonuses.

I like it so much I actually built a pedestal unto which I could . . . um . . . worship it on. Wooden, from 2x4s. No sense in wasting money on one of those fancy metal thingies.

DW likes it; I like it; and I think the clothes like it. But ask Martha, she's the one who talks to them in the basement. : Not me!!!
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Re: Washers and dryers
Old 10-25-2006, 04:27 PM   #19
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Re: Washers and dryers

Apoc:

How much does it cost to have Martha do all of your laundry ?
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Re: Washers and dryers
Old 10-25-2006, 05:06 PM   #20
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Re: Washers and dryers

We just bought a Kenmore front loader washer and dryer. About double the cost, but 68% less water and less energy as well.
The environmental savings are more important to us than the price. And with the lower cost of use we expect we will make back a portion of the cost (more as energy prices go up).

I have heard that the Neptunes have had their issues. You may want to keep an eye out for those.
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