I've got a 70's era washer and dryer that I got used in the late 80's.
The drum sliders on the dryer have worn and the drum is at a low
angle, the transmission on the washer finally gave up the ghost.
I can get a replacement transmission for the washer and renovate the
drum sliders on the dryer, but it occurs to me that besides the
hardware, there's also 30-plus year old electrical components. I
wonder if at a certain point appliances become dangerous to keep
The problem I have with new appliances is that they all seem to
utilize computer chip/circuit board technology. One of the great
things about the old washer/dryer is they utilize relatively simple
mechanical controls which appear to have contributed to their
Does anyone still make rock-solid barebones washers and dryers with
We had a commercial set that lasted about 35 years, new consumer stuff
today is junk. Just check out the weight of your unit and compare it
to new stuff today, today they are made to last 3-10 yrs. For quality
like you have look at commercial units, they are maybe double the
price but 5x the quality and you should find simple heavy duty
controls. If you can cheaply fix what you have, do it.
Dangerous? I don't think so. I've never heard of a washer or dryer failing
in a potentially lethal manner.
When I paid my bill last year at a small hotel, the manager computed the
charges on a comptometer (an exotic mechanical adding machine, with gears
and stuff). He said the machine had been working reliably at the hotel for
over 50 years. So, I guess there's something to be said for ancient
Me? I'd fix them.
Dunno about that. An old beater washer that barely worked came with this
house. After about a week, it flooded the floor, and the buzzer went
off. I run down there, in bare feet, and rebalance the load, and fuss
with the knob to restart the cycle. I see a flash of fire from the back
of the machine reflected off the wall, and the magic smoke that makes
electrical devices work comes wafting out of the back. Did I mention wet
floor and bare feet, and I'm standing in a wet spot? Freaky enough
having a washing machine catch on fire, but pondering possible
electrocution at the time put it right on my life list of 'aw shit'
I had a new machine in there within 48 hours- Sams Club entry-level
special, and it even almost matched the dryer that came with the house.
Took me a month to get the old one out of there- even after removing the
motor and concrete block, it was too damn heavy for me to get up the
stairs on a dolly, by myself. Some guy who wanted the old steel tub for
a burn barrel finally took pity on me and stopped by. New one was no
problem- plastic tub. Easily wheeled it in and installed it by myself.
I don't know of any safety concerns. The only one that comes
to mind is a bit far fetched. The windings in the electric
motors may be wearing through. But, that's not a likely
problem. Since they work well for you, I'd keep using them.
My personal washing machine was here when I moved in, 1994.
Since then I've had to oil the motor twice, and clean the
dried oil out of the timer, once. I line dry everythign, so
no dryer to worry about.
I bought a new GE electric dryer in 1970 and it's still in use today.
Only repairs in all that time were a belt and a drum bushing. I'll
keep it until it dies. By contrast, I've been replacing my washer
about every 5 years. They just don't make 'em like they used to.
I bought my washer, *used*, almost 20 years ago. In that time, I have
replaced the pump twice.
My drier is also a used purchase from 20 years ago, and I replaced the
heaterbox five years ago.
I have no plans for replacing either unit.
probably saftey isnt as big a issue as parts availability and cost
I finally retired my over 40 year old GE washing machine because the
motor internally shorted to ground and new motors didnt fit and
rewinding motor cost as much as a new machine.
it was bought to wash my diapers when i was born, still feel bad it
the replacement machine now 12 years old has issues, and no doubt
woiuld of gone to trash except i have 2 washers and 2 dryers, its my
back up macxhine
What I've seen in dryers. as a danger is lint build up. a fire hazard.
I vacuum and blow it all out, maybe every yr, and avoid obstructions in
good luck, and you can post in misc.consumers.frugal-living
a fine NG.
It\'s amazing what you can do. If...
you put your mind to it.
I wouldn't worry about safety, except for parts related to the control
of gas in a gas dryer. It's possible the wire insulation has become
brittle and can easily crack, but that shouldn't be much of a hazard
since the appliances are grounded and made with metal housings.
However I'd probably replace an appliance if its wire insulation was
bad in many miscellaneous areas, as opposed to just one spot, unless I
was in the mood to completely rewire it.
Electronic controls aren't that bad and can be repaired, unless a
custom-programmed chip fails. I don't know if such chips are
available, but they were for TVs. Common electronic problems are worn
pushbuttons, cracks in solder and circuit board traces, bad
capacitors, and shorted power components.
Roper, a Whirlpool brand, offers nothing else, but mechanical controls
are still widely utilized in dryers and top-loading washers.
On Mon, 25 May 2009 20:46:04 -0700 (PDT), brassplyer
I would not consider an old appliance that is properly maintained as
"dangerous." The washers with 50 buttons on them don't clean clothes
any better than one with two buttons. Consumer Reports says the
fewer the buttons, the better the value.
I second the Roper brand suggestion. When my Whirlpool died, I looked
at the Ropers at Lowes. They had one that was one of the cheapest
there, and internally, it looked virtually identical to my old
Whirlpool. In fact, it was sitting back-to-back with a Whirlpool that
had identical features, and was like $100 more. Here it is:
For $328, you can hardly go wrong. It has the only features I cared
about - four water levels and a separate Delicate cycle. Most of the
other stuff is just fluff, anyway.
Good that it's Control Type: Manual. At least if the wash control goes bad
you don't need a new board that costs 80% of the washer. The manual dial
will only cost 1/3 of the machine.
Whole year on both parts & labor for a super-econo is decent.
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