OMG I can't believe how crappy consumer laundry equipment is

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I've been out of the loop when it comes to repairing washers and dryers since for the past 30 years I've purchased only commercial machines for my own house and for one rental townhouse. These machines "never" break under normal residential use since they're designed for laundromats and everything about them is heavy duty from the motors to the tubs to the internal plumbing. They're also serviceable from the front if anything ever breaks. They have only a two knobs for choices for washes: hot/warm/cold and normal/permanent press/delicate.
Yesterday my wife asks if I'll look at the machine in her mom's garage in San Francisco which is leaking water on the floor. Removing the back of this Whirlpool was a nightmare of plastic spring clips and electrical connections. I saw that the drain hose was leaking, an amazingly awful cheap, thin, flex plastic hose. Everything inside that could be plastic, was plastic.
I ordered a drain hose and a pump hose on Amazon for $35 or so. I dread trying to replace these.
I have a sister-in-law that must love buying appliances. This washer is only about three years old and it replaced a much better, still functional, washer. When I asked why they bought this she said that it was because it was "energy efficient and water-efficient." Well for washing machines, which use very little electricity, this really means that it's designed to sense the size of the load and reduce the amount of water, which is a good theory but rarely works in practice.
Back at my rental unit, the tenants decided that they wanted fancy new front loaders which I told them that they were welcome to buy, but I wasn't going to buy them. That meant I had to sell my precious Speed Queen commercial machines since I had no place to store them. To buy those machine new today would cost me $2000. They are about 15 years old and I got $350 for the pair.
They bought LG machines. The tenant (an Apple software engineer) and me (a hardware engineer) spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to do a wash. There must be 1000 combinations of choices you can make.
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sms wrote:

We have a Whirlpool Cabrio washer/dryer set bought about eight years ago. The washer is a top loader but has a huge tub and a very small agitator. It's probably been serviced four times since we've had it. The control panel buttons don't make good connections, there have been error codes, and the latest one was a cracked inlet receptacle at the top of the tub that had been leaking for a long time and rusting the inside of the frame. We never noticed it because it sits on an elevated platform inside the garage.
These two units replaced two standard GE units we owned for over 20 years. After the heating element in the dryer died the wife insisten on getting new units. She now wishes we had kept the old ones.
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Even the commercial stuff is crap. We have 4 commercial Maytag frontloaders in our laundry room. They break down constantly and the damn things do not empty all of the water from the last wash load, so a certain amout of previous wash water sits in the bottom of the machine and ferments/stinks if the doors are not left open.

I sympathize. I had an older GE washer/dryer and parts were plentiful/cheap and both were easily repairable. Killed me when I moved and hadda sell 'em, as they really did get clothes very clean. The new stuff is junk and doesn't really clean clothes. Consumer Reports did a buncha tests on washers a cpl yrs ago and concluded newer washers don't get clothes clean fer dammit.
nb
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Per sms:

My #1 daughter swears by Speed Queen. Says it's the only "real" washing machine brand left.
But I don't think she has commercial grade and does not have lot of money... so I suspect that Speed Queen has an affordable line of non-commercial machines.
--
Pete Cresswell

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On 6/9/2014 11:45 AM, (PeteCresswell) wrote:

That is correct. The Speed Queen commercial line is owned by Alliance Laundry Systems. You can only buy these machines from distributors that sell mainly to laundromats and other commercial accounts (multi-unit housing, etc.) but they'll sell to anyone.
Avoid any of the other commercial laundry brands where they essentially stick on a coin box and call it a commercial machine.
And it's worth pointing out that commercial machines used in a commercial setting where they are doing 10-20 loads per day (and likely being abused as well) do occasionally require service, but they are very easy to service plus the design doesn't change very often so parts are easy to get. In a residential setting, where the machines are doing just a few loads per week versus 100+ loads per week, they very rarely will break.
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... snip ...

Could you expand on your "rarely works in practice" statement? Are you saying that the high efficiency washers don't actually use less water or that they can't actually sense the load size or that they don't do either?
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On 6/9/2014 2:49 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

In the past year, I've replaced two toilets with 1.6 models, replaced the old washing machine and dishwasher with more efficient models. Last water bill was about the same as previous.
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On 6/10/2014 7:21 AM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

The amount of water used by these devices is minimal when averaged over the number of times they are used so the difference between high and low efficiency is minimal. The biggest use of water is in irrigation.
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Your daughter is VERY intelligent. Speed Queen 'Home Models' are built like tanks. After searching AND searching, finally found a simple top loading washer. Speed Queen AWN311, or was it AWN412S ???
It's 'robustness' so far outshines what other manufacturers tout as 'commercial' is incredible. The size of the opening, the ease to get something in and back out, all incredible. Plus, mechanical switches that allow you to CONTROL this machine, not just get some list of arbitrary push button settings that no one in their right mind would want, nor make any sense.
What I really liked was that both washer/dryer looked like easy access work. Everything intuitive to get into. The outsides are plain, but the insides are solid. They put their money where it counts.
Oh, I had to disassemble to retrieve electrical screws I dropped down inside. Only complaint is that screws should have stopped at the access, but fell on through so I had to remove ALL panels to retrieve them [could have bought more, but as you people have noticed, I'm terminally cheap] But while I had it apart, I got to admire the inside structures and parts. and how easy in the future it will be to do any work on it. Even 'roomy' interior.
Two years now and looks like new and NO service calls.
from Number1Direct out of Missouri, $598 came with 10 year warrantee no shipping, no tax.
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I suspect that is the point of Maytag commercial frontloading washers not emptying all their wash water between loads, to reduce overall consumption of water and decrease water costs to laundromat businesses. Unfortunately, the consumer pays with stinky old wash water, and believe me, in the Winter when less ppl are using the laundry, that water can get pretty damn rank. It's really gross.
nb
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On 6/9/2014 1:01 PM, notbob wrote:

No, it's the mechanism that senses the amount of laundry in the tub that gets flaky.
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I'm not sure how that answers the question that I asked sms.
sms was talking about consumer grade high efficiency washers (not Maytag commercial washers) and how the practice of measuring the load to determine water usage only worked in theory, not in practice.
I'm curious as to how why he made that statement.
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On Mon, 09 Jun 2014 12:53:16 -0700, RobertMacy

JUNK. We bought Samsung front loaders 6 years ago > I wasn't sure how they would work out, so I took the "can't lose" 5 year warranty which gave a store credit for the value of the warranty if nothing went wrong in the first 5 years. Nothing did. Got some BarBQ accessories with the warranty refund last summer. No problems, my wife likes them - get clothes clean and require a lot less drying time either in the drier or on the line because they spin out so much better than the old toploader did. The toplader set was30 years old when I replaced them. I'd done several repairs to the drier and one to the washer previously - but when the pump on the washer gave out, I just hauled them off to the scrappies.
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On 6/9/2014 1:12 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:
<snip>

The Korean brands (LG and Samsung) seem to be better than the U.S. brands (some of which are made in Mexico).
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wrote:

Yeah, but you can only get the commercial ones in white, and my next home machine will be plaid.
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sms;3246383 Wrote:

I'm not sure what to say, SMS.
I bought three pair of Maytag top loading washers and Maytag dryers back in 1994 to replace my old 1960 vintage Speed Queens. (Amana is marketed as Speed Queen in Canada.)
THE ONLY DIFFERENCE between a Maytag residential washer and a Maytag commercial washer is that the commercial washer will have a coin drop mechanism and a coin box to receive the coins. Ditto for the Maytag commercial dryers. Other than the coin drop mechanism and coin box, the residential washers are identical to the commercial washers and same goes for the dryers.
--
nestork

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On 6/9/2014 3:42 PM, nestork wrote:

LOL, then that's a big problem with Maytag.
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wrote:

was Bosch. - believe it or not.
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sms;3246591 Wrote:

I'm not sure what you mean by that. So far these three pair of Maytag machines have lasted 20 years with 21 households all doing laundry in them.
I expect a single tenant wouldn't do quite as much laundry as a family, tho.
--
nestork

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How do you know this? (You stated you've been out of the repair business for 30 years.) Have there been reports/are there repair statistics that indicate that the load sensing mechanism gets flaky? I'm just asking because it's not something I've ever heard of as being a complaint. I'm not saying it's not true, just wondering.
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