Score one for top loading washers

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How would you like to pay top dollar for a new washing machine - only to have it stink up your laundry room?
It's happening to lots of people who have a front-loading washer. KOMO News Problem Solver Herb Weisbaum spent the last few weeks trying to find out what's causing this smelly problem.
Consumers like front-loaders because they save water and energy - and get your clothes really clean. But many front-loading washers have this annoying odor problem.
"Putrid, nasty, permeates the whole laundry room and basement," says Dennis Hanson, who owns a front-loader.
Rae Lembersky, who also owns a front-loader, has the same problem.
So does Teresa Muench - and KOMO News was there when she got her first look at the smelly bacteria growing inside her washer.
"Black gooey, smelly, slimy stuff," she says.
"It's definitely all around the tub, a little bit here and there," says a repairman who came to look at the problem.
For Rae Lembersky the smell was more than annoying. Because of a medical condition, she needs to be very careful about contaminants in her house.
"And it just gives me the willies," she says. "It's like 'eeech,' cause I don't like the thought of mold."
"Imagine that you're in one of those movies where there's a swamp monster, and it's that kind of swampy kind of musty sort of yucky smell," she added.
Desperate for relief, Rae hired Scott Wiseman to remove and replace the disgusting rubber gasket. It cost $300.
And this is a machine that was cleaned with and run with bleach and hot water.
"It's a problem for all front-loaders," Wiseman said.
To find out what's causing the problem, KOMO News turned to Consumer Reports. They've had so many complaints about smelly front-loaders the editors now warn readers about it. ...
END EXCERPT
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re: "It's a problem for all front-loaders"
So here's the issue - when I see something in an article that I know is not true, especially one written in "panic prose", I have to discount the entire article.
I have a front loader, I don't have mold, so "It's a problem for all front-loaders" is simply not true. My laundry doesn't stink either.
re: "Desperate for relief, Rae hired Scott Wiseman to remove and replace the disgusting rubber gasket. It cost $300."
I wonder how often he plans on doing that...
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I have one too. 3 friends of mine have them too. I've been using them at laundromats for 40 years. Never once seen mold on any of them.
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"Panic Prose" -- a keeper!!
Who originated that phrase?
"Panic Narrative"?? All these cop/chase/rescue videos, where every effing moment verges on catastrophe -- effing Stacy Keach's new vocation, apparently, after jail/coke rehab.
Really, so tedious after a while.
--
EA


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wrote:

re: ""Panic Prose" -- a keeper!! Who originated that phrase?"
As far as I know, it was me.
At least I can say that I've never heard it before so if somebody has used it before me, I didn't willfully steal it.
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On Mon, 02 Nov 2009 13:29:11 -0800, DerbyDad03 wrote:

I start to suspect that the guy who wrote it was paid a handsome amount for writing exactly what he did, to be honest.

The gaskets seem to run to about $100, so maybe he'll learn to do it himself and then he can do it three times as often.
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On Mon, 02 Nov 2009 13:14:30 -0800, mike wrote:

Well, if it's such an issue it makes me ask the question - what the heck are they doing with the USA ones that they aren't doing in models for other countries where front-loaders have been the norm for decades? Front-loaders do seem to be relatively "new tech" to North America (until I moved over here I hadn't seen a top-loader* in over 20 years), but it's not like they're new to the planet and I've never known front-loading machines have anything like the problems mentioned.
* I'm not knocking them, though. I like the fact they're easily repairable, the spares availability is high - and from a usage point of view that you can add stuff after the machine's already running.
So - design fault in US designs? Different usage pattern to other countries (often cold-water washes rather than hot, maybe)? Different location (lots more machines in basements in the US I bet; maybe they take longer to dry out)? Different formulation for the detergent used in the US compared to other countries?

No, it's most definitely not.
curious...
cheers
Jules
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wrote:

Maybe he was using a mild hyperbole. For example, maybe he meant to indicate that it's a common problem for all models in general, not that it's currently affecting 100% of units.
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mike wrote:

Maybe next time you should post your *own* shit instead of parroting something you read somewhere else.
Kids these days!
Jon
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On Mon, 02 Nov 2009 13:46:26 -0800, mike wrote:

Hmm, maybe. The article just sounds odd, because surely if the picture was as bad as claimed then there'd be recalls everywhere, scrapping of entire product lines as not being fit for purpose etc. and to my knowledge that's not happening. I don't have experience of *US* front-loaders, but 30-odd years of owning (and knowing people with) front-loaders overseas, and I've never seen anything like what's claimed, which makes it even more puzzling.
Like any rubber seals that get wet I've seen machines develop a few spots here and there, but nothing remotely like "permeates the whole laundry room and basement" or "It's definitely all around the tub".
Maybe the article really means "It's a problem for all front-loaders owned by the people who wrote in when asked 'do you have a bacteria problem with your front-loading machine'", which is perhaps more believable - but even then the comments all seem rather sensationalist to me... :-)
It'd be interesting to get a few more actual facts behind the story, anyway.
cheers
Jules
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On Mon, 02 Nov 2009 16:30:20 -0600, Jules wrote:

On the back of that, the whole article seems to be here:
http://www.komonews.com/news/consumer/68408867.html
... there's a little bit more beyond what the OP quoted.
Most of that Consumer Reports place mentioned is a pay site, but I did spot some useful info on the forums (which are freely accessible):
http://forums.consumerreports.org/n/pfx/forum.aspx?tsn=1&nav=messages&webtag=cr-washers&tid 
(watch for URL wrapping across lines)
I've never heard of the leaving the door open thing before, but there does look to be lots of other relevant advice there - and it all starts to "smell" like a user problem :-) (and down to unfamiliarity with the tech rather than inherent problems with the machines themselves).
I've no vested interest in top-loaders - IME they do cost less to run, run quieter and are kinder to clothes than top-loaders, but they also can't be opened mid-cycle, spares cost more, and failures of door seals can get messy :-) (power cuts are a PITA too because clothes have to just sit there until the power comes back on). Apples and oranges...
Front-loaders also seem to be *extremely* over-priced in the US (30% or more) from what I've seen, so I suspect folk are being screwed by the manufacturers right now and will be for a few years to come until they lower prices in line with overseas markets.
cheers
Jules
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On Mon, 02 Nov 2009 17:06:23 -0600, Jules

My vote is for the Fisher & Paykel top loader. It has all the advantages of the front loader without the price. It uses half the normal amount of soap, and doesn't require "special" soap like many front loaders. It uses a lot less water than a normal top loader, and has the super fast spin cycle like a front loader so the clothes are almost dry when you take them out. That saves even more money, because the dryer doesn't have to run nearly as long to dry them. All of the functions except draining are accomplished by one computer controlled direct drive motor that needs no gears, belts or transmissions.
My Fisher & Paykel finally needed repair after about 10 years of daily use. The separate pump for the drain function developed a slight leak that soaked and corroded its motor. Got a new motor at the appliance store for $79. You don't even need any tools to replace it. Tip the washer on it's front, twist and pull the old pump out. Just push in and twist to install the new pump. 10 minutes, if that, and I was back in business.
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On Mon, 02 Nov 2009 18:19:36 -0500, salty wrote:

Thanks for that - I'll definitely keep that in mind (I remember Fisher & Paykel being big in NZ and highly rated, too).
I'm not really sold on any particular technology (we're on a private well so it doesn't really matter so much how much the machine uses and spits out again) but I think it'll be a few years before our existing top-loader becomes uneconomical to maintain....

I think the F-L prices will come down once people realise that they're being screwed.

It's not a combined washer/drier* is it? I must say I don't like those much - I've known a few folk who've had them and they seem much more prone to failure than individual units.
* although I don't remember ever seeing a top-loading drier, so presumably not.
cheers
Jules
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On Tue, 03 Nov 2009 07:53:47 -0600, Jules

FL machines are not new. My aunt had one in the 1950's. They will always have premium prices. I just feel that the F&P at half the price of a typical FL is as good or better.

No, it is not a combo unit. At the end of the cycles, the last one is a spin cycle at 1100 RPM that leaves the clothes barely damp.

Fisher & Paykel has a top loading Dryer, too! Makes transferring clothes from the washer a lot easier.

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On Tue, 03 Nov 2009 09:17:15 -0500, salty wrote:

Yeah, top-loaders will always be cheaper - but I've seen a lot of front-loaders for sale at the $800-$1000 mark even though they run to the equivalent of $400-$600 in other countries. I don't know if US manufacturers are trying to do the right thing and build US ones locally and hence there are high start-up costs, or if they're building 'em all in China nad puttting a high mark-up on the tag because people are prepared to pay it.
Either way I think they'll drop a few hundred bucks in the next few years as they become more accepted here.

I can imagine.
That's one braindead thing I've found about most front-loaders; they don't let you choose* which side you want the door hinges on - and the drier and washer hinges are usually on the same side for a given set by the same manufacturer, so there's always a door getting in the way when you just want to transfer clothes across.
* either at ordering time, or just by drilling the necessary mount points for either so that a repairman or DIYer could order any necessary release cables etc. and do the job "in the field".
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http://forums.consumerreports.org/n/pfx/forum.aspx?tsn=1&nav=messages&webtag=cr-washers&tid 
Consumers Reports reviewed front loaders a while back. iirc, Frigidaire was top rated, at about half the price of kenmore, LG, etc.
Front loaders, compared to traditional top loaders, are extraordinary money/resource savers, from every point of view -- seals notwithstanding. I overpaid for a Miele, and thought it was defective, it uses so little water -- I'd be surprised if it used 5 gal. A top-loader can use 80 gal, and flood out septic systems. I didn't find out about CR's Frigidaire review until after I bought the Miele.... of course.
A major part of the FL economy, as someone alluded to, is the spin cycle, which leaves the clothes near-dry, drastically reducing the drying time -- 1/2 to 1/4 -- which is the major consumption of raw energy in the laundering process.
--
EA

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On Tue, 3 Nov 2009 11:10:42 -0500, "Existential Angst"

Sorry to keep repeating this, but the Fisher & Paykel top loader, just like a FL, uses far less water than other top loaders, has far fewer moving parts, uses half as much soap, doesn't require special soap like a FL, Has the high speed spin cycle just like a FL and costs HALF as much as a typical FL. I paid just over $600 for mine.
The Fisher & Paykel is also very "smart" about how much water to use and even how to use exactly as little hot water as possible without hindering the washing quality.
Typical top loaders use between 30 and 40 gallons of water per wash, not 80, and your Miele, uses about 15, not 5.
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wrote:

Maybe he was using a mild hyperbole. For example, maybe he meant to indicate that it's a common problem for all models in general, not that it's currently affecting 100% of units.
******************************************
Maybe he should back up his statement with facts. Some? All? A few? Brands? Conditions? Reasons?
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Yeah, Wiseman isn't so wise on that count. I *hate* our front loader-- but I can't say it literally stinks.
I also don't think it gets clothes any cleaner than our 25 yr old Whirlpool top loader did. [and more importantly, that's one of the few things my wife and I agree on]
It *might* save water. But it also won't take nearly a large a load as our old machine- so we do more loads.
Jim
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wrote:

And, you can't dye fabric in a front loader since you must agitate the dye in hot water in the machine before adding the fabric. You can't open a front loader when there's water in it. This might not be a problem for most people, but I dye fabric at least once a week for my business.
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