Just bought a house, 32 y/o. Need a washer/dryer, perhaps a gas range.
I've been shopping online, checked out a few in stores. I have read
of a lot of problems that seem to be with electronic circuit boards. I
have mentioned that to two dealers, who both said the issue lies with
surges. I once owned a nice Kenmore fridge that died a month beyond the
guarantee date...turned out the GE motor was from a bad batch, which I
could have had replaced if I had shipped the bad motor back to GE! I
dislike the automatic crap on washers, which are obviously designed by
people who have never used a dang washer.
My concern is whether there are known brands or makers of circuit boards
to look out for? I don't think my area has a lot of problems with
surges, having lived previously in Florida for comparison...elec. in
Florida blinks off very often, usually not for long. I never see signs
of changing voltage here in Indiana.
I just stumbled on a Roper washer with all the basic stuff I want for
$299, which is pretty scary....it has a lot of reviews, mainly tending
to be 5 stars! We have 200 amp service, if that makes a difference. I
know nothing about whole house surge protectors, and have only used plug
strips on my computers.
Last time I had to buy a dryer I went to Costco. They had only one
model. It is large capacity, very basic mechanical controls, in white.
That's what I wanted. Given Costco's outrageously liberal return policy,
and their massive buying power, I figured they had done the shopping for
me. (By that I mean selected a well-built machine and negotiated a good
price.) I guess I've had it about 4 years and it's been fine.
I'm not saying there aren't circuit boards hiding behind the dials;
maybe there are. But it isn't that goofy computerized touch-screen
As far as surge protection, that topic is as hot as politics around
here. I personally think it's way overrated, no pun intended. But if I
wanted my ear bent, I'd trust bud's opinions on the topic.
invest in a whole house surge protector. The cost will be far cheaper
than the repair/replacement cost for things that are likely to get fried
without one. It probably won't protect against a direct lightning
strike on a nearby power line, but it should protect against the surges
that commonly happen when feeder circuits cycle on and off.
A decent whole house surge protector should indeed protect
from a lightning strike to a nearby power line. This has been
discussed here many times. The amount of the strike energy that makes
it to the house is a small fraction of the
total energy. Most of that energy has already found an
available path to ground before it gets to the panel and
As for appliance circuit board reliability, I think it's just a
crap shoot. The board manufacturer A uses today could
be great, the same manufacturer could use a different
board next year that's not so good. If you can live with
a more basic appliance, then as suggested, in the case
of say a washer, you could find one that uses a mechanical
timer. But for anything with more features, today they all
pretty much have electronics in them.
With the recent hurricane, I turned off all the non-essential
breakers to high risk appliances: furnace, ovens, dishwasher, AC, etc.
For the overall problem, I'd go with a whole house surge
protector and then choose whatever appliances I like.
So far here in NJ of the people I know, only one report of
the loss of an electronic coffee maker and that was when
it was hooked up to a small generator.
Couple of things you can do:
1. Go for the extended warranty.
2. A whole-house surge protector (WHSP) would probably be cheaper - they
range $35-$75 and are dirt-simple to install. Here's the typical method:
a. A WHSP is contained in a smallish metal box (~6x6x3 inches).
b. You find a knock-out on your distribution panel.
c. Mount the WHSP over the hole (nuts provided) and route the three
(sometimes 4) wires, one to each power distribution leg and one (or 2) to
d. Have a beer.
The typical DIY surge protector gets connected to
a new double pole breaker that you install with it. What
you have proposed sounds like wiring it in somehow
ahead of the main disconnect. There are surge protectors
listed for that application, but they are not as easy to
install, would require pulling the meter, etc.
Granted. The OP, however, expressed terror at the thought of his purchase
being rendered useless at the thought of a power surge.
My suggestion of an extended warranty was a pallative for his soul, not
protection from lightning strikes.
I recommend a WHSP. It's probably been about 5 years now but I'd just
purchsed a house and had started going through the electrical stuff and
making it all right. Since I had to buy some new breakers anyway I
added a WHSP and then each TV, computer, etc. got its own power
strip/surge protector. We had a storm incident where a high voltage
wire fell on a line voltage wire in the neighborhood. Most people lost
tons of equipment - a friend a couple blocks over had to buy several TVs
- but our total damage was a power supply board in the dishwasher, a
power supply board in the electrostatic air cleaner for the furnace, and
one very ancient surge strip ceased to function (but the equipment
connected to it worked fine once a new strip was procured.)
The status LEDs on the WHSP were rather dim after that incident, so it
was replaced. I also put a surge protector in line with the air cleaner
as a preventative measure for future incidents.
Obviously correlation proves nothing, but I do think that my measures to
provide proper surge protection saved us a lot of trouble compared to
our neighbors. If you live in an area with a lot of storms (or even one
or two bad ones a year) I would recommend it.
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
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