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Feeling nervous, bought a washing machine

May 15th, 2011 at 06:08 am



For weeks now, my 15-year-old Whirlpool washing machine has been leaking. Last week I went out and paid $14 for 2 new water intake hoses. I replaced the cold water hose and kept the other for future use. I was pretty sure I'd fixed the problem.

Yesterday, I did another load and gosh darn it, there's still a puddle of water on the floor. Now, it's clear it's not coming from where I screwed on the hose, it's coming from underneath the machine.

I think I mistakenly thought one of the hoses was leaking because I had to use a wrench to loosen one up, and I think before I got it off, I loosened it maybe one-quarter turn, just enough so that when I ran the water, it leaked.

I went online and found a good article on how, after replacing the washers on the hoses, if you still have a leak you can remove the back panel off the washer and look at 3 different common leak areas. OK, but now we're getting into possibly replacing a pump or other parts.

It's certainly not worth it paying someone to come out and do the repair; I looked at the back of the panel and saw I'd have to remove all the screws plus the water outtake hose and, I don't know, I have a history of attempting things like this and then getting stuck because I basically don't know what I'm doing.

So I caved. Time for a new machine. I spent a good part of yesterday afternoon researching washing machines online. I was thinking I'd go with the latest technology, aka, high efficiency, front-loading washing machines. I was looking at machines priced in the $800 to $1,000 range. But I was quite surprised to see that customer reviews were really mediocre.

You would think that if you're shelling out that kind of money, you're going to get a rock star machine. But so many of them seem to be extremely prone to breaking down. The more bells and whistles and technology built into them, the more the chance of them breaking down, I guess. Even the high-end brands, like Whirlpool.

There also seemed to be a lot of complaints about mold issues. Water collects on the inside of the door, and if you don't wipe it down after every use, mold starts to grow and your clothes start to smell. You're supposed to keep the door open when not in use, for that reason, so it can dry out, Sears told me.

There were many extremely frustrated buyers who dealt with unresolved repair issues for weeks and months, along with manufacturers who didn't offer much help. Many people seemed really disgusted.

So I went back to researching top-loaders, and overall, I found much higher ratings and more satisfied customers.

I've always bought Whirlpools, in fact, all my kitchen appliances are also Whirlpool, solely because when I did the research, they always ranked high.

But this time, I settled on a GE top loader for $500. I like it because it's Energy Star-rated, and I'm very committed to buying Energy Star products whenever possible. This particular model also got lots of praise for being quiet. It is a basic, no-frills model, but even then, it has a delicate cycle that my current machine doesn't have!

My strategy in reading the customer reviews was to look for the highest number of stars (out of a maximum of 5) and the highest number of reviews for any given machine. The GE I picked out had 11 reviews, and all 11 of these customers gave the machine 5 stars. By comparison, NONE of the high efficiency washing machines earned a 5-star average rating; at best, they had 3 stars. I checked ratings at my favorite site, www.consumersearch.com, epinions.com and individual store websites like Sears and Lowes.

I bought it from Sears (Lowes had the same price) and they will deliver it on Monday! The setup is included in the price and for an extra $10, they take away the old machine. (As I recall, the small appliance store nearby where I've bought from before charges $50 for taking the old one away.) And by using my Sears credit card, which I just recently got, I get 5%, or $25, off. I also earned some rewards on the purchase through Sears' rewards program.

I never saw the machine in person, but for me, that's not really necessary. I want a dependable, basic machine that will do the job like a workhorse for years to come.

8 Responses to “Feeling nervous, bought a washing machine”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    Sounds like a great move, considering the age of the machine. I'm sure it will work great!

  2. MonkeyMama Says:

    We bought a front loader last time (we are partial to Kenmores). We didn't really do much research - just went with the best price we could on a Kenmore. I have always been disappointed in it though. We replaced a 30+ year-old washer and I liked that one better!! Though we bought "extra large" or whatever, it is much smaller than we are used to, and I don't see what's so great about crouching down to get the laundry in and out. So yeah - if I could do it over I'd just get another top loader. I don't have any other issues - it's very efficient and reliable. I wonder what you have to do to get a TRULY large washer these days. Since it does seem it was a pretty large model. I had no idea our old one was so HUGE. They all kind of look the same size from the outside.

  3. Ima saver Says:

    My 15 year old washer gave up this year and we bought a top loader too.

  4. snafu Says:

    I bought a front load [Frigidaire] washer 4 years ago and am satisfied with it's performance. I do follow the seller's advice and wipe the rubber door gasket and leave the door open overnight, and only use more expensive HE detergent. The really bad part is that if you find a sock was dropped on the stairs, there is no adding it after the cycle starts.

    If I had greasy, or really dirty clothes I doubt it work be effective. I do like it for items I used to wash by hand. It's great for pillows which we never attempted to wash in a top loader. I've washed blankets but too much of a coward to try down quilt.

    I suggest you check with your city & county as many have cash-back programs when old appliances are replaced with high efficiency

  5. M E 2 Says:


    Our last washing machine was a GE and the plumber was shocked that we'd had it for close to 10 years. He said GE's are notorious for dying young, so to speak. He highly recommended a Whirlpool, which is what we went with.

  6. patientsaver Says:

    Well, I'd rather go by review on individual models than just go by the brand name. I always thought Whirlpool was good, but i suppose they could also have some mediocre ones in the bunch as well.

  7. North Georgia Gal Says:

    I found you insight pretty interesting. I am going to be in the market for a new washer in the probably near future and was planning on getting a front loader. I am very short and have difficulty getting all the laundry out of the bottom of the top loader. But based on your information, I will have consider it more closely.

  8. MonkeyMama Says:

    "The really bad part is that if you find a sock was dropped on the stairs, there is no adding it after the cycle starts."

    Yeah - that's the other thing I don't like.

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