Dec 18, 2007

We are (probably) going to buy a new washer soon (very soon)

So for the last few months, our very old washer (which came with the house and is probably close to 30 years old) has been getting unbalanced. By "unbalanced," I mean the legs become uneven, causing the washer to rumble very loudly and travel back and forth in its corner between the wall and the dryer. We have had it repaired several times, including the installation of a new set of legs and a new set of pads, which did extend the time between unbalancing incidents long enough for me to think that perhaps the problem had been solved. But alas, the washer unbalanced again this past week so I think we've had the repairman out for the last time. The next time this happens - and if history holds true, it'll probably happen again within a couple of months - we'll be buying a new washer.

Which leads me to research. Only I'm not sure where to begin. Marc tells me that he keeps reading HE washers don't really clean clothes, which is obviously a problem. My priorities are effectiveness, energy efficiency, and cost. And a large capacity would be wonderful too, but isn't a necessity.

I'm also debating whether to buy a new dryer. It's not that we really need one but our current one is as old as the washer, which leads me to believe it's not very energy efficient. And, as silly as this may sound, I'd prefer it if our washer and dryer matched.

Any suggestions or ideas to get me started? Thanks!


Donna said...

Hmm. I have an HE frontloader and my clothes get clean. We're a cloth diaper family and I'm very happy with my washer's performance.

Anonymous said...

We are in the same predicament, so I would love to see what you wind up buying. We don't need a dryer though, because we replaced ours last year.

adrienne said...

With the reduced water washers (front loaders & HE) your dryer time is reduced because less water is in the fabric when you place it in the dryer.

Dryers just efficient. Energy star doesn't certify ANY dryers:
"ENERGY STAR does not label clothes dryers since there is little difference in the energy use between models."

A dryer is a big box that gets hot and spins. They haven't changed discernibly in decades despite advertising.

Dryers almost always outlive washers because they are very simple mechanisms with few moving parts. Stores sell them as matched sets to get people to buy more products. It's an unabashed upsell just like "Would you like fries with that?"

You can get dryers to work most efficiently by cleaning the lint trap with every load and keeping the exhaust lines open and clear of lint and other debris.

If you have designer OCD and just will sleep more peacefully with a matching set, that's some sort of value for the price... but otherwise it's usually not a good deal to replace a working dryer.

BUT if you do replace the dryer, please donate it to an organization with a thrift shop that will resell it (Goodwill, Habitat Re-Store, Salvation Army, St. Vincent De Paul, etc.). I got my first dryer for $25 from such a store when I couldn't afford one anywhere else. It was so appreciated.

adrienne said...

TYPO in my previous comment: "dryers just AREN'T efficient" rather than "dryers just efficient"

Sorry, asleep at the keyboard.

Anonymous said...

I think a good part of it depends on how often and how large your laundry loads are. If you really put off laundry and only do it when necessary (for example, extra large loads every three weeks or so), you're going to have a tough time with HE getting your clothes clean. On the other hand, if you are a more moderate washer, I don't see a problem with HE washers.

As to the dryer situation, it might actually be better to keep it if it is still working. Maybe it's paranoia of new things, but if it's not broken, maybe you shouldn't fix it. We got a new LG dryer a few months ago that broke about a month after we purchased it. Our old dryer was working just fine, so I kind of regret unloading it now.

Anonymous said...

A while back our washer broke and we went with a consumer reports recommendation. The washer was more expensive than we expected to pay, but frankly, its the best washer I have ever used. I spill food on myself all the time and it gets everything out, our old washer never did.

Basically, CR found that top loading HE washers are crap, and that right now you really need to spend around $1k to get get a decent HE frontload washer.

CR published an update last month:
For better performance and efficiency:

• Whirlpool Cabrio HE WTW6600S[W] , $1000
• Bosch Nexxt 500 Series WFMC3301UC , $1100
• Whirlpool Duet HT GHW9400P[W] , $1200
• LG WM0642H[W] , $1000

All three front-loaders combine fine washing with energy efficiency and quiet operation. The Bosch offers better water efficiency and low vibration, the Whirlpool and LG larger capacities. But the Whirlpool is being phased out, so its availability is limited.

You can get a 10% off lowes coupon (which can also be used at home depot) from
and if you plan on buying next year you can get one from

We called a few washer repair men, no one knew anything about repairing the LGs or Bosch so we ended up going with a Whirlpool. Lowes had the

4.0 Cu. Ft. Ultra Capacity Plus Duet™ Washer (Color: White) ENERGY STAR®

Item #: 216341 Model: WFW9200SQ (same as the 9400)

Also, Lowes delivered for free.

Anonymous said...

I have no idea what an "HE" washer is, but I'm presuming it's some type of energy efficient model. I've had two washers in my life and both have had extra large tubs. These are GREAT if you want to wash comforters or other large items. Both were/are top-loading models although if I were buying one today, I would definitely look for a front-loading model for energy efficiency (as long as I could find one that fits a queen sized comforter in it).

ChiefFamilyOfficer said...

Thanks for the info, everyone - I really appreciate it!

Adrienne - I didn't know that about dryers, you've made me inclined to keep my old one, so thanks!

sucellus - Thanks for all the info. Very helpful! I wouldn't have thought to ask repairmen if they knew about the models I was considering.

I'll keep you all posted!

Anonymous said...

I second the comment about Consumer Reports. I've loved everything I've bought in accordance with one of their recommendations, and I usually regret it when I don't check them before a major purchase. Also, see if your library has a subscription. Ours does, so we just head there and photocopy the pertinent article when we're researching a purchase. We just got a new dishwasher this month. We went w/ one of their top rated models and have been very pleased with it.

ChiefFamilyOfficer said...

@sassyfras - Thanks! The library suggestion is great!