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Choosing a new front-loading washer


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32 replies to this topic

#1 merrill77

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 12:56 PM

We currently have a Kenmore front-loader like this one:  http://www.sears.com...05_02640412000P

Due to a poor design, what should have been a simple tune-up and bearing refresh is a multi-hundred $$$ job due to the necessity of ordering an entire tub assembly instead of just a new bearing and seal. This is unfortunate, since the matching dryer seems to have been designed for easy maintenance - I recently installed a new belt, pulley, bearing and felt strip and it's now running like new. I got ~7 years out of the current machine, but I see no reason I should not get more like 15 years with a more maintainable design.

So, I'm considering one of these as a replacement for the washer:
  http://www.sears.com...05_02640412000P
  http://www.sears.com...05_02606707000P

My question for you gurus is: Does either one of these have a better design in terms of self-service?  If not, are there other units in the same price range that are a better choice for reliability, efficiency and maintainability?

TIA!
Chris


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#2 Pegi

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 01:03 PM

First link does not work, what is the model number inclucding the prefix of three numbers so we can see who made it for sears.....the second link the washer has two stars....scary but again need the complete model number to see who made it, now that third one says GE....run, .run away., probably really a Samsung with the GE name on the front.  Why not just get a Whirlpool Duet, not the sport, that way you know what you are getting and do not have to deal with Sears for warranty issues...can use any WP auth. service company...
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#3 merrill77

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 02:15 PM

My apologies on the links.

Here is the one that looks identical to mine:
  http://www.sears.com...05_02640412000P
(mine is 417.290.42991)

The two I'm considering are these:
  http://www.sears.com...05_02648102000P
  http://www.sears.com...05_02606707000P

If anyone can tell me if these are designed for better maintainability, I would appreciate it!

Thanks!
Chris




#4 LadyCash

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 09:19 AM

Is the Staber washer still the favorite son? 

I have read consumer reports, consumer research and checked out some actually consumer (users) ratings and reviews. 

If I leave Staber out of the choices, I am leaning towards a LG or Whirlpool. 

Another question I have, is there ANY washing machine made in the USA beside Staber?




#5 ROBBYRIG

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 11:18 PM

I'm with Pegi.  Get the Whirlpool Duet.  Don't waste any extra money on the "steam" model that doesn't steam anyway.


#6 Samurai Appliance Repair Man

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 01:28 AM

Been meaning to update the Staber page at my site. I've temporarily suspended selling Stabers because they were having protracted shipping delays. The delays were caused by supplier problems with the plastic tops and the motor control boards. Not only were their suppliers slow in getting them these parts, but they were having quality problems with the control board. I suspended selling them after I started getting complaints and won't resume until I'm absitootly, posilootly sure they've got their supply problems squared away. One sign of this will be when shipping delays drop from 10+ weeks to less than 4. Still not there yet. But I still like the design concept, the way they're made to be serviceable by the end user, and their ruggedness.

#7 merrill77

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 03:33 AM

I had never heard of Staber before. I like the emphasis on user serviceability. Unfortunately, a front-loader with front-controls is a must for us, because we have a countertop installed above our washer and dryer. For us, this was one of the side benefits to the horizontal axis designs.

How similar are the design and quality of the Duet and Duet Sport? The sport is in our price range. The others are not.


#8 LadyCash

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 04:51 AM

I was shooting for the stainless steel staber.  It is a bit more but I think it would be worth while since it will clean up nicely and would not chip like porcelain or painted steel.  I dislike anything plastic. 

Is Staber having issues with the stainless steel model?  I have been without a washer for almost two weeks.  I really need to get something. I am willing to wait for four weeks to have a DIY washer hubby can work on. There is nothing he will not fix or find a way to fix.  I had a cheap roper for 15 years.  He is LETTING me buy a new one because the motor fried to the point of filling our basement with smoke.


#9 Pegi

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 05:50 AM

How similar are the design and quality of the Duet and Duet Sport? The sport is in our price range. The others are not.

The Duet made in Germany and the Sport made in Mexico are nothing alike...lots of problems with the Sport but perhaps they have the kinks worked out by now, be sure to get an extended warranty...
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#10 ThePadre

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 05:02 AM

Having had nearly enough of musty clothes from our LG WM1812CW, I'm slowly beginning to shop for another front-loader. Probably a Duet this time, although I'm still cringing at all of the computerized innards.

Does that Steam feature do ANYTHING useful?

Also, on top of my ministerial duties, I am a real live employee of Siemens. They actually offer an employee discount on Siemens-Bosch appliances. The thought of a Siemens washer in the U.S. is enough to scare me, just figuring what the parts would cost on such an exotic machine. The discount is pretty steep, but maybe that's just the cost of a service call? Thoughts?


#11 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 06:43 AM

[user=267]dbiberdorf[/user] wrote:

Having had nearly enough of musty clothes from our LG WM1812CW, I'm slowly beginning to shop for another front-loader. Probably a Duet this time...


All FL's will get musty if not carefuly watched, cleaned, and maintained.

Leave the Door open for a few hours after a load of wash (or over-night)

Check and clean under the bottom inside lip of the Door Seal.

Run the Tub Clean cycle often, if needed.

Use "Afresh" tablets.

TL don't have that problem because there's no place for water to sit under the seals, and the lid is often left UP.

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#12 merrill77

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 08:12 AM

[user=3641]RegUS_PatOff[/user] wrote

All FL's will get musty if not carefuly watched, cleaned, and maintained.

Not ALL. Our one-and-only front-loader (the one I mentioned in the original post) has never smelled musty in 9 years. We occasionally leave the door open when we're done, but not always.  Maybe 30-50% of the time. We have never added any other cleaners besides laundry detergent. It is located in our laundry room - not in a damp basement. I don't think it has a "Tub Clean" cycle...if it does, I'm sure we've never used it.

Chris


#13 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 09:12 AM

I should have said:

 All FL's are prone to get musty if not carefuly watched, cleaned, and maintained, depending on on the humidity in your home and where you live (Arizona would be good).

Also, liquid detergent is more prone than powdered, to cause mold...

Also:
any Hot (or Warm) Wash Cycle is usually room temperature water (unless the Washer Water Heater is enabled)
due to the fact that FL's use only about 5 gallons of water per cycle, about the same amount sitting in the length of pipe between the Washer and your Water Heater.


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#14 Pegi

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 09:26 AM

And liquid fabric softner that is used in the washer...it is made of wax, this stuff gets into your washer and mold loves to grow in this stuff....take care of your front load and no problems, but do not let it dry out, use too much soap and the wrong soap, do not wipe down the door and boot after use, use fabric softner and you have odor problems, my Duet washer is about 6 years old or so and it is as clean inside as the day it was new.....because I use about 2 tablespoons at the most per each load of HE soap and never ever use fabric softner in the washer, use dryer sheets..and leave the door open when not in use, also put it thru the hot cycle once a month with a cup of bleach and nothing else in it to keep it mold free....front loads are great but they must be used wisely..
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#15 ThePadre

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 09:59 AM

I don't know what to say really. I lived in Germany from 1999-2000, and used two different brands of front-loaders (Miele and Bosch) without the mold/mildew problem, in a damp climate, in a basement room that doubled as a clothes drying zone for 5 families (no dryer appliance). I bought a Frigidaire Gallery front-loader in 2000 upon my return to the States, and it never had this problem, either. From 2004-2005, I used Speed Queen front loaders in seminary housing, also without problems (in the latter case, you can imagine that people used every detergent imaginable, and in the wrong quantity; seminary students on the whole not being very apt with anything that has moving parts). I bought this LG in 2005, used nothing but name brand liquid HE detergent (except for perhaps one load per month with Woolite), no fabric softener, and a hot-water bleach load twice per week. The door is left open after every load. If I see water in the boot, I wipe it. And still I get clothes that just plain reek, at least one load per month. Sadly, it's not just a matter of re-washing them. The smell lingers until it's hit with real bleach, which, of course, plays havoc with the nice dark blue denim that is so commonly afflicted (more than any other fabric).

I'm about to throw in the Cascade and bleach to see if that helps. Otherwise, I'm throwing in the towel. My LG laundry appliance experience just isn't that good. (Have I mentioned that my next Best Buy service call on the LG dryer invokes the 'lemon appliance' provision?)




#16 Pegi

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 10:06 AM

We did warranty for LG and the odor problems did seem to be worse with this brand....my own opinion is the design of the water pump/trap assy, I think it just does not drain well enugh like the other brands....remember I have no proof of this, just my opinion....try the dishwashing detergent like a cup or two with hot water, this works better than anything else we have seen...
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#17 ThePadre

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 10:16 AM

Got the hot water, bleach, and Cascade mix going right now. I'd say I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but I'm starting to think an exorcism is in order. ;)


#18 Pegi

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 10:19 AM

Might be worth your time to take a look in that filter/trap down at the pump to see what may be in there clogging up the works???  And the hoses..
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#19 ThePadre

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 10:26 AM

Thanks for the reminder, Pegi. I'll dig into that later this evening. (I still have the manuals you linked to in a previous conversation.)


#20 ThePadre

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 10:37 AM

OK. I just did the hot water, bleach, and Cascade drill. Twice. I pulled out the trap and cleaned out the little bit of stuff in there (like the dozen knobbies from the bottom of some car mats that were washed).

We'll see how it goes, using 2 tbsp or less detergent every time.






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