Wish you fixed your old washer instead of buying a new one?

crazybusytooFebruary 12, 2012

After reading all the reviews about front load and top load washers, I'm tempted to have my 15 year old Kitchen Aid Superba fixed.

It will cost $300 for a new motor, but it has a hand care cycle and user adjusted water levels. Plus, I don't have to wash it once a month, worry about mildew or twisted clothes. It also has a really fast cycle. While the new HE washers use less water, they also take longer to run a cycle, so more electricity is used. I can't understand how that is energy efficient. Where I live, electricity is coal generated, so the electricity usage is a concern.

Do any of you wish you had repaired your old washer instead of buying a new one? I am wondering if that will buy me some time and hopefully there may be some improvements on the HE washers. I can't find a single washer or brand that gets consistently great reviews, and I don't know that decreased water usage makes up for increased electricity usage.

What do you think? I'd love to hear your opinions.

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Can't say about your washer, but I recently did that with my dishwasher. I have had(and liked) mine for 9 years and the pump/motor went out so after looking at a few new ones that seemed smaller and flimsy, just decided to have mine fixed. Washes great and I think it is quieter now than when it was new.

So, if you want to keep yours, just get it fixed and hope for the best. If the transmission is good I would think you should get several more years out of it.

Maybe DaDoes will see this soon and give his input. He can tell you exactly what you need to look into about keeping your KitchenAid--in fact I think he has/or had one.
Good Luck.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 3:48AM
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More electricy is not used due to longer cycles on front loaders.

Far less water is being moved therefore a lot less weight and that more than compensates for the extra time.

I am extremely glad I chucked my old top load Whirlpool and got my extemely water and electricty efficient Bosch.

I have never had mildew and I never wash my washer.

I use Sanitary cycle to clean socks and underwear and that cleans any softner residue that might be there.

I don't have problems with "twisted clothes" either.

I would be willing to bet your washer did not get consistently great reviews when you bought it. If you research any appliance long enough you will find someone who hates it.

A lot of the negatives on the good front loaders come from people who don't understand the differences between a top loader and front loader and that some adjustments need to be made.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 5:04AM
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It's a common that people mistakenly believe a frontloader or HE toploader's longer cycle uses more electricity regards to the machine's motor and other internal mechanical components. These units have a different kind of motor that doesn't pull as much wattage/amperage as those in toploaders of years past.

The OP's KA (KA toploaders are Whirlpool drive-drive units) likely has a 3-speed motor, which those are more expensive due to the additional copper for the 3rd speed winding. Part number 3350418. SearsPartsDirect.com lists it for $147, which is considerably less than $300. Other online sources I check range from $182 to $199, still less than $300. eBay currently shows 3 listings under that number, one new $150, one used $58, and one used $45 (but the picture shows a wrong type of motor).

Changing the motor is an easy DIY job. The new motor won't include a drive coupler ... a new coupler (PN 285753A) is easier than removing and reusing the old one, additional $10 to $12.

Only question is whether the diagnosis of a bad motor is correct.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 9:33AM
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I'm glad that I bought an FL to replace my agitator TL three years ago, rather than fixing it. My clothes are far, far cleaner than they ever were. No mold problems with the new machine, while the old machine had gotten moldy, as evidenced by smelly towels in the months before we replaced it.

OTOH, I recently decided to get the hinge fixed on a 20-year-old refrigerator rather than buying a new fridge, because reviews of current models are so discouraging.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 10:53AM
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I switched from top loader to front loader in 2001 and never want to go back. I owned a Frigidiare Gallery Heavy Duty FL washer/dryer first and then got a new Miele pair in 2011 (W4842/T9822).

We rented a cottage two summers ago that had a TL washing machine. I did a few loads of laundry and was reminded why I never want to own a TL again.

I agree that many folks just don't know how to make adjustments for using a FL machine - this causes a lot of problems for them.

My mom got a new LG FL last year after 26 years with the same KA top loader. This was her first FL ever. I walked her through the simple guidelines for use and care and she is so thrilled with them.

She called me the other day to tell me how she had brought a bunch of white table cloths home from church after a function. They were covered in food stains and in particular blue icing from a cake that was served. She didn't pretreat them - just tossed them in on hot - used Persil Universal Megaperls and they came out like new. She called to tell me how much she loves her new machines.

So you see ... its all perspective ... depends on what type of person you are whether you would find the change welcoming or horrible.

I have no doubt that âÂÂfor the most partâ front load machines clean better than traditional TL or HE TL (Consumers Reports supports this claim) but if youâÂÂre someone stuck in your ways who doesnâÂÂt like change than fix what you have and be happy.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 11:59AM
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If the idea of an he machine is unpleasant to you it may be better to fix what you have or buy a new conventional top loader. I see the non energy star top loaders on sale / clearance frequently for $400 or less.

FWIW I have never missed my old top loader. The wash cycles are longer but the dry times so much shorter. My FL uses much less water and my electric bill dropped by $20 a month. My clothes are cleaner and the only mildew issue I've had was due to abuse by my mother in law who favors express wash cycles, double detergent doses, cold washes and keeping the door closed at all times. She also tried to make microwave popcorn in my convection oven. New is not better for all. LOL!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 8:57PM
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A conventional non-HE top loader, built today, will probably be less satisfactory than your 15-year-old machine. It'll use less water, and cooler water.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 10:48AM
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You might be happier with fixing your old washer. I finally ditched our 16 y/o conventional TL washer last year, for a FL. But I had spent an average of $200 - $300 on three different occasions, repairing it to keep it limping along. I saw evidence of another repair coming, one that had been done eight or ten years ago, and decided I was done throwing money at it. I was ready for a FL washer and have no regrets.

Do what you feel comfortable doing, and that will be the right decision. For me, it was making a few expensive repairs until I was finally ready to let it go.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 10:57AM
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FWIW....I have a 19-year-old Maytag TL still working at mom's place and a 7-year-old Duet 9400 FL at another location. Use both regularly.

The Duet FL does a MUCH better job of everything. Have had NONE of the issues so frequently complained about here. Thing just works. Really no argument at all about it's superiority.

If/when the Maytag decides to quit working, I won't be putting a nickel into repairing it. When the time comes, I will certainly replace.

Get one with a heater.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 11:29AM
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I don't think you will be happy if you substitute a new computer controlled washer for the simple designs of yore. So much to go wrong. Just because the environmental police have grabbed still more of our freedom.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 11:36AM
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I could have written the first part of livebetter's post, with a few changes:

I switched from a traditional top loader to an HE top loader a few years ago, and never want to go back.

We rented a condo last summer that had a traditional TL washing machine. I did a few loads of laundry and was reminded why I never want to own that type of TL again.

I agree that many folks just don't know how to make adjustments for using an HE TL machine, or don't take the time to read the manual thoroughly - this causes a lot of problems for them.

Individual experiences vary widely. FWIW, here's mine along with my resulting POV:

The traditional washer I replaced with my current HE washer had been repaired several times and was about 20 years old. It had definitely reached the end of its 'life span'. Any repair at that point would have been short-lived.

The ONLY advantage I can think of with that washer was the fact that it gave me true hot or warm water with no internal heater.

We replaced it with a Maytag Bravos HE TL, and these are its advantages over our old Kenmore:

It is MUCH bigger. I can wash 2x to 3x as much laundry in one load, including a queen- or king-size comforter. Because I have a large family, this advantage cannot be overstated. I used to wash 7-10+ loads each week. Now it's 3-5 loads per week. This has meant not only a substantial savings in water and energy (especially not having to take comforters to a laundromat), but just as importantly, my time.

The washer uses far less water in almost all cycles. Only exceptions are the Soak, Bulky, and Handwash cycles. However, it actually uses less water for these too when you take into account the much-larger loads I wash.

Because we're on a septic tank, this much-lower water usage also helps our septic tank work better and go much longer between pumpings.

Laundry comes out less wrinkled and twisted than it did in the old washer w/agitator. It also comes out much drier because of the much-higher spin speeds, resulting in less dryer time, meaning more savings there on energy.

This washer is MUCH quieter. It also has dispensers which save me time running back and forth during wash cycles.

Because this washer has an internal water heater, which means I can wash with true hot or warm water, there are no disadvantages at all -- only advantages.

If your washer is big enough for your needs, if you are happy with the way your laundry turns out, if you don't have a septic tank, and if repair would keep it working well for some time to come, then I would most likely continue using it as long as I could. IMHO, this would be most cost-effective.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 1:18AM
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I have a 18 year old Whirlpool TL machine. It has been pretty trouble free the entire time I've owned it. If anything goes wrong, I'll just fix it.

Why? Total control over cycle times and temps. It cleans my laundry to my satisfaction. I get to do the laundry the way I want to do it, not how the machine decides to do it. It'll probably last another 19 years. Whirlpool has made millions of these direct drive washers. Parts will be available for years to come. And they are cheap and easy machines to work on. They are modular. A motor can be changed out in 20-30 minutes. A rebuilt trans can be had for $150 or so.
So if I were in your position, I'd fix it and just move on.
Your machine will continue to serve you for years to come.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 4:11AM
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Mara 2008, isn't it funny I almost feel exactly opposite about the Bravos!!! I am so glad you are having good luck with yours. I am getting rid of my Bravos top 'o the line pair. It doesn't clean well at all. I know how to use it and even read the manual, do not overload, etc, etc. I am getting a GE washer pair on Wednesday, have had it with the washer getting out of balance and putting clothes into a tight heavy mushroom cloud that must be pulled apart all filled with water and heavy. Everything is many times more wrinkled than with my old TL Maytag ~18 years old and never a minute of trouble. I dislike the dryer even more. The steam does nothing to remove wrinkles. It is so loud and makes loud popping noises. The timer is whack, the lint screen has this felt around the edges that won't release the lint and is difficult to get back in after cleaning. I am really sad about it as it was quite the splurge for us two years ago.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 8:20AM
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Thank you everyone for sharing your experience and insight!

You really made gave me a lot to think about!

I ended up getting the washer fixed. After seeing all the photos in this forum of lovely laundry rooms, I decided to hold off on the new washer/dryer since I am planning on remodeling the kitchen in the fall, and it makes sense to do the laundry room at the same time.
Plus, I really have no complaints about my KA Superba, and the price I negotiated was very fair. (Thank you Dadoes) Hopefully we'll see some improvements in the new HE appliances soon.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 8:48PM
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I have a Bosch nexxt 500+ and while there are things I do like about it, in order to use those things, the machine really vibrates badly. So much so, I'm concerned what it will do to the floor with long term use. I run a clean cycle and no vibrations but add closes and a normal (cotton) sanitary or kids care even set on gentle spin the thing walks.
Plus I don't feel that hearing a load of wet clothes slapping in the drum and getting pills all over enough water is being used.
so I am seriously considering getting the 542 speed queen before the next round of restrictions. Oh and the dryer, I really hate it. My clothes don't dry any faster than before. A 56 minute wash time and the dryer shows 1:17 and sheets come out in a BIG ball. So yes I wish I had my old kenmore back.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 6:42PM
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If I ever had to give up my Neptunes I would hunt high and low for a Maytag 712 top load washer and dryer set like I replaced with the Neptunes and restore them to new. I had them for 17 years and they were still going strong. The wife gave the 712 set away and I am willing to bet they still run. I just HAD to have the amazing front load washer I heard all the raves about.
That was 13 years ago and I have enough parts for the Neptunes to last likely 10 or 12 more years. Ill be about 70 then and dont know if Ill be around to do any laundry then or not.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 7:17PM
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FordTech, I have a 1970 A906 and A206, and a 1976 A608. My sister is still running a 1984 LA512, I changed the pump on it last year. I bought three sets of tub bearing & seal kits last week. My 906 needs that job done, the other two are spares.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 11:13PM
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I have no doubt they will just keep going and going as long as that trusty helical transmission holds up. If a B-52 bomber can still fly after over 50 years of service, a well made top loader can as well.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 8:22PM
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Asolo -

If you were me and something went wrong with my Duet 9300 with heater that's exactly 8 years old now, would you get it fixed or replace with new one? I'm only asking because I know you know this machine pretty well. Nothing is wrong with mine at all, just wondering what you would do personally.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 6:33AM
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Too bad I couldn't "fix" my previous washer/dryer to be larger! :)

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 11:57AM
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