Please help me find a simple sturdy washing machine

sarakayJuly 20, 2012

Yesterday my Maytag washer, which I think is 8-10 years old, CAUGHT ON FIRE while I was doing a small load. Luckily, I was home at the time. I'll never leave the house while washing again.

So I am in the market for a new machine and am doing a little preliminary research before hitting the stores. Would a kind soul or two here point me in the right direction?

My requirements are minimal, usually 2-3 loads a week.

- one in hot water for towels, socks etc.

- one in cold water for light items - sheets, blouses etc.

- one in cold water for dark clothing.

No diapers, and greasy or muddy items are very infrequent. The local laundromat will do big items like blankets or comforters.

That's it. Am a little intimidated by the descriptions of new washing machines. I don't need a ton of cycles or settings. Basically, I just want to dump the detergent and clothes in the washer and have them come out clean.

Simple is better. Anything beyond on/off, hot/cold and normal/delicate is probably unnecessary for me. Another must is build quality. Seeing smoke stream out from under the old washer's lid was pretty unsettling.

I think an old fashioned top loader would be the right fit but you folks are the experts.

My very preliminary research has turned up the entry level Speed Queen as a candidate. Any other recommendations, especially those that would be a bit less pricey, would be greatly appreciated.

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Speed Queen will be your best bet for a basic solid washer IMO. Are you not going to have your Maytag checked out? Was there actually fire, or just smoke? You have to watch some of the newer top loaders, they may offer a full(or 3/4)tub of water to wash but then the rinse cycle only fills with a few inches of water so you still have suds in the clothes. Speed Queens aren't like that.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 10:44PM
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If you want old fashioned basic, speed queen is apparently the ticket. I've never owned one but while researching for my new washer I read great things about them. I opted for a fancy pants front load washer because I was wowed by the bells and whistles *laugh* and laundry is a huge part of my life with 4 teens and 3 dogs. I am having way too much fun with my new machine!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 8:14AM
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I own a top loading Speed Queen washer and matching dryer. It matches your needs very well; simple, built well, and cleans well.

The SQ warranty blows the other high-dollar washers out of the water.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 7:36PM
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Thank you all for the replies! Sounds like the Speed Queen would be a good choice.

Fixing the old Maytag probably isn't an option. There was a LOT of smoke, acrid burnt electric smell, etc. Even if it could be fixed I probably wouldn't trust it.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 11:56PM
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When the belt goes on one of the older Maytags it makes for a lot of smoke. It's possible all your washer needs is a new belt.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 7:13PM
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Speed Queen YES I would advise any buyer though that the washer will not fill all the way to the top even with full chosen. After talking with a SQ rep when I thought my new washer was problematic, he told me that to meet water/energy settings that is how the washers are programmed. He also told me that I personally could change the settings if it is a problem. At least in a SQ, hot is hot, not lukewarm as in most models. It will fill slower on hot so don't be surprised. Other mfg's meet their energy specs by having the washer fill with a specified amount of hot water (hot setting) agitate and then add lukewarm water.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 7:35PM
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Just thinking about what people are saying about slow fill using hot water. It make sense to do it this way for the water heater uses less time to reheat and recover when filling this slow. Not only that, the baskets are warming up real good so water temp drops at a slower rate than normal.
Something to consider if you're eco friendly unlike my older Kenmore washer!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 9:39PM
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The slower hot water fill is due to the unequal orifice sizes in the inlet mixing valve. The hot inlet is smaller than the cold. I suppose this works to make a 'warm' wash use less hot water than a straight 50/50 mix of hot/cold.

It's easy to drill out the orifice if you want to make them equal. Reply #23 in the link below explains how.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to enlarge the SQ hot water inlet

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 10:59AM
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Again, thanks for all the replies and helpful hints about using Speed Queens.

Having explored the local laundromat - it seems clean, but who knows what was washed in the load before yours? - I am now doing wash using the 5 gallon bucket and (new!) plunger method. Saves money and gives you great arm toning exercise at the same time. For one person's wash it's really not bad at all.

@jakvis: I don't think this poor old Maytag is worth fixing. I googled its serial number and found that mine was not the only one with problems. Indeed, mine seems to have lasted a relatively long time, probably due to light use. The link below has some reviews.

Here is a link that might be useful: Maytag SAV2655A Reviews

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 4:18PM
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Your model is not a "real" Maytag of the type to which Jakvis refers. Those had two belts, different mechanism, and were much more robust and reliable. Yours is what's sometimes called a "Norge"tag or "Amana"tag ... different mechanics (with one belt) that Maytag incorporated into their brand so as to market a larger capacity washer.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 5:55PM
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