Washers and Dryers

emmaSeptember 1, 2014

I was in K Mart today and saw a Kenmore washer and dryer set for $299 each. You controlled everything just like we did before the HE's came out. I thought my new washer was not an HE, but it is, just doesn't have HE on it. When you use the super option the tub does not fill up, it does have a sensor on it that sets it to what thinks it should be set at. If I had not bought a set already I would have bought them and got the extended warranty.

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Sounds like you got one of the last Whirlpool Direct Drives. Mechanically, these were great machines and very reliable. However, at the very end they started making some changes to meet energy star requirements. Besides dumbing down the water temperatures (i.e., warm = cold, hot = warm, no true hot washes allowed) the top of the line models which I believe yours is would sense the load and fill accordingly as you describe. The lower end ones did something much worse IMO: fill only a few inches from the bottom of the tub during the rinse cycle. Not only did this lead to poor rinse results, it could be very rough on the clothes. Luckily it was easily adjusted to fill all the way up.

I believe the machine you saw at Kmart was one of the newer electronically controlled Whirlpool belt driven "Vertical Modular Washers." I am putting these in my rental houses because they are very cheap and easy to fix. I doubt however they will hold up as well in the long term as the Direct Drives did. Instead of throttling back the rinse water level, these will do a spray rinse by default which IMO is a much better method of rinsing. If you want a full fill rinse you can turn on the "fabric softener" option even if you aren't using fabric softener and then the machine will fill to the same level as for the wash.

If you want a top loader that is truly reliable, there are Speed Queen top loaders. These hold up well and wash well but like any washer there are downsides too: they are very expensive to buy, and they are difficult to work on compared to other top load designs. I changed the belt on one once, it was doable but soooo much harder than a Maytag. And Maytags were just as reliable and much cheaper to buy initially. Oh well those days are gone.

If you are willing to spend even MORE money you can get a machine that's even better than the Speed Queen top loader: the Speed Queen front loader!

This post was edited by hvtech42 on Mon, Sep 1, 14 at 21:24

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 9:23PM
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EmmaR, we can check and confirm what features your new set has if you cite the model numbers. Did you mention in an earlier post that you bought GE or am I remembering wrong?

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 9:37PM
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I bought mine in June of this year and it was a GE set for $549 each. I do like them, the washer is very quiet unless I do a very large load and then it is not to loud. I could hear ever swish and changes on my previous pair.

washer # GTWN4250D1WS,
dryer was # GTDP490EDWS

A tip for everyone. I put a half sheet in the dryer when I dry my wearing clothes especially when it is a small load and it really helps prevent wrinkles, plus my machine has "wrinkle care" that you can turn on or off.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 10:15PM
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hvtech, I don't worry about how they are made, I just want them to do the job and last a long time. If they don't rinse well like my last washer I just turn on the second rinse cycle. I don't think they are saving any water because we want our clothes clean and rinsed well and we will do what we have to no matter what kind we buy. I will not ever buy another high dollar one because they don't last any long than the cheap ones. I don't worry about the messing up my clothes, if it does that I tell them to come and get it. The clerk told me I was smart to buy cheap and get the extended warranty because none of them last long, cheap or expensive. She said she bought an expensive pair and was sorry she did, she hates it. I have five years of cost free repairs and yearly inspections if I want to have them come out. If it lasts that long I will buy another one and still be ahead.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 10:25PM
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Sorry, but if you are telling me Speed Queen front loaders and top loaders are no more reliable than a cheap GE or WP, you are mistaken. Not ALL expensive appliances are good as cheap ones, but SOME of them are much better.

Extended warranties are basically cash in the retailer's pocket, no wonder the salesperson thought they were a good idea. The odds of extended warranties being used are less than them not being used. Then when it breaks you will not get to pick who services it and people often end up with a crappy service company that takes many many visits to solve the problem. Or, you can fight with them to try and get your machine replaced.

People keep their appliances the longest and are happiest with them tend to:

-Have relationships with local service people selected by them that they trust and can afford, NOT service people selected by the manufacturer or retailer. Or they really luck out and get GOOD service people selected by the manufacturer/retailer. Or, they buy from a smaller, local retailer who services what they sell.

-Buy appliances that they can afford to repair based on their construction, parts availability, and technical info availability.

This post was edited by hvtech42 on Tue, Sep 2, 14 at 19:06

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 6:21PM
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I'd be curious to observe the operation of the AutoSensing water level function on your washer per how it compares to Fisher & Paykel's system. Note that your washer has a computer-control board. The cycle selector is directly on the main controller board. The other three knobs are programmers for the main board, connected through a separate smaller board. It doesn't have a transmission as such. The motor drives the agitator and drum via belt and pulley on a dual-shaft mechanism. The inner shaft is for agitation, the motor reverses in pulses to run the agitator. An electric mechanism locks the outer and inner shafts together for spin.

The dryer is a typical GE design that they've been producing for years. A nice aspect is there's a safety switch that shuts down and prevents it from running if the drum belt breaks. I have a different GE model of the same design that's 12 years old (has thermostatic autodry instead of moisture sensing), and I have a Fisher & Paykel model 15 years old of the same design (sourced from GE) that does have moisture sensing. Your unit has a mechanical timer and other controls but there is a small circuit board for the moisture sensor function, which serves to control the timer's advancement on those cycles. The Wrinkle Care option functions to continue air-tumble for a while after the normal end of the cycle so the load isn't crumpled to catch wrinkling if you can't unload immediately. The end-of-cycle signal repeats several times during the extra tumbling period as a reminder the load is finished and ready to unload right away. Wrinkle Care otherwise doesn't do anything special to remove wrinkles.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 7:27PM
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Oh and BTW sorry for assuming they were Whirlpool, I didn't know GE made conventional top loaders with auto load sensing

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 9:06PM
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