help finding whirlpool/maytag/anama washer/drier

grouppDecember 16, 2011

I'm in search of a new washer/dryer. I'd like to get one at my local hardware store if at all possible. Partly to support small town local business and partly if I have problems I'll have easy access to repair man. They stock or can order any whirlpool/maytag/amana. They don't have that many in stock only their top sellers so I haven't been able to lay my hands on very many models.

I've been lurking here, reading reviews, and looking at consumer reports and my head is spinning. CR rate the duet at the top while many of the reviews are quite negative.

I'd like a HE. Leaning toward FL but haven't totally ruled a TL out. I don't need anything super fancy. I'm used to a 20 yo TL w/ just regular and perm-press cycle. I just want my clothes to be clean, reliable, and hopefully not take over 2 hours to wash a load. I've already prepared myself that the next one probably won't be lasting 20 years. We are only a family of 3 but it seems like I do a ton of laudry between my son and husband. Also I use cloth diapers and have heard horror stories of getting diapers clean with the HEs. So any experience there would be helpful too. (are there some you can add extra water or put diapers in wet to trick washer into adding more water) He's down to just night/nap diapers so if I can't figure out a good routine with the new washer I'll just wash them at my Mom's once/week. We should be done w/ diapers before too much longer.

I don't really understand a lot of the options... steam, sanicycle, added heater....

I'm not as worried about picking out a dryer but any advice on those would be appriciated.

As an aside does anyone know if you can use homemade detergent in a HE washer. I was planning on making some w/ felsnaptha, washing soda, and borax if that is of any help.

thanks so much! and sorry this is so long.

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groupp

Nobody...bummer. I was hoping someone might be able to stear me in the right direction and help me decide what options I should look for. If anyone has any suggestions please chime in not sure how much longer my washer will hold out. thanks.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 1:29AM
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izeve

groupp, sorry but I just don't know anything about the washers made by whirlpool/maytag/amana nowadays. I had a Whirlpool Duet Sport a few years ago and did not like it but the main reason for my dislike was the fact that the washer did not have a internal heater.

So one piece of advice (and I feel this is crucial): if you decide to go with any HE washer (whether FL or TL) do get one with an internal heater, preferably one that kicks in all or most cycles. In my experience, the combination of ATC and low water levels found in todays washers will result in poor washing results most of the time unless the wash was heated. This requires slightly longer wash cycles, so keep that in mind.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 5:47AM
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groupp

Thanks so much. I hadn't heard anything about internal heaters till I saw it mentioned here. I'm not sure I saw it listed on the options on either the whirlpool or maytag web site. I'll have to look into that. So does the heater heat the water up hotter than the regular water heater? Or is this to keep the water hot during the long wash cycle? By the way what does ATC mean?

Also I think I want one with an extra rinse cycle or can you just "spin" it around to do a 2nd rinse regardless of what cycle the machine is in.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 5:59AM
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izeve

ATC is automatic temperature control. Most washers with ATC have pretty low fill temperatures in order to qualify for the energy star designation and will mix hot and cold incoming water so you will not get a true hot wash unless you have an internal heater.
I think the full size Whirlpool Duets have internal heaters (basically any washer that offers Sanitary or Extra Hot cycles has an internal heater). Most washers offer an option of Extra Rinse which adds an additional rinse to the cycle. If you want more than that, you should look for a washer that offers Rinse & Spin cycle - that will allow you to run a separate rinse cycle.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 7:22AM
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brownthumbia

In all honesty I cannot recommend the Maytag/Whirlpool appliances. According to the salesmen they have cheapen them so much and they are not reliable. I bought a pair last January and have had nothing but trouble with the TL washer. Right now it is working okay but I do not trust it for one second. Too many troubles with it when you consider I haven't even had it one year. Just thought you'd like to know.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 10:40AM
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asolo

"I'd like to get one at my local hardware store if at all possible. Partly to support small town local business and partly if I have problems I'll have easy access to repair man."

I share your opinion about that, even with the acknowledgement that it limits your selection. Still, you probably won't have to settle for a floor model. Among those lines they carry they can surely order in what you want. Do your own research and learn what's available among the lines they carry.

FWIW, I've had Whirlpool Duet FL for 6 1/2 years. It's been pretty much flawless from day one. Just read the manual and did what it said. Get one with a built-in heater. Without it, you'll never get an actually-hot wash. (Same with any of the new HE machines.) The model you'll be getting will be two generations beyond mine so I can't speak to what they're doing or failing to do with them now. Mine was built in Germany.

Just about all of them offer ATC (Automatic Temperature Control) but don't fall for it. With the low fill-volumes of these machines, such controls are almost worthless although they still advertise it heavily. Get the heater.

"...use homemade detergent in a HE washer..."

No.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 3:13PM
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grapeleaves

My daughter has a duet that gets very heavy use . It's about 4 1/2 years old. When it was 2 1/2 years old it needed a $500.00 repair.
She has a blog and this is what she wrote in large letters on her blog "2 1/2 year old Duet requiring $500 repair=unhappy customer"

Within 5 minutes she had a response from Whirlpool and they fixed the washer for free.
Previous to posting that, she had contacted them and they agreed to pay for parts, but not the labor which was most of the $500 cost.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 7:54AM
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groupp

Thanks for all the responses. I'll make sure to get an internal heater and hopefully a rinse and spin cycle too.

I'm a little nervous about all the comments about poor customer service and breakdowns on the whirlpool. I hope since it will be the local hardware store's repair man that I won't have any issues. Keeping my fingers crossed. I spoke with him about some of my concerns and he said most of the issues he has come across were related to change and hair pins getting caught in the pump (I think he said pump) and too much detergent. He also mentioned something with power issues. So maybe I should get a surge protector. My parents and sister have all gotten their appliances there and have never had any problems though none in the last several years. It will cost more than if I go to the lowe's store that is 25 miles away but my Mom seems to think it is worth the extra money to have a local repair man.

asolo-thanks for the heads up on no homemade detergent would hate to damage anything.

One last question about capacities. The whole 3.7..4.2 cubic feet thing means nothing to me. My current TL is extra large. I would like it to be bigger than my current one. I almost always wash full loads. I have queen and king size beds, hubby goes through a lot of heavy work clothes. I saw a maytag TL bravos and that tub was huge I couldn't even reach the bottom of it. I don't need anything that big. Any recommendations?

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 12:27AM
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asolo

Whatever you get will be the same size on the outside. Inside capacity will be in the 4.0 range.....or whatever nominal claim the mfg says....but, again, all close to the same. There's always some kind of "capacity war" going on but I wouldn't worry about it. I very much suspect that any/all will be bigger than what you've got.

Regardless of capacity, among the FL's all of them will use enough water for the load-size and no more. It's all automatically controlled, now. Whether full or partial loads, as long as the stuff can slosh around in there it will come clean with no more water than is needed.

One caution since you appear to be new to this: watch out for detergent over-dosing. All these new HE machines have lower fill-volumes than you may be accustomed to. And even the available HE detergents (only use HE detergents!) come in different concentrations. In this forum there have been MANY posts over the years about over-dosing and suds-disasters among new users. Suggest avoiding that experience. Might be good to ask your local guy about that, too, with his knowledge of the machines and local water quality. If you have soft water, especially, you may be astonished at how little detergent is required.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 9:04AM
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groupp

asolo-thanks. He actually already mentioned the problems with using too much detergent but thanks for the warning. We have hard water I frequently use borax or calgon especially on my cloth diapers to help with the water issues. Looks like from other post I've read that I might still be able to use borax. With cold water washes do you need to disolve powdered detergent before adding it to the dispenser?

Guess I need to jump into researching the different models and decide what I want. thanks for the help.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 1:08PM
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asolo

"With cold water washes do you need to disolve powdered detergent before adding it to the dispenser?"

Depends on how hard, how cold, and what kind of detergent. You'll probably have to experiment a bit but I would start with advice from your friend at the store. Sounds like he's got good familiarity with your likely machine choice and what people are doing at your locale for best results.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 1:39PM
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