washer dryer shopping

euglossaDecember 10, 2010

I found three options for compact stacking washer dryer sets at the scratch and dent appliance store in town...the one with the great service reputation.

Two front load sets, Washer is energy star, but no gas dryer option. One Whirlpool, one maytag. And one old style top load stacking set, not energy star, but can get a gas dryer option. They'll each need about 26 inches of closet depth and two feet of width.

I found a lot of online reviews panning the maytag; better, but not stellar reviews for the whirlpool.

How do the savings pan out, electric vs. gas dryer? I can't wait to use a clothes line, so I wouldn't use the dryer all the time.

I need to be able to open the door during wash cycle and check hand-wovens during wet finishing. The front loads allow that, but it's easier to do with the top load machine.

All three options are available with minor cosmetic damage, full warranty and deep discounts-he's got quite a stockpile and is anxious to move them.

Full sized washers are simply not an option... the closet bumpout would nearly cut off access to the bed and the rest of the closet.

The bedroom roof should be sheathed when I get home and possibly the window openings cut out.

The room is 10 feet deep by 15 feet wide, will be a little less with 2 by 6 framing, but I wanted the extra insulation. The vaulted ceiling will rise from 8 to about 10 feet under scissor trusses. The closet will take up about 26" on the short wall on the west. There will be a faux french door on the east, one side opens, the other is for show. Bed centered under the vault against the south wall with a 2 wide by 5 foot high casement window on either side of the bed, rising from 3 feet off the floor.

That leaves about 3 1/2 feet from the foot of the bed to the door, which opens out from the bedroom. A bit less than three feet between the bed and the closet and almost five feet between the bed and the east wall. Room enough for a small dresser and a couple bedside tables and that's it.

The 10 foot closet will house the compact washer/dryer, a foot and a half to two feet of broom closet storage and the rest for hanging clothes and shoes. That's a whole lot more storage than I have now. Currently I have an antique 30" wardrobe for hanging clothes, a very small dresser, a pile of shoes by the door and my brooms and stuff leaning in a corner of the kitchen.

It's a little space by most standards, but feels palatial to me.


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My two front load washers did NOT allow opening the door during any cycles. Once the water started going in, it was locked as far as I know. I just looked at my machine, and it does have a DOOR LOCK light. Energy Star compliant too.

The first one I had was a Whirlpool stacking set from Lowes. The washer was fantastic, it washed so clean it turned the pockets inside out all by itself. It was an electric dryer,

I will only have a gas stove inside the house. The two machines were fairly small, but I do not recall the measurements because they were destroyed 2 months after we moved into our permanent home...Hurricane Katrina.

The "laundry center" I have now is built all together as one tall unit. It is a Frigidaire front load washer and electric dryer. It is 27" wide, at least 26" deep, and 74" tall. If you have your water hookups built into the wall behind it the hot/cold hoses could fit without requiring additional depth in the closet. And the dryer vent can go straight back through the wall to the outside. Otherwise, you'd need a greater depth in your closet to let the vent elbow (which is an add-on if not a straight shot out through the wall) make it to the spot where it can exit the house. There is a limit of 96" I think they said, of venting duct, the fewer turns the better.

With the Frigidaire, I really like it too. It is also a white appliance, don't know if it comes in colors or not.

Why are you set on gas drying? IMHO, the choice would depend on the cost of gas compared to the cost of electricity in your area.

Up in Massachusetts, DH has an electric dryer. It is located in the basement. He also has two dehumidifiers down there, and my choice was a big folding clothes rack that I dried all the towels and sheets on, even in the wintertime. It worked like a champ. I dried our clothing in the dryer mostly if it needed to be wrinkle free. Down south, I do not have room for the drying rack, so everything gets dried in the machine here.

Sears still sells an "apartment sized" washer/dryer which CAN be stacked. I had one on my houseboat. The dryer was electric but ran on 110 power, not 220 circuit. Those are very small units. The washer is a top loader, not a front loader.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 6:07PM
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I downloaded the whirlpool owners manual and you can do a stop and drain during the cycle... I'm not clear if you can restart it. I also don't know how often I might need to use the feature, being an inexperienced weaver.

Both electricity and natural gas are pretty cheap here. But 95% of the electricity in the state is coal generated and I don't like that. On the other hand, one day I'd like solar panels, and in the meantime I can buy wind power credits.

The vent can go straight out the wall so that is good.

White is fine, it will be behind a closet door and the scheme is all white and blue anyway.

I'm hooked on gas for my stove too.

thanks for the review.


    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 6:58PM
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Ellen, did you say you were dying your wool or just preshrinking it? If you are dying the wool, is it fabric dying or fiber dying and is it in the machine or in a pot on the stove?

I have a friend who kept heirloom sheep which gave her colored wools without dying, and she serves the artistic wool fiber folks all over the world. I think she rehomed the sheep when she and her DH expanded the Iowa Parrot Rescue. If you wish to know her thoughts on the subject, I can write to her and get her opinion. I do not know if she dyed any wool or not. Every time I take a rescued parrot up to Iowa, we sit and chat while she spins the wool into a long fiber. It is almost hypnotic, and enchanting.

I admire the way you are standing up for your environmental beliefs. It isn't always convenient, but I suppose folks with determination can somehow find a way.

We are going to change over to solar panels on the south side of our roof after we replace our shingle roof with a standing seam metal, and then we can heat our water that way. I replaced the gas water heater with an electric tank, but we'll also have a preheat tank installed or a bypass tank, whatever. When DH was teaching engineering, he required his students to build such a water heater, so I feel fortunate that I've got the guru of solar captive to my design needs. I keep him pretty busy, actually.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2010 at 1:20PM
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Hi Ellen,
I can't tell from your description whether or not your w/d closet is on the first floor or upstairs. It is important with stackables that you have a really solid, level base on which to place them. So, just a note that if they are upstairs be sure to check on the installation base requirements with your installer/GC.

We have a GE front loading set in a "closet" with electric dryer. The clearances are really tight on each side. Not sure about the difference in energy costs between electric and gas because we've always had electric. But I did want to add that we've had this set for about 4 1/2 years now with no problems whatsoever. Also, the new front loaders use far less water than the regular top loaders do/did. The spin cycles on our GE washer took us by surprise though. They spin at such high RPM's that in our 1913 house the adjacent windows rattled! We just moved the dial to use the lower RPM spin and got used to it. The clothes come out of the washher close to dry! The RPM for spin cycle be another thing to consider when picking the machine since you are concerned about hand wovens.

Best of luck to you. Sounds like you've found a great place to buy and get a good deal on them!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 11:38AM
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I'm not doing any dying (yet). I will probably do most of my weaving with cotton, linen, silk. They require wet finishing, but probably need less attention than wool. And if I do catch the dying bug I'll probably stick with those materials and they can be done on the stovetop.

I believe I'll go with the front loading set. I have a friend who still has a top-load machine. I can use her machine if I need to and give her a handwoven towel now and again in thanks.

I printed out the installation portion of the manual of the set I'll probably get and stuck to the wall this morning so if they get to framing the closet they'll know how deep to make it. The depth won't change if I end up with a different brand in the same size.

I spent a lot of the weekend going through stuff in my loft. Cleaning out the cubbies-many bags of old clothes to take to the thrift shop, and rounding up the dust bunnies under the bed. I still have the cubbies on the east side...where the construction will be happening, but they are smaller and probably mostly things I will keep.

When they start work there, the bed will have to be dismantled. When they are done with the bedroom, but before it is painted and floored it will be a good place to sand and repaint the bedframe and a couple pieces I will use for the side tables. I want to add a lightly upholstered piece to the headboard.

I have two low dressers that stand in front of the cubbies now. At least one of them will have to move downstairs during the construction. I think one will fit in the new floor plan, the other may end up in a yard sale.

Once I move to the new bedroom I will gut the loft, removing the cubbies and flooring. I'll enlist a woodworking friend to help me design and build some simple new cubbies that have backs and boxes or baskets to match. I really don't need every possible cubic inch for storage. I can backfill the area behind with insulation. I'll put in new floor and a rail at the end of the loft floor.

By then the little recliner which is off getting new upholstery should be ready and I can set it up there with a good light. The loom will fit in the dormer, so I'll have a view of the mountains while I weave. A sewing machine table will tuck into the opposite side.

When in use the loom or sewing table can be pulled out toward the center of the room and tuck back a foot or two out of the way when not in use. I'll add a drop leaf on the back and side of the sewing table to create a larger workspace when needed.

That should leave enough room for card weaving and one day, perhaps, a small tapestry loom. And no doubt, a serger.


    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 12:12PM
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