Last 2 clothes washers only lasted 1/2 year

bernd ny zone5October 20, 2011

Help! I wonder if anyone here can me help. I am also posting this on the appliance and laundry room forums.

A 2007 consumer report shows that clothes washers we are using right now had one of the lowest repairs in 2007. We actually used that manufacturer's washers satisfactorily since 1974, always top-load.

May I ask anyone here, if how the wires are run in a house can affect life of a washer. We have not changed the wiring of the clothes washer since we bought the house in 1987. My last 2 identical washers lasted only 1/2 year each, with 4 repairs each, second washer was a free replacement and is broken right now. The washer has its own wire from the house junction box, has its own breaker there. No other appliance in the house has any problems. First washer had transmissions malfunctioning, second one has motor burning out.

Could the problem be a broken wire or a bad breaker?

Thanks for any help! Bernd

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brickeyee

Overloading tends to kill them fast.

Being out of level can also cause problems (but is usually so noisy you realize something is wrong when the spin cycle starts).

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 11:44AM
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bernd ny zone5

On the Laundry Room forum I added the following information. But I am really looking for some guidance in external wiring. No, no overloading. We never used the two highest loads of 'Extra Large' and 'Super'.

This is a GE top-load washer. I never had any problems with GE washers, and other GE appliances. My GE refrigerator lasted since 1987, but I replaced it with a more energy-efficient model. It is very difficult to blame a manufacturer or a particular model when it very well might be a problem with the external electric wiring. For that reason I am posting my problem here. Next step might be hiring an electrician to check out the wiring between breaker and wall outlet at the washer. The GE repair man said he would check the external wiring possibly next. Again, this has never happened to me since we own houses since 1974.

I basically wonder what's going on here. Having 2 fail in succession is very unusual. First I thought the first one was a lemon, then that the service guy did not know how to fix it. But then the second one failed too.

These washers have this new wave action washing, it seems when we pick a water level too high for the amount of clothes, water will swap out of the tub, coming out from under the washer. But any manufacturer should shield the electric parts from water spillage, I hope. We never have overloaded the machine, we actually handled washing with this model the same as we did with its predecessors.

We noticed that at times with the second machine we heard something like rifle shots. I guess that could have been shorts in the windings of the motor, it smelled like electric shorts. After it does that for a few days, the agitator/spinning no longer works.

These are top-load clothes washers, around $500, no extra whistles, model GTWN4250MOWS. We always bought the same type GE washer. We never had any new appliance fail on us within 6 years after purchase. Here we have 2 fail each after 1/2 year.

The home was built in 1978 in a residential suburb. The home builder was well known in the area. When I did some wiring on other circuits, I noticed that they used copper wire and were grounded.

Thanks! Bernd

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 12:31PM
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wayne440

Frigidaire tried a similar scheme in the early 60's, where the agitator moved vertically. It was a poor design then and IMHO still is today. That coupled with fact that today's machines are simply not designed to last very long is the likely cause of your problem.

Appliance makers have figured out that it is far more profitable to sell things that last just long enough to get out of warranty instead of 20-30 years.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 2:49PM
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jmorrow

there probably is a cat stuck in the wall eats the wires because he is hungry. when you turn on washer does it meow? you need to removed cat from wall ASAP before it eat dryer.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 4:27AM
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brickeyee

"We never used the two highest loads of 'Extra Large' and 'Super'.

What water level setting you select has nothing to do with overloading the machine.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 9:39AM
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bernd ny zone5

brickeye, we load the machine below the top of the agitator as a max, usually half full and select the 'Load' accordingly to match that clothing level with a water level.

Otherwise, the breaker in the main house breaker box is for all the 115 Vac wall outlets of the room in which washer and dryer are in a closet. I checked that by turning all the lights, etc. on and operating that breaker. The washer is 115 Vac, others on that circuit are a desk top computer, printer, wireless router, several lamps. None of these ever got effected by washer operation, i.e. lights flicker, even at the time the motor seemed to burn out.

I explained the scenario to a friend of mine who is an electrical engineer, who thinks that this is a washer problem.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 9:59AM
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brickeyee

Unlikely to be a branch circuit problem.

Washers do fail, and while quality has taken a significant hit the past 10 years or so, they should still last at least 5-8 years.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 3:18PM
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ionized_gw

There were 4 repairs to the first one you bought this year? What was broken?

Without an answer to that question, my hypothesis is that both transmissions failed and the second one took the motor with it. Is GE giving you a hard time over this? If they think it is the circuit, they should be willing to prove it. Otherwise, they are just jerking you around. It is really easy for them to ask the customer to have their electrical system checked out because it does not cost them anything. You could ask them how their forensic analysis indicates that the power supply caused failure.

Be polite, but firm with them. At this point, I would be asking them for a refund or a purchase-price credit towards a different model.

I am curious, you say you always used GE washers since 1974, how many is that? Until 2001 when Katrina flooded my appliances, I had a Maytag set, bought used, that dated from that period.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 2:15PM
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bus_driver

It is not reasonable to assume that the electrical circuit caused the problem. You state that the circuit has not been changed since 1987 and that the washer problems are of much more recent origin. If the circuit is suspected, why did it not affect the washers prior to the last two?

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 4:01PM
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dkenny

have you measured the voltage at the washer while its running? is it actually 120v or is it lower like 110V or worse
could you have a lousy connection in the circuit before the washer??

why isn't the washer on its own circuit? you mentioned several other things on the same circuit or are they on a different circuit but on at the same time..this isn't the same thing..

otherwise it seems the newer washers are junk..we're stilling using our 1988 maytag..change the water connection valves a couple of times, but we're on a well.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 4:18PM
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