Author Topic: Fix my current washer OR replace with a reasonably-priced high efficiency model?  (Read 11977 times)

LadyM

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I ask this of the MMM Community feeling I know what the collective answer will be, but I may just need more of your reassurance/guidance:

My fairly ďmatureĒ washer and dryer of 12 years are doing ok, but I think we could get something better and more efficientÖ.the question is how efficient.  The washer recently developed an interior leak, which from doing some research Iíve discovered can be easily repaired with a simple $20-30 part: the water inlet valve. (havenít looked up my specific model yet to know the exact cost)

Most of you will probably say ďNo brainer: fix it and move on.Ē  And thatís my initial reaction too, especially given that Iíve already repaired a few appliances at home.  BUTÖnow Iím toying with the idea of replacing both the washer and dryer with more efficient models.

Iím not buying into the new front-loader craze, seeing as Iíve conducted some interviews in my workplace and most people who have owned front loaders seem to prefer the top-load washers.  FineÖthatís less $$ to spend.  Plus, there are some high-efficiency top-loaders out there too!  Hereís what Iíve found: 

Washer Ė GE Adora Energy Star  Apparently it uses less water and spins at like 700RPM, taking advantage of physics to spin the clothes dryer than a regular washer, which of course means less time in the dryer.  Iíve also read itís QUIET, which is a plus for us since our washer and dryer are on the 2nd floor of our 3-story townhouse, in a closet in the center of our house.  If I could get a quieter machine, it would be nice.   

The matching dryer (they donít have to match, but I clicked on it since the reviews were also high):
Dryer Ė GE Adora (electric)  Obviously, thereís no such thing as a high-efficiency dryer, BUT dryers with better sensors to tell when clothes are dry and not OVER-dry would cut down on energy consumption, especially coupled with the super-spun clothes coming out of the super-spinning washer.  In theory, both of these machines use less resources than our current dino-laundry setup.

All that saidÖ.itís $1000 for both of them with the saleÖ.minus $50 because they have some special going on right now if you buy multiple appliances, yadda yadda.  So $950 + parts (pigtail and vent for dryer, hoses for washer) $50 (probably), + $50 tax = $1050.  I can use my rewards card to pay for them (THEN PAY THE BALANCE OFF EACH MONTH BECAUSE THATíS HOW YOU DO IT) and get $10.50 back to me, so the end price is $1039.50, roughly.  A handy chunk of change to dole out, I know.  Which brings me to the questionsÖ.

Is it worth it to spend the money now on higher efficiency appliances than my current ones?  Will I see a return on the investment?  Is it enough to just know Iím consuming less resources?  What would any of you do, assuming you have the cash on hand?

I suppose I could even try to sell my current working models for $100-$150 each on Craigslist to offset the cost of the new machines.  I looked on there for myself, and there are some good deals, but when I research the models Iím not seeing good reviews.  I also donít see many high-efficiency options other than front-loaders.  Iíll keep checking though.

Jack

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If you decide to get the new appliances, you can do better than $1039.50. My high-efficiency (albeit front-load) washer and dryer (normally ~$600 each "on sale") cost me around $700 total because I bought one of them from Sears Outlet (not Sears retail) and found the other in the floor model/clearance/scratch-and-dent area at Lowe's. Note that both of these were brand new and neither was actually scratched or dented, although the dryer was missing its shoe/delicate item rack (which I could order for $40 or so if I wanted).

LadyM

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I've been considering visiting the store and looking for scratch and dent deals.  HD and Lowes almost ALWAYS have something like that going on.  Good call.

jrhampt

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If you decide to get the new appliances, you can do better than $1039.50. My high-efficiency (albeit front-load) washer and dryer (normally ~$600 each "on sale") cost me around $700 total because I bought one of them from Sears Outlet (not Sears retail) and found the other in the floor model/clearance/scratch-and-dent area at Lowe's. Note that both of these were brand new and neither was actually scratched or dented, although the dryer was missing its shoe/delicate item rack (which I could order for $40 or so if I wanted).

+1 on this.  We replaced our old washer and dryer with HE ones (front-load, which has been fine by me, no complaints) from the Sears Outlet (also known as the ding and dent).  Not sure where the dents were, as they looked brand new to me.  I believe the total cost was similar to Jack's.

AJ

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How many loads per week do you wash? Do you wash on cold or hot (or, some combination)?  Is your dryer gas or electric? Is your water heater gas or electric? How much do you pay per kWh for electricity, and per 1000 gallons for water (and per therm for gas, if applicable)?

http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/laundry.html

Edit to add: For us, since we wash mostly on cold, have no kids (read: don't do a lot of loads), don't pay for water (well water), and hang dry a lot of loads, the payback for buying a high efficiency washer vs. keeping our existing one was about 100 years. YMMV, depending on a ton of factors.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2012, 10:19:16 AM by AJ »

Another Reader

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In your shoes, I would fix the old one and enjoy a couple of more years without spending the money for new laundry equipment.

Without exception, everyone I know personally that bought front loading machines HATES them.  They complain the laundry isn't really clean and stuff still smells.  Folks, there's a reason our ancestors beat cloth with rocks in the nearest stream.  The water rinsed away the dirt the rocks "agitated" out of the cloth.

LadyM

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How many loads per week do you wash? Do you wash on cold or hot (or, some combination)?  Is your dryer gas or electric? Is your water heater gas or electric? How much do you pay per kWh for electricity, and per 1000 gallons for water (and per therm for gas, if applicable)?

http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/laundry.html

Edit to add: For us, since we wash mostly on cold, have no kids (read: don't do a lot of loads), don't pay for water (well water), and hang dry a lot of loads, the payback for buying a high efficiency washer vs. keeping our existing one was about 100 years. YMMV, depending on a ton of factors.

We have kids, so 5-6 loads per week, especially since there's still some potty-training and bed-wetting going on...unavoidable.  Everything is washed on cold.  We make our own detergent that's already HE friendly.  Dryer is electric, water-heater is electric (not that it matters since we exclusively use cold water).  View attachment for kWh prices.  Water is locally paid...can't login to my bill right now, so I'll have to check that later.


Jack

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For me the HE washer was worth it because:
  • I was outfitting my first house, so it wasn't replacing anything.
  • My city just spent $4 billion dollars on fixing sewers, so my water bill is ridiculously expensive (I spend ~$50/month for 4 CCFs).

By the way, I don't have a problem with my front-loader (although I haven't really compared level of clean-ness compared to a top-loader). However, I do leave the door slightly ajar between washes to keep it from smelling.

jrhampt

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For me the HE washer was worth it because:
  • I was outfitting my first house, so it wasn't replacing anything.
  • My city just spent $4 billion dollars on fixing sewers, so my water bill is ridiculously expensive (I spend ~$50/month for 4 CCFs).

By the way, I don't have a problem with my front-loader (although I haven't really compared level of clean-ness compared to a top-loader). However, I do leave the door slightly ajar between washes to keep it from smelling.

Yeah, I've never had an issue either.  I also leave the door ajar between washes.

chucklesmcgee

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Perhaps you could post your past electric bill amounts and water bill and the make and model of your current set just so we can get a sense of your current setup's energy usage

I'm really doubtful that this is actually a cost-effective investment, especially if you're already using cold water. If Michael Jay information provides even ballpark information, you'll only save around $50 a year on laundry, so your break-even point would be in a decade plus, maybe (who knows if the new machine conks out or requires more repairs by then), by which point I'm guessing your kids will be close or already have moved out, so you wouldn't even be using the new washer as much.

It's pretty much a luxury purchase unless your water is really expensive. If you want something quieter, great, but don't consider it a necessity. Heck, the interest from $1000 alone could probably cover all the future repairs to your current setup.

Unless something breaks and you're saddled with a couple hundred in repairs I don't think the numbers are in your favor.

Matte

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I could see justifying the washer for increased efficiency and piece of mind, I just went through three used washers in 4 years.  From free to 150 bucks a pop, the last one had the wiring go and smoked my garage.  We finally got a new one, we could not risk our rental income we'd loose if we lost our renters over no laundry.

Another Reader

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I was at Lowes yesterday and I looked at the energy efficiency tags on various appliances.  The old fashioned washer I looked at showed an annual electricity cost of $22 on the yellow tag.  I think the cost benefit analysis on the electricity side will not justify the expenditure.    Unless the water in your area is priced like Starbucks coffee, I would fix the washer and move on.


LadyM

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I'm really doubtful that this is actually a cost-effective investment, especially if you're already using cold water. If Michael Jay information provides even ballpark information, you'll only save around $50 a year on laundry, so your break-even point would be in a decade plus, maybe (who knows if the new machine conks out or requires more repairs by then), by which point I'm guessing your kids will be close or already have moved out, so you wouldn't even be using the new washer as much.

Kids are 3 and 6....they are around for a good while.  And currently the 3-year old is generating enough laundry for 2 more children.

It's pretty much a luxury purchase unless your water is really expensive. If you want something quieter, great, but don't consider it a necessity. Heck, the interest from $1000 alone could probably cover all the future repairs to your current setup.

Oh, I agree....luxury purchase 100% at this point! We can afford the new, but that's not always a reason to buy either.  In addition to ROI (which, as you say, may be a decade or so out), there's always the feeling that we're consuming fewer resources in terms of water and electricity, although MMM would probably punch me in the face and tell me to hang dry everything, and he's probably right. 

Currently we don't hang-dry because we don't have the space, and being as we both work 5 days a week, laundry is done all at once on a weekend, and not a load at a time over the course of the week.  We don't have the space to hang dry 5 loads of laundry inside the house, plus lately we're washing treasured items that need fast turn-around times (favorite blankies, for example). For the winter, it's just not really feasible for us to line-dry indoors.  I've been toying with the idea of setting up a clothesline outside for the warmer months, despite it being against my HOA regulations, but if I can put out one of those fancy retractable ones, it might be ok....not a permanent structure, and I doubt my neighbors would rat me out.

And for the moment, I'm still using the washer by just turning off the water supply in between loads, and getting to it as soon as it's done spinning so clothes don't end up soaked. 

LadyM

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I was at Lowes yesterday and I looked at the energy efficiency tags on various appliances.  The old fashioned washer I looked at showed an annual electricity cost of $22 on the yellow tag.  I think the cost benefit analysis on the electricity side will not justify the expenditure.    Unless the water in your area is priced like Starbucks coffee, I would fix the washer and move on.

Yeah, I was looking at some energy tags myself yesterday at HD.  Some of the old-school machines had $52 yearly operating costs, while the newer ones were down to $14/year, and could be as low as $9 a year if you remove the hot water from the equation...that was for washers only, of course.  I didn't see energy guides for dryers. 

Water is broken into tiers around here, we actually use less than we are allocated, so we get a reduced rate.  We are allocated at Tier II, which is 26-50 thousand gallons of water per quarter, and that price is $5.69/1000 gallons.  We use at the tier I level which is 0-25 thousand gallons of water (last quarter we used 17), and that price is $2.04/1000 gallons.  So supply water is pretty cheap...we pay more for sewer: and that rate is flat at $4.02/1000 gallons, doesn't matter what your usage is.  All in all, it's still nice to use less water.

I'll do my best to ballpark what it costs to use the current washer, and I'll get back to you.  It would be a nice exercise for me, whether i decide to buy a new washer and dryer or not.

LadyM

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Ok, so running the numbers of the current washer and dryer, and basing them off the Amp usage listed on the machines using Amps x Volts = Watts

Current Dryer:
28A x 240V = 6720Watts

6720 Watts x 9 hours/week (@ 1.5 hours/load x 6 loads/week) x 52 weeks/year = 3144960W

1kWh = 1000 watts.... so 3144960W /1000 = 3145 kWh/year

3145 * 2.23 cents/kWh = $70.13 yearly operating cost


GE Adora Dryer:
24A x 240V = 5760Watts

5760 Watts x 6 hours/week (@1 hr/load* x 6 loads/week) x 52 weeks/year = 1797120W

1797120/1000 = 1797 kWh/year

1797 * 2.23 cents/kWh = $40 yearly operating cost

* basing shorter load time on use in conjunction with new washer which spins clothes drier, time in dryer should be reduced.  For apples to apples comparison (@1.5hrs/load) cost is: $60/year.  If for some reason it takes even less time, say 45 minutes/load, then it's $30/year

A savings of $10-$40 a year, depending on dry times.... At best the ROI is about 12 years with the new dryer priced at $500, unless of course the dryer can take LESS than 45 minutes for a load.


Current Washer
10A x 120V = 1200W

1200W x 3 hrs/week (6 loads/week @ 1/2 hour/load) x 52 weeks/year =  187200W

187200W /1000 = 187.2 kWh/year

187.2 * 2.23 cents/kWh = $4.17 yearly electric cost

Plus water...

(low side) 40 gallons/load x 6 loads/week x 52 weeks = 12480 gallons/year
(high side) 55 gallons/load x 6 loads/week x 52 weeks = 17160 gallons/year

water cost: $4.02 (sewer per 1000 gal) + $2.04 (water supply per 1000 gal) = $6.06 per 1000 gal

(low side) 12480 /1000 gal = 12.48 * $6.06 = $75.63 yearly water cost
(high side) 17160 /1000 gal = 17.16 * $6.06 = $103.99 yearly water cost

New washer...

Amps are the same, so I'm going to assume the same usage for electricity since I don't know the particulars in terms of how long it actually runs and draws 10 amps, etc.  For the moment, I will assume they are equal since that's all I have to go on.

Water usage:

 (low side) 18 gallons/load x 6 loads/week x 52 weeks = 5616 gallons/year
(high side) 25 gallons/load x 6 loads/week x 52 weeks = 7800 gallons/year

(low side) 5616 /1000 gal = 5.616 * $6.06 = $34.03 yearly water cost
(high side) 7800 /1000 gal = 7.8 * $6.06 = $47.27 yearly water cost

Potential savings: $28.36-$69.96 depending on how inefficient my current washer is, and how efficient the new one is.

ROI on washer is anywhere between 7 and 17 years depending on the shift in water usage.  Plus that electricity factor, that really is being ignored for the moment just because there's no way to compile the data.

Cited sources:
Power Math & usage - http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/estimating-appliance-and-home-electronic-energy-use
Water usage - http://www.fi.edu/guide/schutte/howmuch.html
My local power rate schedule - https://www.dom.com/dominion-virginia-power/customer-service/rates-and-tariffs/pdf/vab1.pdf

And the appliances I'm looking to buy:

Dryer:http://www.homedepot.com/Appliances-Washers-Dryers-Dryers-Electric-Dryers/h_d1/N-5yc1vZc3q1Z1z0y9o4Z1z0y9o3Zbwo5qZbwo5o/R-203233581/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&storeId=10051#.UJ6siuRER2B
Washer: http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053&R=203239802&catEntryId=203239802#.UJ6sbORER2C

twa2w

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I also have to say the front loader has been a big improvement over the old top-loader we had.  Uses less soap and other laundry chemicals, takes a far larger load, it gets clothes cleaner and spins them far dryer.  Mind you we did have a few electronic repair  issues, but when we pretended to hem and haw over buying a scratch and dent - the sales person took off an exrta 50 and gave us an extended warraty so all reapirs were covered.
Personally I would do the repair to get another year or so out of it.  But in about a years time keep your eye open to sales etc - appliances seem to go on sale at predictable times of year etc etc, or keep your eye on Craigs list or similiar for a recent model used one.

grantmeaname

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What about replacing only the washer, since you'd need the dryer less with a new washer? Does getting the appliances for cheaper somehow (outlet scratch and dent, as mentioned above, for example.) change the break even time dramatically?  And are you still dead set against a front-loading washer that you could get on craigslist?

chucklesmcgee

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Ok, so running the numbers of the current washer and dryer, and basing them off the Amp usage listed on the machines using Amps x Volts = Watts
.....
Issues with assumptions:
The listed amp rating is the maximum possible power draw of the unit, not the amount used whenever the unit is on. That rating is usually used to tell if your circuits can properly handle all the devices you're plugging in so that you don't blow a fuse/trip a breaker if you decide to have everything on at once. The actual power usage for both units is substantially lower. Sadly it seems that dryers don't come with energy guide ratings and that efficiency isn't enormously different between units.

You're using a figure of 2.23 cents/kWH for electricity. That's only the charge for your distribution costs. I also have Dominion Power in Virginia-we both get charged for distribution, generation, transmission and fuel costs plus state tax plus city tax per kwh. Total electric cost is around 13.2 cents/KWh in my city. Check your bill and divide your amount due minus flat customer fees by total Kwh used to see what I'm saying. When using my electric cost figures, estimates of energy usage using your amp rating look very flimsy. I'm getting around $34/month just to run the dryer with the energy consumption you estimated. This calculator is estimating just $11.90 a month to run 30 full loads at high heat at 13.2 cents/KWh. I don't think you can rely on amp ratings to get any reasonable sense of the devices usage. http://www.csgnetwork.com/elecenergycalcs.html.

Dryer savings:
Energy costs for your dryer is just going to have to be nearly pure guesstimation, but assuming the difference in amps directly corresponds with total energy usage, the new dryer will use 24A/28A= 85.7% of the energy per hour as your old unit. You'll have to run the two just as much with the same washer, so it's best to do an apples to apples comparison. Using the cost from the calculator above:
Old dryer- 11.90/month*12=$142.89 to run 360 high heat full loads a year
New dryer=$142.89*85.7% the energy=$122.38 a year
Difference= $20.51

TOTAL DRYER SAVINGS: $20.51

So that's about $20/year savings as a rough guess. And pretty believable. While there have been enormous improvements in lots of other appliances like refrigerators, TVs, computers, lights, etc, there's a basic issue of physics with dryers that you need an enormous power to create enough heat to dry clothes and dryers have not seen the same enormous improvement.

Washer savings:

Washer water savings: Your figures look reasonable. I'll just take the averages of your high and low estimates:
Old: $89.81
New:$40.65
Savings: $49.16

Washer Energy Savings:
As above, amp ratings are rather unreliable. Take a look at the energy guide rating for the new washer: http://products.geappliances.com/MarketingObjectRetrieval/Dispatcher?RequestType=PDF&Name=GHWN5250D.pdf -- Adjusting for your usage (6 loads vs. 8) the washer uses 162.75 kWH, multiplied by my electric rate as a proxy for yours (13.2 cents/kWH) I get an annual cost of $21.48. I think the label assumes warm water usage or whatever the default cycle is.

You might be able to find one for your old washer as well if you get the make and model and google around. Without that, I'll just assume the new model is 20% more efficient, as that's what the energy star site says it is, generally: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=find_a_product.showProductGroup&pgw_code=CW#overview
21.48*1.25=26.85 annual cost for old dryer

Energy savings of $5.37

Fringe Dryer Savings from the Washer:
If you buy the Washer, you'll have to run your dryer less, you think just 2/3rds as long. If you keep your old dryer, that's a savings of $47.63 a year or  if you get the new dryer, $40.79.

Savings from directly from new washer per year: $54.53
Additional savings from new washer if you only need 2/3rds of the time to dry a load: 40.79-47.63

So a new washer alone for $500 is definitely looking like a reasonable buy, especially if you really do need less time to dry your clothes. Breakeven time will be 5-10 years, maybe sooner if electricity goes up. The dryer doesn't seem like such a great choice, around 25 years. But my dryer energy consumption estimate makes some big assumptions, so who knows. Hope this helps!

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Now, let's suppose she fixes the washer and keeps both items for five more years with no additional repairs,  THEN when one of the machines finally gives out, she replaces both with whatever is available at the time that is at least as efficient as what is available today.  In the interim, she invests the $1039 and gets a compound rate of return of 5 percent.  That covers most of the estimated difference in operating costs and defers the expenditure.

I had my last dryer for over 20 years.  It's still in the garage, and with some new parts it could go another 10 years in a rental house, because it was well built.  Dryers tend to outlast washers, so it's possible she will only need to replace the washer when the time comes.

The fancy Adora set is a want, not a need.  In the OP's shoes, I would fix the washer's water inlet valve so it did not scream "you need a new laundry set" every time I used it.  Then I would put my wallet away and forget about laundry until something expensive gives out.

LadyM

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So a new washer alone for $500 is definitely looking like a reasonable buy, especially if you really do need less time to dry your clothes. Breakeven time will be 5-10 years, maybe sooner if electricity goes up. The dryer doesn't seem like such a great choice, around 25 years. But my dryer energy consumption estimate makes some big assumptions, so who knows. Hope this helps!

Good to know!  I'm glad someone else checked my numbers, because I wasn't 100% confident in them myself.  Plus I started and stopped often in typing that up admist the demands of my kids.

I do have one question:  Does it make a difference that I tend to dry on LOW all the time?  We almost never use high, because I feel it's too harsh.  Thus, it probably takes a little longer to dry the clothes....hard to say.  And supposedly the dryer has some "sensing" abilities, but it is an old-school all-mechanically controlled dryer, which I have to say I'm more confident in than the newfangled electronic models.

Also, given the power bill....big oops.  Thanks for pointing that out.  :)

LadyM

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What about replacing only the washer, since you'd need the dryer less with a new washer? Does getting the appliances for cheaper somehow (outlet scratch and dent, as mentioned above, for example.) change the break even time dramatically?  And are you still dead set against a front-loading washer that you could get on craigslist?

Good point Grant....for some reason I didn't really consider that.  <headslap>

I have looked on craigslist, and there are 2 issues:  Most people are selling sets and are reluctant to break them up, especially the HE models.  AND the front-loaders I see on there, when I research reviews on them, they aren't all that great, which leads me to be suspicious of the motivation of the seller.  I'll keep looking, and good call.

LadyM

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Now, let's suppose she fixes the washer and keeps both items for five more years with no additional repairs,  THEN when one of the machines finally gives out, she replaces both with whatever is available at the time that is at least as efficient as what is available today.  In the interim, she invests the $1039 and gets a compound rate of return of 5 percent.  That covers most of the estimated difference in operating costs and defers the expenditure.

I had my last dryer for over 20 years.  It's still in the garage, and with some new parts it could go another 10 years in a rental house, because it was well built.  Dryers tend to outlast washers, so it's possible she will only need to replace the washer when the time comes.

The fancy Adora set is a want, not a need.  In the OP's shoes, I would fix the washer's water inlet valve so it did not scream "you need a new laundry set" every time I used it.  Then I would put my wallet away and forget about laundry until something expensive gives out.

I'm honestly leaning this direction, and for a couple of reasons:

1) I'm weary of researching these damn things.

2) The new machines have a bevy of features, more than I'd think we would actually use.  I really prefer the simplicity, and I think the zillions of options and LEDs are just another way to move the thing off the showroom floor...more marketing than practicality.

3) I can fix shit.  I fixed my furnace with a new $100 control board by myself, I can replace a water inlet valve.  And a $20 or $30 part is worth even keeping it going another year, but I'm sure I'll get more mileage out of it than that.  My dad said that as long as we're "under the hood" of the washer to replace the inlet valve, might as well replace the drive belt too, which is apparently a commonly replaced part on washers.

4) Electronic controls frighten me.  I think it's one reason old-school washers and dryers last decades because there's simple mechanical shit controlling all of it....a few timers, springs that are unlikely to break and are easily replaced if they do. Plus there's that satisfying clickety-clack you get when you pick your setting, then you hit a big ass button and you know your stuff will come out clean in a short period of time.

5) I fear a new high efficiency machine is going to be so different that it will piss off my husband, who is the main launderer of the house.  I think he prefers the simplistic mechanical controls too.  He's a 70-something curmudgeon trapped in a 30-something's body....he resists change, and if something that was once simple suddenly gets over-complicated, I'm going to hear about it, and it will be delivered loudly. And ultimately I'll end up having to do the laundry....and I don't want to have to do the laundry.  I like that he does the laundry, so I want to keep him happy.

6) Lastly, you're right: the new set is a WANT and not a NEED.  I should probably wait for catastrophic laundry failure before really considering purchasing something new.

Thanks to everyone for the input and advice.  I think I'm just going to keep the old girl running for now and tune up my "laundry system", including brushing out the lint area on the dryer and cleaning the vent hose, which I can only guess will squeeze a little more efficiency out of that dinosaur.

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If I needed a new laundry pair, I would take a careful look at the old-fashioned GE set on sale at HD for $698.  I put those in rentals and they do just fine, providing years of service with few problems.  Everything is mechanical - no complicated and expensive circuit boards to replace.  In my view, the front loaders with their fancy automotive pearl paint jobs are decorative, not practical.  They don't do the job of washing fabric very well, and they seem to need lots of repairs.

LadyM

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If I needed a new laundry pair, I would take a careful look at the old-fashioned GE set on sale at HD for $698.  I put those in rentals and they do just fine, providing years of service with few problems.  Everything is mechanical - no complicated and expensive circuit boards to replace.  In my view, the front loaders with their fancy automotive pearl paint jobs are decorative, not practical.  They don't do the job of washing fabric very well, and they seem to need lots of repairs.

This has been my suspicion, and it's cool to know you've really put it to the test by putting several in rentals. I was looking at that GE set the other day in the store. I will keep it in mind for the future.

TomTX

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Perhaps I missed it, but if you fix the old unit, can you Craigslist it for $100 or so?

mm1970

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I totally get your weariness with researching.  I think we need a new washer, maybe dryer. Ours came with the house.  They are probably from the 80's.  The washer doesn't get clothing terribly clean anymore and the dryer takes forever.

But all the research has been depressing.  Apparently, the stuff they make now doesn't last 20-30 years like it used to.  7-12 is normal now.  That sucks.

So I just don't buy.  I did, for awhile, track prices, so I'd know what a good deal really was.  Lost that sheet of paper somewhere.

LadyM

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Perhaps I missed it, but if you fix the old unit, can you Craigslist it for $100 or so?

Even though the repair is simple and straightforward, it will still be quite a bit of effort to make the repair. I have to pull the whole thing out of a closet and manuver in the tight hallway that the laundry closet is located off of, to get to the back of the machine and to take the top and the entire machine exterior off. The time and effort involved are worth a lot more to me than the part.
If I fix it, I keep it.

If I wanted to CL it, I'd sell as-is with a link to the part.

jawisco

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Hands down the best thread I have ever read on washing machines!

LadyM

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Update:  Replaced the water inlet valve today, (bought online for $37).  Washing machine works like a champ now!

RepairClinic video here was a big help: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fk4puRv3Vk8

We also pulled both washer and dryer out of the "laundry closet" and cleaned up in there under and behind them, and pulled all the ductwork from the dryer to clean it out.  I also took the opportunity to clean up both machines by wiping them down and making them look like new.  It's like having a new set of machines!  I've often felt this way after doing a hard core cleaning of the refrigerator.

Get rich by taking care of the things you already own.

Off to do some laundry and mend some pants!

Another Reader

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Rationalizations kicked to the curb, significant money saved.  Good decision, great result!