This was one of those weeks when doing what I needed to do didn’t leave any extra room for things I wanted to do. So no writing, and very little photography.
But let’s talk washing machines, shall we? That has been the most trying issue of the week.
I have a lot of laundry, and a poorly functioning or non-functioning machine is not an option. We just plain wore out our last machine, a GE, and I replaced it with another, but the newer model was a hybrid HE machine. Supposedly, it had user selectable water levels, which is very important to me. I’ve had HE machines before, and they just don’t work. No water means no cleaning.
Everything went fine for a couple of months, but then I started noticing that our laundry was coming out tangled up – a sure sign that they were not getting enough water – and so I put a magnet on that annoying lid device and watched it run. I could see the water line that it should have been getting to, but it was several inches below that. Even more disturbing, it filled up to different levels, depending on whether there was laundry in it or not, or how much laundry was in it, even while on the same super setting. In fact, the small setting sometimes filled higher than the super setting!
We don’t usually buy warranties, but we did this time, considering how quickly we used up our last machine, so I called the repairman. Three weeks later, and after waiting all day for him to arrive, he ordered some parts. “These won’t fix your problem, but that’s all I can do.” Two weeks later, another man came out to install them. “These won’t fix your problem, but there’s nothing else we can do.” He ran the machine empty, on super, and it filled to the max fill line. I put a load of diapers in, and it filled to less than halfway. Later, I filled it again, empty this time, and it still only filled halfway.
I checked the advertised specs on my machine and did some math. It was advertised as having a 3.8 or 3.9 cu. ft. tub, depending on the website. My measurements – and I generously did not remove space for the agitator, and measured all the way to the bottom of the dip at the base – yielded a maximum of 3.2 cu. ft. Measured to the max fill line, I really only had, at most, 2.3 cu. ft. And measured to the actual fill line? 1.7 cu. ft.! Less than half the advertised tub capacity! Again, clothes don’t clean if they aren’t in the water, so the water level really has to dictate the load size.
I called the warranty company again. “The repairman’s work is guaranteed for 90 days, ” she said, “so we’ll send him back out to repair it again.”
“There’s nothing wrong with his repair, ” I replied. “It’s the machine.”
“If he didn’t get it fixed, he’ll have to come back out and do the job right,” she said.
I was feeling pretty angry by now. “There’s nothing else he can do. Sending him out again will achieve nothing. How do we get this machine replaced?”
“The manufacturer won’t do anything about the machine until you’ve had three service calls on it, and because the repair is warrantied for 90 days, this is just considered an extension of your first service call.”
So… you have to wait 90 days between service calls to reset the clock so that it counts toward your service call quota?! Not amused, my friends. Not amused.
So I called Lowes, the store we purchased it from – in July – and spoke to a manager. He didn’t even quibble about taking back the machine. “You still have your purchase and warranty receipts? Just bring it in and we’ll exchange it for any washer you want.”
“Actually, I’d rather have my money back. You don’t carry any other washers I want.”
“No problem, “he said.
So, kudos to Lowes.
Except I’m going to be needing a washing machine, and one that works.
Here’s some other disturbing information I’ve acquired in the past couple of weeks. Water fill levels are dictated by the federal government. So are water temperatures. Mine fills with hot water when selected, but this machine just missed the cutoff for new water temp standards; most newer machines will actually fill with lukewarm water, even if hot is selected.
What to do?
I need a reliable, top-loading washer that actually fills with water; I’m perfectly capable of deciding how big my load is and how much I need. I need it to fill with hot water when I want it to, because, once again, diapers.
You’ve probably guessed I’ve been looking at commercial washers. Speed Queen makes a home line (meaning they don’t have coin slots) that is produced, they say, to the same standards and on the same line as their commercial models. It’s supposed to last 25 years. (I’ll be happy with 10!) It fills to the full capacity of it’s 3.3 cu. ft. tub. Unless it’s on the eco setting required by California law, it will not dilute the hot tap water, if hot is the selected temperature. And they have a model that doesn’t have electronic controls; it works by old fashioned knobs.
Sounds like a dream machine to me! I’m picking one up on Monday, right after I return this lemon to Lowes. I’ll let you know how it works out.