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Why I Still Can't Recommend Front Load
I get asked about front load washers nearly every day, so I though
I'd share my $.02 on the subject with you. Especially since I've already
had to 'DOA' two more this month, and I'm writing this on the 6th! I
hate telling folks to scrap these beautiful looking machines!
First, the positives: for the most part, these machines do a good job of
washing clothes, using little water and detergent. They're very easy on fabric while deep-cleaning the toughest stains.
I'm seeing American-made front loaders' main bearings lasting only 5-7 years, and that's just not long enough (I
don't see enough 'offshore' brand machines - Asko, Miele, etc - to know much about their reliability).
It's tough to fix this inherent weakness, and it's the number one reason (of several) that I can't recommend these machines.
Here's the problem: When you hang 40-50 pounds of water, laundry, and basket out on the end of a rotating shaft supported
by bearings pressed into plastic, you have a mechanical system that just can't survive very long.
Other problems include leakage at the seam between the two (plastic) tank halves, basket pulley failure, usually
resulting in tub wear-through and leaks, and motor (3 phase) controller circuit board failures, just to name a few of the
Considering one of these washers can cost up to $1400, 5-7 years just isn't a sound investment. And we won't even go into
the electronics problems we have with them out here in the 'boonies' from electrical power that's anything but 'clean' and
reliable. Or voltage 'spikes' from nearby lightning strikes...
There may be a bright spot on the horizon, but it's too early for me to tell
you if it'll dawn or not. A company in Groveport, Ohio, Staber Corp, entered the residential front loader market a few years
ago, and their machines look promising.
They address the bearing problems by supporting their wash tub with bearings in both front and rear - a major improvement.
Technically not front-loaders (they load from the top), these are what we call 'horizontal axis' machines, because the tub
rotates horizontally like a typical FL, and like your dryer. Unique.
Even though it appears they're using electronics driving a 3 phase motor
like the others, this is one to watch. Cost is around $1200, though - still an awful lot of money to do your laundry, IMO. But check it out:
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