In this issue:
1) Why I Don't Recommend Front Load Washers (yet)
2) How's Your Financial Health?
3) 'Tall Tub' Dishwashers - Worth the Extra Bucks?
1) 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 is one 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 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: www.staber.com
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3) While I'm up here on my soapbox, I might as well sound off
on another newer attempt in the never-ending quest to get you to dig deeper into your wallet: 'tall tub' dishwashers.
These machines sell themselves as soon as you open their door. All that interior space is a definite 'Wow!' factor, and the door
panel reaching nearly to the floor really presents a nice clean look on the outside.
But once again, after servicing many dozens of these, I have to say I'm not yet 'sold' (I'm not a negative person, honestly, but...
Some of the same reservations I have about FL clothes washers apply here. Nearly all these high-end dishwashers use electronic
controls, and that adds another level of complexity, which translates into your seeing more of guys like me. (Yes I know,
I should be happy to have the extra work, but... <g>)
The TT's all use a horizontal axis wash pump system to get the necessary extra floor clearance. I've been servicing dishwashers
for nearly 33 years now, and have yet to see a horizontally mounted motor/pump assembly that lasted as long as one that's
vertically mounted. The weird thing is, I'm not sure why.
Logically, a pump impeller rotating vertically around a horizontal shaft should be more efficient at 'throwing' water upward. But long
term reliability tends to favor the opposite. Odd. As with any newer designs, time will tell.
OK, I'm climbing down and giving you a break! I feel much better now!
"God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change,
the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know... it's ME!"
Revelation 22:12-14 KJV
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