The Wonder of a Washing Machine

Let me begin by saying that I firmly believe that working laundry facilities are totally worth the hype. Always worth the hype. Last weekend, my washer started leaking water out the bottom. Noooooooooo. As though I didn’t have anything else on my plate. The washer was only a year old when I moved into the house, so I wasn’t expecting some kind of major repair for quite some time. On my first go at the repairs, I checked all the hoses (which would have been the cheap / easy fix). No dice. I always use for these sorts of projects because their videos and how to section is fabulous, and they are nearby so I can order the parts and go pick them up (shameless plugging with no compensation– that’s how much I love them).
DSC_2722The next day I picked up gaskets (which are the next most likely things to cause leaking). To replace said gasket, you have to literally take the entire washer apart. I got it all disassembled and looked at the gasket — hmm. The gasket looks like it is in perfect condition. No cracking, aging rubber. Uh oh. I decide to wash the outer tub (which is plastic) because it looks disgustingly scummy. So I start scrubbing and find a crack in the bottom of the plastic tub. There’s the problem!! No…. so I look up the new part- $140 for the new plastic drum. Now I’ve got a serious decision. The washer is very basic – probably a $400 washer new, buying a part for $140 seems like a stretch. But I don’t actually want to buy a new washer… or move a washer… or two… Nooooooo.


After getting some advice from friends, I called Sears to see if there’s a warranty on the washer. After a long conversation where I repeatedly explained the situation and the confused man on the other side looked up the address, phone number, my last name, the previous homeowner’s last name– no dice. I asked if they stand behind their products and have some kind of typical warranty but all he could tell me (repeatedly) was that because he couldn’t find the warranty info for this washer, he couldn’t do anything. So he transfers me to their service department. The service department tried to convince me (repeatedly) that I should schedule a technician to come diagnose the problem. I KNOW THE PROBLEM! It is a cracked outer tub!!!!!! No. I am not trying to schedule a technician. I do want to know what kind of warranty or life expectation the part has. Back and forth for a long time but she finally leaves and comes back 10 minutes later to say it appears the outer tub has a typical life expectancy of 2-3 years. WHAT??


I then called to ask them the same question. She couldn’t give me a life expectancy but said she gets a lot of complaints about the cracked tub and Kenmore washers in general. Great. Just the info I needed to make an informed decision.


DSC_2710Meanwhile, Maggie is on a crime spree (I’m not even sure what I’m being punished for this time) and is peeing on the floor at night. The stanky laundry is piling up and I am desperate to get back to normal life with clean clothes, towels, dog beds, rugs, etc. So I checked the local appliance sales hoping for a Memorial Day miracle but wasn’t terribly impressed. Then I checked Craigslist to see what was out there. When I bought a new washer at my old house (in a different lifetime) Whirlpool came back with consistently good reviews, etc. The lady at RepairClinic said the same thing. So I thought I’d start by looking for a Whirlpool. There were two new-ish Whirlpool washers for $250 and $225, respectively. I called on the first one, advertised as 4 years old, everything works, just selling because of a move. When I made contact with the owner by phone (after a few emails), she gave me directions to her house, and I asked if there was anything else I needed to know about the washer “Well it works great, except it doesn’t start immediately any more, and I always have to run the drain cycle between loads.”  Me: “Um I just took apart my existing washer and I’m not really looking for a project, thank you.”


My brother Donal and I had done some compost hauling with a trailer that morning and he said he’d go with me to pick it up — love that guy! The second washer was further away but ended up being the right move. It is a few years old, owned by this woman’s great aunt who was in her eighties. She used it a couple years and then passed away so they were getting rid of her things. The family selling the washer were down to earth, nice young family. They’d been out working in the yard. We chatted about our multiple Home Depot visits per weekend, he loaded the washer into the trailer for me, and we were on our way.  It looks brand new and even still had the protective film on it. Clearly this machine hasn’t seen a lot of mileage (I am already changing that). Donal and I got the washer into the kitchen and we called it a day. DSC_2727


The next morning I needed to change out the hoses –realizing that my laundry sink cabinet allowed me to turn off the valves, but not to change out the hoses. Nooooo. So I sawed and drilled and hammered and sawed some more to make a hole in the back of the cabinet to allow access. Note to self: next time this would be a lot easier to cut that access hole before the cabinet was installed. I had to move the disassembled old washer (directly out the door — to add to the white trash ambiance of the backyard).


The whole thing took way too long, but eventually the hoses were changed out, the new washer put in place, plugged in, and a load of yucky towels begun. The new washer is a high efficiency top loading Whirlpool (my first high efficiency washer). I am so thankful for affordable and functional laundry facilities!!! Mmmmm clean towels.

A few things to take away from this little episode:

1. Do not buy a Kenmore washer.
2. is the bomb for fixing your own appliances.
3. Awesome brothers who help move heavy stuff are worth their weight in gold… and a lifetime of free babysitting.
4. Working laundry facilities are totally worth the hype.

2 thoughts on “The Wonder of a Washing Machine

  1. Wow! Good for you for giving it a try before running out and buying a new washer. So often things can be fixed and don’t need to be replaced. And yay for such a good find on the new washer! Enjoy your HE washing! 🙂

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