Two weeks ago I returned home from being away for several hours, and my husband informed me that he had discovered water on the floor of our storage room located immediately behind the laundry closet. My immediate concern was water leaking into the house from outside either from the heavy rain or a faucet. I hurried outside and around the house to check and found no indication of a possible leak from outside. I returned inside and started moving boxes out of the storage room and discovered no water close to the outside wall. This meant that the water had not come from rain, leaking faucet, or broken pipe in the heating system.
I continued my investigation and discovered water near the wall to the laundry closet. I checked the floor of the laundry closet and found it wet. I gave the information to my husband and told him that I believed the water came from the washing machine. He did some investigating on his own and agreed with me. I had completed several loads of laundry before leaving the house a few hours previously.
We purchased our Maytag washing machine in 1972, the evening before our first child was born. We had not left the purchase to the last minute, but she actually came five weeks early. The new washer and dryer were delivered while I was still in the hospital with the baby. My husband maintained both the washer and dryer, and they served us well.
My husband went to the store where he normally purchases parts to fix the washer and dryer. He told the owner of the store of the problem and received some ideas on what to look for. He returned home and removed the front panel from the washing machine. He discovered some corrosion but could not actually locate the leak. He called an appliance repairman – the first one he has EVER called.
The repairman came a few days later and informed us that the washing machine was too far gone to repair. This was bad news indeed because we did not want to purchase a new appliance. About two years ago we replaced our thirty-three year old refrigerator and have had more problems with it in two years than we had in more than thirty years! We would have kept the old refrigerator if we could have purchased new shelves for its door!
We asked the repairman for recommendations for a replacement, and he told us he could not recommend any of the machines currently on the market. He said they were all made with plastic parts and would not last more than seven to ten years. He did recommend that we purchase the most simple machine we could find – to not buy any features that we would not use.
While talking about simple machines he remembered an old fashioned type machine – has an agitator and no computers – sold in the local building supply store. He said it was a Speed Queen made with metal parts and should last as long as parts were available. His recommendation was echoed by the man selling Maytag parts. We went to look at the appliance but did not buy it.
Several more days went by. Meanwhile, a friend mentioned that her front-loading washer does not get clothing as clean as her old Maytag. This statement was the final bit of information I needed to make my decision. I decided to buy the Speed Queen even though it was several hundred dollars more expensive. We were told this machine is the same machine that is used in Laundromats but without the coin slots.
My husband and I went back to the building supply store to look at the machine again. We told the salesman that we were replacing our forty-two-year old Maytag and were looking for another durable washing machine. He took us to look at the Speed Queen and told us it was the best machine on the market. It is nothing fancy, just a simple washing machine, but it is made with metal parts instead of plastic.
This was the third “expert” telling us that this machine was the most durable that money could buy today. The salesman said that he sells “loads” of this machine. When he knocked $100 off the selling price, we took the deal. We kept the old dryer on the advice of the repairman but needed to replace the venting system.
The washing machine was delivered the next day, and my husband installed it. He spent the next day installing a new venting system for the dryer. The third day I washed seven loads of laundry and am pleased with the performance of both the new washing machine and the old dryer with a new venting system. I am glad I searched for a more durable washing machine. I expect it to last for the rest of my life or at least until I move out of Alaska!
I have some questions about the appliances on the market in America: What is wrong with Americans today that we can no longer seek durability? Are we so eager to buy the newest thing in the store that we do not care about quality? Are we so fascinated with technology that we think computers make everything better? If we are so concerned about “saving the planet” and the environment, we should stop being a “throw away” society and start demanding quality!