Ma and Pa Kettle go to the appliance store

Spring Cleaning continues at my house, interrupted briefly by a death in the family – my old washing machine finally started to make the hideous noise that signals a bearing out in the drum. I’m no mechanic, but I know – that’s like a car without a tire.

I realized, it was old, and probably a few years beyond a healthy retirement age. We had bought the old front loader almost 17 years ago, when they were the newest fad, and priced pretty hefty. We paid about $1,000 for it – OUCH! – so I was determined to get my money’s worth out of it. We had a kid in diapers, and my husband was a construction worker, so I did laundry almost every day. 

The first PG&E bill showed  a dramatic savings when compared to the same period the previous year. We had a well, so I couldn’t measure water usage, but just watching the machine, I could see it used a lot less water. And it just worked a lot better, extracting a lot more water in the spin cycle, so the clothes dried faster whether I hung the on the line or used the dryer. 

The relationship was swell for about the first 10 or 12 years – wow! Then we moved into this little apartment with the laundry closet right in the middle of the house – we immediately noticed this moldy odor. I looked online and found lots of similar complaints from other owners. Something the manufacturers were just admitting, was that the front-loaders build up more lint and scum in the drum, and they get disgusting after a while. They’d come up with a few different brands of machine cleaner – including some stuff from Clorox that looks like napalm. The manufacturer recommended monthly usage. I’d already had my machine for over 10 years, but Refresh really seemed to help, I started using it at least  every other month. It’s supposed to be septic tank safe, but I’m always cautious.

Even though the drum smelled better, our socks and towels started to seem less than clean. I tried vinegar and baking soda, and I started “topping them off” in the dryer after I got them off the line, but our socks oftentimes didn’t even look like they’d been washed, and the towels would stink as soon as they got wet. I wondered about our colored clothes – they always seemed soft and fresh, but I was paranoid that we smelled like a dirty laundry hamper to other people. 

I still stuck with the old machine. They were still expensive, and there wasn’t much variety, even with several different appliance chains in town. Then recently, the sump pump started to act up constantly, the machine would quit in mid-load and refuse to drain, and my husband would have to come in and use our old shop vac to suck the drain free of bad smelling water. About every other month, he had to take the front off and dig out the sump pump, and suck that out too. It was usually just full of scum and skank water – the pump was dying, it couldn’t get all the water out anymore.  We had been seeing a lot of different machines at Lowe’s lately, with a lower price range, so we decided to take advantage of the President’s Day sale. We found an LG HE washer for $728, about $100 off the regular price. 

And here’s the cherry on top – this machine qualifies for a $150 rebate from Cal Water. My cup runneth over.

The delivery guy gave me the run-down on the machine, then suggested I do a load of laundry and see how it worked. I had lost confidence in my old machine almost a week previous when it plugged up on me with a load of wet sheets! So the laundry was stacking up, our closet was full of empty hangars and the smell of dirty socks could be had from the front door. I threw in the first load – just about every t-shirt we owned. 

This machine is kind of Star Trek-y. The old machine had a physical knob, which was so hard to turn I had to use both hands. I had gotten used to that over the years, missing the cycle I wanted and having to turn the knob around again. This machine has a much nicer knob, and easy touch buttons, with a dashboard for choosing special features. Luckily our laundry isn’t fancy, it usually only requires the “on” and “start” buttons, and the knob to choose a cycle. 

Of course, after the way the old machine has treated me lately, I was afraid to leave the apartment while the new one was running. It was so quiet I almost forgot it was there. The old machine had sounded like a jet taking off every time it went into spin. 

And, this new machine is actually quite attractive, sitting there in it’s own little closet.

Ooooo, shiny!

Ooooo, shiny!

Get this – it plays a little song when it’s done, how civil!

I felt some guilt in this purchase, like always. My husband and I are empty-nesters, I wondered if we need something like this. But yeah, we like clean clothes, clean towels, and clean bedding, we need a washer. OMG – I can’t wait to wash that hamper full of socks.




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