Jan 20, 2011

It's not the age that will get you, it's the miles.

We have bought three washing machines in the past six years, two high efficiency frontloading machines and a top loader. The first machine lasted exactly one year before being replaced under warranty as a "lemon" when it was out of commission a full 25% of that first year.

The second machine was bought with the store credit given to us due to the "no-lemon" clause of the warranty on that first washer. The store credit combined with cash out of pocket bought us a washing machine that cost more than some of the cars that we bought in the first decade of our marriage. That second machine worked like a trooper for three years without nary a whimper before starting to complain.

The third washer was found on Craigslist. It was an emergency purchase to keep us limping along while the workhorse machine#2 was waiting for the repair appointment.

We are currently rotating back and forth between the hardworking front loader and the second string toploader. The frontloader has become very finicky. The repairman came and fixed the door lock, then the door hinges and now the computer board all in an attempt to return it to it's former glory. We are not there yet. We may never get there.

One of the main questions that we get when people learn of our family size is regarding our laundry situation. How much do we do? How long does it take? How big is the pile? Well, when we bought frontloader#2 it had the largest capacity drum available for residential use. When we are all caught up on laundry we do between four and five loads a day in that large washer, household laundry and dairy cloths combined. When that machine decides to take a vacation and we pull out the (still very large) toploader we do about ten loads daily. Honestly? That is pretty near impossible. This means that we are not only having to do laundry at home with the second string washer, we are also making at least weekly trips to the laundromat in town--fifteen or so miles away.

The frustration caused me to do some research. Why are our washers so short lived? How long should one expect a new washing machine to work? From what I have read a toploader should be expected to last 14 years and a frontloader will last 10-11 years, with an average use of 3 loads of laundry weekly.

Weekly. Which means that these days I am doing a weeks worth of laundry before lunch and the same during the afternoon. And another week in the evening. Three weeks worth of laundry a day.

At the "average" usage the washing machine should go through approximately 1716 loads in it's wonderful glass-fronted life. When the frontloader is working well, I do approximately 1642.5 loads a year. Shoot, let's give the machine a break and let it take that half a washload off this year. Even at that...I am running it through a normal lifetime of wear in less than thirteen months. I do not even want to crunch the numbers for the toploader.

So. Anyone feel like telling me that I am crazy for calling a salesman for a commercial washing machine like they have at laundromats? (Or hotels or hospitals?)

Or crazy for not having called before now?


Billie said...

LeeAnne, I'd love to hear how you like the commercial machine, what you had to spend, and how it does for you. In addition to a commercial washer, I'm thinking a commercial dishwasher (do they make those without having a huge scullery setup?) would be in order for our house. We do dishes at least 3 times a day...

Lynn said...

Well I just did the math for my top loader. At an average (kidding season is higher!) of 80 loads per week... mine goes through it's 14yrs in... 27wks.

I feel your pain.

LeeAnne said...

Billie--I do not know yet about the commercial washer. We have to do some work before we can put it in such as larger drains and if we want it in the house, larger doors! These things weigh over a thousand pounds! They cost a lot--but truth be told we crunched the numbers and we have spent over a thousand dollars in lost clothes due to mildew issues when the machines are not working, laundromat expenses, parts and repair and more. Throw in the stress of having to take the laundry somewhere, not having clean clothes, etc and we figure if the machine really do the work they say it can (ten loads a day for a decade when we'd only be running the large thing for 2 loads daily, max) that we'll save money in the long run. Not counting time. We shall see. We'll let y'all know when we get closer to installation and usage.

LeeAnne said...

Oh and Billie--we finally gave up on dishwashers when we were running it nonstop also. Handwashing for us--now I just need to get that $1200 hunk of SS that used to wash dishes out of the kitchen so we can put in (gasp!) a large three bay restaurant sink like we have in the dairy complete with pull down sprayer! I think those days of trying to convince people that we really live no differently from those in small families are behind us, huh?