Monday, June 16, 2014

The Washing Machine Saga

In non-gardening-related news, our washing machine (a freebie from 2008, when Blue Man Group closed its costume shop in Red Hook, Brooklyn) committed hara-kiri.  See the huge hole in the outer drum?  That shouldn't be there...


I took the washer apart to try to fix it, but replacement parts would cost $750.  

Seven Hundred and Fifty American Dollars.

So I went down the rabbit hole of researching new washing machines, versus used washing machines, versus home made, pedal-powered washing machines, versus old fashioned electric and hand activated washing machines...  According to my own comparisons between amazon.com reviews and Consumer Reports reviews, it seems machines can be found these days that are quiet and work well, but it also seems no one is making good and quiet machines that are also built to last.  The same machines that got the highest Consumer Reports ratings also had high volumes of customer complaints about the machines quickly breaking down or never working well in the first place.

I took a house-hold survey.  I was starting to get excited about pedal powered and hand washers, but Cindy and our upstairs tenant and friend, Ian, brought my head out of the clouds and overruled my hippie washing machine dreams on the grounds of time management.  Fair enough.

Cindy and I bought a used washer from a guy on e-bay for $200 plus the cost of a zipcar to go get it.  It makes a knocking sound when it agitates, which seemed to get better when I leveled the washer, but the knocking has come back again.  I've opened the front cover and can't see anything actually wrong with things as it's operating, so I'm going to hope for the best.  Plus, I really like this washer.  It's a top loader.  The old kaput one was a front loader.  As my grandmother used to say, "We shall see..."

Still, you should check out this video of a home-made pedal powered washing machine.  The couple who made it seem sweet:

I also stumbled on this video, which basically got me all excited about the possibilities of life:


Inspired by the above video, and wanting to salvage what we can, I'm keeping the old washing machine motor (for unknown future projects), I've turned the stainless steel drum into a fire pit for the back yard (we haven't tried it yet), and I took the glass out of the door for a mixing bowl.  I think I'm going to dismantle and keep the metal sides of the washer, too.  You never know when you might need some sturdy sheet metal.  Good materials are expensive and hard to get.  The rest (computer controls, all the plastic bits, the pumps, etc) is getting recycled, because it doesn't seem like there's a market for used parts for this machine.

In case you're curious, we don't have an electric dryer.  We hang-dry everything in the basement on two racks I made with a bunch of dowels and some scrap wood a few years ago.  Here's one of them:


By the way, that's the old washer (in pieces) on the left, and the new washer (under Ian's laundry basket) on the right.  I keep a dehumidifier running in the basement, because I don't want my tools to get rusty.  It also helps the clothes dry faster in the humid, Summer months.  And, with the top-loading washer, I can use the dehumidifier water in the washing machine.  Neat, eh?

Special thanks to Ian for helping us bring the replacement washing machine down into the basement.  And when I say "helping," I mean he did most of the work.

2 comments:

  1. This is an excellent post I seen thanks to share it. It is really what I wanted to see hope in future you will continue for sharing such a excellent post. professional window cleaning

    ReplyDelete
  2. The unfortunate part of all of this is, with a quick 2 minute inspection twice a year, and a $15-$20 part replacement if necessary, this could have all been prevented! Lucky for you, we're here to tell you how!
    sawspecialists.com/

    ReplyDelete