My Washing Machine

Machovka-Washing-machine-3Our washer quit again.

The little guy has his happy days and his sad days but too many of his days are spent sulking and refusing to work.

I wish I understood his moods better.

For much of this, I blame my wife (a common enough reflex for me) because she likes to fiddle with the settings.

After she has dialed the temperature to cold and the cycle to delicates, I come along with a dozen grease stained jeans and a pile of sweatshirts that smell more like my dog than my dog does – and when I push the START button, the washer gags and shrieks – then in a huff worthy of a petulant teenager, it quits and refuses to start again.

Normally when this happens, I simply unplug it.

In the world of appliances therapy, pulling the plug is the equivalent of electroshock.  It erasers the memory and reboots the attitude of wayward gadgets- but like any treatment, it has its limits and our washer is well past its limits. Eventually something snaps – and then I have to take it apart to fix it.

Which brings us around to an entirely different subject.

All products in our modern world are first and foremost designed to be sold. This is why everything in the showroom gleams, sparkles and whispers impossible promises.  

After everything looks spiffy, the next design criteria is how easy it is to manufacture – the thought of what a customer might do when the product breaks down (which is frequent) does not enter into anyone’s head.

There could be no better example of this than the stack washer.

By definition, a stack washer is built so that something, usually a dryer, can be stacked on top of it – therefore the doors are located in the front. No mystery there.  But it also means that all the important stuff like the hoses, pumps and motor are all located at the bottom of the washer.

I think you can see where I am going.

A thoughtful and competent engineer might simply design an access door and everyone would be happy.  But a simple metal plate door can cost as much as 30¢and the poor folks in production would then be burdened with the task of installing it and we certainly cannot have that.  So the only way to repair a stack washer is to unstack whatever is on top of it, tip it over and remove the bottom.

This is not something a person wants to do frequently, so I made a list of all things I needed to fix… and was surprised by how long it was.

  • The door sags on its hinges, requiring it to be lifted whenever it is closed.
  • The door latch does not catch properly – probably because the door is cockeyed.
  • The washer jams up with suds.
  • It does not drain properly.
  • It has a terrible attitude.

So I scoured the appliance repair forums and what I found did or did not shock me. It seems that everyone who has the same make and model washer as we do has the same difficulties. It turns out there is no cure for the door hinge and the general consensus is that when you order the latch from Amazon, you order three. You go through them that quickly.

The root of my washer’s trauma is a blocked drain – filled with all the things that come out of the pockets of the person who always forgets to empty them whenever he tosses his jeans into the wash.

(Like I say, it is all my wife’s fault.)

So I found an excellent video on Youtube which brilliantly illustrated how to disassemble the washer and clean the drain.  It is amazing what I found in there: loose change, small wood screws, keys, a debt card for Applebees and a small foreign car. 

So I cleaned out the drain, replaced the latch and reassembled the washer.  Wisely, I tested it before replacing the bottom.  I then turned it right side up, hoisting the dryer back into place and now everything works just dandy – except the dryer, who sulks, refuses to work and threatens to throw a tanturm.