A washing machine is present in every single home in the US. In fact, it is defined as the most widely used home accessories and is considered as an irreplaceable tool for making our lives easier and fresher! Statistics show that the demand for new washing machines in the USA is constantly growing. For example, for the Q4, 2018, it is expected that there will be more than 2.83 million washing machine units shipped in and within the country. These numbers show exactly how important such home appliance is for the average US citizen.
Washing machines have been present in our day-to-day activities ever since 1850 when the steam-driven commercial laundry machinery first appeared for sale in the stores all around the USA and the UK. Since the introduction of the first automatic washing machine in 1937, these units are becoming more and more advanced and technologically enhanced. With all the features available nowadays, the washing machine does not require from you to be at home to turn it on anymore. You can do that via a single app on your mobile phone. The modern washing machine will take care of the drying process also and will leave you the only task to fold your clothes and align them in your wardrobe.
But washing machines are not only evolving in terms of technology. They are being redesigned and tailored according to the customer’s needs and the specifications of our homes. In fact, determining what type of the washing machine that will be the most suitable one for your home is where everyone ends up before making a purchase. In the numerous options that are available on the market nowadays, it is sometimes confusing to find out the best solution among all.
Different types of washing machines
If you have ended up on the market to look for a new washing machine, one of the most important choices that you will have to make is to figure out which is the exact configuration that will meet yours and your family’s needs to the biggest extent. When you get to the local tech shop and find out that you are surrounded by numerous different options, such as a traditional top-loader, a front-loader or a high-end top-loader, then you may feel that sense of confusion. But don’t worry – there is a simple logic behind every type of washing machine and choosing the best one for your home is, in fact, a not so complex task. So, here are the most popular types of washing machines available on the market and their main pros and cons:
Front-loading washing machines
If you have a laundry room that is not so big in size, then this type is a very good choice as it can get in almost every corner out there. Front-loading washers have the benefit of the large capacity which helps you handle a significant amount of laundry all at the same time, without having to sacrifice the quality of the washing process. According to most of the industry experts, this type of washing units provides the best cleaning performance. For example, if you have some very nasty stains that usually don’t go away easily, some of the front-loading washing machines have the feature of including steam in the washing process which significantly increases the effectiveness of the process. The fact that the washing cycle of these washing machines uses less water, makes them the most energy efficient one among all others. The drying time of the laundry is also significantly reduced, as the front-loading washing machines extract way more moisture from the wet loads.
But the front-loading washing machines are known and for some disadvantages also. For example – their price. Based on the advanced technology and the specific features that you want your front-loading washing machine to have, you may end up paying a fortune. Another thing that is sometimes considered as a disadvantage is that depending on the preferred settings, the washing cycle may turn out a little bit longer than expected (30 minutes or more). But without a doubt, the most significant disadvantage of the front-loading washing machines is the fact that they can be very noisy at times. Their vibrations can seem annoying if the washing unit is not installed on an initially reinforced floor. Some of the moderate models of this type often suffer from the problem of having water trapped inside. If this continues for a longer period, then you can expect to notice some musty odors in the washtub’s seals and its detergent dispenser.
Traditional top-loading washing machines
A well-known type across the USA, the traditional top-loading washing machine offers many advantages. For example, you do not have to bend to put the laundry inside the machine or to get it when the washing process is ready. Just the opposite – this type offers a more comfortable operation when compared to the front-loading washers. How many times have you gave the start of the washing process just to find that you have forgotten to put inside your favorite shirt? With the traditional top-loading washing machines this may not appear as a problem as you have the opportunity to add clothes even when it works. The top-loaders are a good choice also if you fancy having your clothes washed as faster as possible. A very significant advantage of this type is the fact that they offer little-to-none vibration. Apart from all that, choosing a top-loading washing machine will also prevent the risk from having musty odors to deal with. The models from this type usually come with a very user-friendly panel that turns the operation process into just a simple task.
But there are some cases when the traditional top-loading washing machine won’t be your best choice. For example, this type of washers has proved itself not as effective when it comes to heavy loads of laundry or significantly soiled clothes. Also, the washing cycles can hardly be tailored to your needs. It is important to know that the clothes that are washed in top-loaders usually take more time to dry. These machines are often not stackable as well.
High-efficiency top-loading washing machines
As their name suggests, these machines are a technologically-enhanced, more effective version of the top-loaders. Since they don’t have an agitator, they are able to accommodate larger loads of laundry and bulkier items like comforters for example. The cleaning performance of these washers is comparable to that of the front-loaders. Due to the fact that the high-efficiency top-loading washers only fill themselves part-way, they ensure enough room for the load to tumble. All that leads to less water consumption and makes them more energy efficient. This type of washing machines is also resistant to musty odors and reduce the risk of having bad smell on your clothes. They offer a good value for your money as you will get very functional and technologically-enhanced model for not so much more than what you will have to pay for a traditional top-loader.
Nevertheless, the high efficiency top-loading washing machines have some disadvantages. For example – the washing cycles can get as lengthy as those of the front-loaders and if you want to get things done faster, then the traditional models are a better choice. These top-loaders are also non stackable which, according to the type of the given laundry room, often appears as an issue for the homeowners to deal with.
Washing machine problems
No matter how good your washing machine is, you will most probably have to deal with its repair every once in a while. As washing machines are becoming more and more advanced and technologically-enhanced, the problems that they may face are also becoming more and more complex. Apart from all the familiar issues, such as clogs, compromised water hookups, damaged tubes and etc., the popular models from nowadays may usually suffer from other problems like malfunctioning electronics, misconfigured sensors and settings and so on and so forth. All that makes the DIY works pretty much impossible. Due to the high-end electronics and newly-designed sensors that the average washing machine nowadays have, getting professional help is always the best choice.
As most of the new models cost significant funds – starting from $500 and going up to $1700 and more, your washing machine is not the best home appliance to try your DIY skills on.
When it comes to washing machines-related problems, then things get complex. A water machine can stop working effectively or at all due to numerous reasons. Here are the most common problems that you may have to deal with if your washing machine goes down:
One of the most common problems, when it comes to washer’s operation, is caused by their pumps. Its inability to move the water out of the washer’s tube and filter it through the drain pipes, usually results into the unpleasant situation of having liters of water in your washer and being unable to open it. Such problems are often solved by replacing the pump with a new one.
Although not so serious, wobbling is one of the most annoying problems related to washing machines. It is often caused by some imbalance in the machine and its components that may lead to it changing its place. If you wake up in the morning just to find out that your washing machine has left your bathroom and is now in the middle of the hallway, then you should be aware that there is a balance problem which will most probably be caused by the machine’s stands. Make sure to get them repaired or replaced.
Leakages are considered as one of the scariest problems, when it comes to washing machines, due to the fact that their extent cannot be predicted and you may start wondering whether the leak will stop before it makes a little pond in your bathroom. Leaking problems are often caused by the machine’s hoses. Washing machines usually have three hoses – one for drainage and two for water supply. If a leakage is present, then the problem may be caused by the connections between the hoses and the machine. Having them fixed by a professional is always your best choice as you will be confident that no further leakages should be expected.
Insufficient water filling
Sometimes washing machines do not get filled with enough water to handle the washing process effectively. Most of the time this is due to water control problems. Kinked water hoses are another potential reason for such problems to appear.
Nevertheless, calling a professional is essential, as you will get the smooth operation of your washing machine restored immediately.
On the other hand – standing water is another problem that may force you to seek professional assistance. If you notice small puddles here and there around your washing machine, then the potential reason for that may be a blocked drain.
There are also some mechanical issues that may prevent your washing machine from working effectively. Agitator issues, as well as drive belts problems are often present in the course of exploitation of any given washing machine. Nevertheless, these problems are easily fixable. As the time goes, washers’ drive belts for example, usually get worn, slipping or even broken. Experts suggest that every belt which is moving more than ¼ inch will need a professional repair or replacement.
Washer repair cost
No matter how expensive your washing machine is, one thing is sure – it isn’t immune to potential exploitation problems due to all the integrated innovative features such as the built-in faucets, the longer washing cycles, electronic touchpads, energy efficient operation, built-in sensors for automatic adjustment of the water levels and so on and so forth. All these features require periodical maintenance and are likely to experience the need of repair every once in a while.
The fact is that you can’t escape the dirty laundry. Without a working washer machine, you will end up without clean clothes soon enough and with a potentially huge bill in the local laundromat or dry-cleaner. The main question when it comes to washing machines and the related problems, is whether it is suitable to have them repaired or it is better to have them replaced.
Depending on the model of your washing machine and the type of the problem, a potential repair will most of the time cost you anywhere in the range of $150 – $350. This price includes diagnosis, replacement of compromised parts and labor. If you end up having an estimated repair bill of $350 – $400 and above, then a new washing machine is your best choice.
Estimating the exact costs for each of the potential problems that your washing machine may face can be a tricky task. Generally, no matter what is the problem and how complex it is to be solved, owners of basic top-loaders should expect to be charged the least. On the other hand, high-efficiency top-loading washing machines have a little higher costs while the front-loading ones are those which top the group in terms of repair costs. The total budget that you will need to set aside should a problem with your machine arises, depends also on its brand and specific model. That is all because of the fact that different manufacturers and models have their own specific problems (for example – some brands’ top-loaders are prone to more leaks, when compared to those of their competitors).
Nevertheless, there are specific problems that tend to be common for all brands and models like electric motor gone down, electric panel issues, complications with the filling and draining parts and etc. Here is a table with some of the most popular problems that you may face during the course of exploitation of your washing machine and how much approximately will they cost you:
|Type of problem||Potential reason||Approximate cost
|Running motor but no agitation||In most cases, the reason for such problem is broken belt or compromised coupling||$100 - $150
|Water leaks||The main reason for such problems is a defective or clogged pump (compromised water hookups can also lead to leaks but they are usually fixable DIY for less than $20 - $30)||$120 - $220
|Filling and draining malfunctions||Again – the reason may be clogs, pump issues, compromised water-fill valve, broken temperature switch and etc.||$100 - $230
|The motor doesn’t start||Compromised timers or switches are usually behind such problems. Nevertheless, in some cases there might be a worse scenario (broken motor) that is significantly costlier. ||$100 - $280
|Uncontrolled vibrations or loud bangs||Worn out bearings or compromised suspension springs are the most likely reasons to hear that specific banging sound during your washing machine’s operation.||$50 - $150
Machine repair or replace?
On average, most washing machines will be able to serve you for approximately 10 years before they break down completely. Yet there are cases when just after 5 years, a washer becomes compromised to such extent that you start thinking which would be a wiser choice – to repair it or to invest in a new one. So, making the right choice depends on few factors.
A washing machine has a motor, tub, seals, pump, belts, pulleys and etc. While belts, seals and pulleys are easily replaceable and at a decent cost, the pump and the motor usually require professional assistance. Another example of a serious problem is a broken tub. Usually, problems like this, most of the time, mean that buying a new one will be the wiser choice. It is similar when it comes to damaged motors as their repair is one of the most expensive ones and may end up costing you more than 50% of the cost of a new washing machine.
On the other hand – many homeowners have a valid insurance policy. A home service warranty usually covers some types of repairs which will help you save some funds. Nevertheless, every policy has different terms and depending on the appliances and the budget for repairs that it covers, it may save you from paying the entire bill or reduce it to some amount. On average, the US homeowner pays in the range of $350 – $800 per year for having home warranty. This is a very reasonable budget, considering how much money it can actually save you.
So, depending on the type of the problem and its severity, both buying a new washing machine or repairing the existing one can be reasonable choices. The basic rule of thumb here, as it is with all home appliances is: “If the repair costs more than 50% of the amount that you can buy a new washing machine, then it will be more reasonable to skip it.”
What questions to ask your washer repair expert?
One of the most important steps in the process of having your washing machine repaired is the correct identification of the problem. If your machine is still under warranty, things get easier – you just have to take it to the specific repair shop and get it back when it is fixed, all without the need of paying anything. Unfortunately, if your washer’s warranty has run out and requires professional care, then the most important thing that you will have to do is to find out a trusted expert who will fix the problem appropriately. As there are numerous repair shops, finding the best match according to your location, needs and budget, may often be a tricky task. That is why you should do some initial research and be willing to talk to different washer repair experts in order to judge who is the most appropriate choice. Here is a list of some useful questions that will help you on that:
1) Ask about their professional experience and background.
This is the first one that you should definitely start with. Working with an experienced professional will result in faster, cheaper and successful repair of your washer. And here we are talking not about overall experience with fixing problems of washing machines, but with experience with the given type of washer, the specific brand and model. Because similar problems on different machines may often require different ways and attitude for their successful repair. Being informed about the given’s model specifications and potential complications during the working process is essential for the quality of the delivered work.
2) Ask how much will it cost and whether it is a wise choice to repair it at all.
Of course you will do that but bear in mind that understanding all details about the problem and the overall costs for its repair will help you make a better decision whether it is suitable to invest in the same old washing machine or go ahead and buy a new one. If the repair expert insists that you should have your washing machine fixed at all costs, instead of buying a new one – be cautious. He may be trying to take your money (especially when he is not a seller of new washers).
Request more in-depth explanation of the problem and why is or isn’t it worth being repaired. A trusted professional will explain to you everything in details just to make sure that you understand how knowledgeable and experienced he is. He will try to earn your trust, because he will be sure that after they leave your home and you are satisfied, you will tell everyone who needs washer repair services, that you know a place that is the best in town.
Bear in mind that if your washing machine is too old – let’s say more than 10 – 15 years, finding replacement parts may be a hard task as there will be high probability that such are not produced anymore. Because of all the above mentioned factors that should be considered when choosing whether to fix your washer or buy a new one, finding a professional expert whom you can trust is essential. The professional advice is always your best choice and that is what you should be looking for.
3) Ask how long will your machine potentially last.
Of course it may be a hard question to answer, but most of the time, a proven washing repair specialist will be able to make an accurate judgement about the life expectancy of your washing machine on some visible factors like the wear and tear of different, systemically important parts, the way the machine works and its overall condition. If you are told that in the next 2-3 years it is very likely for a motor or tube problem to appear, then you should know that investing in repair works may not be your best solution. On average, a good-quality washing machine will serve you well for 10 – 12 years.
These figures are also confirmed by most of the manufacturers. Others, like Speed Queen for example, are way above that as they insist their washing machines will last approximately 25 years, depending on how often you use them on a weekly basis. So, asking for a professional advice on that is always a good choice as you will get much needed information and be more prepared to make the right choice.
4) Insist to be walked through the problem and its implications on the machine’s operation.
As it was already mentioned – identifying the real reason for your washer’s malfunction is the most complex task. That is why you should be 100% sure that the given professional has found out the real problem and knows how to solve it. Although this question may sound unnecessary to you, it often turns out to be a deal-breaker. Insisting to be walked through the problem will help you evaluate how knowledgeable the expert is and whether he will treat your case with the needed professionalism.
A trusted repair specialist will guide you through all the details about the problem – what was the reason for it, how does it affect the washer’s operation, how to avoid it in the future and etc. Experts suggest that repair specialists who erase their clients’ doubts and answer all their questions before they have even asked them are almost certainly being hired. This business is all about trust and professional attitude. That is why if you face some offensive and unpleasant behaving, you should go ahead and find someone who understands the values of his customers and treats them as it follows.
5) Ask about warranties.
Getting a warranty for the delivered repair works is essential. Most of the time, you will be offered 1 to 3 months’ warranty depending on the replaced parts and the repair specialists’ terms. This is enough to test it and to make sure that the work is delivered professionally. Nevertheless, there are some scammers who will try to explain to you that repair works are usually not covered by any warranty. That is the last thing you want, especially when you are requested to pay $100 and above on a repair work. And even if you are offered a warranty, go further and request for it to be in a written form. That way you will be confident that it will be officially recognized and fulfilled should a future problem occur.
6) Ask about the working hours.
Imagine that you are doing your laundry in the late Friday night hours and suddenly find out that there is a small pond around your washing machine. You will want to have that problem fixed and that will most probably be the first thing that you will do in the morning. But if it ends up that the repair shop does not work in weekends? That is why it is always better to find out a professional that can react on time and has flexible business hours. If you are working from 9 to 5 and the repair specialists does so, you may be unable to use your washing machine for days to come. Yet, most of the established repair shops work until the late hours and in weekends which makes them the perfect choice in case of emergency situation or unavailability to be at home earlier during a business day.
7) Ask about advice on the washing machine’s exploitation and maintenance.
Good maintenance equals longer life. The constant motion effect of the water often causes different problems with the exploitation and the operational comfort of a washing machine. Mold formation, bad smell, scale precipitation and so on and so forth – there are numerous reasons for your washing experience to be harmed. That is why getting a professional advice on the most appropriate ways to use your washing machine is always essential. That way you will be able to save some money on potential repair works and invest them in another home appliance or whatever you want.
8) If you are about to buy a new machine, ask about recommendations.
It is very likely that you have very insufficient knowledge about washing machines and their features as the last research you have done over this matter should have been years ago when you were buying your existing one. But as it is now time to invest in a new washer, you should quickly get acquainted with all the recently-developed features, the different brands and models, their pros and cons and etc. That is why getting a professional advice is necessary. Make sure to ask what capacity is the best choice for your needs. That way you will make sure that you are not spending on something which potential you won’t be able to fulfill to the maximum or on the other hand – something that won’t manage to handle all your laundry needs.
When you are about to invest in a new washing machine or repair your existing one, there are always some basic tips that have established themselves as a good way to help you make the right choice and provide you with invaluable help about its exploitation and the proper maintenance. Here is a list of few things to bear in mind when it comes to washing machines in general:
On where and how to place your washing machine. When choosing the right type washing machine that will be able to satisfy all your needs, bear in mind to take into account the size of the premise where you are about to place it also. A basic rule of thumb is to measure the space that you have to work with and leave at least 5-7 inches behind the machine in order for all the water hookups to fit. Also, if you have an additional dryer, it is good to place it at least an inch away from the washing machine.
An important thing that people tend to forget is to measure the doors in your home, before you make the purchase. That way you will be confident that the washing machine will be able to fit through them. Although this may sound obvious, many people regret forgetting this step. Apart from the size, bear in mind to take into account and the location of the premise that you plan to place your washing machine. Leaving it near the bedroom or the living room is not always a good idea, especially if you plan to buy a more budget front-loader and you have a wood-covered floor. The combination of these two factors may turn your living experience into a nightmare as the wood floors are not as good absorbers of vibrations as the concrete or tiled ones.
On the washing machine’s capacity. Not everybody needs a washer that can handle the laundry of a small hotel for his home. Yet people tend to always choose the machines with bigger capacity in order for them to be able to handle heavy loads of laundry at the same time. But do you really need a washer that can hold 15 big-size bath towels for your household of 4? More compact washers are always the better choice in terms of size, efficiency and price. Experts suggest choosing your washing machine capacity according to the following estimations: for a single person (a washing machine with a capacity of less than 4.9 kg); for a couple without children (a washing machine with a capacity of 5 – 5.5 kg); for a family with two children (a washing machine with a capacity of 5.5 – 5.9 kg.); for a household of 5 members and more (a washing machine with a capacity of 6 kg and above).
On the washing machine’s features. Washing machines nowadays come with a variety of specially-designed features that make the washing process a pleasure. Many people prefer their washing machine to have an automatic temperature controller for example. This feature usually adjusts the temperature of the water to the optimal levels according to the selected settings. That way, the process becomes way more energy-efficient. Others, especially those who have pets, usually prefer their washing machine to have an extra rinse cycle option which helps them to get rid of hair and other stubborn messes.
This is an option that is also preferred by customers with skin that is sensitive to detergents. Automatic dispensers, stainless steel tubes, tune alerts and etc. – these are just a small part of all the different options that the new washing machines are equipped with. But in the end it is your needs which determine what kind of washer will be the best choice for you. Buying the most advanced, high-tech solution on the market is not always the best choice as you can receive the same washing experience but on a way lower price. That is why it is very important for you to make a thorough research and to evaluate all the solutions that you can choose from, as well as their pros and cons.
No matter what problem does your washing machine face, finding a good professional that will help you understand what has caused it, how to avoid it in the future and how to take care of your appliance is from main necessity. Bear in mind that even if you have the most expensive, stacked with technology and sensors, washing machine, you will most probably face the need of repair at some point. And when that comes, make sure to ask the right questions in order to find out what is your best move – to repair the existing one or to invest in a new machine.