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Advice needed- Washing Machines

by Cindi Haynes / April 16, 2004 10:58 PM PDT

Hi!

Top-loader washing machine tub-plastic or metal and why?

(Personally have always had the metal tub, but not sure there is any good reason for one over the other.)

Thanks!
Cindi

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Re:Advice needed- Washing Machines
by Evie / April 16, 2004 11:33 PM PDT

Hi Cindi!

Sorry, can't help there, I'm addicted to my front loader now. I don't think I'll ever get a top loader again. Main reason being that you never have an unbalanced spin.

From a materials perspective, even as durable as plastics can be, I think for the temp fluctuations, etc., over the years, the metal would still win out for durability.

Evie Happy

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Washing Machines - Didn't we do this one before?
by James Denison / April 17, 2004 12:28 AM PDT

As for me, I prefer the top loader since I don't have to get down or lean over to do a front loader. The metal tubs are usually porcelain coated, or the newer stainless steel ones, so I'd go with those. If you ever want to wash something like work clothes with car oil on them, it might get impregnated into a plastic tub, but not sure on that. Plastics do tend to absorb somethings and get a "dingy" look over time. Get it at Sears if you think you might want to do repairs on it in future. Even if you do the repair yourself, they have excellent parts supply for customers. My furnace is from Sears and I've had to replace electrodes, ignition transformer, control box over the past 17 years and always been glad it was from Sears.

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Sears also ...
by Evie / April 17, 2004 12:51 AM PDT

... has the only warranties on appliances that ever "pay off".

Any inconvenience to bend over for the front load is more than compensated for by never having to run and catch a possessed spin cycle, or going to put wet laundry into the dryer when in a rush only to find that the spin stopped for being too out of balance.

I think I'll build a platform in my next washroom so that the machines are just a little higher up.

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Darn, what ARE you stuffing into the washing machine?
by James Denison / April 18, 2004 1:53 PM PDT
In reply to: Sears also ...

Maybe the top loader you have was a cheap model with the weaker balance springs? We had a 20 gal heavy duty model for 15 years and going off balance was a rare occurrence. The times it happened was washing something really heavy like blankets or a load of all denims. I can see an advantage however to the sideways drum for balance, but I'm worried about leaking when the seal gets dry, or missed seeing a sock or something caught in the door seal. One thing is a definite, the access needs to be higher for those. When we were overseas we had a stacked unit and the washer was a front loader. I had to hook the garden hose up to it each time in the villa we rented. It never leaked, but I was always worried the door might get opened while it had water in it. Do they have those rated now so the water level is always below the door opening, or can it fill halfway up the door like they used to?

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Re:Darn, what ARE you stuffing into the washing machine?
by Evie / April 18, 2004 9:45 PM PDT

Actually James, I think the unbalance happens more when washing fewer items. With just the two of us (and for many years with just the one of me) it's not often practical to wait until you have a full load. It was a problem for me and I always had pretty heavy-duty washers. It's not like it happened frequently, but I'm not one to spend my day doing laundry. Throw it in and come back later to put it in the dryer. When you do that only to find your washer stopped in the first spin cycle it can be frustrating. We all have different lifestyles. What might be no big deal for some was a PITA for me.

In my front loader the water never reaches the level of the door. Before owning this washer I never really believed the claims about cleaning efficiency. I am now a believer. We use a whole lot less water and detergent. The delicate and hand wash cycles truly are gentle on clothes, something I never found to be the case with the top loaders. I think Kenmore has front load models that are taller so the door is more at waist level.

Evie Happy

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(NT) Message has been deleted.
by Charlie Thunell PL&T / April 18, 2004 6:21 PM PDT
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(NT) Message has been deleted.
by Glenda / April 19, 2004 3:26 AM PDT
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Dear Cindi: I don't know, but you might consider ...
by Mosonnow / April 17, 2004 12:51 AM PDT

that plastic does not go rusty. The very old-fashioned enamel ones have been known to put "rust spots" onto washing, as have stainless steel ones, once they become corroded by the bleaching agents in today's laudry powders and liquids. I guess plastic(?) or whatever composite will not do this, aside from the metal fixings through the plastic of course.

This is true in reverse, that if you have a perfect stainless steel drum, the metal table says that your other metals will be more susceptible to the rust effect (e.g. zippers and metal buttons.)

I have to say that this is guess work. It might be that metal is not available quite so easily in your area and ergo "plastic" does the same job at less cost.

If it were me, I would find out from the manufacturers exactly why they had gone over, since weight is unlikely and durability (against metal) probably depends on the exact composite they are using. In the UK, "they" are very good at responding quickly to email messages, but I wouldn't want the expense of picking up the phone ...

Please do let us know what you discover.

Regards (and best for your new home also)
Mo

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Re:Dear Cindi: I don't know, but you might consider ...
by Evie / April 17, 2004 12:58 AM PDT

Hi Mo,

I don't think there is significant time for any galvanic effect to be observed for zippers, etc. It would seem that these would have a greater chance of scuffing a plastic tub, however.

As for the use of stainless, I am actually quite surprised how well these appear to hold up. Stainless alloys are more susceptible to localized corrosion (pitting and crevice) expecially when there are chlorides present. Surprisingly, however, this does not seem to be an issue as there are a lot of dishwashers and washing machines now made with stainless interiors. My washer is, my dishwasher is plastic inside, but my next one will probably be stainless.

Evie Happy

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Dear Cindi: I don't know, but you might consider ...
by Mosonnow / April 17, 2004 2:40 AM PDT

Dear Evie

I agree in principle about the metal / rust effect. The problem tends to arise when laundry is left (eg put it in the machine before going to work, go out in the evening, go to work next day - if you get my drift. It is also true that buttons etc are of a better quality or suitably coated now, for example, nickel is not allowed here because of skin reactions.

Don't understand why scuffing the plastic would constitute a problem to the plastic (assuming it was only surface deep), or maybe you're just saying that it is likely to happen, so what.

In truth, plastic replacing stainless steel drums is a new one on me. I might do a spot of research in a spare moment and see if that has arrived over here - and post back if I find any useful data.

Regards
Mo

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Re:Dear Cindi: I don't know, but you might consider ...
by Evie / April 17, 2004 3:28 AM PDT

Hi Mo,

The point re: scuffing goes to durability of the plastic tub. It is more likely to discolor if it scuffs, and I could envision where a scratch in the plastic might be enough to snag more delicate fabrics. I don't have a "horse in this race", the plastic tub is new to me as well. You have just hit on my area of expertise, which is corrosion, and even an overnight would probably not be a huge issue in dramatically changing the corrosion rate of metal clothing parts (w.r.t. any corrosion that might happen for the metal in a wet environment). I'm prone to forget laundry for days and honestly haven't had a problem that I can recall of metal buttons, etc. rusting. Maybe I just don't have enough metal on my clothes Wink

Evie Happy

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Dear Evie: Now I see... I would discount discolouration of the tub ...
by Mosonnow / April 17, 2004 7:04 AM PDT

The snagging though - we (UK) can purchase "net sacks", a bit like mesh pillow cases, to protect our "delicates" (or, heck, sew a piece of net curtain together - rocket science or what?)

Of course, for a plastic drum that's scratched, a piece of fine fabric when drawn around will snag on the offending area and fine sandpaper (glass paper?) would turn a person into a rocket scientist. I mention this only because many things are obvious to many people, usually when they say - "Well, I knew that".

Still don't know about the plastic advantage yet...

Regards
Mo

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Re:Dear Cindi: I don't know, but you might consider ...
by Glenda / April 17, 2004 11:57 AM PDT

My first washing machine was from Sears, with a metal tub coated with porcelain. Never had any problems with rust. I had that machine for 25 years and had to replace one water pump on it! Gave it to my Mother in law and she used it another 5 years! You can't beat Sears! Like James said I would go for the metal, as I have heard nothing about the durability of a plastic tub.
Glenda

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I checked....
by Angeline Booher / April 17, 2004 1:41 AM PDT

... Consumer Reports.

It looks like the stainless steel tubs are in the higher end ones with more geatures than you might want (and price!)

They recommend staying in the mid-price range.

So, apparently the tub makes no difference. However, I saw nothing about plastic tubs. I think mine has a coated metal of some kind.

Let me know if you would like to know their ratings of various models and brands.

Angeline
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

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More from consumer reports.
by James Denison / April 18, 2004 2:13 PM PDT
In reply to: I checked....
Sears recalls some Calypso washers

When Consumer Reports recently tested Sears's innovative Kenmore Elite Calypso 2106 top-loading washing machine, $1,250, its performance was excellent. But we cautioned that its reliability might differ from that of other Kenmore washers since it uses new technology.

As we were going to press, Sears announced it was mailing recall notices to the owners of 25,000 to 30,000 Calypso washers manufactured between last August and November. The problem: In about 1,500 units, the wash basket might not stop spinning as quickly as it should once the lid is raised, and a user reaching inside could get hurt. Calypso units now on sale should not have the problem, Sears said.

The potential problem was detected by Whirlpool (which manufactures the Calypso for Sears) during tests to simulate long-term use and might not develop for years in typical use, said Sears spokesman Larry Costello. To date, there have been no reports of injuries or machine failures in actual home use, he added. (Two of the three Calypso units we tested required service, but the problems were unrelated to this recall.)
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More Calypso problems. Consumer Reports dissed.
by James Denison / April 19, 2004 4:19 AM PDT
http://www.epinions.com/content_132326723204

Our first repair tech arrived within the first month of owning our new Calypso. The error msgs on the LED screen were primarily saying CE, which means "Communication Error", although we would also get the OB (Off Balance), LD (Long Drain), LS (Lid Switch). Another problem we had was with the lid of the machine collecting water at the end of the cycle.....

It seems he needed to replace one of the two computers the machine uses to communicate w/ itself (who needs a washing machine that communicates with itself? I just want it to wash clothes!). ON the return visit, the new tech found that the fabric dispenser was clogged, which caused water to spray on the lid, causing the clothes to become wet when we opened the lid....

The third visit was for the same thing...CE error. Another two visits and this time - BOTH computers were replaced, since sometimes they both need to be new for them to "talk" to each other - it worked for about a month.

So now we are up to 4 visits...The 5th visit was for the LD error. This will cause the machine to LEAK!! A new pump was needed.

Three months after the pump was replaced, it got lint stuck in it and needed to be replaced again....

I must say, I used Consumer Reports when purchasing the Calypso and am extremely disappointed in the machine, so I'm not sure I can put faith in their reports anymore....
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The Calypso Nightmare Washing Machine
by James Denison / April 19, 2004 4:26 AM PDT
http://www.epinions.com/content_133326081668

Calypso- A multi year nightmare. Calypso in first few years A-Ruins clothing-$600 so far. B-$900 in repairs. C-Creates unhealthy mold you cant get to. D- Periodically chunks that mold on clothes staining them permanently-dry cleaners cannot remove. D- Bleaches spots 1-2 loads after last use of bleach. E- Cannot remove & actually concentrates lint& fibers into removable stains....

My wife's favorite blouses were just ruined yesterday. She washed them because it was Sunday and she couldn't wait for a cleaners. Watching her cry was the last straw. We've tried everything. Nothing works.
Calypso deposits tie die type patterns of dark stains that dry cleaners cannot remove. It unpredictably bleaches spots in clothing loads after you last used bleach....


Per local independent repair experts it builds up mold even in arid climates and unpredictably chunks off the mold, which you cannot access to clean, to cause some of these damages. Placing clothes in a Calypso is running the ruined clothing gauntlet, Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don't. Only running the machine hot without clothing and with vinegar will reduce the mold build up. Clothing just filters the mold onto your clothes.

The problem -per local repair/parts experts I've talked to, and my opinion as a user, is a defective design. Calypso washes by putting concentrated detergent through the material. That concentrated detergent solution does remove stains but tends to transfer them to the machine or clothing pockets or creases where water and semi dissolved solids are trapped. Major redeposits are sporadic when chunks fall off causing the tie die stains and debris ruining clothing......

(more at the page)
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Re:Advice needed- Washing Machines
by C1ay / April 17, 2004 2:20 AM PDT

I'd say metal, preferably stainless. The only benefit of the plastic is a lower cost. Laudromats would seem to have a need to get the longest life out of a machine to keep their costs down. Thus, it would seem that they would use plastic if it truely lowered their cost, yet all that I have visited have metal tubs. In the long run, it is probably cheaper for them to use metal.

I would also think that over time the centrifugal force of the spin cycle would deform a plastic tub at a faster rate than a metal tub yielding a shorter life span as well.

Our current metal tub washer is 10 years old and still in good shape. It replaced a 15 year old metal tub washer that had a gearbox failure. It may be relevant to point out that it was a plastic gear that failed in the gearbox. A plastic tub might be a lighter contributing load on the gearbox in a new washer which probably has more plastic in it now than the machine I replaced 10 years ago.

Does anyone here have a plastic tub washer that can tell us how old it is and what shape it's in?

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Re: Advice needed- Washing Machines
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / April 17, 2004 2:44 AM PDT

Hi, Cindi.

I'd go with the consensus on metal -- yes, they cost more, but worth it. BTW, have you changed e-mail addresses with the move? If so, please drop a line to me at our Yahoo box.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Cindi, I found this link on plastic tubs, Very interesting:)
by Glenda / April 17, 2004 12:09 PM PDT
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Re: link on plastic tubs -- Yes, but

Hi, Glenda.

There are still two problems. First, the plastic tubs are new enough that I doubt there's good information on their reliability/durability vs. steel. Second, BASF makes plastics, so that's hardly an unbiased source!

-- Dave K.
Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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NT so new in fact that hardly any info is available:(
by Glenda / April 19, 2004 4:08 AM PDT
Happy
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I couldn't find any reviews comparing plastic tubs to metal. Considering the Calypso...
by James Denison / April 19, 2004 4:30 AM PDT

I'd stick as close to a conventional type of washing machine as possible, and probably avoid those "water saving" models too. If the Calypso is any indication, by using less water they are making "mud" instead of "dirty water" that can then be drained off well. Unless someone lives out West in a water controlled area, I would go conventional all the way.

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Hey! What happened to Cindi? [nt]
by James Denison / April 19, 2004 4:32 AM PDT

.

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(NT)I believe she said her net access would be sporadic for a bit.
by Roger NC / April 19, 2004 5:46 AM PDT
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Still around (barely)
by Cindi Haynes / April 20, 2004 12:30 AM PDT

We're still working on getting into our new house, waiting on inspections and that type of thing, so I can only be on line a few minutes here and there. I have been following the thread though, and I thank all of you for your opinions and ideas.

Looking forward to being here full-time again!

Until then,
Cindi

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I'mmm Baaaaack!
by Cindi Haynes / May 10, 2004 8:49 AM PDT

Hey all~

Just wanted to bump this old thread to the top and let you know the outcome.

I ended up buying a mid-priced washer with a plastic tub. The salesman said only Whirlpool continues to make the metal tub. He said the plastic ones are quieter and more energy efficient, the plastic tubs can be recycled, and they offer the same warranty as the metal tubs, including odors and staining, which would be my major concerns with these. Given all that, we decided to try the plastic, and I must say it does seem quieter, and also doesn't vibrate as much during spin cycles. As for longevity, guess we'll have to wait and see.

We've finally gotten moved in to our new house. It's always an amazement to see how much crap you accumulate between moves! If I have my choice, they'll bury me under this place :-). We stayed with Greg's grandmother for nearly a month, seems Surry County has really cracked down and now wants inspections after every step. It's been a long ordeal! We still have a couple things in storage, but one more load with the pickup truck should do it, and with pictures on the walls this place is feeling like home already. Of course, I love the mid-80's we've been having for weather, I keep calling my family in 50-degree Michigan and rubbing it in.

Just got the phone and internet a few days ago, so it'll take me some time to get caught up. (I'd LOVE a "mark all as read" button!)

Hope you all were well in my absence, you were sure present in my prayers!

Cindi

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NT - Welcome back - you've been missed
by Diana Forum moderator / May 10, 2004 8:59 AM PDT
In reply to: I'mmm Baaaaack!

.

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So good to see you back!
by Glenda / May 11, 2004 4:40 AM PDT
In reply to: I'mmm Baaaaack!

You were missed, and I was going nuts trying to decide which way you went on the washer! LOL After this thread I checked my washer out and guess what??? You got it! Plastic tub LOL! I never knew that LOL
I have had that machine about 4 years and it has been a good one:)
Glad to see you here again:)
Glenda

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nt good to see you Cindi, ''happy unpacking'' to ya!
by jonah jones / May 11, 2004 4:56 AM PDT
In reply to: I'mmm Baaaaack!

,.

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