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Can your washer phone it in?

Let your washer call the shots--or at least the technician. This new feature, which may already be included in the Kenmore washer or dryer you own--transmits error information over the phone.

A cordless telephone held near a Kenmore washing machine
Can you hear me now? Consumer Reports

You know the drill: the washing machine makes a funny sound, or refuses to spin your clothes. You call a repairman. When he shows up--3 days later, natch--buried under Mt. Washmore is the machine. The tech spends approximately 0.37 second assessing the situation, then tells you your load is out of balance. He rearranges your towels, and charges you $195 for the privilege.

What if you could just get your washer to tell the technician exactly what the problem is? That's the goal behind the new Kenmore Connect technology. Not sure if your machine is supposed to do that shaking thing? Call up the Kenmore Connect service folks and then simply hold the phone over the power button of your machine, press one button, and listen for three beeps. Then let the machine transmit information over the phone to the tech on the other end of the line, where he or she can effectively monitor more than 100 different data points--cycle and option settings, operational information such as spin speeds, and fill/drain times, status of electrical and mechanical subsystems, and so on--to diagnose and assess the solution.

During field testing earlier this year, fewer in-home visits were needed, as many issues were quickly diagnosed and remedied over the phone. And if the tech sees that someone will need to come out, you should know before he gets there if your repair is covered by the warranty, if a new part is needed, and so on.

The coolest part? This technology may already be on your washer or dryer. It's already included in over a dozen Kenmore and Kenmore Elite high-efficiency washers and matching dryer models.Washers: 40272, 40311/8, 40441/8, 40512/8, 41022/8/9, 42192/8/9, and 29272/8. Dryers: 9/80872, 9/80311/8, 9/80441/8, 9/80512/8, 9/81022/8/9, 9/82192/8/9, and 7/69272/8.