Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, cooking, make-up, travel, the joy of home ownership and the occasional rant!

Wash Day

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Our washing machine died last Sunday.

I had put a load of whites in and came back up stairs to watch television with mom when the sounds of off-centre spinning reached us… you know what I mean?  The loud thumping of the tub having an off-centre load and of the machine walking itself across the laundry room floor!

I ran downstairs expecting to have to push the machine back against the wall and redistribute the load…. but…. it was still where it was supposed to be.  I opened the lid and everything was just sitting there in the bottom…  Not pressed up against the sides of the tub like it should be for having been on the spin cycle.  Strange.  So I closed the lid, the “spinning” started up again, and thumping loudly again.  I opened up the lid and the tub was barely moving.  I reached in to pull on the sheets I had in there and the whole interior tub rocked wildly.

Oh… crap.

It appeared the tub had “come off” whatever you call the thing you stick things on when you want them to turn… (that’s tech speak for “I have no idea what I am talking about”)

So I pulled out the wet whites and wrung them out by hand – sheets are very heavy and awkward when wet BTW – and put them in the dryer.

When it was empty the tub rocked even more when I pushed on it.

So I came upstairs and told mom the bad news.  We then had a discussion about whether it was 12 or 18 years old.  I thought it was 18, mom said 12.  When I phoned Sears about service costs on Monday they said we bought it in 2000.  Mom was right… I was (you may want to make a note of this as I don’t say it very often…) wrong.

As the life expectancy of large appliances is 10 years and we had never had to have this machine serviced, I asked what the potential repair costs could be – the agent told me if it was the tub it could be several hundred, if it was just a couple of springs considerably less.

Sears had a sale on washing machines –  $499.99 (reg $549.99).  So I ran over on my lunch hour on Monday and bought a new one.  Delivery would be Saturday (today) between 1-5 p.m. for $75, another $20 to take the old one away.

Thing was… I couldn’t find the same machine/style.  WTF happened to the agitator?  I have no interest in front loading high-efficiency models… I want a washing machine, you know, open the top, dump in soap, clothes, chug-chug chug goes the agitator, and the clothes get worked down and around on the blades… None of them had the square lid in the middle of the top anymore.  The lids were the width of the top… I was trotting through the aisle opening every lid trying to find an agitator when the sales guy approached me.

He showed me a couple that still had agitator looking things in them… but they were very much not the same as the old one.  No big blade, just some protrusions on the bottom and a big hole in the top of it for putting fabric softener.  Tub took up almost the whole frame too.  They also had some extra controls and lock.  You can’t start it without closing the lid and locking it.  Bummer… I liked to watch the agitator work the clothes, very soothing.

Luckily the closest one to what I was used to was the one on sale.

I really did not want to be spending over $600 right now (with delivery and taxes) but we are not living without a washing machine!

I have never dealt with disconnecting or connecting a washing machine – mom usually was the one who dealt with stuff like that.  So she was giving me instructions about getting buckets and undoing the hoses.  So this morning I went down to get the old one disconnected and drained… good thing I listened and got buckets!  We do have a drain right there in the floor but the hoses did not reach to it.

The hoses from the taps came off easily enough… however… the hot water tap was seized up and it was dripping!  We don’t even use hot water at all so I wasn’t expecting it to be running at all.  I could not move the tap so stuck the hose in the pipe drain for the washer.

Then I pulled the drain hose out of the pipe and carefully into the bucket to drain out the washing machine as much as possible.  I even tipped it over against my hip so the water would drain… wow, they hold a lot of water.

Some spilled which was fine as it wet all the dust bunnies that had been hiding under the machine and I washed them all up and got the spot ready for the new machine.

The delivery truck pulled up BEFORE 1 p.m. That was impressive.  They got the old machine up and the new one down really fast.  I asked the one large strapping lad if he could turn off the hot water tap for me.  They both asked if I was sure.  I said I was as we have never used the hot water – we assumed it was completely off, not trickling all these years.  So he was able to turn it completely off.

So now I had to get this machine connected so I could get a week’s worth of laundry done!

Hot and cold hoses connected and tightened with pliers – check.

Unwrap power cord and hang out-of-the-way while I do the rest – check.

Pull plug off drain hole in order to attach drain hose – CRAP… wasn’t expecting a NEW machine to have water in it!

Wipe up spill – check.

Attach drain hose and make sure clamp is in proper position – check.

Put drain hose in drain pipe and secure with zip-tie – check.

Push machine into position I want it in.  A bit of a struggle but – check.

Plug in – check.

Read instructions – check.  Oh goody, I did it right!

Read the other instructions on operation – check.

Hmm… you have to dilute fabric softener?  Who knew?  Stupid – means I have to get water from the other room in order to do that.  And clothes are to be piled loosely, not laid around the agitator, do not pack tightly, okay.  Hmm… will make strange noises (what they said is it will not sound like my old agitator machine)… okey dokey.

Now I am supposed to run a test/machine cleaning load to make sure everything works.  Don’t want to waste water since they say to put in soap too… so toss in mom’s mattress cover and sheets with the TIDE (hey, I have the right kind!  a label reader I am not) and close the lid.  Select load size, choose water temp (cold of course), select rinse (one rinse, two rinse, one rinse with fabric softener or two rinse with fabric softener), and the wash cycle (normal of course!)  Then close the lid and press the start button – the sound of the lock clicking and then nothing.

So I started to empty the dryer (yes, this load has been there all week… so what?!) and fold towels and sheets while observing this new fangled machine.

Well… they weren’t wrong about the noise.  Squeaking, grunting, popping, swishing, gurgling… um, well when the heck is it going to sound like it is washing?

I finished folding all the stuff from the dryer before it finally started to sound like water and clothes being smooshed around.  So I came back upstairs to put away things.

It takes a lot longer than the old machine… but it is completing ALL processes instead of me having to go and put the fabric softener in between rinse cycles.

I went back down an hour later to put the sheets in the dryer, and reset the controls to do a full load of coloured clothes, with fabric softener… it is still running.

I’m glad the laundry is downstairs… those noises are annoying.  And I hope it doesn’t smell – we’ve been told by people with high-efficiency machines that they really start to smell…  We were wondering why there are commercials for deodorizers for washing machines.  Now we know.

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