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New washer and dryer

Our washer died about a week ago. It was a Maytag Neptune frontload purchased in late 2000, so its failure was more or less inevitable. The point of failure was in the control panel: the washer locking mechanism blew out, which caused a cascade failure in the control board. Repair would have been $600-$800.

I shouldn’t really complain- we got over 7 and a half years of service out of a washer renowned for its high failure rate and defects (the problems in the product family showed up after we bought it). But to me seven years isn’t exactly a stellar record for a “top of the line” washer. Live and learn: great/well respected brands can die ignoble deaths at times.

In any case, we only pondered the repair versus replace question for about 5 seconds. Irene and I were in almost immediate agreement- we wanted to replace the washer and, since we weren’t terribly fond of the Maytag dryer, we wanted to get the pair. I did a little research, and then we went to Trail Appliances to make our final decision. We settled on the LG SteamWasher and its dryer companion. Irene convinced me to get a colour- the pair are navy blue.

I was a bit torn between the LG and the Miele washer/dryer. The Miele are probably better quality, but they looked… clunky. Not exactly high-tech, and I hate to admit it, but the tech sells me more often than it should. LG has a good reliability and service reputation, and was about $800 cheaper for the pair (Miele is about $3500). For that price, the Miele lacked steam cleaning and was a slightly smaller capacity. Mind you, Miele is pretty much the only washer/dryer manufacturer that builds and tests their gear with an expectation of 25 years of use- most of the other manufacturers target 10 years. We looked at the Bosch as well: we have been really happy with our Bosch dishwasher, but the clothes washer control panels take up some of the “folding space” we like to use on the top of the machine.

They were just delivered an hour ago or so, and I’ve already almost finished running through the first load of laundry in the washer. It is quieter than the Neptune (except for the 1300 RPM spin cycle, which is rather noisy- this would probably not be apparent if the washer were situated on a concrete floor in the basement), and I like the little drawer that slides out for loading detergent and bleach. The “I’m done” alert is a nice little tone instead of the horrendous buzzing sound that most older washers seem to favour. The controls are completely electronic- no manual “clockwork” knobs which, in my experience, are the first part of a washer to die. And the LCD display tells me handy things like how long it estimates it will take until completion… based on load size/weight and cycle choices.

So far, though, the biggest “feature” is the glass door- watching the clothing spin around is fascinating. I remember this from laundromats when I was a kid, and forgot how mesmerizing it can be.

4 comments to New washer and dryer

  • Hi Kelly,
    Sorry to hear about your Maytag Neptune washer. There are thousands who share your grief regarding the door latch wax motor. What happens is the machine will stop spinning because the door latch will fail to lock. Deep inside it is caused by the mechanism that locks the door. The wax motor will draw too much current and damage the control board by nurning A resistor (R11) and a triac (Q6).

    However, if Neptune owners know to replace the wax motor they can prevent the control board failure from happening. Please tell everyone you know about this fact. The Neptune’s also have a couple additional issues such as the moldy door boot and the reliability of the motor / motor control board. All three of these issues were involved in the clas action law suit a couple of years ago. See http://www.neptunewaxmotor.com for more Neptune information.

    I just now started offering a bearing and seal kit for the Neptunes because when the bearings fail Maytag wants you to replace the whole outer tub for a service quote of around $900 or so. Why replace the whole outer tub? Just replace the bearings… See http://www.neptunebearing.com for the Neptune bearing kit information.

  • Thanks for your comment, Jeff!

    The resistor blow out happened exactly as you described: the tech showed me the control board with the fried resistor when he gave us the diagnosis. As for passing on word about the motor failure: well, by your comment appearing here on my blog, pretty much everyone I know now knows as well 🙂

    I’m pretty happy we decided to replace the washer/dryer pair as we did, but not everyone can afford that choice. For me… I hate stuff that breaks due to bad design. If that happens, I’m prone to just junk the defective product in question and never buy from that manufacturer again. For someone else, a better option would be to work around the design flaws through ingenuity. I admire those who have the time, patience, and attitude to do so.

    Anyway, right out of the starting gate I’m much happier with the LG pair that I was at the start with the Maytag. We’ll see how happy I am a decade from now- if our washer and dryer are still running and performing well, then I’ll feel satisfied with our choice.

  • Dec 2006 I purchased a neptune washer and dryer(the one with the drying cabinet on top). Two months ago the heating element went out. No big problem, right? We have waited two months for the part. I’ve been on the phone most of today(on hold) with Maytag and Whirlpool. The part will not be available until the end of December. So, my choice is do without a dryer for 4 more months or buy another one. By the way, whirlpool, who now owns maytag has offered a 20% discount to buy a new whirlpool dryer. Wow! and next they offered $75 toward the rental of a dryer. I called around (because I have never rented any thing) and found that I could rent a $340 dryer for $50 a month for a total of $200.
    Stupid on my part. I can not believe I did not check out neptune w/d, but my family has always had maytag washers and dryers. I have been married for 34 years. I’ve had 2 maytag washers and dryers and the first was used when I got it. No excuse, I know for not researching.

  • Hello, Connie, and welcome to my blog! Don’t feel too bad about the Neptune- sure, some research might have saved you some frustration, but your comment about history with the brand is pretty typical. For decades, Maytag meant quality: I grew up with the idea that Maytag was the brand to get if I could ever afford it. But in a few years, starting around 2000, they threw all of that away.

    I’m sorry to hear about the problems you’ve had with service. Six months to get a replacement part for a two year old dryer is horrible: I guess the Maytag repairman must be really lonely these days due to lack of parts to perform his work 🙂

    In any case, I hope you get a solution worked out- in my case, the age of our washer/dryer made the right solution pretty obvious. I expected 15 years out of the pair, but from the research I’ve done we were really lucky to get eight… two years (like in your case)- I’d be chasing the warranty, just like you are.

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