Last Friday night, my glitzy Bosch high-efficiency washing machine decided it was too good to run spin cycles any more. Apparently it felt that three and a half years was long enough to suffer through the annoyance of wringing dirty water out of clothes.
We called the preferred repairman early Saturday morning, but after looking at the last repair bill for the Bosch dishwasher when it crashed, I had to ask myself: Do I want to spend that much money to repair a machine that I actually hate?
The high-efficiency machine uses less water, they say, and less electricity, making it a bargain in the long run. The high purchase cost will be offset over the life of the machine in energy and water reduction. Indeed, the little tags say that the HE machine costs about $18/year in electricity, while an agitator washer costs about $52.
What they didn't bother to mention was that if you don't use a chlorine bleach cycle, your clothes smell like dirty socks after about two weeks of use of the machine. And that if you do use a chlorine bleach cycle (only good for bleachable whites, of course), the wash cycle takes well over an hour.
Now if you don't want to bleach everything, and you don't want your clothes to smell like dirty socks, you have two options: you can use a heavily perfumed detergent (not an option in this household) or you can buy a "high efficiency washer cleaner" to use every three weeks at $8 a box. (A box contains three uses.) So instead of $18/year to use, we're up to $36, or more depending on how many bleach cycles you have to use, and we can now add in the cost of the bleach, because EVERY white load has to be bleached if it isn't going to turn out brownish-gray-tinted.
And even with the "high efficiency washer cleaner," the clothes still don't smell "clean," even if they don't smell like dirty sweaty feet. You wear them half a day, sweat a little, and wow, stinko. Wash the clothes more often, more energy cost.
The Bosch front-loader HE machine also insisted on full loads of clothes. There was no setting for Small, Medium, or Large loads. All of them had to be Big-Ass loads, or else the machine would not spin the water out, requiring extra spin cycles ... at an added energy cost, of course.
So when I saw that a new GE agitator model would cost only about $200 more than a repair of the Bosch (if we were lucky on the Bosch repairs), I poured out my heartfelt venom about the Bosch to Bernie, and we scoped out some reviews, and then went an bought a GE agitator, which matches my GE dryer perfectly, in looks and capacity.
Amazingly, most of the five-out-of-five star reviews of the GE were from people who were replacing their greatly-hated HE machines. When a friend of ours heard that we'd gone back to an agitator, he envied us. "I wish ours (an HE) would break down. I hate it. Nothing ever gets really clean."
Tonight, five days of laundry have been done since the installation of the machine at noon (and that's with time off to sit in the mister for a couple hours.) OMG, every batch smells so good! The basket holds more than the HE did, and I am able to adjust the water level to the size of the loads. The spin cycle drives out MUCH more water than the HE, which reduces drying time. (Hmm, that's less energy use, isn't it?)
Now I have heard that the top-loader HE machines work much better, but they're fairly pricey, and I'm not willing to take that chance. I do know that the GE agitator model I bought is selling like hotcakes, and serendipitously, Home Depot had a sale on, so I was able to get the machine I wanted for less than I was willing to pay, and got a 4-year warranty for the price of a 2-year plan.
When the delivery man asked me if I wanted him to haul away the Bosch, I said, "I want you to take it out and shoot it somewhere."
I'm a happy little laundress tonight.