I think you are a bit overreacting here. I spent a lot of time in Europe and there the upright tub top loaders are nowhere to be found. I can speak from experience that such misdesigned stuff wasn't offered for at least the past 40 years. And that was way before any government cared about energy or water usage.
That said, we had a FL washer that lasted over 20 years and eventually it got too difficult to get parts for it. I recall that we were lucky to find a used small motor that was used for the spinning cycle only. Eventually we got a new washer, which lasted not as long, but still did a great job for 10+ years. And no, neither one cost 100,000$.
The washers of the past had better quality and less fancy stuff that could break. If there were washers that had half a dozen programs and nothing else I'd prefer that. Our current Armana/Samsung has over 20 programs of which we use maybe two or three and that thing even plays music once it is done (Franz Schubert, "The trout"). Yea, it is funny the first time around, but I rather see money and effort spend on quality than useless features like that. Nevertheless, that washer works very well and made it through two challenging moves (basement stairs were just as wide as the washer). While it wasn't the cheapest one in the store, it also wasn't one of these foofoo washers for a thousand bucks. Time will tell how well it holds up, but the days of running the same load three times through the top loader to get it clean are over. And how could the top loader get stuff clean when cycles run for only 20 minutes or so. And I have to buy pants less often since the FL no longer twists them into a rope and tears them apart as the TL does.
If your washer breaks within the first few years it is a matter of production quality and material choice, but not due to the front loader design principle.
Bought a GE FL some years back to save water. That it did. We have a well and then have to pump the water out of the basement sump into the septic. So halving the water usage over a top loader is good for the well and drain field and greatly drops electric costs.
The GE was the quietest washer I have ever not heard.
We did have bearing problems with the GE after quite a few years with two kids in the house. We replaced the tub and bearings once. It was quite a job and parts ran about $500-$600. The drum was belt driven and the motor was controlled by a VFD. I never imagined that concrete could be part of an appliance, but it was used on that washer. I believe what killed it was a suspension spring that fatigued and dropped the tub onto the motor burning it up.
Bought an LG two years ago and it came with a warning not to load it overly full. The design advantage of the LG is that it has direct drive, no belt so no belt load on the drum bearings. It also allows a great deal of control over spin speed. If I load something heavy like a sleeping bag I slow down the spin. The LG uses even less water than the GE, cleans clothes better, especially whites and is reasonably quiet.The cycle time on the LG is much longer than the GE. The LG, because of direct drive can also spin dry clothes much better. So dryer time is greatly reduced. One would surmise that mechanically removing water is more energy efficient than heat drying.
The one problem we had with LG setup is that it is extremely sensitive to the adjustment of the height of the feet. Once adjusted it is smooth as silk, but if the feet are not properly adjusted it will walk all over the room. The adjustment is not difficult. Placing a cup of water on top of it helps in fine tuning this adjustment. This issue was noted on the website where I first investigated it before purchase.This is probably an issue with this machine because of the high speed drip dry cycle.
The amazing thing about the LG is that there is no water visible during the wash cycle. The only time it visibly fills with water is when doing a drum cleaning cycle.
LG provided special hoses to eliminate water hammer.
Given that the GE failed in the bearings and the LG had a warning about not overloading it would seem that drum bearings (a high cost item on the BOM) are an area of compromise with the suspension second. Given the fact that potential for abuse in loading and the shortened warranties may mean that people don't follow directions. I suppose in a price competitive world on an expensive item something has to be compromised. You can't make a good washer if people won't buy it.
Note that bearing failure on the GE was preceded by a clicking sound as the bearing races pitted. Inspection of the bearings after disassembly showed water ingress past the seals. It could have been that the seals failed first or the bearings could have failed allowing the shaft wobble to exceed the capability of the seals. We'll never know.
A large part of the cost of repair on the GE was due to the fact that to change bearings the tub and some other integrated parts had to be changed. It was not made for servicing like a commercial washer might be.
I am skeptical of the claim "quality in production" versus "design concept".In my original response I mentioned I had problems with the tub bearing, controller circuit board, 3 phase motor controller, wax motor, and front water seal.These are all isolated and unrelated failure items.If there was a single quality in production issue all these parts would not have failed in such a short time.Instead it is an overall quality in production issue based on partly a poor design concept.The front loading, low water use concept is good.But the selected design and materials is part of the manufacturing design concept.Yes I could design a FL to last 1000 years, but would cost $100,000 or more!Final price and manufacturing costs are, and should be part of the detailed design concept.But if we think about it further the FL machines were pushed on us by the government.Government employs lawyers, who think of themselves as engineers, are a large part of the problem.Witness the CAFÉ gas mileage standards, toilet water capacity, non incandescent lights, alcohol fuel, etc.The list is endless where these guys poke their noses.
Again, this is a matter of quality in production, but not a matter of the design concept. Yes, the top loaders are easier to balance, but that is the only advantage to them. They never wash right and rip your clothes to shreds.
As for the hot water being a problem, see if you can get a European model. Most of them have a heating coil, because the washer hookups there typically have cold water only. Alternatively, reverse the hot and cold hose and see if the 'new' set of programs works out better. Last resort is to crank up the hot water boiler (also a design from Yurassic Park, the old world uses the tankless heaters for half a century now, here they are offered as the newest invention).
We changed our Maytag TL to a Bosch FL to reduce the enormous water usage of the TL.
This was approx. 15 years ago and we have been happy ever since.
I grew up with FL in Europe and I guess that the North American manufacturers, once they hopped on the FL band wagon did not understand the FL machines sufficiently to produce a reliable unit. Regarding the extended washing time the following: My TL always did a load in about 20 minutes but my dryer at the time needed at least 45 minutes to finish that load. In other words the washer always had to wait for the dryer. With the FL machines the washer and the dryer are virtually perfectly matched in processing time and I save energy to boot as the water has been wrung from the clothes before I put them in the dryer.
The water temperature ramp up aids in removing stains instead of setting them and energy is saved once again by heating the water inside the tank instead of letting it cool in my hot water feed lines. (How many homes are actually kitted with insulated hot water feed lines??)
When I have to finally replace my machine I will wait for the North American reliability Engineers to figure out how to manufacture a good FL machine.
Absolutely they are getting worse and worse. I too have gone from 15 years to a GE Profile top loader that lasted about two years when the drum brake quit. (Family of four and machines run every day.) I replaced it four months ago with the current and same model which happens to now be one that has the "cut off agitator". This thing frequently becomes unbalanced (with not even a lot in it)and walks across the floor because there doesn't seem to be an unbalance sensor to shut it down. So if you want to know what a full size agitator does, one is it keeps the load from bunching up on the side of the drum. Maybe I'm crazy but I'm dreaming of installing a commercial front load washer and dryer like the laundromats have. At least they are not subject to government regulations and I can actually wash with hot water again plus they should last forever.
I own a Sears Kenmore front load washer. The spiders are made of cast aluminum and they corrode over time. The "Fast" spin cycle works well and really dries out the clothing. Only problem is when the unit spins fast with a corroded spider - SNAP! I was able to buy a drum with spider and bearing attached for about $200. I was able to make the repair myself, but the labor was ridiculous.
My washer faied after 4 years. After taking the washer apart, I found that the spider was not only cracked but was severly corroded (which is why it cracked). The spider is made from cast aluminum and is rivited to the stainless steel tub. My guess is, the spider cracked due to the loss of material from galvanic corrosion. Bad material choice from the designer.
When I grew up all we ever had was front loaders. The American style top loaders with the upright tub were absolutely unknown. The old hand cranked washers operated like that and they as well as their current incarnations have a major design flaw: in order to force the clothes through the water some mechanical device has to move the clothes, be it a big paddle or the modern agitator. That wears out the clothes much quicker, is horribly inefficient, and uses a lot of water to work somewhat OK.
The front loaders do all the work through gravity and wash better with less water. There is a compromise, having a top loader with a horizontally spinning tub. My grandmother prefered that design and her washer lasted over twenty years.
In the end it is a matter of quality. In regards to design, the upright tub top loaders just don't wash right. We got one as a gift and were able to leave it behind for a fair price when we left the rental. We bought an Armana front loader, which is a relabeled Samsung. That thing weighs a ton, but it works great and without issues for years now.
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