Building codes now require a drain pan under washing machines so any leaks go directly to a drain line and not onto your floor. It's worth the trouble to add such a pan in you can connect to a nearby drain. (You have a drain on the washer, so an added drain might be easier to add than you think.)
Recently a temperature sensor on our high-efficiency washer died, indicated by an error code, something like "E23," on the control-panel LEDs. I had to find this error code and what it meant on the Internet. When the repairman opened the washer cover, lo and behold, there was a maintenance manual taped inside. It includes all of the error messages, diagnostic information, and other helpful information. It might be worth 30 minutes to open your washer and see if it has such a manual. Ours is now in the "Appliance Instructions" folder, not inside the washer. --Jon Titus
Maintenance departments at almost every industrial manufacturing facility frequently work under this guideline; as a result they must make repairs at the most inconvenient time, under pressure, to get the line running again.
They should be working under the guidelines of preventative and predictive maintenance; replacing before something fails. They then get to make this repair/replacement at planned, scheduled down times, without being under the gun of time pressure.
20 years is a nice long run, but one has to be looking over one's shoulder for the transmission or the pump of a washer to die catastrophically exactly when the tub is full of water. Either you won't be able to drain it at all, or it drains all over the floor.
I can't say I disagree with you, naperlou, especially since we are on our third dyer in 3 years. I would love to have the capability/know how to fix these appliances myself when they break. (My husband tries, but usually nothing good will come of it.) Maybe next time I can call on you! =)
Jennifer, there are two answers to your comment. First, it is a challenge. I often find myself fixing something to get it working just for the challenge of it. If that gets me a new capability, so much the better. That seems like part of Bill's motivation. Second, the new device offers new capabilities. Actually, I should add a third. The old device will break (most likely) and it won't be at a convenient time.
Given the history of the Made by Monkeys column, Bill made a big mistake in replacing his old washer/dryer set. I've wanted to replace my old washer for a very long time, but, again, after reading these columns for several years, I just can't pull the trigger. Washers, as well as other appliances, have come a long way, but there is something to be said for the old, reliable machine that doesn't have any bells and whistles. I do admire Bill for his forward-thinking approach - too bad it backfired.
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Good engineering designs are those that work in the real world; bad designs are those that don’t. If we agree to set our egos aside and let the real world be our guide, we can resolve nearly any disagreement.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.