Tell them to look at estate sales for Maytags or others that are in excellent shape but are at least 6-7 yrs old. Those are the one's that will last. Sure, the washers use more water, but clothes come out cleaner. The idea of front fillers that only fill water to the bottom of the glass, leaves very dirty clothes to just wipe off dirt onto the other clothes. My repairman told me that current models of uprights use so little water, that it is difficult for the clothes to be pulled down and pushed back up. The clothes on the bottom get cleaner than those on top, but neither circulates enough to clean anywhere near what the machines used to do. Cloathes need to "float" in the water to be able to move. The machine does not have arms to pull the clothes up form the bottom. It can only direct the "flow". All in the name of water savings.
For those who only need clothes cleaned from normal office use, they suffice. But for construction workers, DYI's (do it yourself) people who really get dirty, you will be sadly disappointed when compared to years ago. sigh..
Maytag is now nothing but a purchased name. I research the snot out of just about every purchase over $50. When I purchased my new Washer and dryer, 1.5 yrs ago, I researched every locally available model. I talked to service techs, I read reviews, etc. I found out that the new Maytags still carry the identifier "commercial duty" but this is really just a marketing ploy. They are nothing like the older models. From talking to the local repair man, (as my large front loading washer barly fills up- which is they way they are now designed) the design that made them "commercial duty" is gone. They are now about duplicates of Whirlpool. Nothing special with them anymore. You see LG, Bosch, Whirlpool, Maytag, Kenmore, etc. They all look very similar. The days of "Very heavy duty construction", I was advised, are gone. Most models are similar in features and construction and longevity. Sure they vary, and sure there are models that have more than their share of problems (look at floor models at your local store. Duplicate floor models usually spell out customer returns or rebuilds.) but you don't see the dramatic differences that you used to see. The ones that made the "Maytag repairman" bored with his job. I still purchased the Maytag sets, but with all my research and now use, I did not find a dramatic difference in customer satisfaction between the Maytags and other models. Weight of each is also very similar and weight relates to material of construction. Granted, you do get somewhat of what you pay for, so you do need to compare apples to apples. But if you remember the Mayags (and even other mfg's for that matter) from 25-30 yrs ago, that your grandparents had and was still running strong when they passed on 20 yrs later, those had the "commercial" duty heavy design. Today, they all compete for that extra 1 cent in cost savings. They offer a few more bells and whistles for electronic features (just more non-necessary stuff to go bad) but sacrifice on the ruggedness. Mfg's do not want their products to last 20 yrs. Just my opinion, (as well as many others from the research I have done.)
Several bloggers brought up very cogent arguments for the change in the appliance industry. While I saw one brag about a 40 year old MAYTAG, one must not lose sight of the fact that the modern MAYTAG is only a name. Just as when one goes to a store and sees an RCA television, etc. The corporations behind these names are completely different. MAYTAG now is the product of WHIRLPOOL CORP., for instance. And, WHIRLPOOL has been the manufacturer of record for SEARS major appliances for several decades.
I disagree with some of the comments about changing designs every year because the consuming public wants that. I believe that IF you look at the basic components of the each group of appliances, you will discover that there is considerable commonality of parts, whether found in a basic, "no-frills" model, OR a high-end offering. Since there is allegedly relatively little net profit in consumer appliances, it would be logical to deduce that manufacturers will stick with a proven design as long as possible to get the maximum ROI for that component part. The "newness" in yearly models comes from superficial, cosmetic changes, additions, deletions, which cost little to implement. Think back to the post-War American automobile industry. Every year one could expect to see entirely new sheetmetal from the BIG 3, but the underpinnings were identical from year to year, most items spanning decades before being replaced by new designs. And, I submit, that IF it wasn't for the first Oil Embargo of 1973 & the emission laws then enacted that modern vehicles would still be on the same track that they were BEFORE these issues pushed Detroit into action.
I had a 1967 Maytag dryer (model 3) for years. The parts were easy to buy and the only ones that went bad were the ones you'd expect to go; the belt, felt seals, and the turbine bearing. The knob broke off the timer, but you couldn't just replace the knob, you had to replace the whole timer. That was too much for me to spend on the aging appliance, so I attached a knob from an equalizer and told my wife that Off was 0db, Air Fluff was –3db, Cotton was +6db, you get the idea. The last time I moved the purchaser accepted the listed price but demanded that the washer and dryer stay with the house. This guy thought he was driving a hard deal, but we laughed and laughed as we signed the contract.
The new washer and dryer are still running but are not designed as well. The drum doesn't have rollers in the front, instead it drags along three nylon skids at the top of the door. These wear out every few years and then I take the opportunity to replace all the wearable parts and clean the dust from the motor. I miss the old Maytag, maybe that guy was driving a hard deal after all.
The owner's manual is quite specific about shaking the sand, checking for keys,etc...but it's not something the guests are likely to do. On the previous Swedish washer, this was not a problem. You just empty the trap weekly using the plug in the front panel. The Maytag requires a service call and a few hours.
The existence of the pump filter is barely mentioned in the manual. I had to dig through the parts diagram on a replacement site to find it. ( Note: there is a service manual located on the inside top cover of the washer. But it deals mostly with error codes, etc.. )
I always research any appliance purchase but here, it often comes down to local availability. Living here on Hawai'i Island, our major appliance choices are limited by Costco, HD, Lowes and with a 180mile roundtrip; Sears. Shipping something such as a washer is a major expense and it can take months to arrive. Meanwhile, at 5 loads a day, the towels pile up.
When we replaced our thirty-something-year-old Kenmore washer a couple of years ago (with a Maytag), the person who delivered it saw the old one and immediately said "Don't expect this one to last anywhere near that long!". I've heard essentially the same thing many times from others. This is indeed a sad state of affairs. With all the mew materials currently available, there is no reason why a washing machine should not last fifty years.
Of course the real reason is that during that fifty years they would not be able to sell me another one, or two or three.
I understand that my home AC (a Carrier) was installed in 1968. I bought the home in 1970, and during those 42 years I have spent an average of exactly $5 per year on maintenance. That is the way it should be! I keep hearing that a newer one would be more efficient, but there is no way I'm going to replace it until I absolutely have to!
I've been a Macintosh user since '84, and an Apple certified Mac repair technician part of that time. I love my Macs, and fortunately they need few repairs, but they clearly are NOT designed with the repair technician in mind, and heaven forbid a user try to repair his own!
Greg, that must have been very frustrating! Did the user's manual say to make sure all items such as coins and keys are removed before washing? ...and to remove excess dirt (sand)? I'm constantly finding loose change in the bottom of our relatively new top-load clothes washer.
I have almost all new appliances at home. My wife and adult college student kids will not read the user's manuals, so I find myself telling them how to use the appliances when they become frustrated, especially for many of the modern features that were not on old appliances. I don't want them to damage the appliances I took so long to decide upon and paid good money to purchase.
I always read many user reviews on the Internet before deciding on any appliance (and consumer electronics). I want to know what many other users and owners think before I select and buy. This is in addition to Consumer Reports and other such sources.
I did not buy the front-load type clothes washer that is touted for saving water. I kept reading that many began to stink (smell) after some use. Apparently such clothes washers leave behind a residue outside the inner tub that cannot be (easily) cleaned.
I think the discussion of design principles is an interesting one. But why can't design-for manufacturing-and-assembly, design-for-serviceability/repairability, and design-for-(end-of-life)disassembly be considered all together?
@uniquity: I totally agree with your assessment. I think because we've gotten so accustomed to (and in some cases, hungry for) the fast and furious new refresh cycles for cell phones, tablets, and other electronics gear, we expect the same pace with all kinds of product. A lot of that is change for change sake and the fact that all of this gear is getting more and more dependent on software-driven, user interface-type features. It also speaks to the consumer mentality: Many won't be happy clinging to a 10-year old-plus product (even a costly product like an appliance) because they want to stay up to date with the latest and greatest. Definitely a non-productive cycle, but a cycle none the less.
Very often the design of the appliance is split between the controls and the mechanical design. As a EE I was never involved in the mechanical aspects of the device, and rarely saw the Mechanical Engineers. The Mechanical Engineers treated the control as a black box and the EEs treated the machine as a white box, so to speak. We had dummy loads and test boxes, so it wasn't until the very end of the project that we put everything together to wash clothes or cook biscuits. Sometimes the same mechincal design would be used over and over and only the controls and case changed to produce the different models. There were several models that used the same control and only needed the right jumper to change the unit from the cheap to deluxe model.
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