Tkil (tkil) wrote,

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a three hour washing machine tour

Two weeks ago, our washing machine died; it stopped draining water.

First order of business was to remove the stranded clothes; I ended up washing the rest of that load by hand (!)... I might not have normally bothered, but K needed her soccer outfit for a game that morning. The rest of it wasn't bad, just time-consuming.

After bailing out the standing water, we tried to remove it. The hot water hose came off easily, and the drain did as well, obviously. The cold water tap, on the other hand, was an entirely different story. It was a bit rusty, so I took my Vise-Grips to it ... and took out the adapter from valve body to the garden hose thread, along with the hose. Unfortunately, that adapter formed a bearing face for the valve, and it promptly started spewing water at me. Uhg.

After running around and turning off the house water connection, I try to see if I can recover the adapter -- but it had rusted quite solidly onto the cold water hose. A few frantic trips to Home Depot buying adapters later, and I discover a few things: first, the thread on the valve body proper is nothing standard -- a bit smaller than 3/8" brass pipe (I'm guessing it's metric of some sort); and second, this custom adapter is nowhere to be bought. I eventually buy enough bits to cap off the other end of the hose, and can turn the house water back on by using the entire hose to plug that side of the valve.

Our first thought had been to buy a new washer/dryer that night; there was a set we'd been eyeing at CostCo. But given that we were pushing their closing time, and the difficulties we were having with plumbing (and the fact that we'd have to rent a vehicle to get it home), we didn't make it.

On one of my (many!) trips that day to Home Depot, I looked at the appliances they had there (since they do delivery). It turns out that they carry LG, makers of the highest-rated clothes washer from Consumer Reports. (Funny to hear the salespeople mention that; they can't use the name itself, due to copyright / trademark issues, so there's a standard phrase that they use: "according to a leading consumer magazine ...") Pricy, but interesting.

Not wanting to make that large of a decision without my sweetie's agreement, I head home and patch up what I can to get water pressure back. All of us (little L was with his dad, but K and A came along) went back to Home Depot to check out their offerings. I hadn't seen it, but they had a pair that was similar to the top-rated pair, the only difference seeming to be the use of a simpler display (instead of the small LCD bitmapped display that the more expensive unit used). And it came in shiny metallic red. deliriumdreams was smitten, so we decided to buy it. And that's when the fun began.

This being a Saturday, we'd hoped for Monday delivery -- but they had a few promotions going on for appliances, so their delivery service was backed up. It looked like we could get it Thursday, which would have been good enough. But then we find out that the washer is back-ordered, and the pedestals were nowhere to be found. We ended up buying them anyway; there were a pile of good deals on, and while they are still expensive even after the rebates, I'm willing to pay extra for efficiency (cf. my car) and I fully expect to get many years of use out of them. (Sweetie's previous "cheapo" set lasted about 10 years!)

Later that night, after asking for tips on LJ, I spent 4 very long hours at a 24-hour laundromat, doing the week's worth of laundry that we'd intended to do that weekend (of course the machine broke at the beginning of the weekend...).

Even with the extra lead time to get them delivered, I figured I could use the extra time to fix the plumbing situation. Which I could have, had I been able to find any parts. I visited one plumbing specialty store a few times, but apparently I wasn't communicating very well; they kept on suggesting things that just didn't work. (Although they did do me the ... favor? ... of proving that the adaptor had rusted into the hose fitting -- the guy managed to crack the adaptor before loosening it. Ouch.) My best guess is that the valve body has some sort of metric threads. I did finally discover that a 3/8" cap would seal it off quite nicely, which meant that I could at least keep the water turned on until I had the situation resolved.

We heard from the washing machine manufacturer and the installation crew that the machines themselves were now available, but we wouldn't get them until the 1st, instead of on the 25th as we'd hoped. The pedestals wouldn't be around until mid-November, too. Oh well, nothing we can do, and we had enough clean clothes (barely!) to make it.

I eventually end up calling the manufacturer, and they offered to send me a new valve free of charge. Nice! They said they'd get it in the mail that Friday, so I'd hoped for a Monday delivery.

After taking that weekend off to attend the annual halloween party, I went back to attempting to repair the taps. Monday and Tuesday came and went with no fixture. Tuesday evening, I figured that I might have to replace the outlet box entirely (a task that would involve tearing out drywall, using a blowtorch to "sweat" the existing fixtures off, putting on new ones, and repairing the wall) -- not something I was looking forward to, but I bought all the bits I needed to do it, just in case.

Cooler heads prevailed. The machines got delivered that Wednesday, and I promised sweetie that I'd have them running that night one way or another. Wanting to wait for the replacement fixture to arrive from the manufacturer. So I ended up running a long hose from an outside tap, through the garage, and into the laundry room. Worked great, although we had to take extra measures to lock up the garage door since we couldn't close it all the way. A padlock through the railing did the trick.

The fixture finally showed up on Thursday... just in time to coincide with two days of watching the boys. I didn't have any energy left to deal with plumbing by the time one of those days were done! We made it through our backlog using the hose from outside -- a little "white trash", but it worked and didn't leak, so I wasn't going to mess with it until we had some breathing room.

This Sunday (Nov 5th) I finally got around to installing the replacement valve body (and its attached internal-to-garden-hose adapter). It fit just perfectly (if a bit snugly, by the time I torqued it around so that the hose outlet was facing front) and it seems to be working great so far. *crosses fingers*

So now we have two great new toys:

That's the LG TROMM WM2487HRW on the left, and the LG DLG7188RM on the right. So far as I can tell, they're the same as the top-rated LG TROMM WM2688H* and DLG8388, just without the bitmapped display (they have two LED displays instead -- one with icons, one with numbers). Since those were two of the top-rated units by Consumer Reports (the washer being tops by a few points, the dryer being tied for best), I'm pretty happy with the decision.

It helped that there were quite a few specials going on:
1. 200$ back from Home Depot for opening a new credit card (10% on first 2000$)
2. 200$ back for LG major appliances (short-term promotion, also 10% up to 2000$)
3. 100$ rebate from City of Albuquerque for buying an efficient washer
4. 55$ rebate for "free" delivery and install.

All that, and we didn't have to disassemble any of the house to get there. Bonus: the laundry room looks like a sci-fi set, when the lights are off!
washer L.E.D. display in the dark
Tags: home, plumbing, toys
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