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A Thousand Curses on “Energy-Efficient” Appliances

GOD DAMN IT!!!!!!!!!!! And yes, that is exactly the language elicited EVERY EFFING TIME I have to use the spectacularly expensive fancy energy-saving water-saving GOD DAMNED Samsung clothes washer I stupidly purchased.

Oh, how I wish I’d bought one of the last agitator washers on the floor at Sears that day. I hate this machine more than I’ve ever hated any piece of junk foisted on me by an American retailer. And those worthies have done more than their share of junk-foisting.

Runner-up: the infuriating, STINKING, ridiculously overpriced Bosch dishwasher that is still grinding away in the kitchen as I try to repair the damage done by the accursed Samsung.

As I’ve no doubt mentioned before, the Samsung top-loader (which I purchased because I can remember my mother’s Bendix and no, I do not CARE how much power and water the damn thing supposedly saves I AM NOT GOING TO BEND OVER AND PUT MY BACK OUT TO HAUL MOUNTAINS OF WET LAUNDRY IN AND OUT OF A WASHER) wads up my clothes into actual, real BRAIDS.

In an effort to prevent this, I purchased a passel of mesh bags. Every time I do the wash, I have to package EVERY STITCH of clothing in these stupid bags. This has the following results:

1) Clothing jammed into the bags comes out wrinkled and wadded up under the best of conditions.

2) This means I have to waste energy running them through the dryer, when in fact most of them could be hung dry (and always WERE  hung to dry before I got this effing washer), to much better effect, with exactly zero energy consumption, and with much less hassle.

3) The bags tear open in the wash cycle, or, more routinely, the zippers work their way open during the cycle. The clothing that slips its way partway out of the bag ends up braiding itself around other bags. This creates an ungodly mess to have to untangle, and it stretches, wads, and damages my clothing.

4) The bags themselves wrap themselves around each other. Once again, an ungodly mess that can take ten minutes to unwrap, with the result of damaged, wadded, stretched, WRECKED clothing.

This week I had the bright idea that I could stop at least some of the clothing escape by using safety pins to secure the effing mesh bags shut.

Bet you can guess what happened, cantcha? Yes, clean-up DID entail the use of a wire-cutter…

The damned safety pins wound their way into the mesh. To get the things apart and open bags, I had to cut apart two of the pins.

A third safety pin yanked the zipper pull loose. So I had to take a pair of scissors and hack apart the only bag I’ve found that will hold a pair of jeans.

To accomplish these miracles, the Samsung takes A HUNDRED AND TEN  MINUTES to run a load of laundry on the only cycle that disgorges enough water to get the clothing or sheets wet through!!! At five-thirty this morning the dog awoke me by barfing on the bed. So instead of two loads of laundry to do, I had three, one of them now dedicated to laundering the comforter.

Think of that: FIVE YOURS AND THIRTY MINUTES (110/60 = 1.83 hours; 1.83 hours x 3 loads = 5.5 hours!!!!!) to do what used to be and, goddamn it, still should be three twenty-minute loads!

I have GOT to get rid of this thing. Does anybody know of a washer brand that doesn’t do this?

Yes. Then we have the effing Bosch dishwasher in all its highly efficient glory. When I said it stinks, I’m not kidding.

Of late, I’ve noticed an odd, musky, rather unpleasant smell in the house.

I thought it was the dogs. The cleaning lady and I scrubbed the floors; I laundered everything in sight.

The odor persisted. I thought maybe it had something to do with the surgery and my being sick. Or something. Finally, I realized the aroma was strongest in the kitchen.

Yea, verily, it was emanating from the dishwasher. Come to think of it, all the “clean” dishes in the washer reeked faintly of the same stench.

Pulled out the racks and dismantled the lower arm, filter, and drain assembly.

Uh HUH! The filters were pretty dirty all right. That must be it.

Scrubbed out the filter, cleaned everything around there. Reassembled the dishwasher.

Made a run on the hardware store, where I bought a container of that high-powered dishwasher cleaner, the stuff that comes in the plastic bottle with the wax plug that you place upside-down in the utensil rack. That stuff is extremely good, and alarmingly powerful. Ran it through the washer.

It worked adequately. The washer no longer stank to high heaven.

A week or so later — that would be this very morning — I smelled the Smell again.

Once again discombobulated the washer. This time I found not a lot of gunk in the filter, but it was greasy. Very greasy.

I don’t put my dishes into the washer dirty, but neither do I wash them before dropping them in there. You shouldn’t have to. Remember the KitchenAid of yore? NO ONE PREWASHED DISHES before “washing” them in an electric dishwasher, not since about 1952! I normally will scrape the dishes and then take a paper towel and wipe off any grease or sauce before putting them in the washer. But really, you shouldn’t even have to do that.

So it looks like I’m going to have to go back to pouring vinegar into the dishwasher before running a cycle, something I did for two or three years to get the limping old Kenmore to keep getting the dishes clean despite hard water and mechanical senility.

This morning I scrubbed down the washer’s innards again, recombobulated the thing, poured in two cups of Target’s cheapest white vinegar, and ran the thing on the “sanitize” cycle.

This cycle a) sucks up electricity for well over two hours! and b) puts the lie to Bosch’s bragging about the quietness of its wondrous machines.

It seems to have worked, though. I can’t smell the stink.

Probably, like a wonderful new-fangled front-loading super-efficient clothes washer, this thing needs to be left open when not in use in order to keep it from stinking. Won’t that be attractive?

European dishwashers, unlike American products, do not have a “dry” cycle — that is, one way they save energy is by not blowing hot air over the dishes to get them dry. The result is that when the washer turns off, the dishes sitting in there are WET.

You have to remember to open and empty the bottom rack first; otherwise if you pull out the top rack to get something you need, you SPLASH ALL THE DISHES ON THE BOTTOM RACK WITH WATER.

This is a relatively minor annoyance — or at least, it was, when Bosch was a great dishwasher. That seems to have changed with the new annoying generation of electronically enhanced machinery.

I should’ve bought the Kenmore. Just because a bunch of former Sears customers complained that the damn things set fire to their kitchens, was that REALLY a good reason not to buy a Kenmore instead of a Bosch? What are your choices, anyway? You can be burned out of the kitchen or stunk out of the kitchen.

Okay. Enough. I am going off now to wash the rest of the laundry by hand (which will take me all of ten minutes) and hang it up to dry. Have a nice day. Goddamnit.

17 thoughts on “A Thousand Curses on “Energy-Efficient” Appliances”

  1. Holy Crud….Sorry you’re having trouble. DW and I are sold on Maytag. We bought one of those Maytag Neptunes awhile back BUT a TL model (top loader) for entirely too much money but …hey it’s a Maytag. Seven years later funny smells and bad codes caused us to call the repair man who also is a “rip-off” and doesn’t get a Xmas card. He wanted his $129 UP FRONT….and declared the motherboard dead and he really didn’t like how the bearings were sounding….REALLY??? Went that day to LOWES and purchased ANOTHER Maytag but this time I did more research. Whirlpool had just bought Maytag and was cleaning out inventory. Our machine got high marks…the biggest in class…is extremely energy efficient even though it is a top loader. With some complaining…taking advantage of a sale… a rebate and an incentive from our power company came in at under $400. And it has performed flawlessly and you can wash a circus tent in there if you wish…I would be happy to provide the model number if you desire.
    As for the dishwasher…I would dump the Bosch…Just replaced my almost 20 year old GE portable dishwasher. It did have a small leak that we have tolerated for about 2 years. Went to Lowes and ordered another GE and the new one uses less water & electric and holds fewer dishes….of course it does… Bought this with combo of Lowes gift cards, a credit from GE(another story) and incentives from my Lowes credit card. It works as it should…hope this one goes 20 years. And the old dishwasher? Sold it on Craigslist for $75 in a day to a “tickled” young couple. They didn’t care that it leaked as they couldn’t afford a new dishwasher and the others on CL were $200. It seems like a win/win. For me …I’d chuck the Bosch and buy a Whirlpool. Sorry but these foreign appliance makers just don’t have their act together and GE sold it appliance division to the folks that own Fridgedaire, As for Fridgedair refrigerators I would rather keep my perishables in a stream than a Fridgedair…they make junk…don’t back the product up and offer no apologies. Who stands behind their product….Dyson the vacuum people…another story…

    • Nice job getting rid of the GE on CraigsList! 🙂

      I don’t know…I haven’t heard very good things about Whirlpool. I did a fair amount of research before I bought this thing: overall of the new incarnations, Whirlpool is hated, Maytag (which now is the same is Whirlpool) is hated, Kenmore’s reviews are mixed but the ones that said the things started fires in the kitchen were a bit disturbing, LG is said to be hugely overrated, and on and depressingly on. Some people love the Samsung, although a number of people DID say it tangles laundry and a few said it punched holes in their clothes…should’ve paid more attention, I guess. Those complaints were mostly on the bitching-board sites, and I tend to take those sources with a large grain of salt.

      Running the vinegar through the Bosch on the ultra-hot “sanitize” cycle seems to have beaten back the odor. I think I’ll keep that up and also run either another bottle of the washer cleaner or a cupful of Tang through it (same stuff, I’m told…probably not, but they say Tang is an effective dishwasher cleaner).

      Bosch has a national number where you can call and they’ll send their local trained repairman out. The guy who came to my house for my last Bosch was first-rate; he did NOT try to rip me off, he fixed the thing, and he did not overcharge. No having to fart around with Sears’s now much deteriorated service program!

      • Yes, THIS! No manufacturer is considered fail proof these days in large appliances or even small. It is all an absolute crap shoot.

        Some years ago I wanted to buy a carpet cleaner. I researched Consumer Reports and bought one of their highest rated ones. I thought it did an awful job and in one year the motor burned out. I stopped reading Consumer Reports.

  2. That Samsung washer sounds hellacious. Get rid of it right away. Hell, it has to be better to tote your clothes to a laundromat instead of using that thing.

    I had a GE HE washing machine that was great. Yes, it was a front loader, but they sell pedestals for them so you don’t have to lean over. My dishwasher was also a GE and it worked quietly and efficiently.

    The house I’m renting has one of the small dishwashers and it is LOUD. I try not to run it overnight or during the mornings when I have phone meetings because it is so noisy. Just for kicks I looked at small dishwashers online and noticed that Miele (a European company) makes one that is very highly rated and has a drying system. I had no idea Bosch dishwashers didn’t dry the dishes.

    The washing machine here is a Kenmore front loader. Yeah, I have to lean over to do the laundry. I can see that would be annoying and possible physically challenging as one ages.

    • I can’t afford to buy a new washer now. It looks like the New Normal in the laundry department is going to be hand-washing everything except the sheets and towels.

      Those don’t seem to tangle. It’s anything that has shoulder straps, bra straps (ha haaa! No more of THOSE!!), sleeves or pant legs. This afternoon I experimented with hand-washing a pair of jeans in the utility sink next to the washer, and then dropping them into the washer and running the “rinse/spin” cycle. That worked efficiently to get the last little bit of detergent out, AND it spun the denim dry enough to either hang the jeans or put them in the dryer. Everything else — shirts and underwear — washed and rinsed easily and popped right into the dryer and out with no problem. And it took one heck of a lot less time, power, and water than running two loads through the ENDLESS washer cycles.

  3. LOL and so very sorry at the same time!
    We bought a new dishwasher – Whirlpool – to replace the 1992 Whirlpool that, no doubt, was installed when the house was new. It is much quieter than the old one, in Stainless, his choice, how some ever – it takes forever on most cycles, there is a one hour cycle, though not for really baked on dishes, and the stupid thing does not completely drain ever!! Hence, the stench.
    I do like that the upper basket can be lowered for goblets and even my 12″ dinner plates will fit there then and it has a cycle called “Top Rack Wash”, which I have used maybe twice, and it did clean the dishes. The old one cleaned all the oatmeal off the bowls, the new one leaves the “oil” on the bowls and I tend to rinse any glasses that have had milk for the new one.
    Progress?? And I’m pretty sure that being on for 3 to 4 hours costs me more than the old one did.
    Oh well, maybe this make me an old fuddy-duddy?! But I feel your pain.

    • The old Whirlpool was a pretty good product. More recently? Not so much. The reason I didn’t buy a Maytag is quality dropped drastically when Whirlpool bought the brand. New Maytags are actually just Whirlpool models with the purchased brand name slapped on them.

      The Bosch does a very fine job of washing the dishes — they come out clean with no grease or gummy specks on them. And the racks, both top and bottom, are very spacious. You can get A LOT of dishes in there…as in, the prospect of having to unload all that stuff and put it away makes you wince. One big advantage is that if you’re only one or two people, you don’t have to run the washer every day. I can often get by with running it every second day.

      A dishwasher isn’t supposed to drain completely, so I was told by a reliable repair dude. He reported that dishwashers have a gasket in the bottom that should never be allowed to dry out. That’s the reason you’ll find a little puddle of water in that kind of cup thingie under the strainer. (Ahem…sorry for the technical jargon…)

      The same repair dude told me that ALL household appliances — kitchen and laundry room — are now engineered to give out in seven years. Isn’t that fun?

      My Bosch’s regular cycle runs well over an hour. The super-double-whammy cycle (“Sanitize”!!), which I ran with the vinegar and which DID seem to eliminate the odor, is over two hours long.

      How, please, HOW can that possibly save power????

      I don’t think we’re fuddy-duddies. We’re people who have been around the block and KNOW BETTER!

  4. Gonna disagree about the Maytag makeup. My washer is “overkill”… bigger motor…bigger pump….it’s even taller than other washers. To me it would make no sense to just slap on a Maytag emblem on a Whirlpool product….What would be the point? Whirlpool paid a couple of bucks for Maytag and I would think they would develop that brand to enhance their investment. The most important/crazy thing is the clothes come out almost dry because of the force of the spin cycle. I’m talking some serious centrifugal force.

  5. Good Grief…..The thought of you washing your clothes in a sink makes my hair hurt….LOL…Our washer is a Maytag Bravos …”Quiet Series 300″ model number MVWB450WQ1…has plenty of settings. I would say on average it takes about 45- 50 minutes for a full load of laundry BUT this varies with the settings. DW does wash our comforters in it but only one at a time… Will caution though when this thing is finishing up and removing the water from the final rinse…it sounds like a helicopter is landing in the back yard. I love the sound….wife likes the fact that the clothes come out just about dry….Oh and this unit is Energy Star rated even though it is a top loader…So check for rebates and incentives from your utility. When ya have time stop by Lowes and take a look at the Bravos series. As memory serves this unit also comes with a clear lid…for an extra $100…think I’d pass on that option and anything from Sears….that company troubles me. Full Disclosure.. I don’t work for Lowes or Maytag but have had good service from these folks…..

    • Ha ha!!! I LOVE the helicopter image! 🙂 My washer/dryer connection is in the garage, so the noise issue isn’t too big a deal.

      Can’t imagine you could ever get more than one comforter, even twin-size, into even a giant commercial-size washer!

      I don’t really need or want plenty of settings. All I need is a switch for “On,” “Off,” “Gentle,” “Normal,” and “Whap the Bedoodles Out of It.” And it was nice, with the old agitator Kenmore, to have a setting that adjusted the amount of water used.

      Amazingly, washing women’s clothing by hand is not very difficult. Of course, I was brought up doing that. When we lived in Arabia, we had a state-of-the-art wringer washer that squished the wet clothes and dropped them into a big concrete sink filled with cold water, where my mother and I had to slosh the soap out manually and then, together, wring out everything including sheets. Later my father ordered up that annoying Bendix, which liked to spew soapy water all over the service porch, and she had to BEND DOWN to haul the laundry out, which still sometimes had to be rinsed in the utility sink.

      Once we got back to the States, we lived in apartments and had to schlep to laundromats. Really, it WAS easier to wash anything that was fairly lightweight by hand and then hang it in the shower.

      My father’s khakis, of course, were too heavy for us to wash by hand, although he insisted on having his shirts starched — that entailed taking every khaki shirt and dipping it into a huge pot filled with hot starch water, on the stove; then wringing by hand and hanging on the line and ironing. My mother, as you can imagine, was THRILLED by the invention of spray starch! My father, as you can also imagine, looked pretty damn sharp for a workin’ man.

      Rinsing out a few knit shirts and some airy nylon underwear is extremely easy and takes only a few minutes. And even the denim jeans, which weigh nothing like a pair of khakis made for a 6-foot-2 man, are easy enough to wash in the sink, given that the sink sits right next to the washer whose “rinse/spin” cycle functions exactly like a centrifuge.

      LOL! Does anyone REMEMBER the centrifuges you could sometimes find in laundromats?

      The electric washer of the 1950s didn’t really spin clothes very dry. In one building where we lived, the laundry room had this white tub thing — an actual centrifuge! After the washer finished, for another nickel or dime you could haul your wet clothes over and dump them into this contraption, which would spin MADLY at a truly alarming rate. Your clothes would come out almost dry. This would make it possible for the not-very-efficient dryers to actually DRY the damn things. Or for you to carry the clothes back upstairs (the laundry room was in the basement/bomb shelter) and hang them in the bathroom.

      Heh. Anybody remember public bomb shelters?

      Ah. Good times. 😆

      • Oh boy, fifties nostalgia. I want to play. What I remember from the ’50s was that once a week a civil defense alarm was set off that I think could be heard over the whole city. ???? I think it was to keep in practice in case the Ruskies got a nuclear warhead heading for our area. It was always on Friday at 10 a.m. so that you knew it was only a practice.

        It all makes me nostalgic for hating the U.S.S.R. 😀

      • @ Anne: OMG do I EVER remember that! The sirens for our part of San Francisco were RIGHT ON TOP OF OUR BUILDING. They went off every Saturday at noon.

        Holy mackerel but those things would raise you right out of your chair. If you were sleeping in, as teenyboppers tended to do in those days, you would shoot right straight up off the mattress, parallel to the ground!

        That was such a terrible time. We think we’ve got troubles with a few puny terrorists. Just imagine growing up with the threat of annihilation hanging over your head…not some sky-is-falling global warming scenario, but the very real, very possible, very do-able annihilation of civilization ALL OVER THE PLANET.

        Now, in retrospect, to learn how close we came…at least twice, and evidently more than that…good lord.

        Ha hah…at least when we hated the USSR we actually had a target that you can go to war with. You can’t, when all is said and done, go to war with an idea.

  6. Here’s the problem with the dishwasher. They’ve made the tubs bigger and bigger. Ours is a good six inches taller in terms of what it fits versus the old one. But, the opening that it goes into is the same size, so there has to be a trade off somewhere. What happens is that there isn’t sufficient room underneath to form a U, which is what supresses the smells and what not. Two things to do, and while it’s not perfect, it does help: First, make sure that you have a big U somewhere else down the line before it drains off into the garbage disposal. Our installer adjusted the hoses and showed us how to do it should we ever move things around, but many don’t do either. This reduces the odor, but we still get one, likely because there’s still a bit of stinky water in the line before it hits the U. What I often do here is just pour a cup of vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher between cycles, which seems to get in front of the stinky water, and keeps it relatively odor free until the next cycle.

    • INSIGHT! Now that is interesting!

      I just cleaned the gaskets and checked to be sure everything else is clean. The odor IS much diminished…possibly because I have gone back to dumping some vinegar in there each time I run the thing.

      There’s not a lot of room under the sink for a “U” arrangement of anything. Plumbing is very cramped under there, to the profound unhappiness of the countertop installer and a variety of plumbers.

      It certainly explains a lot… Thanks!

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