Can we mismatch a stacked washer/dryer?
December 5, 2012 9:11 AM   Subscribe

Our washer & dryer are a stacked set of Frigidaire Gallery front-loading machines. The washing machine, which is 10 years old, just gave up the ghost. We'd like to replace it, but they don't currently sell a Frigidaire model that is designed to be stacked with our Frigidaire dryer (which is only 3 years old, and working just fine). I can't seem to find an appliance store that will sell us a different brand of washing machine, because they say it's not safe to stack mismatched units. Is there any way we can do this safely, so we don't have to replace a perfectly good (and expensive!) dryer just to replace the washing machine?

More info:

Our dryer is on top, and the new washing machine would be on the bottom. Our preferred replacement would be the Maytag Performance 27" Front-loading washing machine, which is much deeper than our dryer, so is there a way to securely stack our old dryer on top of this new washer, so that the dryer doesn't fall on our heads during the washer's spin cycle?
posted by ericbop to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you checked out used units?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:14 AM on December 5, 2012

Yes, but then we have to factor in the costs of removing the old one and installing the new one (which would be included with buying a new machine), plus we've heard that others have had similar issues with our washer, so replacing it with a used one might only buy us a couple of years before we'd be in the same exact situation.
posted by ericbop at 9:16 AM on December 5, 2012

Build a platform?
posted by aramaic at 9:28 AM on December 5, 2012 [5 favorites]

Could you sell the dryer and buy a new matching stacked set? (This probably won't work if other people have problems with the washer it stack with. But might be worth a try!)
posted by mskyle at 9:30 AM on December 5, 2012

Seconding build a platform. Easy, cheap and gives you added flexibility should the dryer go next.
posted by peakcomm at 9:36 AM on December 5, 2012

Have you replaced the part that broke? On my washer, I forget what it's called but it's the main thingee that times everything-expensive part but years later my machine works fine.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:40 AM on December 5, 2012

Washing machines can usually be repaired. Mostly, it's the pump that quits. It's annoying to get at it, but it's not a difficult replacement once you do. I replaced one on a front-loader, some European brand.
posted by Goofyy at 9:48 AM on December 5, 2012

I'm just here to say that I've had a few rentals with Frigidaire appliances of all sorts and they've all had problems, mostly electrical. I have also had many with Maytag washer / dryers and they have been excellent. My advice is sell the Frigidaire and get the Maytag set.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:54 AM on December 5, 2012

N'thing a possible repair. We had to have a leak fixed on our LG washer last year. It wasn't cheap, but it was less than a new washer. There are a bunch of appliance parts places online, some of which have troubleshooting wizards. Even if you don't feel like trying the repair yourself, you may be able to estimate what it'd cost for the parts.

(a tip we picked up from the appliance repair guy - he says they fix more whirlpools than anything, mostly because the parts are relatively inexpensive, generally available and they tend to be the most fixable).
posted by jquinby at 9:55 AM on December 5, 2012

Some followup answers/questions -

In terms of repair, the appliance repair guy who gave us the prognosis (and whom we trust), said the part that's broken would cost $1,400 to replace, labor included. So no repair for us. And again, selling it is not cost-effective.

The platform idea is intriguing. Is this just something we'd ask a local carpenter to do? And would we put it into place at the same time we are having the new washing machine installed?
posted by ericbop at 10:38 AM on December 5, 2012

It would probably be easiest to do it all at once, but it doesn't look like a terribly complicated project (said the guy who isn't much of a carpenter). This guy's blog shows a DIY platform for stacking his washer and dryer set.
posted by jquinby at 11:06 AM on December 5, 2012

Unlike the washer, the dryer doesn't generate a lot of vibration so it's pretty feasible to make a platform for it. If appearance isn't critical - in an unfinished basement, for example - a stand made of dimensional lumber (like 2x4s) could work. Basically like a big shelf. It has to be made properly, not to rack/twist etc. and support the load of the dryer with wet clothes. It also has to account for the gas or electrical connections. The materials would be cheap, like sub USD 100.

Most stacking washers/driers use a system of mating clips and hardware. With the right skills and tools and the two units right there to reference and measure, a clever person could make a mating plate to join together two units from different manufacturers. But that's getting into NASA-level DIY, so probably not recommended.
posted by werkzeuger at 12:51 PM on December 5, 2012

Also, take this opportunity to put a pan under your washer, something like this. A slow leak from the washer itself like others have had won't rot your floors or damage your walls.
posted by resurrexit at 8:29 AM on December 6, 2012

Also, our W/D don't match, and we didn't do a shelf because the closet space is so tight there's literally nowhere for the dryer to fall except forward, but the door's closed when they're operating. We did put rubber furniture feet pads (like what you'd put under a couch or chair's feet to keep it from sliding on vinyl or wood floors) under the four dryer feet, however, and that keeps the dryer from moving around on top of the washer when the house is a rockin' during the beginning and end of the spin cycles.
posted by resurrexit at 8:32 AM on December 6, 2012

Finally, if you're worried about getting rid of the old one, put an ad on craigslist saying it's free but the person picking it up has to take the old one and install the new one.

There are W/D repairmen in every town who make a living buying/taking old machines and fixing them for repair/resale or parts or scrap. What you and I think are irretrievably damaged units are often a $25 part or specialized tool away from working again, and these guys can make a buck that way.
posted by resurrexit at 8:34 AM on December 6, 2012

A quick Google search for "Frigidaire stacking kit" turns up a site that sells what they claim will work with any post 1996 (Frigidaire) dryer and any Frigidaire with an electronic timer for under $20.
posted by wierdo at 2:15 PM on December 6, 2012

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