do i repair or do you go now? adult appliances edition.
September 3, 2019 9:40 PM   Subscribe

my washing machine has started leaking *for real* and i'm debating the merits of gambling a repair versus the huge purchase of new machine(s). dryer is fine, but it's a stackable -- so can i even mix and match? all comers for laundry appliance advice welcome!

My washing machine is leaking in a serious way (no, it's not the soap dispenser), and while I think I know what it is, I don't think I can/will realistically fix it myself. My inclination is generally to fix/keep, but I've learnt the hard way this can be an expensive gamble. Seeking advice from Mefites who have previously/recently undergone similar decision making conundrum with their laundry situation. Some specific items that would help me decide:

* Can you stack a non-pair of washer and dryer? Our dryer is just fine, but I can't buy a new matching washer (Kenmore isn't sold in Canada anymore; RIP Sears Canada), and we're tight on space for a side-by-side setup. I can't seem to figure this one out online...

* Am I an idiot to consider a repair of maybe $500 (I'm guessing it's the tub bearings) where a new base model is $700-800? Otherwise put, am I crazy to want to fix my old machine? (The new ones look so computerized and breakable!)

* Other than Consumer Reports & Wirecutter, what would you recommend for finding a good model if I do buy? Do I just get Costco's finest and call it a day?

* What would sway you in your decision making?

Thank you in advance, Mefi adults, for your advice and thoughts!
posted by tamarack to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
Ok, so I am not your washer-repair person. My experiences may not be similar to yours, and I accept no responsibility for any actions you may take related to this question or any other. Heh.

We were told point blank that we would need to buy a new dryer in order to stack with new washer. Every manufacturer uses a different mating system and each company changes this around on every model. Stacking two non-matching appliances would surely result in our death or dismemberment if not the destruction of western civilization itself. We came perilously close to buying this nonsense, but fortunately my bullshit meter went off and we decided to craigslist a used washer that didn’t match our perfectly functional dryer.

I had to kludge a clamp on the back of the appliances but it worked like a charm while the craigslist washer was alive. After a year it died and we bought a new non-matching washer. This one only had one place in back that would reliably clamp to the dryer, so I added a couple supports: I bought some foam tape at Home Depot to put on the top four corners of the washer where the dryer sits. Then after stacking the dryer I attached the two appliances with several 2 foot vertical strips of Gorilla tape near the front corners (on the sides, natch.)

Both fixes worked perfectly. Screw the manufacturers trying to get you to replace a perfectly good dryer whenever your washer fails (dryers usually will go forever while washers typically fail within 12 years.) YMMV.
posted by carterk at 9:58 PM on September 3, 2019 [3 favorites]

Other than Consumer Reports & Wirecutter, what would you recommend for finding a good model if I do buy? Do I just get Costco's finest and call it a day?

1. Other Resources: If you want to fall down a deep rabbit hole, then's Samurai Repair Guy and his forums have some excellent advice and a good track record helping our local repair cafe. He writes in a very informal style that I find extremely annoying, but I can't fault his expertise. In this document (five years old but still generally applies) he recommends LG, GE, and then Whirlpool in that order from best to third best.

2. Costco: Kevin Kelly makes a really good point about Costco's genius is that they always find the "highest quality common quality" item, and I think he is right about it. You will almost never go wrong buying the Costco choice, and they pay their workers a living wage and much better benefits than their competitors, which is rare today.

3. Personal experience: We recently replaced a refrigerator, and after flirting with a broken Subzero model for $1000 and being disappointed, I found that the $100 used model from my local Habitat for Humanity store works just as well, and for literally 1/10th the price. Also carterk's solution above came from Craigslist, so don't discount buying used. I bet even in Canada, your Habitat store would be worth a visit or phone call to see if you can fix this problem for a lot less money than you imagined.
posted by seasparrow at 11:01 PM on September 3, 2019

We consulted a reliable local appliance store and were told there are two issues to consider:
- If the top appliance is not seated properly, there is a chance it may dance off the machine below.
- Pairing appliances incorrectly (according to the manufacturer) will almost certainly void the manufacturer warranty. Customers had reported the repair person showing up and refusing service.

The store worker said he'd seen some customers get around these issues by buidling a shelf over the lower machine, so that the machines are not at all touching.
posted by zennie at 5:06 AM on September 4, 2019 [3 favorites]

Thank you all so much!
* @carterk thank you for clarifying I'm not an idiot ;) and that there is a whole thing going on with the matching stackers. Appreciate knowing you were able to diy it.
* @seasparrow kudos for the link to appliantology, confirming the Costco is a decent bet, and for suggesting Habitat for Humanity! Hadn't thought of that.
* @zennie thanks also for your words of caution about diy stacking, and the alternative of a shelf.

Haven't solved the conundrum yet, but these are great leads for my weekend, and I felt confident enough to postpone having the repair guy come by (at $85 just for diagnosis, I'm going to do some more investigating...)
Thanks, Mefites!
posted by tamarack at 6:14 PM on September 5, 2019

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