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Myths about high efficiency washing machines

MRM4's picture

We are considering buying a high-efficiency washing machine. Our utlity company continues to raise our water rates, to the point where we are paying almost 3 times the amount we did 8 years ago.

One of our friends bought a high-efficiency washing machine and has said their model can only be used with certain brands of detergent. First of all, is anything like this true? And if it's true, are all models like this or just certain ones? I really don't know much about these and am trying to research it before making a decision.

Type not brand (post #205349, reply #1 of 8)

HE washers, or so I have read, require detergent designed for use in HE machines. Low suds, I think. Numerous brands offer such detergent.

After reading comments on Fix it, I would look into the repair parts availability before I decided on a brand. I have read that the asian brands are particularly bad in this regard. They like Whirlpool sourced products for this reason.

Since they all work the same when they I broken, I buy my stuff from a retailer that provides a repair department staffed with techs.

Good luck.


Not sure I'd buy another (post #205349, reply #2 of 8)

I have a Maytag Neptune, that was the top of the line when I bought it six-years ago.  It like all of the High Efficiency front loaders requires HE detergent.  Most brands now have it, in most of their various scents, etc.  Go through the luandry supply section of where you normally shop, and check for the HE emblem on the detergents, and you will see a lot of choices. 

It does a good job of cleaning general dirt, and the "sanitary" option, that heats the water to 190-degrees does an excellent job of getting grease stains out of my clothes.  It will not get pet hair off of anything, because there isn't enough water to flush it off and into a filter.  The washers save energy/water by rolling the wet clothes around and letting the water drain back through them, carrying the dort with it.  Which won't work if the "dirt" is too big to flow through the clothes with it. 

Some of them have had issues with water souring inside the drum and causing a nasty smell.  My Sister's did that, mine never has.  But, I leave the door cracked, and purposely installed mine with a bit of tilt to the back to increase drainage. 

I have had issues with the control board going bad. It cost me $225 in parts to fix it.   

One of the guys I work with, had a 2002 model, that he had huge maintenance issues with.  There was a resistor on the mother board that would burn out, it controlled the wax pellet latch mechanism.  When it failed, the board was toast, and you couldn't get the door open to get things out.  He had to replace two mother boards, before they solved the problem.  It has been engineered out of the newer Maytags. 

The bearings for the drum are cast into the plastic hub.  When the seal in the center goes, the water gets to the bearings and they go out.   AT that point you have to completely disassemble the machine and install a new drum, $300 plus a couple of days time into the labor if you do it your self.  I doubt you would want to pay a service rate to have it done, because if the machine is more than a year or two old it isn't worth the cost. 

In conclusion.  I'm not sure I'd buy another. 

The girl friend definitely wouldn't buy another, mostly because of the time it takes to wash a load, the Sanitary cycle lasts nearly three hours, a "short" wash is about 45-minutes.   The long wash times don't bother me as much as it does her, because there is a timer you can set to start a load later.  I set it to start a couple of hours before I plan to get home, and put things in the dryer when I get home.  By the time I finish dinner, I can set down and fold laundry while I watch the TV, and then go out and putter in the shop. 

Pete, sold his when it was working, after putting the third control board and second drum in it.   

also they clean cell phones perfectly...... (post #205349, reply #3 of 8)

I got a real deal on a hardly used Maytag Neptune in  ' 02. Never have used the HE detergent , only liquid generic, sparingly. Never have been able to see a problem with that. I always use the presoak feature, slow cycle can be good if you have a very low flow well like mine. 


Once a few years ago the door wouldn't unlock but  a few plug and unplug cycles got it open. Only time I ever had a problem.

Two weeks ago I realized that my cell phone was getting a bath and of course you can't open the top and fish it out. After  66 minutes the phone was spotless. Amazingly after a night sleeping with the rice it came out alive. 


We have 'recycle events' here (post #205349, reply #4 of 8)

We have 'recycle events' here i town, where folks can drop off 'old' or non-working appliances, etc.

Thus, I have a Neptune washer - took it off a guys truck so he would not have to wait inline <G>

NOT EVEN WORTH FIXING imo.  I can repair elecronic boards for the piece part cost (e.g $10 vs $300 for the whole board), even so, not worth my time after pulling it apart and looking at the pp design.  The one I got had one phase of the 3 phase reluctance motor drive totally burnt out - no conformal coat on the power circuit board, what a cheap shortcut on costs!!

Half the weight of the thing turned out to be cast in concrete counter weightl 

scrap value is total worth.... did save the switched reluctance motor to use on a small drill press with a variable frequency motor drive. 

I've heard a bunch of (post #205349, reply #5 of 8)

I've heard a bunch of negative comments about the Neptune washing machines.  Personally I wouldn't own a H.E. washer.  I recentlly bought a good old Maytag--non electronic top-loader that the local Lowes was closing out due to it's being an old floor model.  It's a water hog and I love that!  I have my own well, so plenty of good water.

Certainly you can't beat the (post #205349, reply #6 of 8)

Certainly you can't beat the old standard Maytags for reliability and long life.  In fact, that's why the company went out of business -- they were their own worst competition.  (Then, of course, they built the Neptune in too much of a hurry, not realizing it had taken several decades to get the original Maytag right.)

We still have the Maytag units we bought about 9 months after we married.  They've needed service a few times, but most of it I could do myself.  Next time they go, though, they're likely to be replaced -- 35.5 years is getting pretty old in washer years.

(But based on our experience with our Bosch DW -- our 3rd DY in 35.5 years -- we may buy Bosch when we get new units.  Depends on whether the wife thinks we can live with the long cycle, mainly.  And the price.)

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

i like Maytag also and I have (post #205349, reply #8 of 8)

I like Maytag also and I have been using this for years. My water and electric bill is okay also.

We've got a top of the line (post #205349, reply #7 of 8)

We've got a top of the line LG Tromm. Washes okay but you have to leave the door open all the time or it mildews and stinks inside. Hyad to spend $350.00 on it last year now the drum bearings are going, a $600.00 fix that we won't we doing. The next time you see our washer it'll be part of a road sign.

The problem is thta because of the Energy Star requirements none of the new washers will get your cloths clean. Consumer Reports says the best top loader is worse then the worst one was 20 year ago. I'm looking at a used commercial Whirlpool. My wall sockets have 3 holes so that's 3 Phase, right? ;-]

Florida Licensed Building Contractor, 50 years experience in commercial remodeling, new homes, home remodeling and repairs and all types building maintenance.