I've never taken a front loader apart that wasn't loaded with concrete ballast, except for my giant commercial Unimacs. I usually clean the coin trap on my small machine @ work once a year. Most coins are intercepted before the washer though, as my employees check the pockets for inkpens before things go into the machines. Another thing to mention. Don't forget to leave the door cracked open when not using it otherwise you have a dark, moist, sealed environment to grow mold. If you leave the door cracked when not in use it will never mold.
I'm curious- what happens to the items (pens, coins, slips of paper with numbers/names) that customers leave in their pockets? Do you keep/trash them? Or give them back when the owners come back to pick up their clothes?
I bet you find some odd things from time to time...
If its a common item of no particular value (Bic pens, packs of gum, etc) are just tossed. Items of value (credit cards, cash, jewelry, passports, etc) are noted in the person's account, put in a bag, and I keep that stuff in my safe, and is returned to the customer when they pickup their clothes. Odd items? well I'd say one of the strangest has to be the "Life-like, anatomically correct, battery operated personal massager". My employees were putting that thing on various people's workstations. The first day they had it I was hearing a shrill scream every 10 minutes come from the back of the store. It even got me. I ran back to the spotting station to take a stain out for a customer and standing tall, amidst the bottles of spotting chemicals on the station was this "item" I usually grab whatever bottle I need without even looking, because I know were I keep things. Well, I darn near grabbed the item instead... Shocked the heck out of me. Then of course I had to ask the question, por que hay un pene en mi mesa de sacar manchas?
We... (who am I kidding?)...
SHE washes our clothes. We use only cold, the hot isn't even connected. We get water from a private well and discharge into a private septic leach field. Our water costs are what is needed to run the well pump. Our per wash costs couldn't be much lower so savings potential here are negligible.
She chose a front load when the fleamarket top load was taken off life support (I did save the bungee used to assure oscillation during the agitation sequence). It has a delay start timer to allow washing at night when the off-peak electric rate kicks in. It spins so much more water out that hang dry time is no longer than an electric drier cycle so the dryer is frequently unused for months on end.
Less detergent, less softener, quieter operation, doesn't walk across the floor to the end of its water supply 'leash'...
It wasn't as cheap as a used appliance orphan, but I paid for it once. I don't get reminded how cheap I was each time another seal let loose or the gear case leaked lube all over the floor, or another solenoid failed and flodded the basement.
Will it last 20 years? 15 more to go...
20 years? Nope. Died yesterday. 7 years, 4~5 loads a week, fewer than 2000 uses. $700 gone. At $0.35 per load that doesn't seem too bad, but considering that the used $50 top loader lasted five years before the agitator started acting up, it stinks.
I looked at the energy savings tag that came with the front loader. The operating cost saving of it over the worst in its class would be about $100 year (if we used hot water. we don't). In 7 years, had we used hot water, it would have only just paid for the cost.
Scrolling through the posts I was struck by how similar it is to the images in post #15. No wonder! same exact machine!. The internal spinning drum is now out of balance. It smacked into the brown/tan plastic watertight shell that surrounds it and knocked a fist sized hole out of it.
So did I learn from my mistake? Yes and no.
No: I allowed my wife to insist on another front loader (married 28 years, I learned from the mistakes made during those years too). $900!
Yes: Different brand, and "industrial" design.
We see if I bring back this thread in another 5 years.
Sorry to hear that... Here at my drycleaning store I have a small "home type" front loader to do specialty stuff in, that I don't want to run with other stuff.
This is the model I purchased when we opened the store(Frigidaire front loader):
That machine ran for 13 hours/day 6 days/week for 5 years. What finally killed it was the drain pump had gone out, but I decided to replace the unit as the bearing was going, and that was a $250 part.
I picked up the following Frigidaire model @ Lowe's on clearance for $440:
The machines are extremely quiet, do an exceptional job cleaning, and extract water far better than top loaders so you run the dryer a lot less. They use less water, so that's less hot water. Now I do have my limitations though. First off Whirlpool Duets are crap. The Frigidaire models are made by Electrolux and come standard with a 3/4 hp motor. Most other front loaders only have a 1/2 hp motor. I was so pleased with the service that the first Frigidaire gave us that I bought another. I know store owners that think that top loaders are "cheaper" but the stores buying top loaders end up buying a new machine every year.
Over the 5 years we used the first machine I spent right about $100 in repairs. $60 for a drain pump when the machine was about 3 years old, and when it was 4 years old I replaced the lower drum boot for $40. We run about 70 loads a week in the machine. That means that we did just over 18,000 loads before I retired the machine.
The current price for the original model we owned is $598 / 18,000 = $0.033 / load for the machine cost. The savings in hot water alone probably paid for the machine, not to mention reduced run time on the dryer.
Perhaps that was just bad luck with one bad model, or perhaps they're more suited to daily use. Just like a car, if you use it every day you'll get way more miles out of it (and probably more years) than if you drive it 2 miles every weekend.
The top loader that my grandmother gave me when I moved into my house and she sold hers has to be at least 6 years old now and works fine, knock on wood.
I thought the quality of the machine was excellent. My brother in law liked the one at the store so much, he bought the exact same one for his home. On ours I started shopping about 2 months before it died. I knew that the rear bearing was going, and you couldn't purchase the bearing separately. You had to purchase the whole "rear washtub assembly" Which was the rear half of the tub, with the bearing pre installed for about $200 - $250. Since I knew it was going I started shopping the clearance aisles. Then the drain pump quit. A button got stuck in it, and broke the impeller. I wasn't paying $60 for a replacement pump because it was dying anyway. I went to Lowe's and bought the current machine as a scratch & dent model for $150 off. The machine had a huge black mark on it, looked like sharpie marker. A drop of dry cleaning fluid on a paper towel and it came right off...
I know too well what the inside of the drain pump looks like! EMPTY THOSE DAMN POCKETS FAMILY!
Even with the reliability issues, it's still worth considering the savings in drying cost. That is where the real energy use happens outside of hot water. If you get just 2000 loads out of a front loader and save 10 cents per drying cycle, that's $200 savings right there. It is also the reason we focused heavily on extraction spin speed when we shopped for ours.