It’s clear washing machines – and perhaps some other products – aren’t lasting as long as you expect, but why is this? And is the situation any worse than it used to be?
Let me declare an interest. I barely had my last washing machine for two years before it decided, during the spin cycle, to start emptying water out through the front door onto the laminate floor of the kitchen. With costly results.
I suspect it may have been partly my fault for overloading the drum. A no-no, according to our expert, Adrian Porter.
Apparently, not overloading the drum is the top way to make your machine last longer. I’ve certainly been following the tip of leaving a hand span’s width from the top of the drum to the top of the clothes.
Spin speeds, manuals and the things they find
John Pepper was concerned about the effect of a high spin speed:
‘Way back in the early 1980s I bought a Hotpoint with a high spin speed to service terry towelling nappies. It lasted only a few years until the bearings failed and I replaced it with a cheap second-hand machine.’
Wavechange meanwhile called for manufacturers to show the number of washing cycles a machine has done and provide a warranty for X years or Y cycles – whichever comes first – to give an idea of durability.
‘This means that the manufacturer is protected from claims by owners that use their machines several times a day, whereas someone who users their machine once or twice a week benefits from longer cover.’
Dieseltaylor raised a complaint that we have heard repeatedly about many types of products – not just washing machines.
‘There is a complete lack of manuals to most goods which if available could be read by potential purchasers to identify risks or if certain desired requirements – like an accurate 60C wash temperature or number of rinse cycles – are available.’
Unusual things found in machines
Engineer Kenneth Watt tackled readers’ questions, but also revealed unusual finds in broken machines:
‘Coins are common but you’d be amazed at what’s been pulled out machines over the years. Nails, screws, bank cards, syringes and needles, condoms, children’s toys, sex toys, drugs, cigarettes, lighters. The list ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous, from the disgusting to downright funny.’
With all this trapped inside, it’s little wonder machines break down. But some of you have been lucky (or careful) enough to have one that goes on and on.
Xopher has a 33-year-old Philco W451 model, still going strong:
‘It has had four replacement door seals and a new thermostat. It is very quiet, partly due to the low 800 rpm spin speed, but also because it has a brushless induction motor, a feature only found on expensive models today.
‘When the door seal fails again, I’m going to replace it. I think that I’ll treat myself to a Miele and a tumble dryer from them too, to replace the creaking Philco D421 which is the same age as the washer and on its last legs.’