Washer/dryer hell

Our dryer started acting wonky last weekend. It would stop in the middle of a cycle and I would have to restart it. It took forever to dry anything. We've had the washer and dryer the entire seven years we've been here and the girls who owned the house before us had bought them new two years previous to that. Since the average lifespan is 8-10 years, we decided to head to Sears to replace the both of them.

Surprisingly, the appliance dept was empty of customers. I thought there were would be more people buying for Christmas. Joyce, our saleperson, was nice, but had blue contacts with some weird shape for her iris. It was disconcerting and I tried not to stare at her. She was energetic and showed us some options.

We knew we needed a larger size to handle king-size comforters/bedspreads, so that narrowed the field down.

Since we wanted something that would last well, we settled on a Kenmore White w/Black Kenmore Elite 3.8 cu. ft. HE3 King Size Capacity Plus Front Load Washer and Kenmore Elite 7.0 cu. ft. HE4 Super Capacity Plus Gas Dryer. Plus two pedestals w/drawers and 5-year warranty. They ended up costing us under $1.00/day if they last a full 10 years.

They have lots of buttons and settings and have circuit boards inside. Talk about high-tech! The washer came with a DVD. Seriously. I should have known then that something was up.

The delivery guys showed up two days ago to take away the old washer/dryer (bye bye) and install the new ones. They look very cool in the basement. I couldn't wait to wash a load of clothes. I've never been this excited to do laundry!

Put in a full load of colors and the capacity of the washer was such that I put in two laundry basketfuls of clothes and still had room. Wow! Put the detergent, bleach and softener in and started it up. Was fascinated watching the clothes go round and round. Made me tired. I went upstairs to take a nap. Really.

When I woke up, Chris told me the high efficiency of the washer meant that when the water drained out and it was spinning, it was pushing the water out reallyfast. Which flooded the basement. Oh great.

We watched the DVD to see if there were any clues there. Instead we laughed our butts off that they had to make a DVD to show people how to use the washer.

The next morning, I decided to try a smaller load of clothes. Went upstairs while it was running, heard it beep when it was done and went downstairs.


The flooding this time was worse. As I mopped up the water, I called Chris and had him call Sears, then the plumber to see if we could do anything. The standpipe was definitely tall and wide enough. Both Sears and the plumber said that because we were septic, the water being pushed out of the washer so fast was too much. The plumber said it would cost $300-$500 to fix it, if it could be fixed.

Screw that.

Called Sears and told them we had to exchange for a "regular" washer. No probs. Come in. Called Chris and he met me at Sears.

Joyce wasn't there. Mary was. She was abouot 62, short, with the smokiest voice I've ever heard. She helped us pick out a new washer. Good to go.

Refunding the HE3 was a pain in the ass. Poor Mary wasn't allowed to just return it, then sell us the new washer. She had to go to the office, on the other side of the store, while the other saleslady had to wait for Mary to call to put in the right info.

Chris wandered off, looking at plasma TVs. Uh-oh.

Mary came back and had to call Sears home office. She explained the situation. They wanted to talk to me. Mary rolled her eyes. I patiently explained to the woman on the other end of the phone that the washer flooded our basement twice, was too powerful for the septic system and we had to return it. No probs.

Mary took the phone back, ordered the new washer, refunded the HE3, pedestal and 5-year warranty, then added a 5-year warranty on the new washer. We ended up saving almost $500 total.

Then we were told Sears would call within 24 hours to schedule the exchange. Oh great - now what do we do for a washer? I was not going to go to the local laundromat over Christmas.

Mary told us, in low tones, to shut off the spin cycle completely. This meant the water would drain like a normal washer. Then, if the clothes were still too wet for the dryer, to run a short spin cycle several times.

Sounds like a plan.

Still waiting for Sears to call. The 24 hours will be up at 4:10 pm.


Anonymous said…
So what is the outcome? I was considering buying an he 4t but have yet to read any positive reviews. Are they really that terrible?

JAH said…
I continued the info about this in my next post after the one you replied to. It isn't a bad washer, it just doesn't work with septic or wells. I really wish we could have kept it - I loved it. I am glad we kept the dryer - I love that as well.
Anonymous said…
I have had a HE3 for almost 3 years. Up until the day it broke I thought it was great. However some times I need to learn things the hard way. When we called the service department at sears we were told that someone would be there on thursday, wendsday we recieved a call letting us know in a less than polite manor that we would have too wait until monday (off to a bad start).
Monday came around the service man came in opened the front door of the washer and said that IT WAS BAD. He also informed us that even if the washer were only 2 weeks old the waranty would not cover because I should check pockets he informed us that we were looking at around $400 to fix the HE3 but he would call us that evening to give the exact quote. two days later I called sears and they tracked him down. When he called back the price jumped $280 we were now up to $680 (Iwent into shock) I realized that it is cheaper to buy a new machine. Since I realy liked my old one we got a second repair man to come out and check the washer. He said that the parts should be covered under warenty but they were unable to service a sears product under warenty so his price would be very close he also said that it was very unlikly that something fell out of a pocket and got caught causing the bearing to go so we felt very stupid and upset to find out that sears wouldn't stand behind their high end products better than that. I really did like the HE3 up until the bearing went.
What was most upseting was the way the service call was handled. In fact because of the way we were treated by the service department we have decided that this is the last time we will ever make a majour purchase at sears!!
JAH said…
I am really surprised that your Sears store would be that bad with service. We bought all our kitchen appliances from Sears when we moved into our house and have never had a problem when we've called for service.

You should have called to speak to someone in management in service to get a second repairman to give his opinion, especially since you had an independent repairman state nothing in pockets would have caused the damage.

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