Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My Conversation with a Washing Machine Repairman

So, if you follow me on facebook you have probably figured out we are having issues with our washing machine.  It started out that we were having issues with our power, it was surging, that was around the time our washing machine started to act up, we thought it was a coincidence, the repairman that came to look at it though had his thoughts on the matter, and I feel the need to point out that before you start reading you need to read all the way to the bottom and not just jump to conclusions and move on because the bottom is where it begins to make sense

Well, first off, anytime any kind of a repair person comes to the house it is a fun experience with 4 big dogs (Besi is smaller and usually in the house already, none of them seem to mind her)  so I stood outside and made sure none to keep the dogs busy in the rabbit pen while he snuck into the house.  by the time I got in he was already looking at the washer

Now let me point out we have a brand new (bought in Feb of 2011) Maytag washing machine, top loader, extra capacity without the agitation arm taking up much needed space.  We got it for a great deal last year and figured it was time to have a new washer with a warranty since we had spent a few hundred dollars replacing 2nd hand washing machines.  It is an HE washing machine and we take great care to make sure everything we use in it (and sell) is HE approved.

some interesting things I learned--did you know that there is a little manual hidden in the washing machine for repairmen, the company doesn't want you to know it is there because they wand you to use repairmen and not be able to do the repairs by yourself (his words, not mine), and this is ok with me because we bought an extended warrenty so the repairman was covered, but boy would I have been mad otherwise.

so he pulls out this little book, and he opens it up and he does a few things and he says 'ok, here is the problem' and so I go over at which point he says 'wait I got to find it' and then he tells me the sudsing sensor tripped and asked me what kind of soap i used---now, to be honest, i couldn't tell if he was giving the look of 'oh no, not another one of things' or if his eyes were flashing dollar signs like Scrounge McDuck and Ducktails but either way, i saw a distinct change in his face when I pointed out that we made our own.  He ofcourse pointed out that we need to make sure to use HE approved laundry detergent--I assured him it was, and he reinstated that the sudsing scensor tripped, I thought for a second realizing this didn't make any sense, at which point I remembered a little laundry room mishap.  about 2 years ago, frustrated by all the stained clothes we had I broke down and bought some stain pretreatment from Sam's club, it came in a gallon or more jug with a hose and a apray thingy, shortly after buying this we started making our own laundry detergent and it was mostly full despite how long we have had it--well it isn't anymore, because the spray nozzel fell off the shelf and covered the washing machine lid, not thinking anything of it I picked up a dirty towel, I wiped it all up with said dirty towel, wiping it off the lid into the washing machine and then throwing the towel in the washing machine and starting the load, there was so much on the washer it wouldn't surprise me if there wasn't more than 3 cups worth, and some had dripped in before i even found it, either way, after explaining this to him he agreed that would cause an excess of sudsing.

He then asked me about how large of a load we put into the machine at one time, knowing all to well that if he didn't like my previous answer he was going to downright hate the one I was about to give him--and i was right, filling it all the way up was in fact the wrong answer, we are only to be filling it 2/3rd of the way up, and this is why--because without the agitation arm the machine relieson the clothes to beat against each other so that they can get clean, with too many in the washer at one time and with the small amount of soap that the washer uses you can imagine that there isn't much room to beat together and so they won't get clean.  i then informed it that the small loads weren't getting clean too, at which point he informed me that if there isn't enough clothes then they also don't have enough to beat against each other and won't get clean either--hmmm, interested, so either way, we have to fill it 2/3rds full even if we only want to do a small load, that is good info. 

After we worked out those 2 problems I said 'so if that was the problem, does that mean it is fixed' at which point he made it extremely clear that even though those were problems the main problem was that the something or other that he compared to the transmission of the washing machine was completely gone and that he had to order in the entire assembly, gut the washing machine and replace it before it would work again--oh joy, that isn't going to be cheap, and it won't be repaired until next week probably.

Now with that said, i am curious just how my laundry soap might cause the transmission of our washing machine to go out, he went on about this and that and then tried to tell me that there are cheap laundry soaps at the dollar star that wouldn't break my washing machine--hmmm, I don't know about that, I might not have been raised by a father who spent 50 years as a washing machine repairman, but I have had about 6 completely die on me in the last 6 years and one thing I distintly remember is all the build up left by inferior laundry soap which I think it damaging to a machine (I though am no expert by any means). 

We talked further, and don't worry I was pleasant, at first he acted like he was walking on egg shells and that I might rip his head off at any moment, but I didn't, I actually appreciated him talking to me and thought this would arm me with information from a repairmans point of view.  I though did feel the need to point out that in almost 1.5 years of using our laundry detergent we never had any kind of build up on our clothes and also pointed out how all the ingredients are recommended for HE machines and that the soap does not produce any suds, I also stated that the ingredients I use and that you can get them in the laundry isle.  Now, thinking back to this conversation I feel the need to point out that as he was trying to tell me to buy laundry detergent at the dollar store for cheap I mentioned how none of them work as well as ours does at getting smells out at which point he suggested I mix our home made soap with the store bought soap--why would I want to do that?  first off, and 2ndly, how come my laundry soap isn't safe to use in the washing machine by itself but it is safe to use mixed with something I don't believe is safe to use at all? 

He then went on to tell me that Our laundry machine is not built to use a powdered and that maybe if I just melted down the soap then it should be safe--hmmm, as much as I hate to do it i guess I could make liquid laundry detergent, or even just put it i a cup of water to dissolve  before putting in the washing machine).  He explained that even if you can't see the clumping that the laundry detergent could be clumping in the pipes and tried to tell me that it could result in my washers transmission going out again--hmmmm, interesting point, you were completely against my home made laundry soap, now (after I tell you a little bit more about you) you are ok with it as long as it is in a liquid form, ok, I buy that.

I then thank him for his great information, he tells me I will hear from his office, and then we struggle to hold back the dogs while he runsout the gate, after all that was said and done I come in, grab an ice bag and put it on my shoulder and go to sit down and instantly I am remembering something I looked at on my washing machine a few days ago, so I hop back up and run in and lift the lid and sure enough right on the lid it states it is safe to use liquid, and POWDERED HE laundry detergent---hmmm, interesting

Anyhow, after that I started to think back to everything else he had to say and knew I needed to share it with you, and don't worry, as smart as he is when it comes to washing machine repairs, remember that he gets paid to tell people what the company wants him to.  Anyhow, part of me thought 'should I really share this, the guy was very against home made detergent' but then after praying about it i realized that you guys needed to be prepared in case you encounter a repairman who wants to tell you that your washing machine transmission is fried because you use home made laundry detergent.

now first off, let me point out that a lot of home made laundry soap recipes call for bath bars of soap, which is fine to use, but not HE approved, we offer a couple varieties but are weaning them out and discourage people from trying them unless there is a specific reason they can't use the All natural White or Pink laundry soap (and few have that reason).  The All natural white/pink laundry soap does not suds, and if it does it isn't enough to trip the sensor, but remember the more you use the more it will suds, so for those of you who think more is better, beware, that is not the case with this laundry soap, please only use 1 Tablespoon, at the most 2 and only use 2 Tablespoons every so many loads, not every load or build up may occur and we wouldn't want that.  If you are afraid of build up, you can always use half a scoop, the clothes should still get clean.  Anyhow, the point i am trying to make here is that not all home made laundry soap is created equal, and for this point you need to be weary of what is for sale online and make sure they aren't trying to sell you something that will in fact break your machine (remember, our machine broke because I wash 20 pairs of levis at a time, not because of the soap) and if you tell the company you use home made laundry soap they won't honor the warranty, so if you are asked then don't lie and say you use tide, instead tell them it is a combination of detergents purchased in the laundry isle of the store and that is specified for HE washing machines (which is it) that does not void the warranty (and again I feel the need to restate, it is the truth, not a lie)

2nd off, my husband is a repairman, he hasn't been doing it for 50 + years, but he has been doing it long enough to know what will and won't hurt a machine (his specialty is mechanics, and so one can imagine he is very particluar about the kind of gas he uses) and when we bought this new washer he himself did extensive research and when I txted him that the repairman said our soap damaged the washer he laughed and said obviously he doesn't know anything about it then because it actually improves  it drastically and with regular use should allow a quality washing machine to last twice (if not 3 times) as long as it would while using store bought detergent.

Anyhow, with that said, rest assured, the FAM Farm all natural home made laundry detergent is safe to use and it won't burn on your washing machines transmission, if anything, the culprit of the problem was my lack of laundry skills and the store bought stain pretreatment

so what are your thoughts on this?

have you ever had a repairman tell you something you knew was completely false?  .

would you trust this person to repair your washing machine?

did you know about the instruction manual hidden in new washers?

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