Because Inquiring Minds Wanna Know

I’ve told you before that I’m an info junkie.  Whenever we have a big purchase to make I generally spend hours online researching, examining Consumer Reports with a fine tooth comb, reading customer reviews, and comparing features and prices.  Then I begin interrogating friends and family.  I have to know what everyone has, what they like, what their experiences are, and what they recommend.  Of course by then I am in information overload and you may find me sitting in the corner, sucking my thumb and twirling my hair.  And yet I do it every time.  What can I say?  It’s fun in a sick sorta way.

Over the past few months, I’ve known that my clothes dryer is on the blink.  It’s about 11 years old, and with 5 people creating laundry in this house, it works HARD.  Lately it hasn’t been drying things thoroughly, and I often have to run a second cycle.  Then a couple of weeks ago it started making this dreadful noise like it was crying out in pain.  My husband thought perhaps it needed a new belt and suggested we look into having it serviced.  He was hoping to breathe new life into it.

I secretly hoped it was about to die a rapid and painless death.  I’ve been wanting to upgrade to a newer, fancier model for a while now but we couldn’t justify it as long as we had one that was still running.  In fact, I suggested that we should just go ahead and get a new set since ours was clearly on their way out.  But my prudent husband wasn’t buying it, so like the submissive wife that I like to think I am, I agreed to go the repair it route first.

My husband, Mr. DIY himself, kept saying he was going to look into it, but you DIY widows out there know how that goes.  There are already about three outstanding projects around here, so I wasn’t holding my breath.

Finally this past weekend, I decided to call in a repairman to have a look, fully expecting him to want to replace a belt or that drum something-or-other.  On Saturday morning a heavy-set gentleman in torn Levis approached my front steps with a clipboard in one hand and a tool kit in the other and introduced himself as Jim.  I brought him into my newly-cleaned laundry room and showed him our ailing patient.

He turned it on and off a few times, asked me a few basic questions, took a deep sigh and stated solemnly, “It’s the motor.”

I tried to squelch the gleeful grin that was threatening to spread across my face as I said for clarification, “So he’s on his way out, huh.”

Jim nodded sympathetically, “Yep, it would cost almost as much to repair it as it’s worth,” as he began scrawling on the clipboard he had brought along. “It may run for a while longer, but sooner or later it’s going to start cutting off in the middle of the cycle.  You’ll have to wait 15 minutes or so for it to cool down before you can start it up again.  And then it’ll just stop turning on altogether.”

I stood there sedately and waited while inside was dancing a jig.  I could almost feel the pages of Consumer Reports in my greedy hands.

Finally he ripped off the paper and handed it to me.  “Seventy-eight, sixty-five,” he stated.

CLUNK.  I have to pay this guy $75 to tell me I need a new dryer?

I stifled the urge to point out to my husband that if we had just gone out and bought a new set like I’d suggested, we’d have an extra $75 to put towards it.  Or, I may have mentioned it one or ten times; I can’t exactly recall.

At any rate, we are now in the market for a new washer and dryer.  Yes, I’m getting the washer too; they have to match, dontchaknow.  And besides, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time…

So my question for you is a simple one:

Front loading or top loading?

My preliminary research indicates that most people prefer the front loader; however many complain about vibration and about a pesky mildew issue around the seal.  And also, I’m not sure I could get used to not adding clothes once the load is running.  I’m always finding just one more thing to throw in there.  So those are my reservations.

However, if we get a front loader, we will be able to install a handy shelf across the tops of them, which would create a lot of extra clutter-catching space.  Plus they just look cool.  And who says appliances shouldn’t be fashionable too?

So spill it.  What do you recommend?  Brand names and any other pertinent details are appreciated.