13 Jul Attempts to make a modern “efficient” washing machine fill with water hot enough to kill bed bugs
A while ago my 5 year old GE washing machine broke down and the repair man suggested it would cost more to repair than it was worth. So I went out and bought a new Whirlpool washer as my repair man had previously suggested this brand in terms of easy repairs for my apartment block commercial washers. Unfortunately Whirlpool very recently started a new energy efficiency program which limited the amount of water in the tub to next to nothing and a maximum water temperature of 115f which is not adequate to kill bed bugs. I called Whirlpool and they said there was nothing that could be done to correct that problem. Just then one of my apartment block washers bit the dust so it was time to make some purchases.
So I started researching washers and found that “Speed Queen” brand washers were built with with heavy duty parts and simple operating methods that would allow me to select water levels and temperatures – perfect, I thought. Here in Canada those machines are rebranded “Huebsch” and in coin operation configuration, cost $1800. And these machines were only available with a special electronic board that operated the controls. Given that I did not want any fancy electronic board I opted to order the base model “electro mechanical” control option which is simpler and I would not have to pay money to fix that special electronic control board when it broke. I asked for a price quote for the electro mechanical option and my local supplier stated it might take 4 months to get that option if, in fact, it was even available in Canada. In the end my supplier, despite their expressed pride in always providing excellent service, never even bothered to submit a quote so I assume I can not get what I want here in Canada.
I began a google search for these machines and found exactly what I wanted and they were advertised for $900US (yes that is exactly half price!). I called a place in California and found they only charged $879US. I immediately put in an order but they, for some reason, stopped any further communication with me. I could not get those machines from them. So I began emailing other US companies and no one answered my emails. I figured maybe this has to do with territory issues and being unable to sell to Canadians in a manner similar to the US car dealers not selling to Canadians. So I got an email account with a .com suffix and started sending emails and did get responses but it appeared that Speed Queen has dealers within specific geographic locations and they could not sell outside their boundaries. So I found a dealer in Minnesota (at $1179US per machine) and made some progress in making an order but when it finally came down to delivering to North Dakota (within the supplier’s territory) where I would pick it up they balked and no longer communicated with me. I was beginning to feel like I was ordering blood diamonds or something. I guess I will have to drive down to Minneapolis and buy some machines in person. I do hope they sell to people without a Southern US drawl.
Anyways after all this my wife and I came home from a hotel stay and, is customary with our family, took the bed bug precautions of keeping hotel clothes separate and washing them in hot water upon return. But we still had that crummy whirlpool washer!! To circumvent the 115f temperature restriction I attempted to close the cold water valve to the machine which resulted in no water entering the tub. So we filled the tub normally and then attempted to add hot water but then, because we had to stop the cycle to unlock the lid which allows the addition of water, the existing water just drained out. Therefore I got an old garden hose and put it on the hot water supply. The load was started as per normal and I bent up the locked lid slightly and shoved the garden hose into the top of the tub and filled it up with hot water. What an effort to get a load of laundry done on hot!!!
If anyone knows how I can order speed queen from California please respond to my contact link. I know I won’t have warranty but warranties are usually worthless anyways with all the exclusions and the paying for labour etc…
update November 2, 2013 I traded my new Whirlpool for an old style rebuilt whirlpool. Sorry speed queen – no sale for you.