...turns out our Maytag (which is just under five years old) is dying.
The first indication of trouble was the horrendous sound the machine started to make while entering the spin cycle. If you can imagine the sound of a jet engine taking off in the basement, you've pretty much got the idea. Despite the fact that the machine still effectively cleaned our skivvies, it was becoming increasingly difficult to squeeze a nap in during our Saturday afternoon laundry sessions. So, we decided to take action. After some solemn consideration of the matter, and an overly optimistic inspection of the inner workings of the machine, we felt it might be prudent to get a professional opinion.
Turns out, we have a failed "triple lip" seal. Since warm, soapy water can now get to the "milkstool" and bearing, the mechanism is rusting. The rusting is causing the loud, aeroplane-like screaching sound. According to the repairman that we called to take a look, this is an all-too-common scenerio. The seal itself is (apparently) a serious pain to fix. A professional will charge about $200 (labor alone) for the job, and from the reading I've done, it's a pretty nasty do-it-yourself project. So, I think it's worth our time and energy to consider a replacement.
I've been doing a bit of reading, and apparently our repairman wasn't feeding us a line. Some people have reported their washing machines dying a similar death in 3 years or less! I guess this should make me feel better. But, the reality is, it makes me angry. Washing machines used to be made to last. And now, it seems, they're disposable items, made to self-destruct. Like so many other things.
We're contemplating the new front-loaders; but, overall efficiency aside, I'm not sure if I'm ready to shell out the cash. I am giving some serious consideration to utilizing our local laundromat. After all, I could do five loads at once there (saving precious time), and I'm nearly positive it would cost me less than $100/year (which, at this rate, is what it costs me for the convenience of simply owning a machine -- the cost of the energy to run it not included).
But, we're up for suggestions/opinions, if you happen to have any.