As exciting as it was to move from buckets, to oddjob, to our own apartment sized washing machine, all good things must come to an end.
As such, I was unimpressed the morning when we switched on the machine, it agitated briefly, and then died. Apparently agitation is contagious, as it spread to me immediately.
I tried running it on the inverter (which it hadn’t done previously), and then back on the generator. Then by itself, then with a different cord. But no go.
I left it unplugged overnight and then plugged it back in. That was more exciting – it agitated briefly, and then died.
I again left it unplugged for a number of hours, but this time it was not to be revived.
We managed to drain the water out the back door. I popped the back cover off and saw no user-serviceable parts or fuses or breakers or anything useful for a tinkerer.
Loading it up and taking it to General Appliance down in the city saved me on what would likely have been an expensive in-house service call. The next day they called back – $250.00 for the part, plus labour, less the $50.00 sunk cost I had already paid just for them to examine it. I told them I would think about it, and then went online to check my options.
I knew I wanted something small and simple – that’s my current style. I was all over Future Shop and Home Depot’s websites, looking at their offerings. Nothing seemed to be available without special order, and even then, it was almost as expensive as a full sized unit!
I’m not sure how it happened, but eventually I found this Panda Washing Machine with a Spin Dryer. It cost less than repairing the old one, even with taxes and shipping!
It took me two days to convince Donna to at least let me try ordering it, and on Friday morning I was able to close the deal. I suspect it was going back to this that helped convince her to order promptly :).
Amazingly, it arrived on Wednesday, and I excitedly retrieved it from the back of the car and brought it to the yurts.
We set it up where the old washer had been, and with its reduced size, it made the back yurt seem even larger than before!
We put in some underwear and dish towels, some soap nuts, and then poured in a bucket of water. I was delighted to see that it agitated just fine!
Two pairs of jeans was too much for it though. You do have to be cautious about overloading it. This is more difficult when you have to carry in all the water you plan on using – you are always trying to see if you can make it wash more in fewer, smaller loads. This will likely be less of an issue when we have it plumbed in to a larger water supply.
The spinner is really great. I wouldn’t even say the clothes come out damp. Somewhere between damp and dry. They can dry really quickly on the line after being spun out.
For the first few days we had it draining back into empty buckets, which I then carried outside to dump. I was a bit annoyed that it took me so long to realize I could just put its drain hose out the same hole as the previously existing drain hose. It even fit nearly perfectly!
We really like the fact that it is so simple to use and that there is actually more interaction – we know better what is happening. You can actually lift the lid while it is agitating and see if the clothes are tumbling well. This also allows you to gauge just how dirty the water is becoming.
Same for the rinse which is essentially another wash cycle that you don’t add soap to – you can observe the water before deciding to pump it out. This would also give you a future option to use it as a sort of “suds saver” feature – and reuse cleanish rinse water on a second load of heavily soiled items.
One feature that I super appreciate is that without complicated electronics or motors, it runs flawlessly on our modified sine wave inverter, and at a very manageable draw in amps – I believe that in full sun, our solar panels can keep up with it, meaning that on sunny days we don’t even draw down the battery bank to do laundry!
Donna and I discussed this morning how it would not be able to wash our mats or quilts – we’ll likely have to relegate those to an occasional trip to the city laundromat, or perhaps some vigorous work in a large tub. But otherwise, after a week, we’re still going strong with this little machine.