The great washing machine adventure

There’s this odd little holiday called Boxing Day right after Christmas. In Canada, it seems to be primarily celebrated through sales. It’s a mad rush I’ve managed to avoid for the past few years, but this time, we ventured forth. Our washing machine needed fixing, and we thought we’d replace it on our terms instead of waiting for it to give.

W- spent yesterday afternoon taking apart the old washing machine. The bearings were shot and the shaft was pitted, so most of the drum assembly would need to be replaced. After checking for parts online, we calculated that it would cost more to repair the old Frigidaire than to buy a new washer. The dryer had been making weird noises, too, so we figured we’d check out the Boxing Day sales.

With three cats and weekly laundry loads, we knew we wanted a front-loading washing machine that could handle duvets. For front-loading washers with more than 3.5 cubic feet capacity, the washing machine industry had standardized on widths of 27″. Problem: the basement stairs offered 26″ of space – and that was after W- removed the door and knocked all the trim off.

We seriously contemplated removing drywall, but it would only get us a little bit more space. Still not enough. Then we looked at real estate listings. Briefly. (For want of a nail…)

Then we went back to looking at washing machines and figuring out which ones we might be able to disassemble enough to get them downstairs.

It came down to a choice between a Samsung and an LG one. The Samsung washing machine had better features, but we didn’t know if we could disassemble it far enough. We found a service manual for a similar LG washing machine with part diagrams and troubleshooting guides, so we ended up choosing that instead.

Future Shop didn’t have the machines in store and we wanted to get the washing machine before their delivery date of January 8, so we decided to pick up the machines at the delivery center in Caledon.

The machines wouldn’t fit in the Subaru. We looked into renting a van from the nearby Home Depot, but the service clerk gave W- a hard time about renting the van for the plywood he bought as a pretext. So we rented a cargo van from U-Haul, picked up the washer and dryer, and brought them home.

We weren’t sure if we could muscle the machines into the house on our own, so I had baked some thank-you brownies just in case. With a dolly and J-’s help, though, we managed it. The front door of the washing machine got dinged in the process because we forgot to take the door catch off (and to orient it for possible scratching), but it’s okay. It’s just stuff.

Now we’re disassembling it to see if we can get it to fit down the narrow staircase. I cut myself on one of those razor-sharp internal edges (who knew!), but W- patched me up with a Band-aid. I found the service manual for our model (including disassembly instructions!) so that should help us find out about the screws that are hiding.

This isn’t how I saw myself using the Christmas break (I was thinking about organizing and drawing), but it’s good work, and this is a better time to do it than a hectic weekend. I can always draw after work. Laundry, however, is laundry.

Here’s to hoping that everything will still work when we put it back together again!

2010-12-27 Mon 06:21