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Manufacturer comes clean on leaky front-load washer

Updated: July 29, 2012 9:12PM

Dear Fixer: Early in 2010, I purchased a Whirlpool washer and dryer from Menards. The salesman informed me about the benefits of the front-loading washer and dryer, including the energy savings and that you could pack the washer full with clothes, thus having fewer washes.

I purchased the Whirlpool Duet Sport set with pedestals.

Once I installed them and started to use them, the washer would leak water from the bottom of the door.

It would not leak with every wash but about every five or six washes. The amount ranged from a small amount to about a 2-foot-wide puddle.

I tried cleaning the rubber gasket and the glass door window, thinking it might be dirty, but it continued to leak. After putting up with this for a few months, I called Whirlpool. They sent out a repairman. He said, “Let me guess. The salesman told you that you can pack the washer full of clothes.”

He said you cannot fill the washer more than half full or it might leak. He left without even looking at the washer.

So I called Menards and spoke to the appliance department manager and said I wanted to return the washer.

The manager told me that you can pack the washer full of clothes. He said he would have the store manager contact the manufacturer and get back to me. The manager called me back and he, too, told me you can pack the washer full of clothes.

I let it be but started to only fill the washer half full with clothes. This seemed to work most of the time, but it would still leak occasionally.

Then in February, I was shopping at Menards and began talking to an appliance salesman as if I was going to buy a new washer. This salesman said one of the benefits of the front-loading washer is you can pack them full of clothes.

After getting home and being upset about buying a washer that continues to leak, I again called Whirlpool. They sent out a different repairman on March 29. I showed him the washer and explained the leaking problem. He asked if when I bought the washer I was told that the washer can be packed full of clothes. He said you cannot pack it full or it will leak. He said you can fill it a little over half-full. He said that almost always, when he gets a leaky washer, the customer was told by the salesman that the washer can be packed full of clothes. The repairman then left without fixing the problem.

All I want is a washer that does not leak.

Thomas Kearbey, Oswego

Dear Thomas: We started working on your problem in September, and every time The Fixer did a load of laundry (in a front-loading washer filled all the way full that does not leak), we thought of you.

You showed us your washer’s operating manual, and it says the washer “can be fully loaded,” just not tightly packed. So those repair guys who told you to fill it only half-full with clothes were wrong.

We took this to Whirlpool spokeswoman Monica Teague, who had a customer service agent call you. They agreed that it shouldn’t be leaking and promised to repair or replace it. A repairman came to your home at the end of October; he correctly diagnosed the problem and ordered some parts. The parts were installed Nov. 5 and covered under your warranty, and you told The Fixer the washer is working fine.

And not that The Fixer is a laundry expert, but from what we we’ve read, small items such as baby socks, hair scrunchies, etc., can get trapped in front-loading washers and cause havoc, so readers who wash these things should put them in mesh bags first. Make sure nothing sharp is going through the wash either, meaning no paperclips, nails, pens, etc. Happy washing!

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