|Thread Number: 40741
Speed Queen FL questions - pre sales
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|Post# 602572   6/11/2012 at 03:25 (372 days old) by nowayout (Salt Lake City, UT)    || |
First time poster, long time reader here.
We have had a Whirlpool Duet washer and gas dryer, model GHW9200LW for 11 years. I am pretty sure we bought it pretty soon after they came out, since ours was made in Germany. The units have been great, with only very minor repairs. A drain pump in the washer and I think a temp sensor in the dryer, plus a single belt change. They have had very heavy use, washing almost daily for a family of 8. I shudder to think the number of loads done in the last 11 years, I would imagine in the range of 7-10,000. I know we do well over 12 loads a week.
But alas now the washer has a main bearing failure. Given the great history we have had with the units, I considered fixing it, but probably feel it is time to move on, given the age of these units. I do all the repairs myself, and the main bearing is one repair I wasn't looking forward to doing. It is still running, not leaking but making a horrible whine on the spin cycle.
I like to buy quality equipment, which has led me to Speed Queen. Other than SQ, I really haven't seen any great comments or reviews about any machine, at least no comments lauding their reliability. It seems that none of the current series has been around long enough to prove any sort of reliability. They sure don't show well, with a plethora of plastic, knobs, buttons and gimmicky settings. They look like throw a way units to me, which is actually pretty sad, considering most cost $1000 each.
So I am interested in the Speed Queen Imperial series, the stainless steel set. I am hoping someone can comment on a couple of questions I have.
1) Hot water boost. If I have read right, this is no longer available? Can it be added as an aftermarket piece? Is it available on the Huebsch units? I would really like to have this.
Are there any new units still in stock someplace that would have this?
2) Water levels. Can the Imperial Series FL units still be adjusted for the water level? I saw some posts, but am not 100% sure what models they refer to.
3) Is there any new units on the horizon, anything that I might be interested in? I hate to buy expensive equipment and then see an upgrade shortly after.
4) I will buy a gas dryer, due to the relatively cheap natural gas in our area. Are there any caveats or concerns with the SQ gas dryer? I think I read that it doesn't have a moisture sensor to sense drying? That is a shame, it seems like an simple way to test for moisture and gauge dryness and save energy. Our duet dryer had this and it worked relatively well.
Thank for any info you might have!
|Post# 602786 , Reply# 1   6/11/2012 at 20:11 (372 days old) by mrb627 (Buford, GA)    || |
1) Boosted Hot is no longer available and I believe that it was never included on the Imperial model.
2) Water levels can be adjusted.
3) No new units that I am aware of. That doesn't mean that there aren't any coming, but SQ keeps these things hush until they are ready.
4) I know that a few people have concern over the auto sensing method available in the clothes dryers, but honestly, I actually prefer the thermostatic approach.
|Post# 602809 , Reply# 2   6/11/2012 at 21:27 (372 days old) by Frigilux (the open prairie of Minnesota)    || |
nowayout-- I'm a longtime user of front-loading washers, and understand your loathing of all things cheap and plastic. I bought the TOL redesigned Frigidaire pair in 2010. It's my first ultra-low water machine. Unfortunately, plastic abounds. I really like the washer, and would make these suggestions:
1) With the dumbing-down of hot water temp (110 degrees on many brands, which I consider warm, not hot) I wouldn't go near a washer without an internal heater. You'll never get truly hot water. I use the Allergy option to get 132 degree water, and the Sanitize cycle to get 155 degree water and a great profile wash (where the water enters warm and gradually heats to a high temp--great for removing a wide range of stains).
2) With the mega capacity of many new machines, I'd look for one that has a recirculating spray jet. This gets even huge loads saturated very quickly and helps remove detergent from fibers during the rinses.
The recirculating jet on the Frigidaire kicks in a couple of times during the wash portion of the cycle and runs quite a bit during the rinses.
Consumer Reports cites LG and Whirlpool as being reliable machines. If you have a big family, there's a new LG with a 5.1 cubic foot wash drum. I bought the Frigidaire because of the price point. The pair cost about $1850. You'll pay almost that much for a TOL Whirlpool or LG washer, alone.
Good luck, and let us know what you decide to get.
|Post# 602848 , Reply# 3   6/12/2012 at 04:51 (371 days old) by qualin (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)    || |
I have a Huebsch gas dryer. I'm quite happy with it.
> Are there any caveats or concerns with the SQ gas dryer?
I guess for me, the biggest thing was the switch back to using a conventional electromechanical timer as opposed to an electronic one which I was used to. Not really a big deal.
Two small pet peeves I have. I have to turn the cycle selector nearly 300 degrees to get back to the start of the cycle I want, the knob doesn't turn backwards. On every single Inglis (aka Whirlpool) dryer and GE dryer I've owned in the past, I could turn the knob backwards to go back to the start of the cycle.
The second would be the lack of a separate start switch. To start the dryer, you have to push in the timer knob instead of using a distinctly separate switch. Just a very small inconvenience, every dryer I've had always had a separate start switch, so this was a minor change for me.
Again, both of these things are just minor squibbles and I'm fine with them.
> I think I read that it doesn't have a moisture sensor to sense drying?
I believe that's correct. In the automatic mode, It senses the temperature of the exhaust and when it gets too hot, it cycles the gas flame off and advances the timer a bit. It's a somewhat crude system in comparison to modern electronic systems, but it works really well.
I've found that my clothes end up coming out drier than my old electric GE dryer with a moisture sensor.
It used to be that I'd put in a large load of jeans and select "Dry+" to get the longest drying time on the automatic cycle, but the jeans would still be somewhat moist at the end of the cycle.
I set the Huebsch dryer to "Max Dry" and get much better results. I've even found that with some loads, like cotton t-shirts, using the "Less Dry" option still gets them very dry.
I guess that I can say that it would take one heck of a power surge to blow out the gas dryer, I don't think there are any electronics in it at all.
I think in some ways, I would rather have the dryer run for a little too long and overdry the clothing a bit than to have it run too short and end up with moist clothing. I think my old GE was a little conservative in that area, I found it a bit annoying actually.
|Post# 602849 , Reply# 4   6/12/2012 at 05:13 (371 days old) by qualin (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)    || |
To answer your other questions:
1) Hot water boost.
I don't think it's really required. Huebsch units don't have this feature anymore either. When I want a true 60 C wash, I just temper the machine beforehand to warm up the tubs and to flush the hot water line.
I believe quite firmly that only 230 volt machines are capable of heating water in a decent amount of time. 117 volts just takes too long and uses too much energy. I do wish that Alliance would give consumers the option at least.
> Can it be added as an aftermarket piece?
Not to my knowledge. I'm sure with enough knowledge and mechanical know-how, you could order all of the parts from Alliance and retrofit the machine, but my guess is that it would not be a cheap thing to do, nor easy.
2) Water levels. Can the Imperial Series FL units still be adjusted for the water level? I saw some posts, but am not 100% sure what models they refer to.
Technically, Alliance would consider this to be tampering with your machine as you have to disassemble the machine to get at the water pressure switch. The mechanism is still completely mechanical and doesn't rely on sophisticated electronics to adjust water level.
The downside to this is that the machine uses one fixed water level for everything. There isn't any cycles which use more or less water. (ie. Like the comforter cycle you might see on some machines which uses more water.)
The upside is that a few members on this forum have adjusted it easily and were able to get superior washing and rinsing results.
> Is there any new units on the horizon, anything that I might be interested in?
If you take a look at an Alliance (aka Speed Queen / Huebsch) front loader from the early 2000's and then look at a modern one, they really haven't changed much. From what I can tell, most of the changes made were mostly cosmetic ones.
I guess there isn't any need to improve on perfection I guess. :)
As best as I can tell, there isn't very many washer/dryer manufacturers that make their machines with Stainless Steel. I once considered buying the Imperial set, but Canadians pay a very hefty premium for them in comparison to Americans. I didn't really see the value of spending the extra money on them.
Good luck with your decision.
|Post# 602850 , Reply# 5   6/12/2012 at 05:23 (371 days old) by qualin (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)    || |
Oh, I forgot to mention now that I think about it...
All Alliance 8 kg (Or 3.3 cu.ft) front loaders use the same water pressure switch.
Alliance top loading machines using a completely different pressure switch, but all of their top loading models share that same switch.
Of course, this is to the best of my knowledge!
|Post# 603165 , Reply# 6   6/13/2012 at 03:08 (370 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady- Birthplace of Elec-Trak & Lucalox )    || |
I have always been a temperature sensor guy but this time/temperature on this machine is better than my old Neptune dryer. I could never get clothes out of the Neptune slightly damp, they were always bone dry.
This machine I can dial in any dryness I choose so it surprised me totally since there is no sensor onboard!
|Post# 603174 , Reply# 7   6/13/2012 at 04:49 (370 days old) by qualin (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)    || |
|Post# 603474 , Reply# 8   6/14/2012 at 00:28 (369 days old) by nowayout (Salt Lake City, UT)    || |
Wonderful info everyone, thanks for sharing!
Couple of comments:
I am OK without the heat boost, and you are right that a 120 volt heating circuit would take too much time, lengthening the cycle probably longer than most people would put up with.
It would though take the exact amount of energy as a 240 volt heater. Volts x amps = watts and we all pay for watts - KWH. A 240 volt heater would run half as long as the 120 volt heater, but draw twice as much, so they would both consume virtually the same amount of energy. Electric heaters are essentially 100% efficient, meaning nearly all of the energy is transferred to heat, doesn't matter if they are 120v or 240v.
Sorry to get off on a tangent, but this is a common misunderstanding. Now in other uses (motors for example) 240 volts and higher are more efficient and do actually reduce energy consumption.
Frigilux advocated Frigidaire, Whirlpool or LG. I appreciate your opinion and am glad they are working for you. I honestly don't put an ounce of value in what Consumer reports says, in reality their reports probably make me run the other way! :-)
I really can't purchase any of those common consumer brands for the $$$ they are asking when I see and read the terrible service reports and minimal warranty. My gut feel is that they will not last very many years and will have tons of service issues, particularly at the duty cycle we put on a washer. From some observations at the local Lowe's and Home Depot, it seems most people are buying the unit that looks the best, has the most lights/buttons/knobs or the one that is the brightest color or has the biggest LCD screen. Pretty sad IMHO.
I would prefer to pay $2300 for a washer that will last 10+ years and should be reasonably free of service issues vs one that costs ~$1000, is made of shiny plastic, will surely have costly service issues out of warranty, and will end up only lasting 5 or 6 years and be a dismal experience in the latter years. I just can't bring myself to go down that road.
Your comments on the gas dryer have helped, it seems like their lack of a moisture sensor is offset by well designed controls. I do think that if done correctly, a moisture sensor could save some energy by not over drying. But it would be expensive to do correctly. Maybe some day SQ will tackle it.
I guess I'm off to find a dealer for an Imperial Set!
Again thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences, they have really helped. I'll report back with some pics and a review when they are in.
|Post# 603514 , Reply# 9   6/14/2012 at 06:36 (369 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady- Birthplace of Elec-Trak & Lucalox )    || |
|Post# 603519 , Reply# 10   6/14/2012 at 07:02 (369 days old) by Frigilux (the open prairie of Minnesota)    || |
Just for information: Using the Allergy option on my Frigidaire (heated boost to 132 degrees) lengthens the cycle to 1 hour and 12 minutes, which, I believe is in line with the regular cycle length of most brands. Frigidaire and Speed Queen seem to be the only brands with normal cycles that come in under an hour. Of course, they're both downrated by Consumer Reports for cleaning ability because of that, although I get great results by using the maximum amount of wash time for a given cycle, rather than the default time.
Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see Speed Queen regain a much higher profile in consumer brands! They are obviously well-built, and boast more stainless steel than most other brands.
If machines still allowed "tap hot" water, I'd...well, I'd still want an internal heater, but it wouldn't be a deal-breaker for me. However, since most machines thermostatically dumb-down the incoming water temp, it's a feature I won't be without.
|Post# 603520 , Reply# 11   6/14/2012 at 07:02 (369 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)    || |
I do think that these are the best built AND easy to service machines available today and should be good machines for your laundry situation. Even a main bearing job can be done by a avid do-it yourself-er. You may have also read that SQ engineers consider that a SQ FL washer can last up to 25,000 loads, so you should [ with some repairs ] get 20 years of use out of one [ this is over twice the life that Miele estimates that their washers can last ].
I do wish they still had the boosted hot water option, my 8 YO SQ FL has it and I use it frequently. One other way to get a good hot wash in a Hi Efficiency washer is to use a small 3-6 gallon electric heater near the washer. You can either install it permanently or hook it up with washer inlet hoses and plug it in, connected to the cold water inlet of the washer it would allow you to turn it on 15 minutes before you start a load and then select cold fill for wash and get a really hot wash as you can set many of these small heaters up to 170 degrees. By connection it to the cold inlet you could switch it off when you start the washer and then the cold water for the rinses will cool it off. You of coarse could connect it to the hot side and use it as a booster, this may make more sense if you want to leave it on all the time or if you houses hot water is heated in a more economical way than resistance electric.
You are exactly correct about it not making any difference in the cost of operation of electric heaters on either 120 or 240 volts. But when it comes to motor operation the SAME is true, a 240 motor is not necessarily one cent cheaper to run than a 120 volt motor. It is cheaper to build an efficient 240 motor, but if they were actually cheaper to run you would have seen the blower motors in gas furnaces etc all changed over to 240 volts long ago. On window ACs again there is no difference in the cost of operation between 120 and 240 volt units and in fact historically 240 volt units used to cost much more to run for the same amount of cooling performance, but that was because the manufactures were being lazy and could get away with in the old days, now they have to meet the same standards.
|Post# 603522 , Reply# 12   6/14/2012 at 07:35 (369 days old) by chestermikeuk (Cheshire, England, UK)    || |
Am noting the lack of efficient heating that you are stating in front loading washing machines.....I cant believe a company like Speed Queen and others wouldnt want this "Hot Water" feature on their machines - given them being the American Heritage of washers....
So - is this still because of government beaurocracy still etc do you think??...
On the other hand it must be a nightmare situation for utility companies and infrastructure if suddenly everyone bought front loaders with 212d wash options and started using them - the power usage would be enormous!!
|Post# 603526 , Reply# 13   6/14/2012 at 08:13 (369 days old) by mfduffy (USA - Midwest)    || |
I don't understand why SQ pulled the heaters out of their front loaders. That's such a basic option. Everyone is using them for some kind of Sanitize cycle now -- it can't be regs or we'd see them disappearing all over. Ability to maintain temp during an extended wash (extended wash - another basic feature missing on SQ's) is one of the best things about our Neptune. We've found it's the best way to get dingy whites white (plus a healthy dose of Tide HE powder w/ Bleach).
|Post# 603740 , Reply# 14   6/15/2012 at 05:52 (368 days old) by qualin (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)    || |
My speculation is that people may have been complaining about the hot boosted washers pausing and taking too long to complete a cycle, so they removed it.
Jetcone, My white rear control machine was $1900. The Imperial is $2700 here. I wish I could have picked up a machine for $1k!
My guestimate is that American appliances cost roughly around $500 cheaper than Canadian ones of the same model level. I've seen the White rear control machines selling for roughly around $1500 on AJMadisons.
It's the price one pays for quality I guess...
|Post# 603745 , Reply# 15   6/15/2012 at 06:00 (368 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady- Birthplace of Elec-Trak & Lucalox )    || |
SQ decision is based on cost and consumer demand. Mike to try and answer your question:
There is a basic OR has been a basic difference between EU washing and AM washing. Americans traditionally use chlorine bleach as a laundry staple. In EU ,from what Henkel writes, boil washing was always the staple method of doing laundry. So boil washing is something strange to most Americans born after the mid 20th C.
Interestingly in Japan the staple has been cold water washing from early on. Every region has its method.
I like John use my SQ heat boost quite often and I found the only working heat boost left in my 3 Duos is the oldest one from 1955. If I run the wash dial twice=18 minutes that 208v?? heater will get the water up to near 150 degrees. Whites do come out whiter. Enzymes are killed at 137 degrees but by the time the water reaches that they have done their job.
The SQ will get the water up to 145 degrees and the wash program gets extended to 45 minutes in order for the 110v heater to do its job.
|Post# 603753 , Reply# 16   6/15/2012 at 06:09 (368 days old) by mrb627 (Buford, GA)    || |
The simple truth is that the Boosted Hot machines were not selling. I suppose the general public that would consider a Speed Queen FL machine is trying to get away from all the fancy do-dads of others on the salesfloor. A heater is just one more point of failure...
Of course, people in the know feel differently!
|Post# 603765 , Reply# 17   6/15/2012 at 07:00 (368 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)    || |
Malcolm, I suspect you are correct that the boosted heat model was just not selling, it was funny how many people we could get to buy a &1300.00 FL washer but would not pay another $90 for the heater, the last one we sold is the one Jon C has.
Jon your old 1955 Bendix would likely have a 220 or 230 volt water heater in it [ check the name tag to be sure ] not a 208 volt one but because you are now operating the machine on 240 volts the heater is doing its job faster and better than it did in 1955. Your new SQ FL washer has a 900 watt 120 volt heater in it and I am sure that you have 120 in your homes.
|Post# 603770 , Reply# 18   6/15/2012 at 07:12 (368 days old) by gansky1 (Omaha, The Home of the TV Dinner!)    || |
|Post# 603930 , Reply# 19   6/15/2012 at 18:12 (368 days old) by NOWAYOUT (Salt Lake City, UT)    || |
I've reached out to my local dealers and am being told that SQ is back ordered until the end of July on the AFN51F Washer (Imperial Series FL in stainless)
In calling several dealers I did find one that had a display floor model that was about 2 years old they he is looking to sell. He has a washer and dryer set with pedestals that he will sell for $2600 (sold only as a pair)! The challenge is that the dryer is electric. I've already decided I want gas, so I have a couple of thoughts:
1) Does it cause any of you to question the display model that has been on the floor for a couple years? It hasn't been used, but I'm sure the door has been opened and closed many times, and the knobs probably played with. Is there any issues with any seals or gaskets etc that could be an issue if left sitting for a couple of years?
2) What is the value of the electric dryer if offered for a quick sale? It is the stainless steel model, ADE41F. I could sell it and then buy the gas version and probably come out OK. It is big and bulky though and shipping would be a concern. Might be harder to sell just the dryer since it is stainless, white might be easier.
3) A few online places claim they have stock on the washer, but prices are in the ~$2250 range. If I apply the $2250 against the $2600 on the floor model, the electric dryer is only costing me $350!
Is anyone interested in a a new floor model electric SQ dryer? :-)
Choices, choices, choices....
|Post# 603931 , Reply# 20   6/15/2012 at 18:26 (368 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)    || |
It doesn't concern me that the machine has been sitting for two years.
You can buy the basic SQ Gas dryer and swap the parts and then you will end up with your SS Gas dryer and then you can sell the basic electric model. The only problem is you might void the warranties on the dryers, but even with the heavy usage you give the machines you still only have about a one in five chance of needing the three year full warranty.
The SS pair that I got for Jon in Boston will have to be converted to gas when he places them in there final home.
|Post# 603943 , Reply# 21   6/15/2012 at 19:58 (368 days old) by NOWAYOUT (Salt Lake City, UT)    || |
Wait, I can do a conversion?
Which models have compatible parts...or are any SQ gas dryers compatible?
Is it less expensive to just buy conversion parts?
That is an excellent idea, I would have no problem converting a unit.
Hmmm.... $2600 seems to be quite a deal.
|Post# 603960 , Reply# 22   6/15/2012 at 22:23 (367 days old) by MattL (Flushing, MI)    || |
Let me toss into the mix my experience replacing the bearings in the Duets, quite simple, about 2-3 hours of work total, and about $50 in parts. If you want an excuse to go for a new machine I'd certainly use this as you have gotten great use out of the machines you have. But if you don't want to spend the money right now repairing the Duet is a cheap option.
|Post# 603970 , Reply# 23   6/15/2012 at 23:15 (367 days old) by nowayout (Salt Lake City, UT)    || |
As to replacing the bearings on the duet, I have considered it. Technically I'm capable and fine doing it, it is more what you say, good excuse to upgrade to new. But the $3-4k is a good chunk of change!
If I do the bearing, is the replacement bearing and seal a whirlpool part, or is it just a standard bearing I can easily source locally? The drum has to be separated, right? Or can it be done from the backside without pulling the drum? I havent had the back off for a few years so i don't quite recollect how it looks.
I'm WAY more excited about swapping the gas and electric heating units on the new SQ dryer!
Maybe I still buy new, but go ahead and fix the old duet and sell them. What is the worth of a German made Duet washer and dryer, ~11 years old? I bet it would run another 5 years. The chassis and suspension looks solid, at least from the front side it looks OK
Thanks for the creative thoughts!
|Post# 604009 , Reply# 24   6/16/2012 at 03:59 (367 days old) by qualin (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)    || |
Let me tell you my experience...
I ordered my rear-control white washer in early September, I received it in early January. I ordered my dryer late January and didn't receive it until very early May. (To be fair, I did order a model which is a special order)
Now, IMHO the wait was worth it. All good things come with time.
IMO, I'd get your order in now. If they are consistently back ordered for months at a time and this is always an issue, maybe they'll expand their factory, hire more Americans and ramp up their production to relieve the back orders.
Unless your Duet really is in bad shape or you refuse to (or can't) do your laundry at the local laundromat, I think having to wait 2 months to get your machine is worth it.
You could get the demo set, but I wouldn't retrofit the electric dryer to gas. I'm sure you could sell the electric one and trade across to a gas one, but I suspect you would take a financial hit if you did that.
|Post# 604078 , Reply# 25   6/16/2012 at 12:48 (367 days old) by 58limited (Port Arthur, Texas)    || |
I would have paid extra for the heat boost if it was still offered on the SQ that I recently bought. I purchased mine from AJ Madison and it took over a month to arrive, part of that was a scheduling issue with the shipping company - it sat in Houston for two weeks before they put it on the truck to my house, 80 miles away. Based on what I've heard about SQ's back orders, I feel lucky to get it as quickly as I did.
|Post# 604102 , Reply# 26   6/16/2012 at 14:15 (367 days old) by danmantn (Tennessee)    || |
I had a SQ dealer explain that to me as my friends wanted a Speed Queen, but couldn't wait a month - seems they have been working on several huge government contract (SQs bread and butter), so big they shut the factory down for a period of time in order to meet the contract deadline. Two different dealers told me the same info, so I would assume it to be valid.
|Post# 604145 , Reply# 27   6/16/2012 at 19:26 (367 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)    || |
The major reason for the delay in getting NEW SQs is that they are becoming the victim of there own success, their sales have increased by large margins each of the last three years as more and more people are becoming interested in either purchasing an old fashioned TL washer or as we have found that many of our customers once they have had A Hi Efficiency FL or Calypso type washer that gave a lot of problems they were very interested in buying a very high quality FL SQ washer with a great warranty.
Converting a dryer to gas, it might be easier to just buy the gas burner and related parts to do the conversion, it is very easy to convert to Gas if you have the parts. You could also Pierrot parts from any SQ or Amana gas dryer built in the last thirty years to do the conversion, I have done it many many times. Get in touch if you need more information by emailing me your Phone # and best time to call, John.
|Post# 604154 , Reply# 28   6/16/2012 at 19:52 (367 days old) by mrb627 (Buford, GA)    || |
|Post# 604165 , Reply# 29   6/16/2012 at 21:39 (367 days old) by danmantn (Tennessee)    || |
|Post# 604176 , Reply# 30   6/16/2012 at 23:45 (366 days old) by MattL (Flushing, MI)    || |
I get my bearings from vbx.com . I get a better quality bearing than was originally used. Depending on the condition you may be able to read the part number on the shield and that is a good starting point, if not a good caliper will tell you what sizes you need, there are 2 bearings. The real issue is the seal. I bought mine from a guy online and really think I over paid, but felt it was worth it since he sourced the items and made them available. I --think-- and good oil seal will work as well. I posted a pictorial of my repair last fall, I'm sure you can find it via search.
|Post# 604181 , Reply# 31   6/17/2012 at 00:48 (366 days old) by qualin (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)    || |
You know, if you do find yourself converting an electric dryer to gas, make sure to post lots of pictures on a separate thread. I'm curious to see how complex it is to do.
It also makes me wonder how immune their "Old-Fashioned" top loading washers would be against a strong electromagnetic pulse.
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