What do you do when your dryer is condemned to landfill?

LG Appliances has some ‘splainin’ to do. I can overlook the fact that the ice dispenser on my LG fridge always jams and the door to the ice storage bin tends to pop open at will and bangs around until I manage to slam the faulty closure until it holds. Those issues are mere annoyances compared to my latest major appliance complaint. When we moved into our current home ten years ago, we purchased new appliances with the assumption they would last us until we go to the ‘home’.

I’m a huge fan of hanging my laundry outside to dry. It’s good for the environment and my hydro bill. (My clothesline is hidden at the side of the house where no one can see it.)

Then, last month my clothes dryer refused to produce the necessary heat to dry a load of clothing. The vent wasn’t plugged or twisted and no matter what setting I used, the machine refused to heat up. It’s easy to suggest that after ten years, it might be due for a service call but the fact is I’m a devoted user of outside clotheslines. That means our dryer is used for perhaps two loads a week for only half the year, so in a way, it’s only five years old compared to a family with children who does laundry every day. In terms of mileage, it’s practically new.

A call to the appliance repair company resulted in a service call that suggested a new heater unit was needed. Wrong diagnosis. Then, it was suggested the problem was the electronic control panel which could cost upwards of $600.00+ to replace—if they could get the part, which they weren’t sure about. After checking with LG, the repairman was informed that the part is no longer available and they don’t know if it ever will be. Well, isn’t that lovely?  Apparently, after a mere seven years, the dryer is considered obsolete and not only are parts no longer available, LG doesn’t even recommend servicing it.

The lifespan for built-in obsolescence on appliances has shrunk considerably in recent years. When my dad moved out of his house into assisted living a couple of years ago, he still had the original McClary refrigerator that he and my mother purchased in 1953. It was their first electric fridge; it was still plugged in and running in their basement and it was pristine, more than sixty-five years later. I was six years old when they bought it and the new fridge meant I could no longer enjoy the chunks of ice the iceman chipped off on the sidewalk for neighbourhood kids when we restocked our old icebox twice a week.

They just don’t make ’em like they used to!

So, I was left with a giant, shiny appliance in my laundry room that is virtually and literally useless. After years of trying to save hydro costs and the environment by hanging my laundry outside, I now owned a mammoth door stop. How complicated can dryer parts be that they are rendered obsolete so quickly? Having to purchase a new dryer filled me with rage at the indifference to environmental concerns displayed by LG. And I’m sure the other appliance manufacturers are just as guilty. They’ve forced me to add to landfill and subtract from my bank account when both should be unnecessary.

I refused to say goodbye

The first repair diagnosis required two separate visits by the repairman for a total of two hundred dollars and after ordering a couple of new parts that didn’t fix the problem, the final recommendation was to buy a new dryer. I refused to accept that my dryer was dead. So, I visited Google and YouTube to check out various solutions undertaken by other consumers, only to learn that dismantling the dryer, removing the drum, checking various sensors and connections with electrical thingies, the job was beyond DIY, and definitely beyond the capability and patience of me or my honey.

After contemplating my dilemma for a few days, and checking the price of new dryers online, I decided to seek a second opinion. So I called another local appliance repair shop and they dispatched a technician to my home a couple of hours later. So far, so good. When the gloved, masked man arrived at my door, he was shown into the laundry room via the garage where he dismantled the machine and again informed me I probably needed a new control panel, which, miraculously, they had in stock. This could cost almost as much as a new dryer. We thought it was worth the investment so he ordered the part and the next day made another service call to replace it. It wasn’t the control panel.

If the so-called experts can’t figure out the problem, what chance do the rest of us stand?

Further tests by the second repairman on what was our fourth service visit (now totalling more than four hundred dollars excluding parts and labour) finally detected the problem. The electrical outlet was only getting 110 volts, not the required 220 volts. A quick trip to Home Depot for a six dollar replacement outlet solved the problem. Jeeeeezzz!

What’s a person to do? It happens all the time, with cars, electronics, and household appliances. We’re totally at the mercy of the so-called experts. But ‘expert’ is a highly subjective term. During the first service call, the repairman alluded to an electrical problem but failed to detect it. After four separate visits, being without a dryer for a month, and an outlay of nearly $500.00, we’re finally back in business. No dryer went to landfill. LG wasn’t able to upsell us. And if something like this happens again, the first thing we’ll check is the electrical connection—well, after we’ve checked the venting. It’s enough to make me want to go back to a low-tech washboard and clothesline. Not really, but you get my point.

So, I guess I owe LG a wee apology. In view of the litany of curse words, insults, and expletives I hurled at them in the last month, they deserve a bit of a reprieve, but only a small one. While my dryer problem turned out to be electrical and not exactly the fault of LG, they’re still guilty of making products that can be reduced to landfill in as little as seven years and that’s just shameful. If you run into problems with a major appliance, trust your instincts. I recommend taking the chance and spending money on a second opinion. Better still, encourage a grandchild to become an electrician or plumber. They’ll have guaranteed employment for life and make a fortune. Maybe they can even help you pay for that private room in the ‘home’ where someone else will do your laundry, for a fee.

Next, I’m going to tackle my television issues—or maybe I’ll just watch CBC for the rest of my life. I’m still recovering.

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[…] room’ and never come out. I recently wrote about our month-long, expensive dryer fiasco (What do you do when your dryer is condemned to landfill?). That was just one in a prolonged series of equipment failures that are driving us […]

SusanDuke
SusanDuke
3 months ago

As usual you are gifted with the English language. What a pain in the neck you had to endure. P.S. You are also gifted in so many other ways.

Gail Czopka
Gail Czopka
3 months ago

OMG…..that’s some experience. Glad you never gave up. Can’t believe a builder would not put the correct voltage in a laundry room of a new home….maybe you need to go after them😉. Don’t mess with us seniors… We have the time & patience to go after you & we don’t like being taken advantage of.

Gail from Oakville