Friday, November 28, 2008

Austin's Duet

This is an email from Austin, in New York City, describing how he adjusted the pressure switch on his Whirlpool machine to allow it to use more water during a cycle. I am posting this in hopes that it will encourage others to attempt this repair proceedure to their machines. By adding water to each cycle on our machine (Joe T.) we solved the stinky towel and clothes problem. Our machine never has any foul smell since adding water to each cycle. We're now getting clean cloths that are soap free, no more itching because the so called clean cloths are still filled with dried soap and no more mildew odor when you open the door!!!!! GOOD LUCK to all.

Joe T.

Mike, or Joe - not sure which one to give credit to.
I jsut did your suggested alteration to my whirlpool duet - took 5 mins to get lid off (3 screws at back) took 3 trial and error adjustments to that bottom screw on the pressure switch (at the final setting i had made 2 full rotations clockwise of the screw), and now the machine fills to the bottom of the door, right to the point where it passes the overflow/rubber section of the bottom of the steel tub.

its brilliant. I haven’t re-washed my towels yet to see if the stink is gone, but Im confident that it will make a big difference.

it took no more than 10 minutes of work and an hour of watching and waiting to see the fill level. interestingly, the first 1.5 turns of the screw did nothing to the water level, which got me a little discouraged at first that it wasnt working.
thanks so much.
im really thankful that you spent the time to document this for me.
youre a kind guy.
best regards,

New York City.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"HE" Washer Problems - Stinky Cloths

Front Loaders,
This was copied from a post, I'm including it because this person has come to the same conclusion that I have about "High Efficiency" washers, and indicates what I found when working on our front loader. They don't use enough water to do the job.

Re: Stinky Towels Syndrome
Originally Posted by Ripple
Those "oxy" detergents are pretty good at getting out odors. Not sure how they trap the oxygen in the detergent, but it seems to work. Maybe diluted hydrogen peroxide would work for small jobs such as running shoes?Europeans have been using high efficiency front load washers for decades. I've never heard of any massive outbreaks of staph anywhere in Europe, and I haven't seen vast numbers of people running around in dirty clothes when visiting England, France, Germany, or Croatia.The washers you see in Europe are standard front loading washers that have been around for about 60 years. They filled at least ½ full of water during the wash and rinse cycle and work quite well. Although they were very successful, they are also so expensive that they were used mostly for the commercial market. However the so called “High Efficiency” (HE) washers were developed in the U.S. and first entered the world market in 1998. HE machines use about 15 gallons (or less) for the entire wash/rinse cycle and they are the ones with the mold/mildew problem. HE washers were developed by U.S. appliance makers in response to the California drought and water shortage from 1987 to 1991. Whirlpool’s Calypso was the first HE top loader and it came out in 1998 and was withdrawn from the market in 2004 following a storm of lawsuits claiming it generated a huge amount of sludge and left clothes "stinking like dirty gym socks". The main problem was that the Calypso didn’t use enough water to wash clothes and also purge residue from the machine.I was the expert witness for the law firm that handled the complaints from buyers of the Calypso machines in California and a federal judge consolidated all the suits into one national class action and a settlement was achieved in 2006. However, the other brands of HE front and top loaders (involving nearly 50 companies) still have the same problem as the Calypso (they don't use enough water to thoroughly wash or rinse) and there are going to be literally waves of new lawsuits over these machines also.
Last edited by Dolphin 2 : July 7th, 2008 at 12:03 PM.

Things are really starting to heat up now with these so called “High Efficiency” (HE) washers.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mike's Difficult Duet is Working Again!!!

Whirlpool Duet Washer Owners,
I am posting this email response from Mike that he sent to me after reading my blog which according to him helped him repair his machine. According to Mike the repairs were very easy once he understood the problem (not enough water to wash are rinse the cloths). I spent a lot of time working with my Duet washer trying to understand why the machine couldn't get cloths clean and odor free. Water was the solution, how we did it was quite different. I think you'll like Mike's solution if you just want to start getting clean cloths out of your machine, maybe for the very first time! OH yea good luck with your repairs and let us know how things worked out and what you did to solve your problem. If you respond please include the model number of your machine. My blog

Mike has sent me pictures of the pressure switch from his machine, showing what he did to increase the water level in the machine. When he first started working on the washer it was filling to about two and one half gallons without any cloths in the machine. With the single adjustment that he made to the pressure switch he is now putting a little over five gallons per fill in the machine. Mike warns unplug the machine before making the adjustment or you may get quiet a nasty shock! He indicated that the adjustment is trial and error. Make small adjustments, maybe one eighth to one quarter of a turn to the adjusting screw (clockwise to increase the water level), allow the machine to fill, without cloths in the machine, then check the water level. You will need to drain the machine each time you make an adjustment so that the pressure switch contact will reset and this way you'll get a repeatable fill level. As I indicated in my blog I don't know how much water I putting in my machine with the external controller that I built I just know that when I fill the machine with water the level comes to the bottom of the indented part of the glass on the door and the cloths are getting clean and don't smell anymore.

Its hard to tell from the picture where the adjustment is located. When you get the top off your machine you'll see the switch is located in the back right corner. Looking at the back side of the switch where the adjusting screws are located you'll see two small silver colored screws at the bottom left side of the switch. The bottom most screw is the adjustment for water level. I'll try and improve on this information when i have a little more time. We hope this will help. Please be careful and remember unplug the machine before making the adjustment!

Joe Tass

P.S. I have not heard back for Mike about the pictures are notes that he made while repairing his duet. When he has time to send them I'll get them added to the blog. People helping people that's what its all about. Thanks Mike for your initial response to my blog, I'm excited with what you've done and I hope you don't mind my sharing it with others.

I never really felt like my Duet washer was getting the clothes very clean and the towels had gotten kind of stiff and rough feeling not to mention never smelled very perfumey despite my dumping the max amount of fabric softener in the machine.
I have a GHW9150PW0 by the way.

Recently, I gathered up a stack of towels and rolled them into a bundle and stuffed them down in the sorter because we had company coming. This would have been fine except that there were a couple damp towels and some wet wash clothes in there and I didn't do laundry for 3 or 4 days after that.
I washed on whitest whites with the longest wash time as I always do the towels (no bleach because they are colored) and only to level 1 on the detergent cap since it always suds locks if you use more than that.
When we used the towels after showering there was a horrible rancid smell like spoiled milk when the towels got wet so I took those and all the ones I had already washed and put them back into the washer and washed them THREE times and then added Downey on the last washing.
They came out smelling "ok" but not with much Downey scent and felt kind of rough and made a sort of crinkly sound as you picked them out of the machine (they've done this for some time but I didn't know why).
After drying them and using them again they STILL stink!

My cousin has a brand new Whirlpool Duet set (WFW9400SW00) he got this past October so I took the "stink" towels and all the ones I already washed to his house and threw them in his machine with only detergent (filled to number TWO on the cap since that is how he washes) and Downey softner, no bleach (I wanted to compare apples to apples).
I washed them then moved them to the dryer and there was no "crinkly" sound (I'll explain in a minute) when I moved them. After they came out of the dryer I was shocked that the towels not only felt as fluffy as they did when they were new but they smelled just like the fabric softener!

This brings me to you...
I went home and did a search on the Internet about smelly towels and Whirlpool Duet and found your article, how fantastic it was with every conceivable detail on your observances and trials until you found a solution, The links to the Manuals helped too. I never could imagine what might be wrong with my machine until your article, so I went to my machine and put it in normal wash, measured the water level in the tub then went to my cousin's and measured his... I was confused to find that his filled to only 2 and 3/4 inches while mine filled to 2 and 15/16 inches empty yet his got the clothes clean. I decided to chalk his better cleaning up to better firmware, possibly adding additional water during the wash cycle since it clearly didn't fill more initially.

I came home and spent the entire rest of the day taking the machine apart and opening the pressure switch since you said you weren't sure how you could adjust it. I was mad enough with the machine that I figured I didn't have anything to lose even if I destroyed a $40 switch.
Long story short I "fixed" my fill switch and took photos of it as I disassembled it and with it all opened up. In the photos are some rough notes I made about the adjustments and what they did (as I saw it).
If you hold the switch in the orientation it hangs in the machine, Hose down and connector side towards you, at the very bottom on the Leftmost side there are two "small" slotted screws.
These screws adjust the "empty" and "wash level" of the fill switch by raising/lowering the respective contacts in relation to the center contact
I adjusted the lower most screw (wash level) and did NOT adjust the one above it (empty).
Turn the screw clockwise in VERY small increments and let the machine fill till it quits filling then measure the level with a measuring tape. If it isn't high enough you will have to drain the machine, turn the screw 1/8 to 1/4 turn clockwise and then start the fill cycle again because turning the adjuster with water in the machine can't overcome the tension on the contact once it has tripped and will likely have it fill WAY too full the next time you were to drain and fill it.

To satisfy any curiosity you might have, I did mess with the spring tension on the main fill level contact. I broke the red glue on the center adjustment screw and turned the screw but found that it made hardly any difference in the water level.

I just wanted to thank you for pointing me in the right direction and to tell you how you could fix your machine so you didn't have to use your external, yet, ingenious setup.
If you wish I can send you the photos and the revised drawing I made while fixing it, Oh, and the crinkly noise..... it was the soap bubbles still in the towels at the end of the cycle :) this caused the towels to feel rough too, not at all fluffy or soft.

Lastly, I couldn't figure out why in the world after putting in the maximum amount of softener I could never smell it in the towels.. The problem was that the cover for the bleach and softener section of the dispenser (the cover/divider with the words Bleach and Softener that fits in the right hand side of the dispenser tray) would allow water to leak 'under' it from the bleach side during the first rinse/bleach cycle and would trickle down the back side of the siphon apparatus on the softener side, filling the softener cup with water and causing the siphon to start thereby releasing the softener and bleach at the same time. The machine then did two more rinses after that which would pretty much get rid of the softener which "should" have only been released in the final rinse. In spite of all this, I guess it didn't have enough water to get rid of all that detergent, thus the "crinkly" or "hissy" sound when you touch/move the towels.

I did forget to say that we figured the water amount in the tub measuring 2 and 15/16 equaled about 2.5 gallons. We poured 5 gallons in the machine and measured 4 and 9/16 inches. When I finally set the water level I set it to use just over 5 gallons per fill empty. It adds more when you have clothes in the machine.

I'm sorry this may sound like I'm rambling but it is now 3am and I'm tired of working on my Whirlpool, I'm just hoping that all my problems are now solved and wanted to thank you for guiding me to the secret and maybe share my success with you.
Let me know if you need the photos and notes, I'll try to be more clear after I've had some sleep :)

Take a look at the picture that Mike included with his email of the pressure switch, see the arrow pointing to the small screw at the bottom left next to the hose connection (picture located at the beginning of the blog). This is the adjustment screw that Mike mentioned in his email that will adjust the water level in the machine. I have included a larger picture at the end of the blog to help you locate the adjusting screw (pressure switch is pictured on it's side), with the switch positioned as mounted in the machine the correct screw is the bottom screw in the pair to the left of the hose connection. Remember what Mike said about unplugging the machine before making the adjustment. The screw is part of the contact in the pressure switch and thus has a 120 volt potential when the machine is plugged in. Unplug IT!!!!!!! Mike indicated that turning the screw clockwise would increase the water level in the machine. He suggest turning in small increments, 1/8 of a turn at a time, making sure that the machine has been drained each time before making the adjustment. Allowing the machine to fill to the bottom of the indented portion of the glass door, with cloths, works for me. I have know idea how much water this is and at this point I don't care the only thing that's important to me is that our cloths are getting clean and order free without chemicals and what you save on soap cost, use only to the #1 level on the cap when filling with soap, should offset the cost of the extra water. No additional chemical cost should help as well.

P.S. I haven't tried this adjustment on my machine yet, the little PLC that's running our machine is just to much fun so for now I'm planning to continue to use it, so go slow at first and count turns on the screw so that you could get back to square one if necessary. The screws capped with red plastic should not require any adjustment.
Thanks again.