Lowe’s Service Advantage extended protection plan 20% premium is not Worth It

We bought a 4.2 cubic foot Maytag MVWC565FW washer in September of 2019 and paid $130 for the 5 year extended protection plan (Lowe’s Service Advantage) for major appliances $400-699.

Note: if it takes more than fourteen days from first scheduled appointment to resolution, you may be able to receive a one-time $50 payment from your Lowe’s Service Advantage plan.

Interactions with Lowe’s Service Advantage and their service provider

We called for service on August 24, 2021.

September 1, 2021 – initial visit from contract service provider. They diagnosed the problem and repair person said they scheduled a visit for September 15, 2021 after the part came in.

September 15, 2021 – called contract service provider after no one showed for the appointment I cleared my morning calendar for. They said that couldn’t get one of the parts (shift actuator), but I should call Lowe’s to see if they could locate a part.

September 15, 2021 – called Lowe’s, waited 90 minutes for a call back and requested they look for the part. They said it could be up to five business days before the business unit that did that might respond to them.

September 17, 2021 – called Lowe’s Service Advantage back to follow-up (90+ min wait for call back), the part was supposedly going to be sent out to service provider on 9/20.

September 20, 2021 – called contract service provider to see if they received any update from Lowe’s. They said would be at least September 24 before it would be sent/arrive (was not completely clear which end of the transaction it was).

September 23, 2021 – called Lowe’s Service Advantage back for follow-up (90+ min wait for call back). They said they would ask their supplier to give status on parts, with up to a 5 business day wait to hear back.

September 24, 2021 – reached out to Lowe’s on social media channels, and the response was to call Lowe’s Protection Plan phone number. Called contract service provider instead, and they said that they’re still waiting on a part, but that it supposedly got shipped September 23.

September 27, 2021 – received an email from Lowe’s that the part was delivered to the service provider.

September 28, 2021 – Called contract service provider, but they couldn’t make appointment because their systems were down but they’d call me when they came back up.

September 29, 2021 – Called contract service provider. Their first available appointments were 10/5 or 10/6. Scheduled for 10/6. $50 payment for delay was in today’s mail, which seems like a bit of a slap in the face at this point.

October 5, 2021 – Called service provider to try to confirm appointment for the next day. Robocall came through 15 minutes prior to their leaving the office for the day.

October 6, 2021 – Service technician was able to replace actuator, but hub could not be replaced without ordering a new agitator. Washer is now working otherwise.

It took 43 days to get back to a working washing machine.

So far, I’ve spent 5+ hours waiting for call backs, 4 hours waiting for service appointments that were apparently never made or canceled without my knowledge, and my wife has spent 12-14 hours at the laundromat and well over $100 (maybe even $200?) at the laundromat.

Log of interactions with the Lowe's Service Advantage service provider
Service provider logs.

Not the First Time

This has been the second appliance/equipment purchase in the last two years that has subpar support. We also bought a Craftsman Cordless Electric Mower that we couldn’t get a replacement battery for.

Craftsman V60 Mower (Cordless Electric) – Disappointing Value 2 Years Later

We’ve had mixed results with our Craftsman V60 Mower (CMCMW270) after a little over two years of ownership.

UPDATE: After a back and forth on a response to a review on their page, I appear to have gotten a check for the cost of the larger battery that’s still available (5.0Ah, though, not the original 7.5Ah). Still trying to decide whether to get a couple of batteries or upgrade mower.

The Good – V60 battery beats gas fumes

While we’ve had plenty of cordless lawn equipment such as trimmers and blowers, this was our first lawn mower that wasn’t gas powered. Being able to mow without breathing in gas fumes for an hour is a huge benefit to an electric mower, and not having a cord attached seems like the only way to go.

Another huge benefit is that it starts and stops pretty easily. The initial battery life on the V60 was only about an hour or so for our cutting needs, but you could start and stop the mower in an instant in cases in which you might keep a gas mower running just to not have to fight with starting it back up again.

The bad – Declining V60 battery life and no availability

The biggest drawback is that the battery life of the 7.5AH battery now only lasts long enough for at most 2/3rds of the yard to be cut. This is only 2 years after purchase. You’ll also notice that if you search for CMCB6075 (the 7.5AH battery) or go to the above link, there are no sellers of the brand new battery, only the occasional eBay listing. We did get a decent discount over brands that weren’t dying out, but didn’t expect the support for this thing to disappear so quickly.

The CMCB6025 2.5AH battery is still available on Amazon (affiliate link) or Lowes, but it’s a whopping $150 for 15-20 minutes of battery life. Still, we manage to juggle the CMCB6025 for our blower with the CMCB6075 to get the job done.

A similar nuisance that is compounded by the abysmal battery life is the fact that the blade doesn’t quite spin up to the speed of a gas mower, which left us with missed blades of grass everywhere, even when the blade was fresh and sharp.

The 7.5AH V60 batteries are rarely available on eBay


I’ve liked the experience enough with this mower to not really want to go back to gas-powered, but I don’t look forward to paying the premium and being on the hook for replacement batteries.

Reviews of M1 Macs for Development

So far, the key interest for me have been the potential drastic improvement in battery life. I’m almost willing to sacrifice a bit of short term productivity to get there. I don’t know that the experiences sound any worse that trying to get my favorite development environments productive on Windows or a non-Debian flavor of Linux:

JetBrains and Xcode-centric perspective (11/23/2020):

Rubyist perspective (11/25/2020):


macOS 11 Big Sur compatibility on Apple Silicon · Issue #7857 · Homebrew/brew · GitHub (closed as of 12/26/2020):


TypeScript/JavaScript/Rust (12/3/2020):


Rails’ DHH’s own experience (12/28/2020):

DriftingRuby tweet:

Fuji EnviroMAX AA vs. Sunbeam Batteries

So we have a battery hungry front door lock that requires 4-AA batteries to power. I noticed that the Sunbeam batteries purchased from Dollar Tree (3 pack for $1, or $1.33 per replacement) were getting replaced every month or so, so I was curious if that was normal as well as how much I was really paying for them.

Tracking in a spreadsheet, the Sunbeam batteries lasted from 23 to 36 days, with an average of 28.8 days. At $1.33 per replacement / 28.8 days… that door cost 4.61¢ per day with the Sunbeam batteries.

Thinking maybe I could do better, I bought a 96 pack of EnviroMAX Batteries (affiliate link) on Woot (but for 25¢ each instead of being similar in price to the Sunbeam… so it was $1 per replacement instead of the $1.42 at the current moment for that link.) The batteries lasted 13-25 days, with a generous average of 21 days, or about 4.7¢ per day… The last replacements were more like 2 weeks and I stopped tracking them, but there were sets in the middle that made it 3 weeks or better, but it was horribly inconsistent.

I just bought a large pack of Kirkland batteries, so I’ll be sure to track the performance of those and see how it lines up with the other batteries.

Sylvania vs. Amazon Basics LED bulbs

I’ve been tracking the Sylvania 60W 2700K Equivalent A29 (affiliate link) vs. the AmazonBasics 60W Soft White Non-Dimmable (affiliate link) over the past year and a half after noticing that I was replacing bulbs a lot. With 40+ bulbs in the house, it’s not as uncommon as I would have initially expected to be replacing a bulb on any given day.

I have a limited amount of data so far, but definitely have an apples to apples (same socket in same fixture) comparison, and it looks like the Amazon Basics bulb lasted 242 days vs. the Sylvania’s 308. While I have no other apples-to-apples comparisons, the remaining Sylvania bulbs have lasted at least ten months.

The above links have a 24-pack of AmazonBasics at $27.99, or 0.48¢ per day vs. the Sylvania at $22.88, or 0.31¢ per day.

Dyson DC 40 Shuts Down from Overheating

This is the second time in about a month that my Dyson DC 40 has shut down from overheating. The symptoms start with loss of suction from the head assembly (leaving dust bunny trails, etc.) while the hose end still had good suction.

I started out by disassembling the head unit and cleaning out the long dog hairs there, but there wasn’t any change in the amount of suction when vacuuming carpet and dust bunnies were still being left behind.

I also made sure to empty the canister of all of the collected dog hair, but there was no change in suction. Finally, I decided to remove the cover on the HEPA filter to let it cool down.

HEPA filter cover

Once disconnected, I more clearly saw the hose connection that clogged the last time, and sure enough, a combo of dog hair and something perfectly sized to get wedged and stuck had completely blocked off the flow of air.

Dyson Hose connection that clogs

Unfortunately, now the vacuum cleaner has shut down until it resets and cools down. Maybe Dyson would like to study the special properties of our dog’s hair?

Update: Leaving the cover open and the vacuum unplugged for about 30-45 minutes brought it back to life.

Update (February 25, 2018, one week after this post): The DC 40 stopped working. We checked all the clog points, cleared the filters, unplugged, let things cool down, and replugged… It never came back. We ended up buying the Shark Rotator NV650 at our local Walmart instead. The price was only $20 more than my refurbished DC 40 cost, and is much quieter and more portable.

Introducing Elixir

I read through Introducing Elixir on Safari Books Online because I had read through a beta edition of Programming Elixir: Functional |> Concurrent |> Pragmatic |> Fun through The Pragmatic Bookshelf and wanted to see about getting a slightly different take on Elixir at the same time I was getting caught up with the current state of Elixir.

The Introducing Elixir book read to me like a quick tour of Elixir, despite being about 80% of the length of Programming Elixir. That’s probably because I took some time to work through the examples in Programming Elixir, back when Elixir was on its 0.12 release. Programming Elixir is set up to be much more of a textbook in its presentation, with programming problems posed, etc. Introducing Elixir hits upon functional programming, the underlying Erlang and OTP libraries, and throws a few ideas of what you can do with it. It’s a decent refresher to shake the cobwebs out, but it doesn’t as much in depth probing into the language as the Programming Elixir book does. I’d recommend the Programming Elixir book from pragprog.com first.

(Amazon affiliate link)

Toy Helicopter Review and Durability Test: Flutterbye Deluxe Fairy

We’ve bought several cheap toy helicopters that have usually met their demise via the breakage of one of the components that rotates at high speed breaking. Air Hogs has been a favorite brand because they are usually cheap and your face on retail shelves. [The charging port on this doll bears the Air Hogs brand, as well.]

[Somewhat related: our big dog doesn’t like any of these flying things and thinks it’s his mission to “kill” them, giving us an extra obstacle to their longevity.]

This fairy doll is the first one we’ve had that doesn’t look like a standard helicopter for us.

When taking off from its base, the doll floats fairly gracefully to the floor. The doll mostly hovers within a foot or two of the surface underneath her. However, you can cup your hands directly below it and it’ll float above your hands briefly instead. I noticed when I did this, the fairy would float steadily to the ceiling and hover and gradually come back down.

The doll will also take off from your hand, but it’s very easy to not be vertical at take-off and/or to present an uneven surface below it, causing to lift off erratically. I recommend letting it take off from the base stand each time.

We’ve had 5-10 crashes with the doll. One thing I noticed with this doll (unlike manually controlled helicopters) is that power is immediately cut to the rotors when a collision happens. This minimizes the high speed damage that the blades and balances endure when you don’t react quickly enough to cut the power on a remote control.

Between the ease of flight, the safety cut-off, and the relatively more durable structure overall, this doll seems like the best value in the under $50 helicopter department for those of us who really don’t know how to successfully fly a toy helicopter, anyway.

The doll in the video is the Deluxe Light Up Flutterbye Fairy – Rainbow (Amazon affiliate link)

Toy Helicopter Review and Durability Test: Sky Rover Aero Spin

The Sky Rover Aero Spin was a pretty impressive little toy helicopter.

It has a hover mode that stabilizes flight a certain distance off of the ground and a “controller” mode which allows you to try controlling the spin rate of the propellers to fly the helicopter.  A good video demonstration is on the rcgroups forums.

This helicopter has been by far the easiest budget (<$50) helicopter to fly, at $10 at Wal-Mart ($7.51 online now).

Unfortunately, a collision within the first minute of flight broke the ring holding the blades together onto the spin shaft. [See Flutterbye Deluxe Fairy for a “helicopter” from this Christmas that’s still going.]

We played around with Gorilla Glue to try and repair the ring (should have used crazy glue. After the glue was allowed to set, the helicopter was mostly back in flying shape, with the exception of a bit of constant roll due to the imbalance.

We were able to fly the helicopter for another few minutes prior to a collision that snapped the same fragile ring yet again, both in the glued spot and in the spot opposite to it.

Ease of flight is definitely an A+. There’s virtually no thought to it.

Durability is a bit worse that most Air Hogs brands that we’ve had.

To be determined: If there will be any support from the company who manufactured the helicopter.

Gorilla glued one side, it worked until until side broke along with it
Gorilla glued one side, it worked until until side broke along with it

Dollar Shave Club (Executive) Review as a Gillette Mach 3 User

I decided to try the Dollar Shave Club Executive (6 blade) model for a month. The subscription for 4 blades per month is $9.

The initial shipment came with their own shave butter, which I tried for my first shave. The shave butter broke down too quickly for my skin and facial hair thickness, and didn’t seem to do much for the shaving experience, but then again, I generally use a shave cream or hair conditioner while shaving.

The blade angles felt a bit too sparse–or maybe the space between them clogged too quickly, though I didn’t notice that this was the case. My first shave attempt was on about 3 days growth, and felt spotty irritation in my skin and notices several patches that had clearly been shaved, but had not been shaved particularly closely.

On my second shave attempt on about 2 days growth, I used my Gillette Sensitive Skin to try and alleviate the irritation and possibly get a bit closer with the shave. After shaving, I had a lot of spots in my facial hair that were about a half day’s worth of growth in length. Whether using the shave butter or my Gillette Sensitive Skin shaving cream, I experienced a small amount of irritation–not as much as a cheap disposable, but a little more than the Schick Quattro.

The closeness of the shave is ultimately as close as the Quattro, but with noticeably more irritation.

For comparison:

  • I use the base Gillette Mach 3 razor normally, usually with the Gillette Sensitive Skin shaving cream.
  • I generally shave twice a week, partly because my skin is too sensitive if I shave more frequently than that.
  • I have sparse and uneven facial hair.
  • Dollar store and disposable Bic razors break the skin for me.
  • The Schick Quattro razor didn’t irritate the skin any more than my Mach 3, but the shave isn’t that close for me.
  • Electric razors turn my skin red with irritation.

Hope this helps you decide if Dollar Shave is an option for you. Interestingly enough, the Executive blades are $2.25 per cartridge vs. the Gillette Mach3 Base Cartridges 15 Count(Amazon associates link) per-cartridge price of about $2.06 per cartridge.