You (on the phone): “My washing machine is banging.” Service tech: “Can you describe the noise?” You (annoyed): “Well, it sounds like…um, bang.” Much to the relief of anyone who has endured this type of frustrating exchange, Kenmore has created new washers and dryers that communicate directly with service consultants (kenmore.com/connect). Imagine that! Consumers call 800-469-4663, place the mouthpiece of the phone over the machine’s power button, and push the wash/rinse button on washers and the temperature button on dryers. More than 100 different data points, including water temperature and spin speed, are instantly sent to a technician who will troubleshoot the problem for free. Finally, there is a way to avoid the expense of an in-home service call—and restore (relative) calm to the laundry room.