|Posted on July 5, 2014 at 12:35 PM|
My Appliance has Broken... What do I do?
Part 2 - Replacing with a Used Appliance!
First and foremost, when something goes wrong with your appliance don't just toss it! I am as eager as anyone else to get a new range in my kitchen or washer in my laundry room. However, don't jump the gun!
It is absolutely my recommendation that you always pay to have a credible technician let you know what is wrong with the unit and give you an estimate for what it will cost to have it fixed.
Consider this. We charge $65 for a diagnostic call. If we eat out as a family 1 time this week, it costs us $65, easy. It is so very sad that household appliances have become "disposable." Much like a $7 toaster oven would be thrown out when it fails, people often just throw out their appliances and replace them. Part of this is due to the fact that people just assume that it is going to be expensive to repair it. This is not always true! It is always worth having it checked out! Most companies have a specific rate to have a unit diagnosed and often times this cost is subtracted from the labor if you decide to repair it. My point here is this: When your refrigerator stops cooling don't just assume that the compressor has gone bad. There are many reasons why a fridge stops cooling or is not cooling the way it should! ... There are many reasons why a Washing Machine doesn't drain. Don't just assume that the pump went out! ... It is this way with EVERY APPLIANCE! There are multiple things that can cause the same symptom. IT IS WORTH HAVING IT CHECKED OUT!
Who do I recommend? Small Business/Owner Operators. The fact of the matter is, the bigger the business, the bigger the overhead, the more people need their cut, the more expensive your bill. Call a Small Business! You will pay a cheaper rate and you will put food on the table and a roof over that family's head! Also, even if you have to wait a few days for an appointment, WAIT FOR IT! A Small Business is not going to be able to dispatch a technician that day! Often times there is only 1 technician within the company... Support the Small Business Owners in your area!
After you get your estimate you need to make a choice...
Deciding Whether to Repair or Replace
There is a lot that can go into this decision! Is the cost of repair economical? Is it going to cost you more to repair the unit than what the unit is worth? Do you have the money to repair the unit? How old is the unit? What is the overall condition of the unit? What will it cost to replace the unit?
If you have decided to replace your appliance there may still be some lingering questions! Should I buy New? Should I buy Used? What brand should I buy? What should I stay away from?
Buying a Used Appliance
For those whom do not have the money to replace a bad appliance with a new appliance, buying a good used appliance is always a great alternative. There are many resources for seeking out a good used appliance. Craig's List is always a good resource for those who live in or near bigger cities. You can also search your local news paper or find a local used appliance shop.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that the appliance you are purchasing is USED. Used appliances will also have issues just the same as new appliances and just the same as the appliance you are replacing. Most manufactures only offer a 1 year warranty on a New Appliance; don't expect the person you buy a used appliance from to give you any kind of warranty on a used appliance. If you are offered a warranty of any sort you are most likely paying for it in the cost of the unit. For example, what would normally be a $100 - $150 used appliance may run you twice that ($200-$300).
Working in the appliance field we do come across good used appliances from time to time. We do post them for sale. We always get asked if we offer a warranty. Our answer is always no. Although we do thoroughly check out all appliances before we sell them, there is no way for us to guarantee how long they will work before they have a problem. Here is a comparison. You go to the doctor because you have an illness, say a sinus infection. You ask the Doctor "how long until I get sick again?" Do you really expect that he can give you any kind of real answer? He can't! Just the same, an appliance technician cannot tell you that the motor on your washing machine only has 123 days until it goes out. It is impossible to determine. This is why we always have any used appliance we sell hooked up and available to be tested out prior to someone purchasing it.
No matter where you are buying a used appliance from it is your job as the buyer to make sure the unit is working when you buy it. That means make sure it is hooked up and available for you to test run prior to purchasing it. Once you purchase any sort of used item it is yours. Make sure you are given the opportunity to check the unit out prior to purchasing it. Also, if a company or person does offer you any sort of warranty on a used appliance make sure you know what it covers. Often times all of the major things that can go wrong will not be covered under that warranty. Do your homework, look over the entire warranty and make sure that it is something you are comfortable with.
What does the Appliance Master's Wife Recommend for Used Appliances
Being the Appliance Master's Wife I do get the opportunity to see so many of the different appliances that are out there. The first thing to keep in mind is looks are not everything! The appliance companies know how to market their appliances. They know that when people look at their appliance and see the cool colors used on the control panel or the awesome digital display the consumer will be more likely to look at it and think "wow, this is nice!" and purchase it over the one that doesn't look as fancy. Tisk, tisk, tisk... Do not judge it by the way it looks! The fancy look is simply a marketing tool! It has nothing to do with the way the unit runs; the truth is that it is a marketing tool used to draw your attention to that appliance. Also, just because the unit has "Quiet Pack II" or "Commercial Quality" or "King Sized Capacity" printed on the labels does not mean that it is any quieter or better or larger than the one that doesn't print that on the panel. Looks can be very deceiving in the Appliance World.
The next thing to keep in mind is all the bonus features that are offered on an appliance. Check out the features. Are they really something that you need? Will you use that feature? Keep this in mind when looking at appliances. That cool feature has to work somehow. Often times that means extra control boards and components. The question is not "will these components will go bad?" it is "when will these components go bad?" A general rule of thumb is the fancier the unit, the more bells a whistles the unit has the more expensive it is going to be to repair the unit when it breaks.
Let us break down my recommendations a little further. What should you look for on a used appliance? What should you stay away from?
For your Laundry Room
I LOVE the Maytag Neptune Line. Over all they are great machines. If you can get your hands on the right series, MAH3500 through MAH6500, you will be happy with your purchase! Maytag also offered a Neptune Drying Center at one point. This unit is AMAZING! If you have the room for it, take it! When it comes to washers and dryers the other two that come to mind that I have been impressed with are the Kenmore 600 Series Washers (these are Top Loading Washers) and Dryers, good quality clean, reasonable repair costs and overall pretty darn durable. The other units I like are the LG TROMM series; these are Front Loading. These machines, like the Kenmore 600 Series, are good machines. You get a good quality clean from them and they are reasonable, cost wise, to repair as well as pretty durable. My final laundry unit that I have to say I was overly impressed with is the LG Washer Dryer Combo. Not to be confused with a stackable unit, this unit looks like a front loading washer but is actually a washer and dryer in one. You simply put your laundry in and it washes it and then dries it. I was most impressed, and so was my husband, because this unit runs on a 110 plug, not a 220 AND there is NO vent for the dryer! Neither of us really expected it to do what it was supposed to do, but we were WRONG! It gives a great quality of wash to the cloths and then a thorough dry. This unit was awesome, so if you have limited room seek out one of these!
No matter what brand of Washer and/or Dryer you are looking at make sure to check it out completely. Do all the knobs or buttons on the control panel work. Does the door close properly. On front loading washers, is the boot seal (the seal between the frame of the unit and the tub) in tact and free from holes, rips and tears. On Dryers, when was the last time the unit was completely cleaned out? What kind of detergent was used in the washer? Did the previous owners use fabric softener? These are all important things to find out when looking at purchasing a used Washer and/or Dryer.
For Your Kitchen
When it comes to Microwaves I really don't have any recommendation over the other. They are all about the same. If you do have limited space you should check out the LG line of microwaves. The last house we lived in did have limited space in the kitchen. We had an LG microwave. The inner part of the microwave was slightly smaller than the normal microwave. However, on the side of the microwave was a toaster. It was so very handy. This line of microwave came with the option of getting the toaster on the end or a small coffee maker. What a convenience when you have limited space in your kitchen, not to mention that we lived there for 5 years, the unit was used when we moved in, and we did not have a single problem with it. Unfortunately, we had to leave it with the house when we moved. When looking at over the range microwaves they are all generally the same quality. Some more pricy and fancy than others, none the less about the same quality across all brands. When purchasing a used mhereicrowave make sure that the paint on the interior of the microwave does not have any exposed metal spots where the paint has been worn off; exposed metal in a microwave is a huge no, no. If you do find that there is exposed metal don't necessarily let this discourage your from purchasing the microwave; if it is priced right. If this is the only problem the unit has you can purchase the paint needed to touch it up. Also, find out when the charcoal filters were last replaced and determine if you need new ones. Click here to order new charcoal filters or touch up paint for your microwave. Enter your model number in the search bar to locate your filter. If you need help finding your model number click here. Next, make sure the door closes properly, without hassle and smoothly. Make sure the turn table plate is not cracked or chipped, they can be expensive to replace. The overall cleanliness of the unit is important too. Finally, make sure that you are getting the installation hardware.
On to the next appliance, Dishwashers! They are a great convenience to have in your kitchen. I absolutely recommend, hands down, a Bosch Dishwasher. You will pay a little more for a Bosch but you will be happy with it. Even used these are the best dishwashers, in my opinion. I also like KitchenAid Dishwashers. No matter the brand you find I recommend Stainless Inner Tubs over Plastic; just a personal preference. Also, like your Washer, all the bells and whistles are not necessarily needed. When buying used make sure to look at the baskets/racks. Inspect them for rust spots and insure that they are in good condition. Check the door and make sure that it closes properly and without problem. Bent hinges on the door can lead to leaks. If the unit has been sitting unused for any period of time make sure that when you hook it up and run it for the first time you keep a very close eye on it. Sometimes parts have the tendency to stick when they haven't been used for a while and seals have the tendency to crack. Pay attention and make sure the unit runs a complete cycle without leaking. Also, when you run the first cycle after hooking it up, while the unit is empty, I recommend that you allow the unit to fill with water then open it up, add a couple cups of white vinegar and let the unit run the cycle. This will help to clean up any built up gunk in the unit, as well as clear out any odors from it having sat without running for a period of time.
Moving on. Refrigerators are an essential part of every kitchen. When it comes to refrigerators it is important that you keep a few things in mind. First of all, all refrigerators have the ability to go out and take all of your food with them. It doesn't matter what brand they are or how old they are; it could happen at any time. That being said, I tend to like the Maytag and Whirlpool Refrigerators. No matter what brand you are looking at I cannot urge you enough to make sure the unit is up and running when you go look at it. This is important so that you don't get it home and have a non working refrigerator. Also, inspect the shelves, the glass, the bins etc. These can be pricy to replace. Don't just think "Well I can just get a new crisper drawer." They can be pricy and hard to come by. Finally, after you purchase a used fridge make sure you get a new water filter for the unit. You never know when the filter was last changed. Click here to order a new water filter for your fridge. Enter your model number in the search bar to locate your water filter. If you need help finding your model number click here.
Last but not least, every kitchen needs a range. When it comes to ranges I really like Maytag, Whirlpool and Frigidaire Ranges. They are good quality ranges, reasonable to repair and over all do a great job. That is not to say that other brands are not good either. When buying a used gas range it is important to determine if the current set up is for natural gas or propane, then make sure you get it converted to be compatible with the gas type that you have in your home. If conversion is not something you are familiar with make sure that you hire a knowledgeable technician to convert the range for you. When looking at electric ranges, specifically glass top ranges, make sure you inspect the glass surface for chips and cracks. It is very dangerous to use a glass top range that has chips or cracks on it and they can be very expensive to replace. If you are looking at a coil top electric range don't let the condition of the burner pans deter you from purchasing it. Burner pans are cheap to replace and can make a huge difference in the way the range looks. To order new burner pans for your range click here. Enter your model number in the search bar and locate the correct pans for your range. For help locating your model number click here. Before you buy make sure you check/try out all of the options and features for the range. Make sure that they are all working properly, you don't want to get it home and not have one of the features work.
I hope that all of this information will assist you on your journey to purchase a used appliance. Above all, when looking for a used appliance remember these two important things:
#1 Used is Used... Do not buy used and expect new! It simply does not work that way!
#2 Check the appliance out completely before you purchase it! Once you purchase a used appliance it is yours. Take the time to check it out and ask questions.
Getting your Used Appliance Home Safely
Now that you have found your replacement appliance make sure that you can get it to your home safely. If you are hauling it yourself make sure you secure it in your vehicle. You don't want to be headed down the road after spending $200 on a Dishwasher and have it get damaged. Some simple ratchet straps will secure your appliance nicely. If you purchased a Front Loading washer be extra careful when transporting them. If you do not have shipping bolts to hold the tub in place make sure that you do not drive too crazy. It is easy to break a shock or even worse the outer tub of the unit. If you purchased a refrigerator do not lay it down unless you absolutely have to. If you must lay it down make sure to stand it upright as soon as possible and make sure to leave it up right for at least 24 hours before you plug it in. If you do not leave it upright for long enough you will ruin the unit.
If all else fails you can arrange to have your purchase picked up by someone who is equip to haul appliances. It may be a little bit of an expense but it is worth it if you don't have the proper equipment.
Now that your new appliance has arrived at your home, it is time to get it installed!
Getting Your New Appliance Installed
It is always important to have your appliances installed by someone who knows what they are doing. Installation is very rarely a "slide this one out and put this one in." There is a lot that is involved. Hire someone who knows what they are doing. A professional is going to make sure that they cover all of the bases when installing your new appliance. They can also give you tips on how to maintain and care for your appliance.
You are almost done, just one more thing to make arrangements for!
Disposing of Your Old Appliance
People often wonder what to do with their old appliance. Never pay someone to haul away your appliance! Many companies will offer Free Haul Away of your old appliance. This is always a great service. If you are offered free haul away take that extra step and find out what happens to your appliance when they haul it away. Often times your old appliance will end up at the dump or in the landfill. Do not let this happen! Appliances are 100% Recyclable! Whom ever you choose to haul it away make sure that it is going to get recycled. If the company that is delivering or installing your appliance does not haul them away for free a simple search of your local Craig's List will reveal some options. If you do not live in an area where Craig's List is popular check your local paper. There are people out there that will take it for free and insure that it gets recycled!
That concludes Part 2 of this blog. I hope you have found the information useful.