Friday, December 2, 2011

Broken Appliances

If you've been reading my monthly financial check-ups you will know that we have had a lot of unexpected expenses this year.  A number of them have been broken appliances.  Within the last two months our TV, dryer and dishwasher have all broken down causing us some fits.

The question becomes, do you repair or replace?  The TV was easy, it was about 15 years old and a dinosaur so we weren't going to bother paying someone to look at it.  However, this created a dilemma in the fact that the new TV didn't fit well in our entertainment center so we've had to get a much smaller TV until we can afford to a big screen and a new entertainment stand.  We'll save that story for a different day.

The dryer was another story since it was only about 6 years old.  When we needed to replace our washer and dryer we did a lot of research, based on everything we read we choose a LG washer and dryer.  When the dryer went out, the first step I took was to go to the Internet and look for a repair solution.  We were pretty thrilled when we read there was a reset button we could use (you can read about that here).  However, after a week it went out again.  Long story short:  six weeks, four vacation days and $250 later the dryer went out again after working for another week.

I've come to the conclusion that I couldn't invest any more time or money into the dryer so we went out and bought a new one this past week.  It was delivered on Thursday, it is such a wonderful feeling to have an actual working dryer!  Bonus points for getting an excellent deal.  When I went to the store I explained the situation to the salesman.  After expressing disbelief that a LG would be so unreliable (he was the third "industry expert" to express that opinion) he started asking me questions about what I was looking for.  Because I wasn't picky about color or model he was able to direct me to the "bargain room".

Because I was willing to take an "out of the box dryer" I was able to get a good deal.  Here is the dyer I was able to get for $600 delivered.  It's a Frigidaire with a built in steamer.  Yeah - an easy way to get out the wrinkles!

It's not the same brand as our washer, but I'm not going to get overly worked up about that.  When our washer goes out (knock on wood it will be a while) we'll look into getting the matching washing machine.

Now, to answer the question "Do you repair or replace?"  I would say that it depends.  Except for the fact that we waster $250 on repairs, I don't feel bad that we tried fixing our dryer.  It was a reputable brand with only six years use.  Everything that I had heard told me it was worth trying to fix.  If the repair would have worked I would have been ecstatic over saving $600.

Here is the criteria that I use to determine the repair or replace question.

1.  Am I financially able to replace the appliance?
2.  How old is the appliance?
3.  How reputable is the brand?
4.  Do I have the time to devote to a potentially length repair?  Keep in mind that parts frequently need to be ordered.
5.  How expensive is the repair?  My tolerance is less than half of a new appliance. 

Keeping these questions in mind we are now moving on to our dishwasher.  We the kids have been hand washing dishes for the last month.  While this hasn't been a real hardship (since it's the kids doing the work), I would like to get the dishwasher fixed.  Here are the answers to the above questions.

1.  Yes, we are able to financially replace the appliance but I would prefer to put the money towards our vacation.
2.  The dishwasher is over 10 years old.
3.  It's a reputable brand but since it's a plastic interior not worth spending a lot of money on (that's from the dryer repair man.  If it would have been a stainless steel interior he would have recommended us spending some money on it)
4.  I'm not overly concerned about time since we have a simple alternative
5.  According to Lowe's, the repair may be fairly inexpensive. 

My husband talked to a salesman in the appliance section and he recommended replacing the seal.  He gave us the Lowe's part number to order the part.  We'll go ahead and spend the couple bucks to install a new seal ourselves.  If the new seal doesn't work all we'll be out is a few dollars in parts so it's worth the effort.  If it doesn't work, I'll finally get a new dishwasher that matches my stainless steel appliances!

What about you, do you repair or replace?

I'll be posting this at Life as Mom

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  1. We went though that same scenario about 3 years ago - dryer & washer, stove & fridge. We ended up buying new for all of them. My job is basically the 'slush fund' so I bought them all. Buying new was worth not having the repair hassle.

  2. We had a lot of things break last month too! Vacuum, broom handle, toaster, my glasses, my husband's car... we repaired the car and glasses and still need to take the vacuum in. We bought a new handle for the broom and kept the bristle part. The toaster was the only thing we replaced because it was a $10 toaster I've had for about 8 years and I've been wanting a toaster oven anyway. I usually try to repair whenever possible just to keep things out of the landfills...