Author Topic: Appliances are $HI^ these days. Buy the cheapest?  (Read 6431 times)

Allen

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Appliances are $HI^ these days. Buy the cheapest?
« on: September 23, 2014, 04:05:13 PM »
So we had an oven go out (control board) and the cost of fixing it at the time was so much we decided to get a new oven.  Now, 4 years later, the new oven also has a control board out.  I'm not aware of DIY fixing options (is there a wrecking yard for appliances?) but it looks like we'll have to buy yet another new oven.  Since these things barely last 7-10 years if you are lucky (and sometimes less) it seems like I should buy the cheapest oven I can get, or certainly no frills. 

What is the mustachian take on appliances?  Used ones from Craigslist?   How can I optimize this scenario?

gimp

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Re: Appliances are $HI^ these days. Buy the cheapest?
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2014, 04:52:37 PM »
Appliances aren't shit if you're willing to pay. I think it makes sense to either buy quality, or buy the cheapest (or two steps up from the cheapest - like, cheapest + 10%).

sandandsun

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Re: Appliances are $HI^ these days. Buy the cheapest?
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2014, 05:21:03 PM »
ive done scratch and dent several times and had very good luck- you don't really save a ton w those- maybe 20%...  but when scratches are on side or its a washer out of sight, who cares...

GizmoTX

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Re: Appliances are $HI^ these days. Buy the cheapest?
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2014, 05:26:29 PM »
Sixteen years ago we bought a lake house with appliances that were then easily 15 years old. With the exception of the dishwasher,  they're all still running. The RF is a SubZero. The cooktop & double ovens are showing their age but also were high end when they were installed.

I think appliances should be matched to the overall value of the house & how long you intend to be there. Low end "builder brand" appliances are meant to be quickly disposable. We replaced the dishwasher with a low level brand/model because we knew we'd eventually remodel the lake house kitchen. High end appliances tend to be built & perform very well.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Appliances are $HI^ these days. Buy the cheapest?
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2014, 06:12:43 PM »
Craigslist, and look for appliances that someone is replacing due to a remodel. I've seen so many really nice, matched sets (stove/diswasher/fridges) that are 2 or 3 years old that they are getting rid of for cheap because they bought stainless steel or fancy schmancy models...

And if you have one in your area, Habitat for Humanity's ReStores are a good place to check out as well.

bogart

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Re: Appliances are $HI^ these days. Buy the cheapest?
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2014, 07:09:35 PM »
Many of the stupid appliance replacements we've endured (thing isn't truly worn out, but fixing it costs more than replacing it) have involved computerized/electronic control boards/chips.  Sounds like that's what you're experiencing with the ovens, also.  My new rule is to try whenever possible to buy "dumb" appliances.  Conveniently, these are usually low cost.  This strategy also significantly reduces the choices/features available, for better or worse.

kimmarg

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Re: Appliances are $HI^ these days. Buy the cheapest?
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2014, 08:26:07 PM »
Whatever you get, get a surge protector. It's mostly the computerized control boards that go, those can be protected with a $20 surge outlet. Be sure to get one rated for the load, for an oven this may be a bit more.

horsepoor

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Re: Appliances are $HI^ these days. Buy the cheapest?
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2014, 08:41:08 PM »
Craigslist is a good way to go, or a used appliance shop.  They'll often get units in with burnt out computer boards on trade, replace the board and re-sell, at which point the appliance will probably last as long as a new one.  We got a side by side fridge and a smooth top range for our rental for $200 each and they've been going strong for a few years.  Not so lucky with the cheapo dishwasher purchased new from Home Depot that we put in there.  OTOH, we did spend about $700 on our Maytag DW, and similar amounts on our washer/dryer new, and they are doing well after 8 years *knock wood*

We did have a new range kick the bucket after 2 years and it didn't seem worth replacing.  Since I cook A LOT I insisted on a semi-fancy range, so we just sprang for the extended warranty and hope it outlives that by several years.

I guess the moral of the story is that it's a crapshoot.

FastStache

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Re: Appliances are $HI^ these days. Buy the cheapest?
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2014, 08:54:26 PM »
Do you run the oven self-cleaning?

bacchi

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Re: Appliances are $HI^ these days. Buy the cheapest?
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2014, 10:46:30 PM »
Are you sure the oven isn't fixable? Mine went out, I ordered the control board from maybe Sears parts, and installed it in about an hour. Much less than a new oven.

Yeah, get a good surge protector while you're at it.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Appliances are $HI^ these days. Buy the cheapest?
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2014, 02:51:12 AM »
Could locate the part number of whatever needs replacing and Google it. There's often companies selling the individual parts. Even eBay.

Prairie Stash

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Re: Appliances are $HI^ these days. Buy the cheapest?
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2014, 09:17:21 AM »
What model is it? Phone the manufacturer for a replacement board. Most have spare parts on hand, it's a good business.

I fixed my Kitchen Aid blender 2 months ago. Kitchen Aid mailed the replacement part to my door. All it took was a phone call and $20 to have it working like new. Boards should be pretty easy to fix, there should be online instructions (unless you have some very weird oven).

There are wrecking yards for appliances.  Scrap metal dumps in my area have yards where people do drop offs.  It's cheaper than going to the dump (free drop offs) and the scrap yard then shreds it and send the metal in for reuse. I've picked up light bulbs and racks.  Control boards are trickier cause you need the right model (or something similar), I doubt a GE will work in a Frigidaire.

I've also bought online, its fantastic. People upgrading kitchens with $15K stainless steel appliances often sell perfectly fine white ovens.  I bought one for my basement rental, I think it was $20, 5 years later it still works.

Gone Fishing

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Re: Appliances are $HI^ these days. Buy the cheapest?
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2014, 09:25:28 AM »
Appliances aren't shit if you're willing to pay. I think it makes sense to either buy quality, or buy the cheapest (or two steps up from the cheapest - like, cheapest + 10%).

We bought (what we thought was) a solid name brand middle of the road dishwasher about 4 years ago.  It lasted a whole 3 years before the pump went out.  I t would have cost almost as much to repair as the dishwasher cost.  After this experience, I decided I would be willing to go with near top of the line if it would last 2x-3x as long as the mid range model. After reading hundreds of reviews, it looked to me like the top end models were not that much better.  We decided to go with a used one for $50.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Appliances are $HI^ these days. Buy the cheapest?
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2014, 05:03:22 PM »
Either learn to fix the control board or replace with a "dumb" appliance. The only repair my range has needed in its existence was a $20 burner when I accidentally melted plastic onto it. And the thing is easily 10+ years old.

I personally can't stand the shitty touch interfaces on fancy ranges anyways.

Spork

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Re: Appliances are $HI^ these days. Buy the cheapest?
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2014, 05:50:16 PM »
Whatever you get, get a surge protector. It's mostly the computerized control boards that go, those can be protected with a $20 surge outlet. Be sure to get one rated for the load, for an oven this may be a bit more.

For 240v appliances... there don't seem to be a lot of options here.  (Or...  correct me if I am wrong here.)

I ended up doing a whole house surge protector... but even that is not optimal.  (I live in an area with shitty power.)

I've said this in a number of other threads, but I'll say it again:  There are a number of extremely high end ovens from the 50s and before that can be had for a song.  These are chef quality machines that will last longer than you will.  If you run their original cost through an infation calculator, you'll find they cost > $3k in today's dollars.  They're nice to look at, they are SERIOUSLY insulated and extremely simple.   The brand we went with was Chambers (and there a ton of other really nice brands from that era).  Chambers was made to cook with the gas turned off... I.e. it is very well insulated and has baffles that shut down the normal oven exhaust.  It is made to cook on retained heat.

There are a whole bunch of nuts out there (hi!) dedicated to fixing/restoring these things and web sites dedicated to them.

BlueMR2

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Re: Appliances are $HI^ these days. Buy the cheapest?
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2014, 06:23:18 PM »
This is one of the reasons I keep my older, less efficient appliances.  They're pre-RoHS and despite being fairly old I expect them to run for many more years.  The post-RoHS stuff not only has all those problems, but has so much more on them to go wrong.  In theory they would pay for themselves in energy savings, but once the incredibly short lifespans of new appliances are factored in it's better to stick with the older units...

Goldielocks

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Re: Appliances are $HI^ these days. Buy the cheapest?
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2014, 06:39:13 PM »

I would buy second hand appliances...  either something only a couple of years old for a great deal, or older for next to nothing.
So may people replace good appliances with new after buying a home, that there tends to be a glut if you are willing to pay at least $100+ for a unit.

We bought a washer / dryer pair for under $200, and yes, they did not inspire delight when used, but worked and worked and worked...  only a $15 minor repair needed.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Appliances are $HI^ these days. Buy the cheapest?
« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2014, 12:19:08 AM »
Agreed on the "minimize the electronics" stuff.  When we graduated from college, we (foolishly) purchased a brand new fridge, washer, and dryer.  All very basic models, no electronics.  9 years later, they're all running just fine.  Washer needed a new lid switch a couple years back (new one gets stuck closed, so we can watch the spin cycle!) and new dog-thingies that turn the center spindle ($4.50 and 10 minutes of time).  And we're a family of 7 (soon to be 8), so those things get used a LOT.

Greg

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Re: Appliances are $HI^ these days. Buy the cheapest?
« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2014, 10:50:15 AM »
The electronic controls are usually the problem.  Rather than buy expensive or cheap, buy simple.  Meaning no push buttons, knobs instead.  The fewer "bells and whistles" the better usually.

Tip: often these sorts of simple but reliable models aren't on the sales floor, but can be ordered.  It may take some effort to find a salesperson willing to help you order the simple kind.  You may get ahead by researching the features and models available online, and then using that information when you visit an appliance store, if you go that route.

Sometimes the information about simple models is hard to find and you have to read the owner's manuals of the fancy-pants versions to find the models numbers of the simple ones.

DragonSlayer

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Re: Appliances are $HI^ these days. Buy the cheapest?
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2014, 11:05:49 AM »
The electronic controls are usually the problem.  Rather than buy expensive or cheap, buy simple.  Meaning no push buttons, knobs instead.  The fewer "bells and whistles" the better usually.

Tip: often these sorts of simple but reliable models aren't on the sales floor, but can be ordered.  It may take some effort to find a salesperson willing to help you order the simple kind.  You may get ahead by researching the features and models available online, and then using that information when you visit an appliance store, if you go that route.

Sometimes the information about simple models is hard to find and you have to read the owner's manuals of the fancy-pants versions to find the models numbers of the simple ones.

This!! When we were shopping for a new fridge after ours died, I wanted one without an ice maker or in-door water dispenser. I've read that these are the primary areas for failure and I didn't want to deal with it. I worked with a local appliance store (mom and pop, not Best Buy, Lowes, etc.) and they were able to find the simple model for me. It was identical to the one on the showroom floor as far as capacity, arrangement of shelves, etc., minus all the extra crap. Everything they had on the floor was the souped up model, so it had to be ordered, but they got it. So far so good...

yddeyma

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Re: Appliances are $HI^ these days. Buy the cheapest?
« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2014, 11:23:46 AM »
Ditto on the buying simple.  But there are some appliances that I like the gadgetry, or maybe there's another feature that I can only get IF I buy the gadgetry.  If that's the case, I buy from the Sears scratch and dent place, when its a holiday.  I did that when we re-did our kitchen and saved 60% of the cost of the new stuff.  Most of the things I got had such small scratches, I didn't even touch them up.  One had a pretty badly dented front, but I bought a new panel for $50 and got the appliance at 75% off.  Worth it, to me.

I've also gotten some off craigslist and done the same thing, just gotten new panels or touch-up paint to fix whatever was broken.