Author Topic: Old Appliances - Repair or Get New  (Read 3236 times)

Frugal Lizard

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3738
  • Age: 54
  • Location: Southwest Ontario
  • One foot in front of the other....
Old Appliances - Repair or Get New
« on: April 07, 2016, 02:34:10 PM »
I am new to the forum so I am not entirely sure if this is the best place for this thread but here goes.

We bought our house in 2010.  The stove is from the 80's and works really well - including the flipping numbers clock until DH tried to set it back an hour.  It is the best oven I have ever had for the even heat.  So I have fixed it - new element after a cooking incident, element in the oven.  Repairman located an old temperature regulator in his treasure trove of parts.  I will keep this stove forever if I can just so that I can continue to have baking turn out so well. 
The microwave is a combined hood vent.  It works great -particularly the vent - but it is very loud.  It is really old with its dials and chrome and buttons.  It looks great - and matches the stove. But can an old microwaves become unsafe?
The dishwasher is really old - it has chrome detailing, buttons and dials.  It works but is loud.  I am sure it uses tons of water but it looks sharp.  We don't let it run through the dry cycle, but rather open it up and let the air do it's work.  It runs every evening and catches all the lunch containers because all of us go the reusable container route every day.  The plastic doesn't dry inside anyway so this is just necessary.   The pump is still going strong and our area water is super hard on appliances.  It shorted out in the controls and was a simple wire replacement.
The fridge is an amana (early 90's vintage) and fairly small for our family of two adults and two hungry teens (33inch).  It is falling apart inside, runs pretty loud and when I pulled it out to clean up a mess I made, there was a black residue on the floor and the wall near the motor.  I have had to have some new parts installed and the repair guy was kind of surprised that that was all it required.  The drawers just sit in the bottom because the runners they hung from are falling apart.   This fridge is not big enough and I have been trying to make it work since we moved in here but I am really close to giving up. 
Everyone I know who has bought a fridge lately says they are not made as well as they used to be.  My in-laws seem to be buying appliances every time we visit.
I had a home energy audit and was told to get a new fridge and dishwasher because they were so inefficient.  Has anyone come across a calculator that factors in the life cycle replacement and disposal costs.  I don't want to be spendy but I also don't want to be irresponsible.  Or make my family sick with food not properly stored.

When do mustachians repair appliances and when do they buy new?

Guava

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 219
Re: Old Appliances - Repair or Get New
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2016, 03:18:51 PM »
I am mostly posting to follow as I am curious about this as well.

My parents were recently in a situation with 80s and early 90s appliances and chose to replace the microwave because it no longer heated evenly and they replaced their fridge as well because it was making noises and they thought it was on their last leg (it probably was). For what it's worth, they did notice a change in their elecitric bill and their new fridge seems very good quality, but I believe it is a higher end brand as well.

If the stove heats more evenly than any you have had, I would definitely hold onto it.

ketchup

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4328
  • Age: 30
Re: Old Appliances - Repair or Get New
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2016, 03:36:43 PM »
From the sounds of things, your fridge could stand to be replaced.  I think the cutoff is that anything older than ~2001 is worth replacing from an energy saving perspective so yours fits the bill.  Of course, mine is from 2001 exactly, just to make it tricky.  I'd recommend getting one without an ice maker if you do replace it.  From my understanding, they break all.  The.  Time.

I don't have a dishwasher, but I know the newer ones are a lot quieter and water-efficient so I'd look into that too.

I have no idea about the microwave.  Mine's from the 80s (I think) and it's fine.

If you like the stove, definitely keep it.

Telecaster

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2610
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Old Appliances - Repair or Get New
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2016, 05:08:47 PM »
Very often replacing a refrigerator of that vintage is a cost effective thing to do from an energy standpoint.   This site has a database where you can plug in your refrigerator's model number and it will estimate the energy usage. 

http://www.kouba-cavallo.com/refmods.htm

Old refrigerators are energy hogs, it turns out.   

Check with your local utility to see if they have rebates for recycling/replacing old refrigerators.  Many do.   

Frugal Lizard

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3738
  • Age: 54
  • Location: Southwest Ontario
  • One foot in front of the other....
Re: Old Appliances - Repair or Get New
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2016, 07:10:48 AM »
Thanks for the help guys.
Checked the link Telecaster - and the old fridge is an energy hog compared with the one I have my eye on.

And if the bigger model means that the old fridge in the garage is no longer necessary in the summer then this is even better.
The Fisher Paykel seems to have more space inside than other brands and it is super energy efficient. 

I think I am going to wait on the dishwasher and try to make up the water use in other areas of the household.  Some friends in our town are only getting six years out of their dishwashers due to our very hard water. 
I love my retro kitchen and the appliances complete the look. 

Scandium

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2360
  • Location: EastCoast
Re: Old Appliances - Repair or Get New
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2016, 07:43:01 AM »
Thanks for the help guys.
Checked the link Telecaster - and the old fridge is an energy hog compared with the one I have my eye on.

And if the bigger model means that the old fridge in the garage is no longer necessary in the summer then this is even better.
The Fisher Paykel seems to have more space inside than other brands and it is super energy efficient. 

holycrap. The F&P fridges are $2,300+?! Our 1995 fridge was leaking water inside, despite dismantling and cleaning several times. Finally replaced it with an LG french door for $1300 on sale, with a 5% cashback CC. It does the job fine. I can't imagine  why you'd need a $2000+ fridge. Check consumer reports

Frugal Lizard

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3738
  • Age: 54
  • Location: Southwest Ontario
  • One foot in front of the other....
Re: Old Appliances - Repair or Get New
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2016, 08:50:41 AM »
Thanks for the help guys.
Checked the link Telecaster - and the old fridge is an energy hog compared with the one I have my eye on.

And if the bigger model means that the old fridge in the garage is no longer necessary in the summer then this is even better.
The Fisher Paykel seems to have more space inside than other brands and it is super energy efficient. 

holycrap. The F&P fridges are $2,300+?! Our 1995 fridge was leaking water inside, despite dismantling and cleaning several times. Finally replaced it with an LG french door for $1300 on sale, with a 5% cashback CC. It does the job fine. I can't imagine  why you'd need a $2000+ fridge. Check consumer reports

I know they are expensive and that doesn't scare me particularly.  They are coming from New Zealand and that kind of worries me but it really isn't exponentially farther than China.  I would rather pay more for something that lasts a long time and with superior function. I was told to stay away from LG fridges by several sources - the first was the appliance sales guy so I didn't count his opinion, but my trusted used appliance repair guy said he can't repair them. Two brother-in-laws have thrown out LG fridges in their rentals that weren't even five years old, so I pretty off them even with the anecdotal /small sample.  I don't want to buy a disposable fridge.    I will look at the consumer reports to see what is the best. 
I need a fridge that is counter-top depth for aesthetics partially but mainly functionality.  I would like to have an island and if the fridge sticks out from the wall too much then there is no room for the island.  The whole counter-top depth thing puts the purchase in a new price category.  It can't be too tall because of the useful cupboard over it that I don't want to loose.  And I want enough capacity for a sporty family of four that eats at home always. We have a huge extended family so it is frequent that I am cooking for 10.  The interior of the FP is really simple and the best design that I have found.  I hate the brackets and split shelves of the GE and Frigidaire. Wish I had US dollars to buy with though, it is $3000.CAN
I am wondering how long to wait before buying a new one with the black dust coming out of the motor of the old one.  That isn't too good is it?

Axecleaver

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3576
  • Location: Columbia, SC
Re: Old Appliances - Repair or Get New
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2016, 09:17:42 AM »
Quote
But can an old microwaves become unsafe?
No, not really. Microwaves are reflected by metal. As long as the metal box is basically intact, nothing is getting out of the oven. Even if it were leaking, microwave radiation (like light) drops in intensity according to the inverse square law. So the food getting microwaved is at 2", if you stand 20" away, you are only getting 1% of the radiation - assuming zero blockage. The cell phone you press against your cheek exposes you to far more radiation than a microwave ever will. If you're really worried about it, take one more step backwards.

Regarding refrigerators, in 2001 they passed new standards in the US which adversely affected the quality of refrigerators. If your fridge was made before 2001, it's likely a bit of an energy hog, but well-made. Stuff from 2001 after the new standards is crap, just like a first-year new car model. They got better every year after 2001 until 2014. Now we have new standards that were passed in 2014. Anything you buy new today is a relatively new model with (probably) unproven components.

zolotiyeruki

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4295
  • Location: State: Denial
Re: Old Appliances - Repair or Get New
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2016, 09:28:08 AM »
Replace the fridge.
Keep the dishwasher.  Yes, it probably uses more water and electricity.  But it probably actually cleans the dishes much better than newer models, thanks to efficiency standards.
Keep the microwave and range until they break.  There's very little savings to be found in replacing them