Author Topic: Repair or replace?  (Read 3275 times)

Phy to FI

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Repair or replace?
« on: July 28, 2014, 03:22:34 PM »
We had a storm yesterday, and must have had a power surge. The dishwasher and garbage disposal stopped working at the same time. They are on two different breakers, but neither were tripped. The disposal was an easy fix, as it was just pushing the reset button on the outlet.

The dishwasher did not have a reset-type outlet. Husband did his best to work out the problem, and confirmed that power was going into the dishwasher. He called a repairman, who said it was most likely the control panel. He said that it would cost as much for him to come out, order the right part, and replace it, as it would to buy a new dishwasher.

So the dilemma we face is to order the part ourselves and attempt the repair, or buy a new machine. The dishwasher is a 12 year old Kenmore, but has been a great washer for us, quiet, fast, and an excellent cleaner. The part to repair costs $157 plus tax and shipping. A quick Google search shows that a refurbished machine would cost about $350, and a new one $500 and up.

I am leaning towards attempting the repair, because the dishwasher has been a good machine, and it's cheaper. But, I have to pause. What if the control panel is not the problem, or not the only problem? Then we're out the money for the part, and still have to replace.

I know that a lot of you have more knowledge and experience with repairs. What would you recommend?

Gordion

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Re: Repair or replace?
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2014, 04:24:01 PM »
The machine is probably not that energy efficient. Have you done the math to find the present value of buying a nearly new one at Craiglist vs fixing your old one.

Example:

Fixing: 150 USD (you should risk adjust this, 50% chance?).
Buying used "new": 300 USD - XXX USD in energy savings.


SummerLovin

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Re: Repair or replace?
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2014, 05:37:38 PM »
If you have the money I'd replace new with a warranty. You'll need to compare the efficiency, but I'm pretty certain you'll gain there.
Second best option would be refurbished model (no older than 3 years) with some warranty on the parts. You may even be able to "trade" yours in for credit at a local repair shop.

Why avoid the repair:
The dishwasher is 12 years old, at the "high" end of typical life span, and likely to need further repairs.
You're not sure that the part will fix it (50%), and even if it does, there's a good chance something else will go wrong.



Milspecstache

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Re: Repair or replace?
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2014, 05:58:50 PM »
My philosophy is get a reliable appliance, run it til the end of its life, even if it requires minor 'rigging' or other aesthetic/minor problems.  Then when it suffers a major problem that requires expensive parts I then go ahead and replace it.

If it were me, I'd replace it.  You've gotten great service from it but even if you put new parts into it, there is no guarantee that something else won't fail shortly thereafter.  As it is now you've spent $500/12 years.  Hard to imagine a $150 part will give you 3.5 years more of trouble-free service.

deborah

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Re: Repair or replace?
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2014, 07:43:06 PM »
Dishwasher? Garbage disposal unit? We don't have either - do you really need them? After all, we are all mustashian, and the first question we should ask in this situation is whether something is actually necessary.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Repair or replace?
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2014, 06:50:54 AM »
If you really must have a dishwasher, the standard advice would be to replace it.

That said, I like to minimize landfill waste, so I tend to fix things even when they are long past the point where it makes financial sense to do it.

MillenialMustache

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Re: Repair or replace?
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2014, 08:04:12 AM »
Have you checked the price of the part on Ebay or Craigslist? That is where they are the cheapest. Is there a return policy on the part, that if it is not the problem you can send it back and get your money back?

Those are two things I would look into. If you can return the part if it doesn't fix the problem, I would try to fix it first. Otherwise, it is a toss up. Maybe I would try to get a used one off Craigslist.

nordlead

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Re: Repair or replace?
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2014, 08:30:24 AM »
With a power surge, it is probably the control panel. If you are good with a multi-meter it shouldn't be too hard to track down the problem with a bit of trouble shooting. I wouldn't order a part unless you are fairly confident it couldn't be something else. Some things (like solenoids) can be easy to test by applying power to them directly.

If looking online confirms that the replacement part is 40-50% of new I'd probably go look at outlet stores and find something "new" for the energy efficiency, quieter operation, and larger (vertical) capacity (they are making the tubs taller with less space for the motor down the bottom).

FYI - I got a 100% stainless steel with Vinyl racks Maytag dish washer with hard food disposer that is whisper quite for $400 including all parts and tools (I had to drill a new water line through tile, so had to buy some new drill bits). It was a ding & dent from sears outlet and it only has one visible scratch on the front that you can't see 90% of the time (it had other damage that you couldn't see once installed).

Don't pay someone to install your dishwasher, it is super easy and can be done within an hour if you don't have to re-run the lines.

Dishwasher? Garbage disposal unit? We don't have either - do you really need them? After all, we are all mustashian, and the first question we should ask in this situation is whether something is actually necessary.

Dishwashers use less water and take less time than hand washing, and they wash dishes in water hot enough to kill germs (which would scald your hands if you tried). Just scrape off the big stuff and throw them in. While it isn't necessary, it increases standard of living at very little cost. Same with a garbage disposal. No stinky trash or animals getting in the trash.

Now, buying a $1200 dishwasher with a $300 warranty when a $400 unit is more than sufficient is non-mustashian.

Phy to FI

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Re: Repair or replace?
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2014, 06:34:14 PM »
Thank you for all of the replies.

Dishwasher? Garbage disposal unit? We don't have either - do you really need them? After all, we are all mustashian, and the first question we should ask in this situation is whether something is actually necessary.

This is a valid question. After consideration, I believe having a dishwasher is mustachian for us. First, the time saved by using a dishwasher has value to us. Second, most of the time, a dishwasher is more efficient as far as water and power use go, as compared to handwashing, and that is important to me. Third, this is not our forever home, and we plan to sell it in 4-5 years. Not having a dishwasher would make it rather hard to sell and get top dollar, so we would have to replace it down the road. But thank you for asking the question. It is always good to step back and re-evaluate.

The machine is probably not that energy efficient. Have you done the math to find the present value of buying a nearly new one at Craiglist vs fixing your old one.

I couldn't find any power usage statistics for this washer, but most of the power used goes to heating the water, so the less water used, the less power used. My current washer uses 4.8 gallons per cycle. Upgrading to a refurbished one would use about 4 gallons per cycle. So somewhere around a 20% decrease in water/power. Now how much that would impact my electric bill? I don't know what percentage of overall use goes to the dishwasher.

It seems like most are recommending replacement for very logical reasons, that I agree with, but goblinchief, I'm with you on this.
That said, I like to minimize landfill waste, so I tend to fix things even when they are long past the point where it makes financial sense to do it.

Have you checked the price of the part on Ebay or Craigslist? That is where they are the cheapest. Is there a return policy on the part, that if it is not the problem you can send it back and get your money back?

Awesome idea! I found a refurbished control panel for $60. It doesn't look like could be returned (they have an exclusion for electronics), but it seems reasonable to try. If it doesn't work, then we can look into replacing with a refurbished model dishwasher.

Thank you.