I am notoriously frugal. I pinch pennies so hard, Lincoln screams like a 13 year old girl at a One Direction concert (translation for non-Americans: I really don't like to spend money). And here I am about to tell you to spend thousands of dollars replacing perfectly good kitchen appliances. Sort of.
The worst thing that can happen with major appliances (refrigerator, dishwasher and range) is not that they break down at an inconvenient time and you have to do without while you go shopping for a new one. It isn't even that you might have to over pay because you need to buy when they are not on sale.
No, the worst thing is they cause fire or flood damage. Trust me. Learn from my painful experience.
We bought the fridge when we bought the house eight years ago. The dishwasher, range and microwave were bought within the year before that by the previous owners, so about nine years old. They all worked, but:
- the ice dispenser/water switch stuck on the fridge about a year ago, so we set it on water and were opening the freezer whenever we wanted ice. And because of the annoying layout of our kitchen the fridge stuck out 6-8 inches into the only entrance into the kitchen.
- the microwave oven door was held together with Mighty Putty (not a sponsor).
- only minor complaints on the range like water taking forever to boil and somewhat uneven heating in the oven.
- the dishwasher was always horrendously noisy and ran for 90 minutes. We would start it and go to bed so we didn't have to listen to it. But we could still hear it up in our bedroom. And the racks were worn and rusty.
We just adapted to the annoying quirks and kept saying we would replace them when we had money.
Then we had the slab leak. $1000 deductible plus my kitchen a mess for a month, miscommunication or no communication at the restoration company and still my house was not quite put back together the way it was. But, I could live with it to have the workers out of my house.
Less than a month later, the dishwasher which was moved in the investigation of the leak, allegedly had a seal leak. Water had been seeping under the laminate flooring and cabinets for who knows how much of that month.
Another $1000 deductible on the home owners insurance. Plus back and forth with the restoration and insurance companies trying to figure out who was going to pay what. All while this horrid fan and dehumidifier ran in my kitchen non-stop for FIVE DAYS. I liken the noise to a leaf blower... running constantly... in my kitchen... for FIVE DAYS!
Long story short, a new restoration company was recommended by the insurance company, and Pulido Cleaning and Restoration took wonderful care of us. Quick, efficient, polite, professional, people of their word, went above and beyond to help make me forget the other experience.
Within 10 minutes of walking in the door they found mold had begun to form under one of the cabinets. They not only cleaned it with an anti fungal but sealed off under the cabinet with plastic so we would not be exposed to it.
Before the demolition started they put up this beauty to contain the dust and potential health hazards:
The moldy cabinet and two others were removed and rebuilt and the floor was replaced. Why we needed five days of unrelenting noise if the cabinets needed to be removed anyway I still haven't figured out.
In the process we also bought all new appliances. After talking with the appliance salespeople at different stores, as well as the insurance folks and gang at Pulido for verification I found out the following:
- the life span of most major appliances is in the 6-7 year range nowadays, mostly due to their advanced technology.
- your home owners insurance may not cover the "dry out process" if your appliance fails. You pay for the horridly noisy machines because it is considered "wear and tear", as well as the deductible. OUCH!
- sale times for appliances are major holiday weekends with July 4th and Black Friday being the biggest (Labor Day and President's Day are the next).
- When you and everyone else in the market buy appliances on a holiday weekend expect it to take 4-6 weeks for delivery! Our case, ordered July 5 delivered August 26.
New appliances are more efficient and have better features than those made even 5 years ago. Not quite as rapid a turn over as computers or cell phones that are outdated the minute you walk out of the store with them.
So last week, I said:
And welcomed home these beauties:
A dishwasher that is so quiet I checked on it twice the first time I ran it just to make sure it was still working.
A microwave with a door handle that hopefully won't fall off. Plus the buttons are on the bottom so J can reach it with a stool and I don't have to try to lift him while he presses Popcorn!
A counter-depth fridge that is only 1 cubic foot smaller inside but gives me back 3-4 inches of walking space in the entrance to the kitchen.
A range with a center burner and BEAUTIFUL blue interior.
The only thing I am not lovin about them is the freezer drawer. I have never had a chest freezer or drawer freezer so it seems unorganized in there. Anyone have any tips?
So, the take away from this for you should be if your major appliances are getting older than 5 years start making a plan to replace them. Consider setting aside a little money every month and have an idea of when you want to buy.
Do not wait until they die or create a catastrophe in your kitchen or laundry room.
And if you do need to file a homeowners insurance claim and have any part of your home restored, here's some things I'd recommend :
- be pushy and demanding and pro-active, even if it is out of your comfort zone.
- ask questions if you don't understand or don't want them to do things "their way".
- ask what other options there are.
- don't let anyone leave for the day without finding out when someone will be back or will call to schedule the next step.
- be patient it will be loud and dirty and will probably take longer than you hoped.
Enough about my kitchen! Next time we will be getting these babies into action.
Until next time, happy eating.
Ugh - we had almost the same thing happen last year! The hot water hose to our washing machine broke and ended up sending hot water throughout the laundry room, family room, breakfast nook and kitchen! We called our insurance who called a clean up company who came out and ripped up the laminate in the laundry room then pulled up the carpet in the family room. They set up those horrible, horrible fans/dehumidifiers and my husband and I couldn't hear each other in the house for four days! They came back, took the fans and told us a guy would be back to write down an estimate of the cost of repairs for the insurance company. Even though the workers from the company were the ones who pulled up our carpet and ripped it, the adjuster said it was repairable and fine! What? It was such a hassle. We ended up doing a lot of the work ourselves just so we would save on the cost of labor and instead put the insurance money into replacing the carpet. Needless to say, I think the insurance and the clean-up company were in cahoots! But, like you, my kitchen finally (after 4 months) got put back to normal. We were warned by the insurance company that the hoses to the washing machine are supposed to be replaced every 3-4 years. We didn't know that - but now we do!
Oh Vickie! 4 months! I'd just cry at that point. Well, I cried after 4 weeks, so... And don't you love how people tell you stuff about the houses AFTER you have a problem.
I agree you on that point. I am very thrifty myself so I don’t usually buy things that aren't important. But appliances that last more than 5 years will create more problems in the future so it’s better to replace them why you can still buy them on sale and not because they break up on you. Appliance Art
Great tips! I have this 7 years old fridge but it works perfectly fine. Do I have to replace this with a new one just like what you have mentioned in your article?
You don't have to replace your appliance if it is working, but just be aware it is starting to get beyond what the manufacturer's consider it's life span. A fridge won't necessarily cause a disaster like the dishwasher. At worst it will stop working and you have food spoilage.
I certainly agree with this post Audrey! Always better safe than sorry 😉
Learned form such experiences, sparks everywhere, from the flat iron to the very disastrous microwave oven!
PS, the blue range is perfectly beautiful! 🙂
I agree that you should take advantage of sale times. That way, you have enough to purchase a better appliance than you otherwise would. The rest of your money could then go into savings for repairs.
Wow, this is a pretty crazy experience. It really is so important to have working appliances in the home. Not just because they look and work nice, but, like your story shows, it can save a lot of money in the future. We had a similar problem, and ever since then have kept appliances in tip-top shape.
Pam De Guzman
Buying new appliances should be at least 3 years to 5 years this is because of the quality of the product and of course the safety. Old appliances might have a malfunction and that would be more costly. Some new appliances nowadays are energy efficient that would help reduce cost in the household.
This is such an informative post! I'm going to be renovating our kitchen next month and have been contemplating on whether or not I should replace out appliances with new ones that are energy star certified.
Do you have a vent in your cabinet for your microwave?
I had no idea that the lifespan of most major appliances is 6-7 years because of the advanced technology. I thought I was saving money by making due with my old appliances, but I realize that they are using up a lot more energy than needed which makes my energy bill skyrocket. I think I'm definitely overdue for new appliances. Thanks!