Sometimes the cost of repairing an old device is just no meaning. But when is a good time and what brand should I consider buying? Last week, I sat with Chris Boucher from De Anza Appliance, Service and Repair, to ask him some questions about buying a new device.
When is it time to repair vs replace my device?
There are many factors to consider but the general rule of thumb if your device is less than 10 years old has someone to take a look. If its over 15 years, I suggest you consider replacing it. New appliances become more efficient and you begin to recover with a new life span. The intermediate middle class depends on a few things: 1) Is the device in otherwise good shape? 2) Is it built into the cabinet and harder to install? 3) How long will it be before I rebuild my kitchen again? With some appliances, such as built-in double-wall ovens, professional style areas, large Sub Zeros, or other built-in appliances, it may be worth fixing an older model because the replacement cost can be in thousands of dollars. I would appreciate the useful life of most current washing machines, dishwashers and refrigerators to be between 12-18 years old; and tumble dryers, ovens and cakes between 15-25 years.
With so many brands out there, how can I find out which one is best for me?
Whirlpool is a manufacturer that owns several brands. Currently, Amana, Maytag, KitchenAid and Jenn-Air appliances are built by the Whirlpool company. Swedish-based Electrolux owns the Frigidaire brand and was recently purchased for the General Electric Home Appliance Division. Whirlpool also builds the Kirkland brand you see in Costco and many of the appliances you find on IKEA.
There are many fewer brands than you might think. For example, Kenmore at Sears is built by other manufacturers. Most of their current models are built by Whirlpool, Electrolux, Samsung or LG. Sears carries most of the brands at any of the big box dealers, but their sales team can recommend Kenmore because it has the best profit margins.
Other large box chains feature the brands Electrolux, LG, Samsung and Whirlpool. Check out local independent retailers like University Electric or Airport Appliance if you are looking for commercial or boutique brands, such as Dacor, Speed Queen, Sub Zero or Thermador. Even if you may pay a little more, we always recommend our customers to start there. You get better choices, a more knowledgeable seller and full service installation options. The price is sometimes negotiable at the independent, especially if you buy a laundry pair or make a whole kitchen model.
Checking consumer reports for repair speeds and performance ratings does not provide a complete picture. If you have a repair company for appliances, you work with their technicians and owners team about the brands they earn, those who last the longest, brands with lower repair costs. Finding a good service company that you can trust can handle your repairs to the device is as important as having a quality device. Even the best-valued machines can break down and you will be in a pickle if you do not have a good service company.
What can I do to make sales easier?
Size matters. If you have a technician in your home and you decide that it is better to replace than to repair, the technology measures both the device and the opening around the device. The trimmed dimensions help to help the vendor find an appliance that will fit the existing opening. If the new built-in device is larger or smaller, the dimensions know to help the installer to provide a precise quote that includes cutting into the cabinet or countertop or building a trim to fill in the gaps.
What matters to you; time-saving features, energy efficiency or price. With todays devices, you can usually not have everything. The cheapest devices will be the longest but will not be as effective or have as many alternatives as the more expensive ones. Energy efficient laundry and dishwashers can save money, but sometimes they have longer cycles than you are used to. Feature with charged devices, especially ice maker, computer controlled crisp storage space and other extra electronics provide a lot of convenience, but you provide energy efficiency and pay a higher price tag.
Be prepared to answer questions such as; how many people live at home, how many dishes do you do, do you wash king size bed linens, do you often cook, do you like to bake, how often do you go with food, what device functions are important to you.