One of our friends writes…
We bought a nice $600 BLAHBLAH dishwasher about 3 years ago but the handle broke, we are looking to replace it and would like some advice on what brand to look at and what features to consider.
Ok so the first thing to understand here is that a dishwasher should last about 10 years in your home. Actually all major appliances should last a good 10 years and their warranty normally gives that information away.. They will often list a full warranty for the entire unit for the first year that will cover 100% of parts and labor for anything that goes bad and then an extended limited warranty for 7 to 10 years from date of purchase that will cover workmanship and parts but not labor.
If a manufacturer is offering this warranty it means that they believe that their product should last under normal conditions for the life of the warranty. They may limit the extended warranty to not cover parts they expect can be abused or not cover labor but if you can get the part you can often complete the repair pretty easy.
Also because of laws both federal and state .. manufacturers of all products especially cars and major appliances must keep an inventory of parts to repair their products for 10 years. If you are at the end of that life cycle its time to stock up on things like heating elements or broken parts before you can’t find them anymore.
How do you justify a new Appliance?
I mean it is always up to you. If you are a billionaire I guess you could build an apartment building and move into a new apartment every month where everything is new and then rent it out or recycle it.. No one does that even really rich people.. As a matter of fact rich people are less likely to waste their money.
So the basic rule is if the item that is causing you problems will cost more than 50% of a new one it is better to buy a new one. There are exceptions but for the most part this is pretty true.
If you have a car or appliance that you can fix for a small amount or maybe you can get warranty service or parts provided free than it is best to repair it.
But if you really don’t like it and you have the money you can always replace it.
Choosing a Frugal Appliance
Frugal shopping is not picking the cheapest item and calling it a day. If you are a frugal shopper you are always looking for the best deal but if the least expensive appliance is just garbage then buying it is just a waste of your money.
To pick the best appliance that will save you money overtime while still performing well you have to decide do you want an appliance that has all the bells and whistles?
Personally I have found over the years that the most basic appliances with the fewest features but products that are well made will last for a very long time.
A basic white dishwasher with only a few settings, with no timers, without wifi or internal cameras so you can watch your dishes get clean over the internet…. will last you much longer than ones with extended features.
The reason is that all of these extended features are often tied together and if one goes down the others will too. Basic Appliances may have one control panel to control the settings or it may not be controlled by a computer at all. In that case you are dealing with a number of manual switches that may go wrong, a motor and belt and a water pump.
The simpler the design the longer things last and the less expensive they are when they brake.
In our friends request for help they are looking for the cheapest way to have a new dishwasher. They seem to have forgot that they just purchased it three years ago for $600 and that its warranty lasts for another 7 years.
The best thing to do is repair what they have but ask for warranty replacement of parts. Try to get it done without labor and just the part if possible. In a half a day at most it will work and look like new.
If they are looking to replace it because they just don’t like it then look for a sale and while you wait for one read reviews and visit manufacturer’s websites and read about warranty service.
Not everyone is able to repair their own appliances but honestly they are extremely simple to repair. Read up on it and get your manual from the manufacturer if they provide it online then search for parts online and you can save yourself a lot of money…
Whats the worst that can happen? you actually fix it and it lasts another 5 years?