Video: Should I Fix an Old Appliance or Replace It?

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wayne

Subject: whirlpool cabrio washing machine

bought a whirlpool Cabrio washing machine for $1100.00 and told they were great. after 6 years the bearings were short and the repair man said to replace the machine as it would cost $400.00 to fix it. went on you tube and with excellent bearing repair instructions and a $70.00 kit which included new bearings, seal, shaft, washer and nut I did the repair myself.

Mark P

Subject: Maytag Neptune Stackable

Bought a Maytag Neptune stackable in 2001. Space is limited. Recently a repair tech diagnosed the noisy bearing as a noisy bearing, but get this you have to replace the entire drum and bearing. PArts are $1100 !!! that is not a typo $1100 to replace a bearing !! There is no sense and getting another opinion. Parts have to come from MAytag...labor is $260. The machine new was $1900! They are not available any longer and there is not a thing wrong with the dryer. A new full size stackable is not available. THe stores will all tell you you can stack the washer dryer, but since mine needs to be on a raised platform I would need a ladder to reach the dryer controls!! I'm inclined to fix the old machine.So it appears since Whirlpool bought Maytag, they moved it from Newton, Iowa (when they lost their quality) and moved it to Mexico. They dropped this line of full size stackable machines and then jack the prices up on replacement parts to force you out of the old machines and force you to replace with new.If I simply buy a new side by side set I have to completely remodel the space in the garage Grrrrrrrr !!

mitchell

Subject:

you made me sit through at least one minute of "fluff" before divulging the 5 second "tip" about when to replace. Why the fluff?

Sue Christensen

Subject:

My mother called for a repair on her Maytag washer. The tech told her to hang on to the older models because they are better made then the ones you buy today! For $150 she got a machine that runs like new. Maybe not as efficient, but is has also lasted 10 or 15 years with minimal problems.

Marilyn

Subject:

If people have the time buy a consumer digest book and read the to see which appliance is recommended. Consumers digest test the appliances to see which one is best and gives their recommendations.

Lee

Subject:

What pple need to do is ban these companies that dont back their warranties and let it be known in the store you bought from also

Donna Waite

Subject:

Also needed a new dishwasher. The new ones are SO much more sophisticated and do not use more energy to do more! Love my new unit! The old unit lasted 18 years! No complaints from me!

Donna Waite

Subject:

We were forced to get new heater/air conditioning unit during the winter. It was the best thing that ever happened to us. We are comfortable now with our more efficient units, and haven't seen an increase in cost for this comfort!

Nancy Leko

Subject:

Over the years, I have spent too much money on repair people walking through the door and in five minutes they left telling me anything from, not worth fixing or to find a breaker switch went on my fuse box. Recently my 14 month old cell phone dies. The provider company told me.."this old Phone, toss it! Technology changes so much it was only meant to last a year!"

Rudy

Subject:

Whereas it may be true that repair is a money saver, it only saves money if it is a true repair, and not a temporary patch, which will break again. Too many "repair" places are set up to patch, then return to find it was not "the patch" which failed, but something else, which allows them to charge again for another "patch".

Amy

Subject:

There are a lot of factors to consider. The technician that I use for all of my repairs says that if you buy a poor appliance to begin with, then you will spend more on repairs than to simply replace. I have a frigidaire dishwasher that has had problems TWICE and I have only had it a little over a year and a half. My technician has told me that he will not continue to enable my bad habits and that next time it breaks he's picking me up and taking me shopping for one that won't break down on me. He's a great technician who has made it clear that his purpose is to make sure that I have healthy, happy appliances and he's happiest when he doesn't hear from his customers for a while because that means things are running right. So what this all tells me and should tell other people is that you need two things to make a decision on whether to repair or replace: first, you need good appliances and second, you need a good, honest repair technician who is not interested in ripping you off. I would never replace an appliance without first calling Jon to have him look at it. Even if it does cost me $50 to have him come out and take a peek, it's worth it for the opinion of someone who knows what they're doing. I'm not qualified to decide whether an appliance is worth saving or if I should ditch it. But the one thing my technician has told me to do is this: Make a chart for my appliances that shows what I paid for the appliance and then make the next columns "repair" columns. Date the repair and then put in the cost of the repair and having the technician come out. If you ever get to a point where the total cost of the combined repairs comes with $100 of the cost of the appliance, it's definitely time to REPLACE. And if it's a really costly appliance, say a $2000 refrigerator (not that I have one of those) then you should decide what's a reasonable bracket...maybe you don't want your total repairs to go over $1500 in a 15 year period. That's an average of $100 per year. So you just need to decide what's reasonable and be sure that you're putting money aside for replacements and not just for repairs.

Appliance Doctor

Subject:

Good tip Angie video was well done most appliances now dont last 20 years you get anywhere from 8 to 12

Dia

Subject:

I have to say that this is so true. We used to have a used appliance where we would pick up the only one and either fix or resell the old one. I can't tell you how many times people throw away appliances that only need a $5 part!!

David Jones

Subject:

Another part of the equation on deciding to replace or repair is power consumption. Many of the new appliances uses much less energy to operate especially frigerators, freezers and air conditioners.

David

Subject:

Unfortunately, the diagnostic fee alone from a repair company will be $75-$100. Then the repair fee. If its a $500 appliance and >7 years old I'd replace. If the appliance is more expensive then better to repair. Most appliance repair companies are somewhat shady so be careful.

frances

Subject:

found this to be very helpful

Dave R.

Subject:

Well, sorry to say, there is no 'rule of thumb' on replacing appliances. The best thing you can do is to research failure rates on your particular appliance unless you personally know your appliance tech and know how honest he/she is. I have worked in the appliance trade since 1998, and I have always told the customer what was wrong, what it would cost to fix that particular issue, and what they could expect for future issues according to my experience with them. So without a good crystal ball, all you can go by is the experience of others that are willing to share their information. And then you have to decide if it was a consistant issue with that particular model or just a few bad ones. One of the biggest things you can do is be watchful over your equipment and take care of problems right away and know what to look for. For example Whirlpool washers have had the pump on many models mounted on the motor shaft. When the pump seal would start to leak, it would run down the shaft into the sealed bearing on the motor. Over time if you didnt notice a little spot of water under the front of the machine, you would end up having that bearing go out, so you went from having a pump replaced to having the pump and motor replaced. Or I have seen a large number of customers whose dish racks will start to rust and they let it go until the pump has issues. Best thing I could advise is unless you are ata point of replacing a compressor in a fridge/freezer/ac, you may end up saving more by doing the regular maintenance and repairs on your current appliances. The cooling systems on appliances are where you save the most in efficiency. Things are not built the way they use to be. Read up on what you have, and what you plan on buying, stay informed.

jean rabe

Subject:

Just replaced my washer and dryer from Sears with no interest if paid within a year. The washer was rusting and I was always chasing rust spots. I fell for a cranberry set and am thrilled with the steam cycle in the dryer. Haven't used the iron all summer! These new front loaders are efficient and easier on your clothes than the ringer type. Next step is to empty my freezer and get rid of it. My electric bill is too high!

Hi-Tech Appliance Specialist

Subject:

I'm afraid many newer appliances as those built before 2005. Older appliances can be made more efficient with tuning, cleaning, adjustment and using more efficient replacement parts. I recommend staying away from "exotic brands" since replacement parts often not easily found. Stay away from LED displays and electronic controls as much as possible because those controls fail more often and can be quite costly. Heat and moisture (abundant in laundry rooms and kitchens) are enemies of electronics control boards. Also make note that modern home refrigerators are not designed to work in rooms over 80 degrees. so one must "refrigerate" (air-condition) the room. A midern unit will run 100% of the time (which it can't do without overheating) at 90 F degrees o higher ambient temperature.

Jim

Subject:

Bring your appliance problems to "appliancejunk.com".I have made repairs to my dishwasher, washing machine,dryer and refrigerator with their prompt personalized advice. It's free but a donation helps support the site. No I am not associated with this site. Try it ,you have nothing to lose.

Richard J

Subject:

We replaced whole house A/C this year old one broke down and also 20 yrs old,

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If the ducts are venting through a window I'm assuming the duct work is all easily accessible.  Lowe's and Home Depot sell a cleaning kit that uses an electric drill to spin the brush as it goes through the ductwork.  I've found it to work quite well and you can do it yourself.  It may take a few passes the first time to get everything out if it has been a while since it was last cleaned.  Just make sure you get all of the loose lint out after running the brush through from both ends and you're good to go.  Please note that if the line is not hard but rather a flex duct line you can easily puncture a whole in it with this kit and will do better to clean it by hand.

Todd Shell
Todd's Home Services
www.thomeservices.com
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Since you asked this question over a year ago, I'm pretty sure you've already made your decision but I'd like to offer you some advice.  You mentioned your husband vacuumed the coils and it worked for a couple more weeks.  Chances are the condenser coils were very dirty when he did this.  When refrigerator condenser coils are dirty, the compressor overheats and heat will cause a compressor to fail prematurely.  You should vacuum or blow out your condenser coils regularly.  Today's refrigerator compressors are not made to last like they were in the past.  I remember when it wasn't unusual for a compressor to last 30 years.  You won't see that happen with the way refrigerator compressors are made today.  Regular cleaning of your condenser coils is crucial in preventing premature failure of your compressor.  For more tips, check out my article here on Angie's list titled "How To Avoid Appliance Repairs"

 

-Bob Meadows/B&D Appliance Repair Service/Palmdale, CA

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When you say flame is blue, I presume you mean the pilot light while you are holding down the start button - which means you are getting gas OK to the gas controller and the pilot.I presume the flame is steady and not wavering all around, which fails to keep the thermocouple hot enough to work. The flame should be about 3/4-1 inch tall in most furnaces - if a tiny flame, you might have to adjust the pilot gas flow a bit higher - google for the owners manual for your model at the manufacturers website or a site like Sears.

I presume you know it can take up to a minute or so for the thermocouple to heat enough to keep the flame going when you release the start button ? So hold the button down for at least a minute after lighting the pilot before releasing the start button.

Is the thermocouple tip sticking 1/3-1/2 its length into the blue of the flame ? If only the very tip is in, or only into the very pale almost transparent green-blue-red base of the flame, then the air flowing by to the flame can keep it cold enough it may not get hot enough to tell the gas controller that the pilot is lit.

IF not that, unscrew the flex tube from the gas controller. Then slide the fastening nut back a bit on the tubing, insert the tube tip up into the hole, MAKING SURE TUBE IS STRAIGHT AND IT IS GOING ALL THE WAY TO BOTTOM and not just hanging up on the threads. Then, while holding the tube in tightly, slide the nut up the tubing and screw it in, tightening down snuggly but without overtightening - just barely wrench tight - do not reef on it, just a bit more than hand tight. If you overtighten you can deform it, causing it to short out. Try to light pilot again. Frequently, when people put the tube and nut in together, the "Button" on the tube end hangs up on the threads so it does not touch bottom, so the rounded button tip is not touching bottom in the controller, so no signal gets through.

IF not that, check for any kinks in the tubing - if kinked, it is probably toast. Occasionally straightening it out will work, but usually not. Curves are fine - kinks not.

I have seen one brand of electronic thermocouple where, for some unfathomable reason, the outside of the tubing is "live" and the part where it screws into the pilot fixture is insulated - so if it touches any metal it does not work, so make tubing does not touch any metal between pilot fixture and gas controller.

IF no go on these, it is possible the gas controller is shot - but I would try a brand new thermocouple first to be sure - at worst you will be out $5-10 or so rather than hundreds for a new gas controller installed, and will have a spare thermocouple for next year if it does turn out to be the controller, so you will really be out nothing in the long run and may save several hundred dollars.

I would give about 50:1 odds it is a thermocouple positioning or tightening or kinking problem - gas controllers/valves are really reliable, and usually go out by developing small leaks in the seals around the knob shafts, not by internal workings failure. Could also be a defective one - I have run into two defective Honeywell Universal thermocouples in the past year - flat out did not work right out of the package, but a new replacement one did.

IF all that fails, then an HVAC contractor (or a plumber if a hydronic or steam heating boiler). Note - under law in most areas, they will NOT attempt to repair a gas controller - they will only replace it.

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As stated above, it can vary between companies.

 

Typically just an inspection implies you do not have a contract or agreement that may include discounts or free repairs.

 

With our company you would get the annual maintenace service that you should do every year, and if repairs are needed, they are extra, but you aviod paying a "service call charge" that would be related to most repairs, because you are paying for the "inspection" and we are already on site.

 

Inspections are often discounted in the slow seasons, and can usually be found advertised , at reduced prices , on Angie's List.

 

So consider Angie's List and find the best of the best in HVAC contractors!