Consider buying used when replacing appliances

  • By Angie Hicks
  • Tuesday, March 18, 2014 4:29pm
  • Life

What’s the better deal for your pocketbook and the environment: a new major appliance or a refurbished one?

Several consumers who recently replaced washers and dryers told our research team that they bought used because those models might last just as long as new ones and that reusing is a good “green” practice.

One couple said that when their 20-year-old washing machine finally died, they were disappointed when the brand-new replacement lasted only five years.

Instead of taking a chance on another new model, they spent $250 on a used model they figure will last at least as long as a new one.

Another consumer bought a refurbished dryer for $200 rather than spend $1,000 on a unit she believed would last no more than the 10 years she expects her used unit to remain reliable.

To these people, and others like them, buying used saves the green in wallets while eliminating the need to use resources to make a new washer or dryer.

Highly rated appliance repair pros tell our team that new appliances tend to have about half the life span of past models.

Reasons they cite include the use of cheaper raw materials and a greater reliance on computerized systems.

So if it’s time for you to replace a major appliance, particularly a washer or dryer, consider whether a refurbished model might be a good value, and find a local shop that’s gotten good consumer reviews on a trusted online site.

Before you buy new:

Consider a unit’s EPA Energy Star rating, but also how long it’s expected to last.

Research possible features and decide before shopping which ones you actually need.

After you buy, whether new or used:

Avoid overloading a washing machine; heavy or off-balance loads can cause damage. Empty pockets of coins, pens and other items that can damage the machine. Be sure to use the recommended type and amount of soap.

Clean the dryer’s lint screen before every load and periodically have the machine’s workings and vent cleaned. If your dryer takes longer than an hour to dry a standard-sized load, vent cleaning — at $100 or less, usually— could make it run like new.

Don’t neglect appropriate maintenance. Find a reputable appliance repair service through recommendations from family, friends and users of a trusted online review site.

Angie Hicks is the founder of Angie’s List, a resource for local consumer reviews on everything from home repair to health care; www.angieslist.com.

More in Life

Beer of the Week: Scuttlebutt’s Night Circus

The Everett brewery’s head brewer had nightmares trying to dial in its new coffee and coconut ale.

Viognier: French white grape gaining foothold in Washington

Viognier, the noble white grape of the northern Rhône Valley of France,… Continue reading

Curries continues home-cooked Indian cuisine at new location

The restaurant, now located on Evergreen Way, also puts an Indian spin on Northwest cooking.

New documentary chronicles Obama’s last year in White House

“The Final Year” doesn’t paint the administration in rosy colors, but it isn’t too critical either.

‘Forever My Girl’ takes a page from the Nicholas Sparks genre

The film based on a novel by Heidi McLaughlin is a well-worn tale of lost love and redemption.

Christian Bale seems to channel Clint Eastwood in ‘Hostiles’

Bale plays a U.S. cavalry captain who escorts a dying Cheyenne chief to his tribal homeland.

A visit to the nursery helps put you in the mood to garden

Not ready to get back into gardening? January is still a fun time to poke around a garden center.

Plant of Merit: Hybrid oriental hellebores, Lenten rose

What: Oriental hybrid hellebores, with the common name Lenten rose, are a… Continue reading

International guitar tour led by Lulo Reinhardt stops in Edmonds

International Guitar Night, now in its 18th year, is Jan. 24 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

Most Read