October 30, 2014

Appliance Buying Tips to Avoid a Mistake

Here are three great pieces of advice from the Guru – Consumer Reports – that will get you off to a good start when you begin that search for the perfect new appliance. Many consumers commit these errors:


Not checking a brand’s track record.
You can boost your odds of buying a reliable model by choosing a reliable brand from our Brand Repair History for different appliances. You’ll often save money in the bargain because, in general, lower-priced mainstream brands have often been more reliable than upscale brands. Our brand-repair histories are culled from nearly 450,000 respondents reporting on nearly 2.5 million appliances for our Annual Product Reliability Survey conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

Paying extra for extended warranties.
While they might boost profits for stores, extended warranties generally are a bad deal for you because most products don’t break within the three years most extended warranties cover. And because repairs often cost about the same as the extended warranty, you’re better off chancing it.

Jumping at package deals. Stores typically offer lower prices if you buy a refrigerator with a range and dishwasher from the same brand. But doing so could sacrifice performance, because some appliances work far better than others with the same name. You could also increase your chances of repairs down the road because some brand’s fridges have been far more reliable than its ranges and dishwashers.

Read This Before You Buy Your Next Appliance

Purchasing a major appliance is a major decision. To ensure satisfactory return on your investment, comparison shop before each appliance purchase.

The following pointers from The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers can help ensure your satisfaction with appliance purchases:

• Ask your dealer for specification sheets from several manufacturers who build the types of appliances you plan to purchase. Compare available features, designs and capacities;

• Read the warranty before finalizing your decision. Does the warranty cover the entire product? Only certain parts? Is labor included? How long does the warranty last?

• Ask you dealer for the appliance’s use and care manual and read it carefully before you buy the appliance. The dealer should have available manuals from the floor models. Reading the manuals will help you ask pertinent questions, tell you how the product operates and inform you of any special care the product needs;

• Decide which features you will really use. Consider the possibility of adding features at a later date, such as installing an icemaker in a refrigerator;

• Decide what capacity or size your family requires. For example, when purchasing a room air conditioner, know the dimensions of the room you want to cool and the number of windows, so you can select a model with sufficient cooling capacity;

• Check the space available for the appliance to make sure you select the right size unit and make sure halls and doorways allow clearance for entry and installation;

• Establish the cost of delivery and installation — are they included in the appliance’s price?

• Make sure authorized factory service is readily available in your area for the brand you select;

• Check the product’s design carefully to make sure it meets your needs and accommodates your habits and favorite cookware. Compare the designs of different models and brands;

• Compare price in relation to convenience and service, which will vary by model. Price tends to increase as features are added;

• Avoid overloaded circuits by making sure your house has adequate electrical service for the appliance. Check for adequately grounded, three-hole receptacles.

By doing your homework and being prepared, you can be an appliance buying superhero, avoiding the purchasing pitfalls that trip up ordinary shoppers.

Appliances Don’t Last a Lifetime, Neither Does the Warranty

It used to be, back in our parents and grandparents time, that a large appliance was a once in a lifetime purchase.  The white, round cornered refrigerator in your great-Aunt’s kitchen was the one she got for Christmas the first year she was married and it was the only one she ever needed.

Boy have times, and appliances changed.  Today, you might get nine years out of your dishwasher and microwave, ten from your washer, and if you’re lucky thirteen out of your dryer and refrigerator.  We’ve detailed the average lifespan in this article if you’d like find out about a specific appliance.

The other issue today is the reduced warranties that the manufacturers are now providing.  Gone are the extended warranties on components.  Now one year is all that is being given.  Not only that, but the service from these manufacturers has declined as well.

Hometownlife.com reports that a reader called to report that her 12-year-old dishwasher ran all night. Her husband turned it on when they went to bed around 10 p.m., and when she walked into the kitchen at 7 a.m., it was still running. She opened the door and the blast of heat was like opening an oven door. She called the manufacturer who sent out a service technician who couldn’t tell her why the dishwasher didn’t shut off. The manufacturer then told her they couldn’t do a thing for her because it was well out of warranty and besides that, they told her the average life span of the dishwasher was six years. They offered her $50 towards the purchase of a new dishwasher provided it was their brand.

Although the dishwasher was not new, one should expect that it would at the least run safely and that the response from the manufacturer would be more helpful.

Here’s a second situation:

“I am having a problem with my Jenn Air oven. It is a double oven. It is also a convection oven. It was manufactured in 1996. The past two nights the bottom oven has been turning on by itself. This morning the bottom oven broiler was on. I called Jenn Air and a service tech is coming out. Jenn Air will pay for the diagnosis but says that the oven is no longer under warranty.”

A person’s home is their haven; they should feel safe there.  Do we have to lie awake at night wondering whether the oven is going to turn itself on and set the house afire?  An appliance should enhance and simplify your life, not add to your list of worries and stresses.