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Monday, October 30, 2017

The Problem with New Appliances

By Suzanne O'Connor

New is not usually better, in large appliances.

Back in 2009, after doing extensive research we purchase a refurbished 1980’s Maytag Washer and Dryer set. We purchased used do to the fact that old appliance models are more reliable and last longer. Plus the water and electricity savings on the newer models are minimal at best. Reliable has huge value in this household. I never want to see the inside of a Laundromat again as long as I live.

Old Maytags appliances have no computers to break, no low-grade plastics used in construction. Back in the day, Maytag built them to last.

We do 6-7 loads a week of laundry. At 35 years of age, this workhorse of an appliance wasn’t pretty. It has dents and scratches, but it still cleaned up well (higher quality exterior paint) and did a great job drying with several different settings and temps.

A week ago, the Maytag dryer’s original motor finally died. Decisions had to be made. Should we buy a newer, used dryer, a brand new dryer or fix the old dryer?

After contacting my “Go To Appliance Expert”, Marsha at Savon Appliance in Burbank, ( her knowledge is amazing)  we learned that the quality of new appliances from refrigerators to stoves, had deteriorated even further. They broke down early and often and were more expensive to fix than to buy again. Plus they’ve added BPC to the interior plastic walls and drawers in new refrigerators. BPC is toxic when it breaks down and enters our water or food. Yikes.

Marsha show’d me some early 2000 dryers that weren’t as built as well as the old Maytag. Then she show’d me a group of 3-10 year old washers and dryers that she was junking because the quality was so poor she couldn’t even use their parts. Big names like LG, Samsung, Whirlpool. Wow, that made me sad and angry.

Planned obsolescent in electronics, home theater, cell phones and appliances creates the need to us to buy again and again. This is good for manufacturers and the share holders. But, very bad for consumers and the environment.  These poorly made appliances end up in Landfills. They know how to build them better, but they don’t.
After that depressing conversation we decided we’d fix the dryer for $300. New motor, new belts & bearings… . This dryer gets a second life and we won’t have to worry about it again. It may not be pretty, have new technology bells & whistles, but it works great.

We have a 1950’s toaster that still works and a two oven 1940’s O’Keefe & Merritt stove which still cooks beautifully. Think I’ll hang on to them. They’re not new technology, but I can count on them to work.

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