Home Improvement

For Appliances, Old Doesn’t Always Mean Bad

Old and broken are often confused. Our parents held on to their appliances for years. Can you remember when household appliances were meant to last? How do you decide whether to hang on to what’s old?

If your stove is 20 years old but still bakes a mean souffle, you’re probably torn about wanting to keep it. You might be thinking that a fifth burner would help when you’re cooking for a crowd. But the old stove still works just fine. And you, deep down, that new appliances really don’t last as long as they once did.

Does it still work?

Older appliances are built better, look sturdier, and are less prone to failing. Their simpler design often lets them do their job rather than looking hip. One Livermore, California, firehouse had a light bulb that has been on for the past 116 years. Later models of the light bulb altered so that people would have to buy more of them.

Older appliances are less energy-efficient, and bulky. And, yes, you can save money in energy bills by replacing them. You might need serious math skills to balance the cost of replacing an appliance more often with the money you save on your electric bill.

Older appliances are also already there. You don’t have to remodel and you don’t have to install anything if you keep them. It’s also environmentally friendly to keep them. So many appliances, among other household items, go to the landfill unnecessarily every year.

Are you sentimental?

Perhaps your appliance just reminds you of earlier times. One blogger mentioned a toaster that stayed in her family for decades. It had originally belonged to her grandparents, and her parents couldn’t bear to part with it until it finally stopped making toast. Another young woman kept her grandmother’s old mixer because of sweet memories.

Remember, there’s no shame in being tenderhearted.

It will (probably) come back in style

Some people love the retro style. And so many things come back in style eventually. Many people scour antique stores or resale shops in search of items from bygone decades. (How many of your friends have gone back to turntables and vinyl?)

But how can you keep old stoves and refrigerators looking good? Painting is an option, depending on what the appliance is made of. The first step is priming, then use appliance epoxy paint, and specialty heat-resistant products if necessary. Then paint with spray paint, and seal with enamel gloss protective spray.

Cheaper to repair

But nearly all things eventually stop working. Your No. 1 decision is this: Do you get it fixed or do you replace it with a new model?

You are smart to try to fix an appliance before deciding to throw it out and buy a new one. Fixing one small part you didn’t even know had a name on your dishwasher is less than the cost of an entire dishwasher. So appliance repair can be a wise choice. A professional opinion is invaluable.

What if it can’t be fixed?

If the appliance can’t be fixed, it’s time to get rid of it. Remember to recycle. About 75 percent of an appliance is steel, and steel leads the list of most recycled materials. Try Earth911 for guidance on how to recycle your old appliances.

You might find that once you buy a gleaming new appliance in your kitchen, you’ll suddenly want to replace a few others. We’ve all been there. This will require some money, right? Compare a few mortgage loans before you settle on the right one. That will give you some cash to make a few tweaks all around your house.

Leave a Reply