Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Out with the old, In with the New

I am certainly not an expert at home-related things, nor do I claim to be.  I will be the first to admit that I have no idea how to properly use a saw, or the cleaning effectiveness of microfiber vs. cotton.  Even to the most aloof homeowner, though, it was evident that we were going to have to make some appliance upgrades upon purchasing our house.  Our refrigerator was probably the only remaining model from the 70s, and while it was still cold inside, nothing else about it was functional/appealing.  

Because wheat decals on refrigerator shelving just made sense, apparently.  Could we keep the refrigerator and manage to save some money?  Yes, in the short run.  But this baby didn't have much time left, and we didn't want to be stuck with hundreds of dollars of wasted food and a second delivery charge, when we needed to upgrade the washer and dryer anyway.

Both the washer and the dryer worked, but the washer made a terrible screeching noise when on the spin cycle, and the dryer rattled so much you could hear it across the house.  Also, none of the appliances were energy star approved, and the washer especially used so much water because it was such an old model.  

I decided to write this post because we exercised all the DON'TS when purchasing our new appliances, and I wanted to share what we learned throughout the process so maybe others won't make the same mistakes.

the DOs and DONTs of appliance shopping
  1. Don't go with several other people for their input or expertise.  Only the people using the appliances should be the ones making the decisions, and other people will cloud your thought process, and provide unnecessary stress to the experience.
  2. Know what you want before you leave the house.  Do you want a french door style refrigerator? Front or top loader washer and dryer?  The only things we knew were that we wanted stackable front loaders, and it would have been much less stressful to know all the specifics beforehand.
  3. Do your research.  What brands are highly rated?  I've found the consumer ratings on websites like Lowes.com and BestBuy.com to be pretty accurate.  We learned that some brands can be great one year, and then terrible the next, so it really pays to do your research.
  4. Shop around.  When dealing with appliances, you could potentially save hundreds of dollars by checking ad prices and shopping at a couple of different stores before purchasing.
  5. Measure space allowances, door frames, and existing appliances before you start shopping.  We ended up having to tear apart 2 door frames because our appliances wouldn't fit through the doors.
  6. Think about your needs, and what would be realistic for your family.  I had no clue that refrigerators came in different sizes/capacities, and the refrigerator we decided upon is HUGE.  It is generally only ever 1/2 full, and is too big for our kitchen, and for our needs.
  7. Explore price matching and sale deals.  We purchased our dishwasher from BestBuy, which was not the cheapest retailer, but they price matched for up to a year at the time, and we ended up shaving almost $200 off the cost of it by being diligent about checking the ads.
  8. Explore your rights as a consumer.  Do the stores have a floor model that would be cheaper?  Do any of the appliances have a scratch/ding?  Our delivery guys dropped our washer while moving it, and scratched the front window of the door.  I called the retailer, and they took $200 off the price of it to avoid having to take it back and deliver another one the next day.  We barely notice the scratch, and our washer and dryer are not in a very prominent location in the house, so other people won't see it much either.

We purchased the refrigerator, washer, and dryer from HHGregg (all Samsung brand), and we've been very pleased with them so far.  The stainless on the doors of the refrigerator dents VERY easily, and the freezer already has 2 small dents in it, one from a plastic container(!!).  Also, the shelf spacing is a little weird, and tall items like juice containers, pitchers, and milk only fit in the door, which is convenient for items with lids, but not convenient for items like pitchers of tea.  Like I said before, the size of the refrigerator is much larger than we need, so when we renovate the kitchen we will probably explore Craigslisting it and using the proceeds for a smaller, more manageable size.

The washer and dryer have been phenomenal, and I haven't found a single complaint about them yet.  They were by far the most reasonably priced front loaders, and have turned out to be really great appliances.  I would definitely recommend this particular Samsung model if someone is in the market.

We also purchased this model dishwasher after ours quit working unexpectedly.  We were a little bit more prepared with this purchase, and decided to go with Samsung again so that the stainless finish matched the refrigerator.  This dishwasher was highly recommended by the lady at BestBuy, but only received 3.4 out of 5 stars from consumer reviews.  The dishwasher itself is great.  The items come out clean with minimal pre-washing, and we only have to run something a second time probably once every 10 loads.  The problem we've had is with the seal on the door, and a horrible smell in the dishwasher itself.  For the first year I tried everything from baking soda to vinegar to dishwasher cleaners and hot hot water, but the smell would just not go away.  Then we discovered that the seal on the door traps food and gunk during the wash, and that's what causes the smell.  We cleaned the seal with a paper towel, and left the dishwasher open for 24 hours to dry out, and the smell hasn't been bad since.  We'll probably have to clean the seal again in a month or 2, something you shouldn't have to do with a high-end dishwasher, which is why I assume this model has only 3.4 stars.  

All in all, we've been satisfied with our purchases, but more importantly, have learned so much in the process.  We hopefully won't have to buy any more appliances for awhile, but when we do, we'll be prepared!

xoxo- L.o.L. :)

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