Our Washing machine has been having a few issues over the past few months. Every time it seems to fix itself or was livable with until a few weeks ago. We had a freeze that partially froze the pipes to our house. This caused our home's water pressure to be practically non-existent. We learned how washers (at least older ones) use the water pressure to turn off. If the pressure is so low, the washer will not be able to stop the incoming water, and overfill. We thought that it would be fixed when the pipes thawed and the pressure was back to normal, but that wasn't the case. After everything thawed, the washer continued to overfill. We did all sorts of trouble shooting thanks to the internet and narrowed it down to three parts. All over $100 to replace. It would almost $100 to have an actual repair man come out and look at it and then we'd still have the cost of the repair.
So when do you decide to call the repairman, to buy a used item, or to break down and pull out the money for a new one?
My husband's opinion is to buy new every time. He says that a true sign of poverty is feeling the feeling/actuality that used is all you can get. My instinct is to repair or buy used, if you can find it. So when this comes up in our marriage we are normally a bit at odds with who's perspective wins out.
A time my perspective worked out for us, is the dishwasher that was in our house when we bought it stopped working because the electrical panel that controls it had been fired by the steam from the dishwasher. My husband agreed to a repairman. That cost us $80 just to come out and look at the appliance. The part, the electrical panel was going to be $200 and the repairman warned us that because of where the design put the panel this will most likely happen again within the next two years. I then got on craigslist and found someone that was upgrading all their appliances to match and was selling their stove and dishwasher. (Sometimes I wish I bought their stove too). Bought their dishwasher for $60 and my husband installed it. It doesn't match the rest of our appliances, it has no frills, and is old as heck- but it works fine and has now lasted us almost 7 years and still working. I call this buy used a win.
However this time with the Washer, I don't feel is a win. My husband to help me feel better calls it a *wash*. I made the pun not him, he is not a punny person.
So I went out and looked for a washer. I found one being sold. The owner said their old washer had broken they got this one from a friend who had a dryer die and they bought a new set, but that this one (being a front loader on a pedestal) didn't fit in his laundry room. I didn't know how I felt about it. He didn't speak a lot of English (or he was pretending not to), and he knew nothing about the washer itself. I did some quick searches on my slow phone internet (because I was in the middle of no where Arizona), he went down to $80 on the price. I decided that it was the cost of the repairman so we wouldn't be out any more than if we had tried that route. When we got it home there was a connecting pipe that was busted. (We honestly could have busted it moving it just as much as they were selling it that way and I didn't see it). But looking on line we were able to purchase a replacement for $6 including shipping. So not that much more of a loss. It came a few days later, my husband installed it, washer worked fine. Life goes on. Until 2 weeks later it just out of no where, in the middle of laundry day, just stops working. The door will no longer close. I troubleshooted on the internet most of my laundry day. My husband spend some time on Saturday, and then after a complete breakdown on my part, we went to Sears and bought the simplest and most affordable Washer we could find. Brought it home and installed it. After all what is the emergency fund for? If not for appliances when you live in the middle of no where and are a family of 6.
My husband says it wasn't a bad choice, it all cost us no worse then calling in the repair man.
Back to the original question: How do you decide what to do- repair, used, new?
rules of thumb my husband and I have developed:
- What is the price of a repair man for just coming out?
- How often have we repaired an item (ourselves or a repairman) prior? How trustworthy were those repairs?
- What is the going range for NEW of the item at your local stores or online?
- Is this a now item or is it something you can do without and save up a few weeks/months for? Is this something that we can borrow, substitute, go old school? Can we wait to at least until a better time of year (seasonal sales, moving sales, holiday sales)?
- Have we exhausted our diy options when it comes to fixing it ourselves?
- How long have we had this item and how many more years it is reasonable to get out of this type of item?
What are your rules of thumb when solving broken items? When do you choose to repair over Used, or Used over New?