Thoughts on Buying Appliances - Especially Repairs
I have a very simple POV when it comes to my house - and everything that's in it - it's a utility stream. Especially when it comes to appliances. I hate down time. During my crash course in buying a new dishwasher this week - I looked at just about everything that would fit into the space left vacant by my dead dishwasher. From the lower middle end to the really high end (I can afford to buy whatever I want).
And one important consideration for me was the availability of service and parts - and who did the service. I have lived where I live for 16 years (a metro area of 1+ million people) - and learned about most of the appliance repair companies here. Hate most - like a couple. So - with every brand I looked at - I checked which repair places were factory authorized for various brands. With some mainstream brands - there were perhaps 6 factory authorized places - and I hated all of them. With other mainstream brands - there were perhaps 6 factory authorized places - with a couple I liked. With most of the high priced spread brands - there was only one (or no) factory authorized service within 50 miles of where I live. And sometimes - the only factory authorized repair outfit was one I disliked (from previous experience).
I also checked lots of threads on various chat boards about parts availability on many different brands. Parts availability ranged from "Brand X" always has parts - to "good luck if you get the part you need in 2 months".
Note that we have next business day in house service contracts for our computers (overnight parts delivery) - and one business day replacement service contracts on our 3 printers. There is nothing like this out there in the world of appliances. And most people generally only have 1 dishwasher - not 3. I was without a dishwasher for 6 days - and it su****.
Also keep in mind that as appliances become more complicated (substituting complicated electronics for simple mechanical controls) - that any repairs you need will be more expensive. A control panel on a $400 appliance can easily cost over $200 (without labor). One reason it's important to get extended warranties in most cases. These electronics are also more likely to fail than simple mechanical controls. Even if the build quality of current appliances was the same as build quality 10+ years ago (it isn't). The electronics alone probably lead to earlier (and more expensive) failures. Another reason why the availability of parts and good service companies is important.
In the end - I went with a middle level dishwasher from a manufacturer with some local factory authorized repair people I like - and good parts availability. I don't like to wash dishes - or eat off paper plates. Don't know whether this appliance will be good or bad in terms of how it does down the road. Remains to be seen. But I bought my last 2 appliances with the same POV (replaced 15 year old washing machine moved from last place 3 years ago - no problems - and 14 year old double ovens about 1.5 years ago - again - no problems). Still have a 19 year old Maytag dryer - a 16 year old KA refrigerator in the kitchen - a 16 year old very basic - it cost $200 - Montgomery Ward refrigerator in the garage for water and beer and beverages and the like - and a 15 year old KA cooktop and built-in microwave). Nothing lasts forever - but the stuff that comes into contact with water - or has complicated electronics - seems to go first.
FWIW - sometimes - when I read the messages here - especially those about very high priced spread appliances - I wonder if you're all very exacting gourmet cooks - or whether buying this stuff is a "status thing" (I'm a good cook - certainly not a great cook - and don't need to prove my financial status to anyone).
Anyway - I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts about this. Robyn