Fix or toss?

apg4November 20, 2012

The other day, the 24 or 25 year old dishwasher caused trouble for the very first time. The water valve/solenoid decided it didn't want to work anymore, so the water was still flowing with everything off. Fortunately, we caught it early, 'cause a problem like this gets expensive right quick....

Now this is a quarter-century old Hotpoint, GE's lower- echelon unit, but it is two to three times older than the expected life of even the best dishwashers today. A new water valve is $18 on-line vs. $400 to $600 for a new D/W, a significant expense right now.

Now I like things that last: I drive a 40 year old 4x4, cut wood with a 32 y.o. chainsaw and heat with a three decade old wood stove. Now Land-Rovers, Stihls and Vermont Castings were build to last. Appliances like dishwashers, not so much....

So, fix or toss? I can fix just about anything, but failure in a washer can get right expensive PDQ. A neighbor had an improperly-installed hot water fitting on a new claw-foot tub on the second floor let go right after they left for dinner and a movie. They came home to an $80,000 mess....


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This is a pretty easy fix, so if money is tight, why not? I'd give all the hoses a pretty good inspection, but as long as the valve is working the worst you'll get is one loads worth of water on the floor from a downstream failure.

OTOH, even an inexpensive new dishwasher will probably be a lot quieter, more energy efficient, and perhaps work better than what you have now. (My mother swore that "dishwashers don't work" until we replaced her 30 year old unit with a new machine which, mirabile dictu, produced clean dishes.)

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 3:02PM
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I think you got your moneys worth after 25 years. Mine lasted 13 and I thought that was pretty good. My car (Toyota) is only 16 but the previous one lasted 18 years. Nothing lasts - or is safe - forever.

Hit the Xmas sales and find a new, shiny one. They really have changed in that time. I think they work much better and use less power, even if they do run for 1 3/4 hours on a normal cycle.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 3:04PM
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