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Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

Posted by GenX-Luddite (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 20, 14 at 20:20

So here I am, a first-time homeowner, in my new-to-me condo kitchen, with all-bisque appliances: a 1980 GE range and hood, 1991 hotpoint DW, and an 18 cu. ft. 2000 Crosley top-freezer fridge. Dark oak cabinets, curling, dented beige linoleum, and stained beige formica counters. I don't think I even need to post a photo, right?

New floor and countertop are easy to justify, since the current ones are damaged. Soon to arrive, a quartz (Cambria) countertop, a monochrome matte+gloss glass tile backsplash, a hardwood floor, and I'm painting the cabinets creamy-white. All good.

The appliances, though, are keeping me up at night, only because....they were well made. 14 to 34 years old, they all work flawlessly.

Sure, I'd prefer a new gas range, and a quieter DW, and a fancier fridge with a freezer I can actually organize -- but I don't *need* these things.

It seems, well, wasteful to toss out working machinery for purely cosmetic reasons. (I don't think the efficiency gains are enough, since it's just a 1-person household. I run the DW once a week, so a new one will save me, what, $1.50 a year?)

And frankly, what I hear about the failure rate of new appliances -- anything I can afford, at least -- terrifies me.

So... is there any way I can make the mid-80s bisque look not- so-dated, while I wait for the stuff to stop working so I can buy without guilt? (Fear of faulty motherboards on its own, I could probably handle. Fear and guilt together -- not.) Or should I just suck it up, make my landfill contribution like every good American, and see what I can do over at hhgregg?

Please help me stop losing sleep over this. ;-)

This post was edited by GenX-Luddite on Mon, Jan 20, 14 at 20:26


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

Can you donate your appliances to Habitat for Humanity?

I understand how you feel - I got a new range and fridge as part of a recent kitchen remodel (both were 24 years old, working perfectly). I gave the fridge to a friend to use in his lake cabin; I put the range on the curb with a sign saying it worked (with the owner's manual inside), and it was gone in less than a week. I felt a lot better about buying new when I knew someone was using the old.

I have a friend who has a lot of rental property, if I had talked to him 2 months sooner, he would have bought my range.


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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

The refrigerator is probably really inefficient, --and it's in use continually, if that helps.


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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

The nice thing about "normal" appliances is that they are pretty easy to change out when they break or you just decide you don't want them anymore.


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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

Sometimes the older dishwashers have front panels that can be flipped around. I might switch out the frig cause it's an energy hog. I'd donate the old one.


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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

Is it the color of the appliances that bothers you, the outdated styling, less than optimal function...? I ask because in the kitchen renovation I did three houses ago, I kept two appliances and had them repainted. I found a specialty painter who used appliance paint. The difference was pretty amazing. It was completely worth it for the dishwasher--it was an early Kitchen Aid that I used daily, sometimes twice a day, for 8 years (after it had been in the house for 20 years). My dishes were spotless and the cycles were short. (The only dishwashers I've had that were better are Mieles--wonderful, energy efficient, quiet machines).

It wasn't really worth painting the frig, although it looked nice and was a huge improvement over the original coppertone. It just wasn't energy efficient and it was very loud. I put in a new one just before we sold and wished I had had the benefit of it...

Just a thought.


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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

Check with your utility company as well, there may be a rebate and recycle program on your old refrigerators. It definitely will deliver energy savings. The recycle programs also exist on DW as well. You will benefit from a DW that is far less noisy and consumes less water per cycle. I believe scrap metal value keeps this stuff out of the landfills, after the toxic stuff is dealt with.


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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

Older appliances are so much more reliable than the ones made today and last a lot longer. I'm still using my 32 year old washer/dryer and they still work great and my 32 year old fridge is still working fine in my garage as a backup fridge.

Fortunately my 11 year old appliances from my remodel are all still working but I have had minor problems with some of them. Given all the bad reports of current appliances, I sure hope I don't need to replace anything in the near future.

On the other hand, you have absolutely no reason to feel guilty about buying new appliances. If you have the money and you won't have to cut back on other things, then buy what you want and enjoy it.


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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

See how you feel ice the Reno is done...my guess is the appliances will look old and icky next to new everything else. You can sell them on craigslist or donate to Habitat so no landfill, no guilt. Our appliances were 15 years old when we remodeled. They would not have looked good and weren't as efficient..we donated them.


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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

GenX, I could have written your post 14 months ago... I agonized over getting rid of perfectly good functioning appliances I installed in1986, (the refer was from '83) but we were just ready for that last kitchen "freshen up" as we hit empty the nest stage. I donated the appliances to a guy that re-furbishes them and then sells them at a great discount to underprivileged families. It felt better than just sending them to the dump. I'll just be happy if the new ones last half as long as the old ones.... ;)


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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

If they bother you so much and you can afford it, why not replace them? I But there is some truth to the older ones being made to last longer than the new ones. I have a 31 yr old refrigerator in my basement, formerly in my kitchen but when I got a new one for the kitchen the old one went down there as a backup. The new one (actually not so new anymore, its 10 yrs or so by now) has had a couple of service calls and recalls on parts, the old one - nothing! 31 yrs and still runs like brand new. It probably does use more energy, but my guess is it will outlast the newer one. Don't they sell some kind of veneers that look like stainless steel? I thought I saw that on some home remodeling TV show. Just a thought, if you want to keep the appliances while they still work.


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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

Habitat in my area won't take appliances that are more than 5 years old.


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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

If you decide to keep them, measure new appliances and compare the sizes to your current ones. I've had two friends buy new fridges only to find out that the newer fridge was ever so slightly larger than the old fridge and didn't find in the old location.


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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

Lots of good ideas here, thanks!

Habitat in my town is pretty picky as well: they only take appliances that are "saleable," whatever that means. I will call them and ask, though; and if not, I bet I could find someone who could use an extra refrigerator, for the garage, or what have you.

I will definitely look up the option of a new dishwasher panel: I think that would be an easy way to prettify it until I need a new one (and the DW is the appliance that bothers me least: it's noisy, but I'm usually not in the kitchen when it's running.)

With the range, it's a matter both of style and function: it's got that K-Car 80s esthetic -- just not attractive -- and it's a coil-electric. So, not what I'd prefer, but for what it is, it works. The fridge is annoying in its layout, and it has no icemaker. But the temperature control is good and consistent. I guess I wouldn't want to invest in new finishes for these, since there are functional things about them I actively dislike. But they're not "broken," and I guess I have never before made large purchases like this unless there was an immediate need.

Meh. First-world problems.

But I am totally excited about the new countertops etc., and you're right joanie, once I see it I may be absolutely driven to make everything else shiny and new. I'm following other threads on this site with great interest...so I hope when it does come time to buy stuff I'll be ready.


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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

you could put them on craiglist for free and someone would be happy to have them but if you don't care about their dated looks, keep them. it depends on how much it bothers you. personally i would just keep the dw since it runs fine and the stove if you like it and swap out the fridge since that is the most inefficient appliance you own.
just think in 20 years, the appliances we buy today will be dated so it's all relative!


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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

Joaniepoanie makes a good point that they probably will look dated and out of place once you make all the other improvements. We finished our remodel last year and our old appliances went various places. We donated our DW to the Salvation Army and when they came to pick it up they were both gracious and grateful to take it. Our contractor asked if he could buy our 20 year old range and OTR microwave for his hunting camp, we put our fridge in the garage.


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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

I'd paint the fridge with chalkboard paint. Always wanted to try that with an old fridge, but they died too quickly.

Also, google painting dishwasher.
I'd probably replace the range.


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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

nosoccermom, the clutter in that second picture makes me shudder!


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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

Ha!

nosoccermom: many days I come home from work *covered* in chalk dust -- an occupational hazard -- plus I'm a lefty, which makes the chalkboard even trickier and messier. So you can imagine my first reaction to that photo...

I bet people who can draw would really get a kick out of that, though!

This post was edited by GenX-Luddite on Sat, Jan 25, 14 at 10:16


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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

For the fridge, when I first moved in here (I was renting at the time), the old 1979 Hotpoint fridge was still going strong, but eventually it died. Of course the landlord replaced it with the cheapest fridge out there, a bottom of the line Frigidaire, which has an energy rating that's pretty much off the right side of the chart, but even so my electric bill dropped $20 a month in an area where electricity is relatively cheap.


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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

OK, I get it. Chalkboard paint is out. How about just paint?

Here is a link that might be useful: DIY painted fridge


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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

Now THAT I could live with!


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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

I'd definitely buy a new range. Especially if you do cook, you will find that to be a very worthwhile investment and something that will make cooking meals for yourself and perhaps friends, a real joy. I'd keep the dishwasher until it failed but I would replace the refrigerator too.

In our area there's something called Freecycle and you can list things you want to give away for free on their website and there are definitely takers. Got rid of my refrigerator that way (but just be careful of letting people into your home, etc!)


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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

the K-car! Exactly. I used that exact reference with my DH the other day. But, DH said, it's like a what? This from a "car" guy. Technically he is Gen X ('76) but on the other side of the spectrum from me ('69).

It sounds like the range is the "clunker" for you. Even though it works, it is still a clunker. I would replace it.

FWIW: I would figure out how much money my old frig cost me to run on an annual basis, then I would decide. I would put a skin on the dw because you run it so infrequently and the skin solves the aesthetics (though not the acoustics).


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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

If you use the calculator below, and plug in model year 2000 at 10 cents/kwH, you save less than 50.00/year over 5 years if you replace with an energy efficient model. Annual cost would be 91.00/year total vs 43.00/year. Seems hardly worthwhile to invest in a new model based on electricity savings, not to mention energy costs to produce a new fridge.

Here is a link that might be useful: electricity calculator

This post was edited by nosoccermom on Sat, Jan 25, 14 at 14:09


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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

Ahhh, your first place! How exciting! I say live with your appliances until you have saved enough to swap them out or until it becomes a real priority for you. You could try painting the DW and fridge. The worst thing that could happen is that you have a reason to replace them :) New homes and sudden repairs don't come cheap. So while it is wonderful to have stunning kitchen or other space, it is even more wonderful to know that your space reflects you and not a creditor's windfall.

P.S. I recently did a kitchen refresh and actually used bisque appliances....on purpose :)


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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

In your shoes I'd wait until all of the other things are in place. I think you'll have an immediate gut-level response as to whether you feel you need to put in new appliances because the current ones look so out dated.

We just replaced counter tops and bought a new range. Now the (still working) wall oven micro wave combo looks outdated because it is trimmed out differently than today's appliances, and my dishwasher has an outside control panel whereas all of today's dishwashers have hidden control panels. These are things I never really noticed when living with my kitchen; they became more apparent as I was shopping and searching websites like this one.

But, my "newer" fridge that is seven years old and is a piece of junk whereas the thirty year old one we moved to our basement is still going strong. Super ugly looks but still works.


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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

Depending on what style you are drawn to, the treatment the blogger of the Old Painted Cottage gave her fridge might work for you. If you enter the kitchen section of her blog, she explains how she attached beadboard to her old 70's hand-me-down fridge. The explanation is in the Q & A section near the bottom of the kitchen tour page.

Here is a link that might be useful: Enter the kitchen here.


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RE: Replacing Dated-but-Working Appliances...?

GenX-Luddite, Something to consider is that a new fridge may not fit as easily into the old cabinet scheme/layout. Or you may find that frigs that fit and are efficient and good looking will bust the budget.

Nosoccermom, great resource. Thanks, and I agree with you.


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