Rise of the Machines – the appliances that fought back!

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This is a woeful tale of appliances that decided to strike out at their owners, causing grief and strife at the worst times! Thankfully these appliances at least had the presence of mind not to do this all at once. Today I write as the last of our pretty new appliances has decided to stop working correctly, in this case, the clothes dryer has stopped heating.

Let me back this up a touch and paint the full story.

When we got and moved into our current house, we completed a significant renovation and rebuilt the kitchen getting all new appliances. This was just over 7 years ago. Just to make sure it’s really clear these were brand new appliances. We specifically didn’t buy the lowest quality ones, we checked reviews and while the appliances weren’t top of the line, they were supposed to be pretty good.

For the first three years everything was great, the appliances worked. I was happy with all of them, they were exactly what we paid for.

Then one at a time they started to voice their displeasure!!

Washing machine – Round 1

The first machine that broke was the washing machine and this first break was a worn-down door gasket. Not a really big problem but the machine won’t work without this gasket to properly close the door. Other than this small detail the machine worked great. We got a repairman in and the gasket was fixed without issues. He explained that this is a common issue with front load washers, and we need to be careful how much we load into the washer. The repair was around $300, expensive but it seemed reasonable. (Year 3 – 1 Appliance repaired, 0 – Appliances replaced)

Fridge

Photo by Latrach Med Jamil on Unsplash
Photo by Latrach Med Jamil on Unsplash

We went for about a year with no real issues and then our fridge started to leak out of the bottom causing damage to the kitchen cabinets. I did some research and the issue that we were having was a product defect. You could get into a battle with the manufacturer and possibly get some of your money back. If you happened to live in the US, there was a class action lawsuit for just the issue. Unfortunately, I don’t live in the US. I also found out that the average life expectancy of a Fridge is should be between 10-18 years.

The leaking started around year 4 and progressively got worse and by year 5 we decided that we should repair the fridge. After a few calls, the repairs were going to be at least 75% of the cost or a new fridge and the issue might happen again because it was tied to the model. It simply made more sense to replace the appliance. (Year 5 – 1 – Appliance repaired, 1 – Appliance replaced)

Washing Machine – Round 2

Our good friend the washing machine started to act up around the same time that the fridge was doing its shenanigans. At first, it was a little bit of water then it was the odd error code, but with a little bit of convincing the machine still worked. Then one weekend we went out of town, came back and couldn’t wash our clothes. After some research, the average life span of a newer washing machine was between 12-18 years. Ours flat out died after the 5-year mark!

I called around to get an idea of what the repair could cost. I was told it would be cheaper to buy a new machine, which is what happened, and we opted for the simplest one possible. (Year 5 – 1 – appliance repaired, 2 – appliances replaced)

Dishwasher

The rebellion continued not long after with the dishwasher showing its displeasure  It would leak every now and then, just a touch of water which we could clean up. Usually, it was very minor and quite random. Until we went camping one weekend and when we returned the kitchen was flooded. The water had gone under the peninsula into the living room, through the hardwood right down to, you guessed it, the basement leaving a trail of destruction. 

The great news here is the issue we ran into was actually easy to fix requiring a $60 part and some quality time with YouTube. During that research, I found that dishwashers last between 7 and 12 years. Being at the beginning of year 6 I wasn’t completely taken aback, but the dishwasher was the highest end of the appliances. Problem solved and the dishwasher has been happily washing dishes ever since. (Year 6 – 2 – Appliances repaired, 2 – appliances replaced)

Photo by Alex Lam on Unsplash

Oven

There are a few patterns that we see in our appliance dilemma and one of them is that appliances seem to break when we go away for the weekend. Last fall we went away for the weekend and returned to find that our oven wasn’t heating quite right. The stovetop worked perfectly, just the oven was misbehaving. Again, some research ensued, and I found the average life span for the range was between 13-15 years and here we are in year 7.

With the stop top working, we decided to get some estimates to fix the appliance. In the meantime, there were some holidays that involved turkey, needless to say, I am now quite comfortable BBQing a whole turkey. The oven sort of works though it doesn’t get up to heat, things take a lot longer to cook, and guessing at the temperature is like rolling the dice.

The quotes to repair the striking oven came in and I was truly shocked; the cost of the repairs was going to be over $1,000!!! For that price, we can get a new range or very close. We haven’t replaced this one yet as we have been able to muddle through using the oven as is and the BBQ, but its coming. (Year 7 – 2 – Appliances repaired, 3 – appliances replaced/to be replaced)

Dryer

Finally, to cap off the rise of the machines, the major appliance we bought when we moved into this house, the clothes drier is broken. It’s been running well without any issues. A couple days ago my wife made the comment that it was taking a really long time to dry clothes. It spins and blows air but nothing heats up, leaving wet or at best damp clothes.

At this point, you know the drill, after some research I found that the average life span of a drier is between 12-18 years. The best part of this story is that the replacement part was less than $50 and it arrived today. Along with some help with Professor YouTube, I should be able to repair this appliance for the time being. (Year 7 – 3 – Appliances repaired, 3 – appliances replaced/to be replaced)

What’s up with appliances??

None of the major appliances that we bought just over 7 years ago survived to the start of year 8 without some form of repair and we had to replace 3 of them. Each of those appliances is supposed to have a life span that is more than double of what we encountered. It makes me question what goes into these average life spans and why we got so lucky to have all these appliance break?

Also, I question the quality of the items we produce. We shouldn’t have to replace ALL of the appliances that we bought within 7 years. Has our replacement society gone too far where it is cheaper to replace a whole appliance than it is to fix it?

Finally, in summary, I’m not sure what we could have done differently or if we were simply unlucky. I am starting to think luck had nothing to do with it as our new fridge likes to freeze food. I am much warier with appliances now and I’ll try my hand at the repairs to save some money. Have the machines in your life risen against you?

Photo by Ashim D’Silva on Unsplash

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