Replacing old, worn out appliances can be an expensive endeavor. New appliances often cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. However, there are ways to get quality used appliances for a fraction of the cost. In this comprehensive guide, I will cover everything you need to know about replacing old appliances with used ones.
Deciding Which Appliances to Replace
The first step is evaluating which of your appliances are in need of replacement. There are a few key factors to consider:
Age of the Appliance
- Most appliances last 10-15 years on average before needing replacement. If your appliances are older than this, it’s a good indicator they may need replacing soon.
- Refrigerators, dishwashers, washers and dryers tend to have the shortest lifespans of common household appliances. Prioritize replacing these first if they are over 10 years old.
- If you find yourself constantly needing repairs for an appliance, it’s usually more cost effective to replace it altogether rather than continuing to sink money into fixing it.
- Track any appliances that seem to break down frequently. If you’ve had to repair the same issue multiple times, that’s a sign it may be time to replace it.
High Energy Use
- Older appliances can be extremely inefficient in terms of energy use. This leads to higher utility bills.
- Consider replacing appliances over 10 years old with Energy Star certified used models to save significantly on energy costs.
Difficulty Finding Parts
- For very old appliances, replacement parts may no longer be manufactured. This makes repairs impossible.
- If repair technicians say parts can’t be found for your appliance, replacement is your only option.
Choosing Used Appliances Over New
Purchasing used appliances offers major cost savings compared to buying new:
- Used appliances can cost 50-75% less than new models. The savings are substantial.
- Reliable used models are widely available through classified ads, used appliance stores, and online listings.
- Modern used appliances still have ample life left. Units 5-10 years old often work like new.
There are some tradeoffs to consider as well:
- No warranty coverage compared to new appliances. Factor in possible repair costs.
- Limited selection compared to all new models on the market.
- May have cosmetic wear and tear, dents or scratches. Does not affect performance.
However, the cost savings often outweigh these limitations for many consumers.
Where to Shop for Used Appliances
There are many good options for finding quality used appliances:
- Sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace feature listings for used appliances in your local area.
- Can find great deals buying directly from owners.
- Allows you to inspect condition and functionality before purchasing.
Used Appliance Stores
- Stores like Appliance Revive specialize in restored used appliances.
- Products are tested and guaranteed to be in good working order.
- Staff can help you find the right appliance for your needs.
Online Used Retailers
- Major national used appliance retailers like AppliancesConnection offer broad selection and fast shipping.
- Return policies in case you are not satisfied.
- Avoid the hassle of local pickup.
I personally recommend trying local classifieds or stores first to see the appliance in person before considering an online used retailer.
What to Look for When Selecting a Used Appliance
When evaluating a used appliance, keep these factors in mind:
- Check functionality – Turn it on and test all settings and modes.
- Assess wear and tear – Minor scratches are ok, but major dents could indicate issues.
- Ask about age – Ideal to get 5-10 year old models.
- Research reliability – Look up the appliance’s brand and model to check for common problems.
- Compare price – Reference classifieds and stores to gauge if the price is fair.
I always test the used appliance thoroughly and ask the seller direct questions about any repairs or issues. This helps avoid surprises down the road.
Extra Tips for Specific Appliances
For certain appliances, also inspect these items:
- Refrigerators – Ensure the seals around the doors are intact. Missing seals lead to cold air leaks.
- Dishwashers – Verify the spinning arms and soap dispenser are working properly by running a test cycle.
- Washers – Check for any leaks or unusual noises during the spin cycle.
- Dryers – Ensure the drum spins smoothly. Listen for scrapping noises that could indicate a bad bearing.
Spending a few extra minutes checking these components can help you avoid appliances prone to failure.
How to Transport Used Appliances
Carefully transporting used appliances is vital to avoid any extra damage:
- For very large appliances like refrigerators, arrange professional delivery from the seller. Trying to move these yourself risks injury or damage.
- When transporting smaller appliances in a vehicle:
- Pad the appliance with blankets, packing foam or other soft materials.
- Secure the appliance so it does not shift and slide during transport.
- Load the appliance carefully, ideally in an upright position. Laying it down can lead to damage.
- Take measurements of doorways, stairways, and elevators to ensure the appliance can fit through during transport.
Proper preparation makes transporting used appliances much safer and easier.
Installing and Maintaining Used Appliances
Follow best practices when installing and maintaining used appliances:
- When installing, carefully follow instructions in the owner’s manual. These provide appliance-specific guidance.
- Clean thoroughly upon installation, including exterior, interior, and vital components like door seals and spinning arms.
- Follow the maintenance schedule suggested in the owner’s manual. This helps maximize longevity.
- Inspect regularly for any leaks, odd noises or other concerning signs of potential breakdown. Address issues promptly.
- Hire a technician for any major repairs needed. Do not attempt complex appliance repairs independently without proper experience.
Used appliances may require a bit more regular maintenance. But taking good care of them will ensure they provide many years of reliable service.
Maximizing Savings With Used Appliances
Here are my top tips for getting the lowest price on high quality used appliances:
- Consider cosmetic damage – Units with minor dents or scratches often get discounted 50% or more.
- Browse end of season – More people replace appliances right before holidays like Black Friday. Check listings after seasonal peaks.
- Search locally – Listings on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist tend to have lower prices than major used retailers.
- Expand your search area – Be willing to drive up to an hour from your home city to find better deals in less populated areas.
- Offer to pay in cash – Sellers will often knock the price down a bit for cash payment to avoid processing fees.
- Ask about recent price drops – Sellers will sometimes take a lower offer after a week or two without buyers.
With the right techniques, you can save hundreds off quality used appliances. Just be patient in your search and ready to act when you find deals.
Is Buying Used Appliances Right for You?
Replacing worn out appliances with used models is a smart strategy for many homeowners looking to save money. However, it does require more research, maintenance, and risk compared to buying new.
Consider your specific needs:
- Are you comfortable inspecting and transporting used appliances?
- Can you take on the additional maintenance used appliances require?
- Do you have some budget to cover potential repairs?
If you answered yes, buying used is likely a good choice. But if you prefer the simplicity of new appliances, the extra costs may be worth it.
No matter what route you take, always make replacements from quality brands known for reliability. This will ensure your appliances provide many years of service. With the right approach, going used can help stretch your dollar without compromising on functionality.