Replacing Kitchen Appliances

02 February 2004

Our Amana refrigerator which came with the house died over the weekend. It's been in the process of a long, slow death for a while, but I had been hoping to correct the problem with some rigorous cleaning and parts jiggling.

Claire found a cool website with parts diagrams and prices (since it was a parts store), so we knew we were in for $200 in parts (fan and compressor) plus some hefty labor fees, since it would require discharging and recharging the cooling system.

On this information, we decided to just replace the whole refrigerator with a big, but cheap one from Lowes. This is how we buy all our appliances -- We pick the "big class" of appliance, then buy the cheapest from that class.

I'm really torn though. As a society, we insist on buying everything so cheap that it's impractical to actually repair anything. For the cost of even the simplest repair, we just buy a new appliance and ship the old one off to the landfill. I've completely fed into tha cycle with my purchase of an ultra-cheap refrigerator. I am going to see if I can find a place which can take the old one and recycle it, but I don't expect to be successful, and it'll just end up in the landfill regardless. The sheer size of the appliance amplifies this concern in my mind.

Now we've replaced the fridge and the dishwasher, and I've had to service the garbage disposer. The only thing left to go is the stove or the plumbing. I can't think of a way to break the electric stove, but I fear we'll find out at some time.

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