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Old March 25 2014, 09:09 PM   #16
Owain Taggart
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Location: Northern Ontario, Canada
Re: When appliances break...

We used to be a big fan of Panasonic microwaves. Our first microwave was a Panasonic and lasted us a decade at least and I hear older Microwaves in general lasted even longer. When that particular microwave died, we continued with Panasonic. That lasted about 5 years. Since then, we've had 1-2 replacement models in the span of 2 years. The one we got to replace the one lasting 5 years, started experiencing a weird inverse issue where the turntable started spinning with the door open, which spooked the hell out of me at first since it happened so suddenly, which kind of sounds like a prank someone would pull now that I think about it. We returned that one to the store, got a replacement model, and now, less than a year in, that model is experiencing issues as well where half the time it just refuses to work, unless you open the door and slam it closed. Ironically, this hasn't been costing us a cent as they've all been under Futureshop's replacement plan, but if it weren't for that, I think we'd be looking for a different brand by now. Either our luck has been terrible or quality has gone down drastically.
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Old March 26 2014, 02:13 PM   #17
Rhubarbodendron
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Re: When appliances break...

I think it's the latter. Many apliances nowadays are made with cheap plastic parts instead of expensive but solid metal. I think it's done systematically: an appliance that's almost indestructible needn't be replaced = doesn't earn the manufacturer money.

I have 2 mp3 players. Same model, different year. The old one is 8 years old, the newer one is 3 and about a year ago, almost at the same time, both started to experience malfunctions. So the old one worked 7 years, the newer issue only 2. And according to the user ratings and comments that's not an exception but the rule. The current model has an average livespan of 6 months. So I grudgingly bought a new one (different brand, though, with better ratings) yesterday. It's a shame as the old one was really excellent. I'll miss it.
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Old March 26 2014, 07:04 PM   #18
farmkid
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Re: When appliances break...

Rhubarbodendron wrote: View Post
I think it's the latter. Many apliances nowadays are made with cheap plastic parts instead of expensive but solid metal. I think it's done systematically: an appliance that's almost indestructible needn't be replaced = doesn't earn the manufacturer money.
Longevity has certainly decreased over the years. We replaced our microwave maybe 3 years ago. The one we replaced was an old one we had picked up at a yard sale. It was maybe 25 years old but it worked fine. We just replaced it because it was too small. The new one, while being considerably larger, weighed quite a bit less. The older one had a much larger coil in it that will run for ever. I expect the newer one to burn out at some point.

I'm not sure I believe that this is done with the intent that the appliances wear out faster. I think it's more likely that manufacturers found that lower quality items sold better. They can make them cheaper and the lower price leads to more sales. If you go into a store and see two microwaves there, both look similar and have similar features, but one costs 30% less than the other, you're more likely to go with the less expensive one. You won't see the difference between the two for another 3 years when the cheap one is dead and the more expensive one is still going, but you can't know that at the time you buy it. As society has become more consumerist, we have become more become more price sensitive, and more willing to take a chance on a possibly lower quality item because it's cheaper. In the end, it means we all get crappier stuff. I think it's more a side effect of our consumerist society than anything else.

Another factor is that things are getting much more complicated and that generally means less reliable. Back to the microwave example: the first microwaves were a box with a coil to produce the microwave radiation, and and a simple mechanical timer. Modern ones have all sorts of electronics and different settings. That's a lot more things to break and therefore a greater chance of something going wrong.
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Old March 26 2014, 08:21 PM   #19
Owain Taggart
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Re: When appliances break...

Yeah, I think it's likely a combination of both factors, maybe luck and the fact that things are made much cheaper now. It is actually quite interesting if you think about it. At the same time, I find it sad that what was once considered a long-term appliance can now have a very short life. The first microwave was actually a gift my parents received as a wedding anniversary gift, and I remembered it had been around $400, and that was the one that had lasted us a long time before we finally had to retire it, for microwaves that were much cheaper in terms of a price point. One of the things we did immediately notice was how much lighter they were. In a way though, I think consumers pay more for less these days, and we expect things to last, which is only reasonable.

Though I'll say this, the Futureshop replacement plan, or whatever you want from Bestbuy, certainly has its uses and has saved us a lot of money in the long run.
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Old March 28 2014, 03:12 AM   #20
propita
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Re: When appliances break...

We bought our house 11 years ago--and all the appliances. So we’re expecting to have issues in the next few years.

And the exterior will have to be repainted. And the awnings have to be replaced before they’re in tatters--almost too late there. And we may have to re-do the plumbing before a serious issue arises--the house is 72 years old and most of the plumbing is original. And doing the plumbing may mean redoing some bathroom/kitchen tile work and possibly floors. It’s never-ending.
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Old March 28 2014, 10:28 AM   #21
RoJoHen
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Re: When appliances break...

So I managed to get the water turned off to the water heater to stop the leak. And I got the basement drain unclogged, so I'm no longer flooded.

I even managed to disconnect my old water heater and get a new one delivered. However, due to an apparent plumber shortage in my area, they won't be able to get anyone to install it until next week.

So I took it upon myself to install it. So far, it's not going well. I had to remove the old pipes from the water heater with a hack saw, so now I have sliced pipes dangling from the ceiling. The pipes are screwed and glued together so tightly that I can't get them apart no matter how hard I try. I need to remove the old pipes from the house so I can attach the new ones, but they just won't budge. It should be as simple as turning a wrench, but it's just not working.

I may have to get a torch and a soldering iron, but I'm not super comfortable with that kind of work.
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Old March 28 2014, 04:04 PM   #22
J.T.B.
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Re: When appliances break...

^ Water heater installation is not a bad DIY job, I did it as a newbie homeowner over 12 years ago and have had no trouble since. Soldering copper pipes is not too hard; you could take your scrap pieces and practice on them a little. Make sure the pieces you're fitting are clean and polished with emery cloth, and that a good coat of flux is applied evenly, without little clumps. Remember you don't have to heat the pipe right at the end, you can apply the torch a few inches away and the heat will conduct enough to melt the solder. When you get around the right temperature, the solder will suck right in to the joint; you'll get a feel for how fast to apply the wire. The solder line should be nice and silvery; if it has black marks in it, it got too hot. MAPP gas torches work well, are not too expensive and last a long time. You'll want to put threaded connectors on the pipe ends, of course, and it's a good time to replace any gate valves you can with ball valves.

I'd say get in there and do it, you will be glad you did when you have skills for the next unforeseen plumbing job that comes up.
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Old March 28 2014, 04:05 PM   #23
farmkid
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Re: When appliances break...

What kind of pipe are they? PVC? copper? galvanized? PEX?
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Old March 28 2014, 05:24 PM   #24
RoJoHen
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Re: When appliances break...

Copper.
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Old March 28 2014, 11:03 PM   #25
farmkid
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Re: When appliances break...

Copper, eh? Well then I wouldn't try to remove the old pipes from the wall. You should be able to just clean up the ends where you cut and solder on new pieces. As J.T.B. said, soldering copper pipe isn't hard. You can find a kit at any hardware store with a bit of solder, some flux, and some emery cloth for a few dollars. He gave a good description of how to do it, and I'm sure a couple of minutes on YouTube will find you many videos showing how it's done. It's really not hard at all. The first time I ever tried it, I was just going off a description someone told me years earlier and the joint looked almost perfect and didn't leak a drop.

Before you get too far, check to see what kind of connector is on the water heater. If it's copper, you're fine. If the pipes coming out are steel, you will need dielectric unions to hook them up. That's simply a connector that puts a piece of plastic between the two metals so they aren't electrically connected to prevent corrosion.
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Old March 29 2014, 02:14 AM   #26
RoJoHen
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Re: When appliances break...

Oh yeah, I was never planning to remove the pipes from the wall, but the way they're currently installed, I have lots of copper pipes with elbow joints all over the place that don't line up with the new water heater. I ended up removing some of them with a torch and soldered adapters in their place so that I can just attach flexible water lines.

I'M SO CLOSE TO BEING FINISHED WITH THIS PROJECT!

The biggest problem has mainly been that this stuff is so old that nothing really lines up with the new model of water heater. Everything is off by an inch or so, so I'm replacing the water and gas pipes with the more flexible tubes. None of it is particularly difficult; it's just that I don't have a lot of the proper tools and pipe fittings, so I've had to make a couple different trips to the hardware store.

I should have it all done in the next hour or so (I hope!).
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Old March 29 2014, 09:40 PM   #27
Kitty
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Re: When appliances break...

^That's the way every home repair project has gone for us, too.

The funniest was the "5 Minute Ceiling Fan" we bought. The box said, 5 minutes to install - most of it was pre-assembled.

5 weekends and 5 trips to the hardware store later it was finally finished.
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Old March 31 2014, 06:48 AM   #28
RoJoHen
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Re: When appliances break...

I was so close to being finished on Friday, but I accidentally bought the wrong size adapter for my pipes. 1/2" vs. 3/4"...close enough, right?! Nope.

And then I went out of town all weekend, so I just left it alone. I'm really hoping I'll have this fixed as soon as I can get to Lowes again today.
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Old April 1 2014, 01:25 AM   #29
RoJoHen
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Re: When appliances break...

Well, I got the gas lines hooked up, and I got the water lines hooked up, and I thought I was ready to go.

And then the water valve snapped in half, and I can't get it to turn on. So...it looks like I'm replacing the water valve.
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Old April 1 2014, 01:40 AM   #30
urbandefault
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Re: When appliances break...

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
This has been quite the winter for me and home repairs. My washer broke and had to be fixed. My dryer broke and had to be replaced. My pipes froze. I had to replace the float inside one toilet, and I had to replace the wax seal on another toilet. I had a raccoon in my basement (not really an appliance problem, but still!).

And now...

MY WATER HEATER IS LEAKING!!! YAAAAYYYY!!!!!!!

Leaking out the bottom, so it's likely cracked or rusted through, and needs to be replaced. So now I'm shopping for water heaters online and attempting to sort through all the good and bad reviews.
We reach.

In the last ten years we've paid to replace the water heater, the AC, the heater, the well pump and tank, plumbing leaks in the foundation fixed, had the septic tank dug up, etc. etc.

To mitigate some of the cost of other things going wrong I've learned new skills. I have replaced a garbage disposal, installed gas appliances, replaced the previously replaced gas water heater, installed a kitchen sink and faucet, snaked the plumbing, repaired and replaced leaking shower faucets, cut down trees ...

The dryer now needs drum bearings. I'm trying to decide whether to take the thing apart or just buy a new one.
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