I have been itching to replace our washer and dryer since the day we bought our house nearly four years ago. They were old, loud, slow, and problematic. I cannot tell you how many times Nick and I have been back there adjusting leaky hoses or fighting to get the dryer to vent properly. In recent months it has actually gotten worse–we had to turn up the TV way on the other side of the house just to hear it over the sound of the washer entering its spin cycle. The dryer was just as bad. You could actually hear the motor struggling to keep going and it took three runs to actually dry a load of clothes. Around New Year’s the washer started leaking again and Nick finally threw in the towel. When El Cheapo says it’s time to buy a new one you know it’s really kicked the can.
As thrilled as I was to finally be replacing them, it was bittersweet because I knew that we couldn’t afford to run out and buy a pair of brand new beautiful front-loaders like I’d always dreamed of. But I did really want to get high-efficiency machines so I got creative in my search. Here’s where I looked:
Craigslist was the first place that I looked. There were a ton of options at various price points, but I was a little leery.
Pros: lots of options; wide variety of prices; room for negotiation.
Cons: delivery may not be available; risk of buying a lemon
Used appliance stores
I actually found these advertised in the appliance section on craigslist. Many of them seem to be run by appliance repairmen who buy broken machines and refurbish them. I almost bought a pair or GE Profile front loaders for $700 at one of these stores. Even if they don’t have a matching set, a lot of machines sold under different brand names are made by the same company and may look like a match even if they’re not. Another store in town had a Whirpool Duet and a Kenmore Elite that looked just alike ($625 total for the pair).
Pros: great prices; warranties usually included; confidence that the machine has been recently serviced; delivery often available.
Cons: limited selection; stores may be located in unsavory neighborhoods
When I posted on Facebook asking whether anyone I knew had purchased from a particular used appliance store in town before, a friend contacted me to tell me that she could get me a really good deal on a pair of high-efficiency top loaders through her job. Now I’m not saying everyone is going to have a friend with an amazing hook-up like this, but you may be surprised to learn that someone you know is looking to sell for a steal or knows someone who is.
Pros: not having to deal with strangers; possibility that you could get a great deal like I did.
Cons: limited selection; delivery may be complicated; warranty may not be available
Luckily for us, Emily both has a truck and is super handy so she delivered them, helped us get them all set up, and hauled the old ones away to give to a friend of hers who works on old appliances. To thank her we treated her and her wife and toddler (one of Jack’s BFF’s) to lunch. New-to-us washer and dryer and family lunch date sounds like a win-win to me! As for the washer and dryer, they’re Whirlpool Cabrios and they are beautiful. Opinions seem mixed about these and high-efficiency machines in general. Some people love them and some people hate them, but we decided to take the risk. These are not brand new and we’re having a small problem with the washer not spinning properly but an appliance-repairman friend of Emily’s is coming out to look at it and hopefully it will be an easy fix. And as for the grand total we paid: $525! These retail for about $800 each new so even if we have to pay for a repair I still think we got a great deal.
We went about 10 days without a washer, during which time Jack was sick with a stomach virus, so even if our new washer isn’t quite working properly right off the bat I am still thrilled to have it. And if anyone has had a similar issue with their machine that they were able to resolve please let me know! I’ve read a couple of possible causes online and am tempted to open it up myself to see if I can fix it.