Saturday, July 12, 2008

Repairing versus buying new

My sister wondered why we repaired the 11 year old washer instead of buying a new, more energy -efficient one. Others wondered why we didn't call a repairman. It's complex.

A year ago, when the dryer broke, I actually went out to look at new washers and dryers. However, the new front-loading ones are 30" deep while the top-loaders are 27" deep. Our laundry room is very tight as it is. With 27" appliances, we can barely open and close the door and access the pantry door. Another 3", and we could have to remodel. That would not be cost-effective or green.

We could have bought a new 27" top-loading washing machine, but Consumers' Reports had said that the new top-loaders use so little water, that they cannot get clothes clean effectively. They could only recommend the new front-loaders. We don't have room.

Additionally, I became interested in fulling (mistakenly called felting) knits. With a top-loader, I can check on the progress as often as I wish and pull the item out at the precise moment it has shrunk to the desired size. Front-loaders' doors lock during the wash cycle and I would lose control of the fulling process. Then I would be stuck manually moving a plunger in a bucket to full knits (which my sister swears doesn't take too long and is a good upper body workout).

Furthermore, Mark experienced such a feeling of accomplishment when he fixed the dryer last year, I couldn't call a repairman until after he had taken a crack at it. We can afford to hire help when we need it. But, we wanted to set an example of self-sufficiency for Iris.

$200 in parts and an exciting week later, our washer works again. Our laundry is done. Iris watched her parents repair an old broken item instead of throwing it away and buying new.

Goodie bags and the wealth of nations
The great flood of 2008


  1. I think those are all good reasons to repair the washer. I probably would have done the same. I don't want a new top loader, and a new front loader will mean that I have to rip out and rebuild the whole laundry room/one wall of which is shared with the kitchen, so I would probably do the same thing, unless of course I am ready to redo the kitchen pantry at the same time. Things never break when it is convenient though.

    We have repaired our dryer and a few other things and I think the feeling of accomplishment is wonderful, and the reinforcement of being a positive role-model is even better.s

  2. Let me clarify my statement. I said that it took a few minutes to wet finish yarn (fulling). I don't actually know how long it might take to fully full, say, a pair of slippers or a bag.

    But I should also say that it is possible to full in a front loader. That is how I've always done it. I've been told that it takes a bit longer than a top loader. Having never tried it with a top loader, I can't tell you if this is true or not.


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