Time to Replace a Major Appliance?

From on October 07, 2008 in Kitchen Remodel

Old DishwasherI was visiting a friend the other day, sitting in her newly expanded kitchen. She and her husband were proudly showing off their remodel – they had torn down the walls of the kitchen, creating a great room of kitchen, dining, and living rooms. We gathered around the big, new kitchen island, chatting while my friend prepared lunch.

She said her grown children were aghast that she hadn’t replaced the appliances – the range, fridge, and dishwasher were the original avocado green ones that were installed when the house had been built in the 1970s. She said she didn’t care; she loved these faithful appliances! They serve her well, she knows them as intimately as friends, and she even likes how they look. In her view, since they still function perfectly, why replace them? She’d rather spend the money on something else.

In another scenario, I recently spent time with a client who wanted to update one of her investment homes so it would command a higher monthly rental. As we walked through, the first thing that showed up as old and tired was the kitchen. The appliances were almond-colored, but they’d been used hard and not cared for very well by prior tenants. Replacing them was top of the list for updating the home.

After listing other changes, we went shopping and found reasonably priced, name brand appliances in black and stainless steel. Once they were installed, they lifted the appearance of the whole house. The old appliances were hauled off by a thrift store that was happy to receive them, and would do the necessary cleaning and checking for functionality before offering them for sale at a very reasonable price.

So what does this say about replacing major appliances? Here are the simple findings:

  • When cared for, appliances will perform well for decades.
  • If treated poorly, appliances will suffer the consequences.
  • While kitchen remodeling tends to imply replacing appliances for newer, more fashionable ones, a kitchen remodel can still be very effective without replacing appliances.
  • For instant eye-appeal, new appliances say “Brand New Upgrade” in a loud, clear voice.


With all the guarantees and warranties, name brand appliances sold by reputable vendors promise many years of efficient service. Reasons for replacing old appliances are varied and depend on many factors. In most cases, appliances last for decades, and are often traded out and replaced for cosmetic reasons as opposed to functional ones.

In today’s ever more budget conscious climate, it’s comforting to realize that appliances are built to last, and with care, they will serve efficiently for many, many years. If you find yourself wanting bright, shiny new ones, those are always a pleasurable option… and donating your used appliances to a thrift shop for resale will pass along the benefit of older, still functional appliances to those who will appreciate them for many more years to come.