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A refurbished appliance may be better than a new one

  • Published Friday, March 28, 2014, at 2:54 p.m.

What’s the better deal for your pocketbook and the environment: a new major appliance or a refurbished one?

One woman told the Angie’s List team that she bought a refurbished dryer for $200 rather than spend $1,000 on one she believed would last no more than the 10 years she expects the used unit to last.

Appliance repair pros tell our team that new appliances tend to have about half the life span of past models. Reasons include cheaper raw materials and a greater reliance on computerized systems.

If buying a refurbished model, find a local shop that’s gotten good consumer reviews on a trusted online site.

Before you buy new:

• Consider a unit’s EPA Energy Star rating, but also how long it’s expected to last.

• Research possible features and decide before shopping which ones you need.

After you buy, new or used:

• Avoid overloading a washing machine; heavy or off-balance loads can cause damage. Empty pockets of coins, pens and other items that can damage the machine. Use the recommended type and amount of soap.

• Clean the dryer’s lint screen before every load and periodically have its workings and vent cleaned. If your dryer takes longer than an hour to dry a standard load, vent cleaning – usually $100 or less – could make it run like new.

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