better deal for your pocketbook and the environment: a new major
appliance or a refurbished one?
consumers who recently replaced washers and dryers told our research
team that they bought used because those models might last just as
long as new ones and that reusing is a good "green"
One couple said
that when their 20-year-old washing machine finally died, they were
disappointed when the brand-new replacement lasted only five years.
Instead of taking a chance on another new model, they spent $250 on a
used model they figure will last at least as long as a new one.
bought a refurbished dryer for $200 rather than spend $1,000 on a unit
she believed would last no more than the 10 years she expects her used
unit to remain reliable.
To these people,
and others like them, buying used saves the green in wallets while
eliminating the need to use resources to make a new washer or dryer.
appliance repair pros tell our team that new appliances tend to have
about half the life span of past models. Reasons they cite include the
use of cheaper raw materials and a greater reliance on computerized
So if it’s
time for you to replace a major appliance, particularly a washer or
drier, consider whether a refurbished model might be a good value, and
find a local shop that’s gotten good consumer reviews on a trusted
Before you buy
unit’s EPA Energy Star rating, but also how long it’s expected to
possible features and decide before shopping which ones you actually
After you buy,
whether new or used:
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. Be sure to use the recommended type and amount of soap.
dryer’s lint screen before every load and periodically have the
machine’s workings and vent cleaned. If your dryer takes longer than
an hour to dry a standard-sized load, vent cleaning — at $100 or
less, usually — could make it run like new.
neglect appropriate maintenance. Find a reputable appliance repair
service through recommendations from family, friends and users of a
trusted online review site.