Last week I mentioned that, if you are like most people, you probably can’t afford to go out and just buy new appliances that are more energy efficient and instead you have to wait until something breaks and then you go out and get a new one.
I suggested that what you can do now is be ready for when your major appliances break down and start researching brands and models now. And I said that because we had something break down some months ago, we weren’t prepared and went through quite a bit of nonsense that shouldn’t have happened. You can learn from our mistakes.
Our sad story
Last November, I believe it was, our hot water heater went out. I think it might have even been right before Thanksgiving weekend. I looked up places in the yellow pages to get a new one installed. Most all of the ads said they could do same day installation – that put me in a pretty good mood!
Lesson Number One: Despite the fact that the ads say they do same day installation – they don’t. Not at all. Not even close.
We ended up buying one from Lowe’s. Later that weekend – Friday or Saturday – when I was out of town and my husband was there, Lowe’s came and installed a new water heater for us.
Four months later – it stopped working.
Lesson Number Two: Always research something before you buy it and don’t assume that just because you bought it from a place you are familiar with, or that the brand is familiar, that the product is good.
After I did some searches on this particular brand of gas hot water heater I discovered that there has been problems with them for years! So we got on the phone with the company and they really gave us the run around (I don’t know how much I really like that term, but I can’t think of a better way to describe it, but let’s just say it was really bad customer service).
They eventually said they would send us a part to have replaced on it. So we waited a couple days.
Lesson Number Three: Cold – really cold – showers are very unpleasant!
[I should add that during this time we discovered that the kittens we had recently gotten had tapeworms and my husband had to have a tooth pulled. And I’m sparing you the details of the tapeworms and the tooth pulling complications. Bad week.]
A couple days later the part came in, we called the plumber. He put the part in. I thought it smelled a little gassy in the house.
Lesson Number Four: If you think you smell gas in your house, you probably do.
After the plumber left, we left also and picked up the tapeworm medicine from the vet and got a salad. When we got back the house still smelled like gas. So we called the plumber again. Sure enough – the part didn’t fit right and gas was leaking into our house.
The plumber shut off the gas and said he couldn’t do anything more with the hot water heater and that the part they sent us was bad.
We made up our minds at that point that we would return it to Lowe’s and did some research on hot water heaters, called a plumber to arrange for a Bradford White gas hot water heater to be installed.
Lesson Number Five: Once you realize you’ve bought a product that is bad – just return it right away – don’t fool around with getting it repaired.
Next day – plumber at our house again to install the new hot water heater. Amazingly that went well. Until I went back upstairs after cleaning up the mess left behind and I found: water all over the kitchen floor!
I called the plumber again. Plumber said dishwasher was dead. I got on the computer and did some research on dishwashers. (That shouldn’t surprise you at this point.)
In case you lost count, that was 3 days in a row with a plumber at our house.
Moral of the story – be prepared for major appliance breakdowns! We could have avoided most of this mess if we would have researched hot water heaters ahead of time. I had to rush around with looking up the dishwasher stuff, but I did have time to make an informed decision about it.
Lesson Number Six: More energy efficient doesn’t always mean cheaper – the Bradford White hot water heater we bought wasn’t the cheapest out there, but it is much better insulated and more energy efficient than many others we could have bought. And so far it has provided us with hot showers for almost 5 months now!
Lesson Number Seven: My advice is to research ahead of time which brands to avoid and which are good with your major appliances that you can’t live without for too long: hot water heaters, furnaces, air conditioners, refrigerators. Anything else you really need.
And if this story sounds slightly familiar I wrote about it briefly – but in more glorious tapeworm detail – before my relaunch of this blog. I thought it was worth going over it again so you can avoid a week like we had!
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