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Fix or Replace?

April 1st, 2014

blender1 No blender = no smoothies! A month without my green smoothies makes me a very cranky girl! Here’s the story:

My 20+ year old blender started leaking. I started with the obvious – replace the gasket.  After numerous stops at small appliance and hardware stores I discovered that the internet was the only place to get parts.  However, rubber gaskets come in packs of 3 not singles.  I hope I can find the other two in 20 years when I need a new one again. In the process of replacing the gasket, I dropped and cracked the blender jar.  I perused the ‘second hand’ resale stores thinking I might find a replacement jar but no luck there.  So back to my internet store for a new jar that looked like the one I had – the model numbers didn’t match anymore. Now with a new jar and a new gasket reassembled, I tested the blender with water and – it still leaked! The next step was to replace the blade assembly. Four weeks later I had a working blender again! Cost benefit analysis; I spent $2 less than the cost of a new blender. I lost a month of use trying to fix it. I recycled the cracked jar, and the gasket and old blade (carefully boxed and wrapped with duct tape) went to the trash. I feel good that I kept the working base and motor and other attachments out of the landfill. However, my husband’s suggestion of buying a new one immediately probably would have kept me mentally stable!

I am having a similar time with my 35 year old hand mixer.  That little GE model has mixed batter for thousands of cakes, cookies, and other goodies over the years.  Her little beaters are rusting and not safe to use anymore.  So, once again, I stalk the shelves at the Goodwill and consignment stores hoping someone has cleaned out Grandma’s kitchen and donated a match to my little mixer.  I dug through half a dozen bins of utensils trying to find some that match, but no luck.  I tried ordering parts online, but GE mixers don’t exist anymore, apparently. The other day, in the clearance aisle at Target, I spied a $4 bargain – a small hand mixer! “Okay, I guess I will replace it” I grumbled to myself wondering if I was just buying trouble. The new mixer’s low speed is higher than the old GE’s whip speed! I nearly painted the underside of my cupboards with scrambled eggs! However, the new beaters work on the old mixer! Problem solved for $4.  I guess I will keep the new mixer in case my husband needs a new motor for the leaf blower.

I just put a cup of water in the microwave to heat for tea.  It is still cold. Uh oh.

How do you know whether to fix or replace something? Tell us your story in the comment section of this blog!

Kristi

 

Energy, Environment, Food, Waste Prevention , , , , , ,

  1. Sandra McKinnon
    | #1

    Ours is the story of a snow blower. The gas engine was not fixable so we ordered a comparable engine from an online company. It worked. If it was me alone, I would have bought a new snow blower but the man of the house is very mechanically-minded. So I guess it depends on 1) availability of parts, and 2) know-how.

  2. Susan Taylor
    | #2

    Things happen – and usually about the same time – Especially with large appliances. Several years ago my sister called and said she had called the repair person for her washer – I asked how long had she had the washer and the response was 18 years – you are on borrowed time – cancel the appointment and go looking for the replacement washer. Here is a tool about large appliances. – Looked to see if I could find a lifespan for small appliances – it is limited probably due to lower cost of the appliance. Here are some resources for larger appliances – I helped with the first entry in my previous life.

    http://urbanext.illinois.edu/housing/maintenance.html

    http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,216991-4,00.html

    http://www.mrappliance.com/expert/life-guide/

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