Appliances are major investments for a home. In addition to the initial cost, the typical American homeowner pays up to $1500 per year to use, care for and maintain major appliances. Since appliances have relatively long life expectancy, a poor choice can be irritating-even costly if replaced due to dissatisfaction.
Family Needs: One of the most important factors to consider when shopping for a new appliance is the family needs. What model would be most useful for your family? Does any family member have special needs? For example, is a family member short, blind, or need to use a wheelchair?
Convenience Features: It is important to determine what you will use and what you will not use. Paying for features that will never be used can be very costly, Are extra features worth the added cost over that of the basic appliance? Will the added feature save time, energy, or work? Will you use the extra features? Can you afford them?
Does the model have energy saving features? Be sure to compare the energy efficiency of refrigerators, freezers, and dishwashers because they often use a lot of energy. Other appliances vary little in energy use between models and brands. Appliances should be designed to permit case of use and maintenance. Safety is another critical issue as more children are using appliances.
Installation: Take into account power, space and size of the new appliance. How much space is available for the appliance? Are doors and passageways wide enough to move the appliance in and out of the room? What fuel source is required, available, and most cost-effective? What additional wiring, plumbing, or other hookups are required for the new appliance? What is the cost for this? Are there additional charges for delivery, installation, and service calls?
Cost of operating: The cost of operating an appliance depends on the cost of energy, the appliance design, frequency of use, number of hours used and the user's work habits. Often energy-efficient appliances cost more than less efficient models, but usually the energy cost savings will repay the difference in purchase price fairly quickly.
Warranty: When you buy a major appliance, you are also buying a warranty. It costs the manufacturer to fill the warranty terms and that cost is included in The price you pay for the appliance. Make certain each major appliance you purchase has a warranty that provides you with meaningful protection- Become familiar with warranty contents and terminology. Treat the warranty just like a feature on the appliance.