This September we will be celebrating 10 years in our home. The house came with very few appliances. Upon moving in, we needed a washer, dryer and refrigerator. Within two years after moving in, we purchased a new oven, microwave, dishwasher and freezer. The home came with central air conditioning and when we had it serviced last summer, the technician estimated that the unit was probably 15 - 20 years old.
Why am I listing all of this for you? When our refrigerator started rattling recently, it occurred to me that many of our appliances are heading towards old age. While I have no desire to replace any of them right now, I also don't want our finances to be thrown for a loop when something does decide to take a trip to appliance heaven. I don't want to drain the emergency fund, which could easily happen when the AC needs replaced. We certainly don't want to go into debt either.
My main concern is that AC unit. Every year, I try to go as long as possible before we turn the AC on, and I cross my fingers that it will work properly. Every year, I pray that this isn't the year that it decides to go kaput. And yes, I do realize that it is probably not the most energy efficient unit at 15+ years of age, but a new unit could cost $5000+.
So in the meantime, I'll hope for the best and do a little planning.
1 - Take inventory of every appliance in your home. When and where did you purchase the appliances? Do you have the owners manuals and receipts? Are they under warranty? A warranty saved us a lot of money when our fairly new hot water heater unexpectedly broke last fall. Keep your inventory and your owners manuals all in one place.
2 - Take proper care of appliances. Read through the owners manuals to find out how to clean the appliances. Do they have filters that need replaced regularly? Did you know that you need to clean the outside of your refrigerator as well as the inside? I didn't and I found this article helpful, How to Avoid Refrigerator Repairs.
3 - Have appliances serviced regularly. Not all appliances need to be serviced, but we do have our AC unit and our two gas fire places serviced yearly. The units are cleaned and checked for any problems or issues.
4 - Start a replacement fund. I know. I know. Just one more thing to save money for, but this will help you (and me) avoid going into debt when our appliances need replaced.
What kind of shape are you appliances in? Have you thought about it lately? Are you prepared if something breaks down and needs replaced? Let us know in the comments.
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This post is linked to Frugal Friday at Life as MOM.