New Appliance Shopping Tips

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Refrigerators | Stoves | Dishwashers | Cooktops | Wall Ovens | Washing Machines | Dryers | Laundry Centers

Before you start the hunt for a new appliance it's important to know a few details about your home and the appliances you currently own.
Below you will find lists of the basic information you will need to know about your home and current appliances to avoid making a frustrating and sometimes costly appliance buying mistake.
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Refrigerators

kitchen aid refrigerator

1. Do you know the height and width measurements of the space where you intend to put your new refrigerator?

2. Do you have a water supply for an ice maker?  Is the valve in good condition?

3. If you are interested in a top or bottom freezer style refrigerator, decide which direction would be best for the door to swing. (Handles on the right or on the left?)

4. How will the refrigerator be moved in and out through your house during installation?  Measure the narrowest doorways and gates.

5. Do you have special flooring that needs to be protected from scratching or tearing?

6. Where will your food be stored while your new refrigerator is being installed?

Wondering what percentage of refrigerators sold needed repair or had serious problems? Check out "Refrigerator Reliability Statistics"

Stoves

gas stove

There are four main types of stoves: Freestanding, Slide-in, Drop-in, and Eye-level.

Freestanding Range: This is the most common style of stove, sitting directly on the floor, with finished side panels. The stove top does not lap the side or back of the countertop, and the backsplash is part of the stove.

slide-in stove

Slide-in Range: This style of stove also rests directly on the floor; however, the top of the range will lap over the kitchen countertop on the sides and back for a clean seamless look.  The sides of this style of range are usually not finished, and the controls are generally located on the front.  You will need to know specific measurement information about your kitchen cabinets, countertop, and supply connections for a smooth installation experience.

drop-in range

Drop-in Range: A drop-in style stove will sit on a base that is built onto the floor; the top of the stove will lap the countertop, and will sometimes have a small backsplash attached to the stove.  This style of range has very specific cabinet dimension requirements and is often replaced by a freestanding or slide-in style stove.


Eye Level Range

Eye-level: This style of stove is no longer in production. An eye-level will have a microwave or second oven attached to the lower range that shares the power and or gas supply. (If you have one please send me a picture.) An eye-level range is generally replaced by a freestanding or slide-in range, and a microwave or vent hood is installed in place of the upper oven. Most often a new 120-volt electrical receptacle will need to be installed and the newly exposed wall between the two appliances will need to be painted or covered by a back splash panel.

General questions to ask yourself:

1. Is your stove gas or electric?

2. If your stove is gas, does your home use natural gas or propane?

3. What is the width of the existing range you want to replace? Better yet, what is the width of the space you want it to fit into?

4. Is the gas supply valve positioned on the wall so it will fit into the recessed area on the back of your new range?  Or will it need to be moved or modified for a good fit?(Some stoves have more open area in the back than others.)

Note: new stoves do not usually come with gas or electric supply lines.

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"Range Reliability Statistics"

Dishwashers

dishwasher

Most dishwashers require a space that is 24" wide by 34" tall.  If you have changed your countertop or added flooring since the existing dishwasher was installed, check to be sure you still have 34" of clearance from the bottom of the counter to the top of the floor. There are very few dishwasher models that are less that 34" tall.

Most dishwashers require a 3/8" water supply, 120-volt power supply, and drain connection.

In some cases the water supply valve will be an older size or corroded. In this situation the valve may need to be replaced to install a new dishwasher.

Dishwashers these days have a life span of about seven to ten years, and require some basic maintenance to work their best for that period of time.  Factors like low water temperature, too much soap, the wrong kind of detergent, or a mineral build up in the tub may cause poor dishwasher performance. 

"Dishwasher Reliability Statistics"

Check out the "How Dishwashers Work" page before you buy a new appliance.

Cooktops

Cooktops don't have standard dimensions, though some sizes are more common than others. You will need to know the width and depth of the cooktop to be replaced. Ideally it is good to know the measurement of the cutout hole that your new cooktop needs to fit into. (Altering the cutout size for your cooktop can greatly add to the cost of installation.)

General questions to ask yourself:

Will you need a gas or electric cooktop ?

Is your house plumbed for natural gas or propane?

Most new gas cooktops will have electronic spark ignition to light the burners, and require a 110-volt power plug.

Built-in ovens

wall oven

Built-in ovens don't have standard dimensions, though some sizes are more common than others. You will need to know the width and height of the oven to be replaced. Ideally it is good to know the the measurement of the cutout hole that your new oven needs to fit into. (Altering the cabinet cutout size for your oven can greatly add to the cost of installation.)

General questions to ask yourself:

Do you need a gas or electric oven?

Is your house plumbed for natural gas or propane?

Is there any room for height or width adjustment in your cabinetry? Such as lowering the base into a drawer, raise the top into a cabinet, or cut the cabinet sides to allow for more width.

Washing Machines

whirlpool front load washer whirlpool cabrio washer

Are you interested in the top-load or front-load style?

What are the width and depth measurements of the space were your new washer will sit?

Front-load washers spin twice as fast as top-load washers. . That allows for a more efficient drying time, but it also requires a solid foundation.

I am particularly fond of the higher end stator driven Cabrio and Bravos top-loading, energy saving washers by Whirlpool, although Fisher & Paykel originally developed this washer design.

They are a good alternative to the sometimes problematic front-loading designs. However, they are still highly computerized. An extended warranty is usually a good idea for any appliance made today.

"Washing Machine Reliability Statistics"

Dryers

whirlpool dryer

What are the width and depth measurements of the space were your new dryer will sit?

Will your new dryer need to be gas or electric? Electric dryers need a 240-volt power supply.

Is your house plumbed for natural gas or propane?

Ducting: the ducting that is attached to the dryer vent should be less than ten feet long, as straight as possible, not run vertically, and be clear of obstructions, like heavy lint build-up and objects blocking the vent exiting the home. Each 90ยบ turn is like adding 5 feet to the duct's length.

"New Dryer Shopping Guide"
"Dryer Reliability Statistics"

frigidaire laundry center

Laundry centers

What is the width depth and height restrictions of the space were the laundry center will be installed?

Will the dryer of the laundry center need to be gas or electric?

Electric dryers require 240-volt power supply.

Is your house plumbed with natural gas or propane?

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