Tips for Purchasing Appliances

No matter what the season, there are a lot of things to consider when purchasing small and large appliances. No matter if the appliance you are purchasing is large or small, there are some identical points to keep in mind.

One thing to do before purchasing is to research for more information on the appliance. Look to see if there is any study done on that type of appliance such as from the resource Consumers Reports monthly magazine and Consumer Reports yearly buying guide. Study the choices that are available, their features, their performances, and safety tests done on the type of appliance you are looking to buy. Check to see what is the Consumer Reports buying advice and recommendations for that type of appliance.

Also, do an Internet search from your home computer or at the library for information on the companies who make that type of appliance. Make contact with the appliance company by phone, e-mail, or regular mail to obtain more data on the appliance(s) you are interested in. You can find out more facts on the appliance's features, prices, warranties, repair history, and flaws. Even a few trips to different stores or looking over advertisements to compare appliances will be of help.

The next thing you need to do is to decide what features you want in the appliance, including the price range you can afford. Perhaps make a list of the features you must have and the features you can do without in the appliance. Some other questions to ask yourself:

Do you have space to store and place the appliance? Do you even have space to bring a large appliance through the outside and inside doors of your home? You do not want to be shocked when a large appliance is delivered to your home and it cannot go through the different doors to its final resting site.

Does your appliance have Underwriter's Laboratory Seal of Approval on the appliance and electrical cord? This seal means that the appliance and/or cord have been tested and approved by UL for prescribed standards for electric safety.

Did you read the yellow with black print Energy Guide label affixed to large appliances such as refrigerator-freezers, freezers, dishwashers, clothes washers, room air conditioners, furnaces, water heaters, and so on? These labels will guide you in comparing the yearly energy costs or energy efficiencies of competing appliances.

Are you buying the brand name appliance from a reputable dealer? Does the dealer handle repair service and replacement parts?

Did the dealer or maker answer all your questions on the appliance to your satisfaction?

Does the appliance have conveniently located controls that you can reach and read safely?

Is the appliance easy to clean and maintain inside and out?

Is the appliance instruction book easy to read and understand?

By taking these steps, you will be more satisfied with your purchase of a small or large appliance.

Prepared by: Katherine J. Reuter, Consumer and Family Economics Educator, Countryside Extension Center


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