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Friday, January 29, 2021

The Choice to Repair Instead of Replace

In a perfect world, appliances would last 100 years or more. I'd even settle for 50 years or more. Sadly, parts of even the best appliances give out long before the whole ceases to function. The gasket on our 12-year-old refrigerator began tearing at about year 6. The bowl on my food processor developed a crack around year 17. And due to my own clumsiness, I broke the glass jar on our 39-year-old Oster blender just the other week. In all of these appliances, it was the non-machine parts that were an issue. The good news is, I don't need to have any mechanical skill to "fix" any of these appliances. The bad news is, spare parts simply aren't available for some appliances.

just the glass replacement

In many cases, it's money-wise to replace a single or even multiple parts. With simple fixes like these non-machine parts, it's a matter of popping off the old and popping on the new. My appliances are ready to go again. 

For my blender, I was able to save the blade assembly and the lid, needing only a new glass jar. The new jar cost about $9 with an additional $9 for shipping. Sound like a lot? Internet searches indicate that the older gen Oster appliances are known to last far longer than any new blender at the low-end of the price range. In just a few years, I should get my money back by not needing to replace the blender.

After several decades of use, you would think that I'd feel my near-vintage blender had served its duty and now it's time for its retirement. On the contrary, this blender has served me well because it was so well-made. It will likely grind, crush, and puree for many more years, if not decades. 

Back in the day, Oster made a superior blender. When different elements have broken or worn out, Oster makes all the needed replacement parts. I take that as a good indication of the company's confidence in their product -- that they feel they are worth the repair. By buying a replacement part, I want to send the message to Oster that I'm a consumer who is willing to repair a high-quality appliance instead of replacing it. 

It goes without saying, but it's also a good environmental value to choose repair over replace -- less added to landfills and less emissions spewn into the atmosphere in the production of new appliances.

In some cases, making a green choice winds up costing us a little more in our wallets. But for many appliance repairs, we save some money and only sacrifice in aesthetics. My almond tone-on-tone blender may not look as fashionable as a sleek new model. But it saved me real money and it was a good choice for our planet.


8 comments:

  1. I have the exact same blender with the almond color. I had a dull blade a few years ago and I searched several hardware stores that stocked Oster parts and found one which included the rubber seal! I kept the old one just in case I might double up the rubber seal or need the blade again. There is a small chip on the glass where you attach the blade/seal but it still works great! Glass jar is so much better than the plastic ones. Our daughter makes smoothies everyday in our blender and I use it for making whole tomatoes into a sauce ready for spaghetti sauce.

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    1. Hi Alice,
      Yay for 1980s almond color appliances! This old Oster model just keeps on running for so many people. I'm glad you were able to find the blade that you needed. I've replaced the rubber gaskets a couple of times, but not the blade, yet. I have seen the blade available online and will replace that when ours dulls a bit more. We use our blender several times a week. It's been so useful to us, as it sounds yours has been for you.

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  2. If you have an older appliance, I'd say fix it if you can because most of the new ones are made to be throw-a-ways. Even the large ones aren't expected to last more than 10 years these days. Our food processer, slow cooker, and mixer are over 35 years old and still going strong, and our bread machine is over 25 years old. However, we have been through several toasters, the latest being one that someone was going to throw away because it didn't hold big enough slices of bread. It's working great for us.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      It's such a shame that appliances are made so cheaply now. We have the fridge that was in our house originally from 1977. We use it as a spare fridge in the garage. The only problem we ever had was once the insulation in the back managed to get in the way of the fan blade. The "fix" was simply to move the insulation out of the way. We would have kept it in the kitchen, but it was too deep for the spot (that was the main reason) and it's avocado green (we thought about having it repainted professionally). That's amazing that your bread maker is over 25 years old. Now that was a good buy. It has saved so many hands-on hours, freeing you to do other things.

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  3. I also have that blender, inherited from my mom, but mine is harvest gold. I read that color schemes from the 70s are popular again so I'm in vogue! I'm in the use it till it dies club, too. Who needs to spend money buying new appliances all the time? And why fill up landfills unnecessarily?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kris,
      Our kitchen when I was growing up was all in harvest gold. That color scheme always makes me smile -- it seemed so cheerful. Use it till it dies, that about describes my attitude toward so much of what we own. It saves money, while also being the green choice.

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  4. Count me in as well. It so annoys me the "planned obsolescence" and cheap quality of appliances these days. I would much rather have and be using an older appliance. When we relocated to the Outer Banks, we brought with us a Maytag washer. It was a standard washer, nothing fancy-heavy as lead. We had bought it used from a friend and had used it for 15 years or so. The only bad thing was that it didn't have an automatic cold rinse, so I would go hit the button to make the rinse cold instead of warm or hot, depending upon what I was washing. When we bought this house, appliances came with it so we sold that Maytag. When we lost our house in a fire, we of course got all new everything. Well, it has been 14 years since we moved back into our house and in that 14 years we are on our SECOND washing machine. And I'll GUARANTEE you that that Maytag that we paid $25 for and sold for $50 is STILL working. We are also on our second refrigerator. Sigh.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Lynn,
      Ouch, that regret over the Maytag must sting. This is such a shame that appliances are made so cheaply now. There is definitely a market for better quality, even at a higher price. Thanks for your comment. You've given me even more incentive to keep our 25 year old Maytag running.

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