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Appliance Repair and Fighting Planned Obsolescence

I maintain 3 sets of appliances: home, basement suite; and rental property. Recently I’ve had a rash of breakdowns. I thought I’d document my experience here.

Kenmore Superduty Washing Machine: Age 25 years

It turned out to be a $10 part off Amazon (OEM part $25). In this case the no-name part is working (but see below!). I figured the problem only after I had completely dis-assembled the machine, and watched many youtube videos. I am humbled by the content creators of Youtube. Without them I would have bought a new machine.

My home is very rural, so having a home visit by a repair technician is ultra-expensive. I’m more fortunate with the rental property.

Kenmore Dryer: Age 35 yrs

I bought $15 worth of generic parts off Amazon. Within a week they had ALL failed. One by one I replaced each failed component with OEM Whirlpool parts to the tune of $75 dollars. It now works. The lesson here is you get what you pay for (usually, see above).

Inglis Dryer: Age 20 years

This unit is in our rental suite. Initially it looked to be a faulty power switch/button. I looked that up, then fell on the floor. $100 for a small toggle switch! No other options. So I bought the switch. It did NOT solve the problem (and remember electronic components are non-refundable). After some messing around and the use of a multi-meter, there was a short list of possible faulty components. All of them were more than $150 up to $500! I decided to buy another used dryer – for less money.

Why were these parts so expensive? My theory, an that of the parts technician at Marcone Supply is that Whirlpool “prices out” older machines by making the replacement parts so expensive you decide to buy a new machine. The rationale is supply and demand. They shrink supply by not making parts and/or letting third parties make them, and demand goes up as the machines age, thus the price skyrockets.

The most green product is the one you never buy

If companies truly believed in taking action against climate change, the would encourage the maintenance of existing machines. Make parts easy to obtain and affordable. The problem comes when 3rd parties make cheaper quality replacement parts. Consumers don’t often know when a part is inferior to the original. There are clues:

  • Compare the OEM part to the aftermarket part very closely, use the pictures given online to the best of your ability.
  • Look closely at the shape, size and weight of the part.
  • Look for stamps, part numbers and branding on the part (no brand=no good)
  • Check reviews online, and leave one yourself!

Buy Used – Not New

I ended up replacing the dryer in Calgary with a used one from

They were pretty good to deal with and it comes with a warranty.