Appliance Ages

Our stove recently quite working and we were forced to get a new one. Actually, that story is pretty straight forward and successful. We bought a very good stove at a very cheap price (last years model bought on Amazon) and I installed it with no difficulties at all. As such, I won’t be telling that story.

Instead I wanted to tell everyone about a technique for checking the age of used appliances. This new stove is actually the 3rd stove we’ve had in the four years we’ve been living in our house. The first came with the house and the second we bought used. And that is where the problem comes in.

We thought we got a good deal with that used stove. It was only a couple years old (they told us that they were remodeling and wanted all the appliances to match), the couple selling it seemed nice, and they only wanted about $100 for it. In fact, when we picked it up they tried giving us a washing machine for free too. It turns out that it actually wasn’t that great of a deal after all… The stove was a little more than just a “couple” years old.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that we necessarily were ripped off either. We still only paid $100 for it and the stove’s eventual failure may not have even been age related. What lead us to discovered the true age, and what probably killed the stove, was a power surge.

For those of you who don’t know, power surges kill appliances, furnaces, and, literally, everything that is plugged in all the time. Most people think of lightening strikes causing this but when the power company is repairing the lines that can also create a power surge that is enough to damage electronics. What you also need to know is that if it’s caused by lightning then your insurance will cover it and if the power company is responsible then they will too… Sort of…

Several months before our oven finally called it quits the power company was doing work in our area and caused a power surge. The lights dimmed, then got very, very bright before going back to normal. And about half of the oven stopped working. I called up the power company and they agreed to pay for the Actual Cash Value of the unit. What that means is they pay for the value after Depreciation. And what that means is that if it’s an old stove your not getting anything out of it.

To clarify, as an appliance ages (or any other consumer grade product for that matter) it’s worth less. So if you sell a one year old stove you’d expect to get more than if you sell a ten year old stove. That difference in value is the Depreciation. And the power company will only give you the amount after Depreciation is taken away. Now, most homeowner’s policies will pay Replacement Cost, which means they pay the full amount to buy a new stove, even if yours is 20 years old. Although not all of them, so check with your agent.

Okay, so getting to the point of this post, when we filed with the power company they checked the age of the stove and we all found out that it was pretty old. You can also check the age if you’re thinking about buying a used appliance. First, check the unit for a sticker that will have the model number and serial number. It should look something like this:

Stove Info

Every major appliance will have one, TVs, furnaces, and water heaters. The age of the unit is coded into the model number or serial number, but don’t worry, you don’t have to figure it out on your own. Just Google something like ‘stove date code’ (or which ever appliance you’re trying to find out about) and there are several websites that will give you instructions on how to figure it out. My stove was manufactured in May of 2001. That means that my “couple years old” is about 15 years.

 

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