Repair Plans, Appliances, and Rancid Meat…Oh, My!

Older refrigerator model, with freezer compartment
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We recently had our annual barbecue.   (For the purists, I am Minnesotan.  Barbecue means “cooked over fire”.)   Due to massive scheduling conflicts, it was a bit smaller than normal; only about 20 people came.  At least 10 other people RSVP-ed that they were going to make it, but didn’t.  Grr.

Naturally, we had food for everyone said they would be there and enough for half of the people who didn’t say anything, since Minnesotans don’t RSVP well.  That translates to a lot of leftovers.   No problem.  After all, leftover ribs are hardly a punishment.

Sunday morning, we woke up to find that our refrigerator was happier at room temperature than the standard “cold”.  We didn’t know it at the time, but the defrost unit was borked, so the cold air couldn’t circulate from the freezer to the refrigerator.  Bye-bye leftovers.  Hello, Mr. Repairman.  We needed an excuse to clean out the fridge, anyway, but not at the price of my beautifully seared meat! (Sadness strikes.)

Monday evening, the repairman came out, worked for 2 hours and left a functional refrigerator and a $240 invoice in his wake.  Thankfully, we are on the appliance repair plan through the gas company.  We pay $26.40 per month to cover repairs to our range, water heater, furnace, drier, sewer main, and refrigerator.  The first four items are standard, the final two are options that cost extra.

We originally got on the plan for the sewer main.  We had a tree whose roots grew into the main and clogged it every year.  A backed-up sewer main is a crappy way to wake up.   Getting that snaked to the street cost $200 per year.  At the time, without the refrigerator, the plan cost about $12 per month.  One $200 call-out more than paid for the plan for the year.  That was easy math.   Now, our 20 year old refrigerator has been repaired twice in the last year, giving us $500 worth of repairs for $316.80.   I would like to take this time to thank all of the people with reliable appliances for subsidizing my repairs.

My furnace, drier, and range are all reasonably new and shouldn’t need repairs any time soon, but the refrigerator and sewer main have paid for the plan themselves, several times over.

Should you get a similar plan?  If your covered appliances are more than 4-5 years old, I would consider it.  If they are more than 10 years old, I wouldn’t hesitate at all.  Repairing quality appliances is cheaper than replacing them, especially when the repair cost is paid monthly and subsidized.

Do you use a service plan?

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  • 9 comments

    Comments

    1. We don’t have a gas line, so no gas company or cool service plan offers…sad…

      Luckily, our appliances are holding up like champs so we’re good for right now. When things break I’ll have to make up my mind to have them fixed or to just buy a new appliance…

    2. BTW, I’m so sorry you lost all that yumminess!!!

    3. I almost have the opposite observation. Seems like my 20-30 year old appliances (although inefficient) were pretty bomb proof..it’s the newer stuff that breaks all the time.

      I blame it on the computer age. Now engineers have access to computers and can calculate out the minimum requirements needed to make a certain component function. Back in the old days with slide rulers and graph paper, engineers build in bigger fudge factors.

      How’s that for a theory?

    4. That is so sad about all that meat. My condolences.

      I don’t think we have anything like that offered.

      Our fridge only cost about $200… one of these days we’ll replace it. I do wish we had some kind of plan for microwaves. We’ve gone through 3 over 4 years. Stupid vacuum (or something) tubes. The tube is covered under warranty, but the fixing it isn’t, and costs more than a new microwave. Consumer search also has a little rant about the breakability of new microwaves so it isn’t just us. If only we’d stuck with the one from graduate school…

    5. Thanks for linking to my post. Just for curiosity’s sake you should look up your refrigerator model through the link I have on my site to the Refrigerator and Freezer Energy Rating Database and see what your energy rating is on that 20 year old geezer. We discovered that our 30 year old appliances were costing us $20/month to run while the “new” (6 year old) appliance was costing less than $5. I tested with my Kill A Watt to get the actual wattage hours being used. We don’t have any kind of repair plan such as you mention. I have lived in a house with roots grown into the main sewer line. No fun!

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