Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Miscellanea at Home

When trying to think of a name for this post, several thoughts came to mind - bits and pieces, odds and ends, this 'n that, sundries, hodgepodge or as UK folks might say, bits and bobs.

Many would apply in one way or another, but I rather liked the post title best.

As much as I enjoy recounting our road travels and appreciate the comments left by fellow bloggers, other things have been happening at home in Nashua, NH.

As most of us know, appliances, whether large or small, don't last forever. Of course, major appliances are more costly to replace than the smaller household ones, like coffee makers, blenders, food processors, slow cookers, food processors and others.

New coffee maker, same as before
In our case, it was the coffee maker, which was still functioning; however, the hot plate was worn so the coffee was not getting as hot as before. 
We really got our use from this appliance as it was used daily for some 4+ years. Its replacement is the same dual-use Hamilton Beach model that can brew multiple cups or a single cup. As it was still working, the old unit was recycled to a local thrift store with a note to explain the hot plate issue.

I found an article online in Architectural Digest, which rated the lifespan of coffee makers and expresso makers to about 5 years: While you can continue using them if there are no major problems, they at least require a look, once this benchmark has been reached. Several signs that it can be time to repair or replace your machine include if the water is not getting hot enough, the pump breaks or the machine is leaking. Then, it is likely time to replace the machine.

And, so we did as recommended. Our replacement coffee maker works great and the morning coffee is very hot now. This  dual-use model comes in handy when only one of us wants a cup of coffee. A major plus is that it doesn't take a large amount of limited counter space.

Overall, I was curious as to how long other small kitchen appliances are expected to last, but despite various online searches, there wasn't much information available on this topic. But, there was a lot of information on how long other appliances were expected to last — all were in the category of major appliances

Internet source
According to This Old House: The lifespan of an appliance depends on how much it’s used, which seems like common sense to me, perhaps to you too. Yet, many major appliances are replaced before they've worn out and this is due to other reasons such as changes in styles, renovations, technology and consumer preferences; all of these can make newer products more desirable.

Out of all the major home appliances, gas ranges have the longest life expectancy: 15 years and electric ones from 13-15 years. Dryers and refrigerators about 13 years. Some appliances with shorter lifespans include: compactors (6 years), dishwashers (9 years)  microwave ovens (9 years) and window AC units (5-7 years).

Why do old appliances last longer?
No surprise here as it's all about what materials are used in the manufacturing processes. Quite simply, older units were built better with sturdier materials, like metal, which insured their durability vs. plastic now. This meant they could withstand wear and tear much better than newer counterparts. I can remember the appliances in my parent's home to verify this fact. They were basic and lasted.

Today, new appliances have more bells and whistles compared to those from 10 or even 20 years ago, there's so many features and electronics; some that can be controlled with other electronics. While those features on new appliances can be handy, sometimes electronics don’t mix well with moisture often present in the average dishwasher, refrigerator or washing machine. In addition, the plastic materials are less durable than steel or copper as many homeowners know.

Sometimes, repair isn't considered a good option, even if trying to be cost-efficient. According to a Best Buy Home Expert, repairing an older appliance could lead to another issue. In the end, a repair could cost more than a replacement. In those cases, newer ones are bought.

As for ourselves, it's been over 8 years since we were homeowners in NJ and VA. While we replaced a refrigerator when living in NJ, all the major appliances were bought new when we relocated to VA and renovated an older house. Thankfully, none had reached their termination point when we relocated to NH.

Living and renting in the mill apartment as we do now means we don't have major appliance repairs since we don't own those in the apartment—refrigerator, electric range, microwave and dishwasher. If any of these fail or malfunction, the procedure is to file a maintenance request with the management office. It's logged and an in-house maintenance person checks on the issue. That goes for replacing air filters and light bulbs in the bathroom fixtures as well.
Communal apartment laundry room on our floor
There's no washer and dryer in the apartments, instead each floor has a central laundry room for 5 floors in 2 mill buildings. Until 2 years ago, maintenance was performed in-house, then the older machines were replaced with this new equipment which lets residents use an app on their phone or add money to a laundry card. The company that installed these units, also handles repair issues, but now residents need to contact them directly. Thankfully, there haven't been too many breakdowns. When that happens, residents can use an available machine on another floor as needed and yes, there are elevators.

New blender & vintage book
A couple of weeks ago, I bought a new appliance that wasn't a replacement —this Black & Decker blender has been in almost daily use since being set up. Smoothies are a morning favorite with yogurt, fresh fruit, milk (low-fat) honey, cinnamon and a couple of ice cubes. Bananas and peanut butter also make a delicious breakfast combo and it's now Grenville's favorite.

Before buying, I checked out various makes and models and most important dimensions as the plan was to keep the blender on the counter top. Online shopping comes in handy as often stores have limited models. Yes, we did check a couple of local places, first.
Just like appliances were made better years ago, often so were some publications. The one shown in the photo was "rescued" from a discard pile. I volunteer with the Nashua Public Library Friends group and outdated books deemed not good enough for the annual sale are tossed out due to limited storage space or to be replaced by more current ones. This book is over 50 years old (1965 copyright). I'm planning to try some of the recipes it contains.
Our gallery-style apartment kitchen
Above is a view of our gallery kitchen which has limited counter space, so the blender had to be a size that could remain on the counter. 
Our new coffee maker & blender share counter space with coffee & tea bags
I'm sure many of you know what I mean. When an appliance is put into a pantry or cabinet, it's used less often because it can take an effort to haul it out.
Another countertop space saver was replacing a towel holder with this one

Another way, we saved some counter space was to replace a free-standing paper towel holder with one that could mount on the side of the kitchen cabinet. More online research went into finding one with dimensions to fit the 11-inch space. The stainless steel one above was a perfect fit and priced right too, under $10.

So there you have it, some this 'n that from our corner of the world, the kitchen corner.
Your turn — what's been going on in yours ?


Tom said...

`...two years ago we renovated our home and got all new major appliances, there are things to like and dislike with all of them. I have a smart phone that I barely know how to used and if I want I could control them with my phone. That's not going to happen. We were gifted a new toaster that would look new and in keeping with our new kitchen, it lasted a few months and now we use the old one that looks out of keeping, but works. Our daughter has old appliances and she found an old school repairman who will only work on old appliances. If you want to sell old things, he will buy them because there is a market for the. I have a '50 Ford hotrod and have an old school mechanic who will work on anything without a computer. I feel out of touch with time.

Marie Smith said...

We have replaced stove, dishwasher, microwave, washer and dryer in 14 years in this location. The stove was replaced twice. The newer appliances are not as well made for sure. What will they be like in the future if they are less well made over time? Disposable society! All that appliance garbage has to go somewhere!

Anvilcloud said...

Our present coffee-maker is a single-use type, but not pods. It works well with no burner. You just grab your coffee and drink it. It only takes a few minutes to brew. We've had the other types, both the kind that require a burner and the single-use pod type. We'd probably purchase similar machine if and when this maker goes to meet its MAKER.

Ginny Hartzler said...

I really enjoyed reading your appliance info! And as I suspected, part of the reason that appliances do not last as long is because they are not as well made. I really like your kitchen! We just replaced our coffee maker a few weeks ago, they need much more frequent replacing than any appliance, big or small, that we have.

Bijoux said...

We’ve actually had the best luck with microwaves. I had one from my parents at our old house that never stopped working, but we replaced when we remodeled and wanted one above the stove. The microwave in this house was original (1991) and we replaced it two years ago, just because we wanted stainless to match everything else. So, we’ve never had one that broke down in any way. Our worst luck has been with washers.

DUTA said...

Enjoy your new coffee appliance!
I must admit that I"ve reached that stage, that when an appliance works, it stays, and I do my best to preserve what I still have functioning.

MadSnapper said...

I think renting is the way to go after retirement. bob would never rent, but i sure would. since you like to travel it makes it even more sensible to rent. don't have to fret over what is happening to your property. glad you showed all the small appliances. I love my bullet blender for small smoothies, but when it dies think i might get a blender instead. you are right, i rarely use the crock pot because i have to dig it out of the bottom cabinet. the toaster, coffee pot, blender and ninja oven all are used daily and on the counter

MadSnapper said...

our first toaster oven was under counter and lasted 14 years, we bought the next one identical. it died after only 8 years. we have had 2 in the last we have had 2 toaster ovens in the past 18 years.. we use it almost daily. I rarely use the oven on the range, and only 2 or 3 times a year before 2006 when my sons used to come for holidays. now I make anything in the ninja

Barbara Rogers said...

I do love renting, where the responsibilities of repair of big appliances belong to the land-lord/lady. Small appliances are how I cook/reheat most of my meals. A Cuisinart toaster-oven replaced the old Black & Decker, and an off brand microwave was a gift from a family member of a neighbor who'd died...the old GE microwave had lasted over 15 years. A very old (25 years or so) blender keeps on kicking. Interesting how the parts are not made to last any more. Who thought that up? Planned obsolescence?

Kathy G said...

If I need to make a major purchase I go to the library and check the Consumer Reports magazine to find out their recommendations before going to the store.

Linda G. said...

I enjoy frequent smoothies, made at home as well. I can control the sugar content at home vs buying a smoothie out. Bob purchased a Ninja Nutri-Blender for either a Christmas or birthday present. I love it!

Boud said...

I'm grateful for the appliances that really last. Like my coffee grinder which I use for grinding everything from rice to seeds. 40 years old, cost $10 new.
Or my late lamented fridge which I had to replace last year, after 34 years of use.

My coffee maker is a filter sitting on my mug, boiling water poured through once, slowly. Excellent coffee!

Debby said...

Funny that you post this. We are building our own home and designing it very carefully. One of the planned things is that we will have a pantry that will hold our hoosier cabinet and some steel shelves that can be moved for easy cleaning behind. One of the purposes of the pantry will be to store all those small appliances so that the counters are not so cluttered in the kitchen. The receptacles in the room will allow the crock pot to sit on the enamel hoosier counter and cook away to itself. The little coffee pot will stay in the kitchen where it belongs.

Jeanie said...

I bought all new appliances in 1995 when I bought my house. The 1962 stove that was in place was replaced only in 2020, I think, maybe 2021. The washer and dryer broke in 2018 or 19. The dishwasher didn't break but was replaced in 2022. The fridge is still going strong, though I'd like a new one. My microwave was used when someone gave it to me in 1981 and it was replaced by another used one in 2021. I have a feeling anything I've replaced things with won't last nearly so long (that was an average of 32 years each if I did the math right. Don't bet the farm on that!)

Rita said...

When I moved in here over nine years ago the building was brand new. The frig was not working right in about one year and needed to be replaced. I've had the dryer fixed twice already and the washer once. The dishwasher doesn't do a very good job anymore the past few years--but it is still working. The AC unit has held up, amazingly, and still works well. I've had a lot of troubles with the cheap blinds. It is very nice that the owners have to replace things when you rent--yes. But I will be glad to move away--lol! ;)

Emma Springfield said...

My favorite small appliance is my electric tea kettle. It takes the water to a boil in less than 30 seconds. I can have my tea in no time.

photowannabe said...

Very interesting information and comments from everyone.
We were the original owners to our home from 1966 to 2007. Those appliances we bought then were pretty much still ticking when we moved.
We left everything there for the next owners and gladly bought a new fridge, washer and dryer. Micro was an in wall model which finally croaked a few years ago. Dishwasher was original to the house and we finally got a new one a few months ago.
I truly believe things now have built in obsolescence.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

I must be abnormal. I have no idea when we bought our appliances other than for the washer and dryer we replaced just a few months ago. We use them until they die, old fashioned or not. Perhaps like old cars at some point they become valuable antiques. During her last visit my daughter commented that the toaster is slow, but I can’t recall the last time we were in a hurry and needed the bread to pop up quickly!

Linda P said...

It must be convenient to have a laundry room. Maybe you chat to fellow apartment dwellers when of you use the facilities in this area? Our electrical appliances were gifts. The toaster and kettle are most appreciated as we enjoy our breakfasts with cups of tea or coffee.

Jenny Woolf said...

Wow, this is a very interesting post! I'll show it to my husband. Her volunteers with a community appliance fixing service. It's literally for anyone with any kind of electrical appliance to turn up and see if they can fix it. The aim is to reduce electronic waste (which often contains very valuable materials in small quantities). Right now he is fixing a tool that does steel engraving, he's had fun finding out how it works. Last week it was a vacuum cleaner. Both, like your coffee machine, really only had one thing wrong. This community repair shop is part of a wider movement in Europe and other countries to bring in the "right to repair" by law. that means manufacturers HAVE to keep in a stock of parts available for repair and make it possible to take their appliances to bits in order to fix them. At present, some appliances are deliberately stuck together instead of screwed together, so you have to break them to replace just one small part inside them. Some countries have already brought in the laws, and I'm hoping that with a change of government (fingers crossed) here in the UK, there will be some official action about this.

Nil @ The Little House by the Lake said...

My stove, fridge, washer and dryer came with the house when I bought it, and they are pretty old. I hope they all won’t die at the same time!
I don’t like appliances with too many bells and whistles. Why can’t they make simpler ones that last longer?

Kay G. said...

We have had our fridge since 1995. It makes some strange noises but it's still working! You have done so much research for this post, I am impressed! Love the sound of your smoothies, I know they are popular. Maybe we might get a blender one day, LOL!

kathyinozarks said...

At the woods home we went through a lot of coffee with visitors and Larry always drank a pot himself-I have to have decaf- someone gifted up a used pro resturant type pour over coffee maker with two heat plates top and bottom. these are set up that have to be serviced-we tried cleaning it and it didn't work out so well.
we searched online for a refubished commercial coffee maker and found a good one with a good price. It's been probably 8 years at least and still works perfect. with this one I only use distilled water in it so nothing has to be cleaned except the outside of the maker and wipe down where the coffee comes out.
makes excellent coffee fast. best appliance we ever bought smiles.
my other appliances-I am not a small appliance type person-are all around 40 years old now or older-the vita mix and another one that chops and slices etc. that one I need to hunt for a new bowl as the plastic is falling apart now-but nothing wrong with the motor. older appliances were made better.

Michelle said...

A couple of years ago we had to replace our 30 ish year old dishwasher only because the door wouldn't lock anymore. It was a Maytag and really lived up to the reputation!

My name is Erika. said...

This is a timely post for me. My fridge/freezer is 14 years old, and the freezer is cold, but not cold enough to freeze any thing. We're checking into what it might be and what the hubby can repair. We don't want to put a lot of cash into a 14 year old frig, but at the same time, I'd love to not have to buy a new fridge right now. :) It's sad they don't make appliances to last nowadays. So much waste.Enjoy your new coffee maker and blender.

diane b said...

Manufacturers purposely make goods to last only 5 years so that consumers have to buy new ones more often. This idea was started by the guy who invented light bulbs to last for years. He realised that he wasn't making money so he then invented ones to only last a shorter time. Other manufacturers jumped on the band wagon.

nick said...

I agree with you that today's appliances don't seem to last anything like as long as the appliances of a few decades ago. Our microwave is at least 30 years old and still going strong. Our oven and hob go back at least 20 years and were installed by the previous owners. Our fridge and freezer and washing machine were only replaced a few years ago so as yet no life span available. You're lucky that you don't have to pay for any major appliance repairs. Your kitchen is very neat and tidy. We don't have a coffee machine, we just use cafetieres, which of course last for many years.

Linda said...

I'm loving catching up with y'all! They just don't make things the way they used to!

David said...

Hi Beatrice, Interesting statistics... We moved into this home 15 years ago and we're still using the electric cooktop, refrigerator (now the backup in the garage), and dishwasher that came with the house. We did buy a new refrigerator that looked better than the old one...but the 'new one' had to be replaced about 7 years ago. Our washer and dryer are 10 plus years old. Our range is an electric built in model and it's fairly new...5 or 6 years old. We replaced the old one in order to put in a double oven. Our issues have been with the really expensive 'appliances', our external HVAC units. Since we moved in 15 years ago, we replaced our dual fuel unit twice, one of the heat pump units once and the other heat pump (3 units in all) has been going strong since the early 2000s. My mother's old washing machine, a GE, operated reliably from 1985 until 2009 when we moved to Tennessee. We don't know if the new owners replaced it but with 2 children, they probably had to... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave