Guest Post: Explore the Benefits of Used Appliances

September 10, 2012

Tough financial times can make the prospect of having to purchase new appliances for the home rather daunting. While everyone needs basic appliances such as a stove, a fridge, or a washer and dryer, what are your options when you discover that a price tag of $1000 for a washing machine just isn’t in the budget? Fortunately, the solution is simple: buy a used appliance!

Buying used appliances can be a very cost-effective method to get the most out of a household budget. Today’s consumers are a different breed of those from years past. It used to be that the only time someone sold an appliance was because it no longer had any useful life left in it. Most old appliances were sold for scrap and the money gained went towards the purchase of a replacement item.

Today, people will sell a perfectly functional appliance for the simple reason that a newer model in a color they like better has come on the market. The abundance of choices for today’s consumer make it way easier to find quality and dependability at a great price.

Another huge benefit to buying used appliances is the fact that it helps to ease the burden on our over-crowded landfills. Hundreds of landfills across the country are filled with used appliances that, after exposure to the elements, can seep toxic chemicals into the soil. Groundwater supplies, local lakes, and streams are affected by runoff, which in turn has the potential to harm drinking water supplies. The simple act of recycling used appliances by offering them up for sale can help to alleviate some of the burden on our environment.

When buying used appliances for the home, there are some things to check to ensure that you are making a safe and dependable purchase. The following tips can go a long way in making sure that you are getting the best bang for your buck:

  • Stoves: Check that the wiring and wiring harness do not have any frayed cords. Frayed cords can pose an electrical shock hazard and are a fire risk.
  • Refrigerators: Check to see that the interior stays cool enough to prevent food spoilage. If it comes equipped with an ice maker, make sure there is no leakage in the water lines. Check the coils and condenser fan in the back of the unit, a little bit of dust build-up isn’t an issue but corrosion is definitely a problem.
  • Dishwashers: Make sure all cycles work. Check the water connections. Check the heating element to make sure it functions properly and does not over-heat which can be a fire-hazard.
  • Washing Machines: Check for cracks in the connecting water hoses. Make sure the machine is balanced when operating on the spin cycle. Ask the seller if there have been any problems with damages to articles during the wash cycle.
  • Dryers: Always check the vent hose area to make sure there are no blockages as dryer lint buildup pose a major home fire hazard. Check the different heat cycles to ensure the dryer works on all settings, including the “no-heat” setting, and make sure there are no holes in the lint screen.

There are several places to look for reliable used appliances. Well-known resale stores, such as Goodwill, The Salvation Army, or your local Habitat for Humanity can be an excellent source for finding what you are looking for. Local newspaper classified ads are also another option. Area consignment stores often have a surprisingly good selection of quality used appliances, and sometimes you’ll even find major appliances for sale at a fraction of the retail cost at a garage sale.

If you are shopping online there are plenty of websites that can expand your buying options. Check out,, online classified ads, and other sites. Run a Google search, using the search term “used appliances for sale” to see what comes up in your area.

The odds of finding the right used appliance for your home are really good. Just remember to ask questions about the items history and performance, and to check the list of potential hazards above before finalizing your purchase. With a little effort and knowledge, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying your new purchase, and helping to protect the environment, one used appliance at a time.

Jessi Snow is a Community Coordinator for PartSelect, an online resource that helps homeowners with appliances and do-it-yourself appliance repair help.

Photo:  navets