Builders grade appliances - not as bad as you would think (well at least in 1999/2000).

Messages
216
Location
Atlanta, GA
So I would not call it a shameless plug but more of a who knew it could last this long type thing.

My condo I bought ~3 years ago still to this day has the builders grade GE kitchen appliance package that was installed back in 2000, I have confirmed all of the appliance tags they were built in 1999. I bought into this place thinking something was going to break (dishwasher or fridge mainly) in short order but shockingly everything still working pretty much like new with not a single issue to report in 3 years.

Dishwasher - We eat mostly at home so dishwasher gets run probably 5 of 7 days per week and cleans just as well as the new non-builder grade Whirlpool in the apartment I moved here from. I had to do some cleaning of it when I moved in as prior owner did zero cleaning maintenance on it for the 17 years they were here. Because it is builders grade from 2000 its noisy as heck so I dynamatted the door to quiet it down a little.

Range - only thing I have had to do with it is replace the burner drip trays and re-calibrate the oven temp (it was off by ~25 degrees) which only took a $10 oven thermometer, screwdriver and some time waiting for it to heat up and cool down. Took about 5 tries to get it adjusted just right but now its almost spot on, with the cycling it cools to about 340 during off cycles and hits 350 during on cycles with a 350 setting.

Microwave - its a microwave, nothing to do here except clean the interior.

Fridge - I need to get some attachments from Amazon to try to clean the coils buried under the fridge so all I have done is just cleaned the kick plate vents. I'm sure the coils are thick with dust after 20 years but if it kicks the bucket so be it.

Yes the appliances are ugly and 20 years old and they need to be replaced if I decide I want to sell this place and move on, I would take a huge hit on value if I tried to sell with these old dusty appliances. On the other hand I don't have any current plans to leave and not a huge fan of these appliances either (mainly the noisy dishwasher) but have a hard time justifying throwing out working appliances despite their age or appearance.

Getting sidetracked here. Main point is builders grade stuff is not as bad as perceived, well at least back in 1999-2000. Even the builders grade (FirstCo) heat pump and air handler was still doing ok after 18 years, I pre-emptively replaced it last year as it was breaking down 2-3x per year and R22 prices were about to skyrocket.
 
Messages
2,817
That's a long run! Love it.

I have a close friend who has an appliance repair business running 5 vans a day. He is high end only (Wolf, Sub Zero, Viking, etc...). I've met multiple techs through him who are solo appliance repairmen and always ask a lot of questions. They have the following in common. None are brand loyal. Recommendations are GE, Fridgeadare, and Kitchen Aid but things change depending on fridge, stove, etc... They have all said the compressors are just about all the same builds. Biggest issues they see are the add-on tech of the appliances. They almost always recommend a plain jane fridge.

What they say are brands to stay away from are LG and Samsung.
 

Zee09

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Messages
2,608
Location
Fairhill Maryland
I think you will find that before 2000 not everything was Chinese.......
I agree though. I built a house 20 years ago with a no name AC unit. Never had an issue- no cleaning nothing.
I replaced it this year because it became a real eye sore. Very ugly and rusty. I suspect the brand new name brand one will fizzle
in 10 years. Oh well.
 
Messages
9,983
Location
MA
Those are known as white goods which typically have a 5-10 year lifespan but you find many out there that last much longer.

Not a good time to get appliances now anyway, check your local stores or check online, many are in short supply.

Only thing with the microwave would be to check for leaks, seal could have gone bad by this time period.

Also on the refrigerator, they keep getting more energy efficient so a new one might save you more electricity over a few years to justify the cost of a new one.

As for the high end stuff, that can be anywhere from 5-20k so even though the repair might be 1-2k, if the replacement is that much, it's still cheaper to fix it than to get another one. Also some of that stuff is custom made so you can't just causally buy a new one.

I like the Aga stove, you don't turn it off because it's always on.
 
Messages
16,434
Location
Silicon Valley
The way I see most OEM, industrial, or builder grade stuff: most of them are as boring, simple, low risk, reliable before they are worn out, and cheap as their priorities. People don't buy them for emotional reason like the fancy appliances your wive like. They are simple color and easy to check if they are working or not, and their buyers don't want a call back because a bad fridge or microwave delay their real estate closing, costing them even more in interest or rent.

Simple boring loud predictable and low cost, like a Corolla.
 
Messages
16,434
Location
Silicon Valley
I think you will find that before 2000 not everything was Chinese.......
I agree though. I built a house 20 years ago with a no name AC unit. Never had an issue- no cleaning nothing.
I replaced it this year because it became a real eye sore. Very ugly and rusty. I suspect the brand new name brand one will fizzle
in 10 years. Oh well.

I have seen some stuff Haier build for their own market, and some other US branded stuff made over there. What I heard was the higher end stuff are quite good (and actually cost more than what we pay for in the US due to tax reason, they have a very different tax code over there). The mid range stuff from what I heard are licensed developed world technologies, but simplified for cost reason (common trade off is noise). Then there are the "for rural low income villager market" products that are like our lowest cost white good but more rugged, less fuzz, simpler. I've seen an ad for a washing machine that they claim you can wash yam and potatoes in it (to help process your crops before you sell them).... I'm not sure if it actually means it is "good" as a clothes washer.

At the moment I think I'd be way more concerned with Samsung and some European appliances. They don't seems to design for the US market very well and they seems to be hard to fix and not reliable.
 
Messages
257
Location
SW Missouri
My parents still have the Montgomery Ward dryer they got used in 88 when they got married. It has to get an idler pulley every couple years and the drum bearing went out last year. The parts are super easy to find on amazon and cheap due to being used on so many makes and models back then. Just don’t have the heart to throw it out for some expensive Chinese junk now. Maybe if the parts supply dries up well have no other choice but for now I’ll keep repairing it on the rare occasion it needs something.
 
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Messages
3,367
Location
Chicagoland
Our first house had builders grade stuff from the 90’s or very early 2000’s, it was a former rental.

Microwave died in 2017, fuse blew, I attempted putting a new fuse in and it worked for 45 seconds before it vaporized a trace on the circuit board with a loud pop, flash, and the wonderful smell of burnt electronics in a cloud of magic smoke. It lived a good life making late night pizza rolls or chicken nuggets.

Fridge was from 2000, an Amana side by side style. Gave it to a friend at work because my brother bought us a new Whirlpool French door fridge for Christmas 2018. His fridge is still working, mine has been great but a few of the interior LED’s have failed.

I may or may not have overreacted when the top rack of the dishwasher broke for the 3rd time, falling onto the bottom rack which broke yet another wheel on the bottom rack, replaced it with a scratch and dent stainless steel Whirlpool. Probably could have gotten new wheels for it, but an originally $750 dishwasher for <$300 sounded better.

Replaced the range with another scratch and dent Whirlpool, the controls for the stove were kind of messed up. You had to press them pretty hard to get it to register. Other than that, it worked great.

A little off topic but.... someone tell me why a dishwasher needs WiFi?
 
Messages
1,471
Location
Germantown, MD
I'm not sure builder grade appliances are actually bad, they're just low-spec. Not many features or 'luxury' touches. Like I noted in the Roomba thread the basic guts of every say Whirlpool dishwasher are the same. The fancy one just has more sound insulation, stainless interior, adjustable racks, maybe an extra water jet somewhere so they can say it has the "turbo clean" or whatever option on those compare side by side pages. I suspect this holds across most makes and types.

Some features like electronic controls and through the door ice makers are almost certainly less reliable than the more basic alternatives.

FWIW the crappiest appliances I deal with on a regular basis is my MIL's Sub Zero freezer and refrigerator. The freezer has a "commercial grade" trick where it locks you out if it thinks the door's been open too long - it takes a heavy pull to begin with so now you have this thing where you pull on it and it stays closed. Over time this has damaged the handle and door, the handle's loose and cannot be secured any tighter and the door is deformed. I'm sure it'll cost her a fortune when the time comes. The refrigerator's pull out drawers all constantly fall of their tracks. Garbage.

jeff
 
Messages
3,034
Location
Chicago Area
YMMV.

I bought a townhouse in 1996, GE Builder-Grade kitchen appliances. Gas valve on the oven went out about 2 months after my warranty ended...fortunately I bought the extended warranty plan because the cost of the valve itself would have been close to a new stove.

Current house was built in 2001. GE Builder-Grade stove and dishwasher. Dishwasher died about 6 months after the warranty expired. In all fairness, the Kenmore refrigerator I bought (mid-grade) barely lasted past the warranty period. I guess I hit the sweet-spot where quality started to slide.
 
Messages
3,034
Location
Chicago Area
...A little off topic but.... someone tell me why a dishwasher needs WiFi?

Search YouTube for the 'Silicon Valley' episode where Jian Yang buys a refrigerator with internet access...worth the trip, I promise - especially when Anton gets involved (you may have to search for another clip to see how that ends). I'd link it here, but towards the end it violates some of the board rules.
 
Messages
2,672
Location
Kansas City
All the appliances I bought or that were provided in my new home, are all working except the Range. That was in Oct of 1996. Mostly Hotpoint/GE of that era. I'm happy(y)
 
Messages
295
Location
southeast texas
Built my house in 1992. The SubZero freezer and fridge is just having the first real service going right now as I type. The fridge part does not cool. He just fixed it! A relay broke. Had the seals replaced in June. So 28 years old.
 
Messages
2,237
Location
Juno Beach FL
I suspect the ones in my Condo are original from the original build in 2006. They work far, far better than the much newer appliances in the house I recently sold.
 
Messages
16,434
Location
Silicon Valley
A little off topic but.... someone tell me why a dishwasher needs WiFi?

1) Your wife got all excited and want it.
2) In the future if you have time of day electricity pricing you want it to run at a particular hours or turn it on remotely if you forgot after you left the house
3) If you want to check if your dishes are done away from home
4) If you want to talk to it and turn it on via Alexa or Google (just for fun)
5) It doesn't cost more than $10 more so might as well.
 
Messages
81
It seems to be a general rule of thumb that the longer lasting run of the mill appliances from the US brands like Whirlpool, GE, and Frigidaire
seemed to go away around the late 90s...Most run of the mill appliances made since the late 2000s you are lucky if they can get to a decade without major failures. Today a lot of these things seem to go tits up around the 7-8 yr mark.
 
Messages
5,666
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
All the appliances I bought or that were provided in my new home, are all working except the Range. That was in Oct of 1996. Mostly Hotpoint/GE of that era. I'm happy(y)
A lot of older appliances are actually quite simple and robust. They're generally easy to fix with few things to break down. As for the "builders grade" stuff - I was under the impression that many were simply ones with fewer bells and whistles. Back when I bought a 32" tube TV, I figure out that the difference between the $500 special and the $800 one with the bells and whistles were tiny. Maybe a few different video ports (lack of S-video) and fewer buttons/features on the remote. But at its heart they were the same important parts.

Kind of the opposite of cars. The more sophisticated they've become electronically, the more reliable they've been - to a point. I do expect that a lot of these touch screen based electronics are going to fail - primarily because the touch screen fails. But I've seen 20 year old cars functioning fine even with a lot of non-visible electronics.
 
Messages
11,507
Location
Illinois
So I would not call it a shameless plug but more of a who knew it could last this long type thing.

My condo I bought ~3 years ago still to this day has the builders grade GE kitchen appliance package that was installed back in 2000, I have confirmed all of the appliance tags they were built in 1999. I bought into this place thinking something was going to break (dishwasher or fridge mainly) in short order but shockingly everything still working pretty much like new with not a single issue to report in 3 years.

Dishwasher - We eat mostly at home so dishwasher gets run probably 5 of 7 days per week and cleans just as well as the new non-builder grade Whirlpool in the apartment I moved here from. I had to do some cleaning of it when I moved in as prior owner did zero cleaning maintenance on it for the 17 years they were here. Because it is builders grade from 2000 its noisy as heck so I dynamatted the door to quiet it down a little.

Range - only thing I have had to do with it is replace the burner drip trays and re-calibrate the oven temp (it was off by ~25 degrees) which only took a $10 oven thermometer, screwdriver and some time waiting for it to heat up and cool down. Took about 5 tries to get it adjusted just right but now its almost spot on, with the cycling it cools to about 340 during off cycles and hits 350 during on cycles with a 350 setting.

Microwave - its a microwave, nothing to do here except clean the interior.

Fridge - I need to get some attachments from Amazon to try to clean the coils buried under the fridge so all I have done is just cleaned the kick plate vents. I'm sure the coils are thick with dust after 20 years but if it kicks the bucket so be it.

Yes the appliances are ugly and 20 years old and they need to be replaced if I decide I want to sell this place and move on, I would take a huge hit on value if I tried to sell with these old dusty appliances. On the other hand I don't have any current plans to leave and not a huge fan of these appliances either (mainly the noisy dishwasher) but have a hard time justifying throwing out working appliances despite their age or appearance.

Getting sidetracked here. Main point is builders grade stuff is not as bad as perceived, well at least back in 1999-2000. Even the builders grade (FirstCo) heat pump and air handler was still doing ok after 18 years, I pre-emptively replaced it last year as it was breaking down 2-3x per year and R22 prices were about to skyrocket.
Reviving an old thread. Our home came with Whirlpool builders grade appliances in 2008. It was a mixed bag. The over the range microwave was coming apart. I had screws holding the handle on.

A couple of posts on the dishwasher had rusted and broke off. Oh, and the ice maker was replaced a couple of times over 11-12 years.
When we re-did our floors, we replaced the then in fashion black appliances with stainless. Again, Whirlpool since they did well.

We upgraded on everything but the microwave. A very quiet dishwasher, a French Door fridge with a pull out snack and cheese drawer, and a convection oven.

Got enough from selling the old appliances and dryer to pay for a new dryer to put on the stackable washer.

Having survived three teens, I thought they held up well for what they were.
 
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