Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Broken Dishwasher, a Budget, and Staying on Track

I hit the START button, but it didn't start.  Ever happen to you?  The uncooperative appliance was our dishwasher.  Not an essential home appliance, but one I had grown to enjoy.  Hmmmm. I press the button again, nothing.  I poked around a bit, but it was clear there was no power.

Photo credit: www.sxc.hu - free image

In our home power problems are handled by my husband, an electrical engineer.  He came over looking for a breaker switch (whatever that is).  None.  He checked the circuit breaker in the garage, nothing tripped.  We stared at it a bit and decided we'd call the Home Warranty Company in the morning.

We bought our home in November 2010 and it came with a home warranty.  We used it several times that first year:  the garbage disposal broke as did the garage door opener.  As we approached the one year mark we were given the option to extent it for one year, at a cost of $425.  We'd have to pay a $85/event deductible.  We took a gamble because our furnace has reached its life expectancy, and the air conditioner has exceeded its.

The gamble paid off.  When the appliance technician came out for a look it was determined that the control panel and touch pad system, essentially the brain, were gone.  Total repair bill would be $398 but for the insurance.  We could either pay the $85 deductible and have it repaired or take a credit of just over $300 and get a new system.  I told him we'd think about it and get back to him.

Initially I leaned towards a new dishwasher; if this had broke, what was next?  But then I thought about tossing this otherwise very nice dishwasher in the dump.  I also thought about our budget goal for this month.  Did I want a couple hundred dollars to go out for a dishwasher or go towards our savings goal?  Plus, even if it did break in the future it is possible to live a while without a dishwasher. Repair it was.

Currently we are waiting for the part to come in, it is on back order.  I feel very happy with our decision.  It seems like the modern approach would be to toss it, use the credit, and get a new machine.  But that seems so wasteful.  Time is short at our home, and do I really want to hire a sitter to go and look at appliances?  No.  I am happy we are salvaging this one, and wonder how many years we'll get out of it.  I also wonder, will the furnace go this winter too?  If so, what a gamble we took!

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