Should I buy new or used appliances?
Each path has its own pitfalls and joys. New is covered by a warranty, but you'll pay a pretty penny. Used is cheaper, but comes with risks. Also, depending on the age of the used appliance, it most likely will not be as energy efficient as a new one.
When buying any appliance, look for the Energy Star logo. That program came into being in the late 1990s, so any appliance built before then will be a dreaded energy vampire. You can search online for a list of the top-rated Energy Star appliances in Canada.
Save when buying new appliances
When buying new appliances, always do your research. Find the best deal, then call or drop in on competitors and pit them against each other for your dollars. Ask the retailer about mail-in rebates. Check the manufacturers' websites for their own rebates, coupons or blow-out sales.
Be OK with last year's look and model. You can save big if you don't mind choosing last year's colour or if you can live without this year's latest bells and whistles. Savings can add up to hundreds of dollars. And the best time to look for deals is in the fall. Shops are motivated to make room for next year's models.
Also ask about floor models or "scratch and dent" -- equivalent to Ikea's As Is department. Can you live with a nick in the enamel? Just think of the savings and before you know it, you'll love your new machine's little imperfections -- just think of them as beauty marks.
Save when buying used appliances
Look to the usual suspects: Craigslist, Kijiji, the classified ads in your local paper. And check with used-appliance retailers. Some new retailers also sell refurbished units. But make sure you understand the warranty -- if there is one at all, it may be very short lived. That's just one risk with secondhand.
Here's another one: a very creepy one. When you bring anything into your home, you also risk bringing in some unexpected, unwanted guests that hitched a ride. A black widow spider in a bunch of bananas, bed bugs in that gorgeous throw you found and, yes, cockroaches nesting inside the insulation of fridges and freezers. They love this environment -- it's warm and moist. So, buyer beware and use an eagle eye when shopping for secondhand appliances.
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