Last Saturday night started like any lazy weekend night around here might start. Mike’s in the middle of tax season, part 2, and worked for most of the morning. The afternoon was spent watching football and hanging out as a family. The boys ate an early dinner and were watching a movie in the playroom as I put an turkey sausage and summer veggie quiche into the oven for me and Mike. Thirty minutes later, the quiche came out, I cut the stove off and Mike came into the kitchen to grab a plate… and noticed that the coils on our old stove were still red hot. We gave it another few minutes, checked again and found the coils still on and a small fire in the back of the stove. The control panel started beeping and an F1 error flashed on the screen. An electrical burning smell filled the air. We pulled the stove back from the wall, unplugged it, made sure the coils and the fire went out and said farewell to our old Kenmore range.
Pretty Handy Girl’s Tour of My Kitchen 2 years ago. RIP old stove.
Truth be told, new appliances were something that we knew that we’d have to tackle sometime in the near future. Prior to its attempt to spontaneously combust, our stove had a bad habit of losing the handle to the oven door… usually in the midst of cooking. It was old and moody… but still did a decent job of cooking food, so we lived with it. Our dishwasher made funny noises when it ran and the tines inside were rusting and breaking off on occasion. The fridge… well, let’s just say that there’s a reason you never saw that side of my kitchen on the blog. So… needless to say, it was time for new appliances and the stove’s malfunction gave us the shove we needed to get it done.
Purchasing new appliances for an older kitchen can be a different experience than purchasing appliances for a newly built kitchen. In new kitchens, cabinets can be built around appliances… new kitchens can be built to accomodate any appliance you want… the sky and budget are the limit. Not so in an older kitchen. In an older kitchen, where cabinets are already in place and have been for years, you’re forced to work with what you’ve got. That 36″ wide shiny fridge with oogles of storage in the drawers and doors? It might not be an option if you’re working with what you’ve got… trust me, I learned that lesson the hard way. Having just been through the experience, here are my tips for buying appliances for an older kitchen…
1. Measure, measure and measure some more. Really. This is important. Again, I knew this little fact going in but learned, the hard way, that it’s important to measure yourself. Don’t rely on the salesman to do it for you. Do a 3-point measure on all your openings before you go to the store or make a purchase online. Measure the top, the middle and the bottom of the space where the new appliance will be going. Measure height, width and depth. Old walls are not always even top to bottom…counters and moldings can cut into your measurements. I measured our existing space for our fridge… near the top of the upper cabinets. I was excited to have 36″ to work with… enough to accomodate a 28.5 cubic foot refridgerator. I went the the store and was assured by the salesman that it would indeed fit. Two days later, the delivery van showed up and one of the guys came inside to measure before unloading my new appliances… and guess what? My new fridge would fit where the top of the cabinets met the wall… but not in the middle where the chair rail molding cut into the space. It wouldn’t fit in the middle where our countertops hang over the cabinet by a whopping 1.5 inches. And that shiny new fridge wouldn’t fit in at the bottom where our baseboards cut into the space. The delivery guys told me that what happened to me happens at least once a week… someone orders a fridge that they think will fit and then it doesn’t. I ended up back at the store the next day with my measuring tape. I was limited to refrigerators that were the same brand, Samsung, as the our new stove and dishwasher. Would you believe out of all of the Samsung refrigerators there, there was only one narrow enough to fit into our existing space? Fortunately, it was one I liked… the one I originally wanted. So my story had a happy ending, but the lesson here is that the three point measure is very important… trust me! (For some great information on measuring for a new fridge, check out this article by GE).
2. Do your price research before you buy. I’m not really talking about researching the brand, the options and the types of appliances that you want before you make a purchase or go to a store… although that’s important too. I’m talking about sales, appliance prices, financing options, rebates and other incentives that are out there to get you to buy a new appliance. I (again) learned the hard way that the sales people in the store don’t always remember every promotion you’re entitled to. We were lucky… our stove broke Labor Day weekend and Labor Day weekend means big sales in appliances and major home purchases. I did some research online the night the stove broke and was able to determine what appliances were roughly in our budget and where they were on sale. Each store’s website listed their appliance sale specifics and I wrote them down before we headed into the physical location the next morning. Look for the “extra money” online… things like free financing options, an extra percentage off your entire purchase by using the store’s credit card, rebates on old appliances and free installation. Go in with that list and ask the salesperson if they apply in your purchase. I had to remind our salesperson about one of the discounts that we were entitled too… it wasn’t a huge reduction, but in a major home purchase, every dollar matters. Our salesperson didn’t realize that we were entitled to free installation on our dishwasher and as a result, Mike was going to try to install it himself. After 2 hours in the dark fiddling with the connections, he gave up and I called the next day to pay for our installation, only to be informed that it was free and that we should have been offered the installation free of charge when we purchased the appliances. Mike never would attempted to DIY it had we known. It all worked out and the installer is coming Monday morning, but the dishwasher would have been in already had I remembered (and written down) the free installation offer from the company’s website.
So, it hasn’t been this long since I bought appliances, but… (source)
3. Don’t assume that things are the same from the last time you purchased appliances. Before the demise of our stove last weekend, I would have told you that Samsung makes TV’s. I would have told you that Samsung doesn’t make appliances… or if they did, I wasn’t going to buy them. Yet, I have a kitchen with a new Samsung stove, dishwasher and refrigerator. The last time I purchased appliances was 10 years ago… the last time I purchased appliances, the major players were Kenmore, Whirlpool and GE. I assumed that was still the case, but some quick internet research showed me that there are new players to the game and that those new players are producing high quality, well reviewed products. The salespeople in the store, even the delivery guys backed up my internet research… and we ended up with appliances I would have never considered had I not done my research and kept an open mind.
Just because you go into the store doesn’t mean you have to haul it home yourself! (Source)
4. Go into the store. I know this isn’t an option for a lot of people… but if it is, I highly suggest physically going to a store to make your purchases vs. doing it online. There are some great deals online, but there’s just something about being able to physically see, touch and experience an appliance in person vs. seeing it on the computer screen. There’s something about being able to ask a salesperson a question about a product in the flesh vs. relying solely on written reviews by faceless customers. I realized last weekend that a lot of stores will match or come close to matching a price advertised by an online retailer. I realized last weekend that in person, there’s a bit more wiggle room in the store’s advertised sale prices… something I would not have known had I purchased online without going into the store. There were a couple of hiccups in my purchase of new appliances… the fridge that wouldn’t fit was one and the free dishwasher installation was the other. In both cases, I had a person… an actual face that I could call. In both cases, the salespeople in the store were fantastic in helping me remedy the situation, quickly and efficiently and to my satisfaction. I personally think that had I purchased online, fixing both of my issues would have been a lot more frustrating than it ended up being for me.
After a lot of research… after recommendations from friends that have been through the appliance buying experience lately, we ended up purchasing a new Samsung stove, dishwasher and refrigerator from h.h.gregg. We’re thrilled with our new appliances and I walked away from the experience ready to purchase again from h.h.gregg. The prices were great, incentives to buy were plenty and we walked away with what we consider to be a very good deal for a great set of appliances. The salespeople were fantastic in helping me work through the couple of issues I had… especially the sales manager that helped me find a fridge that fit my space. And just so you know (although I’m sure you already assume), but h.h.gregg doesn’t know I exist… well, I take that back. The staff in the Raleigh store certainly knows I exist after I was in there twice and on the phone once with them in the past week. But… no one asked me to endorse or review my experience with them. All of this is just my honest opinion. I rely on blogs for so much information now that I went searching for blogs and appliance reviews in my research for our appliances… and didn’t find much. My hope is that someone searching for help purchasing new appliances for an old kitchen might find this blog post in the future and might find it helpful!
Stay tuned for pictures of the new appliances in the kitchen… it’s next on the house tour!