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Have you ever had appliances so old that you find yourself planning a party for the day they die? Like, you have a good bottle of wine saved and some money set aside for some take-out to celebrate the death of your ancient appliance. Well, in the iHB household, we have a few of those. You may remember the death of our water heater. It was the first “emergency” that we had encountered in our house, and if we lived in a normal American household, it should have put us further into debt. Luckily, our emergency fund covered the expense and it didn’t impact our budget one bit.
Since our EF covers these types of things, we have actually been rooting for our other appliances to die, because they were most likely hand-crafted alongside the Ford Model-T! I mean seriously, I’m pretty sure the instructions for our washer & dryer were first inscribed in cave paintings along with how to make fire and some stick figure guy hugging a buffalo (not sure what that’s all about). Well, we had a death in the appliance family, and we couldn’t be more thrilled!
The Wrath Of The Dishwasher
Now, there was nothing really wrong with our dishwasher. It cleaned our dishes ok and didn’t leak or anything. Sure, it was about as quiet as a jackhammer, but it did the job. It was also uglier than my brother-in-law. So Michelle and I not-so-secretly hoped that it would soon bite the dust, to be replaced with a newer, sexier dishwasher (can dishwasher’s be sexy?).
Unfortunately, our dishwasher went out swinging. Michelle was running a load of dishes, the baby was peacefully sleeping upstairs (finally!) and she noticed something that smelled like an electrical fire. She looked over to find blue smoke billowing out from behind the angry dishwasher. Think, the pissed off A/C unit in “The Brave Little Toaster” style of angry. In a panic, Michelle thought “this is no time to panic!” (she is dictating this story to me, I’m not going to pretend to understand her unique thought process here). She leaped into action, turned the dial (yes, it has a dial) to the “off” position and opened the dishwasher to make sure the dishes weren’t on fire…(you know….just in case the ceramic plate had burst into flames and was burning while still soaked in the water that had been spraying it like 2 seconds earlier….).
Luckily, the blue smoke stopped coming out and there did not seem to be any sort of electrical fire continuing behind the dishwasher. The smoke did smell as horrible as my other brother-in-law, so she opened all the windows to let the house air out. After we figured out that everything was ok, we knew we had to start looking for a new dishwasher ASAP, or we would have to (GASP!) wash the dishes by hand. And by we, I mean her, and by her, I mean me after she got sick of doing it.
Craigslist: Your Best Friend
So where do we turn when in need of a new appliance? Where else?! Craigslist! If you log on and just start searching for dishwashers, you will find all shapes and sizes, newer and older, working and broken. We knew we needed some criteria for this search, so we narrowed it down a bit. We wanted a stainless dishwasher (which meant it was newer than our old fossil of a dishwasher), something slightly used and it needed to be around $100 (yup, we’re cheap!). So we searched for a stainless dishwasher at a maximum $150, as you can always negotiate down when buying items on craigslist.
We narrowed it down to two dishwashers. One was $150 GE-brand dishwasher that had a big scratch in it, but after a bit of searching about that particular model, we decided against it based on some horrible reviews at various sites. The second model was a Kenmore for $99 that was for sale because the person was upgrading their kitchen appliances, and this one no longer matched. It was a nice dishwasher, but a little bit older than the GE model. I was a little wary of how nice this model was and how cheap the price was, but I emailed on it anyway. They responded promptly and seemed very friendly, so we arranged a time for me to look at it. I borrowed my brother-in-law’s truck and drove to go check it out. It was in a VERY nice neighborhood, and just as the man said, they were only getting rid of it to upgrade their kitchen. I handed him the $100 (he didn’t have $1 change), we hauled it to the truck and I was off.
Being an avid DIY’er, there’s no way I was going to pay someone to install this dishwasher for me, so I just had my brother-in-law come over to help. We fired up the ol’ youtube and watched a couple “how to install a dishwasher” videos. After about 5 minutes, we were pretty much seasoned veterans on all things dishwasher, so we got to work. We shut off the kitchen appliance breaker and started removing the old dishwasher. At one point, we still weren’t 100% sure the breaker turned off the dishwasher, so we completed the circuit on the positive/negative wires by tossing a screwdriver into them, and the lights for the entire floor blinked. OOPS! So I went and shut down the whole downstairs to ensure we weren’t working with LIVE wires.
We threw a headlamp on to finish the job (because it was dark out at this point), removed the old dishwasher and tossed it out in the lawn to confirm to our neighbors that we are, in fact, rednecks. I also parked my broken down car in the lawn in case there was any doubt (not really). The new one was pretty easy to install, and just took some minor adjustments to height to get it settled in. We flipped the breaker back on and voila! new(er) dishwasher installed and working for $100. No need to drop $600 plus taxes and install at a box store. Save yourself the $500 and go celebrate with a good (discounted) bottle of wine and some awesome Thai food (bought with a coupon, of course).
Comments: Have you ever had an appliance epic-ly fail on you? Did you drop thousands of dollars on a replacement? Have you ever replaced your appliances with a good used one from craigslist or other classifieds? Also, does anyone else here secretly wish one of their appliances would die like us? Or are we just freaks (don’t answer that!)