It’s expensive to maintain a home that partly runs on major appliances — and it’s been getting even pricier of late. According to consumer price index reports, prices for major appliances are 11.60% higher in 2023 versus 2020. Not only are major appliances costly in and of themselves, but they also sap your bank account over time by way of your utility bills.
Consumer discretion is strongly advised when it comes to buying new major appliances. Consider passing on the following, as experts deem them a waste of money.
Standalone ice makers can cost thousands of dollars. This seems a bit ridiculous when you know you can easily get a fridge that has ice making abilities. But clearly there’s an avid market for these machines. In the opinion of Katie Roberts, consumer analyst at DealNews.com, these generally aren’t worth the money.
“An ice maker already built into a refrigerator — or even ice trays you fill up and place in the freezer — will work fine for most households,” Roberts said. “Now what if you use a lot of ice because you host frequent parties, and your fridge ice maker won’t keep up? In those cases, you can grab bags of ice at your local grocery or big box store for just a few bucks. Given that portable and built-in ice makers can cost hundreds to even thousands of dollars, buying extra ice when you need it is a budget-friendly alternative.”
Refrigerators made for storing drinks like soda and beer can be convenient — especially in an office or man cave — but they can also cost upwards of a thousand dollars. And they may not be necessary if you already have a regular refrigerator.
“If your main fridge has enough room for the standard number of drinks your family consumes, you can easily just store all your beverages in there,” Roberts said. “If your main fridge doesn’t seem to have enough room, you can always store shelf-stable cans and bottles elsewhere, then move them to the fridge when you’re planning to drink them soon. And if you need a lot of beverages for a party, why not fill a cooler or two with bags of ice and store extra drinks in there?”
Not only are there fridges made especially for soft drinks and other beverages, there are refrigerators designed specifically to keep wine chilled at just the right temperature. Unless you’re a die-hard wine enthusiast with expensive bottles that need to be preserved for the long haul, you probably do not need a wine fridge.
“These appliances can use as much power as any regular fridge, which could mean a noticeable increase in your monthly power bills,” said Colin Palfrey, chief marketing officer at Crediful. “Keep bottles in a cool, dark place with very little changes in humidity or temperature, and chilled wines can cool off in your fridge a few hours to a few days before serving.”
Wine fridges are also featured as a selling point for many new homes, but if you aren’t going to use it, it could just hike up your monthly bills. Its worth asking if you can offer a lower price for the home if the owner keeps the wine fridge.
Standalone Deep Freezers
Standalone deep freezers can be desirable for those buying in bulk. But do you really need a second freezer? Seriously think about it before spending anywhere from $500 up to $1,100 or so.
“If your refrigerator already has a freezer compartment with sufficient space, investing in a standalone deep freezer may not be cost-effective,” said Percy Grunwald, a personal finance expert and the co-founder of Compare Banks. “Alternatives include optimizing your existing freezer space by organizing and decluttering or considering smaller, more compact freezer options like freezer baskets or vacuum-sealed storage bags.”
Another standalone unit that requires extra space and may not be as efficient or effective as built-in appliances is the portable dishwasher.
“If you have the option, installing a built-in dishwasher can be more cost-effective and increase the value of your home,” Grunwald said. “Alternatively, consider hand washing dishes or using compact countertop dishwashers, which are often more energy-efficient and space-saving.”
Pizza ovens have become super popular in recent years, and certainly they can be great. But they’re also usually expensive — you’re looking at at least several hundred dollars.
“While electric pizza ovens are good for cooking specialty pizzas, that’s pretty much the only benefit they offer,” said Stefan Bucur, founder and owner of Rhythm of the Home. “They require significant counter space and are hard to store efficiently.”
Central Vacuum Cleaners
Don’t get us wrong, built-in vacuum cleaners can look spiffy in homes. However, they can be very expensive to install and pricey to maintain.
“They also take up valuable space and require special attachments for hard-to-reach areas,” said Keith Sant, the founder and CEO of Kind House Buyers. “Handheld vacuums are usually much better suited to smaller spaces and can be more cost-effective over time.”
Living without a dryer may be a hard sell, but consider that many developed countries in Europe frown upon these energy-sucking machines. It make sense — they can damage not only the environment, but potentially your clothing.
“Clothes dryers are convenient but can be energy-intensive appliances,” Grunwald said. “In certain climates or living situations, it may be more cost-effective to air-dry clothes using clotheslines or drying racks. Not only does air-drying reduce energy consumption, but it can also extend the lifespan of your clothes and prevent shrinkage.”
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