When I first started this business in 1991, I had a 1979 Chevy Luv pickup, an answering machine, and a toolbox. Customers were a little scarce at first so I started going to the old dump up on County Road 223 and scavenging. Sometimes people would gently set their old washer or refrigerator off the truck, next to the steel scrap pile and if I talked nicely to the attendant, they would let me have it. This is how the used appliance part of Blue Streak Appliance was born.
It has always astounded me how much good stuff is thrown away in this country. When I was a kid I used to walk by the trash cans on my way to elementary school and find all sorts of neat stuff, ink pens, old radios, bicycle parts, etc. I’d put it in an old bag I carried with me and bring it home to fiddle with. So this collecting used appliances has been an outgrowth of a natural part of my personality.
New stuff is nifty. I like getting new stuff. It gives me a nice feeling to buy new stuff. However, I have almost always found more value in buying used stuff. “Value” is a weird word, it means different things to different people. For me, value is a function of how much I can use something divided by how much I have to pay for it. Aesthetics are of secondary value. So naturally, I like used appliances, cars, clothes, bicycles and the like more than the new counterparts because I believe I get more value from these items.
When it comes to used appliances, I believe there is a second reason to consider one over it’s new counterpart. New appliances are becoming increasingly complex. Almost every refrigerator and washing machine on the market today have circuit boards and sensors in them. While there is some efficiency to be gained with these advances, the down side is that the machine becomes more fragile. Circuit boards are susceptible to heat, humidity, vibration, and power surges to a much greater extent than their old analog counterparts.
I used to live off the grid, so I studied efficiency and appliances for quite a while. I believe that there is a law of diminishing returns when it comes to appliances and efficiency. By making a unit extremely complex, sometimes an extra 10% can be gained in efficiency. This might result in a two or three dollar a month reduction in one’s electric bill. The problem is that there is a high likelihood of an expensive complex part failing within the first five years, in which the repair cost completely eclipses the energy savings.
Right now, and for the next few years, there will still be older “analog” washers and refrigerators available on the used market. We probably have a few of them available for sale right now. Call us up if you are looking or one. At this point in history, I believe the benefits of used appliances over new are increased by this “complexity factor” that I pointed out. Feel free to email us or call me if you want to discuss the subject. I love talking about appliances!