The car and the fridge
Just when I thought my finances were more-or-less under control, March brought a couple of major unexpected things breaking down.
Electric car windows are nice to have. But one stopped working a couple of weeks ago. This involved using sticky tape just to keep it from descending by itself and staying open to the weather. Cost to get it fixed? About $500. Turns out those car warranties provided by used-car dealers are pretty specific… if it’s a fault in the engine or otherwise making the car go, that’s fine, but windows? Nup. Ka-ching!
Then the fridge stopped last Thursday. The ice-cream melted. I tried the things suggested in the manual, in particular vacuumming around the back to clear the dust out. There was heaps of dust. So much dust it made clunking noises as it flew up the vacuum-cleaner tube.
It didn’t help. The repairman came on Tuesday to tell me it was the compressor. And it would cost five or six hundred dollars to fix. Sigh. (And there was a $95 charge just for the privilege of being told that.)
The points for getting it fixed: less cost than a new one; less waste of the rest of the fridge.
The points against: it’s already almost twelve years old; no guarantees something else wouldn’t break. And the clincher: he couldn’t do it that day anyway, and he wasn’t even sure if they had the parts in stock.
And I wanted a solution quickly, because using an esky with purchased ice in it works okay for a small amount of stuff, but is not my idea of fun.
So I decided to buy a new fridge. Turns out Choice in November had a survey of fridges, and my mum had the mag handy. Most of those at the top of their results are Fisher and Paykel. The repairman liked Westinghouse or Kelvinator (apparently both made by Electrolux). So I had a quick look online at prices and compared models.
- Old fridge 505 litres. It was actually too big. I’ve never used that much space. Time to downsize slightly, by perhaps 20% — no more.
- Old fridge had freezer at bottom. Choice notes that this is a tad more convenient, but less energy efficient, by about 10% it looks like.
- Mind you, freezer at the bottom models all seem to have a higher proportion of freezer space, which may be important for some people.
- I didn’t want stainless steel, or lots of gadgetry. As the repairman reckoned, just more things to break down.
I spotted a good price on a Westinghouse in The Good Guys catalogue, and went looking, aiming to buy that day. Unfortunately I couldn’t find their Brighton store temporary (due to a fire or something) address, in no small part because their web site map claimed they were near JB Hifi.
I did find Retravision instead, who had a nice F+P model at the right size, also on sale. Checked if they could deliver it quickly, and they said yes.
Sold. Plus delivery fee, and extended warranty, about $1300. Ka-ching.
No wonder I think I’m broke. (I suppose I could have looked for something on eBay, but like I said, I wanted this problem fixed fast, and hopefully it goes for at least another twelve years before I have any problems.) I’m not really broke of course, but months like this, with major expenses, mean the things that I had on the plan for the house go temporarily out the window. It’s enough to want a session in the scream chamber.
I actually thought the washing machine would be the next to stop. It’s about 15 years old and has started making a more noise during the spin cycle than it used to.
Oh, I didn’t check where the fridge was made before I bought it. All other things being equal, obviously nice to buy Australian made and support local jobs. Turns out it was made at Fisher and Paykel’s factory in Cleveland, Qld… which was due to close last month.
PS. Dear Good Guys, your web site map being wrong lost you that sale. (I’ve let them know.)