A homeowner’s guide to appliances
Home appliances are some of the most important components of our homes. Because major appliances play such a vital role in our lives, selecting the right ones is a big decision.
This guide will provide key information to consider when purchasing a new appliance or upgrading a major appliance.
The importance of considering your appliance purchases carefully
Appliances are a big purchase item, and many of them are important to our daily lives. When purchasing or upgrading a home appliance — like a refrigerator to keep food cold or a range to heat your food — it’s important to make the right choice.
Take your time and consider all the options. Consider how you want to use the appliance. Think about how each option will fit into your household and if it can make your life easier. Price and reliability should also factor into your decision-making. Choosing a quality appliance can help save money on repairs or replacements in the long term. You can also save time, money and headaches by choosing a home warranty that covers appliances, like the Appliances plan offered by Cinch Home Services.
Think about how many times you use the refrigerator throughout the day. This is probably one of the most important and frequently used kitchen appliances in your home. You need a fridge that works reliably — keeps food at the proper temperature — and can take a lot of opening and closing (especially if you have hungry kids).
When looking for a refrigerator, you have a few types to choose from:
- Top freezer: This is where the freezer is at the top third of the appliance.
- Bottom freezer: The freezer is located at the bottom third of the refrigerator. This style is often slightly bigger than a top freezer.
- Side-by-side refrigerator: This type of refrigerator keeps your fresh foods on the right side and frozen foods on the left. Something to keep in mind here is that the freezer section is narrower than with a top or bottom freezer. However, side-by-side fridges usually offer more features.
- French door refrigerator: This comes with the benefits of a bottom freezer refrigerator and the double doors of a side-by-side fridge. These are some of the most popular fridges, and they typically have the most options.
What to consider when buying a refrigerator
There are a few things to keep in mind when buying a new refrigerator for your household:
- Use: When picking a refrigerator, try to see it on the showroom floor. That way, you can feel how durable it is when you open and close the doors. You’ll be in and out of the fridge all day. Consider which sections you will use the most and their convenience and accessibility.
- Size: Picking the right balance between storage, space and managing your energy bill can be tricky. You want at least 4 to 6 cubic feet per adult, but you also want to remember that the bigger the fridge, the higher the costs to run it. Before making your purchase, measure the space you have to avoid buying something that doesn’t fit.
- Style: Finding a fridge that meets your style is important. You’ll be living with this major appliance for a while, so you don’t want to cringe every time you see it. There are a variety of colors and finishes from which to choose. You also may consider a counter-depth refrigerator, which can add a look of customization without the price tag.
- Features: Fridges come with a lot of bells and whistles — including everything from storage space to defrosting features and seasonal climate controls for fresh food. Some fridges even offer a water dispenser that can sense when your container is full or specialty ice makers. Before you get overwhelmed, take some time to think about how you use your fridge and what you keep in the appliance. Smart fridges are nice — they offer energy monitoring, command centers and even cameras — but they typically come with higher pricing.
- Budget and ongoing maintenance: You don’t need to break the bank to get a refrigerator that will work for you. Before deciding, make sure you know what your budget is. All those features can add up quickly. You should also do some research on the reliability of the fridge you’re considering because repairs and ongoing maintenance can affect your budget. If you’re planning to replace multiple major appliances in your kitchen, consider if your retailer offers kitchen appliance packages to save overall.
Covering your new refrigerator with a home warranty, like one from Cinch, can help ensure that if anything goes wrong, it’s repaired or replaced fast. Our Appliances plan covers all components and parts up to a certain limit, except for multi-media centers built into the refrigerator.
Microwaves make heating food faster and more convenient. Whether heating a snack or an entire microwavable meal, microwaves are another beloved staple of many household kitchens.
If you’re looking for a new microwave, you typically have three styles to choose from:
- Built-in microwaves: These microwaves are installed in your kitchen to look custom-made. They also allow for more open counter space.
- Over-the-range microwaves: Over the range means the microwave is positioned over your range. While you may need a technician to install it, which can increase the price, most come with fans that can filter out odors and smoke when using your stovetop.
- Countertop microwaves: Countertop microwaves are the most common and typically the most affordable. The benefit to a countertop microwave is that you can bring it home, unpack it, and plug it in. It doesn’t require professional installation.
What to consider when buying a microwave
Before purchasing a microwave, determine your budget. Microwaves start at a relatively low price (+/- $50) and move up depending on the type, size, wattage and features. Next, make a list of the things your household uses a microwave for. This will help you narrow down which features you want.
For example, if you pop popcorn regularly or use your microwave to defrost food, you might want features to make those tasks easier. Some microwaves even come with sensors to keep track of your food or child locks.
The next consideration is size. Decide which models you want and consider how much space the microwave will use and its location. Make sure to measure the space so that you don’t end up with a microwave that doesn’t fit. You should also consider the wattage of the microwave. The wattage will impact the speed and evenness of the microwave when heating food. Higher wattage means faster completion.
Unlike having a wall oven and stove separate, a range is a combo unit. Ranges are another appliance you may use every day — especially if you love to cook. Cooking your food the right way is how you avoid food-borne illnesses, so knowing that your range is heating to and maintaining the right temperature is important.
Ranges have a standard width of 30 inches, but beyond that, there are plenty of options depending on what you want. Because of all the various options, ranges can be priced anywhere from $500 to $10,000 for a fully customized option. Ranges come in four different fuel options: electric, gas, dual-fuel and induction. Let’s look at each option.
- Electric induction ranges: The induction cooktop of an electric range uses electromagnetic coils to create heat. The element is positioned under the cooktop, makes a magnetic field that, when used with magnetic cookware, will cook the food. Since they won’t work without the proper cookware, they’re considered the safest option, and they also work more quickly than electric or gas. Having said that, if you choose this option, you will likely need to buy specialized cookware.
- Electric coil ranges: The coils have electricity going through them, turning into heat. Coils can be difficult, as they don’t always stay completely level, which can cause food to cook unevenly. They also tend to have difficulty disbursing even heat. However, they are a budget-friendly style.
- Electric smooth-top ranges: Also known as glass-ceramic cooktops, the heating units are installed under the top of the range and use sensors to let you know when the burner is hot. They tend to cool down more quickly, but they are easy to scratch and can be difficult to clean.
- Gas ranges: Gas cooktops are popular because of how evenly they heat. However, the cooktops tend to take longer to heat than electric or induction. The oven portion of a gas range can also be more difficult to use than electric because they don’t always cook evenly.
- Dual-fuel ranges: If you’re having trouble choosing between electric and gas, dual-fuel could be an option. These ranges use gas for the cooktop and electricity for the oven. However, they tend to also come with a higher price tag.
What to consider when buying a range
If you’re looking for a new range, the first step is to know what fuel source you need. Does your kitchen have an electric, gas or dual hookup for the range? From there, know what style you want. You may have a standard space for the range. If not, consider a freestanding, slide-in or drop-in model.
When it comes to special features, ranges can be a foodie’s paradise. Think about how you want to use the range. You may want a double oven, which offers two baking chambers that can be set at different temperatures. Convection fans help circulate the heat inside the oven, creating more evenly baked food.
Some ranges have special cooking modes that can be set for the type of food you’re making. There are even options to control your range through Wi-Fi. As with anything else, what you select will impact your budget, so make sure you know what your budget is before deciding.
Another way to protect your budget with a new appliance is to purchase a Cinch Appliances plan. That way, if something goes wrong with your range because of normal wear and tear, the components and parts can be replaced or repaired quickly.
If you’ve ever had to hand-wash dishes, you probably understand the important role a properly functioning dishwasher can play. Additionally, running your dishwasher every day rather than hand-washing can save water and energy, depending on how you wash dishes. If you’ve been looking for a new dishwasher, don’t let the seemingly endless options overwhelm you.
Start with your budget. Dishwashers can range anywhere from $370 to over $3,500. A low to mid-range option can still give you the dishwashing power your household needs.
What to consider when buying a dishwasher
When it comes to picking out the right dishwasher, there are some things you want to research before making your selection. First, consider how much work you want to put into clean dishes. The better the dishwasher cleans, the less likely you’ll need to pre-clean your dishes — and cleaning power isn’t always indicative of the price, so look for reviews. You should also think about the number of dishes you use and what capacity you need your dishwasher to have.
The noise level might be the next biggest factor. Consider where the dishwasher will be located and what happens around that location — such as sleeping, conversations or watching television. Here again, reviews and even reading the specs can help you determine what kind of noise level to expect.
Finally, think about the styles, finishes and features offered. Different dishwashers offer distinct features that may not be useful. The dishwasher control panel might be located in an unusual place, as well, or the location might make things more or less convenient for you to use.
Having a washing machine to clean your clothes can save you time and money in the long run because you won’t have to take your clothes to the laundromat. Thus, buying a new laundry appliance is a big investment. You want to pick the right one for your needs but also stay within your budget. There are three types of washing machines:
- Top-loading: Top-load washing machines are more traditional, where the lid opens on top and your clothes go in. They are relatively simple to use and considered low maintenance.
- Front-loading: Front-loading washing machines are more efficient, but they require more maintenance than top-loading machines.
- Compact washers: These washing machines are smaller and often more portable. Some come as a washer and dryer set to save space.
What to consider when buying a washing machine
The first thing you need to determine before purchasing a washing machine is where to put it. A washing machine is one of the largest appliances you can purchase, so make sure to measure how much space is available. You also want to make sure the washing machine will be level.
Your electric bill will go up with the addition of a washing machine, so thinking about energy-efficiency is important. Noise may also be a consideration depending on where and when you plan to use it. Some models are designed for quiet washes. Washing machines, like most appliances, come with a variety of features and finishes to choose from, and those should also factor into your decision.
If you plan to purchase a washing machine for your home, a Cinch Appliances plan can help cover the cost of repairs or replacements because of normal wear and tear.
If you live in a climate where it gets hot and/or humid, an air conditioner might be the single best thing you can add to your home. It’s also one of the most expensive, so it’s not a decision to rush into without research.
If you’re looking at installing or replacing a central air conditioner, it helps to start with some basic knowledge. Central air systems have a condenser, which is typically outside, an air-handling unit that typically has some kind of blower and an evaporator coil. Your home will also need to have ductwork to move the air around the house.
What to consider when buying an air conditioner
Possibly the biggest consideration for an air conditioner is energy-efficiency. It costs a lot to run an air conditioner, so the most efficient one you can purchase will cool you and your wallet down. Air conditioning units are all given a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating. Research ratings when choosing a new unit.
You need to consider your budget when thinking about replacing or installing an appliance — and an air conditioner is no different. Something to consider with your budget, though, are the long-term cost savings and maintenance costs. The higher your energy-efficiency is, the more you can save over the long term.
Other household appliances
While we’ve discussed some major appliances you might want to add to your home, many other appliances might also make a big difference.
Small kitchen appliances like water filters, garbage disposals, coffee makers, toasters and air fryers can improve your time in the kitchen. Entire households can be healthier with the addition of dehumidifiers and air purifiers. With a little research and time, you can pick the best ones. However, with any purchase, make sure to consider the retailer sales, free delivery and rebates in the timing of your purchase.
Protect your appliances from costly repairs with Cinch
Buying or upgrading major appliances is a big decision. With different styles, features and prices, there’s something for everyone. With a little time and research, you can find the right appliance — one that will suit the needs of everyone in your home and look good, too.
If you’re thinking about adding a new appliance or replacing an appliance in your home, picking the right option for you is an important step. Another equally important step is to consider a home warranty.
Cinch’s Appliances plan can help cover the cost of covered major appliances — like your refrigerator, washing machine and built-in microwave — that break down because of normal wear and tear. The best part is that our home protection plans come with a 180-day workmanship guarantee, rust and corrosion coverage and protection for unknown pre-existing conditions. Oh, and did we mention discounts on new appliances? Learn more and get a free quote today.