Obsolescence

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Marigold
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Obsolescence

Post by Marigold » Mon Nov 18, 2019 7:38 pm

Does anyone else ever have a run of spontaneous breakdowns on household machines which cannot be repaired economically locally compared with the price of a new one, or where spare parts are apparently not sold separately?

Last month the cold water supply to our bath reduced itself to a trickle for no apparent reason. This happened during a week we were away - OK before we left, gremlins got in during our holiday. £280 of plumber investigations at last found that it wasn't going properly through the water softener, and once that was taken offline it flowed freely, albeit not softened. Paid plumber, cleaned out as much gunge from the very old softener as possible (job not done for over 10 years, no maintenance instructions in the manual to point out that amazing amount of pipe-blocking filthy sludge would eventually form under the layer of visible clean salt, not possible to remove it all as much was inaccessible.) So ordered new softener, £450, and Tony fitted it, not easy as it was bigger than the previous one and needed surgery on the cupboard under the sink. But it did save more plumbers bills.

Then this weekend, after ten years hard grind, the toaster fused all power in the house and died. This was my fault. I must admit to poking a piece of bread that looked as if it had gone in crooked and might burn, using a knife, which may have touched the element, without switching off first. Still, I suppose it tested the trip switch and saved on funeral expenses. So £48 for a new toaster.

Having nearly slipped and fallen more than once on the paving round the house, - we have lots of it plus a patio and a brick drive, all now filthy with mud and mould - I spent one day pruning back vegetation and shrubs, another day scraping and sweeping up huge barrow-load of mud, moss etc, ready to pressure wash it. Today I got out our lovely powerful Karcher, £450 new in 2016, one year out of guarantee, was working fine in the summer, and found it wouldn't power up. Motor silent. We tried all the usual suspects, fuse etc, power supply, before getting the front off, with much difficulty, and finding the on/off switch just wasn't working, for no apparent reason, after spending the summer resting dry in the shed. Not a bleep out of a very noisy machine, and Tony is one of those wonderful people who can fix anything fixable. So back online, bought a well-reviewed Bosch on offer for £195, job postponed until it arrives. Probably cheaper than taking it to our local garden machinery shop for attempted repair. Better than a broken hip as well.

Off to the recycling centre tomorrow with £973-worth of dead toaster, water softener and its associated plumbing costs, and pressure washer and its perfectly useable attachments that won't fit another make. Christmas is coming early here! But am gnashing my teeth at all the waste, plastic and otherwise, when the only item that was my fault and not a spontaneous failure was the stupid event of the toaster, for which I take full responsibility and am glad it wasn't worse. AARGGHH!!
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LadyA
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Re: Obsolescence

Post by LadyA » Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:22 am

Oh yes. Built in obsolescence. Designed to fail after a certain length of time/amount of use. Infuriates me. When a previous washing machine broke down, the repair man asked for a detailed description over the phone of what was happening. He then said that he reckoned it was (whatever. Can't remember what it was), and that wasn't fixable. Said he could come out and make sure, but the call out charge was €90, which was about 1/3 of the price of a new machine. Add on parts and labour if it turned out the machine was fixable, and I'd be well over half way to the cost of a new machine, which would be expected to last about 7 years. Where the repaired one might limp along for another six months/a year before something else would go wrong with it.
Lead me not into temptation. I can find the way myself!
bigyetiman
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Re: Obsolescence

Post by bigyetiman » Tue Nov 19, 2019 3:56 pm

We had a kettle that tripped the electrics, faulty element, can't be replaced these days. Bearings went on washing machine, they are now an integral part of the drum says the engineer and can't be repaired. Could replace the drum but nigh on as cheap to replace the washing machine. Luckily we had kept mums which hadn't had much use. That upset him as we weren't going to get a new machine from the shop. Computer battery went and the cost of a new one was more than a new computer.
I agree marigold if you have to replace one bit, it never fits to the old appliance, or pipe and involves waste and extra work.
We had a fridge that went wrong a couple of years ago in the summer of course, went to buy a new one and every shop had a waiting list of about 3 weeks because of the European football championships people had bought all the spare fridges for the beer (really) Went home looked on AO.COM web site found the one we wanted, delivered it the next day 6.30am. So when the freezer needed replacing it was AO.COM again ordered Monday delivered Wednesday 7am old one taken away.
dianefairhall
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Re: Obsolescence

Post by dianefairhall » Tue Nov 19, 2019 6:06 pm

I find that small appliances don't last long. Had a rather stylish Russell Hobbs black glass toaster, lasted about 18 months. Fancied a personal coffee machine, bought on special offer from Amazon. Used it all of half a dozen times before it croaked.
bigyetiman
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Re: Obsolescence

Post by bigyetiman » Tue Nov 19, 2019 6:48 pm

Plus if you have an appliance you really like, you can never replace it as it will have been " upgraded2 as they say.
Do you remember when it was easy to change a headlight bulb in a car, now you need to dismantle the front of the car virtually, and find someone with the hand that is fairy sized to squeeze into the gap
dianefairhall
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Re: Obsolescence

Post by dianefairhall » Tue Nov 19, 2019 8:33 pm

When we bought our previous car, a Freelander 2, we looked under the bonnet and it was all black plastic! My husband used to be able to fix engines, not any more.
Margaid
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Re: Obsolescence

Post by Margaid » Wed Nov 20, 2019 12:22 am

These days when they go wrong you kick the tyres and call your breakdown service.
Give me the days when a sharp tap on the petrol pump got it working again ...
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Marigold
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Re: Obsolescence

Post by Marigold » Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:40 am

Hands up all those old enough to have had a first car reliant on its starting handle!

To be fair though, both the toaster and the water softener had worked daily for 10 years without complaint, and the demise of the toaster was my own stupid fault. It's the unattributable motor failure on the 3-year-old pressure washer I'm aggrieved about, and the fact that all those things occurred together within two weeks. Plus paying for several hours of plumber's time investigating possible blockages in the weird water pipes and tank supply in our old house, and removing and then replacing and re-sealing the bath panel, before saying he would have to consult his boss, - at which point I suggested the water softener might be involved, after which the problem was immediately solved by simply isolating it. One more thing we shall know how to do in the future, I suppose.
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Hen-Gen
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Re: Obsolescence

Post by Hen-Gen » Wed Nov 20, 2019 9:52 am

What you need is a retired car mechanic, a retired electrician and a guy who’s brilliant at plumbing living in your community. It’s amazing how they refuse all payment such that you have to conspire with their wives as to what present they’d like. The last plumbing job, water pouring out of my hot water tank, preceded by a new light and socket in my shed. He wouldn’t even take payment for the parts which were “kicking around”. The tank took two hours to put right was paid for with a pair of Grubb Wellies. Bargain!
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LadyA
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Re: Obsolescence

Post by LadyA » Wed Nov 20, 2019 10:27 am

dianefairhall wrote:
Tue Nov 19, 2019 6:06 pm
Fancied a personal coffee machine, bought on special offer from Amazon. Used it all of half a dozen times before it croaked.
I kind of fancied a coffee machine too. However, I hate "gadgets" that only do one thing, and sit taking up space the rest of the time. So I bought an Aero press. It isn't a machine, and it makes one mug of coffee. (I also bought a milk frother! Although I used to do frothy milk with my egg beaters.) https://www.aeropress.co.uk/
Lead me not into temptation. I can find the way myself!
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