To repair our old clothes dryer or replace it, that was the question a few days ago. On Monday, when I threw a load of clothes in it, the whole thing shook and rattled like it was someone mixing nuts and bolts in a metal pail. What an awful clatter! The repair man said he would be out on Wednesday.
So Tuesday I did my research. The dryer was a Magtag and had been a very good appliance, but we couldn’t remember when we’d bought it. We’d never had to repair it. It had just gone and gone, like the Energizer bunny. But how much should we sink into repairs, or was it better to just start over with a new dryer?
I checked prices at five different places in our area that sold washers and dryers. Wow, sticker shock! The absolute lowest price for a new dryer was $429 plus tax – and it was smaller than our broken one. From there the prices rose all the way to $1,600 if you wanted deluxe models. Hmmm, maybe I could find a cheap used one at the used appliance store not too far away. But their dryers started at about $200 and went up from there. Craigslist had some that were under $100, but I wondered why someone would get rid of a perfectly good dryer. Then there was also the question of how to lug the thing home, and what to do with our old dryer.
On Wednesday the repair guy came. It didn’t take him long to diagnose the problem. Our grandson had climbed into the dryer while playing hide and seek a few days previous, and the weight had bent the metal piece that was holding the round drum up. The guy tried bending the metal back, but the piece was so weakened that when he put the drum back in, it immediately started bending again. He would have to build supports to hold up the drum. He said if we didn’t want to fix it he understood, but that it was a good dryer.
I asked him if he could tell how old the dryer was. He said we would have to enter the serial number online and it would tell us, but that our style of Maytag had not been manufactured for at least ten years. (As a side note, he added that my Kenmore washing machine was likely at least 20 years old!) He said a lot of people now want the old-fashioned, simple washers and dryers, but they have been replaced by complex, computerized appliances that cost more, break down more easily and are more expensive to fix.
(Notice my clothesline in the background. I bring it in every winter, and put it back outside every spring.)
So we opted to fix it. The irony of this whole situation is that families pay so much for a device that basically does the same thing as my sweater drying rack and fan, or my clothesline and a little breeze do! For about half the year we enjoy the free drying power of sunshine and wind. Unfortunately, the other half of the year we need an indoor dryer. But it’s fixed now, and we hope that our little beauty of a dryer lasts us another ten years.