Fixing Consumerism One Old Fridge at a Time

By Katherine Wadden

Cheap and inexpensive products directly affect and fuel consumerism. North Americans have become addicted to the chronic purchasing of new goods and services while paying little attention to the true need, value, durab
buy something right away; take a day or two to think about if you really need it. If you conclude that it is something you need, make a long term purchase decision. With higher quality products you pay a bit more money up front but actually end up saving money in the long run.

High quality products last longer, and when they do get worn out they can be repaired, refinished, or re-upholstered. Also with the readily available resources on the internet, you can save more money by doing the repair yourself! There are tons of instructions all over the internet with easy step by step guides that only require you to have a bit of patience, and minimal skill.

In the U.S. 25.5 million tons of durable goods (appliances, furniture, clothing, and machinery) are discarded every year. Since appliances are major household costs and are frequently thrown away filling up landfills unnecessarily, let’s take a look at the top three problems that go wrong with them and see just how easy and inexpensive it really is to repair them yourself. If you think doing your own repairs would do more harm than good, think again!

Repair #1: Front Dryer Drum Slide
A common appliance to experience troubles is the dryer. One of the most common dryer problems is an ear deafening screeching or squealing sound. You may think that your dryer needs to be replaced but all you probably need is a new dryer drum slide, a Phillips screw driver and a #2 square head/ Robertson’s screw driver.

Part Cost: approx. $6
Difficulty: Easy

Take a look at this video; the

entire repair will only take 10-30 minutes depending on your experience.


Repair #2: Defrost Heater Harness Kit

A common issue that can cause big problems for keeping our groceries cool is when fridges just stop cooling. And if the defrost doesn’t seem to be working or if the freezer is covered in ice, this could be a pre-symptom that your fridge is going to stop cooling sometime soon. But you guessed it – this doesn’t mean it’s time to buy a new fridge. Most likely you just need to replace the defrost heater harness and get your hands on a ¼ nut driver, a pair of needle-nose pliers, and possibly a wire stripper or a pair of crimpers.

Part Cost: approx. $35
Difficulty: Easy

Take a look at this video; the entire repair will only take 15-30 minutes depending on your experience.

Repair #3: Agitator Directional Cogs
A very common problem with washing machines is that they seem to stop spinning the clothes around while in the wash cycle. This might seem like a complicated repair, but you probably only need to replace the directional cogs. All you’ll need is a pair of needle-nose pliers and either ¼ or 3/8 socket set.

Part Cost: approx. $3
Difficulty: Easy

Take a look at this video; the entire repair will only take 5-15 minutes depending on your experience.

Although Americans account for only 5% of the world’s population, we actually produce 30% of the world’s garbage. Nearly a million pounds of garbage is created every year by each American citizen, and if waste water is factored in to the equation the number blows-up to 250 trillion pounds. Of the garbage Americans throw out, half can be recycled.

In our throwaway society we need to slow down and concentrate on one task at a time. That might mean asking ourselves if a product is actually needed, or taking into consideration the true value, durability, and environmental consequences of the manufacturing and disposal of it.

It is important that we become more resourceful and learn how to repair what we already have instead of buying more. If we can make these changes in our own lives, we will make a change in the world.

This content was brought to you by PartSelect, retailer of Maytag parts and a complete online do-it-yourself resource to help you at every stage of your appliance repair from diagnosing the problem to installing the part.

References:
http://www.thenewpursuit.com/2011/01/10/16-simple-ways-to-practice-mindful-consumption-in-a-hyper-consumer-world/
http://www.verdant.net/society.htm
http://www.partselect.com

Photo Credit:
Keeping up with the Joneses (illustration by Allan Sanders): http://www.sabistyle.com.au/blog/?p=597
Tree: http://amorefiori.wordpress.com/2009/12/06/amore-fiori-recycling/
Landfill: http://www.vortexrecycling.com/
Leaf: http://reviewfix.com/2010/05/review-fix-how-to-series-using-eco-friendly-clothing/

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