In the Washington Post’s article, “To A Refrigerator Dying Young” (external link here), the author states how new appliances with fancy features are slowly turning us into appliance “renters”.
I agree with her 100%. Refrigerators, dishwashers, washers and dryers which all used to last 15+ years are now pretty much throw away items after 5-7 years of usage. Just read my firsthand account of all the appliance fixes I have done and you can see that manufacturers certainly do not used to build them to last anymore.
On top of the short product life-cycle, we have turned into a disposable society. Rather than taking the time to see if we can get something fixed, we tend to throw in the towel and get a new one instead. With the amount of trash we product, this simply is not good for the environment (remember the Reduce-Reuse-Recycle mantra?)
So what can we do? First, stop buying appliances with fancy features and opt for something that is simpler. That way, when it breaks down, it will be cheaper and easier to repair.
Second, take lots of pictures of your new appliance, including box labels and serial labels and scan and store that purchase receipt in the cloud. In my experience, lots of manufacturers will gladly send you replacement parts for free under warranty (rather than paying for a third party repairman).
Third, do NOT trust that third party repairman (read my previous article here – link TBD). I have seen firsthand how poorly trained some of them are and actually cause more problems.
Lastly, learn how to fix your appliances! That way, you can do some basic troubleshooting upfront to possibly save some money and time. You can always keep your eagle eyes on the repairman while s/he is making repairs.