Thursday, December 19, 2013

Durable Goods -- II

Two weeks ago I had to replace my microwave oven. The old one served me well and the outside still looked new. The electronics, which had been warning me for two months, finally gave out.  It is hard to say good bye to my machines.  If you read my columns in March 2013 and December 2010 I said good bye to my blender and mixer.  In November I had to replace my garage door opener and last week I replaced a kitchen light fixture.

Microwave from 1999
It is not so much that I hate new things; it is just difficult to decide what to buy and find what I want.  The budget for the microwave oven gave me lots of choices.  I wanted a big one so that I could use it for multiple dishes at the same time or a big casserole dish.  The new one has a 2.0 cubic foot interior.  I wanted one that had a good rating. After checking online I found a store with an oven with all of the requirements.  We went over to the store to see that machine in action and wanted to buy it.  Alas! None were in stock.  The store had a free shipping option and we accepted the free delivery.  The electronic features and options are much more advanced than the previous oven. It fits right on the counter top in the place of the old microwave. 

Old light fixture
For a long time I wanted to replace the light fixture in my kitchen.  The halogen fixture used 300 watts and was very hot.  I didn’t really like the quality of the light.  But inertia kept me from spending the time to find a new fixture and spending the money. When the light bulb burnt out last month, I tried to replace it.  The new ones refused to work.  I cleaned to contact, but that didn’t help.  I investigated and found that the lamp socket wear out because of the high heat.  I thought that I would replace the socket, but the local home improvement stores did have the parts.  The electrician said that to fix the fixture would cost about 1.5 hours of his time, but a new one could be installed in 30 minutes. After I decided to purchase a new one, the process for finding a satisfactory fixture began. 

I didn’t want another halogen because I wanted one that more economical.  That also precluded incandescent.  That left florescent or LED.  My friends and so said not to get florescent.  I didn’t see a big problem, but I listened.  The LED bulbs offer several choices of white light colors, burn very cool, and use very little electricity per lumen.  The initial cost is very high, but the manufactures claim they will last more than 22 years.  My requirements were: budget of $100, look appropriate for a kitchen, have the ability to deliver at least 2200 lumens of lights, and have options for bulbs.  The local home improvement stores had plenty of fixtures within the budget, but none of the other requirements. Many of the fixtures used specialized bayonet based bulbs which are not interchangeable with other fixtures. Many looked in appropriate for my kitchen.  I finally checked online and found a store a short 15 minute drive away that specializes in light fixtures.

I planned a visit to the light store with my daughter on “Black Friday.”  The store was empty.  Evidently light fixtures are not high on the list for bargain hunters.  The store has lots of fixtures that fit the requirements.  In fact they had so many at about the same price point; the decision was based only on what looked the best for the kitchen.  The search went from frustration at finding nothing to finding so many the choices were hard.  The new fixture has standard screw in lamp sockets and I can choose the bulbs. I bought daylight LED bulbs at $35 each. I should only live and be well to have the privilege of replacing them after the full 22 years life span.  At my age I can not even say I’ll be in my house another 22 years.

I had to call an electrician to install the fixture because I can no longer do those kinds of repairs myself.  It took more than 10 days to arrange for an appointment, but the kitchen is full of light and we can see what we are cooking and baking. 

With my camera equipment so far it is not possible to get a good picture of the new fixture or microwave.

The final question is what to do with the replaced goods.  One old microwave oven was taken when the new one was delivered.  Another old one will be sent for recycling with city’s trash removal.  The old light fixture with a replacement socket is being offered for sale.

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