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scardeal
scardeal New Reader
9/16/09 8:34 a.m.

Hey all,

My wife and I just purchased our first home. (Yay! Garage!) So now we find ourselves needing a few accessories. Since y'all are so good at recommending car stuffs, I'd imagine you'd have opinions on the following:

  1. Lawnmower. Every house needs one.
  2. Washer & Dryer. We'll need clean clothes after working on the car.
Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter Online Editor
9/16/09 8:40 a.m.

Big washer/dryer discussion here: http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/off-topic-discussion/momma-needs-a-new-dryer/13112/page1/

wayslow
wayslow New Reader
9/16/09 8:51 a.m.

In 20 years of home ownership I've never bought a lawn mower. It's amazing what people throw out.
Right now I have a nice self propelled Honda that's about 3yrs old. My neighbour was throwing it away because he couldn't get it started this spring. A tank of fresh gas and away it went.
Home ownership is expensive, save money where you can and don't be afraid of hand me down appliances when you're starting out.

jrw1621
jrw1621 HalfDork
9/16/09 9:11 a.m.

Wow, with your above statement I too realized that I have never bought a mover. Upon buying my first house, I was given a POS with a strong Briggs motor that I ran for 8 years. I left that mover with the people who bought the house (and I moved into a condo.)
Since then, I was gifted two mowers for helping my sister-in-law move (from house to apt.) I gave one mover to my sister and kept the Toro for myself, now that I am living in a house again. This toro must be 15 yrs old if it is a day, and it still starts on the second pull every time.

I bought one dryer new and one washing machine, new. When I started out I bought one via a classified ad and got another as a hand-me-down to a relative who bought a house that came with better appliances.

My recommendation: craigslist for all.

Hal
Hal HalfDork
9/16/09 9:43 a.m.

When we bought the house in 1976 we needed all those items too. I saw an ad in the newspaper for a "brand new" GE washer and dryer for a ridiculously low price so I called the people. Turns out they had bought them because his company was going to send him overseas. That got canceled and they had never used them and they had been sitting for a year.

They hadn't been able to sell them because the washer was set up for 220 volts!!! I gave the guy $200, loaded them in my van and got out of there before he had a chance to change his mind.

We used them for 20 years before replacing them. I replaced the heating element in the dryer a couple times. When it needed replacing again we inherited a Maytag from my wifes aunt who had died. Still are using that one.

We replaced the washer with some piece of junk that only lasted 5 years before the seals went. Then we got a Maytag front loader that we are still using.

My advise on washers and dryers is to get as simple (no fancy controls) as you can live with. Who actually needs 25 different wash cycles??

My mother gave us a Sears mower when we got the house. That lasted for 10 years till it was literally falling apart. Since I was working part-time at a Honda shop I got one of their self-propelled mowers for a good price. Still have it!!!

alex
alex HalfDork
9/16/09 9:56 a.m.

Congrats on the new house. We just did the same thing, and we're still doing all the shopping you're doing. Fortunately, I had a mower (20 year old Snapper) handed down, and scored a dryer from my MIL.

If you have to buy a new mower, hard to go wrong with Honda. I recall from a recent thread, though (actually, I think it was a thread I started about that Snapper), that there are two basic series of motors, one better than the other. I believe you can tell the good ones by the metal housing on the recoil starter. The ones with a plastic housing on the recoil have a plastic cam in the engine, IIRC.

Lots of 'grain of salt' qualifies in that above paragraph, but hopefully that give you something to go off of.

Here's something helpful that I learned recently, relating to our dryer. Our 220 outlet for the dryer is about 6.5' from the dryer (hung from floor joists in the basement). Most stores only sell the power cords in a 4' length. Just when I thought I'd have to relocate the outlet, or put the dryer up on cinder blocks - don't think it didn't cross my mind - I called our local appliance supply center, Marcone. They're the guys who sell to the service companies, and I found out they carry the cords in 10' lengths. Nobody in the consumer-level stores had ever heard of such thing. Saved a fair amount of headache.

There's my helpful hint of the day.

NYG95GA
NYG95GA SuperDork
9/16/09 10:00 a.m.

I bought my washer/dryer at Lowes many years ago from the back of the warehouse, the ones that were "scratched and dented". Got them for half price, and a small scrach on one has no effect on it's functionality. It's just sheet metal.

For the mower, if you go to the local small engine repair shop at the end of the growing season, they always have repaired mowers that have been left for more than 30 days that you can "bail out" for the price of the repair bill.

pigeon
pigeon Reader
9/16/09 10:52 a.m.
NYG95GA wrote: I bought my washer/dryer at Lowes many years ago from the back of the warehouse, the ones that were "scratched and dented". Got them for half price, and a small scrach on one has no effect on it's functionality. It's just sheet metal. For the mower, if you go to the local small engine repair shop at the end of the growing season, they always have repaired mowers that have been left for more than 30 days that you can "bail out" for the price of the repair bill.

Good advice on buying the "scratch and dent" stuff - nobody's ever going to see it anyway. I also recommend spending some time on slickdeals.net and fatwallet.com to search for deals, high-end washer and dryer sets in funky colors keep popping up for relatively cheap.

Genius advice on the repaired mower bail out. I inherited a John Deere walk behind when my inlaws moved and it cuts like nothing else. I've had to service it some to keep it going - just sheared a wheel bolt in a blind hole - but the way it covers ground vs the cheap stamped steel deck mower I borrowed once recently is amazing. Hondas are also great mowers and will last nearly forever, and tend to be quite a bit quieter than Briggs or Techumsa engines.

scardeal
scardeal New Reader
9/16/09 11:09 a.m.

My parents gave us money for a washer & dryer as a wedding present, so it'd probably be bad form to get something used unless it's really nice. (Apparently, it's some sort of tradition in our family to buy a major appliance as a wedding gift for children.) However, that doesn't prevent us from getting a good deal on a new set, getting the mower used and stash any remaining cash for a HDTV fund...

njansenv
njansenv Reader
9/16/09 11:14 a.m.

Craigslist FTW. We've purchased ALL our appliances, as well as our tenants appliances, using online classifieds.

Nathan

sachilles
sachilles Reader
9/16/09 11:57 a.m.

I also have a free mower. I've had it for at least 7 years(craftsman re-branded something or other). Only thing I don't like is the front wheels are starting get some serious negative camber to them. Some day I'll be ambitious enough to bend them back straight. The only thing I will say, is if your lawn is big enough to justify a riding mower, get a riding one. Do hate spending more than an hour pushing that stupid thing around, when I could be doing something else.

mtn
mtn SuperDork
9/16/09 1:29 p.m.

For the mower... Get a commercial if your lawn has any size to it at all. You won't regret it. We've had this one for seventeen years without any problems at all; just basic maintenance.

John Brown
John Brown GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
9/16/09 1:35 p.m.

Spiders...

I use them to keep my wife out of the shed.

benzbaron
benzbaron Reader
9/16/09 2:19 p.m.

From my understanding for a washer you'd want a high efficiency front loader. Why fool around with a 30gallon hog of a washer? The front loaders might be more expensive but you'll save lots of water. It reminds me of going to house salvage yards and seeing tons of single pain windows. For the time and effort of installing a window you might as well use double pained glass.

As far as driers go there isn't anything to them so you can get whichever you like. I guess modern ones and old ones are both power hogs.

keethrax
keethrax Reader
9/16/09 2:45 p.m.
benzbaron wrote: From my understanding for a washer you'd want a high efficiency front loader. Why fool around with a 30gallon hog of a washer? The front loaders might be more expensive but you'll save lots of water. It reminds me of going to house salvage yards and seeing tons of single pain windows. For the time and effort of installing a window you might as well use double pained glass.

I'd avoid the front load washers like the plague myself. Too many issues to be worth the "savings". Quotes, because at least where I live I would never make up the cost difference over the course of the lifespan of the machine. But even if the prices started out equal (so that any savings was real) I still wouldn't buy one.

See some of the front load washer bits in: http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/off-topic-discussion/momma-needs-a-new-dryer/13112/page1/

EDIT: How did I miss that this was linked to right off the bat? Sorry...

81gtv6
81gtv6 GRM+ Memberand Reader
9/16/09 3:11 p.m.

Check out the Habitat for Humanity Restore near you ( I think this is the one). Lots of good stuff at give away prices and you are helping a good cause to boot.

keethrax
keethrax Reader
9/16/09 3:37 p.m.
81gtv6 wrote: Check out the Habitat for Humanity Restore near you ( I think this is the one). Lots of good stuff at give away prices and you are helping a good cause to boot.

We have one. Picked up some stuff for our new house.

Some of it may be replaced in the future, but if so, I can re-donate it and it'll still likely be in very good shape still.

JeepinMatt
JeepinMatt New Reader
9/16/09 3:43 p.m.

Build a house out of cob. While you're at it, build everything you can out of cob. Garage, couch, counters, bed etc... Whatever you can't, use animals, like the Flintstones did.

benzbaron
benzbaron Reader
9/16/09 3:45 p.m.

If the front loaders are junk at least get a washer that spins the clothes at lightning speed so they are pretty dry when you put them in the drier. The washer should sound like a jet engine/F1 engine when it starts spinning.

I'm using a funky old washer so what do I know.

RossD
RossD HalfDork
9/16/09 3:54 p.m.

I like my self-propelled Lawn Boy with a tecumseh engine on it. I bought it new. My advice is to buy one with a good engine on it (Tecumseh, B&S, Honduh), the rest of if it is pretty hard to screw up.

JeepinMatt
JeepinMatt New Reader
9/16/09 4:12 p.m.

One thing about the mower really depends on how big your yard is. If it's big enough to require a riding mower, the cheap mowers start about 1000 and won't last forever. Most big brand name mowers at that price are just rebadged cheap ones, like Murrays with new paint and a different badge. A good one will cost 2-3k. If your lawn is smaller, like less than an acre, a push mower will be fine.

scardeal
scardeal New Reader
9/17/09 8:16 a.m.

House is on about 1/4 to 1/3 of an acre on a corner lot. I don't think I need a riding lawnmower.

Keith
Keith GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
9/17/09 9:23 a.m.

Lawnmowers and washers? Whatever. We should be discussing air compressors.

scardeal
scardeal New Reader
9/17/09 10:36 a.m.

That's on the list. Unfortunately, clean clothes and a mown yard are sort of prerequisites.

914Driver
914Driver GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
9/17/09 11:13 a.m.

Congrats on the house and welcome to hell/heaven.

As you're in Michigan, rather than fill a toolbox with shiny things I would rent or borrow a thermal device and check out the insulation in the house. I understand it snows in Michigan, Every dollar spent on insulation will come back in fuel savings and comfort. It's a PITA job but time well spent. You never said how old the home is, but my understanding from friends is that new ones are just tossed together. My wife has dragged me to look at a few, I was underwhelmed with the workmanship.

Look at big ticket items that can fail, hot water heater, furnace etc. If they're questionable think about saving money a little at a time and replace them on your terms, not when it explodes on Christmas eve when you have a house full of people. Plumbers sense when you're over a barrel.

Go to garage sales for inexpensive hand tools, rakes, hoes and the like.

Mine was built in 1894 and it's been fun most of the time. It's large, airy, 4 bedroom; think old, attractive British car. Lovely to look at, great for parties and the good times, but the bad times are truly trying.

Enjoy it.

Dan

Dan

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