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What to look for in appliances when apartment hunting

By: Mike Thomas

As a repairman, I have seen prospective tenants go in and out of apartments. They look at the wall colors, the amount of space, the views and the amenities. However, one thing that they may neglect to look at is the appliance package in the unit. If the tenant plans to keep the appliances that come with the apartment, there are several things for them to look for. However, some savvy renters may be able to get the landlord to spring for some new appliances. These tenants have other things that they need to look for, which I discuss at the end of this article. Here are some things to look for when you are looking for your next apartment.

Check for Working Condition

If possible, try out all of the appliances when you do a walk-through. Turn on the air conditioning system, open the refrigerator, run a timer on the microwave and flip the switch for the garbage disposal. Turn on the furnace and feel for hot air. Turn on the range and each burner to make sure that they turn on. Turn on the oven and feel for warmth. Turn the washing machine and dryer on and off to make sure that they work. It is easier for you to find out now about any non-working appliances now and ask the landlord to fix the problems before you move in, rather than waiting until after.

Proof of Rodents

Check for any sign of infestation before moving in. Check on the floors and around appliances for any dead rodents or droppings. Any problem of this nature should be cleared out before you move in by a professional exterminator.

Check Lines

Have a professional inspector look to see if appliances are correctly attached. There may be certain fire hazards if the apartment has skimped on maintenance and safety. Electrical lines should not be frayed. Too much power should not be connected to one outlet or breaker. Gas lines should not have any leaks. Install a carbon monoxide detector once you move into the apartment to determine if you are at risk in the future.

Consider Gas

Some people like to cook with gas stoves. They think that it gives the food a more natural taste. However, if the stove is the only appliance that uses gas, it may cause you to have an additional bill that you may not need.

Replacing Appliances

If you are in the position where you can have the appliances replaced, here are some things to look for.

Energy-Efficiency

As the renter, you will be responsible for the cost of utilities. Therefore, you want to make sure that they are as efficient as possible. Check for an energy star label which signifies that the appliance is more energy efficient. These labels are on stoves, refrigerators, washing machines, boilers, HVAC systems, dryers and other appliances.

Size

Apartment-sized appliances are available for those who want them. These smaller appliances allow tenants to have the luxuries of larger places without taking up the extra space. They work well in compact kitchens. However, consider whether reduced-sized appliances will work for your lifestyle. For example, if you plan on having your extended family over for the holidays or you like to host large dinner parties, you may require appliances that are larger.

  

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†Average repair and replacement costs as reported in a nationwide survey: A Study of Homeowners Appliance and Home System Service Experiences Decision Analyst (2011) and reprinted with their written permission.

Home protection plans are subject to exclusions and limitations including repairs or replacements of covered home system components and appliances. See contract for details.