Buy used household appliances – more ecological and cheaper?

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Buy used household appliances – more ecological and cheaper?

More ecological and cheaper?

Buying used household appliances – not advisable for every appliance

09/29/2020, 1:59 p.m. | Anika Berger, dpa

Used household appliances: Some appliances can be bought used with a clear conscience. (Source: Ole Spata / dpa)

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The washing machine is running out and there is simply no money for a new one? No problem: used household appliances are often available on the Internet or in stores and shops at low prices.

Household appliances often give up the ghost without warning. Repair is not always possible, and large appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines in particular make a big difference in the budget. So instead of buying a new device, some consumers are considering buying a used one. But what do consumers have to look out for when buying old appliances? And buying used is definitely worth it?

Claudia Oberascher from the professional association for efficient energy use sees many advantages in second-hand devices. "A few years ago it was always said that new devices are much more economical", she says. But that is no longer true. "If I buy a used device with a good efficiency rating, then it’s good too."

What should you pay attention to when buying?

Washing machine: "You can buy a used washing machine with a clear conscience", says Gerhild Loer, who works in the energy sector at the North Rhine-Westphalia consumer center. Even if the brand manufacturers themselves often speak of a service life of 15 years, a device can last for 25 years. Loer’s tip: ask the previous owner how often the machine ran on average. "For example, if it came from a two-person household, it will likely last longer."

Dryer: Buying a used dryer to go with the washing machine can be a good idea. "However, technology has changed over the past 15 years", explains Loer. An old exhaust air dryer sometimes uses five times as much as a current model.

When buying used electrical appliances, you should always keep an eye on their energy consumption. (Source: Andrea Warnecke / dpa)

Oven: The energy class is not that important here, says Oberascher. "It depends more on the user when it comes to consumption." First and foremost, you should check whether the equipment fits your own needs. A function test is important.

Dishwasher: Buying a used dishwasher can be a gamble. Dishwashers were more likely to break than washing machines, explains Loer, because electronics are much more sensitive. Anyone who nevertheless decides can run the new old one through with a special machine cleaner before using it for the first time to remove residues, recommends Oberascher.

Fridge: Caution is advised here. "We generally advise against buying a used refrigerator", says energy expert Loer. Only the best energy classes have been sold for years, but the device is aging. "A refrigerator loses its insulation over time. After three years it is already using more than when buying a new one." After twelve years it is about 50 percent more.

Better to agree on purchase in writing

Anyone who has opted for a used device is also faced with legal questions. Do you need a sales contract? The seller is liable if the device breaks? "You always conclude a sales contract – also verbally. But I would recommend putting it in writing", says Michelle Jahn from the consumer association NRW.

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There are forms on the Internet. The condition and age of the device as well as any defects should be recorded on the document.

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