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BBB on homes: There are things to consider when buying appliances

February 10, 2017 GMT

Are you in the market for a new appliance for your home? There are many options, and in order to narrow down the possibilities, it is important to take time and research various appliances before you zero in on your final selection.

Accordingly, the Better Business Bureau of Greater Houston and South Texas offers tips for purchasing household appliances:

Measure your space Before you leave for the store, measure the space you have. Consider how much space you need to allow for the appliance to open and clearance for proper ventilation. If you are replacing an old appliance, measure your old appliance to compare dimensions while shopping. Also consider the dimensions of the space leading up to the appliance’s final destination. Narrow doorways or hallways can cause difficulties in delivering the new appliance.

Determine what’s most important Household appliances come in a variety of models with many features. Research the manufacturer and seller and check their BBB reports at BBBHouston.org. Check for recalls at recalls.gov. Also, determine which features are important to you before you shop. Is it important for the appliance to be quiet, energy efficient, have safety features, or be cost effective? Considering these factors before you shop will help you avoid impulse buys.

Delivery and installation Be sure to ask the salesperson about delivery and installation. Sometimes there are additional costs to delivery and installation of the new appliance. Accessory kits for installation of some appliances may be an additional purchase.

Also, be sure to ask if they will haul away the old appliance or if you will be required to remove an old appliance prior to delivery.

Payment plans A household appliance is a large purchase, and often wholesalers and retailers will offer financing for certain priced purchases. Be sure to ask your salesperson about appliance financing and determine what option works for your budget.

Warranties Most major purchases include warranties from the manufacturer or wholesaler. Ask your salesperson if there is a warranty included and what the terms are. Be sure to understand how long the warranty lasts, who to contact for warranty service, what is covered under the warranty, and if there are any limitations or conditions. Once you make a purchase, hold onto the purchase receipt and file it with the warranty.

EnergyGuide labels Energy-efficient models may cost more than other models, but can cost less to run and can help you save money on your utility bills. If energy efficiency is an important factor, look for the yellow EnergyGuide label attached to the appliance. The label will tell you the appliance make and model number, features, estimated yearly operating cost and how that compares to other models, and the estimated electricity use.

Be sure to ask your salesperson or utility provider about cash rebates, low-interest loans, or other incentive programs for consumers who purchase energy-efficient appliances.

The Better Business Bureau is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Every year, more than 87 million consumers rely on BBB Business Reviews and BBB Wise Giving Reports to help them find trustworthy businesses and charities across North America. For information or to check the reliability of a company and find trustworthy businesses, visit www.bbbhouston.org, which includes our BBB Accredited Business Directory, or call 713-868-9500. Leah Napoliello is senior director of Investigative Services with the Better Business Bureau of Greater Houston and South Texas. Send questions regarding homeowner issues to Leah Napoliello, Better Business Bureau, 1333 West Loop South, Suite 1200, Houston, TX 77027, or e-mail her at lnapoliello@bbbhou.org. Include mailing address and phone number on letters and emails.