A newly remodeled kitchen

Photo Courtesy of Electrolux Appliances

If the thought of holiday entertaining – and the food preparation that goes along with it – has you looking at your appliances with a combination of fear and disdain, there’s still time to make a change. The holidays are actually a great time to purchase major appliances. New appliances typically come out in winter, which means you can snag a deal on last year’s models. That’s even more the case in January, as stores try to get those last few 2015 items off the sales floor. Many major retailers run some great Black Friday sales on appliances as well. But whether you need one appliance or an entire kitchen, are just replacing appliances or are buying with a major remodel in mind, here are a few tips that you might want to check twice.

Avoid pressure. Appliances are a major purchase that lingers for years. Don’t allow your desire to have everything perfect for the holidays rush you into making a purchase that’s not correct for you – or for your long-term plans for your kitchen. Take the time to determine the appliance features you really want, the brands you trust, and the styles and finishes you like before you begin to shop – then be ruthless about eliminating options that don’t meet your standards.

Measure twice, buy once. Particularly if you are replacing appliances (instead of designing a new kitchen around them), make certain that the new ones will fit in your space. Don’t neglect to measure the width, height and depth of your existing appliancesand the space the new ones must fit into. Then, consider how the new models differ in terms of doors, hinges, controls, handles and anything that you need to access, open or reach to operate. A new double door refrigerator, for example, might present a door clearance issue a single-door model never had if its right side abuts a wall. Particularly in tight spaces, taking the time to research exactly how doors open and close will make a huge difference in functionality.

Don’t fight the power. Before you shop, determine whether your existing dryer, cooktop or oven is gas or electric, and think seriously before switching to an alternative source. While you can change, most homes are not set-up for that switch on the front end, and require the services of utility companies and contractors to do so – all of whom may be more challenging to schedule over the holidays. Likewise, verify where your utility lines are coming from and ensure that the appliances you purchase mesh with the way your home is configured.

All sales are not equal. Don’t assume you’re getting a deal just because the tag says sale. Determine what you need before you go to the store, and take the time to research what competitive models cost and the features they offer. Also, consider delivery and installation fees, as these can vary greatly between retailers.

Time it right. Some retailers require immediate delivery, while others may hold your purchase for some time until you are ready.

Practice makes perfect. Just as you wouldn’t dream of trying a new recipe at an important dinner party, don’t debut a brand new appliance at your holiday gathering. Every appliance is different, which is particularly the case if you are switching fuel types. Even within similar models, some appliances simply cook hotter or store food colder than others – particularly if you are going from an outdated appliance to a newer, more efficient model. Take the time to get familiar with the idiosyncrasies of yours before you try to serve a large family meal.