Planning a home improvement project? Expect to wait

Contractor saws wood for house
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

Many of us are planning our spring and summer home projects, such as replacing some appliances or redoing a bath or kitchen. But, beware because that home project or repair could run into all sorts of delays this year and, in some cases, the wait could be longer than it was in 2021.

Carolyn Nerenberg is at her wit’s end when it comes to getting a new, working refrigerator.

“They said, ‘well you can have the floor model or we can order you another, and it will be about a year before you get it,'” she said. “A year!”

So she reluctantly took the floor model, but now says the ice maker has never worked, since day one.

“We went to use the ice and the water mechanism, and it doesn’t work,” she explained. “It leaks all over the inside of the refrigerator.”

But, even though the fridge was under warranty, the repair company has tried four times to fix it. The company has been waiting weeks, at least, for some parts and it still leaks.

“The water all comes down through here, this whole thing is off, cause the water would fill up in here,” she said, showing the vegetable crisper.


Many Home Projects Take Much Longer

But, it’s not just kitchen appliances where things are out of stock, parts are hard to find or there are long delays. It seems no matter what home project you are doing, expect it to take a lot longer until you have it finished.

Homebuilder Ben Fry said: “We’re seeing an increase in appliance costs, as well as extended lead times to get them.”

But, Fry says fridges and dishwashers are not the worst: It can take up to a year to get custom-sized windows and garage doors.

So his advice to customers?

  • Ask about appliances that are in stock, not special orders.
  • Try to order a standard-sized window or door, or a size that the company has in its warehouse.
  • Order months before your need it, if possible.

Fry is placing orders the minute home buyers sign on their new home.

“When the customer signs a contract, we’re ordering windows, garage doors, appliances,” he said. “You know, bathroom fixtures. Everything we can that has set lead times to make sure it comes in on time.”

We contacted Whirlpool for Carolyn Nerenberg, which is now looking into an expedited repair or an exchange. She hopes to finally have a working fridge by summer.

“It’s very frustrating,” she said. “You get your heart set on remodeling, get in the groove and it has been a nightmare, after nightmare.”

So, plan ahead so you don’t waste your money.

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John Matarese

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