A major appliance is a large machine which accomplishes some routine
housekeeping task, which includes purposes such as cooking, food
preservation, or cleaning, whether in a household, institutional,
commercial or industrial setting. An appliance is differentiated
from a plumbing fixture because it uses an energy input for its
operation other than water, generally using electricity. An object
run by a watermill, however, would be considered an appliance.
Major appliances are differentiated from small appliances because
they are large, difficult to move, and generally fixed in place to
some extent. They may be roughly divided into refrigeration
equipment, stoves, washing equipment, and miscellaneous.
Types of appliances
Appliances are divided into white goods and brown goods.
Brown goods are typically household electrical entertainment
appliances such as:
CD and DVD players,
HiFi and Home cinema
White goods comprise major household electrical appliances
freezer and refrigerator
furnace, also known as a central heating boiler
stove, also known as range, oven, cooking plate, or cooktop
Brown goods were traditionally finished with wood, or looked like
wood, or Bakelite; at least televisions and music systems were. This
is now rather rare, but the name has stuck, even for goods that are
unlikely ever to have been provided in a wooden case (e.g.
camcorders). White goods were typically painted or enameled white,
and many of them still are. The addition of new items to these
categories shows that the categories still serve a purpose in
marketing (consumers rarely use the terms), perhaps because they
divide into traditional gender roles in the house suggesting
"gadget/novelty/power" marketing for brown goods and
"practicality/reliability" marketing for white goods.
This division is also noticeable in the service area of this kind of
products. Brown goods usually require high technical knowledge and
skills (which get more complex with time, such as going from a
soldering iron to a hot-air soldering station), while white goods
need more practical skills and "brute force" to manipulate the
devices and heavy tools required to repair them.
Brown goods are almost always serviceable down to "component-level"
(integrated circuits, transistors, etc), whereas in white goods,
usually whole modules (motor, thermostat, controller board) are
changed and not repaired. There is usually a problem with microwave
ovens, which are considered white goods, because these sell
alongside refrigerators and dishwashers, but microwave ovens contain
complex electronic boards (the clock and controller) which
white-good servicemen refuse to repair (as they don't have the
training or tools required to do so). Some brands consider microwave
ovens white goods, and send whole boards for replacement, and some
consider microwaves to be like brown goods, and have them repaired
by such technicians. Personal care products (electric shavers and
depilatory), are considered a separate line, and usually are not
serviced, but completely exchanged.