Sunday 10 April 2011

Kettle woes

No sooner had Kerry asked J.Bloggs what to do with her old kettle than my kettle broke down in sympathy. I managed to remove the bottom and only lost a small amount of skin in the process but a quick test with a meter confirmed my fear that the element had died. In earlier days it was simple to replace a kettle element but I can't find a jug style kettle that has a replaceable element.

So the kettle has gone to the greenhouse to replace a plastic bottle as a slightly more elegant plant waterer. Being stainless steel it should last many years there.

I then had the problem of replacing the kettle. I run a business from home so the kettle leads a hard life - the old one survived 6 years which is quite good for this type of appliance. Kettle prices vary from £6 to £60 and a common attitude seems to be to buy the cheapest and be happy if it lasts a year - it is very unlikely that a £60 kettle will last 10 years. At a recent meeting of the Hethersett Circle we discussed the Story of Stuff and how the price of goods is subsidised by the workers who mine the metals and manufacture the items. A £6 kettle must be a prime example of this.

I spent an hour online reading kettle reviews and found many reviews of more expensive kettle that said they had leaked after a short period. More than one person wondered why in this day of technical marvels we can't buy a reliable, repairable kettle! So paying more does not seem to guarantee a more sustainable purchase. In the end I settled on a Morphy Richards kettle that allows you to save energy by setting a lower temperature cut off point -which is also better for coffee and some teas. It costs £40 and has a metal body - it is difficult to keep the spout of plastic ones free from lime and they usually dribble - also there are many complaints of plastic kettles tainting the taste and I don't fancy added chemicals with my tea.

Rarely have I spent £40 with such low expectations of satisfaction.

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