Should You Repair or Replace Your Appliances?

Making the decision to repair or replace an appliance can be difficult. It's important to consider the cost of the repair, the age of the appliance, and the availability of replacement parts. Royce Palmer, president of Columbia Appliance, a Columbia, Missouri retail store, suggests that if an appliance has more than half its useful life and the repair costs more than 50% of the price of a new one, you should consider replacing it. However, if fixing it costs less than half of what it costs to buy something new and it's not that close to the end of its useful life, repairing it is probably the best option.

The cost and availability of replacement parts are also an important consideration when deciding whether to repair or replace appliances. Most appliances have an average lifespan of between 10 and 20 years. Unless you're “lucky” that an appliance breaks down during the warranty period, you should decide if it makes sense to repair the appliance or just start over with a new machine. If you're not particularly skilled and one of your appliances doesn't work well after the warranty has expired, it can be difficult to determine if it needs to be repaired or replaced. As a general rule, if repairing an appliance is going to cost more than 50 percent of the price of a replacement, it might be wise to buy a newer model if your budget allows.

This 50 percent rule also depends on how old the device is. If the device is only a couple of years old and the warranty has just ended, it's probably cheaper to repair it. The accumulation of water under or around the washing machine is a sure sign that there is a problem. Be sure to check first if it might be a problem with an easy solution. While a leaking washing machine can sometimes be repaired, it's often a sign that the appliance has reached the end of its useful life.

Because of water damage to floors, it's best to repair or replace a leaking washer as soon as possible. The cost of repairs may not be worth the cost for many smaller, lower-cost appliances, such as vacuums. Sometimes the hose is clogged or a filter needs to be replaced. If you've checked those things and the vacuum just isn't working anymore, it might be time to look for a replacement. If it starts spraying dust back into the room instead of keeping it contained in a bag or other container, you should stop using the vacuum and start looking for a new one.

That would mean replacing an appliance that is more than half its expected lifespan and that requires repair work that represents more than half of its original cost. If you have a home warranty, call your provider and see if they will pay for the repair or cost of a new appliance. Consult the owner's manual to see if your appliance is still under warranty, in which case repairs may be covered for the first or second year. If you opt for repairs and you like the DIY trend, keep in mind that there are some home repairs that you should never do yourself. So that you don't get in trouble if the repair or replacement of an appliance surprises you, create an emergency fund in your online savings account so you're prepared to repair the old one or invest in a new one. If you don't have an extended service contract for your appliances, repair costs aren't cheap, and it's sometimes difficult to find a responsible and reliable repairer. If you're deciding when to replace appliances, you can apply the 50 percent rule to the age of your appliances and the cost of repairing them, according to HouseLogic, a website of the National Association of Realtors.

However, if the appliance has repeatedly broken down, leading to several repair bills in recent years, it may be time to part ways and consider a replacement. The decision to repair or replace appliances is up to you, but consulting this list before you decide can help ensure that you spend your money wisely and get the results you value most. Deciding if the time has come to repair or replace appliances can be difficult, but there are some general guidelines that will help you.

Viola Ciaramitaro
Viola Ciaramitaro

Incurable web buff. Wannabe beer advocate. Lifelong zombie fanatic. Wannabe pop culture scholar. Incurable food expert. Hipster-friendly sushi guru.

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