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Is It Time To Repair Or Replace My Appliance?

December 15, 2014

Things to Consider when your Appliance goes out?

It is never fun when the appliances in your home stop working properly. Not only is it an inconvenience, but it can make a dent in your bank account. The initial reaction when something isn’t working properly is to find the quickest, cheapest fix, but that isn’t always the best choice in the long term. You want to weigh your options when it comes to repairing or replacing the appliances in your home.

Analyzing Your Appliance

There are some general questions to ask yourself, no matter what the appliance, before determining whether to repair or replace it.

  • Is it still under warranty? Check your owner’s manual and find out if the appliance is covered under the manufacturer’s warranty or retailer warranty. You may be able to have it repaired for free.
  • What is the cost difference? Simply put, what will cost you more: the repair or the replacement?
  • What else could go wrong? Do a little research online, or contact an expert, and find out what other repairs you should expect in the near future when it comes to your appliance. If it looks like the cash you are shelling out for this repair is just the first of many to come in the near future, replacement may be a better bet.

Appliance-Specific Considerations

Refrigerator – The typical lifespan of a refrigerator is 13 years, but this is just a baseline. You can extend the life of your fridge by having it checked out whenever you hear it hissing, see it “sweating” or leaking, or notice that it is cycling on and off often. If you have a side-by-side fridge, Consumer Reports recommends repairing it if it is 5 years old or younger. That extends to 7 years for models with bottom freezers but is reduced to 3 years on models with top freezers.

HVAC unit – In many cases, a licensed professional can make repairs on your HVAC unit that will extend its lifespan for you, but there are times when it makes more sense to simply replace the entire unit. Examples include:

  • An HVAC unit that has a heat pump or air conditioner that is over 10 years old
  • A boiler or furnace that is more than 15 years old
  • Energy bills that are rising rapidly year-after-year as a result of less efficiency

Dishwasher – The average dishwasher will last you 9 years. However, a dishwasher that has been purchased in the past 7 years should be repaired if the cost of the repair is 50 percent of the original cost of the unit or less. If your dishwasher is above the 7 year mark or the repair exceeds that 50 percent mark, you’re better off replacing your dishwasher.

Microwave – Check for minor issues that could cause your microwave to malfunction, like a blown fuse. If you rule out any minor issues and the microwave is still not working properly, it is best to just replace it. Depending on what model you choose, microwaves are generally inexpensive to replace.

Washing machine – Certain parts of a washing machine are not too difficult or expensive to repair, like the belts, seals, or even the pump. If you have an issue with the tub of the machine or the motor, it may be time to consider a new machine. If you do decide to get a new machine, consider a high efficiency model as it will save you a lot more on utility costs over time.

There may not be a clear-cut answer as to what to repair or replace in your home. Use your best judgment, and when you really are unsure, consult an expert for advice.

About The Author

Bob Jenson

For over 45 years, Bob Jenson has been providing quality heating and air services to the San Diego community.

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