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When to Repair or Replace Your Appliance 1/2

When an appliance is old and isn’t working efficiently, it’s easy to decide to replace rather than repair the machine — may it rest in peace.

But appliances often break before their time, making the repair-or-replace decision harder.

If money is tight, you may have to repair the appliance and hope for the best. But if you’ve got some coin, then replacing with a new, energy-efficient model often is the better way to go.

That’s a lot of ifs, and the repair-or-replace dilemma often is hard to resolve. Here are some guidelines that will help you decide.

Is It Really Broken?

When appliances stop working, we get so rattled that the obvious escapes us. Before you panic, make sure:

  •     The appliance is plugged in.
  •     Circuit breakers haven’t tripped. (I once replaced a blender only to discover that the circuit needed resetting.)
  •     Flooring hasn’t become uneven, which can stop some appliances from turning on.
  •     Vents and filters aren’t clogged with lint and dust.

Is It Still Under Warranty?

Check your owner’s manual or records to see if the sick appliance is still under warranty. Most warranties on major appliances cover labor and parts for a year; some extend coverage of parts for two years. If it’s still covered, schedule a service call.

Is It Truly at the End of Its Useful Life?

Appliances have an average useful life — the typical lifespan after which the machine is running on borrowed time. The closer your appliance is to its hypothetical past due date, the wiser it is to replace, rather than repair.

Here are the typical lifespans of major appliances.  

Appliance            Average Lifespan (Years)
Compactor                            6
Dishwasher                           9
Disposal                               12
Dryer                                    13
Exhaust Fan                          10
Freezer                                  11
Microwave                            9
Range, electric                      13
Range, gas                             15
Range/oven hood                  14
Refrigerator                           13
Washer                                   10

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