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Managing Appliance Costs

We depend on our refrigerators, stoves, washing machines, hot water heaters, air conditioners, microwaves and the rest to help us maintain our lifestyles. Whether we need to install new appliances or repair existing gadgets, the money spent generally falls into the category of "sound investment." How much you'll pay depends on a number of factors:

Brand and Quality of Appliances

In the past five years, we've all become much more sophisticated in our appliance-shopping strategies. We compare prices with a few mouse clicks. We also can go beyond low price tags and look at quality. What do reviews say about that brand of toaster oven? What kind of problems have arisen for owners of that refrigerator model? A few minutes of research can quickly make it clear that paying for quality brands can save you big bucks in the life of an appliance. That research can also suggest what brands charge way more than the value of their products. If you're buying appliances as part of a major renovation, your contractor can be another source of information, guiding you to the best values.

Size of Appliances

Many appliances get more expensive as their size and capacity increase. Washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, microwaves and even trash compactors will often go up in price as their size and capacity increases. But understand that bigger isn't always better. Take into account the size of your family or the number of guests you serve as well as the available space you have for the appliance.

Appliance Energy Efficiency

Appliances that use less water and power and have a higher energy efficiency rating are often more expensive. But these are often the better value, earning you back that investment over time with lower utility bills. Look for the Energy Star, an international symbol that tells you an appliance meets exceptional efficiency standards.

Power and Water Needed for Appliances

When installing new appliances, it's important that you have enough electricity and water to run them, and that the power and water are located in the right places. If you need to increase the electricity or move the locations of plumbing or wiring to accommodate the new appliances then the cost of installation will increase accordingly.

Appliance Repairs

The cost of fixing your appliances will vary greatly from the type of appliance and the extent of the repairs needed. When you purchase your appliance, it's important that you consider the length and coverage of the warranty. Many appliances are covered for just a few months. Others are covered for a lifetime. When your repair is covered by a warranty, it sometimes is only honored if you return the appliance to the manufacturer for the repair. Make sure you check the details of the warranty before calling a repair professional. Some appliances will cost more at the point of purchase but carry a longer or more comprehensive warranty and therefore may be a better buy overall.

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