Appliance Repair or Replace Guidelines

Here are financial guidelines to determine if a broken down appliance should be fixed or replaced.

Most quality appliances have a ten to twenty year average lifespan. If your appliance happens to fail during the warranty period, the choice is easy, you have the appliance repaired. If the warrant period has expired, then you need to decide between getting the repair verses replacing the appliance.

It can be a difficult question. Appliance repair cost can be high, assuming you do not have an extended service contract for the appliance in need of repair. Then you have to locate a reliable repair person who can repair your type and brand of appliance. In a world of trying to do more with less, an appliance repair can make sense if you can be reasonably sure this repair will not be the first of a long line of repairs this appliance.

Repair or Replace? That is the question.
Appliance
Estimated Cost
Age Range
Risk of Failure:
Low Risk
Medium Risk
High Risk
Refrigerator
$500 - $2700
Up To 8 Years
40%
8 To 15 Years
30%
16 Years And Up
20%
Range
$400 - $1900
Up To 15 Years
30%
15 To 25 Years
20%
26 Years And Up
10%
Dishwasher
$450 - $1400
Up To 10 Years
40%
10 To 15 Years
30%
16 Years And Up
20%
Built In Microwave
$300 - $1200
Up To 4 Years
20%
4 To 10 Years
15%
11 Years And Up
10%
Food Waster Disposer
$100 - $300
Up to 1 Year
See Note
1 Year And Up
Always Replace
Note: Food Waste Disposers Are Always Disposable. Repair Only If Under Warrant, Otherwise Replace.

So, how to you make the determination between repairs verses replacement? To make the decision, several aspects need to be considered, including the age of the appliance, the cost of the repair, the chance the appliance will break down again, and has the technology of the possible replacement advanced so much that it would make a difference.

To provide guidance, see the chart above. Say you had a seven year old refrigerator, and the compressor must be replaced. A new refrigerator would cost $1200, and a replacement compressor would cost $350. Should you install a new compressor, or replace the enter refrigerator?

Looking at the chart, for the Refrigerator, the age of seven years places it in the low risk range. Assuming you would pay $1200 for a replacement, it would be OK to spend 40% of that ($480) on a repair. Since $350 for a replacement compressor is less than the 40% ($480), then doing the repair would be appropriate.

Do the numbers come out being a close one? If the technology has advanced significantly, a replacement could be the best choice. As an example, the Energy Star rating could become the tool to use. A ten year old refrigerator as an example can use twice the electricity of a brand new Energy Star rated replacement. In fact, replacing appliances before they break down with new one with high Energy Star ratings can be effective in the long run. There are new refrigerators that user less electricity than a sixty watt light bulb, and there are new dishwashers and clothes washers that use less water and still clean more effectively.

For some, there will always be the fix it yourself route. And over the years this has become much easier with websites offering step by step repair instructions, information about required parts, and information about proper safety precautions.


Finally, if you are buying new appliances, be critical in assessing special features and their associated costs (will you really use that in-door ice maker enough to justify the price and the freezer space it takes up?). Be practical about the applications of appliances' overall design and their impact on your home's existing systems. A double oven may look stunning, but may also stun your home's power load, so a single-oven model with professional styling may be the better recipe for success.  Double-door refrigerators with freezers on the bottom always have room for frozen pizzas. Newer smart designs for dishwashers and refrigerators replace single units with a series of drawers, but that convenience comes with a price.

Call today to Schedule a service call (770) 604-1699