When to Repair vs. Replace a Kitchen Appliance

When it comes to the most expensive and important systems in your home, kitchen appliances rank near the top. Whether it’s a refrigerator, stove, oven, or microwave, you use these components every day. So when they break down, it’s important to quickly restore your kitchen.

When to Repair vs. Replace a Kitchen Appliance

To Repair or Replace?

“Today, you can expect the average lifespan for a washer to be 10 years, while the typical dryer will last 13 years,” Universal Appliance Repair explains. “Dishwashers are expected to last 9 years, and refrigerators have an expected lifespan of 13 years. Some of the longest running appliances are air conditioners and gas ranges at 15 years, but electric ranges can usually only manage 13 years.”

These are just the average expected lifespans. And while some may survive longer, breakdowns of individual parts are quite common after just three or four years. Some faulty parts can easily be replaced at a low cost and with minimal effort. Other parts are much more costly and challenging to repair. In these latter scenarios, you have to figure out whether to repair or replace your dishwasher, refrigerator, or whatever appliance is causing you issues.

Warranty is the first thing to think about. Appliances that are still under warranty may have repairs covered. If the appliance can’t be repaired, it may be even be replaced at no cost.

If there’s no warranty, consider the appliance’s lifespan and use the 50 percent rule. This rule states that if an appliance is 50 percent through its lifespan, the cost to fix it should be less than 50 percent of the price of purchasing a new appliance. In other words, if your refrigerator is past the halfway point and a new replacement refrigerator will cost you $1,200, you should never pay for a repair that’s $600 or more. At this point, it makes more sense to replace.

You also have to think about your budget. If money isn’t an object, it may be quicker and more convenient to just go ahead and replace a faulty unit (rather than dealing with a repair that may not provide a permanent fix). Then there are features. If you’re tired of the limited options your current appliance offers, this could be the perfect opportunity to upgrade to a newer appliance and get those new features you’ve been looking for.

Selecting the Right Repair Company

If you decide to repair your kitchen appliance, you’ll need to carefully consider which company you work with. Ask around for referrals from friends and neighbors. A quick Google search for appliance repair companies in your area will also yield a bunch of options.

For major repairs, getting two or three estimates for the work will help you determine a fair market price. For minor repairs, convenience may be a more enticing factor. Either way, do your research and don’t work with any repair company you aren’t comfortable with.

How to Choose a New Appliance

If you decide that it’s time to scrap your current kitchen appliance and start fresh with a new one, you’ll also need to do a little due diligence to be sure you end up with the right appliance for your needs.

“The first and, in my opinion, the most important thing on the list is figuring out your budget,” designer Casey Finn writes. “This will not only ensure you aren’t overspending on your new kitchen appliances, but will also narrow down your search.”

In addition to budget, you’ll have to consider the features, finishes, lifespan, warranties, and size. Finally, which brand are you going to buy? And where will you buy the appliance?

In addition to manufacturer warranties, some appliance retailers will offer their own warranties that can be stacked on top. If you’re worried about your new appliance suffering a similar fate as your current one, this is a great way to gather a little peace of mind.

Finally, don’t overthink things. Yes, it’s important to select the right appliance. But at the end of the day, it’s not going to make or break your happiness. Do your research and find an option that provides the features you want and fits your budget, but don’t let it stress you out. Make a confident decision and then move on!



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