When to Repair or Replace Home Appliances?

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Home Improvement

Nowadays, most new appliances are energy efficient, which can save you money in the long run.
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Knowing when to repair or replace home appliances is crucial to get the best value for your investment. Although replacement parts for appliances are generally available for 7-10 years after manufacturing, and sometimes even longer, parts availability is not the only factor to consider when assessing a repair.

If your appliance is still relatively new, it may have warranty coverage for significant components. Check the owner’s manual for more information. You can also seek help from a service department, where a representative may be able to help you diagnose the problem for free over the phone. Sometimes, a simple loose switch can mimic a complete system failure, which can actually be fixed in just a few minutes.

In some cases, your appliance may only need a basic “wear item,” such as a belt or washer, which are usually common replacement parts that technicians stock on their trucks, making it an easy and relatively inexpensive repair. Moreover, these common parts can be easily replaced by yourself, and there are several websites that carry all kinds of appliance parts for DIY enthusiasts. These sites also include troubleshooting tips, exploded parts views, and links to parts sellers. However, if you have an old appliance, repairing it may not be cost-effective.

Older appliances may appear to be a bargain because you have already paid for them, and there is a strong incentive to keep them running as long as possible. However, when these appliances were designed and built, energy conservation technology was not as advanced as it is today. Thanks to Energy Star programs, a combined effort by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is almost guaranteed that a new major home appliance will use less energy than an older one. This means cost savings for you and a significant environmental benefit. Although you may have to spend some cash upfront, you will experience savings over the life of the new appliance, and the cost of energy is going up.

If you need to get your appliance repaired, take a good look at how much it is likely to cost. Repair companies can often provide you with a tentative diagnosis and estimate over the phone. If the cost of repair is 50% or more of the original appliance price, it is better to replace it. You should also factor in any previous charges if the appliance has given you trouble in the past, because sometimes it is better to call it a day instead of throwing good money after bad.

On the bright side, buying a brand new appliance can be an excuse to indulge in that remodel you have been thinking about!

Did You Know?

Appliance Clinic’s Tips and Tricks Pages provide excellent basic information to get you started if you decide to tackle repairing a home appliance yourself.

Additional Information

Related Articles

  • Tips for Repairing Major Appliances
  • Steps for Repairing Small Appliances
  • How to Fix a Refrigerator
  • Basics of Home-Repair Tools


  • DoItYourself.com. “Don’t Replace Your Broken Appliance, Fix It.” 2006. 6/2/10.http://www.doityourself.com/stry/ara_fixthatbrokenapp
  • Kim, Patty. “To Repair or Replace Appliances: A Guide to Making the Right Decision.” Undated. 6/1/10.http://www.howdini.com/howdini-video-6678341.html
  • Owens, Paige. “Is it Better to Repair or Replace a Broken Appliance?” Cleveland.com. 4/15/09. 6/2/10.http://www.cleveland.com/insideout/index.ssf/2009/04/should_you_repair_a_broken_app.html
  • Repair Clinic. “Helpful Tips and Advice for Appliance Repair.” Undated. 6/1/10.http://www.repairclinic.com/RepairHelp/RepairHelp.aspx
  • UL. “Repair or Replace? What to Do When Your Appliance Breaks Down.” Undated. 6/1/10.http://safetyathome.com/2010/04/02/repair-or-replace-what-to-do-with-a-broken-appliance/?fbid=YIDJGB46RyL


1. Should I always replace a broken home appliance or can I repair it?

It depends on the type of appliance and the extent of the damage. If it is a small repair that can be done easily and inexpensively, then repairing it may be the best option. However, if the damage is extensive and the appliance is old, it may be more cost-effective to replace it with a new one.

2. Is it more environmentally friendly to repair or replace a broken home appliance?

Repairing a broken home appliance is generally more environmentally friendly than replacing it. This is because it reduces the need for new resources to be used in the manufacturing of a new appliance, as well as reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.

3. How do I know if it’s worth repairing a broken home appliance?

You should consider the cost of the repair and compare it to the cost of a replacement appliance. If the repair cost is significantly lower than the cost of a replacement, then it may be worth repairing the appliance. However, if the repair cost is close to or exceeds the cost of a replacement, it may be more cost-effective to replace the appliance.

4. How long should a home appliance last before it needs to be replaced?

The lifespan of a home appliance can vary depending on the type of appliance and how often it is used. Generally, appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines should last around 10-15 years, while smaller appliances such as toasters and microwaves may only last 5-10 years.

5. Is it possible to repair an appliance myself or should I hire a professional?

It is possible to repair some appliances yourself if you have the necessary skills and knowledge. However, for more complex repairs, it is recommended to hire a professional to avoid causing further damage to the appliance or risking injury to yourself.

6. What are some common issues that can be repaired in a home appliance?

Common issues that can be repaired in a home appliance include broken seals, faulty motors, clogged drainage systems, and damaged electrical components. These repairs can often be done inexpensively and quickly by a professional.

7. What are some signs that it may be time to replace a home appliance?

Signs that it may be time to replace a home appliance include frequent breakdowns, high energy bills, and the appliance not performing as well as it used to. If the appliance is old and nearing the end of its lifespan, it may also be a good idea to consider replacing it with a newer model.

8. What should I do with a broken appliance if I decide to replace it?

If you decide to replace a broken appliance, you should dispose of it properly. Many cities offer recycling programs for appliances, or you can contact a local scrap metal dealer to have it recycled.

9. How can I prolong the lifespan of my home appliances?

You can prolong the lifespan of your home appliances by performing regular maintenance, such as cleaning filters and vents, checking electrical connections, and lubricating moving parts. It is also important to use the appliances properly and not overload them.

10. Is it better to buy a new or used appliance?

It depends on the situation. If you can find a used appliance that is in good condition and still has a lot of life left in it, it may be a more cost-effective option than buying a new appliance. However, if the used appliance is old and may need frequent repairs, it may be better to invest in a new appliance.

11. Should I consider energy efficiency when replacing a home appliance?

Yes, you should consider energy efficiency when replacing a home appliance. Energy-efficient appliances can save you money on your energy bills and are better for the environment. Look for appliances with the Energy Star label, which indicates that they meet energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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