3 Easy Steps To Evaluate Your Appliances
As a homeowner, making the decision to replace or repair a broken appliance can feel like an exercise in frustration. Although there is no easy answer, there are definitely some guidelines to consider that can smooth the decision-making process.
1) Identify and Resolve
Do your best to correctly identify and solve the problem. Is the appliance plugged in? Is the problem listed in the manual? Most appliance manuals have a section addressing common problems and easy troubleshooting techniques. (Hint: if you can’t find the manual, try searching for the manufacturer, make and model and the word “manual” online — many manufacturers provide electronic versions. Appliance411.com has a list linking to the manual sections of most major manufacturers.)
2) Covered or Not Covered?
Determine if the appliance is under warranty and if the problem appears to be covered by the warranty. If so, that’s a good reason to repair. If it’s not under warranty, consider how old it is. If it’s nearing the end of its average lifespan (see this simple chart at MrAppliance.com), that could be a good reason to replace.
3) Cost Benefit
Is the repair worth it? A good rule of thumb is if the repair will cost more than 50 percent of a replacement, go ahead and replace it if you can. If the repair is not quite that much, but still seems expensive, consider the energy usage — would a replacement be more energy-efficient? In the long run, the replacement could not only save you money, it could also contribute to saving the planet.
For more, check out this very useful “Repair or Replace?” guide from DCU.org’s “Streetwise,” a consumer education program.