Repair or replace? That is often the question that is asked when an appliance breaks down. Right now, there are some nice tax breaks you can get for buying energy-efficient appliances that can help offset some of the cost. Even with those breaks, however, it is still a sizeable investment. So, what is the better move? To repair or replace?
First Things First…
When you hit that power switch the appliance does not fire, do not start panicking right away that you need to call a repairman or replace the appliance. You would be surprised how many times the “fix” is not actually a fix, but an oversight.
This is going to sound silly, but you would be amazed how many times we ask this question and get a very surprising answer. Did you check to see if the appliance was still plugged in? I can even take this a step further to ask if the power cord is still in good shape. I have a friend who once asked me to help him fix a dryer. I specifically asked him if he had checked the power cord, and he said it was still plugged in. When we pulled out the dryer, the cord was still plugged in, but it had been chewed in half by either a pet or rodent. The only thing that was wrong with the dryer was that it needed a new cord.
Other common issues that will cause an appliance to not work properly are uneven flooring and a filter that is completely clogged.
If the appliance is broken, check your warranty. If the warrant is still valid, the service call should not cost you anything, so having it repaired is a no-brainer.
If the warranty is expired and you are going to have to foot the bill, figure out how far into the lifespan of the appliance you already are. Every appliance has an average “useful life,” and you are in the latter stages of that timeframe, you are going to be better off investing in a new appliance rather than putting out money to fix the old one.
For instance, a dryer has a useful life of about 12-13 years, so if you are in year 11, I would probably start looking for some sales.
You will also want to follow the 50 percent rule. This rule is that if the cost to repair the appliance is more than 50 percent of the cost of a new one, buy the new appliance.
There are plenty of things you can do to spot problems early and extend the life of your appliances as well. We have published numerous articles on PM for different appliances, so give them a read and as long as you keep up on them, you will be able to spot most problems before they even occur or keep the damage to a minimum because you caught it early enough before any real damage took place.