It’s every homeowner’s nightmare. A home appliance breaks down or goes on the fritz. For some, the initial inclination is to phone up a repair person and have the machine fixed. Or at least evaluated for how much it would cost. Many people in this day and age are quick to merely go out and have the busted appliance replaced with a new unit. Especially if there’s a good sale.
Neither answer is wrong. However, there are some factors that you should to take into consideration when debating whether to repair or to replace a home appliance that is not working correctly. Perhaps the most important factor to take into consideration is cost.
Cost goes beyond price since you’ll want to consider how long you’ve owned the current appliance, how much you paid for it, how much a repair will cost, and the price of a new appliance.
Another cost to evaluate is energy savings. If your appliance is more than a few years old, you may want to upgrade to a newer model to save on electricity or gas costs.
Finally, there is the emotional cost. Some people actually do become attached to a particular home appliance — particularly those associated with the kitchen. If that is the case, and if repair costs are not outlandish, it does make sense to have the item on the blink repaired rather than replaced. For example, if you know and love your stove or oven, and you know everything about it and how to roast the perfect turkey, you may not want to upgrade.
f your appliance is eight or more years old, usually it makes sense to buy a new one. If you have a favorite high-end, older appliance, you may want to repair it. Consider replacing a newer model if it has been repair-prone. But skip any repair that costs more than half the price of a new product.
Although most readers’ appliances weren’t under warranty when they broke, if your equipment still is, you’ll probably need to call a factory-authorized repair shop. Ninety-three percent of those respondents said their warranty or service contract was at least partially honored; 9 in 10 were offered a free repair.
If your large appliance is out of warranty, call an independent contractor. Most respondents found that they provided better service.
Lowe’s Guide to Repair or Replace:
What You Need to Know
1. Check your owner’s manual. If your appliance is still relatively new, your warranty should cover replacement of major parts. Replacement parts are usually available for at least 10 years after the appliance was manufactured.
2. Get an expert on the phone. Contact Lowe’s or your appliance manufacturer’s customer care center. You can find the manufacturer’s number in the owner’s manual or online. They’ll help diagnose your problem for free and lead you in the right direction.
3. Figure out the cost of repair. If your appliance is relatively new, replacing a part may work better than buying a new appliance. However, if the cost is more than half the purchase price, you should consider replacing the unit.
4. Compare it to the cost of a new appliance. Many of today’s models are more eco-friendly and energy efficient. Purchasing an energy efficient appliance may save you money in the long run, and help the environment.
Remember to add regular maintenance tasks to your calendar to keep your appliances running problem-free for years. And always set up a file folder for the owner’s manual and warranty when you buy a new appliance. It may be years before you need to think about it, and you’ll be glad you were so organized.