In the US, about two-thirds of all households own at least six different appliances. These include dishwashers, washing machines, fridges, ranges/stoves, and phones. However, many homes also boast of two refrigerators, or at least one fridge and a separate freezer.
All these show that household appliances are a big deal in the US. So much so that in 2019, Americans spent a staggering $66.38 billion on these devices.
With so much money going toward appliances, you definitely want to hold on to yours for as long as possible. This means deciding whether to repair or replace them once they break down.
To that end, we came up with this guide to help homeowners out there make the right choice. Read on to learn when it makes sense to repair appliances and when it’s better to ditch them and get a new one.
Check the Warranty
Bigger appliances, like fridges and ranges, can have a multi-year limited part warranty. However, on average, most devices come with one to two years of limited part and labor warranty. You may have also purchased an extended warranty along with the contraption.
You can find info about written guarantees on transaction receipts or warranty cards. Hopefully, you kept these documents intact as manufacturers will want to see them. Most only honor product warranties if customers can furnish the original transaction receipt.
In any case, if your faulty appliance is still under warranty, then it may be best to have it checked and fixed first. There may only be a component that needs repairs or replacement. The limited warranty may only require you to pay for the labor costs.
Verify if You Have a Credit Card Extended Warranty
The average US adult carries four credit cards. If you’re of these folks, you likely use them to make appliance purchases.
Now that you’re looking at a faulty household device, you may be thinking of using your card to get a new one. Before you do that, contact your card issuer first to see if they provide an extended warranty. Many card issuers offer this benefit, and it may still be covering the broken appliance.
If it is, you may get away with having the equipment repaired at no cost. Since it’s still under your credit card issuer’s extended warranty, they’ll be the ones to pay for the cost to fix it.
Factor in the Age of the Appliance
One way to decide between appliance repairs and replacements is to factor in the age of the device. If they’re reaching their maximum life expectancy, it may be best to replace them. If they still have several years left, repairs may be more cost-effective.
Let’s use a range/oven hood as an example, which has an average life expectancy of 14 years. If yours is over a decade old and you’ve had it fixed several times already, a replacement may be more practical. On the other hand, if it’s only five years old, and you want to save money, then repairs may make more financial sense.
Multiple Breakdowns in a Span of Months
Suppose that you’d had your noisy fridge fixed a few months ago. Just weeks after that, it developed cooling issues, so you once again had to call (and pay) a repair technician. Now, the freezer and the cooler stopped working altogether.
In such situations, it would make far more sense to get the appliance replaced than fixed. Otherwise, you can expect your repair bills just to keep piling up. Also, when appliances act this way, they usually break down completely within a few months.
Consider the 50/50 Rule
This involves taking into account the appliance’s age and the cost to fix it. The first “50” stands for the midpoint of the equipment’s expected life span. The second one is the midpoint of the price of a brand-new device.
Let’s say that the appliance in question is a central AC, which has an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years. At this time, your AC is already 10 years old. You also called a local HVAC company, and they gave you a quote for $2,000 to get its compressor replaced.
If you were to purchase a brand new central AC, you’d pay an average of $5,000 for everything. You’d also get a new warranty, and the HVAC company may even provide a year of free maintenance. Plus, the new equipment would also give you about a decade or longer of service.
In this situation, your AC is about halfway through its expected lifespan. The repair cost is also almost half the price you’d pay to replace the entire thing.
Therefore, a replacement would be the most practical and cost-effective choice here.
Your Appliances Are Old, and You Want a Greener Home
Energy Star is a government-backed program by the EPA and the Department of Energy. Energy Star appliances are those certified by both agencies to be energy-efficient. Meaning, they save not only money but also energy and the environment.
For instance, an Energy Star fridge can be 15% to 20% more energy efficient than other models. However, compared to models sold in 2001, it can be up to 40% more energy efficient. So, you can just imagine how much you can save on energy if you switched to all Energy Star appliances.
Of course, you can always start with one device at a time: the oldest one you have. From here, you can continue upgrading to eco-friendlier appliances. This way, you can gradually turn your home into a greener abode.
Follow This Guide to Save Money When You Repair or Replace Appliances
There you have it, your ultimate guide on when to repair or replace household appliances. Now that you know what to consider, you can make a wiser, more practical choice. Just remember: if it’s too old and it’s breaking more often, then it may be time to put it to rest.
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