5 Questions to Ask Before Repairing a Home Appliance

There is nothing fun about appliance repair. And it usually happens at the most inopportune time. Here are five things to consider when trying to decide whether to repair or replace an appliance.

1. How Old Is it?

All major appliances have an average life cycle. Depending on whom you ask, it may vary by a few years, but here is the average life expectancy for each one: Microwave, 5 years; Dishwasher, 9 years; Washer, 10 years; Freezer, 11 years; Dryer/Fridge, 13 years; Range/Oven, 15 years.

People should know their appliance’s age; if it is more than halfway through or close to the end of its average life span, then it may be time to consider replacement. Of course, there are a few exceptions to this rule. If the appliance is an antique and possibly worth money, then it may warrant reconsideration. In addition, if it has become obsolete, there may be no choice but to replace it.

2. Is It under Warranty?

The first thing to check before calling a repairman is the product’s warranty. Is the appliance still within the manufacturer’s warranty period? If not, does it fall under an extended warranty? Many times, bigbox retailers will offer a warranty that extends past the manufacturer’s warranty. This is different than the extended warranty that can be purchased. It is worth looking into. Every year people spend thousands of dollars paying for repairs that should be covered under a warranty.

3. Have You Tried Troubleshooting?

Most appliances have a troubleshooting section in the owner’s manual. Going through this section and following the instructions may save you a lot of money. Look for tripped circuit breakers or surge protectors that have been turned off. Sometimes all they need is a reset. An electronic reset is as easy as shutting down the appliance, unplugging it from all power sources, and waiting 60 seconds before powering up again. This will usually reset the appliance’s internal circuit board to the factory settings.

4. Can You Wait for Repairs?

The next thing that should be considered is how often the appliance is used. Will this appliance repair interrupt everyday life, or is this something that won’t be missed for a period of time? Is this a built-in appliance, making it harder and more costly to replace?

5. What Is the Cost of Repairs vs. Replacement?

If the repairs will cost more than half the price of a new appliance, it’s probably best to go ahead and replace it. Many times the purchase price of the newer energy-efficient models will be offset by utility cost savings. A tax credit or rebate from the utility company may help recoup some of the money.