In the past year, our dishwasher, washing machine and dryer broke down. Fortunately, my husband is an expert do-it-yourselfer.
He was able to troubleshoot and fix the washing machine and dryer himself. The dishwasher was another story: we had to buy a new one.
Too bad it isn’t always that easy. Let these guidelines from the pros help you decide when to repair, and when you should replace that broken appliance.
Sometimes a problem is minor and can be easily and cheaply fixed. Look in your owner’s manual; the troubleshooting section might cover the problem and give you a simple solution.
If you can’t find the manual, look on the manufacturer’s website. They often have manuals there for free downloading. Be sure to have your model and serial number handy; you’ll probably be asked to enter that information.
If that doesn’t work, call the company’s service number. Sometimes you’ll get free suggestions, and you can just repair it yourself.
Call a repair professional
After trying these suggestions and getting nowhere, call a reliable appliance repair professional. Sometimes the cost for consulting a professional will still save you money. Ask friends, neighbors, and family, or check online for highly-rated local contractors.
When to repair
It might make sense to repair that washer, dryer or refrigerator. Especially if the problem is a minor one.
Experts say you can repair your appliance when:
- a dishwasher or washing machine is clogged with too much soap
- a refrigerator leak is caused by a clogged drain in the freezer
- a fan motor or belt needs to be replaced
Angie Hicks, owner of Angie’s List, says that people often save money repairing an appliance. One list member was able to have his 15-year old refrigerator repaired. He paid $99 to have a clogged defrost drain fixed, instead of purchasing a new one for $1,500 or more. Not only that, but the repair person estimated the refrigerator would last another 5 to 6 years!
When to replace
Sometimes you just have to buy a new appliance. Professionals give this guideline: if your appliance is 7 or more years old, and the repair costs more than 50% of the price of a new one, you should replace it.
Consider the age of your appliance and its history. How long have you had it? Have you already had to repair it? If so, and it’s 7 or more years old, you should replace it.
In the future when you have a major appliance break, consult these tips from the professionals. Even if you have to replace it, at least you’ll know you made the right decision.