Replace vs. Repair
If you’re not particularly handy and one of your appliances is acting up after your warranty has expired, it can be difficult to establish whether it needs to be repaired or replaced. The following are some of the times when it’s better to start shopping for a new model rather than trying to fix the problem.
It’s Nearing the End of its Lifespan
All home appliances have an estimated lifespan. If your machine is approaching its maximum life expectancy, it may be time to replace it. Dryers, fridges, and electric ranges should last for approximately 13 years. Washers can be expected to function well for a decade, and dishwashers and microwaves have a lifespan of about nine years. It’s important to note that these estimated ranges vary depending on how much the appliance is used. If you have a big family and run your washer and dryer every day, they may need to be replaced sooner.
Repair Costs Are Significant
As a general rule, if an appliance repair will cost more than 50 percent of the price of a replacement, it might be prudent to buy a newer model if your budget allows for it. This 50 percent rule also is contingent on the age of the appliance. If the appliance is only a couple of years old and your warranty has just ended, it’s likely more economical to have it repaired.
Sometimes, a major issue with an appliance is obvious. When your clothes are still wet after a full dryer cycle, and you’ve already cleaned the dryer vent pipe, or your dishwasher won’t run, it’s clear that there’s a problem that needs to be addressed. Other times, however, an appliance’s performance has just slowly worsened over the years. This is likely a sign that while it technically may be functional, it’s probably best to start researching replacements.
It’s Not Energy Efficient
One of the major advantages of newer appliances is that many are designed to be energy efficient. This not only makes them better for the planet, but also will save you money on your utility bills. If you want to reduce your monthly electricity costs, consider investing in a new model because it could end up being more economical in the long run. While discarding an old appliance isn’t environmentally friendly, many can be recycled.
It’s a Safety Risk
When it comes to home maintenance, safety is a primary concern. If you notice any sign that an appliance may be dangerous—like a dryer that smokes or produces a burning smell—it’s best to stop using it and try to figure out the cause. While it could be the electrical system or a dryer vent pipe that needs cleaning, it could also be a sign that it’s time to start shopping for a newer model in order to avoid the risk of an electrical fire.
Your Appliances Are Mismatched
The aesthetics of your kitchen or laundry room are a key consideration if a cohesive design is important to you. If you purchased your appliances at different times and your fridge is finished in gleaming stainless steel while your stove has a simple white coating, it might be worth it to upgrade so they match. Also, consider investing in built-in appliances that will seamlessly integrate into your kitchen.
Your Washing Machine is Leaking
Water pooling under or around your washing machine is a surefire sign of a problem. Be sure to first check if it may be a problem with an easy fix. While a leaking washing machine can sometimes be repaired, it’s often a sign that the appliance has reached the end of its life. Because of the water damage that your flooring can incur, it’s best to repair or replace a leaking washer as soon as possible.
Your Vacuum Is Shooting Dust into the Air
The cost of repairs probably isn’t worth the expense for many smaller, lower-cost appliances like vacuums. Sometimes the hose is clogged or a filter needs to be replaced. If you’ve checked those things and the vacuum simply isn’t working anymore, it may be time to check out a replacement. If it starts spraying dust back into the room rather than keeping it contained in a bag or other receptacle, you should stop using your vacuum and start looking for a new one.
The Dishwasher Doesn’t Clean Well—Even After Being Checked
When your dishwasher starts leaving food residue behind, it can be a cause for concern. There are a number of things, however, that can cause a dishwasher to fail to do its job properly. Many have easy fixes. It may have a drainage problem, the filter may need to be replaced, or you may be using the wrong kind of detergent. If you’ve had your dishwasher checked out by an expert and it still isn’t performing well, it’s probably time for a new dishwasher.
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