How to decide whether to fix an old appliance or replace it

If you have a broken down appliance, how do you decide whether you should call an appliance repair company or buy a new one? Too many homeowners are shelling out big bucks for shiny new appliances when a service call could extend the life of their existing refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers and ranges for years, saving money, time and trouble. Before you go shopping for a new model consider the age of the appliance and the cost to repair versus the cost to replace.


We replaced whole house A/C this year old one broke down and also 20 yrs old,

Bring your appliance problems to "".I have made repairs to my dishwasher, washing machine,dryer and refrigerator with their prompt personalized advice. It's free but a donation helps support the site. No I am not associated with this site. Try it ,you have nothing to lose.

I'm afraid many newer appliances as those built before 2005. Older appliances can be made more efficient with tuning, cleaning, adjustment and using more efficient replacement parts. I recommend staying away from "exotic brands" since replacement parts often not easily found. Stay away from LED displays and electronic controls as much as possible because those controls fail more often and can be quite costly. Heat and moisture (abundant in laundry rooms and kitchens) are enemies of electronics control boards. Also make note that modern home refrigerators are not designed to work in rooms over 80 degrees. so one must "refrigerate" (air-condition) the room. A midern unit will run 100% of the time (which it can't do without overheating) at 90 F degrees o higher ambient temperature.

Just replaced my washer and dryer from Sears with no interest if paid within a year. The washer was rusting and I was always chasing rust spots. I fell for a cranberry set and am thrilled with the steam cycle in the dryer. Haven't used the iron all summer! These new front loaders are efficient and easier on your clothes than the ringer type. Next step is to empty my freezer and get rid of it. My electric bill is too high!

Well, sorry to say, there is no 'rule of thumb' on replacing appliances. The best thing you can do is to research failure rates on your particular appliance unless you personally know your appliance tech and know how honest he/she is. I have worked in the appliance trade since 1998, and I have always told the customer what was wrong, what it would cost to fix that particular issue, and what they could expect for future issues according to my experience with them. So without a good crystal ball, all you can go by is the experience of others that are willing to share their information. And then you have to decide if it was a consistant issue with that particular model or just a few bad ones. One of the biggest things you can do is be watchful over your equipment and take care of problems right away and know what to look for. For example Whirlpool washers have had the pump on many models mounted on the motor shaft. When the pump seal would start to leak, it would run down the shaft into the sealed bearing on the motor. Over time if you didnt notice a little spot of water under the front of the machine, you would end up having that bearing go out, so you went from having a pump replaced to having the pump and motor replaced. Or I have seen a large number of customers whose dish racks will start to rust and they let it go until the pump has issues. Best thing I could advise is unless you are ata point of replacing a compressor in a fridge/freezer/ac, you may end up saving more by doing the regular maintenance and repairs on your current appliances. The cooling systems on appliances are where you save the most in efficiency. Things are not built the way they use to be. Read up on what you have, and what you plan on buying, stay informed.

found this to be very helpful

Unfortunately, the diagnostic fee alone from a repair company will be $75-$100. Then the repair fee. If its a $500 appliance and >7 years old I'd replace. If the appliance is more expensive then better to repair. Most appliance repair companies are somewhat shady so be careful.

Another part of the equation on deciding to replace or repair is power consumption. Many of the new appliances uses much less energy to operate especially frigerators, freezers and air conditioners.

I have to say that this is so true. We used to have a used appliance where we would pick up the only one and either fix or resell the old one. I can't tell you how many times people throw away appliances that only need a $5 part!!

Good tip Angie video was well done most appliances now dont last 20 years you get anywhere from 8 to 12

There are a lot of factors to consider. The technician that I use for all of my repairs says that if you buy a poor appliance to begin with, then you will spend more on repairs than to simply replace. I have a frigidaire dishwasher that has had problems TWICE and I have only had it a little over a year and a half. My technician has told me that he will not continue to enable my bad habits and that next time it breaks he's picking me up and taking me shopping for one that won't break down on me. He's a great technician who has made it clear that his purpose is to make sure that I have healthy, happy appliances and he's happiest when he doesn't hear from his customers for a while because that means things are running right. So what this all tells me and should tell other people is that you need two things to make a decision on whether to repair or replace: first, you need good appliances and second, you need a good, honest repair technician who is not interested in ripping you off. I would never replace an appliance without first calling Jon to have him look at it. Even if it does cost me $50 to have him come out and take a peek, it's worth it for the opinion of someone who knows what they're doing. I'm not qualified to decide whether an appliance is worth saving or if I should ditch it. But the one thing my technician has told me to do is this: Make a chart for my appliances that shows what I paid for the appliance and then make the next columns "repair" columns. Date the repair and then put in the cost of the repair and having the technician come out. If you ever get to a point where the total cost of the combined repairs comes with $100 of the cost of the appliance, it's definitely time to REPLACE. And if it's a really costly appliance, say a $2000 refrigerator (not that I have one of those) then you should decide what's a reasonable bracket...maybe you don't want your total repairs to go over $1500 in a 15 year period. That's an average of $100 per year. So you just need to decide what's reasonable and be sure that you're putting money aside for replacements and not just for repairs.

Whereas it may be true that repair is a money saver, it only saves money if it is a true repair, and not a temporary patch, which will break again. Too many "repair" places are set up to patch, then return to find it was not "the patch" which failed, but something else, which allows them to charge again for another "patch".

Over the years, I have spent too much money on repair people walking through the door and in five minutes they left telling me anything from, not worth fixing or to find a breaker switch went on my fuse box. Recently my 14 month old cell phone dies. The provider company told me.."this old Phone, toss it! Technology changes so much it was only meant to last a year!"

We were forced to get new heater/air conditioning unit during the winter. It was the best thing that ever happened to us. We are comfortable now with our more efficient units, and haven't seen an increase in cost for this comfort!

Also needed a new dishwasher. The new ones are SO much more sophisticated and do not use more energy to do more! Love my new unit! The old unit lasted 18 years! No complaints from me!

What pple need to do is ban these companies that dont back their warranties and let it be known in the store you bought from also

If people have the time buy a consumer digest book and read the to see which appliance is recommended. Consumers digest test the appliances to see which one is best and gives their recommendations.

My mother called for a repair on her Maytag washer. The tech told her to hang on to the older models because they are better made then the ones you buy today! For $150 she got a machine that runs like new. Maybe not as efficient, but is has also lasted 10 or 15 years with minimal problems.

you made me sit through at least one minute of "fluff" before divulging the 5 second "tip" about when to replace. Why the fluff?

Bought a Maytag Neptune stackable in 2001. Space is limited. Recently a repair tech diagnosed the noisy bearing as a noisy bearing, but get this you have to replace the entire drum and bearing. PArts are $1100 !!! that is not a typo $1100 to replace a bearing !! There is no sense and getting another opinion. Parts have to come from MAytag...labor is $260. The machine new was $1900! They are not available any longer and there is not a thing wrong with the dryer. A new full size stackable is not available. THe stores will all tell you you can stack the washer dryer, but since mine needs to be on a raised platform I would need a ladder to reach the dryer controls!! I'm inclined to fix the old machine.So it appears since Whirlpool bought Maytag, they moved it from Newton, Iowa (when they lost their quality) and moved it to Mexico. They dropped this line of full size stackable machines and then jack the prices up on replacement parts to force you out of the old machines and force you to replace with new.If I simply buy a new side by side set I have to completely remodel the space in the garage Grrrrrrrr !!

bought a whirlpool Cabrio washing machine for $1100.00 and told they were great. after 6 years the bearings were short and the repair man said to replace the machine as it would cost $400.00 to fix it. went on you tube and with excellent bearing repair instructions and a $70.00 kit which included new bearings, seal, shaft, washer and nut I did the repair myself.

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Jennifer Wiley

Jennifer Wiley is a videographer at Angie's List, where she shoots and edits videos for Angie's List TV partners across the United States. She enjoys getting out in the field and interacting with members and service providers.

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