Should I Buy New Appliances or Repair the Old Ones?


Home renovation can be a tricky balancing act. Your appliances may be broken or out-of-date, but does that mean you should replace them?

Would it be more cost-effective to repair something when it breaks down instead?

Although it seems like repairing appliances to keep them operating for as long as possible is the right choice, it isn’t always the most valuable one for your finances. It may be cheaper to buy something new and hire an installer.

Here are some tips to consider.

Is the Item Under Warranty?

If your broken appliance is under warranty, working with an authorized repair center is usually the best choice. These factory-based repairs may require shipping to correct or a technician to come out to your home. Although it may take a few days to a couple of weeks to get your item back, the cost is usually minimal.

The one exception to this category involves craftsmanship vs. labor. Your warranty might only include the cost of parts. Paying a technician to finish the repair tends to be the most expensive part of the process.

Have You Talked to the Manufacturer?

Even if your product is out-of-warranty, some manufacturers may supply updated parts or provide repairs at discounted prices or without charge. It often depends if a recall was put on the item at some point in its history. You’ll need to supply the serial number and other identifying features to qualify. Some companies might even want proof-of-purchase evidence to assure that you’re the first owner.

Is It a Lemon?

Some brands and products are consistently unreliable. If you happen to have one of them, it may be better to purchase something new. It doesn’t make sense to keep throwing money at something that statistically looks to keep breaking down. The only exception would be if you can do DIY repairs at a minimal expense and don’t mind putting in the work.

How Much Time Will It Take?

You can last without some items for a couple of weeks without difficulty. Although it might be problematic to hand-wash your dishes, for example, the dishwasher can go through the repair process, and it feels good to save money. Having your refrigerator go out with a three-week estimate is another story. You’ll need to balance the savings you get with the loss of service to see if the value is strong enough to proceed.

How Old Is the Existing Equipment?

All appliances have an average lifespan that should get taken into consideration. An electric range might last an average of ten years, but a compactor might work for six. If you have a 30-year-old range in your kitchen that finally breaks down, it’s probably better to replace it with something new. Even if you could find parts for the equipment, there may not be an experienced technician in your community to fix the issue.

Do You Need Energy-Efficient Products?

Energy costs can be a crucial factor in the decision to repair or replace some items. Switching an old one out with something new could help the upgrade pay for itself over the years because you’re using less power. A refrigerator with an Energy Star certification uses about 20% less energy than something standard.

The average refrigerator uses about $200 of energy per year. If you save 20%, that means you’ll get $40 in savings annually. How long would it be to make up the price difference?

Is Style a Concern of Yours?

Some people prefer the style of an appliance over operational capacity. If you want a uniform look in your kitchen, it may be worthwhile to spend a little more on a repair than get a single update. On the other hand, it may be time to buy something new to match the other upgrades you’ve already made. This issue is 100% personal – there isn’t a right or wrong answer.

Because styles change often, the best advice is to replace everything at once for a uniform look. If you do the updates when breakdowns occur, your preferred design may have already changed.

A Final Thought About New vs. Repaired Appliances

The general rule to follow when deciding to repair something or buy new involves the final cost. You shouldn’t pay over 50% of the price of a brand-new product when fixing an existing one. If the item has already stopped working more than once, replacing it makes even more sense.

The choice is ultimately up to you. Before you decide on one direction or another, check through this list to ensure your money gets spent wisely. Achieving the results that you value is worth the necessary investment to reach it. 


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