Repair or replace? Choose wisely for your appliances

Repair or replace? Choose wisely for your appliances

Key tips to remember
  • Know when you can fix it yourself
  • Research the cost of repairs
  • Consider the age of your appliance

When a major appliance in your home starts to act up, you're faced with a major decision: replace or repair? It's a choice that can have a significant impact on your economic bottom line. Consequently, there are three questions you should ask yourself before making a decision.

1. Can you fix it yourself?

Sometimes, your problem may be a quick fix. Make sure there are no clogged pipes or filters, and tighten any loose components. If you can figure out how to fix a refrigerator or other appliance on your own, you won't need to call a technician to assess the problem. Perform a visual inspection before taking any other action.  

2. How much will repairs cost?

Often, you won't be able to take care of the problem yourself, in which case it's time to call in a professional. At that point, you need to decide if the repair will be worth the price. The Chicago Tribune recommended sticking to a Consumer Reports rule of thumb, which states that you should opt for a replacement if the repairs are going to cost 50 percent or more of the original price tag. And that's a cumulative rule, so repairs in the past count toward the total.

3. How old is it?

Finally, consider the age of your appliance. If the machine is at the end of its lifespan, it may be more cost-effective in the long run to replace it altogether. According to HouseLogic, the average lifespan of a dishwasher is nine years, a refrigerator is 13 years and a washer is 10 years. Do your homework to decide if your appliance is due for an upgrade.


The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.

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