October 23, 2014

Broken Appliance? Do You Repair it or Not?

Having a broken appliance is annoying, not knowing whether or not to fix it is frustrating. We’ve found some questions to ask yourself before you decide what to do, along with appliance lifespan estimates and some simple maintenance advice. Read on.

10 questions to ask:

- Is it really broken? The trouble may be a short in the plug, a tripped circuit breaker or a bad surge-protector outlet. Check the troubleshooting section of the unit’s instruction manual for the most common problems and solutions.

- How old is the appliance?

- Have you had trouble with the unit before? If it’s performed well, it might be worth fixing instead of replacing with something unproven.

- How much will it cost to repair the unit?

- What would a similar appliance cost?

- Are there any hidden costs to purchase (removal, installation, disposal, tax, etc.)?

- How difficult is it to replace the appliance (is it a built-in)?

- What additional features will I get with the new appliance?

- What energy savings will I get with the new appliance? Will they offset the cost of a new appliance versus repair?

- What tax credits are available for purchasing an energy-efficient unit? Will they offset the cost of a new appliance versus repair?

Average life of appliances:

Industry experts say washing machines tend to break down the most because they take the most beatings and contain many moving parts.

- 10-15 years for refrigerators and freezers.

- 10-20 years for ovens and ranges.

- 10-15 years for dishwashers.

- 10-15 years for clothes washers/dryers.

- 10-20 years for water heaters.

- 15-20 years for central air-conditioning unit.

Preventive maintenance:

- Clean the condenser coils on your refrigerator annually and check door seals to ensure they are airtight.

- Check air filters monthly and replace as needed.

- Replace washer fill hoses every five years.

- Avoid overloading the washing machine.

- Have the exhaust duct on the clothes dryer inspected and cleaned once a year. Clean the lint filter before each use.