When to Repair or Replace Appliances


Sometimes, homeowners replace old appliances as they make improvements to their home. Others are eager to replace outdated models with new ones to stay connected with the latest trends and technology.

And then you have the people who prefer to repair existing technology, sticking with the older and familiar versions. After all, they’re familiar, comfortable to use, and may even inspire feelings of sentimentality.

Ultimately, the decision to repair or replace comes down to personal preference, but there does come a point when it no longer makes sense to repair older equipment. The ability to identify when that point has arrived is a valuable skill – one we’ll explain right here in this post.

To Repair or Not to Repair: That is the Question

With everything from your refrigerator to your hot water heater, if something is not functioning properly, you’ll likely notice it right away. Your dishwasher might wash dishes poorly, leaving food debris and spots on dishes, or your clothes dryer will fail to properly dry clothes. Or, your shower will fail to pump out hot water, meaning there’s no hot water to wash your clothes and take a shower. These issues can grind life to a halt.

When to Repair

You can repair some of these issues yourself, especially if they’re simple. For example, it’s simple to replace a connecting plumbing hose or an HVAC system air filter. Similarly, a quick adjustment with a screwdriver may be enough to tighten a dryer door into place or fix the door switch so the dryer activates when closed. These are all great examples of appropriate DIY projects.

As a rule of thumb, if it’s minor, quick, and doesn’t require tinkering with complex electronics or dangerous materials (such as gas), it’s probably fine to DIY – even if you aren’t particularly skilled.

There are some instances where you may be able to repair more complex issues, like a broken dryer or central air system. yourself. The catch is whether you have at least a baseline level of skill that will allow you to investigate, find the problem, and interpret how to fix it. Sites like YouTube are full of extremely helpful tutorial videos to guide you; you just need to be willing to put in the time and patience to learn.

Some homeowners are more skilled than others in a certain area of repair, such as plumbing or HVAC maintenance. If you’re already in the same line of work as the person you would call, it’s probably easier to just handle the job yourself. That said, this is a bit of a special situation that won’t apply to very many homeowners.

When DIY is Inappropriate

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as finishing a DIY repair and knowing you saved yourself $100 on a call, but there really are some times when calling an expert is best.  This includes any major job with electrical work, such as rewiring a dryer, opening a hot water heater to replace an element, or tinkering with a gas line on a stove.

Ultimately, if you find yourself struggling with the user manual or the symbols on the appliance, or if you just don’t feel confident about making the fix, consider it a red flag. Better to hand off the job to an expert than to risk personal injury, a fire, or an explosion in your home – which is also your sanctuary.

Noisy units, appliances that don’t cycle properly or appliances that wont turn on at all need to be evaluated by a qualified home contractor or repair specialist, too. Most of these issues tie to larger repair needs, meaning the average homeowner just isn’t prepared to fix the problem.

Lastly, some local laws prevent certain self-repairs because they must be done safely and up to code. This is far more common for appliances requiring hard-wiring or electrical work because shoddy workmanship can raise the risk for fire.

The Age Factor

Age also plays a role in whether or not you should repair or replace appliances. If your appliance is over 10 years old, it may not make much sense to repair it. Finding parts for these older machines can be costly and time-consuming, and they are often poorly efficient compared to newer versions anyway. By replacing, you gain the benefit of a newer, more functional machine and a small energy savings, too.

On the other hand, if you only bought the appliance a year or two ago and it’s just out of warranty, it makes sense to have it repaired. At this point, issues are usually minor and easily fixed with readily available parts.

Schedule Check-Ups Once Per Year

While it is easy to identify most appliance issues, figuring out what’s actually wrong isn’t always a foolproof process. Scheduling a complete check is the only way to ensure that all parts and components are working as well as they should. Having an expert come in is also the best way to gain peace of mind and ensure that you really made the right decision; if they don’t think it’s worth repairing, they’ll tell you.

~Here’s to Your Success!