Broken Kitchen Appliances: Fix or Replace?

Broken kitchen appliances are a huge problem for anyone. Even if you have a bit of repair knowledge, most of us won’t know how to fix something such as a toaster, microwave, or even the dishwasher. In fact, trying to fix it ourselves may cause more problems, making the repair even more expensive if we damage something. In some cases, you might even damage your appliance to a point that it needs to be completely replaced!

No one wants to pay more for something like an appliance replacement. So we’ve put together some useful advice to help you decide what the most cost-effective option is for your situation.

Picture of kitchen appliances

How much did you originally pay for it?

If you know exactly how much you paid for your appliance then it should give you a good idea of how much you should pay for a repair. For inexpensive appliances such as toasters and consumer-grade coffee pots, you are often better off replacing them. In some cases (such as with broken glass coffee carafes), the cost of the replacement piece might even be more than the cost of the entire unit!

When it comes to larger, more expensive appliances such as refrigerators and dishwashers, you may find that contacting a repair service is more worth your while. Most repair services will give you a quote once you speak to them over the phone or contact them over the Internet. When considering whether to replace or repair your appliance, consider the 50/50 rule. If your appliance is more than halfway through its estimated lifecycle and will cost half as much to repair as it will be to replace, its best to get a new appliance.

You can check out this handy home appliance life expectancy chart from Mr. Appliance.

… But this appliance is special!

The only exception to all this is if the appliance has some sentimental value or can’t be replaced. This is especially true for older appliances such as vintage espresso machines (check them out if you’ve never seen one). If it’s something that you can’t easily replace, then we highly suggest that you consider not just speaking to an appliance repair service, but one that actually specializes in the product you want to be fixed. This way you can better guarantee that the appliance is restored to its former glory and functions as you expect it to. This type of work might cost a bit more money, but for uncommon appliances that are difficult (or impossible) to replace, it’s probably worth it.

How old is the appliance?

Age is another important factor to consider. Not only is there less incentive to undertake an expensive repair on an appliance that’s getting on in age (see the 50/50 rule above), but you may also be spending more per month in utilities using outdated machinery. Replacing your appliance with a more energy-efficient model could actually save you money on your energy bill in the long run. And considering you will have many of your appliances for 8-12 (or even 15) years, this up-front investment will be well worth it years down the line.

Could you even repair it yourself?

It’s worth taking a look online at what the problem might be. There are some small fixes for things such as dishwashers and microwaves that might not need a full appliance repair or replacement. For instance, if your microwave seems like its struggling, ask yourself when the last time you replaced its filter was. If your refrigerator is overheating or the door isn’t “sticking” closed properly, you may need to clean the condenser coil or replace the refrigerator gasket. All these things are easy (and affordable) to do yourself.

Take the time to do a little online troubleshooting and find out if the problem may be something you can easily do yourself. The cost of such repairs will often be small (or even free!).

Go for the warranty

Sometimes, try as you might, you just can’t fix your appliance. If you’ve been relying mostly on cheap appliances in the past, then this might be a good opportunity to try and buy something that has a longer warranty and more reliability to ensure that you don’t end up replacing your appliance again too soon. You’ll usually get a much better quality product if you spend a little more, meaning you ultimately spend less money maintaining or repairing it. This can save you a lot of money in the future and usually results in a better experience with the appliance.

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