When to Repair or Replace Appliances


Two men in red shirts and overalls carrying a washer.
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Guide your decision by appliance age, cost of repairs and energy usage.

A well-functioning home relies on appliances. Refrigerators to preserve food. Washers and dryers for laundry care. Ranges to cook meals. Our appliances help us throughout the day, every day. Until they don’t. And when appliances break down, homeowners need to choose: repair or replace? Here are factors to help you decide whether to call for service or shop for a new appliance.

The age of the appliance

You’ve heard that nothing lasts forever, and appliances prove this adage true. Check out these statistics on the average life expectancy of major household appliances from Statista:

  • Range, gas: 15 years
  • Range, electric: 13 years
  • Refrigerator: 14 years
  • Dishwashers: 9 years
  • Freezer: 16 years
  • Microwave oven: 9 years
  • Disposers: 12 years
  • Dryer, gas: 13 years
  • Dryer, electric: 13 years
  • Washers: 11 years

If your appliance is near the end of its expected life, the decision scales tip toward replacement.

The cost of repairs

The extent of the repairs will determine the cost. A simple fix like replacing a washing machine gasket makes sense on all but the oldest of machines. However, a motor replacement that requires two or three hours of labor may only be worthwhile on a model that hasn’t reached its halfway point in life expectancy.

Many people look at the cost of repairs in relation to the cost of a replacement; if repair costs are more than 50% of the cost of a new appliance and the appliance has reached 50% of its life expectancy, they invest in a new machine.

The energy cost of running old appliances

When deciding to repair or replace an appliance, consider the purchase price as well as the energy costs of continuing to run an older, less-efficient model.

If you opt to buy, check the bright yellow and black EnergyGuide labels to see how much energy an appliance uses compared with similar models. Models with the Energy Star label significantly exceed minimum federal standards for energy use. Selecting an energy-efficient appliance will help you save money.


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Consumers home loans

We’d love to help you with a mortgage or home equity line of credit.

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