111815businessShould you repair or replace your appliance?

When an appliance isn’t working properly anymore – stove, dishwasher, fridge, washing machine, dryer – does it make more sense to call a repairman or replace it? Appliance Gallery, Wisconsin’s premier appliance store, offers some advice.

“It helps to know how long appliances are expected to last. Lifespans vary, depending on the brand and model,” said Stephen Erb, appliance manager. “As a rule of thumb, appliances run their course from 10 to 15 years. When your appliance is approaching that mark, or, if the repair costs 50 percent of a new appliance, replacement rather than repair is the better option.

“It’s almost always not cost effective to repair a microwave,” Erb said. “When replacing a microwave, consumers will be surprised at all the upgrades that make cooking easier including convection options, steam cooking, keep warm controls, and more.”

Energy Savings

Among the advantages of replacing an old appliance are water-saving or energy-saving technologies. For example, replacing a washing machine that is not Energy Star rated with one that is means less water usage, less detergent, and shorter cycle options. Improved, faster spin cycles mean less time in the dryer and the amount of energy that consumes. Energy Star rated dishwashers also use less water and have options to control the length of the wash and heat/dry cycles. A new fridge with Energy Star uses at least 40 percent less energy than conventional models sold in 2001. Better sealed and insulated, new units keep a more precise temperature.

Tips to Keep

Appliances Running Smoothly

Below are some preventative tips to keep your appliances lasting longer. However, every appliance has unique features so it’s important before you try to “fix-it” yourself, you read the owner’s manual for detailed cleaning and trouble-shooting advice. Keep in mind that if you don’t know how to move, open, or lift an appliance properly, you risk injury.

“If your appliance is still under factory/manufacturer’s warranty, then, of course, call the authorized dealer first to assess any issues you may be having,” Erb said. “Also, some appliance warranties are voided if other than an authorized technician does the repair.”

Clothes dryer: Clothes not drying well can mean the dryer vent is clogged. This is a simple fix and can save you from buying a new dryer. However, clogged vents are a fire hazard so have a professional do the job for a thorough cleaning.

Stove: Cleaning a clogged gas burner or replacing a cooktop element can often solve cooking problems. But other electronic components can be an expensive fix, and that may be when you need to pull the trigger and get a new range or cooktop.

Refrigerator: Keep the condenser coils clean with regular vacuuming. These are typically located along the back of the machine or behind the front grill vent. Many refrigerator maintenance contracts offer an annual cleaning by professional technicians. Take advantage of that, particularly if your coils are on the back of a large model that can be difficult to move. Dirty coils can lead to compressor damage or failure. At that point, replacing rather than repairing is the better choice.

Washing machines: Unless they are stainless steel, fill hoses will deteriorate over time. A burst hose can cost you thousands in damage, so the recommendation is to have the fill hose replaced at least every five years.

When in doubt about whether you should repair or replace, a professional at a reputable appliance store can help you decide or you may refer to home repair and plumbing professionals like Tom Sondergeld Plumbing.