Repair or Replace?

To Repair or Replace?

For the vast majority of our service calls, repair is the most economical solution. However, if the cost of the repair exceeds 50% of the cost of a new appliance (as is the case for refrigerator compressor replacements and other major repairs) and the appliance in question is reaching the end of its expected lifespan, it may be time to look into purchasing a new appliance.

The decision to repair or replace comes down to a variety of factors: the initial cost of the original appliance, maintenance history, reliability of the particular model, and so forth. For most of our customers, the most important factor to consider is the appliance’s age in comparison to its expected lifespan:

Appliance Type High Low Avg
Dryer (electric)15812
Dryer (gas)15812
Garbage Disposal14912
Range (electric)191218
Range (gas)221418
Trash Compactor1047
Washing Machine14711

Source: US Appliance Industry Market Value, Life Expectancy, and Replacement Picture 2011

Considering a new appliance purchase:

When considering a new appliance, remember to consider the cost of delivery and disposal of your old appliance. Delivery and disposal costs can run upwards of $200. A $600 appliance may end up costing $800 after factoring taxes and disposal / delivery fees.

Also consider that nearly all appliances will need minor repairs prior to reaching the end of their lives. Refrigerator defrost systems, dishwasher drain pumps, washing machine intake hoses, and range ignition systems all commonly fail prior to the end of the appliance’s life — and if they do, repair is usually the best choice. As a general rule of thumb, if the repair cost is less than 50% of the cost of a new appliance and the existing appliances still has a few years left in its expected lifespan, we typically recommend repair as the most economical option.

What to look for in new appliances:

Newer, high-end appliances tend to have more parts that can fail than simpler appliances. Certain washing machines and refrigerators can have up to 4 circuit boards. In essence, simpler appliances with less working parts will cost less to maintain and repair than their higher-end counterparts. For this reason, when our customers ask us what modern appliances we recommend, we suggest simpler appliances with less lights, functions, features, and flare. Unfortunately, these types of appliances are becoming harder to find.

Few consumers realize that although there are a large number of appliance brands, there are only a few appliance manufacturers. Below is a table of three appliance manufacturers and their associated brand names:

ManufacturerBrands / Makes
Whirlpool Acros, Admiral, Amana, Bauknecht, Brastemp, Consul, Estate, Inglis, Jenn-Air, Kirkland, KitchenAid, Maytag, Privileg, Roper, and Whirlpool
Electrolux Frigidaire, Gibson, Kelvinator, Lehel, Tappan, Westinghouse, and White-Westinghouse
General ElectricGeneral Electric and Hotpoint

To make matters even more complicated, certain brands are produced by a large number of appliance manufacturers. Kenmore, for example, is a brand name used for appliances manufactured by any of the following companies: Whirlpool, GE, Panasonic, LG, Bosch, and Electrolux. New players to the appliance industry include LG and Samsung who also produce electronic control boards which find their way into American appliances, including the General Electric brand.

To make things simple:

If you’re on a budget, we recommend the most basic models manufactured by Whirlpool. Remember: the more complex the appliance, the more internal parts it has. Appliances with more parts have a greater incidence of part failure.

If price is less of a concern, we recommend Bosch, Miele, and Thermador appliances which tend to have higher build quality and a more desirable expected lifespan.

Stay away from Korean manufacturers Samsung and LG. We have found these brands to have a higher overall incidence of part failure. These brands also tend to be more difficult to work on, which can lead to pricier repairs.

For any new appliance purchase, it is a good idea to look at reviews for a wide variety of models in order to determine any glaring build quality issues that may be present. Two appliance models created by the same manufacturer may have significant differences in build quality.

If you decide to purchase a new appliance, we wish you the best in your new purchase and hope you will keep us in mind for your future appliance repair needs!