Deciding to fix a large home appliance or buy a new one instead often becomes a time-consuming, stress-inducing riddle—compounded by the fact that it could become an expensive mistake in the long run.

It can be one of the toughest decisions for a homeowner, and no matter how you look at it, some complicated math is involved. If you’re looking for a quick answer, here’s a good rule of thumb: Do not spend more than 50 percent of the cost of a new product on the repair of an old one. This is not a fixed rule but a guideline to consider.

Appliances are designed by manufacturers to last a certain amount of time, but some may last longer or shorter than expected, just like any other product. Here are a few things to consider as you ponder your decision to repair or replace.

Are you planning to move soon?
If so, you may just want to keep the appliance functioning until you are gone. If you think you are there for the long haul, replacement may be a better option.

Do you think you’ll be remodeling at some point soon?
If so, hold off until you can plan for all new appliances as part of the remodel. Most people don’t like mismatched appliances, so if you are going to replace one, you’re probably going to want to purchase the others in the set, washers and dryers, for instance.

How much wear and tear do you put on the appliance?
If it’s an appliance you use almost every day, you can of course anticipate it might need professional repair sooner than if you only occasionally use it.

According to Consumer Reports, washers used seven or more times per week are almost twice as likely to require repair as washers used three or fewer times per week. But infrequently used machines benefit from regularly scheduled maintenance, so be sure to have them serviced in accordance with their manufacturer’s suggestions.

How old is the appliance?
As appliances age and get closer to the end of their expected life span, major repairs become less and less cost-effective. Replacing an older, inefficient appliance with a newer, more energy-efficient model may qualify you for a rebate and will reduce utility bills.

Is this the first time the appliance has needed repair or the 10th?
Several repairs over the past few years are a sign that it might just be time to replace the older appliance, as the probability of yet another repair call in the future goes up.

Is the appliance still under warranty?
Be sure to check that first. If your appliance is under warranty, many manufacturers offer a 12-month warranty, pursue the repairs or replacement through a factory-authorized repair center to prevent voiding the warranty.




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