Every time your home appliance malfunctions and dies, you’ll face a dilemma – should you repair or replace it? A replacement is always more expensive but the repair may not be completely inexpensive either. If you have a serviceman that you trust, you can ask them for their honest opinion but even they are biased and completely unaware of your current finances. So, before making this choice (even with the opinion of an expert), there are several questions that you have to ask yourself. Here are five aspects that you need to consider while trying to find an answer.
- The cost of the repair
The first thing you need to consult is your budget, however, examining the flat cost is not the best way to proceed with this. What you need is to compare the cost of the repair with the value that you get in return. First of all, you need to compare the cost of the repair with the cost of a new appliance and then ask one crucial question – how much time have I bought with this repair. You cannot repair the appliance indefinitely and paying half the price in order to prolong the life of the appliance for a year is never worth it.
You also need to ask how much all the repairs involved will cost. Is this the only repair that the appliance in question will need? Is this the first time that you had to pay for this particular repair? Will the effectiveness of the appliance after the repair be similar to the effectiveness of a new appliance? If the answer to any of these questions is – no, you need to accept the fact that the value comparison isn’t 1:1.
You also need to examine your budget. Sure, in theory, it might be worth your while to buy a completely new appliance but can your budget take this? Replacing a coffee maker is not that expensive but buying a new fridge or a new oven is not that minor of an investment. Also, even if you know that you’re up for an appliance replacement, there’s a scenario where it’s not the right time (financially) for a new purchase. So, if you can’t afford a new purchase, looking for oven repairs specialists, instead, would be your only choice.
- How old is the appliance?
The depreciation is a concept from an economy that really applies to massive assets but can be applied to this scenario, as well. The way it works is fairly simple, at the moment of the purchase, your appliance has a maximum cost. At one point, the value of an appliance will reach zero. You can divide this total cost by the number of years it will take in order for the value of the appliance to reach zero. This way, you will be able to see just how much the total value the appliance loses every year.
In the user’s manual, you may not find the expiry date or the exact number of work hours of the appliance but the majority of these appliance types have standard longevity. For instance, dryers and refrigerators last about 13 years, microwave ovens last roughly 9 years, while furnaces last between 15 and 20 years. This way you get to see by just how much you’re postponing the inevitable purchase.
Remember, nonetheless, that this is definitely not a hard rule. You see, if an appliance breaks down twice during its warranty period, while this won’t cost you that much, the truth is that it may not be of the best quality. It might have a hidden fault or its quality may be below the industry standard. For those who are of the worst luck, the combined cost of repairs will eventually exceed the total cost of the new appliance. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen overnight so if you notice that things are heading in this direction, you might want to act preemptively.
- Does maintenance make a difference?
Proper maintenance can prolong the lifespan of an appliance. Cleaning appliances more regularly and using them in a way proscribed by the manufacturer can give each appliance more working hours. So, if your appliance is breaking down more often and you are not maintaining/using it properly, it could be your fault. Fortunately, this is something that you can rectify in the future. In other words, a repair and a resolution to act better are the most cost-effective method of resolving this situation.
For instance, some electronic kettles have a minimum water requirement for safe use. All washing machines have maximum load weight. Going below minimum and above maximum are equally as bad and will damage your appliance in the long run. The worst thing is that this won’t happen overnight. You will use the wrong measure once and nothing will happen. This will trick you into believing that this is a safe/smart thing to do. However, this will facilitate the decay of your appliances.
The last thing worth mentioning here is the importance of inspecting your power grid on a regular basis. If your outlet is faulty, your appliance may burn out at random. Then, seeing as how the same thing happened several times already, you may become convinced that buying a new appliance will solve your issue. Sadly, the problem will repeat. This is why trying to switch the outlet or calling an electrician to inspect the place (if the problem keeps repeating) might be a better course of action.
- Does the new appliance come with new features?
It’s not a secret that a new appliance often comes as a less power-hungry version of the same appliance. Just because it’s new, an appliance will waste less power but some of the newer appliances are specially designed to be eco-friendly. In other words, making an investment to get a new appliance is not just about making your old appliance functional again. Over the course of years, the power-saving alone can pay off a portion of the purchase. This means that you would be making a long-term investment.
Other than this, it’s important to consider whether the new appliance comes with some new features involved. There are new functions that the manufacturers of appliances come up with, each day. After all, they’re trying to make a compelling case why you should buy a new appliance even sooner than you need to do so. If this new feature is really that groundbreaking, buying a new appliance could be a major quality of life upgrade.
There is, nonetheless, another scenario, one in which you really want to buy a new appliance without really having the need to do so. In this case, the most recent breakdown of an appliance comes as more of an excuse than an actual reason. This is also completely fine but you need to be honest about your motivation behind this purchase. It also puts the question of its financial viability into a whole new perspective.
- What would this new appliance be like?
Are you determined to stick to the same brand or is your previous experience so negative that buying from a completely different manufacturer is imperative? Some people even buy used appliances (albeit in a somewhat better state). Keep in mind that your old appliance might be of a much higher quality tier than the one you can afford to buy at the moment. In that case, the comparison becomes even murkier and more difficult to be realistic about.
Speaking of quality, there’s a saying about a person who is not rich enough to buy cheap. Maybe you wanted to be frugal the first time around and bought the appliance of an inferior quality, which is why you have to repair it more often than expected. Now, you might be ready to go for something of higher quality in order to avoid the same scenario in the future. An appliance malfunction is not just expensive, it’s also potentially dangerous and stress-inducing.
You also need to think about the style of your kitchen. For instance, your previous appliance might have been the first such appliance that you bought when you first moved in or built the place. If that is the case, it’s probably an integral part of the kitchen’s (or any other room’s) design. Will replacing this appliance change the look of an entire area? Can you find a suitable replacement? These are two major questions that aren’t so easy to give an answer to.
A malfunctioning appliance is not always safe, which means that replacing it may be a top priority. On the other hand, sometimes, even though you have the money, replacing an appliance that could work for years after a minor repair is a bit excessive. The biggest issue regarding this particular situation is that it won’t happen just once. It’s a recurring theme in every household. This is why you don’t need a straight answer, you need a coping mechanism, a system to help you handle this process and make the right call (or, at least, the best call) every single time. We hope that the above-listed five considerations will help you in this regard.