Quick Tips

Should I Repair or Replace My Broken Appliances?

Are one or some of your appliances starting to breakdown? Learn which ones should replace and which ones will last longer with some minor repair.

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Eventually, no matter how nice your appliances or how well you take care of them, they’re going to break down — and when they do, you have to make the crucial decision: repair or replace?

Sometimes, repairing broken appliances makes sense. If you can get a few more years of use out of an appliance after having it repaired, you should definitely do so. Even just getting a few more months out of an appliance can give you time to prepare for a replacement — saving money, shopping around, and so forth. Appliance breakdowns rarely happen on a convenient schedule, so going out and buying a new refrigerator at the last minute can be hugely stressful, not least of all because while you’re out at your local big box store, perusing the options, all your food is back at home going bad.

It’s not always easy to know when you should replace instead of repair an appliance. If you have a home warranty, making the call to replace can be easier, because some or all of the cost of replacement will be defrayed. What does a home warranty cover? Do they cover appliances? Many do — our Combo Plan covers appliances, and you can also buy an appliance warranty just for your home appliances. If you buy an Appliance Plan from American Home Shield®, you’ll be able to access our Appliance Discount Program to replace your worn-out appliance with a new one that’s just as good or better. 

If you have appliance troubles, here’s some advice to help you decide when it’s time to replace vs. repair.

Consider the Age of the Appliance

When you’re trying to decide whether to repair or replace an appliance, the age of the appliance matters a lot. Like everything else, appliances only last so long, so if your appliance is nearing or has exceeded its expected lifespan, you may want to go ahead and replace it, even if the repair it needs is relatively minor, because it’s likely to need additional repairs in the near future.

An older appliance is more likely to break down again soon, but that’s not the only reason you should consider replacing it. A newer version will be more energy efficient — the older your old appliance, the more savings you’ll enjoy from buying a newer model. New appliances also have an impressive range of new functionalities that you might enjoy, including controlling the appliance via smartphone app or re-ordering groceries directly from your refrigerator’s touch screen.

Of course, an older appliance might be technically fixable, but because of its age, the part that it needs is difficult to find, or prohibitively expensive. For example, it became exponentially more expensive to recharge an HVAC system that still uses R22 coolant following the phase-out of that formula. If the parts needed to fix your appliance are hard to find these days, it doesn’t matter how technically simple or cheap the repair would be otherwise.

Some Problems Are More Expensive than Others

Some appliance breakdowns are relatively cheap, while others cost so much that it’s not worth repairing the machine. For example, if the condenser coil on your refrigerator goes out, it could cost so much to fix that you’re better off getting a new fridge. A good rule of thumb is, if a repair is going to cost you more than half of the cost of a new appliance, you should just go ahead and buy a replacement. When you consider the energy savings of running a newer, more efficient appliance, along with the increased functionality of a new model, you’ll be better off buying a new appliance that will run smoothly for years without breaking down.

When you request service with American Home Shield®, the technician who comes to perform your service call will be able to tell you whether or not a repair is cost-effective or whether it’s a better use of your money to simply buy a new appliance. If the repair professional decides that a replacement is needed, we’ll cover some or all of the cost of a new appliance.

How Many Breakdowns Have You Had Lately?

If the current breakdown you’re dealing with is the latest in a string of them, it might be time to replace your appliance. Recurring breakdowns are a sign that an appliance has reached the end of its useful life. This is especially true if the appliance is getting on in years. There comes a point when continuing to repair an appliance means throwing good money after bad. 

When it comes to repairing or replacing an appliance, it’s not always easy to make the right decision. But at American Home Shield, helping homeowners make these kinds of decisions is what we do. If you're not an American Home Shield member yet, but want to take advantage of our comprehensive coverage plus membership benefits like the Appliance Discount Program, skip the phone lines and get a quick quote online. 

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