Appliances: Time to Let Go?

How to know if your home appliances
are on their last legs.

By Dan Rafter

There are two rules of thumb for choosing between repairing or replacing a major appliance: If the appliance is old, it might be time to think of buying a replacement. And, if the repair job is a pricey one, it could make more financial sense to purchase a new appliance that will likely be more energy efficient.

Any appliance with more than five or six years under its belt would count as old. Repairs that cost more than $300 or $400 should be the threshold of expensive jobs.

Usually, if an appliance is too old, it’s more expensive to fix it. And if you’re looking at an older appliance, you might be able to get a new model that will reduce your energy bills month after month.

You have to look at the cost of everything. It sounds simple, but that’s always the best way to make the decision.

These are the rules:


If the problem is minor – a broken seal or a button that’s no longer working – repairing a dishwasher makes sense. But if it comes to a broken motor that might cost $300 to repair, buying a new dishwasher for $400 is the better choice.


New ovens aren’t cheap. The decision to repair or replace comes down to simple math here: If the repair comes close to the cost of a new oven, especially if your current model is more than 10 years old, shopping for a new model makes sense.


You’ll have to consider efficiency when deciding to replace a furnace that’s on the fritz. If your furnace is 10 years old or older, a more efficient model might reduce your heating bills enough to help recoup your investment sooner. That’s unless, of course, the problem is a simple one such as a clogged filter.


TVs are getting less expensive every day. When yours breaks down, it usually makes more sense to shop for a modern model with new features.


You can find good toilets today at affordable prices. At the same time, toilet repairs are often cheap. The decision to repair or replace usually comes down to performance: Does your current toilet clog often? Is it cracked or scratched? It might be time to find a new throne.

Water Heater

Water heaters generally last for 10 to 12 years. If your model is older than that and is giving you trouble, you should probably replace it. You don’t want to wake up one morning to find your basement or condo flooded.

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