Skip to Content

Appliances: When to Repair, When to Replace

technician writing estimate for appliance repair

Quality appliances are typically not a cheap purchase. You’re investing in equipment that is hopefully going to work for a minimum of 10 years without any kind of major hassle. However, it’s not uncommon for an appliance to require a repair at some point during its lifetime. When an issue comes up, you may be wondering which is the smarter option: repairing or replacing.


When faced with the “repair or replace” dilemma, there are a few things you should consider:

1. Repair Cost

Most appliance issues can be repaired. The question is whether it makes sense financially to pay for the repair versus buying a new or refurbished appliance. Here is a basic rule of thumb you can use: if the cost to fix your appliance is more than 50 percent of the cost to get a new one, it often makes more sense to buy a new one.

2. The Cost and Availability of Parts of New Appliances

Multiple factors can affect how much appliances and their parts cost. For instance, during 2020 and 2021, numerous events resulted in a shortage of parts and new appliances:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic, which changed how assembly lines could safely operate
  • The booming housing market
  • A fire at a major semiconductor factory in Japan (semiconductors are a critical electrical component in many modern appliances)
  • The infamous Suez Canal blockage, which delayed shipments globally

For appliances you rely on every day, like your refrigerator, you may find that a repair is not only cheaper but allows you to get a working refrigerator once again faster than having to wait for a brand new model that’s on backorder. In some cases, a replacement might be your only option because the part you need is no longer in production.

3. The Age of Your Appliance

If your appliance is past its expected lifespan, its issues and repair costs can start to rack up. Here are the typical lifespans of most major appliances:

  • Dishwasher: 10-13 years
  • Garbage Disposal: 12 years
  • Refrigerator or Freezer: 10-12 years
  • Range, Stove, or Oven: 10-15 years (gas ranges tend to last slightly longer than electric)
  • Range Hood: 14 years
  • Exhaust Fan: 10 years
  • Microwave: 9 years
  • Washer and Dryer: about 10 years

Your appliance’s lifespan can also depend on your household size and how much you use it. For instance, a couple tends to put less wear-and-tear on their washer and dryer than a family of five.

Keep in mind, some issues may not be that pricey to repair, and your appliance could be functioning just fine otherwise and have many years of service ahead. This is why it’s usually best to get a repair quote before making a final decision on whether to repair or replace.

4. Efficiency

Investing in new appliances may cost more money upfront, but efficient models can result in energy and water savings over the next decade or more. That means extra money back in your pocket over time.

When shopping for energy-efficient appliances, look for the Energy Star label. To earn this label from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an appliance must meet several criteria regarding energy conservation and utility bill savings. In a nutshell:

  • The appliance’s energy use and performance can be tested, measured, and verified.
  • It must be able to save the average consumer energy without any kind of exclusive additional technology required to use the appliance.
  • If it costs more than a less-efficient appliance of the same type, a consumer will get a return on their investment through utility bill savings in a reasonable time period.

At Tri-City Heating and Cooling, we’re proud to offer reliable appliance repairs throughout Milford, Bridgeport, Fairfield, and the surrounding areas. To schedule an appointment, contact us online or give us a call at (203) 303-5700.