To Repair or Replace?

Appliance Problems: Repair or Replace?

For most appliance issues, repair is usually the most economical solution. But if part replacement costs exceed half the cost of a new appliance (as can be the case with microwave magnetron replacements, for example) and the appliance in question is reaching the end of its expected lifespan, it may be worth looking into a new appliance purchase.

The original cost of the appliance, reliability track records, and maintenance history all play a part in the decision of whether to repair or replace an appliance. For most of our customers, an important factor to keep in mind is the appliance’s expected lifespan in comparison to its current age:

Appliance Type High Low Avg
Dishwasher18311
Dryer (electric)15812
Dryer (gas)15812
Freezer16812
Garbage Disposal14912
Microwave12710
Range (electric)191218
Range (gas)221418
Refrigerator161013
Trash Compactor1047
Washing Machine14711

Replacement Considerations:

Make sure to consider the cost of delivery and disposal when considering a new appliance purchase. These costs can run upwards of $150 — a $500 appliance may ultimately cost $680 after taxes and disposal / delivery fees.

Most appliances will require minor repairs prior to replacement. For minor repairs, like dryer start switch replacement and stove heating element replacement, repair is typically the more economical option.

As a general rule, if the repair cost is less than half the cost of a new appliance and the current appliance is expected to last at least a few more years, we typically recommend repair as the most cost-efficient option.

Still can’t decide? Give us a call at (650) 238-9050 or e-mail us and we’ll help to guide your decision.

Choosing the best new appliance:

Newer, more expensive appliances often have more electronic components and often have higher failure rates than their older and cheaper counterparts. Some new appliances may have up to four circuit boards. Having more working parts in an appliance means that more parts are susceptible to failure. Because of this — when our customers ask for advice in purchasing a new appliance, we usually recommend simpler appliances without unnecessary special features. However, these appliances are becoming more difficult to buy new.

While there may be many appliance brands, only a few manufacturers produce them. The below table illustrates the relationship between three major appliance manufacturers along with their associated brands:

ManufacturerBrands / Makes
Whirlpool Acros, Admiral, Amana, Bauknecht, Brastemp, Consul, Estate, Inglis, Jenn-Air, Kirkland, KitchenAid, Maytag, Privileg, Roper, and Whirlpool
Electrolux Frigidaire, Gibson, Kelvinator, Lehel, Tappan, Westinghouse, and White-Westinghouse
General ElectricGeneral Electric and Hotpoint

To confuse matters even more, some brands are produced by multiple appliance manufacturers, which results in unreliable build quality. Kenmore is one of these brands — any given Kenmore appliance may have been manufactured by any of the following: GE, Whirlpool, LG, Panasonic, Bosch, or Electrolux. Samsung and LG produce electronic components which have ended up in certain American appliances, including GE appliances.

Making the Right Choice:

Purchasing a new appliance on a budget? We recommend the Whirlpool’s basic models. Remember that appliances with a lot of features and more operating parts usually tend to have a higher incidence of part malfunction.

Looking for a longer-term investment? We’ve found Thermador, Miele, and Bosch appliances to have a higher overall build quality in comparison to their competition. They’ll usually squeeze out a few extra years.

We usually avoid recommending products manufactured by LG and Samsung. Samsung and LG are still relatively new players in the world of appliances — so repairs may come at a premium as technicians are less commonly experienced in working with these brands. We’ve also found that these brands tend to suffer from build quality issues and part failure more often than the competition.

For new appliance purchases, be sure to review product ratings online before buying to determine any glaring build quality issues that may exist for the particular model under consideration. Two appliances of the same brand may have substantially different reliability track records.

If in reading this article you’ve decided to replace your appliance, we wish you the best in your investment and hope that you’ll consider Master Appliance Repair for future appliance repairs!