How to Decide Whether to Repair or Replace Your Appliance

Written by Angie's List staff
Updated May 21, 2013
appliance repairman fixing a washing machine
Trying to figure out whether your appliance is worth fixing? There are a few questions you should ask yourself. (Photo by Meredith Rizzo)

Is it more economical to replace or repair the fridge or washing machine? Here are eight questions to help you decide.

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

Is it more economical to replace or repair the fridge or washing machine? The right answer depends on a variety of factors.Here are eight questions to determine whether to replace or repair an appliance:

How old is the appliance?

What would a similar appliance cost?

Are there any hidden costs? (Removal, installation, disposal, tax, etc.)

How often the appliance is used?

How difficult is it to replace the appliance? (Built-ins are more difficult.)

What energy savings will I get with the new appliance? (A good way to save is to invest in energy-efficient appliances. When shopping around, look for the Energy Star label.)

What additional features will I get with the new appliance?

Is it really broken? The trouble may be a loose plug, a tripped circuit breaker, or a bad surge-protector outlet. Also check the manufacturer’s instruction manual for its trouble shooting section. You may be able to fix the problem yourself.

Appliance life expectancy estimates

14-15 years for refrigerators and freezers

14-18 years for ovens and ranges

11-13 years for dishwashers

11-14 years for clothes washers/dryers

11-15 years for ranges

11-14 years for water heaters

11-15 years for central air-conditioning unit

The average life of a major appliance is about 14 or 15 years, but it depends on the model. You can delay having to make any decision about repairs by taking on preventive maintenance.

Industry experts say washing machines tend to break down the most because they take the most beatings and contain many moving parts.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.