• Repair or Replace?

  • One of the biggest decisions you face when an appliance breaks down is whether to spend money repairing it or whether to simply replace it with a new one.

    Generally speaking, the decision needs to be based on a number of factors which might be:-

    • Age of appliance
    • Condition of appliance
    • Suitability of the appliance for usage
    • Cost of repair vs. Cost of replacement

    Lets look at each of these factors in a little more detail:-

    Age of appliance

    Naturally as an appliance ages, it becomes more prone to breakdown and its value will depreciate relatively year-on-year. Of course, there is always the usage of the appliance to consider in this and not just physical time. For example, a washing machine that is 10 years old and is used 2-3 times a week may only be considered half the age of a washing machine that is used every day (7 times each week).

    In our own experience, we have found that appliances under 10 years old are usually worth looking at to assess the fault, even if the outcome is a major fault rendering it beyond economical repair. Up to this age, many minor and relatively inexpensively repairable faults can present themselves. Once an appliance is over 10 years, careful consideration needs to be made as to condition of the machine overall and whether the money is best put towards a replacement.

    Condition of appliance

    Condition of any appliance is usually the result of the amount of usage and how well the appliance has been treated. An aggressively used, overloaded washing machine, for example, will be in a much poorer state than one that is loaded within the manufacturers specification and is only used a few times a week. In addition, an appliance that is kept and used inside a warm dry environment, will be in better condition that one that is kept in an out-building or garage in damp, cold conditions. This needs to be taken into account when considering a repair or replacement.

    Suitability of appliance for usage

    Circumstances can change and an appliance breakdown can be an opportunity to re-assess how suitable the appliance is for the application. For example, a small fridge that had been ideal for a couple before they had children, may decide that actually they have outgrown the small fridge and they really need a larger model for the growing family. This may then dictate that the best option is replace the fridge even if it was repairable for a reasonable cost.

    Cost of repair vs. Cost of replacement

    Assessing the cost of replacing an appliance is usually straightforward. A simple visit to a physical or online store can quickly give you price of an equivalent model to the one you already have.

    Assessing the cost of repair is not always so straightforward. If the fault is very apparent; a broken door or control knob, then the cost can usually be determined from a repairer over the phone.

    If the faulty is not so obvious; appliance appears to be dead and unresponsive, leaking from somewhere underneath, then an engineers visit is usually necessary to determine the source of the problem and to provide a quotation to fix it. So, if an engineers visit incurs a call-out of diagnosis fee, how do we decide whether we spend money to find out whether the appliance is actually worth repairing? Isn't it just a waste of money just to find out an appliance is not worth repairing?

    This is where the age/condition of the appliance really becomes the deciding factor. As mentioned above, we have typically found that appliances under 10 years and that have been looked after, and used within their manufacturers specification to usually be worth a look. Many of these will have fairly minor issues which if rectified will put the appliance back in service. Naturally some of these will have terminal faults which are not worth repairing but this is a risk you have to consider.

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