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Should you repair or replace an appliance?

By Luke Sillett

Updated: June 28th, 2018

Have your appliances seen better days? Here's when to know whether to repair or replace.

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Some modern technologies or appliances can cost more than a small vehicle. Technology has made daily chores easier to manage, but it can be all kinds of frustrating when your appliances don’t work as they should.

When an appliance is clanging and banging more than necessary, the options are pretty straightforward: either try and fix it yourself, or organise some professional appliance help.

The problem is: when do you call in the cavalry?

High tech kitchen appliances

From fridges and washing machines to vacuums and man shed tools. From appliances that whip, snip, whizz and whirl, cook, clean or make you look beautiful. Here are some guidelines to evaluate whether you should tackle your own appliance repair.

If it ain’t really broken…

When time poor and frustrated it is easy to miss the most obvious. Is it really broken? Before you get yourself in a tizz, there are a few things you need to check:

  1. Is the appliance turned on? It is surprising how many people actually forget to check that the power is on.
  2. Has the safety switch been triggered? Irons are renowned for triggering the safety switch when they are heating up. Check the electrical box to see if anything has been flicked over.
  3. Are the vents and filters free from dust and cobwebs? Make sure that you clean your appliance filters regularly, including vacuuming out behind your fridge. This ensures the correct amount of airflow is available and that fans are given the chance to operate properly.
    Sometimes uneven flooring can hinder an appliance from working properly.

Is there a repair warranty in place?

A lot of new appliances offer a warranty for labour and parts, generally for a one-year minimum. Check your owner’s manual and purchase receipts. If it is still covered under warranty then schedule a service call.

Is it past its expiry date?

Like many things, appliances too have an expected lifespan. According to a National Association of Home Builders study in the US, appliances generally last for:

  • Air conditioner: 15 years
  • Stove/hobs: 13 – 15 years
  • Clothes dryer: 13 years
  • Fridge: 13 years
  • Washing machine: 10 years
  • Microwave: 9 years
  • Dishwasher: 9 years
Brand quality and how well the appliance is maintained will also affect the lifespan of an appliance.

Is it worth repairing?

A good rule of thumb is to follow a 50% rule. If your appliance is more than halfway through its expected lifespan and the repair cost is more than 50% of the price for a new item, then you should replace the item.

Most repair companies will also charge a callout fee so factor this into the repair cost too.

To DIY or not to DIY – that is the question

If you know the difference between a spanner and a wrench, a socket and a pocket, then you could consider tackling your own repairs.

But, if just thinking of electrical work sends shockwaves through your system – get an Airtasker to do your appliance repairs.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Luke Sillett

I like long walks on the beach, penguins and fried chicken.

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