Experts offer advice about whether to repair or replace appliances

  • By Angie Hicks
  • Tuesday, September 24, 2013 3:18pm
  • Life

When the fridge goes warm or the washing machine stops spinning, you may face a crucial question: Is it worth spending time and money getting an appliance repaired, or would it be wiser to replace it?

The answer depends on numerous factors. Our consumer-services research team, in talking to top-rated appliance repair professionals from around the country, recommends these guidelines for deciding:

•Check the troubleshooting section of the instruction manual. You may discover an easy fix that might negate the need to call a repair person.

•Consider the age and history of the appliance. Has it broken down before? If you’ve not had prior problems, it may be cost-effective to explore repair options first.

•In many cases, it can be worth the money to call a repair pro out, even if you have to pay for a service call. A reliable appliance expert can examine the device and explain your options.

•If a repair is estimated to cost more than half the price of a new appliance and the unit is more than six or seven years old, it may be time to buy.

Consider any costs for removal, installation and disposal. Also, determine how soon any energy savings will offset the cost of a new appliance.

Our researchers hear frequently about situations in which a repair saved a consumer significant money over the cost of replacement. One recent example featured a Maryland member of Angie’s List who considered replacing his 15-year-old refrigerator when water leaked from the bottom.

The top-rated repair service he hired found that the leak was caused by a clogged defrost drain in the freezer, easily repaired for $99.

Other common problems that can be affordably repaired include dishwashers or washing machines clogged by too much residual soap, and appliances in need of new fan motors, belts and electronic controls.

Check how long the company has been in business and how much inventory its workers carry on trucks, as well as how quickly a technician can be sent out.

Our team suggests these tips for keeping appliances running longer:

•Clean refrigerator condenser coils annually.

Don’t overload dishwashers or washing machines.

•Clean the dishwasher’s filter to remove debris and hard-water deposits. Make sure spray holes in the spinning arms are debris-free.

•Clean the dryer’s lint filter before each use. Inspect and thoroughly clean the exhaust duct annually.

•Don’t allow grease to build up on your stove or oven.

•Check air filters monthly and replace as needed.

Angie Hicks is the founder of Angie’s List, a resource for local consumer reviews. www.angieslist.com.

More in Life

New documentary chronicles Obama’s last year in White House

“The Final Year” doesn’t paint the administration in rosy colors, but it isn’t too critical either.

‘Forever My Girl’ takes a page from the Nicholas Sparks genre

The film based on a novel by Heidi McLaughlin is a well-worn tale of lost love and redemption.

Curries continues home-cooked Indian cuisine at new location

The restaurant, now located on Evergreen Way, also puts an Indian spin on Northwest cooking.

International guitar tour led by Lulo Reinhardt stops in Edmonds

International Guitar Night, now in its 18th year, is Jan. 24 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

New Cascadia Art Museum exhibit showcases mid-century designs

The exhibition includes ceramics, furniture, clothing, sculpture and jewelry from 1948 to 1966.

This beefy ex-cop has a delicate hobby: intricate paper-cut art

You can see Tom Sacco’s creations at the upcoming Everett Art Walk.

Slow-roasted vegetables make sumptuous sauce for pasta

Make the basic but good spaghetti with red sauce blissfully better with this recipe.

Mocking meatloaf: One man’s loaf is another man’s poison

Some don’t like it and some do. Here are six meatloaf recipes to try.

Roasted Brussels sprouts can be the apple of picky eater’s eye

Toasted sesame seeds and diced apple add flavors that compliment the sprouts’ earthiness.

Most Read