When older appliances stop working efficiently, it’s easy to decide to upgrade rather than repair the unit. However, in some cases, newer appliances break down, making the repair-or-replace decision more difficult. If you’re in a financial bind, you might choose to repair the appliance and home for the best. But if you have some money to spare, replacing your appliance with a new, energy-efficient model is typically the best choice.
So, is it worth it to invest in new home systems and appliances? From increasing your home’s energy efficiency to reducing your energy costs, here are some key factors to consider before investing.
How old is the appliance?
According to Consumer Reports, appliances account for approximately 9% of a homeowner’s energy costs, and older appliances typically consume more energy. The closer your appliance is to the end of its lifespan, the smarter it is to replace rather than repair. Plus, if your utility bills are high, investing in new appliances can help you save money over time by cutting energy costs.
For example, new air conditioning systems use less energy. Even if your AC unit is only 10 years old, investing in a new appliance can help you reduce your cooling energy costs by 20–40%, according to Energy.gov. Hiring an experienced HVAC specialist to install and maintain your new HVAC system can help keep your family comfortable throughout the year while maintaining your indoor air quality and keeping your utility bills low.
Is the appliance under warranty?
Before deciding whether to replace or repair your appliance, be sure to check your owner’s manual to see if the appliance is under warranty. In most cases, warranties on major appliances—like refrigerators and washers/dryers—cover labor and parts costs for a year. In contrast, some extended-coverage warranties cover parts for two years. If your appliance is still covered, schedule a service call.
How much does your appliance cost to repair?
According to the 50% rule, if your appliance is more than 50% through its lifespan, and if the cost of a single repair is more than 50% of the cost of upgrading, you should invest in a new appliance.
To do the math, you’ll need to know your appliance’s typical lifespan and obtain a repair estimate. However, it’s important to keep in mind that most service companies charge to diagnose the problem. The cost of diagnosing your appliance’s problem can vary widely, so be sure to ask about “trip charges” when you schedule the appointment. If the company repairs the appliance, this charge is usually waived.
Are you planning to sell your home?
If you’re planning on selling your home, modern appliances can be a major selling point. Think about it: for prospective buyers, a kitchen with a dated, yellowing refrigerator doesn’t compare to an up-to-date, energy-efficient fridge. But even if your appliances are outdated, new appliances are a significant investment. The cost of a new refrigerator ranges from $2,000 to $8,000, while the average price for a new washer and dryer ranges from $1,000 to $2,000.
Although home appraisers don’t assign significant value to appliances, they’ll make sure your appliances are in good working order. Following the 50% rule, if your unit requires a repair that exceeds half the appliance’s value, consider upgrading. Meanwhile, if you’re working with a limited budget, minor repairs and maintenance can help your home sell faster. Whether you’re dealing with a dirty HVAC filter or a leaking fridge, be sure to fix it up first before putting your home on the market.
Although upgrading your home systems and appliances can help you save money, increase your home’s energy efficiency, and boost your home’s market value, new appliances can take a major toll on your budget. All in all, considering factors like the appliance’s age, warranty, and repair costs can help you decide whether repairing or replacing is right for you.