Opening the toolbox and taking a crack at fixing an errant stove or fridge (or hiring a repair person!) can be a great way to save money, as well as an opportunity to avoid putting another appliance in the landfill before it has reached its lifespan. Don’t know whether you should scrap or salvage? We’ve got you covered. As a general rule of thumb: if you need to budget more than half of the cost of the appliance new out of the box, it’s best you replace it.
Fridges generally last 15 to 25 years before having to be replaced (we’re lovin’ this beautiful blue one from the Property Brothers!). However, if you’ve run into an issue (read: stepped unsuspectingly in a puddle that pooled, almost overnight, under your fridge?) and you’re trying to determine if you should fix or toss, there are a few things you can do first. The culprit can be a few things, such as the defrost mechanism or freezer drain.
Fridge: Fix or Toss?
To find out what’s wrong with your fridge: remove everything from the inside, unplug it from your wall socket and allow time for it to defrost. Vacuum out the coils so they’re free of dust (they can often lead to other serious issues in the cooling system). If once you plug it back in, there’s still an issue, it may be time to call in a repair company (remember to not pay more than half the value of a new fridge for any repairs). It might be a stalled compressor: replacing it is quite expensive and should generally be taken as a sign that it’s time to take your fridge to the depot.
Most washing machines should take you through a decade of consistent, dedicated use. A common problem to strike this appliance is a stalled agitator (the tall vertical spindle in the middle of the washer).
Washer: Fix or Toss?
If the agitator isn’t spinning when you put a load to run, a fix is often as simple as replacing it or the related cogs or drive belt. If you don’t have the skills to replace these, a repair person will cost you much less than replacing the entire washer itself. If the agitator isn’t the issue, dismantling a washing machine is complicated and costly. At this point, it may be worth considering purchasing another machine.
Dryers are one of the sturdier appliances – and tend to last well over a decade before succumbing to irreparable issues. Most problems with your dryer are easily fixed. If you’re finding that your clothing, towels and linens aren’t dry at the end of a cycle, chances are you have a faulty heating element.
Dryer: Fix or Toss?
Luckily, heating elements are easy to replace. Unplug the dryer, remove the back panel, dismantle the connectors and fit in the replacement. Make sure to clean lint from your dryer regularly to preserve the new element. However, if this isn’t the issue (perhaps your dryer is emitting smoke?), it’s not worth the cost you’d need for the repair and you should opt for a replacement.
Air Conditioning: Lifespan
Air conditioners have lengthy life spans: most should last you and your family 15 to 20 years. If your air conditioning is sputtering and having issues regulating the temperature in your home, you can usually get it back into working order fairly easily.
Air Conditioning: Fix or Toss?
If you’re having problems with your A/C unit, you can try swapping out the capacitor, fan motor or temperature control. You can also try cleaning out the coils and replacing the air filter. If you can’t turn on your A/C, you may have tripped a breaker or blown a fuse somewhere in your home, so check all your electrical panels. If you’re still not having any luck cooling down, it may be worth it to replace the unit.
cap out around nine to 10 years of use. Common issues that crop up with this appliance typically boil down to leakage and water not spraying through the run cycle.
Dishwasher: Fix or Toss?
Patching up a dishwasher leak is as easy as swapping out the door gasket to get a tighter seal on the machine. Other internal issues are more complicated and mean that the spray arms and the pump motor may need to be replaced. If your dishwasher door no longer locks or the machine is starting to crack, it would be more cost effective for you replace it than fix.
Stoves tend to run the average household around 15 years. Thankfully, they’re one of the easier home appliances to fix should you run into problems.
Stove: Fix or Toss?
A gas range stove that won’t light typically can usually be fixed by moving any stray food bits obstructing the ignition. With electric stoves, you can disengage the filaments and move them around in their sockets a bit if they’re not lighting up and conducting heat as they should. If you are having trouble fixing and the stove is close to the 15-year mark, chances are you’re due for an upgrade.