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Repair or Replace: What to do if your home appliance breaks down

Nowadays, most modern households rely on two or three household appliances to help make chores easier and day to day life run more smoothly. Whether it’s the washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher, these modern machines have freed up hours previously spent on laundry or food preparation, which we have promptly filled with the demands of busy working lives, it’s no wonder therefore that an appliance breakdown can cause serious chaos and inconvenience. So what’s the best thing to do when an appliance breaks down, immediately replace it or attempt to repair it? The information below is designed to help you make the right choice for you.

The first thing to establish is whether it is the appliance that is at fault, check that a fault in the power source is not the real cause of the problem. Next, consult the manual for the machine and look at any common faults in the troubleshooting section, together with any suggested solutions.

Once you have concluded that the appliance really is broken then you will need to decide whether to replace it or not. If the appliance is still under warranty, either with the manufacturer or the retailer then of course it will make sense to investigate this option first and try to come to a satisfactory resolution either by way of a repair or a replacement product covered under your agreement.

If there is no longer any form of warranty available to you then consider how long you have had the machine and what problems, if any, you have previously experienced. If this is a new and relatively minor fault then you may decide to keep the appliance and repair it in the hope that this is a temporary blip, of course if the machine has already undergone a number of repairs, particularly for the same fault, then the time may have come to start looking for a new appliance.

Consider the age of your machine, though many of us think that a machine is old at 3 or 4 years guidelines suggest that a dishwasher should last for 9 years, a tumble dryer for 13 and a freezer for 11 years. An older machine isn’t necessarily a negative as many newer, cheaper models do not have the same build quality as older models that were perhaps built to a higher spec. On the other hand, your older machine may be bulky or dated in appearance and not have some of the features now offered by newer models, if there are settings or features you think would particularly benefit you or your household then it may be just the excuse you need to start looking at upgrading your appliance.

Cost is often a fairly major consideration when choosing whether to replace or repair an appliance, in general if a repair will cost more than 50% of the original value of the appliance then it is worth looking to replace with new. If not then a repair to your machine may be justified and will likely save you money when compared to the cost of a new machine, together with the costs associated in delivery, set up and safe disposal of your old appliance.

In most cases, a spare part for your existing appliance will be the cheapest option, it may also prove to be the quickest solution for busy households as most parts can be ordered online and delivered quickly without the necessary shopping trips, research and price comparisons involved in committing to a new machine. Depending on the nature of the fault and your confidence with DIY you may not even find it necessary to call out an engineer to install the new part resulting in more savings.

Many older appliances have a bad reputation as not being green. Depending on how you use your machine and the settings your appliance offers then it may be the case that an older machine requires more water or uses power over a longer time. However, it is also worth considering the environmental impact of a new machine, both in terms of manufacture and the scrapping of your older appliance.

By weighing up the points above and being clear on budget and how you use your appliances you should be able to make the best, most economical choice for your household when an appliance breaks down.