It’s a common refrain spoken by many appliance repairmen when called out to a home to fix a washing machine, dryer, oven or other major home appliance: “It’s cheaper to buy a new one than to fix it.”
That sounds like a remarkable conclusion, given that a new appliance can cost hundreds of dollars, if not a few thousand. But add in the costs of parts, labor and service fees, and many major appliances can be cheaper to buy new. If not, they soon will be if another service call is needed. Small appliances such as microwave ovens can also be cheaper new than getting them repaired. There are other things around the home that are cheaper and a lot easier to deal with by completely replacing instead of fixing them.
To gauge if replacement is worth the cost, consider the 50 percent rule. If something is more than halfway through its lifespan, and the cost of one repair is more than 50 percent of the cost of buying new, then it’s best to replace instead of repair.
Here are a few items that are likely cheaper to replace than repair:
Reliable brand-name televisions are cheaper now than they’ve ever been. If the warranty has expired, you can likely afford a new one that has a lot more capabilities than the old one.
Cordless Vacuum Cleaners
The most common problem with cordless vacuum cleaners is that the lithium ion battery only lasts 2-3 years and needs to be replaced. Some manufacturers don’t sell replacement batteries, making buying a replacement vacuum necessary. Others sell replacement batteries but at about the cost of a new vacuum. These things are built to have a short lifespan, and repair isn’t even an option on many of them.
Hot Water Heaters
A service call may solve some problems with a water heater or boiler, but bigger problems will likely be too expensive to make repairs worthwhile. If your water heater hasn’t been serviced regularly and is old, a repair can cost more than buying a new one. One problem that can make a new water heater more expensive is the installation cost, which can be the same as a service call for a repair. However, fixing that old water heater may be cheaper this year, but add another repair in a year or so if it’s more than 10 years old, and it will be cheaper in the long run to buy a new one.