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When Should You Repair or Replace Common Appliances?

Sometimes it’s difficult to know when you should choose to repair a household appliance or replace it altogether. Homeowners often forget when they bought their appliances and then do not have a budget in place that accommodates replacement costs.

Read below to determine the average lifespan of the major appliances and how to extend it through regular maintenance. Remember, all major appliance repairs are covered by a home warranty!

Appliances-blue refrigerator

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9 – 14 years

The lifespan of your refrigerator depends on the type of fridge you have. If your fridge is built-in to the kitchen, it’s often more cost-effective to repair it. The costs of removing the fridge and installing a new one can be higher than traditional refrigerators. The rule of thumb for all appliances is if the repair is more than 50% the cost of the appliance, it is more cost-effective to replace it.

According to WiseBread, some ways to extend the life of your fridge include:

  • Don’t use the top as storage. Warm air needs that space to escape to keep the motor from working too hard.
  • Vacuum the coils on the back of the fridge 2-3 times a year. The coils accumulate dust and are responsible for cooling the interior.
  • Ensure that there are no tears or worn seals along the refrigerator door. Poor seals are one of the most common fridge problems and also one of the easiest to fix. Simply look up the refrigerator model and order new seals to install yourself.


9 – 12 years

Dishwashers are relatively inexpensive to replace, around $450. However, there are a few repair and maintenance tricks to keep your dishes sparkling until that day comes.

  • Dishwasher appliance front

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    Try not to overload the dishwasher, as it forces the machine to work harder and shortens its lifespan.

  • Dishwasher not draining well? Check the drain hose to make sure it’s properly connected to the sink’s drain line.
  • Unless there is a serious leak, a little research can fix many dishwasher issues. Don’t forget to turn off the water supply to the dishwasher before doing any DIY work.


13 – 20 years

The stove and stovetop are more durable appliances than some others, however their repair is often more costly as a result. Some common issues include the igniter on a gas stovetop going out and the heating elements of the oven becoming inconsistent. Due to the electrical, gas, and fire risks, it’s recommended that you hire a professional for range repair.

  • Keep a thermometer inside the oven. Make sure the oven is reaching the temperature indicated
    Appliances-stovetop and oven

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    on the dial. If not, the heating element may need replacing.

  • If the burners do not light, turn off the knob to the burner immediately. You probably need to reignite the pilot light, but you should first ventilate the room.
  • A responsible homeowner should keep the range clean for safety reasons. writes, “We heavily recommend diligent maintenance for your range to prevent grease fires and clogged burners… You should contact a professional as soon as possible if you notice a gas problem–you can’t put a price on the well-being of your family.”

Washing Machine and Dryer

8 – 14 years

Appliances-front of clothes dryer

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The best way to maintain your washer and dryer unit is to keep debris from entering the drum and to not overload the machines. Empty pockets before placing clothing inside and zip all zippers closed beforehand.

  • One of the more common issues with the washing machine is the drain pump going out. If you the hose connection to the wall is secure but there’s no water coming in or little going out, the issue is probably with the drain pump. Do some research and you should be able to replace it with a new part in an hour or so.
  • If the washing machine or dryer is traveling while running or making uncharacteristically loud sounds, the likely culprit is the tub or drum bearings. This is likely a professional repair job and it may be time to replace the machine altogether.
  • For the dryer, cleaning the lint screen every time and checking the ventilation yearly will vastly extend the life of the machine and reduce the risk of fire.

By taking small steps to maintain appliances in the short term, you can increase longevity in the long term. Keep in mind all major appliance repair and replacement covers are covered by a home warranty. However, it is still in the best interest of the household to keep all equipment in adequate shape. It only takes a little effort to be rewarded with appliances that last.

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