It’s laundry day. Your clothes are neatly sorted in front of the washer. You load the machine and press start — but nothing happens.
Should you repair your machine or completely replace it? Do you have room in your budget for an expensive purchase? After all, the price of a new washing machine can range from $300 to upwards of $1,500 — a significant investment for any homeowner.
Before you head to the store for a new appliance, ask yourself a few questions. You might find that a DIY repair is your most budget-friendly option, or you may learn that a replacement will save you hundreds of dollars and time in the long run.
Here are three questions to ask yourself before deciding whether to repair or replace your washing machine or any other major home appliance.
1. What’s the Problem?
The first step in deciding whether to repair or replace your appliance is to figure out exactly where the problem lies. Some parts of a washing machine are inexpensive and easy to fix by yourself, while others require the often-expensive time and care of an experienced professional.
A washing machine pump replacement, for example, is possible to replace yourself, while a damaged motor requires a professional’s expertise.
If you’re not already sure what the problem is, start by asking an expert. Try finding an appliance repair company willing to diagnose the problem. You may have to pay a fee for them to come out to see your machine. Avoid hefty same-day, weekend, or after-hours fees by asking questions while you have them on the line, and try to figure out whether you can make the repair on your own.
Figuring out the problem can often help you decide whether to make some small repairs or replace your entire machine.
- Repair: You may be able to take care of several inexpensive problems on your own, including those related to the machine’s belt, water valve, pulley, and seal replacements. A pump or motor replacement typically requires the help of a professional to perform, but can save you from having to replace the entire machine.
- Replace: If the source of your problem is a cracked tub, it’s typically easier and less expensive to replace the entire machine. It’s also often simpler to replace a washer that won’t spin since dismantling the machine can be costly.
2. How Much Will the Repair Cost?
Once you’ve asked an expert questions over the phone or had a technician come to your home to take a look at your machine, you probably have a better idea of what’s wrong and how much the repair will cost.
So, is the price tag of a repair worth it? If the repair — including labor fees — will cost more than 50% of what it would take to replace your entire machine, you’ll likely want to consider skipping the hefty repair bill and opting for a new washer instead.
- Repair: If the repair would cost less than 50% of the price of a new appliance and your machine still has several expected years of life left, a quick fix could be a cost-effective solution over replacing the entire washer. An active warranty can also make any repair worthwhile.
- Replace: If the defective part would cost more than 50% of the cost of a new washer, it’s probably time to say goodbye to your appliance.
3. How Much Longer is the Appliance Expected to Live?
Each major appliance has an average expected lifespan — and if it’s nearing that “expiration date,” your machine may not have much time left.
Although every machine varies depending on usage and proper maintenance, washing machines are expected to last around 11 years. If your washer is even eight or nine years old, it’s reaching the end of its prime. At this stage, you may be stuck in a loop of time-consuming repairs that could take a large chunk out of your wallet.
- Repair: If your washer is several years younger than its expected lifespan and the repair would cost less than half of the price of a new machine, consider a repair rather than a replacement.
- Replace: An older machine that breaks down frequently and has needed several repairs in the past few years could keep hurting your wallet. Consider making the switch to a new appliance if your old one is more than 50% through its life expectancy and the cost of a repair would be more than half the cost to replace.
Regardless of which option you choose, don’t forget to check your warranty before repairing or replacing. If you have a newer machine that’s still under warranty, you may not have to pay anything out of pocket.
Budget for Your Repairs or Replacement with PSECU
Financing an appliance repair or replacement can be simpler when you budget your money wisely. At PSECU, we’re here to help you take control of home maintenance — even on a limited budget.
To be better prepared for future maintenance or the purchase of a new appliance, start saving your money in a PSECU savings share. With competitive dividends and Money Back Banking perks, we’ll help you keep more money in your wallet so that you have peace of mind when emergencies arise.