Angie's Home Guide: When good appliances go bad

You face a decision when an appliance goes on the blink: Do you repair it, or is it time to replace it? The smartest answer requires some math.

A number of factors determine whether you should repair or replace, including the cost of the repair, the age of the appliance, the amount of use and the maintenance it's had and how well it's performed.

Most major appliances generally last 10 to 15 years if they're cared for properly, according to industry experts and highly rated appliance-repair companies on Angie's List.

"If the cost to repair it is over half the cost of replacement, customers tend to replace," said Mark Everhart of Convenient Appliance Service in Winston-Salem. "Or if it's (older), they'll tend to replace. … You wouldn't want to spend that money on a product that's (near the end) of its life expectancy."

Replacing an appliance with a new, more efficient one also can reduce energy costs, but there are environmental benefits to repairing an appliance: You can keep it out of a landfill.

A service call is usually the best way to ensure that you don't waste money. A new appliance could cost thousands of dollars, but the average price of a service call is $50 to $100. That doesn't include the cost of parts and labor if additional work is required.

You can keep your appliances working longer and more efficiently by following the factory-recommended usage and preventative-maintenance guidelines.

If an appliance needs attention, research local repair companies to ensure they have a good reputation and the knowledge to work on your model and brand.

See: Profile

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