It’s a dilemma almost everyone’s faced – a much-used home appliance breaks down and you need to act fast. But how do you decide whether to repair or replace it?
There are so many factors to consider – cost is an obvious one, but also convenience, ease and environmental issues.
Add to this the fact you probably won’t have much time to make a decision (just try living without a fridge freezer in the summer…) and it’s not hard to understand how stressful a faulty appliance can be.
Most go for repairs
In a recent survey of 11,347 Which? members, around a quarter of you (27%) told us you had experienced a fault with one of four key home appliances. An overwhelming 90% of you got the problem repaired. Just 3% of you replaced the appliance, while the rest are undecided.
But while repairing is clearly the most popular option, ultimately the decision is likely to boil down in large part to the age of your appliance. You’d imagine most people would be more likely to repair a newer machine than one which seemed on its last legs.
When should you replace?
One way of looking at the problem would be to work out the current value of your appliance. You can do this by dividing its original cost by how long you expect it to last. This will tell you how much value it loses a year – and lets you work out how much it may be worth now.
You could argue that if a repair costs more than your appliance is currently worth, it may be better to replace it.
We used this theory to find the average point at which the amount you’re prepared to spend on a repair is more than you think the appliance is worth. With fridge freezers and ovens it’s nine years old, with washing machines it’s eight and with vacuums it’s seven. So if you’re considering a repair for appliances older than this, it may be worth thinking again.
Of course, this is just one way of looking at the issue and much will depend on the general condition of your appliance and what brand it is.
How do you decide whether to repair or replace? And have you ever regretted the decision you made?