It’s the weekend and you’re set to wash laundry. You’ve sorted your clothes and loaded them onto the washing machine. But when you press start, nothing happens. I guess many have found themselves in the same unwanted scenario.
Although washing machines are hardy workhorses, they are not perfect and will eventually fail at some point. When this happens, you’d face the dilemma of whether to repair or replace the washer.
Depending on the problem of the washer, repairs can range from $200 to even as high as $1,000. Considering the hefty cost of repairs, you might wonder: Is the repair cost a worthwhile expense?
Before making a final decision, there are critical questions you should ask yourself to guide you in making a sound decision. You might discover that having the unit repaired is the most cost-effective approach or replacing it will save you hundreds in the long run.
1. Is the washer covered by warranty?
This is a crucial question when deciding. Federal law mandates that all appliances be covered by a warranty. If the washer is still under warranty, it’s a no-brainer. If it’s not, that’s where things get a little complicated.
For appliances that are covered by warranty, most problems will be fixed without charge. In some cases, you might need to pay either the labor costs or the spare parts. Either way, you still save a lot. Keep in mind, however, that warranty terms vary widely. Some have a limited one-year period others have longer coverage. This is why it is important to keep the warranty certificate of major purchases so you can avail of it should it become necessary. Also, warranty coverage requires an authorized repairman to complete the repair work.
Likewise, check if your washer is covered by your home insurance or appliance insurance. If the washing machine got damaged due to acts of nature, such as flooding or fire, most likely it will be covered by insurance.
2. What is the cause of the problem?
Next, you need to know the exact problem with your washer. Run a complete check of your washer to identify the cause of the problem. Check the user’s manual and follow the troubleshooting guide.
According to certified technicians at Tampa appliance repair, Hartman, some common errors are easy to detect and require simple, inexpensive repairs. You can even try fixing it by yourself. Meanwhile, others require advanced skills.
For example, you can de-clog or replace the drain hose, while a damaged control panel requires an experienced professional. Other common troubles you can DIY fix involve those related to the washer’s pulley, water valve, belt, and seal replacements.
If you cannot determine the exact cause, you should call an appliance repairman. You may have to pay a diagnostic fee for them to check your unit.
Usually, for minor problems, the cost is just minimal and repair is recommended. On the other hand for major and costly problems like a cracked tub or complex motor problems, replacing the unit is more cost-effective.
3. How much does the repair costs?
Once the trouble is identified, the technician will give you an estimate. Another critical factor in your decision, this gives you a better idea of whether to have the unit repaired or replaced. As mentioned above, the cost to repair the washer differs widely depending on its problem.
In some cases, you just need to add a little bit extra to buy a new one. For example, a service center might charge you around $800 for the repair of a unit that only costs $1,000. Washing machines are now significantly cheaper than several years ago so purchasing a new one might be more economical than repair.
On the other hand, you should also consider if you have a budget to buy a new washer? After all, the best washing machine models cost between $600 and $1,400 – a hefty investment for an average American household. If you don’t have spare cash on hand, you might be pushed to secure some short term loans or an overdraft for the new washing machine.
As a general rule, if the repair would cost less than half of the price of a new appliance and the washer is less than 7 years old, it is worth fixing the washer. On the contrary, if the unit has nearly served its expected life expectancy and the cost of repair is more than 50%, it should be replaced with a new one.
4. How old is the washer?
In general, washing machines have a life expectancy of around 11 years. If your washer is reaching its end-of-life, problems start to ensue. While you can have it repaired, you can expect new errors soon. You might be stuck in time-consuming and expensive repairs.
So, if the machine breaks down frequently and has a relatively short life expectancy, fixing it is not worthwhile. You should consider replacing it with a new one. Most likely, your older washing machine is not as efficient as the latest models. Newer models offer better features and more efficient operations, thereby allowing you to save in the long run.
When your washer conks out, don’t rush to the store or repair center. Ask yourself these questions to help you come up with a sound decision.