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Repair It or Replace It?

When one of your appliances isn’t working properly, you have to make a tough decision: should you repair it or replace it? While it might be fun to get a shiny new fridge or a washer with all the bells and whistles, the expense and inconvenience of replacing an appliance is a huge pain, and – possibly more important - appliances are filling up landfills at an alarming rate. If a simple repair is all that’s needed, we can be in and out of your home in less than an hour, so you won’t need to dispose of your appliance, shop for a new one, and have it installed.

Here are some tips that might help with your decision.

Is the Appliance Broken?

Before rushing to replace your appliance, it’s important to know whether it’s really broken or just needs maintenance. Sometimes, what seems like a major malfunction can be a minor issue that’s easy to take care of. Here are just a few examples of maintenance issues that might be mistaken for big problems:

  • Fridge/freezer not cooling: This could be caused by dusty condenser coils, which can restrict airflow and affect cooling performance. Cleaning the coils can often resolve the issue immediately.

  • Oven not heating/stove not lighting: A faulty heating element or gas ignitor might make you think you need a whole new range when the element or ignitor just needs replacing.

  • Dishwasher not cleaning well: Clogged spray arms or a blocked filter can lead to poor cleaning performance. Cleaning these components might restore your dishwasher’s efficiency.

  • Dryer not drying: If your dryer isn’t drying well, there might be an issue with restricted airflow. If you’re cleaning your lint screen after every load, have your dryer vent cleaned from the inside or your dryer to the outside vent. This will restore proper airflow, improve efficiency, and even prevent dryer fires.

Appliance Age and Life Expectancy

The age of your appliance also plays a significant role in the decision-making process. If your appliance is nearing the end of its expected lifespan, it might be more cost-effective to replace it rather than sinking money into repeated repairs.

Having said that, older appliances are GREAT. They are often simpler and better made than newer appliances. If the appliance is working, it’s probably worth keeping!

The Obvious Reason: Cost

One of the most critical factors in the repair-or-replace decision is the cost. Once a diagnosis has been made, any reputable repair company will tell you whether it’s worth fixing and discuss your options with you. If you’re a DIY-er, compare the cost of the necessary repairs (and your time) with the price of a new appliance and make your decision from there.

Extend the Life of the Appliance

If your appliances are working, consider these operational and maintenance tips to help extend their life:


  • Keep the coils clean and free of dust.

  • Set the temperature to the recommended level.

  • Avoid overfilling, as it strains the compressor.


  • Use oven liners or foil to catch spills and prevent them from sticking. Don’t cover any holes.

  • Regularly clean the oven and remove food residue. Remember not to use your self-cleaning feature too often, as this can damage your oven.

  • Keep your stovetop clean by wiping up any spills immediately. If food or liquids get into the burner itself, you might need to do some disassembly to clean it properly.


  • Scrape off excess food before loading dishes.

  • Clean the filter regularly to prevent clogs.


  • Avoid overloading the machine.

  • Don’t use too much detergent.

  • Clean the filter regularly.


  • Clean the lint screen after every single use.

  • Have the dryer vent cleaned to the outside every other year (yearly if you use your dryer very often).

By implementing these tips, you can prolong the life of your appliances and reduce the need for repairs or replacements.

The Bottom Line

According to the EPA, Americans generate 250 million tons of garbage a year; some reports show over 400 million tons. In fact, EVERY DAY, the U.S. throws away enough trash to fill 63,000 garbage trucks. If you repair your appliance instead of tossing it into a landfill, you will be helping to minimize this mind-blowing amount of waste. And the appliance repair cost will be a small fraction of the replacement cost.

All City Appliance can help with maintenance issues, repairs, and the decision-making process. Once we’ve made a diagnosis, we will tell you exactly what’s wrong with it, how much it would cost to repair it, and whether it is (or is not) cost-effective to repair the appliance. It doesn’t benefit either of us to make costly repairs that won’t last; our goal is to make sure you have a working appliance!




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