Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Repair or Replace?

When a big-ticket item breaks, it's often hard to decide whether to buy a new one or repair it.

Here are some tips to help you with that decision:
1. Appliances. A general rule of thumb is to replace an appliance if the cost to repair it is more than half of the replacement cost. Check out your weekly store ads so you have an idea of what new appliances cost - especially if your appliances are reaching the end of their life expectancy:

Refrigerator or freezer: 14-17 years
Electric Range: 17 years
Dishwashers: 10 years
Washers: 13 years
Dryers: 14 years
Gas water heater: 11-13 years

(Source: ThisOldHouse.com)
Another consideration is the energy efficiency of a newer model. A replacement may pay for itself in lower energy bills in just a few years. For more ways to save energy, including economical new compact fluorescent light bulbs, check out: energystar.gov

2. Furniture. When upholstered furniture becomes stained, worn or ripped, recovering it is an option - but not an inexpensive one, when you add up the cost of fabric and labor. Reupholstering is usually recommended only when it's a solid, well-built piece of furniture. Better yet, take an upholstery class and do it yourself!

3. Computers and other electronics. Computers are designed to be more upgradeable these days, so try adding memory and updating software before buying a new one. With smaller electronics, such as phones or mp3 players, prices keep dropping and features keep getting upgraded, so the rule of thumb is to repair it only when the repair costs 25 percent or less of the new purchase price.

4. Cars. Only a qualified mechanic whom you trust can determine if it's worth repairing an older car. He or she should be able to help you estimate the amount of work needed to keep it safe and reliable. Buyers often overlook the automatic depreciation when you drive a new car off the lot, plus the higher cost of insurance and, in some states, registration for a new car.

Finally, when replacing a large household appliance or electronic equipment, check with your local sanitation department or recycling businesses about ways to keep the item out of a landfill. You might be surprised who wants to reuse or recycle your old junk!

1 comment:

palmtreefanatic said...

we been struggling with the car situation I think we have come to the year of the van that we are nickle and dimeing it! But as I been told it is cheaper to replace parts then to have a new payment...for now this is our descision,
these are great things to ponder
thanks shaunda!