To repair or replace? This question comes up frequently when weighing repair options for cars. It can also apply to electronics, yard equipment, appliances, furniture and other items. While buying a new version of a worn product may be the easiest solution, it isn’t always the best for the environment.
Why should someone consider repairing? It reduces the amount of trash going to a landfill and can cut down on chemicals emitted from e-waste. Plus, it can end up saving money, time and even effort in the long run!
Here are some things to consider when weighing your options on repairing versus replacing:
- Check your warranty. The product may still be covered and free to fix.
- Run the numbers by using the 50% rule. If a repair is estimated to cost 50% or less than the amount you paid (or current retail price), repair it. If it will cost more than 50%, replace it.
- Take into account the life span of the item. Refrigerators should last 15-19 years, whereas a dishwasher lasts about 10-11 years.
- Will the item appreciate? Some items gain value over time, like certain cars, so it may be worthwhile to hang onto those items.
- Consider the cost of delivery and removal and/or installation of large items.
- Research the repair options because each requires a different level of expertise and standards, but also come with a separate set of costs. Will the item require factory service, an authorized service provider or an independent service provider?
- Old electronics use more electricity than newer, more efficient models. It may be worth the cost to replace an appliance if energy use decreases.
- Do your research when making purchasing decisions. Publications like Consumer Reports test products for you and make recommendations on the best brands for most product lines.
- If you must replace, research rebates for replacing old appliances like a tax credit for new windows.