GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — We rely on appliances every day, so when they break, it can put us in a bind. So, we wanted to know: Is it better to fix them or buy new?
Well, it depends.
We sat down with the folks at Consumers' Checkbook to find out more.
“If you have something, you're okay with its features, it's been working reliably for many years and you can get it repaired for a couple hundred dollars, I think it's worth getting it repaired as opposed to spending $600 for a new dishwasher or $2K for a new refrigerator,” said Kevin Brasler with Consumers’ Checkbook.
I mean, that sounds like a no-brainer, right? But here's the deal, you could actually save even more money by fixing it yourself.
“There are great resources out there these days for people who want to repair their own appliances. A lot of times the problem is a simple fix that homeowners can do themselves with a few tools,” said Brasler.
They tested it out, too. They replaced an icemaker and found it was not only easy to do, but also cost hardly anything at all. It saved a ton of money over hiring a technician to make a service call, order the part and come back to install it. They also found it was easy to replace control boards and baking elements on electric ovens.
“There's tons of how-to videos on YouTube and other places," Brasler said. "There are companies that specialize in selling appliance parts to people who want to do work themselves."
But sometimes, you have no choice and you've got to buy new. Brasler recommends buying something energy efficient.
“You're not going to save a ton of money on your utility bill by paying extra for these energy-efficient appliances, but over time, they will recoup the extra cost of buying that more efficient product,” he said.
Also, don't be swayed by splashy sales or big box operations.
“We shopped for dozens of appliance models across various stores here in the Twin Cities area and found that overall, there wasn't a lot of price variation from store to store. The big winner on price was Costco, whose prices were considerably lower than other stores — but it has very limited selection,” said Brasler.
“Independent stores, not the big box stores, scored far better for things like giving you advice on what to buy — and also standing behind products when stuff went wrong — being reliable, and just overall service, helping you get stuff delivered and installed correctly,” he added.
And while supply chain issues are getting better, be prepared to possibly wait if you've got your eye on something super specific.
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