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Encompass® Insurance Insights & Articles

Home Appliances — Repair or Replace?

At some point, every homeowner has to make the choice to either repair or replace a broken or outdated appliance. In some cases, the decision can be easy but in other cases, the choice is not so black and white. When deciding whether to repair or replace an appliance consider things such as cost, age, efficiency, and any household risk factors.

View of a kitchen with nice appliances.

Cost and Age

It's no secret that household appliances are expensive investments. If you plan to live in your home for many more years, you may be more inclined to trade up a broken appliance so you can enjoy the modern features of a newer one. For example, if a $500 dishwasher you bought eight years ago needs a $300 repair, replacing it could make the most sense - particularly considering the likelihood of needing additional repairs as the dishwasher continues to age. On the other hand, if you only recently invested in a $1,000 dishwasher in need of the same repair, replacement may make less sense.

If you plan to sell your home in the near future, newer appliances can attract buyers. If you already have updated appliances, the most cost-efficient way to approach a breakdown may be to repair it. If your old appliance breaks down, opting for new appliances could help attract buyers.


Efficiency is an important component when choosing an appliance, but often overlooked when deciding between repair or replacement of an existing unit. In cases where repairing an old appliance may seem more economical, it is important to consider its energy efficiency. Sometimes, newer models can pay for themselves in energy savings alone. This is particularly true in very old HVAC units that become more expensive to replace year over year. If your 20-year-old air conditioning system is frequently breaking down, replacing it could save you thousands of dollars per year in repair and energy savings combined.

Risk Factors

When in doubt, choosing replacement may be the safer option for your home and family. That is because aging appliances and other equipment can lead to increased fire risk — particularly if the appliances are up to safety codes. The U.S. Fire Administration reports that more than one in eight residential fires are caused by appliances, equipment, or electrical malfunction.

Appliances like dishwashers, washing machines, and refrigerators can also be common sources of water damage in homes. Water damage is responsible for some of the costliest home repairs since it can damage walls, wiring, finishes, flooring, and more.

Maintaining your appliances is key to keeping your home in good working order. One additional step to take is to talk with an independent insurance agent to learn more about what types of coverage to get to help better protect yourself and your home.

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