Repair or replace: how much could you save on home repairs?

Robert Couse-Baker Flickr

Read on to find out how best you can upgrade your home with the least disposal possible…

It’s fair to say that modern society has a problem with waste and is all to quick to throw something away instead of replacing or repairing it, but that’s where this handy guide from glass-repair specialists Cloudy2Clear comes in!

The 50% rule

If a repair can be completed for less than 50% of the cost of replacement, you should choose to repair. For example, if it costs £150 to repair your TV and £400 to buy a new one, you should repair the TV rather than replace it. But this doesn’t apply in all scenarios – below are some instances in which you should commit to a replacement even if repairs would cost less than half the investment.

When you should replace rather than repair

■ The item is near or beyond its expected life

■ The item is unreliable and the consequences of failure pose a risk

■ The repair cost exceeds the life cycle cost of a new appliance (especially relevant if it looks like the appliance will repeatedly fail)

■ If it can’t be repaired to the level where its performance is acceptable

■ The existing appliance is technologically obsolete.

1. Refrigerator

Average lifespan: 13 years

Repair or replace?: REPAIR

Your fridge gets left on every minute of the day, which means it endures plenty of wear and tear over the years. Different elements are harder to replace than others, both in labour costs and for the components themselves. If your fridge is built into your kitchen, the cost to replace might be higher because you’ll need to make changes to the cabinetry too.

2. Washer/dryer

Average lifespan: 11 years

Repair or replace?: REPLACE

Determining whether to repair or replace a washer/dryer can be a matter of urgency. Unfortunately, modern washing machines aren’t really built to last. Many are microchipped, which are difficult to replace, and other machines have sealed drums, which drives the cost of repair into the hundreds — difficult to justify when the cost of a new washing machine can be less than £200. Since washer/dryers are one of the most energy-intensive appliances in the house, you could save a lot of on energy bills by choosing not to extend the life of an old electricity guzzler.

3. Oven

Average lifespan: 14 years

Repair or replace?: REPAIR

Ovens can break for a variety of reasons. Gas ovens can have faulty igniters that stop them from heating up at all, and electric ovens can have broken heating elements. These parts are usually pretty cheap to replace and, as long as you take the right precautions (like disconnecting your oven from the mains supply), you should find it fairly straightforward to replace them. Like fridges, ovens can be built into your kitchen so make sure you consider this. However, new ovens aren’t as expensive as you might expect — today, you can get one for £150–£300. If the issue with your oven isn’t as simple as a faulty part, the cost of labour for repairs will start to add up, so a replacement might be your better option.

4. Draughty windows

Average lifespan: 20+ years

Repair or replace?: REPLACE

Good window frames can last a lifetime and the cost of replacing them is so high because they are built into the brickwork – careful removal is essential. But you can replace a windowpane without replacing the frame – you just need experts who can quickly remove the pane and replace it whilst leaving the frame intact.

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