Before giving up on your current appliance, you should at least have it inspected to get a written estimate on repairs. Once you know *for sure* how much it will cost to repair, then you can make an informed decision between repair and replacement. Some appliance retailers will offer to pay part of an inspection charge should you purchase a replacement unit from them but if possible, try to get an opinion from an independent service depot not directly affiliated with the retailer.
If the appliance is in good shape and has not required major repairs in the past, it may be worth fixing regardless of its age. Even very old appliances may have a long life left in them and were probably made with much sturdier materials than most of today's products. Scott Brown wrote an excellent article about this called "How Much is a New One?"
Refrigerators on the other hand may be more a candidate for replacement rather than repair. Their efficiency has dramatically increased over the years. The government had mandated changes to the efficiency of refrigerators in 1992 and again in 1999.
If your refrigerator is older than that and requires more than just the simplest of repairs, replacing it now might be a good consideration. Saving the cost of repairs along with the energy savings achieved over the years to come could make replacement the most economical way to go. Not to mention the possible additional saving available in rebates from government or local utility companies could also help to offset the cost of replacement.
If you plan to replace an appliance with a used one, consider that you don't know the previous service history of the purchase and might be buying someone else's lemon. It might be better to fix the one you have since you know its previous performance, usage and service history?
Another consideration is, on some appliances such as microwave ovens, self-cleaning and electronic ranges, you will have to learn how to program them all over again.
Also, remember to recycle your old appliances and help keep them out of our land-fills.
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