6 Things Every Homeowner Should Know About Replacing Appliances

updated May 22, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Sarah Crowley

Happy Memorial Day! It’s time to remember the sacrifice of and thank our military men and women for their service. (Thank you, thank you, thank you!) For various unknown reasons it’s also the time that many retailers offer some major sales — especially on appliances. In case you’re in the market for a new fridge, oven, or dishwasher (or you think you might be in the market sometime soon), we’ve rounded up the biggest, most important things homeowners should know. Let’s take a look.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Every Kitchen and Home Sale Happening This Memorial Day Weekend

Here are six things every homeowner should know about replacing appliances.

1. When It’s Time to Buy a New One

While statistics show that appliances have a lifetime of about 10 to 15 years, these numbers are based on when people typically replace them and not on how long they actually last. If your appliances are humming along, there’s no need to replace them. When an appliance does need a repair, there’s a clear rule of thumb: If the cost of the repair (parts plus labor) is half of or more than the price tag on a new appliance, it’s time to go shopping.

2. What to Check for Before You Even Call a Repairman

If you want to try to fix something before you replace it (our vote!) or call a pro to come take a look, there are a few things you can check.

  • Refrigerator: The most common issue with an old fridge is simply that it doesn’t seem to keep food cold enough. First, check to see if the control dial (usually toward the top/back) got set too high by accident. Then, check the door’s gasket by shutting the door on a dollar bill at a few different spots. If the bill slips out easily, you may be able to warm the gasket with a hair dryer and then reform it. But if you can’t get it to produce a tight seal, you can install a new one on your own. Lastly, you can clean the coils (located behind or below the machine): Unplug the fridge, pop off the grate (if the coils are below), and use a vacuum cleaner hose with crevice attachment or a long-handled coil brush that you can buy at the hardware store. 
  • Oven: If your oven temp seems too hot or too low, start by recalibrating the thermostat yourself. You can find info on how to do it in the use and care manual. 
  • Dishwasher: Your plates may not be coming out clean because the filter that catches food debris needs to be cleaned or replaced. Your manual can tell you if your machine has one, and how to take care of it. We’ve also got a few extra tips to keep your dishwasher working like new.

3. How to Get a Deal

You should pretty much never pay the sticker price for a new kitchen appliance. Consider whatever’s listed to be a jumping-off point to give yourself an idea. And remember all of these points.

  • Know when to shop: If you’re not in a hurry, try to wait for a sale. Typically, they happen on three-day holiday weekends (like right now!). Another good time to find a bargain is when new models are introduced and the old ones are discounted. While most new appliances are debuted in the fall, fridges come out in June.   
  • Buy last year’s model: For the most part, there’s not going to be a huge difference between models from year to year. Maybe we’re talking about a new look? Or maybe a new model does have some bonus features, but think carefully about whether they’re ones you’ll really use. Often, these days, the new feature is interconnectivity. If you would never even think of starting your oven or changing your fridge temp from an app while you’re in the car, no need to pay extra for the capability. 
  • Don’t forget to shop around: Don’t trust those signs that advertise 40 percent off or the “lowest price ever.” You’ll find that prices vary widely from retailer to retailer.
  • Negotiate: Don’t be afraid to let stores know you were quoted a better price somewhere else. Price tags are negotiable. 
  • Don’t forget about hidden costs: Delivery, installation, and removal of your old appliance can add hundreds of dollars to the cost of the appliance. Make sure you factor them into the price and see if you can negotiate to get them thrown in for free.   

Some of the Best Deals This Weekend

  • Home Depot is offering up to 40 percent off appliances with special buys.
  • AJ Madison is offering up to 50 percent off appliances plus free nationwide deliveries on order totaling more than $599.
  • Wayfair has put select Samsung appliances on clearance for up to 40 percent off.

4. The Important Energy Stuff

It’s 2020 now, guys, and your energy consumption should be top of mind. If not for the planet’s sake, then for the sake of your bill. Appliance manufacturers make it easy to get to the nitty gritty. Here’s what to look for.

  • Energy labels: Check the big yellow labels on refrigerators, dishwashers, and washers or look for them online. They’ll tell you how much it will cost to run a machine per year. 
  • Energy Star Rebates: Appliances that meet strict energy specs earn the EnergyStar label. You can check online for rebates on these standouts. 

5. Whether or Not You Should Get the Extended Warrantee

Spoiler: You should not! No matter how persistent the sales person is, you do not need it. First of all, your appliance comes with a warranty and, on top of that, lots of credit cards now offer extra protection (check with your card to see!). Plus, studies have shown that extended warranties are rarely worth the money.

6. How to Get Rid of Your Old Appliance

Most delivery services or installers will haul away your old clunker. But be sure to check and make sure you’re not being charged extra. They may tell you it’s an extra hundred bucks or so, but you can usually get it thrown in for free.

Are you shopping for new appliances anytime soon? Got any other questions? Leave them in the comments below!