91ºF

When to repair or replace appliances: Call Christina answers questions

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Many viewers have called the Call Christina hotline with questions about when to repair or replace household appliances.

Local 10 News consumer advocate Christina Vazquez is working to answer those questions.

Major appliances always break at the worst possible time. Getting them repaired can create a major financial headache. The Call Christina team has found some things to consider before scheduling the repairman or replacing them.

"When you start approaching the $300 range, then we discourage you from repairing it," said Buddy Hudson of A1 Appliance of Fort Lauderdale.

Hudson has been in the appliance repair business for the last 49 years.

"The more controls, the more features, it's simply more functions. So the more functions you have, the greater chance you have of it breaking," said Hudson.

He advises to keep it in the middle when buying appliances.

"Don't go basic, but don't go high-end as far as all the bells and whistles," said Hudson.

As far as repairs go, he has some general rules for his customers.

"If you didn't want to spend in the $125 to $300 range, you are basically wasting your service call," said Hudson. "Microwaves are only repairable 25 percent of the time."

Hudson also emphasizes a 10-year rule. He believes 10 years is about average on appliances because timers are a thing of the past. Now, everything has a circuit board.

"Nowadays they have certain ratings to where you can only use this much electricity, and basically it means smaller parts," said Hudson. "Your motors and all that stuff are not as strong as they were in the old days."

Consumer Reports has recently published some other general guidelines.

For washers and dryers, the guidelines recommend about four years before considering replacing them, depending on the cost of the repair. For dishwashers, Consumer Reports said an owner may only get three good years until it's not cost effective to repair them. Things are different for a refrigerator, depending on the type. A range of four to eight years has been estimated as the norm. For wall ovens or ranges, it's two to three years.

Consumer Reports said that when it comes to a hot-water heater, don't spend more than $50 per year of what's left in the warranty. If the warranty is expired, consider getting a new one.

"When you get into a lot of foreign-made appliances, it's very difficult getting parts for them," said Hudson.

It is also important to find a reputable repair person for these appliances.

"Ask for references, make sure they are licensed and insured and make sure they have a legitimate address," said Hudson.

Local 10 News viewer Tony Bovo also offered some advice in an email to CallChristina@local10.com. He received a note from a manager at Service America reminding him of the importance of keeping up with maintenance. Maintenance is critical. Owners can nullify extended warranties by refusing to take care of maintenance on an appliance.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Nova Southeastern law professor on warranties

FTC: Repair or replace after weather emergency

Bankrate: 6 ways to dodge appliance disaster