Repair vs Replacement

Repair vs Replacement

We have all been there. It’s going to cost $5000 to repair or a brand new one is $5900, or something like that. The questions that surround us are is it worth it to repair it, and sometimes it’s a simple “No.”

When we purchase a domestic appliance, for this example I’ll use a split system air conditioner. The manufacturer designs the air conditioner to function for about 5-8 years, any more is a bonus for the heavens. The planned obsolescence is how the manufactures stay in business since you need to buy a new one after that time — the “nothing is built to last” argument.

Some appliances and units have parts that need to be regularly replaced such as filters, belts and sometimes pumps, which is expected as they are items that wear out but also add to the cost of repairs.

But large components such as motors, controllers, compressors and most electrical items generally are not designed to be replaced unless faulty or damaged. An example would be if an air conditioner has experienced a power surge or serious water issues. The motor or compressor and control system needs to be replaced, which on some systems can cost over $2800 just for the 2 parts. But there is nothing stopping something else happening such as a refrigerant leak or a worn out water valve adding to the repair cost. Also, the manufacturer’s warranty on individual parts is generally 3 months for electronics and 1 year for motors, so should it die next year, you’re on your own. Again.

A replacement unit is more expensive, but sometimes not by much, but peace of mind is what is purchased. New units have a 3/5/7-year manufacturer warranty and all of the parts are new. It may seem excessive, but knowing that you now have a product that is reliable for another 10 years is worth the outlay, considering being newer, it will be more efficient on power with more features.

It’s not an easy decision to make, especially since everyone’s position is different (money, renting, care of the problem). But repairs can, and often do cost more than a replacement unit. You fix one problem, which leads to problems 2,3 and 4, but finding 2,3 and 4 were not possible without fixing problem 1. This a problem with essentially all trades as most systems are tied together.