repair or replace

Repair or Replace?

By Avi Goldstein

I'm often asked by customers whether a certain appliance is worth repairing. Certain American websites advise throwing out appliances very quickly, with the argument going that with the increased energy efficiency the payback period will be relatively short. This is probably true. Appliance prices have been declining in recent years even as many of them have become more energy efficient. On the other hand the quality of the appliances have tended to decline with the prices. So what you save in energy you may end up paying in service calls. And, don't forget that materials are getting flimsier and flimsier, so parts that previously lasted forever will wear out and have to be replaced in much shorter amounts of time.

And of course everyone can tell you that new fridges are much more environmentally friendly because they no longer use R-12 which is reputed to destroy the ozone. A very important point. But what we sometimes fail to remember is that we already have the fridge with R-12. If we continue using it for another year or 2 or 10, it's another year or 2 or ten before we have to recycle that R-12. There has to be some benefit to that.

And speaking of recycling what happens to the appliances that we get rid of. Over 50 per cent of American appliances get recycled (Israel, unfortunately is probably 50 per cent lower in recycling appliances, closer to 0%). But that still means that the other 50% is going to land fill. Which means that the longer we make our appliances last the slower the land fill will fill up.

And now back to the original question, repair or replace. Obviously, I haven't seen your specific appliance, so I'll try to give the guidelines that I give to my customers when they are presented with a major repair option.

Who can predict?

Avi Goldstein is the Manager of Goldstein & Berger Ltd. American Appliance specialists in Jerusalem.

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