Wednesday, 6 June 2012

When to Upgrade And When to Repair

The increased energy efficiency of newer appliances can save you money on their running costs, as well as offering environmental benefits by lowering the amount of energy that is wasted. Advertisers who promote new appliances would certainly like us to believe that our homes would be improved by upgrading our appliances to the latest models, but is it always worth the expense?
Moreover, although newer appliances are usually more energy efficient, there is an environmental cost involved in their manufacture, not to mention the environmental damage that is caused by throwing out an old appliance. Sometimes, repair is the most economical option for dealing with a malfunctioning machine. If you’re confused about when it is best to repair an appliance, and when it should simply be replaced, then read on.
Some technologies have moved on enormously since you bought the appliances that you use around your home. For example, refrigerators and washing machines have become much more efficient over the last couple of decades. If you are faced with a choice between repairing and replacing your refrigerator or washing machine, the year when it was made should feature heavily in your calculation: you could save over $100 per year in running costs by upgrading if your current refrigerator or washing machine was made before the year 2000. New energy efficient washing machines retail at about $750, which is a significant expense, but this must be offset against the cost of repair and the higher running costs that would result from keeping your old washing machine.
One appliance that probably isn’t worth replacing is your dryer. There has been very little improvement in the energy efficiency of domestic dryers over the years, so upgrading won’t decrease your running costs significantly. You should only replace your dryer if the cost of repair exceeds the cost of getting a new dryer. Even if this is the case, you need to consider the environmental cost of throwing out your old dryer to replace it with one that is only marginally more efficient. Keeping your old dryer is almost always the more environmentally friendly option.
The cost of heating water makes up a significant portion of most household energy bills. For this reason, it is essential that your water heater is as efficient as possible. If your boiler is broken, and it is more than a few years old, it might be worth replacing it rather than having it repaired, as upgrading could save you up to 30 percent on your bills each year. However, there are steps that you can take to make an old water heater more efficient, including adding insulation around the tank to stop the heat from escaping. This is a cheaper option than buying a new heater, providing the cost of the necessary repair is low.
When deciding whether to repair or replace an appliance, you need to consider the cost of repair, the cost of a new appliance, and the potential savings to be made from upgrading to a newer, more energy efficient model. As a rule of thumb, if your appliance is more than 10 years old, it is worth investigating how much a new model could save you on your electricity bills before you call out a repair man. On the other hand, appliances that are only a few years old are probably worth repairing.