How Much Should You Pay? An Appliance Repair Cost Guide
When you’re planning your annual and monthly household budgets, a crucial factor to consider is repair costs of home appliances. The average repair cost of most kitchen appliances ranges from $100-$400, and that’s including the labor costs if you hire a repair technician. Small DIY fixes like changing a busted bulb can come much cheaper at less than $20, but bigger repairs may need professional help.
If your kitchen appliances are very old and break down too often, you have to think about getting a replacement. Usually, though, home appliances can last for years before they age badly enough for your home to need a newer model.
In this detailed appliance repair pricing guide, we’ll take you through each associated detail. First, let’s understand why appliance repair pricing varies so much.
Before breaking down costs per appliance, let’s understand why appliance repair pricing varies so much.
Factors affecting appliance repair costs
When you take your broken-down home appliances to the repair shop, it’s worth understanding why the prices are the way they are. This knowledge leaves you better equipped to plan your annual and monthly household budgets (if you’re not doing it already, there’s no time like now!). Check the following list of the factors that can affect your appliance repair cost.
Nature and Type of Appliance
The more exclusive your home appliances, the more it will cost to repair. Custom-built units likewise cost more. If it has unique features, is more eco-friendly, uses very different technology or the parts are hard to source, you can expect to pay a higher price.
Where You Live
Your location influences the parts and labor cost to a significant extent. Highly populated areas with a high demand for skilled technicians, high living expenses, and other cost-upping factors will be more expensive for repair services.
Extent of Damage
A crucial factor in understanding the repair costs is to know the intricacy of the problem. It must be noted that the more complex the damage is, the greater will be the repair cost. This is why you’re advised to carry out regular maintenance to minimize chances of damage by negligence.
Labor charges for hiring repair contractors can vary from $65-$150 an hour, depending on their expertise and the nature of the problem. The first thing they do is generally schedule a diagnostic visit, for which they charge a fee. If you hire the same contractor, they may waive off the diagnostic fee and charge for parts plus labor. This amount could be anywhere between $200-$600, based on the problem complexity. If they are overburdened with work or work overtime, the charges may be 25-40% over the billed amount.
Have you got that down? We’ll move to look at repair prices for the most common appliances that break down.
A mini-fridge repair may cost from $45-$200, while a freezer repair may cost almost as much as fridge repair, up to $600 or more.
Signs it needs repair
Your refrigerator tells you it needs repairs by doing one of these many things:
- Makes noise
- Blows hot air
- Grinds like it’s shifting gears
- Leaking cold air
The most common reasons fridges break down include evaporators, condenser coils, compressors, thermostats, motors, control boards, and filters. If you know how to fix it yourself, then parts are easy enough to source now that you have shops like Partstree and Partselect. If not, then a repair technician or your home warranty company are your best bets.
Sometimes, it can come up with some creative combination that even surprises handypersons. These problems generally crop up after 3-6 years on average, in their 13-year average lifespan, according to National Association for Home Builders. You may be lucky in landing a unit that’ll last 20+ years.
Professional dishwasher repairs may cost from $50-$600 based on the complexity of the work. The usual prices are around $100-$300, especially for fixing leaks. Replacing the motor or control panel could cost from $200-$500. If the pump has to be replaced or repaired, it could take from $100-$250.
Signs it needs repair
When it comes to your dishwasher acting up, you may observe:
- Dishes staying greasy
- Flooding and no drainage
- Dishes not drying
- Bad smell and noise
- Soap not being dispensed
The most common problems with a dishwasher may occur with their water inlet and outlet, valves, door seals, latch failure, electronic controls, heating elements, sprayer arms, soap dispenser, etc. If you know how to repair it yourself, you can source the parts online, and most of the smaller ones are less than $30.
A dishwasher lasts for ten years on average, though you may strike gold in owning one that works for 15 years.
Water Heater Repair
Generally, water heater repair costs about $600. Some water heater repairs are pretty simple and can be done yourself, like pipe replacement, for less than $10. Problems like replacing heating elements may cost from $200-$300, while the pilot light, thermocouple, and valve unit could come at less than $200. In extreme cases, and if your living area is expensive, you may even pay up to $850- in which case you may want to think about getting a new unit.
Signs it needs repair
The typical symptoms of a water heater breakdown are:
- Rust-colored or muddy water from the heater
- Water leaks
- Smells of rotten eggs
- Noises made
- Water not heating or becoming too hot
- Water taking too long to heat
Water heaters tend to develop pressure valves, supply pipes, and accumulate sediment in the tank. There may be issues like the pilot light not working, heating elements malfunctioning, thermostat or thermocouple needing work, etc.
Water heaters are generally designed to last for 8-12 years. Several factors may cut down the device’s lifespan, such as improper maintenance, poor water quality, etc.
Washer Dryer Repair
Depending on the complexity of repairs, the cost ranges from $100-$400. Drum and circuit board replacement are the priciest services, while motor and agitator replacement is not too far off. These services may cost $250-$575. Minor fixes and DIYing repairs may cost up to $100 if you have the technical know-how.
Signs it needs repair
Washing machines are among the most life-changing labor-saving appliances. Therefore, it’s an annoyance when they show the following disturbances:
- The machine makes strange noises
- The dryer fails, leaving clothes wet
- Clothes come out smelly
- The drum doesn’t spin
- The door doesn’t open or close properly
- Water doesn’t fill properly
The washing machine parts that tend to be responsible for malfunctions are the washer drains, hoses, dryer belts, agitators, door locks, pumps, motors, etc.
Washing machines typically last for 10-15 years, with the top-loading ones outlasting the front-loading ones. It depends on the number of loads it runs, with daily running shortening the life span.
The average electrical oven repairs cost around $100-$450 while the gas ovens are more expensive, increasing to $600. The repair generally costs up to $300-$350; labor charges make up the rest. The parts like the thermostat, oven door, racks, etc., may cost up to $200 at the most, except for the control board that could go up to $300.
Signs it needs repair
The oven is a great time saver when you don’t want an elaborately prepared meal. But, when it starts showing the following problems, it needs help:
- Heating to an incorrect temperature
- Not heating
- The light not working
- Food not cooking evenly
- The door doesn’t shut
- Self-cleaning function not working
Most commonly, the oven tends to malfunction because of a defective thermostat, heating elements, circuit board, and in the case of a gas oven, igniter, gas valves, etc.
If you’ve got a wood fire oven or an old-style chimney oven, that will probably last you forever. The fixes are not electrical, and you may be able to DIY them without causing many complications. However, an electric oven generally lasts for 13-15 years, while a gas oven lasts for 15-18 years. The more regularly it’s used, the faster it wears out.
Stove Repair Cost
On average, stove repairs alone can cost up to $450.
Many stoves come as a part of an entire cooking range fitted with the oven. With the gas stove, it is commonly a faulty igniter causing the problem or a faulty knob. There may be gasket, burner, or valve problems as well.
How To Offset Appliance Repair Costs?
Appliance repairs can unexpectedly take up a big chunk of the household budget, as we can see above. It’s therefore in your best interest to do everything possible to minimize the costs.
First, it’s crucial to maintain the home appliances as instructed by the user manuals or maintenance how-tos. Many service jobs happen because the owner did not clean the appliance regularly or change filters or oil moving parts, as the case may be. You may also want to get professional maintenance and servicing done regularly.
Second, you can consider a home warranty. A home warranty plan provides home systems and kitchen appliances repairs for the cost of just the premium (an average of $500) and a trade service fee (an average of $80). With home warranty companies, you also get repair guarantees for 90-180 days on covered and eligible work.
Third, you can do simple troubleshooting yourself, but trying DIY repairs can void your OEM or home warranty. The resultant repairs would be more pricey.
Professional vs. DIY Repair Cost
Undoubtedly, professional repairs are more expensive than DIY-ing, but there are many more things that differ.
|Trained experts with many hours of experience||Theoretical knowledge without hands-on training|
|Can access parts for lower prices||Retail pricing|
|Have tools and other necessities||Needs to buy all the equipment for all kinds of problems|
|Having service records keeps warranty coverage intact||May void the warranty|
|Higher costs||Low cost unless the DIY fix makes things worse|
|Multiple repairs can be costly||As many repairs as you like for very little money|
Home warranty plans help save out-of-pocket repair costs of covered household systems and appliances. You can find out more about the costs and coverage of home warranties to decide if it’s worth it for you.
Best Home Appliance Warranty Companies
You can get an estimate of a home appliance warranty plan by requesting a free quote.
- $200 off + 2 months free
- Two plans that cover appliances
- Cost: $42-$46 monthly
- $150 off + Free roof coverage + 2 months free coverage
- Two plans that cover appliances
- Cost: $41-$46 monthly
- Free coverage for first month
- Two plans that cover appliances
- Cost: $46-$55 monthly
When Are Appliances Not Worth Repairing Anymore?
The TL;DR answer to this query is when the repair costs exceed 50% of the cost of a new unit.
The longer version: it depends on how many breakdowns have happened before. If the total cost of all lifetime repairs exceeds half the cost of a new unit, maybe it is best to get one.
If the breakdowns are deemed irreparable by the technician, you will have to look for a new unit. Here, a home warranty can have your back- they pay a depreciated compensation for a new unit if the appliance can not be repaired.
If the appliance is too old and there are new energy-efficient models available, you should choose to upgrade. The cost savings from the reduced utility bills and lowered carbon footprint can make up for the new appliance price differential on your wallet. And finally, if you like having your household appliances match each other and the overall aesthetics, you will want to get a new unit, especially if the exact color match is not available.
The Bottom Line
Appliance repairs aren’t the priciest thing out there, but you don’t want to be caught unawares when you’re already on a tight budget. Simple things like routine maintenance, getting durable and energy-efficient appliances when you’re buying, and getting home warranty coverage can go a long way in reducing your out-of-pocket expenses.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why is appliance repair so expensive?
For one, appliances are more complicated than ever, with many moving parts and circuitry. Second, you have to pay for the handyperson’s expertise. The years they spend training, upgrading knowledge, office costs, etc., also factor into the bill. The contractors may charge for disposal of the debris, old parts. If they replace the unit, they may charge for getting rid of the old unit too.
Who pays for appliance repair, landlord or tenant?
That depends on who supplied the appliance. If the landlord supplied it, they would be responsible for fixing it; otherwise, it will be the tenant’s responsibility. If the landlord supplies it but the tenant causes the damage, it may become the tenant’s problem. The lease agreement should clearly state who needs to get the appliances repaired or replaced.
Is it worth repairing a 15-year-old washing machine?
If the washing machine is of excellent quality and has not broken down much in the 15 years, it may be worth repairing. A second factor that matters is the repair cost. If the amount is over 50% of the washing machine’s purchase price or a new machine’s price, it would be better to get a new unit.
Is it cheaper to repair or replace a refrigerator?
Whether it’s cheaper depends on the number of times the fridge has broken down previously. If the repair costs exceed 50% of a new unit’s price, you may want to consider a replacement. A new refrigerator may cost between $500-$3000.
How do I choose an appliance repair technician?
It can be challenging to determine who among the many repair technicians on listing directories is skilled enough to handle the work. You can ask friends and neighbors or check reviews online. Alternatively, getting a home warranty plan will give you access to licensed technicians who have been vetted.
Where to buy appliance repair parts?
You can get appliance replacement parts from hardware stores or bulk suppliers. Nowadays, online shops sell parts like Partstree, Repair Clinic, and even Amazon.
How many days does a company have to repair an appliance under warranty?
Whether that’s a home warranty or manufacturer’s warranty, the companies may take from 2-4 business days to send a repair technician for a diagnostic visit. Based on the results, the repair work may take between a day to 10 days, depending on how long the parts take to arrive.
What to do if the home warranty company does not cover the repair?
If your repair turns out to be out of the home warranty plan’s purview, you can get it fixed out of pocket by hiring an expert handyperson, or you may think about replacing the unit. It is better not to DIY repairs as that could void the warranty for future covered breakdowns.
Is it worth buying an appliance extended warranty?
Many factors influence the decision to buy an appliance extended warranty. It certainly has many benefits, but you should consider whether the coverage overlaps with the OEM warranty. They don’t cover accidental damage and may cost as much as the appliance itself. A home warranty may give you the same coverage but for more appliances ensuring budget protection.
How long do appliances typically last?
Each appliance has its own lifespan. Some may last just 5-7 years while some have been known to work for over 30 years!