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Should you repair or replace your appliance?

It depends on the age of the appliance, purchase price and repair estimate. Consumer Reports has an interactive tool.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Your fridge has a lifespan of about 10 to 20 years. When it comes to your stove, it can last 13-15 years, although gas ranges can last longer.

It's one thing if the appliance just dies and you know you need a new one, but what if it's just acting up do you need to replace it or repair it?

Consumer Reports has a new interactive tool you can use to help you with that. It helps you decide if you should repair or replace the appliance.

The first example on the website is a dishwasher. The tool allows you to adjust how long you've owned the appliance or the age of the appliance, how much you paid for it, and the repair cost.

As you adjust the numbers, the tool adjusts for repair, consider repair and then replace. This was just one example the consumer reports interactive tool allows you to choose from, but there are appliances from a fridge to cooktops, microwaves, washers, and dryers.

When the big appliances go out, it's a big headache and hit the wallet. When the smaller appliances die after a short time it's costly too.

Consumer Reports has a trick for making them last longer and it’s simple, change the filter. Those filters include the ones under your microwave and above your stove, the dryer vent, and those hidden filters in your vacuum.

Are there appliance fixes you can DIY? Consumer Reports says yes. Here is their list:

Unclogging range ignition ports: Boil-overs can leave burners on a gas range with clogged ignition ports, resulting in a burner that doesn’t light properly—or a weak or uneven flame. Remove the burner heads, then clean the ports with a toothbrush.

Cleaning your dryer’s moisture sensor: Does your laundry still feel damp after the sensor-timed cycle wraps? Clean the clothes dryer’s internal moisture sensor, often located near the lint trap, with a soft cloth and a mixture of mild soap and water. Dry with a clean towel. (Check the lint trap and vent duct, too, to make sure there’s no lint buildup.)

Replacing a fridge door gasket: If your refrigerator door lets out a draft or even pops open on its own, it’s probably time for a new gasket. First, check to make sure yours isn’t just dirty: Spills and food bits can build up and prevent the gasket from forming a good seal. If, on inspection, you notice cracks or damage, it’s time for a new gasket. Remove the old one and install a model-specific replacement. Consult your owner’s manual for the details.

Replacing a dishwasher gasket: Do you see water collecting on the floor in front of your dishwasher? First, check the door seal for any rips or other damage. If the seal is no longer perfect, get a model-specific replacement gasket, which you install around the cavity’s edge.


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