Broken Appliance? These Household Items Might Be a Waste of Money to Repair

Should you fix a broken household item, or should you replace it? The answer to that question depends on the item. It also depends on other factors, such as whether the item is really broken or if it is still under warranty. Ask yourself a few questions before jumping to repair or replace your item, such as whether it is plugged in correctly or if it simply needs a thorough cleaning. In addition, if the item is still under warranty, the cost of parts and repair are likely covered.
It can be tricky to decide what to do. That’s why we’re here to help. Here are four household items that are almost always a waste of money to repair.

1. Microwave

opening a microwave door
Microwaves should be convenient, not fixer-upper projects. | SeanPavonePhoto/iStock/Getty Images
  • Lifespan: 9 years
  • Repair cost: $100 to $150

When hot drinks or meals get cold, a microwave can be a lifesaver. Microwaves make it so much easier to reheat meals or quickly thaw frozen food. However, when that convenient kitchen wonder breaks down, it can put a damper on your day. Although you might want to try to save your microwave, it’s generally best to replace it when it stops working or doesn’t work as well.
Next: Here’s why repairing your microwave usually doesn’t make sense.

Why you should replace your microwave

cup in microwave
It’s likely cheaper to buy a new microwave than to repair one. | iStock/Getty Images

When it comes to microwaves, how do you know whether to repair or replace? The price to repair a microwave will depend on which parts need to be replaced, but it generally costs about $100 to $150, according to Home Advisor. For that price, it makes more sense to buy a new microwave, which can be purchased for less than the repair price in most cases.
Next: This handy item might get you out of a tight spot, but it’s not worth keeping around too long.

2. Electric can opener

woman trying to open can
Opening a can is sometimes a struggle. | iStock/Getty Images
  • Lifespan: 4 to 6 years
  • Repair cost: Up to $20

If you have trouble using a regular can opener, an electric can opener can be a lifesaver. It takes most of the work out of opening cans of food. An electric can opener can cost anywhere from $9 to about $60 at stores such as Walmart or J.C. Penney. The price to repair an electric can opener, however, could cost as much as, or even more than, replacing it.
Next: Here’s why you might want to get a new electric can opener.

Why you should replace your electric can opener

Cuisinart can opener
Repairing your can opener probably isn’t worth the money. | Bed Bath & Beyond

The cost to replace the lever for Cuisinart’s Deluxe Stainless Steel electric can opener, for example, is $20. As of this writing, this can opener costs $49.95. If you opt to repair this appliance, you’d be spending almost half the purchase price. The experts at House Logic recommend using the 50% rule when deciding whether to repair or replace an item. They suggest replacing an item if the repair cost would be 50% of the purchase price. Since replacement parts can be pricey, it’s usually best to go ahead and buy a new electric can opener.
Next: Staying cool doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.

3. Desktop fan

old antique fan
If your fan is this vintage you probably should buy a new one. | titello/iStock/Getty Images
  • Lifespan: 5 years
  • Repair cost: Up to $64

When it’s not quite warm enough to turn on your air conditioner, you likely depend on your portable fan to help cool you off. Table fans provide an inexpensive and easy way to cool a small space. Also, they tend to be so inexpensive you can have one in each room, if you want. A desktop fan made by Kenmore, for example, could run you anywhere from $9.99 to about $50. However, if your fan breaks, you might want to spring for a new one.
Next: Here’s why you might want to get a new desktop fan.

Why you should replace your desktop fan

basset hound and fan
Fans are generally inexpensive to replace. | iStock/Getty Images

Since desktop fans are generally inexpensive, purchasing repair parts or hiring someone to make repairs might not be the best way to spend your money. For example, if you wanted to replace the motor in your Kenmore desktop fan, it would cost roughly $64.07 for the motor assembly. Considering the purchase price of Kenmore desktop fans range from $9.99 to about $50, your best bet is to shop for a new fan.
Next: This home item might not be worth holding on to.

4. Interior locks and door knobs

Hand holding door knob
Door knobs break eventually. | SasinParaksa/iStock/Getty Images
  • Lifespan: Varies
  • Repair cost: $100 to $150

At some point, you’re bound to have a problem with one of your door knobs or interior locks. In most cases, the problem is minor, and the lock mechanism might not function because it is dirty or dry and needs to be lubricated with graphite, according to Home Tips. However, if this isn’t the case, and you have a more serious lock problem, should you repair or replace? Here’s what we found.
Next: Here’s why you might want to get a new door knob or interior lock.

Why you should replace interior door knobs and locks

Modern white sliding barn door
There are plenty of options for your doors. | oneillbro/iStock/Getty Images

Unlike exterior locks, which can be pricey, interior locks and door knobs tend to be less expensive. Since interior locks and door knobs are generally inexpensive to fix, Home Tips recommends replacing them entirely. If the door knob or lock is special to you in some way, and you’d like to preserve it, then that might be the only time it would make sense to call a professional for help.
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