Like any appliance, your washer and dryer add a significant amount of time saving convenience to your life. Depending on the size of your household, you could be doing laundry twice a week. They also represent a significant investment, so when one of them starts acting funny, it can be a major cause for concern.
Sometimes the answer is as simple as replacing a hose or adjusting the levels on the machine’s feet. However, sometimes it’s time to say goodbye to your old machines and purchase new ones.
Conventional wisdom is that if the cost of a repair exceeds 50% of the cost of a new unit, you should invest in a new washer and dryer. Some people lower that threshold to 40%. While most issues can be repaired, keep this rule of thumb in mind to help determine if the cost of a repair is worth it.
Here are some signs that it might be time to bite the bullet and purchase a new washer and dryer.
- Your washing machine leaks
This is one of the most obvious problems a washing machine can have: if your machine is leaking, clearly there’s something wrong!
The solutions could be simple. The water hose could have a tear or has come loose, or maybe a pipe needs to be tightened. If you have an older machine, it mostly likely uses the same amount of water no matter the size of the load. In this case, stopping your machine from leaking could be as simple as washing smaller loads of laundry.
If none of the above methods work, it’s time to call a technician because the problem could be a cracked tub. If that’s the case, it’s time to buy a new washing machine as soon as possible.
- One or both of your units is excessively loud
This is another problem that has a couple of easy potential fixes. The first is to ensure that there isn’t any loose change or other small objects rattling around in your washer or dryer. If that isn’t the issue, your machine is probably unbalanced.
If you have top-loading machines, make sure clothes are evenly distributed throughout the drum. If that doesn’t work, or if you have front-loading units, make sure the machine is level. Many units these days have adjustable feet, making it easy to balance the weight. If yours doesn’t, you can buy or build a platform to set your units on (space permitting).
If the problem persists, the issue could be with the motor mount or drum. Call a technician to find out if it can be repaired and how much it will cost. Depending on the price, it could make more sense to just get a new unit.
- Inefficient washing or drying
There are a couple things to keep an eye out for that is signs your washer and dryer aren’t working efficiently anymore. The most obvious is if either appliance is taking longer than normal to finish a cycle.
If you need to use a higher heat setting to get your clothes to dry, or if they aren’t drying at all it’s time to start looking for a new dryer.
In regards to your washing machine, if your clothes are still covered in detergent when the cycle is done, or if they’re dripping wet, you should start doing some research on the cost of new washers.
- Dryer is overheating your clothes
You shouldn’t need to wait for your clothes to cool down before you can take them out of the dryer. If you’re finding that your clothes are burning hot after the drying cycle this means you’re wasting energy and most likely damaging your clothes. At worst, you’re potentially at risk for a dryer fire.
Sometimes this situation can be resolved by reconfiguring your dryer’s set up. However, if that doesn’t solve the problem, or if the dryer is older, it’s time to purchase a new appliance.
- If yours appliances are over 10 years old
The average lifespan of a dryer is about 13-14 years and the average life of a washer is about 12. Once you hit the 10 year mark, it’s better to replace your appliances instead of repair them since they’re already on their way out.
Older appliances tend to work less efficiently and break down more, which means you’ll be sinking more and more money into your appliances more frequently. While the cost of one repair might still be in line with the 50% rule, add on the cost another repair two months later, and it’s better to simply purchase a new appliance.
Not to mention, older units are generally less energy-efficient than older units or aren’t energy-efficient at all. Switching to energy-efficient units has a greater cost up front, but will save you money in the long run on water and energy bills.
Other things to keep in mind
Buying a new washer and dryer can be incredibly daunting—new appliances aren’t cheap! If you can, wait until September or October to purchase your new units, since this is usually when brands reveal their newer models, meaning older models will start to go on sale to make room.
For any big purchase, holiday weekends usually bring in an abundance of sales. Again, if you can wait, this is a great time to buy.
If, like most things in life, your appliances don’t wait until the day of a big sale to break down, you can usually find great deals on appliances online year-round. Buying online can also take a lot of the pressure off: there are no pushy sales-people in the comfort of your own home.
Be sure to do a lot of research and read plenty of reviews. Reading about the product specifications from the manufacturer will give you information about important things like the dimensions, capacity, and features, but nothing beats the first-hand experience of someone who has actually used the product.
If only your washer or only your dryer has broken down, you may still want to consider buying new versions of both appliances (especially after the 10 year mark). At this point, if one of the appliances has broken, the other is most likely close behind if you originally purchased them at the same time.
There are a couple benefits of purchasing a new washer and dryer at the same time. While there is no hard and fast rule that both units must be the same brand or model, most manufacturers create these laundry pairs to work in tandem.
You’ll know that one washer load equals one dryer load and a matching set will give you optimal performance since they’re built to complement each other. At the very least, they’re designed to look good together and if your laundry units are in a more public area, aesthetic appeal might be important.
Knowing the warning signs of a washer or dryer breakdown can make purchasing new units much less stressful. If you know the end is coming, you can start saving money and doing research on a new laundry set. When your old set does finally bite the dust, you have all the information you need to purchase a new pair right away so the laundry doesn’t pile up.
About the Author
All-American Rental and Sales is a family owned and operated rent-to-own/retail Company for furniture, appliances, and electronics in Southwest Missouri. We have been serving this area since 1987, and love our customers, friends, and family we have made along the way. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff is committed to providing the customer with a pleasant, hassle-free shopping experience. We’ll go the extra mile to ensure that you get the best value when you rent any of our high-quality merchandise. We treat each person and their product like it was our own.