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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — It’s one of those questions almost everyone will face.  Should you repair or replace an appliance if it breaks down?

There are many factors that will help you decide.  Rule number one is the “50 percent rule.”

“It’s kind of the golden rule of replacement or repair.  If it costs the same as buying a new appliance, you might as well buy a new machine.  But if it’s half the price then I’d say fix it,” says David Lloyd, a technician for Turner Appliance on South Meridian in Indianapolis.

The people at Turner sell appliances and repair them.  Their head technician says there’s a simple truth that much older appliances are made better than most new ones.  Some of the older stuff literally lasts for decades, and some of it is still around.  So if you have an older washer, dryer, refrigerator and it’s still working, you may want to consider keeping it because they are dependable.

Sometimes it can be challenging to get parts for an older appliance.  At the same time, getting parts for new machines can be tough if a company goes out of business or the product line is just not supported.

Here’s a common reason to replace an appliance versus fixing yours: older appliances can cost more to run.  If you’re not happy with your utility bill, it could be because of aging appliances.

Here’s an example of how big a difference there can be: a refrigerator from the 90s can use more than $300 worth of electricity each year!  A new Energy Star refrigerator costs just $50 a year in electricity–a $250 difference.  In a few years, if you’ve bought new, the utility bill savings can pay for a new appliance.

Some appliances are expensive, so don’t just throw them out if they need a repair.  Oftentimes the repairs are not as costly as you may think.  At Turner, they are currently fixing a $2,000 cooling unit for a wine room.  The bill to fix it is just a small fraction of getting a new one.  Repair is also something to consider if you’re thinking about the environment.  It’s less wasteful because the old appliance doesn’t get tossed in the landfill.

Keep in mind, the type of appliances makes a difference in the decision to repair or replace.   One appliance experts say not to skimp on is water heaters.  The technicians at Turner say in this case, you get what you pay for.

“With water heaters, the more you spend on them a lot of times the better the quality.  Look for the high end brands like A. O. Smith, Lochinvar, BradfordWhite, those are good brands,” said Lloyd.

When in doubt about what to buy and whether to replace or repair,  find a trusted repair company.  Many will give you a free or low-cost estimate or even advice.  They want repeat customers and good service will make that happen.

“We’ll come out and tell you what’s wrong with it for the service call and if you don’t want to fix it, we’ll apply that towards a new one if we think you need it and we’re honest,” said Lloyd.

Another good thing when buying new: the appliance shouldn’t need to be fixed for a while, although some are victims of recalls.  Check Consumer Reports and other websites to see which appliances rate the best, last the longest and are most dependable.