These Are The Most Expensive Appliance Parts To Replace In Your Home

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There are many times in the life of a homeowner when the decision of whether to repair or replace an appliance comes into play. Appliances often exhibit lengthy life spans, with Howard's noting that refrigerators typically perform their duties for 10 to 20 years. Similarly, Carrier reports that an air conditioning unit lasts between 15 and 20 years. Eventually, every other appliance in your home will likely break down if given a long enough timeline of use.

NerdWallet reports that the best way to budget for a new appliance purchase is to use the timing to your advantage. For the most part, you'll see an appliance breakdown coming from weeks, months, or even years away. A refrigerator will start humming louder than usual, or the washing machine will finish new loads of clothes still smelling a bit musty or dirty. When these signs of looming failure start to present themselves, it's time to begin planning for your next big appliance buy. Taking your time when making these purchases is crucial to protecting your cash flow. It's also a good idea to shop for these expensive items when sales are going on throughout the year in order to maximize your buying power.

Another option when it comes to the long game is to extend the life of your appliances with repairs. However, some repairs are more invasive and costly than others. These parts are some of the most expensive that you'll find when fixing a variety of different appliances in your home.

Why repair an appliance at all?

Repairing appliances has always been an option for homeowners looking to stretch their budget just a little bit farther. In some instances, repairing a busted component in the air conditioner or dryer can give the entire unit significantly more life. These appliances are built with various small components within their shells. Often, when an appliance stops working, it's simply because a control board, wiring, or motor has shorted out and stopped functioning properly. These small issues can cause the whole unit to cease operation, but with a tiny fix, you can get your dishwasher or freezer back up and running just as it was before.

Sometimes this can add years of continued performance to the lifespan of an appliance. In other circumstances, a repair might only slightly delay the inevitable. Consumer Reports offers a useful sliding scale that can help you determine whether a replacement is a financially sound decision or not. In reality, the choice to repair or just replace a broken appliance comes down to a calculation of years of service, the original cost of your machine, and the repair cost that's been quoted (or the cost of parts if you intend to perform a repair yourself).

It won't always make sense to repair an appliance. Still, oftentimes, you can expand the lifespan of a unit by a decent amount without having to spend a ton to fix it. This makes repair a great option in many circumstances.

Compressor for the air conditioner

Air conditioning units are notoriously expensive. HomeServe reports that a complete air conditioner replacement can run between $2,500 and $7,500 This is dependent on the model that will be installed and any additional ductwork that must be performed to complete the refit. Similarly, HomeGuide notes that the air conditioning compressor alone may cost as much as $2,500 to replace if the unit is no longer under warranty. HomeGuide estimates arrange from $600 to $1,200 for this replacement part if the air conditioner remains under warranty and a range between $1,300 and $2,500 if it is no longer covered.

This is a significantly expensive repair. However, keep in mind that this part can typically last 10 to 20 years. This means that you'll likely end up swapping out your whole unit instead or replacing just the compressor. If your compressor fails after 10 years or so, you'll likely get a bigger bang for your buck by opting for an entire new system.

Clothes dryer motor unit

Your dryer is another essential appliance that can experience total failure through the breaking of a single part. The motor in your dryer is responsible for turning the drum within the unit. This turning sensation is what allows a tumble dryer to actually dry clothing. Therefore, in order to continue drying your clothes as normal after yours has experienced a motor burnout, you'll need to replace the motor or concede defeat and replace the dryer itself.

HowMuchIsIt reports that dryer motors will vary in cost depending on the brand that you have in your home. Generally speaking, the price of the part alone will run between $40 and $200, according to HowMuchIsIt's research. It should also be noted that an aftermarket part will virtually always cost less than a new component purchased directly from the manufacturer. If you are handy, you are likely capable of replacing the motor on your own. But if you intend to hire a professional repair technician to perform the job for you, you should anticipate adding an additional few hundred dollars to your budget.

Freezer compressor

The freezer compressor works in the same way that a compressor in the air conditioning system functions. This unit is responsible for regulating temperature by pushing refrigerant through the internal freezer system. Many homes use a combined refrigerator and freezer, so the compressor in this system must pull double duty in cooling two separate compartments. If your garage freezer fails or you have a combined unit that quits cooling, a failed compressor could be the cause. Replacing this part is an essential task in getting this appliance back up and running.

Angi reports that the average cost of replacing a compressor is $375, with the part itself costing between $100 and $500. However, when you tack on installation, the total bill can range between $250 and $650.  Many factors can influence this expense including the type of compressor, the size of the unit, and the typical labor costs in your area.

Dishwasher motor

A dishwasher is a fairly simple device, but it's one that you might use on a daily basis to take the cleaning pressure off of yourself each night. Angi reports that two of the primary components in a dishwasher are the pump and motor. In order to wash dishes, the unit must push water into the internal compartment and then drain it back out once the cleaning cycle has been completed. The pump is responsible for draining your dishwasher, but the motor lies at the heart of this function. This ensures that the dirty water lying at the bottom of the dishwasher after a wash cycle has finished is completely removed from the unit. Ultimately, the motor allows for the eventual drying cycle to take place. 

Angi estimates a replacement for the motor to cost between $400 and $600 but notes that older models will typically require a slightly more expensive motor. In contrast, Forbes reports that a new dishwasher averages $970. As with any part replacement decision that you'll make, comparing the historical usage time you've had with the unit and the cost of replacement versus repair will help you select the best course of action.

Oven door

Your oven door can be a surprisingly expensive repair. However, a broken oven door must be replaced to continue to use the unit safely. The door is responsible for protecting the exterior of the oven from internal temperatures while retaining heat. The oven door can be broken if you place heavy objects on the surface or slam the door open and closed regularly. Most ovens will incorporate a series of glass panes that make up the door assembly, rather than a single panel of glass. Cracking one or more of these panes can put your kitchen and perhaps the whole home at risk of fire or heat damage. 

It can be tricky to determine the repair requirements of an oven door because of the various, integrated parts that come together to form the piece. However, Upgraded Home reports that a typical oven door glass replacement will cost about $175. However, this can jump to as much as $300 if you require a professional to complete the repair for you.

Washing machine agitator

In the same way that your dryer can see a total breakdown if one part is damaged, your washing machine will stop functioning if the agitator requires repair. The agitator in your washing machine is the part that sticks up in the middle of the drum and is responsible for shifting clothing around in the soapy water. It's a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to maintaining a functional washing machine that is both energy efficient and effective at washing your clothing.

Unfortunately, Fixr notes that the agitator is the most expensive part to repair in a washing machine, with an expected cost of at least $575 for parts and labor. This means that a broken washing machine agitator might be a sign that it's time to replace the entire washing machine. HowMuchIsIt notes that a mid-range unit typically costs between $500 and $1,200. This means that replacing an agitator could potentially be the same as the cost of a brand-new washing machine.

Furnace heat exchanger

The heat exchanger that exists within your furnace is a vital component that protects your health and safety at home. Review Home Warranties reports that the heat exchanger in your furnace separates chemicals produced during the firing of the furnace unit. It's a thin metal piece that sits between the combustion chamber and the blower. This allows for clean air to pass through into the home while removing any chemicals that are created during the heating process. It also may be particularly important to install carbon monoxide detectors if your furnace has become old or its condition has deteriorated in recent years.

The heat exchanger plays a critical role in heating your home as well as keeping you safe from harmful chemicals. Because of this, a broken or damaged one should be replaced immediately. However, this job is typically an expensive one, so budgeting for a repair well in advance is advisable. The average cost of replacing a heat exchanger is roughly $1,500, but it can reach to as much as $3,500.

Touchscreen assembly for a smart refrigerator

Smart refrigerators have become a common sight in modern American homes. A smart refrigerator can also be monitored and even controlled through a smartphone app. You can also display family photos and manage your calendar to grocery lists right on the unit's built-in screen. However, in order to use these features, you need a working touchscreen assembly on the unit. Of course, a new smart refrigerator comes with this component built in, but heavy usage or unforeseen circumstances can cause irreversible damage. There are some ways to troubleshoot glitches but a failed screen might ultimately need to be replaced.

Replacing this part can come at a pretty significant expense. New touchscreen control assemblies are available on Amazon for everywhere from around $900 to well over $1000. Fortunately, Repair Clinic provides a step-by-step tutorial on replacing the part yourself so you can save on labor costs.