It’s late on a Fall Friday night - after a long week of keeping up with your properties. You’re just about to unplug for the evening when you get a series of texts from one of your renters. It’s their washer unit …and your tenant says the machine has stopped mid-load and is full of water. They sent a link to a live video on Facebook that confirms it. The washer is only about five years old, but it’s been having more frequent malfunctions. No amount of re-starting or cycle-changing is making any difference. Oh… they are texting with an update. You’ve been down this road before with other appliances and systems, and it’s never a clear decision. Send out for the repair, or cut losses and replace the unit all together; That’s the decision, and you have dozens, hundreds or thousands of units? With every mechanical appliance, there’s a life expectancy and warranty that applies to parts, motors, sensors and materials - all designed to work in sync. When one part of the system begins to break down (or worse, fail altogether), getting the unit repaired may be your best (and fastest) option. But what is the cost of time, as well? What factors decide if it’s time to make an upgrade to a new, reliable appliance with better performance?
As a property manager or service technician, you know that appliances don’t last forever. But how do you know when it’s time to replace them? There are a few factors you should keep in mind when making the decision to buy new appliances.
Property managers evaluate operational costs at every step of the journey, making informed decisions every day to keep their properties running smoothly and their residents happy. Sometimes, appliances just need a little TLC to function properly again. But other times, repairing them is simply not worth the cost. When deciding whether to repair or replace your appliance, consider how much the repair would cost and compare that to the price of a new model. If the repair would cost half of the price of a new appliance, it might be worth fixing. But if it would cost more than that, you’re better off buying a new one.
One factor to consider is the cost of repair versus replacement. If an appliance is older, parts may be difficult or impossible to find, and the repair may end up being more expensive than simply buying a new one. In addition, many repairs require special tools or skills that you may not have on hand, which could further drive up the cost. On the other hand, if an appliance is relatively new and under warranty, the repair may be covered at no cost to you. Warranties are definitely something to keep in mind when deciding whether to repair or replace.
One helpful tool developed by Consumer Reports gives property managers a visual guide to the buy vs. repair decision.
Appliances have a typical lifespan of about 15 years. But after 10 years, they become much less efficient, so it may be time for an upgrade sooner than you think. If your appliances are over 10 years old, they could be costing you a lot in energy bills. Replacing them with more energy-efficient models can help save you money in the long run.
Newer appliances are usually more energy-efficient than older ones, which can save you money in the long run on your utility bills. In some cases, government rebates or tax credits may be available for energy-efficient appliances, further offsetting the initial cost of purchase. In addition, newer appliances often come with features that improve efficiency and convenience, such as automatic shut-off or self-cleaning cycles. These features can save you time and effort in the long run as well.
If your appliances are starting to break down or don’t work as well as they used to, it may be time for an upgrade. Performance issues can not only be a nuisance, but they can also lead to bigger problems down the road. For example, a refrigerator that doesn’t keep food cold enough can cause food to spoil, leading to wasted money and potential health hazards. If you’re constantly having to repair your appliances, it may be more cost-effective in the long run to replace them. The same goes for appliances that don’t work as well as they used to. Newer models are often more efficient and come with better features, so it may be worth the investment to replace your old appliance.
Similarly, if your appliance is no longer functioning the way it should, it’s probably time for an upgrade. Newer models come with updated features and design improvements that can make your life easier. For example, newer dishwashers, like the GE® Top Control with Plastic Interior Dishwasher with Sanitize Cycle & Dry Boost, have sensors that adjust the cycle based on how dirty the dishes are. This can save you time and water. If your appliance is no longer doing its job properly, it’s time to replace it.
Remember those texts you received late on a Friday night - when the washing machine stalled out mid-cycle? There’s only so long an appliance (and those unhappy tenants) can sit idle before a repair has to be made, and the time becomes unbearable to the tenant (and consequently to yourself). With equipment supply and appliance availability at an industry-low, choosing the repair pathway is likely the quicker option in the short term. However, the quicker option is becoming slower and slower.
The question you need to ask is this: will this repair extend the life of the appliance and stop the service calls on this machine? Will it return the appliance to its intended use, and keep my resident pleased? Will this repair resolve the equipment issue with the shortest downtime? This pressure point - the time it takes to repair or replace - is a factor that must be considered in each appliance management plan. Keep in mind that appliances depreciate in value over time. This means that, as an appliance gets older, it becomes less energy-efficient and may need more repairs. Replacing an old appliance with a new one can actually save you money in the long run, both in terms of energy costs and repair costs.
So you’ve made the choice to replace your existing appliance with a new unit. While the investment might sting at first, this upgrade opportunity brings new features and benefits that support both the tenant experience as well as your property management workflow.
Opportunity 1: With today’s smart appliances, they arrive packed with industry-leading IoT features, connecting to your appliance management software in a few simple configuration steps. This immediately creates a more efficient workflow for property management staff, and a better experience for your customers.
Opportunity 2: Smart home appliances (washers, dryers, refrigerators, and the like) bring new conveniences that are now highly sought after by renters and tenants.
Opportunity 3: To make these benefits even more profound for property owners, your new appliances will continuously report back the performance, system status, maintenance, and usage history.
Data in real time becomes your new and reliable workforce for each and every connected appliance you bring into your business. Tracking metrics in real time helps you respond to situations that directly impact your guests and their busy schedules. Appliance management software fills a key role in your business to manage unit updates, performance diagnostics, alerts, and automated functions - all through a centralized diagnostic software solution.
Knowing more about your existing equipment through the lens of real-time data reporting will enable you to anticipate future buying decisions for your range of appliances in your multi-family units. Deciding whether to buy or replace a unit will be a more informed decision, and one you’ll see coming well before the unit shows signs of a breakdown or failure.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of whether it’s better to buy or repair appliances. The best course of action will vary depending on individual circumstances such as cost, warranty status, and efficiency. However, by taking all factors into consideration, you can make an informed decision that will serve your property well for years to come.
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