It’s never fun when something breaks down. A surprise appliance repair cost can easily ruin your week, but it doesn’t have to. If you have the means, setting aside some money in a rainy day account is a great idea, so a breakdown doesn’t impact your entire budget. If you squirreled away $1,000, you’d be ready to take on the average appliance repair cost for most of your household machines. 

It can be hard to predict what can go wrong with a machine or how much it costs to fix those problems. Various factors can change the cost, such as time, location, the appliance’s age, and even the time of year it broke down. There are ways to save money on repair costs as well, such as the DIY route if you’re handy.

Factors affecting appliance repair costs

Many factors can impact an appliance repair cost. There are numerous brands for every type of appliance, built in countries all over the world, and different circumstances can significantly affect costs. You’ll want to keep in mind that the type of appliance is the first major factor in appliance repair — a dishwasher will cost significantly less to repair than an HVAC system. This can really vary, as a dishwasher has multiple components that need to function differently and may take time to diagnose. If the dishwasher is leaking, you may need a handyperson to fix the seal, or you might have something off with the plumbing. If the dishwasher doesn’t turn on at all, you might need an electrician. It can greatly depend on the problem.

Age is the next biggest factor that affects your cost. A new appliance is more likely to be in production currently, and those parts will be much easier to find. This is a similar situation if the appliance is common or not. Brands that technicians see often are more likely to be able to identify and fix problems with that brand more quickly.

Sometimes a small problem can cascade into bigger ones. If the damage to your appliance is extensive, that can make the costs rise, and so can the location of the appliance. An oven that takes ten seconds to get behind won’t cause a technician any grief, but if he needs to examine your leaky pipes within the crawl space above the bathroom ceiling, that job could get a bit more complicated.

If you waited until the first hot day of summer, turned on the AC, and discovered it didn’t work, you might be surprised to find the cost for a technician is higher than normal. That’s because timing can also play a big part in cost. Most people only learn if there’s a problem with something once they realize they need it — they don’t test it in preparation for the summer. Other factors can include what type of energy the appliance uses (gas tends to cost more than electricity), and labor always makes up the bulk of a repair.

Appliance repair vs. replacement

Whether you have a home warranty or just hired a handyperson on your own, either will first try to ascertain whether it’s best to repair your appliance or replace it entirely. An appliance replacement cost should be less than half of the cost of repairs. If your appliance continues to break down regularly, saving yourself the headache and replacing the machine is also beneficial. 

In general, it’s often cheaper to repair something than to replace it outright. The larger the appliance, the truer this statement becomes. An HVAC system is unruly to replace, while a microwave would cost more labor to fix than buying a new one.

If your appliance is no longer safe to use, that’s a great reason to choose replacement over repair. An older appliance is also more likely to use up a lot more energy to run and have a bigger impact on the environment at the same time. It depends on the machine, but it might be worth replacing it to boost efficiency alone. It’s worth considering all these factors if an appliance breaks down – maybe it’s cheaper to repair your old clunker, but you’ll save energy costs and own an effective machine if you replace it.

Common appliance repair costs

Here is the average appliance repair cost for the most common household appliances


Refrigerators are one of the more expensive appliances to repair. Their average repair cost is around $400 while replacing this can cost anywhere between $800 to $8,000. If your fridge has issues maintaining its temperature, making strange noises, or smells funky, you’ll want to call a repairer immediately.

Washer and Dryer

Both the washer and the dryer generally cost around $300 to repair and around $1,000 or more to replace. The motor is the highest cost for either of these machines, but because the washing machine is intricate, minor breakdowns can prevent the machine from working. For the dryer, rattling or squealing is a sign it needs repairs.

Oven and Range

Your average stove repair cost is $250, while the average oven repair cost is $300. These machines can cost anywhere between $700 to $2,000 to replace. Sometimes one aspect of these machines will work, and the other will not. If the oven takes a long time to heat up, that’s a sign it needs a technician to look at it.


Dishwashers are one of the cheaper appliances to repair since the most common issues are door springs and seals or filter replacement. The average appliance repair cost for this machine is $220 – signs that you need a repairer include pooling water or draining difficulties.

Tips for saving money on appliance repair

There are a few ways you can save money if your appliances are on the fritz. You can try your hand at some DIY repairs, though this will most often take longer than expected. If parts need replacing, you’ll still have to cover that, but you will save on labor – which makes up the brunt of repair costs. If you are considering replacing your appliance, you can buy something second-hand and save some money. Buying a used appliance is always a gamble – you have no guarantees it will work.

One of the best ways to keep your appliances from breaking down is with some simple, regular maintenance. There’s no way around this – if you put some time into ensuring your appliances run at their best, they will last longer without breaking down (on average). Sometimes you might just be unlucky, but you can’t help that.

Oddly enough, it’s often cheaper in the long run to hire a technician to fix it. A handyperson worth their salt will advise you whether the appliance is worth repairing or should simply be replaced. Many people prefer to rely on a home warranty to deal with problems when something goes wrong. A home warranty covers all major home systems and appliances, filling in the gaps that home insurance does not cover. You pay a small premium throughout the year; if something breaks down, the warranty company sends a technician to repair it. There’s still a minimal service fee, but a professional your home warranty provider trusts will cover the cost of labor and parts. Many people find this option preferable to setting aside rainy-day money. 

It’s never a good thing when an appliance breaks down. It’s a cost few people expect, and the time involved in finding a handyperson who can fix it, and scheduling when they can arrive, is often a headache most people don’t enjoy. Now that you know the average repair cost, you can always set aside some money as a “just in case” contingency fund. You can also opt for a home warranty.

Many people enjoy home warranties because they pay a small premium annually, and then if an appliance or major home system breaks down, the warranty will handle it. They’ll either repair or replace the appliance — all it will cost you is the service fee. This gives many people peace of mind, knowing that in an appliance emergency, someone has their back. It takes the pressure off a stressful situation, and a good warranty provider will already work with excellent, trusted technicians. For the most part, it’s not a matter of if something will break — it’s a matter of when. A few hundred dollars for repairs can add up with enough bad luck, so whatever you choose to do, it’s best to be prepared.