Appliances can be expensive purchases, and many people want to make sure what they buy will last. Knowing when to invest in repairs and when to cut your losses and shell out for the newer model can be tricky.


Some appliances tend to be more prone to problems than others.


Local experts say they often get calls for side-by-side refrigerators with icemakers.


"If you get water and ice through the door, it adds complexities to the appliance and it has more tendency to break down as well as more expensive to repair," said Neil Thoroughgood, owner of Bain's Service.


Dishwashers are next on the list for heavy repair calls, though sometimes the issues are caused by homeowners themselves.


"Make sure you don't use your dishwasher like a garburator," Thoroughgood said.


He recommends scraping food off your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.

For refrigerators, vacuuming or dusting off the compressor at the back will also help keep it running better for longer.


Consumer Reports said a recent survey of its readers found GE makes reliable cooking appliances, but its fridges with ice makers weren't as good.


LG had a good reputation for plasma TVs and clothes driers, but not side-by-side refrigerators.


Thoroughgood said Sears doesn't make its own appliances, so you need to do your research.


"It's difficult to tell what you're getting. You may want to ask the sales rep who built the machine and then research that brand of machine," he said.


Extended warranties may seem helpful when purchasing a new appliance, but they won't necessarily do you much good.


"If you're trying to safeguard against your appliances breaking down, an extended warranty may sound like a good solution," said Dan DiClerico of Consumer Reports. "But in our experiences, they have generally not been worth it."


Before you even buy, you should consider what future repairs might cost.


"Phone around find out what replacement parts costs are before you make that decision," Thoroughgood said.



So when should you invest in repairing your appliance, and when should you kick it to the curb? Consumer Reports experts said it depends on how old the product is and if the repair is going to cost you more than half the price of buying a new one. If so, it might be time to replace it.


- more information on appliances is available on Consumer Report's website