Consumer appliance experts recommend the following guidelines for repairing/replacing appliances.

Refrigerator: Replace a top-freezer model when it's three years or older. Replace side-by-side or bottom-freezer models after seven years.

Remember to factor in the energy savings that a new fridge can provide. A new refrigerator will save you about $200 a year in operating costs compared with a 20-year-old model.

Replace it if it's more than six years old. The newer models will not only save you money in energy and water, but they're also much quieter than older ones.

Washing machine: Replace a top-loading model after five years and after eight years for a front-loader.

“It's not worth making major repairs to a top-loading washing machine after just a few years since it uses several times more water and energy than the new front-loaders,” Lehrman says. “The new front-loaders will cost more upfront, but you'll save money over the life of the appliance.”