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Maytag dishwashers recall: Is repair or rebate the best deal?

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(Read caption) A major Maytag dishwashers recall was announced Thursday because of a potential fire hazard with certain models. The company is offering consumers a free in-home repair or a rebate toward a new Maytag dishwasher.

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In the Maytag dishwashers recall announced Thursday, the company is offering affected customers a choice:

• A free, in-home repair of their recalled dishwasher.

• A $150 or $250 rebate to get a new Maytag dishwasher (only certain models qualify).

Which is the better deal? It depends on what you currently own and where you live.

Maytag issued the recall because of a dozen reports that the dishwashers' heating element failed and started on fire.

Is repair the best option?

If your current dishwasher is new or nearly new, the in-home repair looks like the better deal in most cases. The rebate won't come close to covering the cost of a new dishwasher, so you'd end up laying out at least $250 (not counting taxes, installation, and so on) to go that route.

But if your dishwasher is older, or maybe you just feel safer without a dishwasher linked to fire hazard, then the rebate is a viable way to go. The average dishwasher lasts about nine years, according to Consumer Reports. (Individual units can last much longer, of course.)

The oldest recalled dishwasher was sold in February 2006, according to Maytag. If you have one of the early recalled models, it could make sense to get a $150 or $250 rebate to buy what you're going to replace in a few years anyway.

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The rebate equation

The rebate option especially makes sense if you live in a state that's offering government rebates for buying new energy-efficient appliances. (Click here to see if your state's rebate program is active.)

All of the Maytag models that qualify for the recall rebate are Energy Star rated, so they should qualify for the state rebate, too.

Here's how combining the two rebates might work:

Suppose you have a recalled Maytag dishwasher (click here to see which models are being recalled) and you live in Missouri. That state is currently offering a $125 rebate on Energy Star dishwashers.

Maytag is currently offering $150 rebates if you buy a new Maytag model MDB7759, MDB7609 or MDBH979. You can get a $250 rebate if you purchase a Maytag model MDB8959, MDB8859, MDB7809 or MDB7709.

The lowest-cost deal

The best deal we could find was an MDB7609 – a Maytag JetClean® Plus 24" Built-In Dishwasher with Sanitize Option – for $400 at Sears.

That qualifies for a $150 Maytag rebate plus the $125 Missouri rebate. So that's $275 off of a new $400 dishwasher.

"If I had an affected model and I could get 60 percent of it taken care of, it might be worth it for me" to buy the new machine, says Steven Saltzman, deputy home editor at Consumer Reports.

Because Energy Star ratings keep getting more stringent, it's a good bet that the new dishwasher will also be more efficient than your current model, he adds. The MDB7609 rates near the top of Consumer Reports' most recent dishwasher survey.

Beware the extra costs

Of course, consumers should factor in taxes, installation, and delivery costs, which will add to the cost.

And don't delay. Sears' current sale prices on Energy Star appliances ends Thursday, June 3. Home Depot is running an Internet special on the same model with free shipping for $449.10

Here are the other Maytag models that qualify for the rebate and the best price we could find:

$150 rebate

• MDB7759 – Maytag 24" JetClean® Plus Built-In Dishwasher with SteamClean Option -- $532.79 at Sears

• MDBH979 – (We couldn't find any models for sale.)

$250 rebate

• MDB7709 – Maytag Stainless Steel JetClean® Plus 24" Built-In Dishwasher with SteamClean Option – $539.10 at Home Depot with free shipping

• MDB7809 – Maytag Stainless Steel JetClean® Plus 24" Built-In Dishwasher with Silverware Blast – $615.99 at Sears

• MDB8859 – Maytag Stainless Steel JetClean® Plus 24" Built-In Dishwasher with Fully Integrated Door – $629.10 at Home Depot with free shipping

• MDB8959 – Maytag Stainless Steel JetClean® Plus 24" Built-In Dishwasher with Fully Integrated Door – $703.99 at Sears

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