The never-ending debate that most likely goes on in every household at one time or another, is one that usually occurs when appliances are at stake. One partner always airs on the side of repairing the appliance in question while the other insists on purchasing a new one. The situation is not exactly cut and dry, and neither side is absolutely right or wrong, at least not until the extent of the damage is established. While the debate may never end, there are a few pieces of information and advice you can take into consideration so you can make an informed decision, so make sure to read on as we guide you through the appliance malfunction maze.
Do not jump to conclusions
Before you fall into despair wondering whether to call the handy man or checking your account to see whether you can afford a new appliance, stop and check if it is really broken. Start with the obvious – is the appliance plugged in? Sometimes people forget to check whether they have actually pressed the on button or plugged the machine and immediately go into panic mode. If the appliance is on, the second thing to check is if perhaps the circuit breakers have tripped. Sometimes all you need to do is reset the circuit. The third check point is the floor – some appliances stop working if the floor is uneven. Finally, for certain household items, such as the washing machine there is nothing wrong aside from filters that are clogged from all the dust and lint, and in that case all you have to do is clean the filter.
If it is really broken
If you have indeed verified that the appliance is in fact broken, the first and smartest move is to check if it is still under warrantee. This is why it is of the utmost importance that you keep the receipt as well as the manual – these contain information and proof of a still valid warrantee. Most warranties on major appliances cover labor and parts for a year; some extend coverage of parts for two years. If it’s still covered, schedule a service call. Do not attempt to be your own handyman, because if you tamper with the machine yourself, you run the risk of losing your right to a free repair.
When to DIY
If your warrantee has expired you could try to fix the problem yourself. If you know your way around a socket wrench, you may be able to make simple appliance repairs yourself and save labor fees. YouTube has lots of DIY repair videos, and user manuals can help you troubleshoot. If you have trouble finding your manual, search online for “manual” along with your appliance brand and model number. Most manufacturers provide free downloadable PDFs of appliance manuals, and there are several online sites that specialize in nothing but manuals. If the appliance in question is your refrigerator, which is in truth, one of the most important appliances as it contains most of your food which, during a malfunction is going bad by the second, read this article on tips and tricks for assessing an issue and find some great DIY solutions. Still, there is a catch to this sort of practice. Number one – many electrical replacement parts are non-refundable, so if you misdiagnose the problem, you have wasted money. Number two – large appliances are heavy and bulky. You risk injury if you don’t know how to move, open, and lift the machine property, so DIY might not be the best option for you.
Time to call someone
The safest approach is to call a repair service and have them send someone to assess the problem. If for example your issue is with the dishwasher – it is not heating, the spray arms are not spinning, the machine is not draining properly, or the electronics are not working – it is time to call a repairperson. If your issue is a broken washer, between the computerized control panels and mechanized parts, these complex machines need the know-how of a pro. The same principle applies to your vacuum cleaner; if it is a canister with a stalled beater bar, it could also be a problem with the motorized power head, which will likely need the help of an expert. A burned-out motor or switches generally also require a pro’s expertise.
Time to say goodbye
Now depending on the extent of the damage and the broken part in question, ask for an estimate of the cost, including labor, sit down and check whether the cost of the repair is close to the cost of buying and altogether new appliance. If the numbers match, or are at least very close, perhaps it is time to air on the side of replacing. An additional argument for purchasing a new product is the lifespan of the appliance. Before you invest in costly repairs, always check how long you have had the appliance, because perhaps the time has come for it to call the quits. For instance, the typical life expectancy of a vacuum cleaner is five to 10 years, for a washer and dishwasher it is 16 years, and refrigerators are expected to live anywhere from 10 to 18 years. If your faithful appliance has gone on for this long, it is time to pay your respects, say goodbye, and welcome a new one into your home.