Whether it’s due to planned obsolescence, manufacturer error or wear and tear, small appliances break. It’s a fact of life. Learning how to repair your home appliances is a valuable skill that can help you extend the life of your possessions — but it’s not always worth the effort. Knowing when to repair something or when to give up the ghost and invest in a new one is just as important as knowing how to complete a successful DIY small appliance repair.
Consider the Age of the Appliance
Consider the age of the appliance you’re aiming to fix. Older appliances are often simpler to repair than newer ones, which may contain computerized elements that require a specialist to repair. Older appliances, too, are often built more sturdily than their modern counterparts – the cliché of “they just don’t make them like they used to” really does hold true. If you’ve got a vacuum that can out-suck any modern market competitor or a sewing machine that still hummed along prior to its breakdown, it may be worth investing the time to repair it.
If you’re embarking on a project to fix a newer appliance, ensure that it’s not still under a manufacturer’s or retailer’s warranty. Attempting a DIY repair will almost always void these warranties and it may be worth the hassle and wait of trying to get ahold of a service rep for the company to repair your appliance.
Research New Features
Older appliances aren’t always worth repairing, especially if you’ve been meaning to upgrade them. New advances that make life easier, such as automatic dry times on clothing dryers, child locks on microwaves or eco-friendly wash cycles on washing machines may justify the price of the upgrade. Do some research to see what newer models have to offer before deciding to learn the skills necessary to repair your appliance. Even if you decide to go ahead with the repair work, it’s good to know what’s available on the market for future upgrades.
Weigh the Consequences
If you’re not confident in your appliance repair skills, you may be hesitant to try repairing your home goods. Consider the consequences – can you afford to replace the appliance if your repair goes awry? If the answer is no, consider calling in a professional repair person. If you’re okay with using the broken appliance as a learning experience to hone your skills and figure out how that particular piece of machinery works, go for it. At worst, you still have an appliance that’s broken, just a little more broken than before. At best, you’ve gotten a little more life out of the thing you repaired.
Do Your Research
Repair work starts with troubleshooting. Look around the Internet for common issues known about your appliance’s make and model number – chances are you’re not the first person to encounter an issue. Try to discern what’s causing the problem that necessitates repair. For example, if a dryer isn’t heating up there’s a very good chance you’ll need to repair the heating element or the circuit that controls it.
Once you’ve figured out what the problem may be, take apart the appliance to see if that’s actually the issue. Most manufacturer’s manuals have information on how to do this, but some appliances have a special technician’s manual. If you can’t locate yours, reach out to the manufacturer to see if they have a copy available. If all else fails, take out a book from the library on the particular skill you need to repair your appliance or research online tutorials on how to execute the repair you’re seeking to accomplish.
Small Appliance Repair Safety
Once you’ve repaired your home appliance, monitor it while it’s in use for a little bit to ensure your repair doesn’t fail. Some repairs fail spectacularly and immediately – as might be the case with a spliced cord or patched dryer heating element. Others may require a little more supervision to ensure their safety and efficacy – cords that heat up more than they should, for example, are a sign that the repair may not have gone as planned and the appliance is now a safety hazard. When in doubt, seek the advice of a professional rather than risk the safety of yourself and your home.
What small appliance repair have you completed that you’re most proud of?