Appliance DIY: When to Do Your Own Appliance Repairs and When You Should Call a Professional

Appliance breakdowns and malfunctions can happen to anyone. So what do you do when it’s obvious your washer, fridge, or oven is on the fritz? Many people immediately pick up the phone to call in the professionals, but appliance repairs don’t always require an expert. Read on to learn more about which appliance repairs are typically safe for adventurous DIYers and which ones require the backup of an appliance repair company.

When to Do It Yourself

Both safety and accuracy are key elements when it comes to your at-home appliance repairs. When considering whether to grab your wrench or the phone instead, ask yourself: Do I have the knowledge and tools to safely complete this stove or dishwasher repair? If not, can I acquire them easily and affordably? Will my repairs be as thorough and comprehensive as a pro’s handiwork? If you can answer yes to these questions, you can dive right in to a variety of residential appliance repairs, including:

Water Leaks: In many cases, appliance water leaks are simply a matter of a deteriorated or disconnected hose. If you’ve discovered a puddle under the dishwasher or a suspicious looking trickle trailing out from under the washing machine, it’s generally safe to take a look. Inspect all inlet and outlet hoses and their connections to check for damage. If they’re intact, the next place to look is at the pumps and valves, again checking for cracking, holes, and other imperfections.

Heating Element Replacement: Stove repair seems like one of those jobs that always necessitates professional assistance, but when it comes to burnt-out heating elements, the solution is typically quite straightforward. For many electric stoves, the burners plug in just like with any electrical outlet. All you need to do is acquire a new burner and plug it in. Voila: you’re done. (Note, always disconnect your stove from the power source prior to performing any diagnostics or repairs!)

If you do discover a damaged part in the course of your do-it-yourself appliance repairs, locating a replacement part shouldn’t be too challenging. Your local home improvement warehouse or even appliance repair company will have a variety of repair parts available, and they should be able to help you find exactly what you need. It’s always a good idea to write down any identifying serial numbers or, better yet, take the broken part itself with you to the store to make certain you come home with the required component.

When to Call in the Pros

Professional services may seem like a major expense at a time when everyone is having to tighten their belts a little due to the continued struggles of the American economy. But in many cases, it’s really your only option. Choosing appliance repair over replacement is nearly always more affordable, and the simple truth is that some appliance projects required specialized tools and knowledge to be completely accurately and safely. Here are just a few examples of repairs that necessitate an expert touch:

Gas Repair: Whether you’re dealing with a dryer problem or a stove issue, any and ALL gas appliance repairs are projects for skilled technicians. Even if you don’t believe that the malfunction has anything to do with the gas supply or heating elements, the hazards of gas appliance service are simply not worth the risk. From creating gas leaks to actually starting a fire, DIY gas appliance repair can harm you, your home, and your family. To maintain the safety of your household, every gas appliance repair requires a call to the pros.

Refrigeration Repairs: Unless the issue is a deteriorated door seal, most fridge and freezer repairs should be left to the professionals. That’s because these appliances contain potentially dangerous coolants that may put you and your family at risk if not handled appropriately. Qualified repairmen are trained in the proper way to manage, replace, and control these coolants to ensure your home stays safe throughout the refrigerator repair process.

Of course, no matter what the appliance repair project at hand, if you don’t feel comfortable tackling the job yourself, you’re always better off bringing in your local appliance repair company. Resources are available online as well as in your appliance’s owner’s manual, but if you’re still unsure of how to complete the repair or you’re not comfortable handling the tools and parts required, your appliance repair technician can make certain the job is done right!

Appliance Repairs: What Home Buyers and Homeowners Need to Know

Before most people buy a new home, one of the first questions they give a lot of thought to is: “Can we afford the monthly payments?” While mortgage financing is one of the main issues on people’s minds when they’re house hunting, they sometimes overlook another potential expense, which relates to the condition of the appliances in the home.

The possible problem of appliance repairs is sometimes taken care of by sellers who offer home warranties. However, if the cost of appliance repair is not part of the deal, then home buyers should factor that into their first-year living budget. If they’re lucky enough not to incur those expenses, such as washing machine repairs, dryer repairs, and dishwasher repairs (to name a few), then they’ll have a financial cushion they can use for other things.

Hiring a professional home inspector to take a look at the furnace, the central air conditioning system, and the structural soundness of a home you’re considering is one way to avoid problems. Although home inspectors can provide a lot of valuable information about the shape of the house and its operating systems, they probably can’t do an in-depth inspection of the kitchen and laundry appliances beyond making sure these appliances are in working condition on the day of the inspection. To reduce the chances of being stuck with large refrigerator repair, dishwasher repair, or washer and dryer repair bills, useful information about the age and repair history of appliances in the home can often be obtained from the seller. Keeping maintenance records of your own household appliances can also give you a rough idea of when they might start wearing out.

We often take our household appliances for granted until something malfunctions and we need to call an appliance repair service. The same thing holds true for garbage disposal repairs, washer and dryer repair, and other eventual home appliance repair needs. Reading the appliance manual and having a general idea of how to properly maintain household appliances can help reduce the need for avoidable or premature appliance repair costs. For example, garbage disposal repairs can often be avoided for years by preventing silverware, jewelry, and other hard objects from getting stuck in a disposal’s moving parts. Silverware and metal bowls can also wreak havoc if they’re left in the microwave after it’s turned on. Since it’s next to impossible to avoid all appliance mishaps indefinitely, especially when children live in the house, however, it’s always a good idea to have quick access to the phone number of a reliable appliance repair service.

If you don’t already have a working relationship with a dependable appliance repair service, there are a few helpful things to keep in mind when comparison shopping. Reputable appliance repair companies usually provide a one-year warranty on labor and replacement parts, so you have some assurance that the dishwasher repairs or the refrigerator repair parts you’ll be paying for come with a guarantee of quality and reliability. Other points of comparison when shopping for appliance repair services are whether the business is insured, competitively priced, and experienced. In the absence of a recommendation from someone you know and trust, online customer reviews and Better Business Bureau reports can be other useful ways to evaluate a refrigerator repair service, a local oven repair service, or a company that does dishwasher repairs.

Basic Appliance Repair Tips

Appliance repairs often strike at the most inopportune times. Unfortunately, they can leave a gaping wound in your budget, if you don’t plan for them. Here are a few ideas and tips to consider, that will help ease your next appliance repair problem.

Before You Do It Yourself

Make sure the appliance isn’t covered by a service agreement or warranty. If it’s still covered under warranty, you will need to find out how to use the warranty properly. First call the company offering the warranty and ask them for clarification on using the warranty properly (DO NOT void the warranty by trying to fix the appliance yourself). After that, your next step is to contact (or take) the appliance to an appropriate maintenance or service company. Have them do the repairs under the protective cover of your warranty. Also, you should make sure you are properly reimbursed for all charges after having your appliance repaired.

Do It Yourself

If there is no warranty or coverage on your appliance, your next step is to track down the owner’s manual, and try and make the repair yourself. You shouldn’t repair an appliance without having the service manual with you. When the manual or warranty isn’t an option, your next choice will be to look under the lid, or inside of the appliance, and find the basic instruction guidelines. Most appliances have a small set of operating instructions, printed on the appliance somewhere, which MIGHT help you solve your problem. For most of us, though, these steps probably won’t be enough.

Finding an Appliance Repair Service Company

If you aren’t able to make the repairs yourself quickly and easily, then you will need to find an appliance repair service to do the job right, and get your appliance working again. There are several ways you can find an appliance repair company in your area. You can…

1. Hunt down and dust off that huge yellow pages book, lying somewhere in the dark, outer recesses of your home.

2. Ask a friend or family member who they use for their appliance repairs

3. Visit [http://www.LocalApplianceRepair.com] and find an appliance repair service in your city, with just a couple of mouse clicks.

4. Visit an online directory, like Yahoo’s ™ yellow pages

5. If you’d like input from an independent source, on reliable local appliance repair companies, call a major real estate firm (in your area) and ask who they use for their appliance repairs.

Appliance Repair Services

A majority of repair companies have technicians available who can repair most household appliances. Major appliance repair companies will typically make service calls to your home. Small appliances often get repaired at the local repair shop, instead of at your home. If it’s a small appliance, you want to make sure they offer repair or replacement services for it. This would include items such as microwave ovens, oven fans, heaters, Kitchen aid ™ mixers, other small miscellaneous kitchen appliances, and maybe even power tools.

Questions to Ask Repair Companies

Once you have the names of a few appliance repair service companies, you may want to ask any or all of these questions when you call…

1. Ask when the soonest they can come out to make the repair? If the timing is adequate, ask how punctual they are (and if they have a guarantee on the time)? There’s nothing worse than waiting all day for a repair that won’t happen that day.

2. Ask if they offer a guarantee on their work and their parts?

3. Ask about a written estimate; service call charge; fees; or a combination of written estimate with final bill?

4. Ask if it is possible to add service call fees to your monthly utility bill.

5. Gas, electrical, radiation, and refrigeration repairs require special considerations. Qualified Repair technicians must have experiences with gas, electrical, and refrigeration issues. When they repair gas appliances and microwave ovens, appliance repair technicians need to be aware of dangers form gas and radiation leaks. When you need to have your stove fixed or your gas lines checked for leaks, you definitely want to call a home appliance repair person for help. Mostly, just make sure they are qualified to fix the specific appliance you need repaired.

6. If you’re interested, you can ask them if they offer a monthly service plan. Having a consistent appliance repair technician and service can keep your home appliances humming right along, and may also help prevent unwanted breakdowns. This would give you peace of mind for all your major home appliances, and keep all your appliances protected under one convenient repair plan. You can also ask questions, which might include concerns about appliance installation, operation and repair.

Hopefully some of these tips will help ease your next appliance repair problem. Once you have exhausted all of these steps, and if the repair still didn’t work, then it might be time to look into buying the new appliance you’ve been dreaming of. But we’ll cover that in another article.