Appliance Repair or Appliance Replace? How Do I Decide?
Appliance repair or appliance replace? Free advice from an appliance technician with over 30 years experience in Palmdale, Lancaster, and the Antelope Valley, California. Top 5 Appliance Tips and more Appliance Repair Articles written by Bob Meadows
Before replacing an appliance, it's worth a service call to
find out exactly what's wrong. Many times people will buy a new refrigerator,
washer, dryer, dishwasher or any major household appliance without even
checking out what it would take to fix the one they have. They assume it's
going to cost too much when sometimes it's a quick, minor, inexpensive repair.
Unfortunately, there are many appliance repair service companies out there that
only care about how much money they can get you to spend, no matter how small
your repair might be. So how do you find an honest appliance repair
company?Here are some guidelines to
follow that will help you find the right appliance repairman for the job.
Get a referral from someone you trust
The best way to find a reputable company is by
"Referral". When someone you know recommends an appliance repair
service they were completely happy with, your search could be over. Ask them
about the service, the cost, their professionalism and if they truly believe
this was an honest business. Just be sure you’re getting this referral from a
Check for license and insurance
The company should have a state license and liability
insurance. It should say "Licensed & Insured" in their phone book
ad and also on their website with their license number. Check to make sure
their license & insurance are current.
Check how long the company has been in business
See how long each company has been in business at the same
location and under the same name. A company with a long local history is a
better bet than a recent startup with no history in the area. Check to make
sure they are actually doing business from the address they list. Beware of
businesses that advertise with local phone numbers and addresses but are
actually based in a city that is not local at all.
Beware of companies who spend a lot of money on advertising
Appliance repair companies that take out full-page ads in
the phone books and have expensive websites on the internet are paying out a
lot of money in advertising costs. How do you suppose they get the money to pay
for all that? Usually in higher fees they charge the customer. Check out the
businesses with smaller phone book ads and the ones who build their own
websites. Family-owned small companies,
who run their business from their home, are saving in overhead cost which means
they can charge less than their competitors.
Look for customer reviews
Make sure the companies you're researching are listed in the
major business internet directories. (Google places, Yahoo local, yellowpages.com,
superpages.com, yellowbook.com, Yelp, NOT YELP!You Can't Trust Yelp) These directories allow customers to
write reviews about their experience with any business listed. You can learn a
lot about an appliance repair service or any business from these customer testimonials.Beware of companies that only have customer reviews
posted on their website.These could be
fake reviews they wrote themselves unless they link those reviews to where the
real customer actually wrote them on the internet.
Angie’s List is a great way to find a local and honest appliance repair company.This is a paid
membership site but the price is very reasonable and worth it!All the reviews are REAL reviews by real
customers.Angie’s list does not allow
fake reviews.They are checked &
verified by the staff.If you have a
complaint about a company you hired from Angie’s List, they will contact that
company and try to resolve the problem.Angie’s List rates each company based on their reviews &
complaints.Besides appliance repair service,
you can also find plumbers, electricians, heating & air technicians or any
type of contractor you’re looking for on Angie’s List.
BIG COMPANY vs. small family owned business
Weigh the benefits of the personal attention you will
receive from a small family owned business vs. the unknown technician a larger
company will send. A local person has a reputation to uphold. A representative
of a large national chain however, may or may not be concerned about giving you
the best deals or service. A good rule of thumb when comparing service
companies is: "The BIGGER the company usually means the BIGGER the
Ask to speak to the appliance technician they are sending
It's perfectly OK to ask the name of the technician that
will be servicing your appliance and to ask to speak to him/her. You should ask
them how long they've been repairing appliances and if they will talk to you
about your problem over the phone. If they are honest, they will discuss your
problem with you. If you explain the symptoms you are experiencing, they should
be able to give you some possibilities of what type of repairs you may need. If
they won't talk to you about it, you should consider that a RED FLAG and move
Ask a specific appliance repair question
For example, "Hello, I have a 10 year old Whirlpool
top-load washing machine. It will not agitate or spin but it still drains. If
all I needed was a motor coupling, (part #285753A), how much would that repair
cost me? I understand that you may find other things wrong and that the
estimate you give me over the phone could change, but all I'm asking is how
much would it cost me if all you had to do was replace the motor
coupling"? If they won't answer that question, you should consider that a
RED FLAG and move on.
Once you find a reliable appliance repair company you can
trust, you should reward their honesty by writing them a nice customer review
on Angie’s List, Google, Yahoo, etc. (But Not Yelp!...Yelp hides/filters Real Customer Reviews)You should also send an e-mail to everyone
you know in your area. You could post the good news on a local blog site. Get
the word out so others can avoid the possibility of getting ripped-off by one
of the dishonest companies.
Does your front-load washer have an unpleasant odor? Have you ever felt like your clothes smell worse coming out than they did going in? You’re not alone. This is a common problem for people who own front- load washing machines. That mildew odor comes from mold growing inside your machine caused by residue & bacteria.
Here are a few steps you can take and tips to follow that will help eliminate the cause and remove that musty smell from your machine.
1. Use the recommended amount of HE laundry detergent. It is very important that you only use HE (high efficiency) laundry detergent in your front-load washer. Using non-HE detergent will cause suds and suds leave behind residue inside your machine. Using more detergent than recommended will also leave behind residue. Liquid fabric softener is another source of residue build up. Using softener sheets in the dryer instead is a great way to fight this problem.
2. Use a hot water wash for your last load of the day. Washing in cold water saves money & energy but cold water does not kill bacteria and leaves behind more residue than hot water washes. Run your last load of the day, even if it’s an empty load, on the “hot water” wash setting. To be sure the bacteria in your machine is gone, once a month you should run three-quarters of a cup of regular bleach through your empty washer on a normal cycle with hot water. 3. Clean out your drain pump regularly. Most front load washers have an accessible drain pump with a filter or trap inside. Lint, hair, coins and just about anything can end up there. By not allowing debris to build up inside your pump, you will eliminate one of the major contributors to mildew odor. If your washing machine has a filter/trap inside the pump, your owner’s manual will explain this procedure.
4. Clean your washer once a month. To clean your front-load washer, pour 2 cups of distilled vinegar into the detergent dispenser and run your washer on the clean or normal cycle using hot water. When finished, clean the inside tub, rubber boot seal, detergent dispenser and inner door with a clean rag and a solution of half distilled vinegar and half hot water. Repeat this step using a new clean rag and hot water only. Run your washer a second time on the same cycle with hot water only. When finished, leave the door open for several hours to air it out. There are several products on the market for cleaning your machine that can be used instead of vinegar.
Following these suggestions can prevent mold from ever starting in new front load washers and will fight existing mold in smelly front-load washers. No matter what type of washing machine you have, the two best tips I can give you are always empty everything out of pockets before loading into the tub and never overload your machine.
The five most important household appliances in everyone’s home would have to be the washing machine, dryer, refrigerator, dishwasher and oven/range. I’ve been an appliance technician for over 30 years and after careful consideration, I’ve come up with what I think are the #1 tips for making each of these appliances last longer. If you follow each of these tips, you will make fewer calls to your appliance repair service & you’ll be able to keep these appliances around for a while.
NEVER OVERLOAD YOUR WASHER! This is the #1 Appliance Tip of all time and the reason I put it first. If you want your washing machine to last a long time, don’t try to get your laundry done so quickly. Heavy loads & off-balanced loads will put a strain on the moving parts of your machine & wear them out. Over-loading & off-balanced loads DESTROY your machine! Don’t be in such a hurry. More washer tips
KEEP YOUR DRYER AND VENT LINE CLEAR OF LINT! Cleaning the lint screen on your dryer before every load should be a habit but that’s not enough. Lint builds up in your dryer and vent line over time. When your vent line starts to get restricted, more lint backs up into your dryer which creates a possible dryer fire. The inside of your dryer & vent line need to be vacuumed out periodically.
KEEP YOUR CONDENSER CLEAN! The condenser is what keeps your compressor from overheating. Most refrigerators have a forced-air condenser. A fan motor moves air across the condenser which cools your compressor. Lint and pet hair gets sucked into the condenser and when it builds up & restricts the air flow, your compressor overheats. You DON’T want your compressor to overheat! Clean your condenser regularly!
RINSE THE FOOD OFF YOUR DISHES! Would you like your dishes to come out clean and your dishwasher to last longer? Then rinse your dishes before loading them into the dishwasher. Even though you may have seen commercials that say you can be lazy & leave the food on your dishes, I’m telling you “It Doesn’t Work”! The food has to go somewhere and usually it gets clogged up in the pump & spray arms and then you’ll have to call someone like me. More Dishwasher Tips
DON'T USE THE SELF-CLEAN FEATURE! If your oven or range has the self-cleaning feature, DON’T USE IT! There are 2 good reasons for this. First, it’s bad for your health. The fumes that emit from the oven during the self-clean cycle are toxic. The 2nd reason is, because the oven reaches such high temperatures during self-clean, the extreme heat causes parts to fail. We get a large percentage of oven calls right after someone has used the self-clean feature on their oven. If you just keep your spills wiped up when they happen, you won’t need to harm your family & your oven with self-clean. toxic- Self-Cleaning Ovens - Toxic For Humans or only Birds?
This article was written by Bob Meadows (BobTheApplianceGuy)
It's a good question? Your appliance has decided to stop working correctly and you're not sure what to do. Repair or Replace? You don't want to waste money on an appliance repair service call charge if you don't need to but you also don't want to buy a brand new washer or dryer or refrigerator or dishwasher or any major household appliance if yours can be fixed for a reasonable price. It's a question asked by thousands of people every day.
I've been an appliance repair technician, in the Palmdale & Lancaster, California area, for over 30 years now and I've seen a lot of changes in the industry. Let me share with you what I believe you should do. These are my honest opinions of what I think is best for you. Please don't think I'm giving this advice because it benefits me. I built my business by always doing what's best for the customer. I have always believed that if you're honest and do the right thing, you'll be successful and everything else will just fall into place.It's called Karma.
Reasons to decide to buy a new appliance before calling an Appliance Repair Service
1.Your appliance is very old (over 35), or rusted out, or so ugly that all your friends & family make fun of you for still having it when they come over.
2.You have so much money, that you don't mind wasting it on a cheaply made new appliance before seeing what's wrong with yours.You'll feel better about having a pretty new appliance to show your friends even if it's poorly made and not as good as the one you're throwing away. 3. You don't have this appliance. Since you don't have one to fix, there's no need to call an appliance repair service to fix it. They can't fix what you don't have. This would be a good reason to buy a new appliance. (however, a good used appliance might be a better option)
That's It!There are only 3reasons to go right out and buy a new appliance rather than have an honest appliance repair service come out to your home to diagnose the problem with your appliance and tell you what it would take to fix it.
Please note that I did say honest appliance repair service.I'm sure many of you have had a bad experience with a dis-honest service company and you’re afraid you're just going to get ripped-off again so why not just go out and buy a new one?Believe me, I know there are many dis-honest companies out there but there are also a few honest appliance repair companies.So now you're asking, "But Bob, How can I tell the difference?"Funny you should ask.I wrote an article on the wikiHow Site entitled "How To Choose The Right Appliance Repair Service In Your Area".Just click on that link and you'll know how to find the diamond in the rough.
Reasons to decide to repair the appliance you already have
1.It is a better built appliance than most (if not all) of the new appliances for sale.
2.The cost to repair it is less than the cost of a new one.
3.Reasons 1 & 2 are only valid if you call an honest appliance repair service.
So I guess you can tell how I feel about the new appliances.When I got into this business back in 1980, quality meant something to manufactures.Appliances were made to last and they were made simple.It has gradually got worse & worse as time has moved on.I'm shocked at what they are putting out there now.One company that I have believed in and recommended for 30 years, I can no longer recommend when I'm asked what refrigerator should I buy?(Technicians reading this that have been in the business over 10 years know exactly what company I'm talking about).
That well-know company is now putting out crappy refrigerators and the compressors are failing in less than 2 years in many cases. I know you're thinking, "But Bob, why are you complaining?Doesn't that give your business more work?Yes it does but it's still wrong!! These companies know how to make appliances that will last but they won't do it because of GREED!!I know there are a lot of technicians out there that agree with me.Especially if they've been in the business as long as I have.So, to sum all of this up:
Have your appliance checked out by an honest appliance repair service company before deciding to buy a new one.If after you've discussed it with the technician, you decide to buy new, ask him what brand he would buy if he had to buy that appliance for his family today.
Here's an example of what I would tell my customer if they needed to buy a new refrigerator.
Customer:Bob, I need to buy a new refrigerator, what brand should I buy?
Me:(but you can call me Bob):The refrigerator brand I've been recommending for many years, I can no longer recommend.The brand I'm going to recommend to you is General Electric and this is why :(for the technicians who are disagreeing with me right now) I rarely see a GE compressor fail.GE has other issues that happen but they are not as serious or expensive as when a compressor fails.It's better having a refrigerator with a quality compressor more than anything else. (I just hope GE is still making the new refrigerators this year with quality compressors or I'm going to look bad here)
Note:I just said GE Refrigerators.Please don't go out and buy a GE washer & dryer.They're junk!(That’s my opinion GE.I just praised your refrigerator so don't sue me for my opinion on your washer & dryer.Just start making better ones!!)
What's Your Opinion?I welcome any and all comments.If you're a technician, let me know if you agree with me or if you're wrong.Just kidding!I'm sure not all technicians are going to agree with me.Only the smart ones!Just kidding again! ......Or Am I ? writtenby Bob Meadows Google