Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How to Find an Honest Appliance Repair Service

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 reliable source.


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,,,, 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

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 price".


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 on.


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.

Friday, September 6, 2013

How to Remove Mildew Odor from your Front Load Washing Machine

What's That Smell?

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.

by Bob Meadows-Angie's List Expert
(My Article originally published on Angie's List)

B&D Appliance Repair Service is proud to be a contractor on the Angie's List Network