Appliances are expensive, and when they stop working it can be a blow to your budget. But you can take some steps to reduce your repair costs.
Many minor faults can be fixed by yourself with some basic tools and skills. You can learn how to do this from an online tutorial or by reading your appliance’s manual.
- Don’t Ignore Minor Faults
The best way to reduce home appliance repair costs is to catch and fix small issues before they escalate into more serious ones. This involves keeping appliances on a maintenance schedule and addressing minor issues as they emerge (i.e. clogged drains or loose knobs).
However, it is important not to attempt repairs beyond your level of skill. Trying to fix something that you’re not qualified for could worsen the problem and lead to more expensive replacement parts.
It is also important to consider when it makes more sense to replace an appliance than to keep repairing it. If a malfunctioning appliance is constantly hiking up your energy bills or costing more to operate than it should, you may be better off investing in a new one.
- Keep Your Appliances Clean
Appliances that are dirty or dusty tend to work harder, which causes unnecessary wear and tear and may increase the risk of breakdown. For instance, a clogged dryer vent causes the dryer to work overtime to dry your clothes and can also pose a fire hazard in your home.
By cleaning appliances regularly, you can reduce the risk of minor faults and expensive repair costs. For example, a dishwasher leak can lead to water damage while a refrigerator with a loose seal can result in food spoilage. Another advantage of regular appliance maintenance is that it helps you save money on energy bills. A clean appliance works more efficiently, which leads to lower electricity and gas bills. Plus, sticking to the maintenance guidelines will keep your warranty intact, which means the manufacturer will help you with unforeseen repair expenses.
- Avoid Overloading or Straining
Having too many appliances connected to one circuit can cause them to overheat. This over-heating puts a massive strain on the circuit and can damage the appliances themselves. It can also put your household at risk of a fire hazard and can lead to power outages.
If your appliances are constantly overheating or your fuses keep tripping, it’s likely you have too many appliances on the same circuit. Try to spread the load out by using multiple outlets or switching to a modern, safer power board. It’s best to avoid
using extension cords unless they are specifically designed for this purpose, as they can be a fire hazard.
It’s also important to stay informed about your appliance warranty. Certain repair and replacement costs may be covered by warranty, which can save you a significant amount of money in the long run.
- Check Your Warranty
Many appliance companies offer warranties and guarantees. If yours does, make sure to read it carefully and save a copy in case you need it later. Most of them have specific guidelines for submitting a repair request that includes proof of purchase, a dated receipt and serial numbers (if applicable). You can research plans and be surprised when you find out that there are home warranty cheap rates that even a person on a tight budget can afford.
If you have one of these warranties, be sure to use it. Most manufacturers are able to respond within a week or two of receiving a repair request. If you can’t wait that long, try to contact your manufacturer via phone. You should also keep a record of your efforts to get a response, such as logs of calls and dates and times you spoke with someone. This will help avoid any confusion should you need to dispute a warranty claim in the future.
- Consider Alternative Solutions
Appliance repairs can take a large chunk out of any household budget, and it’s important to minimize these expenses. The easiest way to do this is by following maintenance instructions and avoiding overuse, but sometimes home appliances simply need some professional help.
For complex repairs, such as unjamming a dishwasher or replacing a dryer’s thermostat, DIY fixes are generally not feasible. Many of these involve working with electricity or gas, and attempting to do so without proper knowledge can lead to further damage and even safety hazards.
One option is to purchase an appliance maintenance plan, which costs an average of $100 to $300 a year and typically includes cleaning, tune-ups, and regular inspections. This may save you money on repair bills in the long run and protect your investment.