Angie's LIST Guide to
Appliance repair

Preventive maintenance is crucial to ensuring long-lasting and healthy appliances. Consider these tips on when to repair or replace appliances, preventive maintenance and hiring an appliance repair company.
 

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Repair vs. replace

Major appliances are the cornerstones of modern life. Without these trusty devices, people would be reduced to washing their clothes by hand and cooking meals over an open fire.

It's no wonder that a broken appliance can amount to a pretty big problem in most households, and the question of whether to repair or replace these devices can even create a lot of anxiety.

Learn the average annual maintenance cost for each major home appliance and how that compares to replacement cost.

When it comes to repairing appliances, every device eventually reaches a point of diminishing returns. If it's cheaper to fix an appliance than replace it, the smart money is usually on the fix. However, it doesn't make sense to fix a device that is likely to break down again in the near future or become technologically obsolete.

Considerations for appliance repair vs. replace

Age

The age of an appliance needs to be considered when deciding whether to repair or replace. Most appliances have an average life cycle and once an appliance passes that point, it’s usually a good idea to replace. Antiques and some high-end appliances are the exceptions to the rule, as they may be extremely expensive to replace.

Warranty

Determine if your appliance is under warranty because you might be able to have it repaired at a reduced rate or free of charge. Warranties are important because replacement parts are expensive and can even cost more than the cost of purchasing a new appliance. Make sure your warranty is covered by a factory-authorized appliance repair shop.

Price

Appliance repair professionals say when the price of the repair totals more than half the cost to purchase a new appliance, you’re better off replacing the appliance.

Time to repair appliance

  • Appliance is under warranty
  • Appliance is an antique that would be difficult to replace
  • The repairs are minor and will extend the life of the appliance for several years

Time to replace appliance

  • Appliance is not under warranty
  • The repairs are extensive and add up to more than half of the product’s original cost
  • Appliance is technologically obsolete

Preventive maintenance tips

The best way to keep your appliances running smoothly is to practice preventive maintenance. Many appliances fail because they are overused or misused by the consumer.

Appliance repair professionals say homeowners should read the operational manuals that come with appliances and follow instructions for proper use and preventive maintenance.

Washing machine

  • Make sure not to overload the machine, or it could prematurely wear out.
  • Set the water level to an appropriate setting based on the amount of clothes in the washer. Failure to do so can put additional stress on the motor.
  • Check pockets before placing clothes in the washer. Many problems are caused when foreign objects become lodged within the washer.
  • Appliance repairmen suggest replacing the washer fill hose every five years.

Clothes dryer

  • Clean out the lint trap after each load to improve efficiency and reduce the chance of fire.
  • Have the outside vent inspected annually.

RELATED: 5 Things You're Doing to Destroy Your Dryer

Refrigerator

  • Clean the condenser coils. When these coils become caked with dust, the fridge has to work harder which puts more stress on the unit and increases energy consumption. Use a vacuum to remove dust, pet hair and dirt.
  • Check the door seal. The fridge’s door seal is responsible for keeping food cold and maximizing efficiency. Replace the seal if needed.

RELATED: Top Tips to Avoid Refrigerator Repair

Oven

  • Instead of using the self-cleaning function, appliance repairmen recommend cleaning up spills as they occur and using drip pans to catch spills.

RELATED: 5 Ways to Kill your Oven

Dishwasher

  • Clean your dishwasher’s filter to remove hard water deposits and debris.
  • Run the dishwasher while empty using a small amount of distilled white vinegar to remove soap buildup.
  • Check the spinning arms and make sure the spray holes are free of debris.

RELATED: Do You Really Need to Rinse Dishes Before Putting Them in the Dishwasher

Garbage disposal

  • Keep the blades sharp by running cold water and sending a cup of ice down the disposal.
  • Run cold water for 10 seconds before inserting food into the disposal and for 30 seconds after each use. Cold water helps solidify grease and fat so they can be chopped up by the disposal.

RELATED: The 5 Furious Foods of Garbage Disposal Death

Hiring an appliance repair company

There are many factors consumers need to consider before hiring an appliance repair service. Home appliances are expensive, and you want to ensure the company you hire is reputable and has the skills required to complete the fix in a timely and efficient manner.

Tips for hiring an appliance repair service

Research potential hires. Get at least three estimates and compare the bids based on price, parts, labor and warranty. You also want to research how long the company has been in business, check reviews on Angie’s List and speak with past clients.

Inquire about costs. Expect to pay up to $100 for a typical service call. Additional parts and labor charges will apply if you hire the company for a repair, but many companies will deduct the service charge.

Check skill level. It’s important to hire a company whose employees have the training to complete the job. Ask if the employees are factory trained or certified in appliance repair.

Is the work under warranty? Check to see if the repair service guarantees its work, and determine how long. Most warranties vary from 90 days to one year.

Comments

I'm looking for someone to fix my refrigerator. It will not keep my produce cold

It just stop cooling, but the lights and fans are on and working.

Freezer section stopped working, melted almost all before I realized it. Refrigerator part working but not cold enough. I have both temp gauges up all the way.

Freezer has been giving us problems from day one...keep replacing expensive filter.....I have a GE SIDE BY SIDE...

need more info, what are the issues? what model is it and age

I would assume by now you have resolved this issue. But just in case you've not. The likely problems can be that there is a leak in your freon system or that you can have a main control temp sensor that has gone and the unit is not measuring the correct temp therefore it is not putting out the right amount of coolant.

Todays refrigerators dont use "Freon". Freon is actually illeagal now. The coolant a unit "puts" out doesnt change. A sealed system has a set amount of refrigerant in it and it doesnt change once its charged correctly.

how to fix it

find where the condensor coils are (looks like a radiatior coil in a car) and then blow them out. Make sure to shut your unit off first and if you have a small shop vac which can blow as well as vacuum then blow the coils out first from the same side the fan is on then opposite side. In theory you will make a mess so stop and clean it up and then do it again. I have a frig which is 23 years old (sub zero) and we do this routinely after once it stopped cooling. since then it has worked fine. I am told this is the number one reason frig and freezers stop working.

It hums but not getting cold

Sorry but yes all AC units and Refrigeration units use "Freon". The name is a general term for the gas or mixtures of gases that are in the system.

Ray, Freon is just the name of DuPont's refrigerant, that's all, its a registered trade marked name of a product, not the product itself, people started using the name Freon to describe every type of refrigerant from R22 to 134A, certain types of refrigerant have been out lawed such as the old refrigerator refrigerant R12 and others alike because of there properties and how they relate to the depletion of the ozone layer, I am a 20 year veteran of this trade, I just thought id clear that up.

Make sure coils under frig are clean. Most important thing of all you can do for a healthy refrigerator.

(Today's refrigerators don't use "Freon". Freon is actually illegal now.) What . If the compressor does not pump Freon it not safe to use. If you don't know what your talking about do your research. Your car, Re-frig., Deep Freeze, Wine Cooler, Home A/c unit. If it illegal turn these system off your a law breaker. (LOL)

Is there frost at the back of freezer?
Do lights dim every 5 minutes?

My dryer went out and need help and need someone by tomorrow because am supposed to go out of town on Wednesday. I turned it on Saturday and heard a pop so I think its the belt and heating element both need to replaced. Will this be costly and if so do you think I should go buy another one?

When my washer fills up it sometimes does not stop and just keeps on filling, then it over flows everywhere. And when the spin cycle comes on it does a clicking sound for a few minutes then it spins right.

My washer fills up and keeps on filling and over flows.

this is caused by the water level pressure switch not working properly..should not be an expensive repair...

mistakenly left door partially open during the day and now the unit will not turn on but it is cold inside and frezzer food is frozen

1yr in dec 2012 fridge warrant ran out in dec 2012 not cold freezer ok ice on back of freezer when temp increased sears kenmore. Vacuumed took apart no luck. Any suggestions

Freezer section not defrosting. It is most likely the defrost element or the defrost thermostat(bi-metal). Could also be a control board, if it has one. Or it has an analog timer, but those are not as common to go bad.

I have a Maytag Performa Gas Range RS-1. The front burners were not lighting. The insulators on the igniter were cracked. When we lifted the top a little to see if we could replace the igniters we discovered the metal line to the burner was crinked and leaking. I had already purchased the igniters before we found the 2 leaks.

- Can we replace the broken lines to the front burners or do we need to have a professional do that repair?

my washer will fill but it won't spin. I think the bin/basket is off track. Is that an elaborate repair job?

washer wont spin cycle

washer will not spin out last load that work got out of balance and now it gets to spin portion of cycle and just stops it seems to put off a faint noise that it is attempting to spin but nothing

sounds like your lid switch is broken....won't spin if lid is open...

lid switch is most likely the culprit. easy fix!

it,s working ..the dial is unreliable..i set the dial on a delicate wash..pull the knob out and it fills the water to the small setting -begins but stalls I go upstairs and time the washer as I know I have to go push the knob in and turn to where it can now begin to rinse-empties-add water now stalls. my question is ?can the dial be replaced I called a local repairman who was on the bulletin board at a local market but received no response.

wondering if I should buy a new dishwasher or pay a repair man. It is less than 10 years old. It has been having a real hot bad smell during drying cycle and my silverware are in the door and are not getting cleaned at all.

ny washer fills and empties at rinse cycle and that is it now what

freezer is not cold and items are melting.

Good Morning my AC is running, however it is not blowing much cool air. Not sure how old the unit is, we just pruchased this home in December.

Hi. I wanted to know if someone or some company could repair my ipod 4's screen. If there someone that can then please email me. Thanks.

I have a side by side refrigerator. Ice maker has quit working again for the second time. Fridge is probably 10-12 years old.

I'm looking for R -12

good luck! r-12 is hard to find! try craigslist or e-bay, runs 300 a pound

Been happening for several months and getting worse. Kenmore (12 yrs old).
Fridge cooling and freezer freezing good, but every few days I have water that has collected underneath the produce drawers and I have to use towels to sop it up, (this is water inside the fridge, on bottom under drawers...not outside the fridge on floor). We moved away from wall and nothing wrong there...clean the coils (they are underneath the fridge...I have a coil brush for that). I can hear what sounds like ice chunks falling every now and then....but can't see where they are falling from inside fridge. It is worse in warmer waether. We do have a.c. cooled house. Could this be gaskets on doors need to be replaced? If so, how do you do that? (the freezer portion is on top with separate door)

chances are the defrost drain is clogged. the ref goes into defrost once or twice a day. that produces water that will puddle under the drawers if it cant go down the drain. remove the backpanel in your freezer and you will be looking at the evaporator coil. underneath the coil you most likely will see a sheet of ice that is plugging the drain hole. remove the ice clear the drain. after it is cleared make sure it is draining by flushing it with 1-2 cups of water. i use a turkey baster with hot water to clear the drainhole. make sure all the ice is removed before putting everything back together. wipe up water that has spilled in fridge also under drawers. after that you may see some more water for up to 24hrs then it will stop dripping.

Defrost the box and this will take care of the problem. Your drain for the defrost system is iced up

My Monogram Sub Zero under drawer freezer keeps leeking and dripping water on mostly the right side. There is also a lot of built up ice when you open the drawer, on the bottom and sides of the freezer. Anyone know someone that can fix this?

I HAD MY WASHER FOR 19 months I BUY IT FROM HOME DEPOT NO WARRANITY WHAT MUST I DO I AM A SENIOR AND I DON"T HAVE THE MONEY TO GET IT FIX. THANK FOR YOUR ANSWER .

My Dishwasher is broken at my rental unit. Please provide me with a outstanding repairman for this unit. Please reply ASAP!

my washer won't spin cycle 5 years old

washer won't spin cycle. 9 years old. Is it worth having repaired?

Agitates, but won't spin or pump out water

I need someone to repair my dishwasher in Windsor Forest (Savannah)
It is retaining water in the bottom, and the lights on the control panel
on the door are flashing. It is a whirlpool product about 3 yrs. old.

Thanks!

our dishwasher only fills part way. Having work done on our water mains on our street, worked fine before they started.They have run a hose to our outside water fauctet to get water for use to use. I can't get down to see if i can fix it due to recovering from knee replacement. Need someone in the waterford michigan area that can help with this problem. The company doing the water main work says not our problem.

my washer seems to b e leaking clear, clean water from the bottom. it is a front load. the hoses appear to be intact and secure. it sits on a pedestal and there is no way I can get it off. need someone strong and knowledgeable to fix. any suggestions

Waiting for replacement part; JENN air/whirlpool stalling to provide for over6 months; stove six and half years old, should I get new range; tired of baking in toaster oven & on gas burners(which do work.) have any suggestions on freezable brand gas-stove, and should I skip electronics, and purchase stove with oven knob to on?

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