5 Tips for Repairing Smart Appliances

Oseye Boyd
Written by Oseye Boyd
Updated June 29, 2016
black smart refrigerator
Smart appliances may look nice, but their sensitive control boards lead to an early expiration date. (Photo by Joe Hodgson)

Smart appliances may not last as long as their predecessors.

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Today’s smart appliances offer push-button convenience, multiple setting options and additional features that would amaze and confound our forefathers. Sure, appliances are sleeker, more attractive, conserve energy and perform amazing feats, however, modern-day technology comes with it’s own set of problems.

Before you buy a smart appliance, check out what some highly rated appliance repair technicians said about their experiences working with them.

1. What is the average cost to repair a smart appliance?

“The average repair cost is $300 to $400, where it used to have an average repair cost of $200,” says Jim Thompson, owner of Appliance Pro of Powell, Ohio. “There used to be a lot more mechanical timers, and now there’s a lot more electrical controls.”

2. How soon are you making repairs after someone purchases a new appliance?

“In the newer appliances, we are working on two- to three-year-old units,” says Walter Naumovitz, owner of Allen’s Appliance Service of Orange City, Florida.

Back when Naumovitz began repairing appliances in the 1980s, he says it was more common to repair 10- to 12-year-old appliances.

“Some of it has to do with electronics instead of old, mechanical timers on a washer that would work for years and years," he says. "The new electronic timers seem to be more sensitive to power supply issues — brown outs, power flickering off, etc. It causes failures in the electronics. They don’t last as long and they don’t hold up as well to power supply issues.”

3. What advice do you have for a homeowner making an appliance purchase?

Tyler Adkins, owner of A+ Certified Appliance of Little Elm, Texas, says he tells customers not to buy smart appliances. He says the return in energy efficiency won’t cover the cost of the appliance and repairs. Instead, he points customers toward used appliances.

“I tell my clients if they’re going to get new appliances — if they absolutely have to — get a whole-house surge protector,” he says, adding that the surge protector prolongs the life of appliances by lowering the sensitivity to power fluctuations. “I charge about $300. I’ve seen them as high as $850. I also encourage them to fix their old equipment as much as they can.”

4. How can I get the most out of my smart appliance?

Don’t abuse your washer by overloading it, says Glenn Townsend, owner of Glenn’s Appliance Repair of Dallas, Texas.

How do you overload your washer? “Throw a bedspread in there. Throw a blanket in there. Throw a pillow in there. In other words, load them to the hilt,” he says. “They misused the old machines, but they held up better. Washing machines, (today) they overload them and they go bad in three or four years.”

Instead, Townsend suggests taking large items to the laundromat.

Also, thoroughly clean the lint out of the dryer. Even if you remove lint from the filter regularly, lint builds up inside the dryer, Adkins says.

“You want to get a certified technician to come out and clean out the lint on the inside," he says. "That will wear your dryer out more quickly, and you have the chance of a dryer fire. You need a qualified technician to do that.”

5. How can I get the most energy efficiency from my refrigerator?

“The best thing that people can do to be more energy efficient is to make sure their condenser coils stay clean,” Adkins says. “If they don’t know what they’re doing and they’re not handy, they need to call a qualified technician. Typically, the condenser coils are on the back, underneath or on top [of the refrigerator].”

Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on July 11, 2014.

Have you ever had any problems with your smart appliances? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.

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