Appliance Repair: 5 Tips to Save Time, Money and Stress

Written by Laura Q. McCarthy
Updated October 14, 2013
appliance repairman working on a washing machine
Get estimates before repairing an appliance, and find out if it makes more sense to fix it or to replace the appliance. (Photo by Brandon Smith)

Do you have an appliance in need of fixingf? Find out whether to repair or replace it, and get professional tips on appliance repair.

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Do you have an appliance that's on the fritz? Follow these five steps for stress-free appliance repair.

1. Who should you call?

First, consider what you need to repair. Different needs warrant different licensing and expertise.

For example, if you need to run electricity (or move an outlet) to accommodate a new appliance, call a licensed electrician. Plumbing a newly remodeled laundry room? A licensed plumber will know best how to patch into existing lines, and install a trap and vent properly.

2. Is the appliance powering on?

If not, check your breakers and see if one has tripped. Still nothing? Check other appliances and outlets on the same wall.

If you find any other outlets or appliances that are not live with electricity, call an electrician, as the problem is likely with your wiring and not an appliance.

3. Is the appliance under warranty?

Most major appliances have a manufacturer's sticker with the model number and name; call the toll-free number or go online to run the model number and find out if the appliance is still under warranty. If the customer service associate says it's still under warranty, ask for recommendations for "factory authorized" service companies.

Knowing the age of the appliance also helps you assess the cost of repair versus the cost to replace. The general rule of thumb is that if the repair will cost more than half of the replacement value, consider replacing it.

What do I do if the appliance is not under warranty?

It's time to call a licensed appliance repair person. Choose two or three highly rated companies and call them all. Provide them with the brand and model number and a detailed description of your problem.

Ask the company about its rates, guarantee and if it stock parts for your particular brand and model. Choosing a company that works with your brand frequently and stocks common parts can significantly reduce repair times.

5. What do I do once I have an appliance repairman on site?

Despite your stress, remember the technician is here to help. The more detail about the appliance that you can provide, the better. If the appliance was repaired in the past, or if it only malfunctions under circumstances, let the technician know. Understanding the appliance's history can help your technician efficiently diagnose and fix the problem.

Next, ask for a quote. Once the technician inspects the appliance thoroughly, he or she should provide a cost to repair, including parts and labor. This is a good time to inquire about the overall health and condition of the appliance. Based on the technician's prior experience, consider whether it's more cost-effective to repair or replace the appliance.

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