Should You Fix that Appliance or Trash It?

Written by Joe Perritt
Updated September 30, 2015
Kitchen Aid mixer on counter
Kitchen mixers are relatively easy to fix, so don't toss it at the first sign of distress. (Photo by iStock)

Is it worth it to fix your small kitchen appliances?

Before the innovation of the assembly line, life was a more difficult experience, and even remedial tasks like brewing coffee or toasting bread were fairly tough to do.

The daily need and want for certain foods and services has led the world to develop an innumerable amount of time-saving appliances, some of which are better engineered than others. Despite these products' advantages and efficiencies, they will eventually break, clog, or just stop working, and when they do — don't freak out!

Most types of appliances are easily fixed when they fail. Use this guide to better understand small appliance repair.

Can you fix a coffee maker?

Almost nothing is better than a hot cup of coffee when you wake up, but after making hundreds of pots, this morning brew might start tasting bitter from damage or from the minerals, grease, or grime that stick to the plastic parts or innards of your machine.

Unfortunately, cheaper coffee machines are made almost entirely from plastic, and some of the parts like the siphon tube and filter basin can melt or degrade after time.

If you do own a plastic coffee machine, and it's starting to show signs of wear or damage, don't bother trying to find replacement parts, as the shipping and handling might cost more than the entire machine did when you purchased it.

If you consider yourself a coffee connoisseur, spend the money on a higher-end machine that is made from better materials like brass, copper, and stainless steel.

Is it better to buy a new microwave?

Microwaves are fantastic, time-saving devices, and fortunately, some parts like doors, glass trays, or plugs can be easily found and fixed personally with minimal skill. This doesn't mean that you should crack the thing open and start fiddling around.

Microwaves contain capacitors, which can store energy when the machine is unplugged. There is a high risk of electrocution associated with microwave repairs, so it is highly advised that you either replace it or bring it to a professional if it isn't working properly.

Did the mixer stop mixing?

Mixers come in many shapes and sizes, and despite their high rates of speed, they are fairly simple machines that can be fixed easily.

Depending on what your making, mixers sometimes jam and this can cause the motor to lock up, which means that you will be finishing that cake or pudding dish by hand. It's not a problem though, because with just a few hand tools and a little bit of knowledge you can replace anything from the whisk catch to the entire engine.

Although, if it's a simple hand mixer that's broken, it's going to be a lot less trouble and cheaper to buy a new one.

Consider vacuum repair

If your vacuum stops producing suitable sucking power, take a few minutes to clean it out entirely.

Empty the bag/tank, check the hoses, remove and clean the brush, and check the filter. If it still isn't functioning like it should, you may be out of luck.

Sure, you can replace the motor, but if you don't have an active warranty, an engine repair will probably cost more than a brand new vacuum.