With the Internet, life is so different these days. I try to explain to my kids about what life was like without google….without being able to find the answer to whatever your question is with only a quick search. In all honesty, they just can’t grasp this concept.
I will admit that I am still amazed at what I can find out on the Internet and at times, it is hard even for me to remember what it was like back in the stone age without instant access to whatever I need to know. However, I am getting better at remembering to check the web first on most things. One of the things I head to the web for these days is when something breaks down.
Owning things in general, and especially when you own a home, there is always something that has an issue, it seems. Sometimes they are things that only need an easy fix, or sometimes it is an all-out repair, but I have learned to tackle both through the beauty of google.
I don’t know about you, but there is nothing that irks me more than paying a repairman close to $100 just to come out to my house to diagnose what is wrong with something. Then, the markup on the parts they carry on their trucks is astronomical! I have researched and found it to be as much as a 400% markup!
It is because I got so tired of this that I got a bit more bold in trying to work through things myself, first.
The next time something goes wonky on you, here’s what you should do before you call the repairman.
Google exactly what your problem is. Recently my dryer broke, and I went to google and typed in “why does my Kenmore dryer no longer heat?” If you have never done something like this, you will be amazed at what will come up. There are usually forums where this question was asked and lay people chime in, there will be videos of various dryer repairs, and then there will often be links to places that you can order parts from.
- It will take some time to sift through all of this to get to what will help you at this point, but take the time to just start going through each item that seems relevant as they appear in your search.
- Sometimes, you will want to add your specific model number if you have too many things to choose from. Sometimes the model number will be too limiting, so that is why I leave it out initially, but if you have way too many choices, go ahead and add it in to see if that can do some of the filtering for you.
- What you are looking for as you sift through all of these is something that confirms what the “symptoms” seem to be and some solutions to that problem. Generally, you will have a handful of problems that could be causing the issue.
When you have narrowed it down to this handful, the next step will be to determine whether this is a job you can tackle or not. Watch videos on how to get your appliance (or whatever) apart. Is this something that you can do?
Then, determine whether the “fixes” are all things you can do. Generally, you will find firsthand accounts from lay people who have done these repairs along with these videos. Read them. One of my favorite sites for appliance repair is RepairClinic.com. If others say it was an easy fix, then it must be an easy fix.
If you feel confident that you can take whatever it is apart and if you feel fairly confident that you can do the repair, try taking it apart to get to whatever the problem part is. Generally, this is a process of watching the video over and over again while doing it, but we have been able to pick our way through, using these videos as a guide.
I have a great appliance repair place locally where they are usually willing to talk through and troubleshoot with me. I generally take the part in and have them take a look to confirm it’s defect if possible. Then, I either purchase the part from them, or there are numerous places to buy parts online.
- My philosophy has always been that if worse comes to worse and I get in over my head, I can call the repairman at that point, but at least I tried to save some money first.
Now, if in your research you figure out that some of the problems may be too complicated for you to fix in your own, then a judgement call will have to be made.
- We recently had our microwave break down. In researching videos, I came across several sources that said that my problem is often too expensive to fix because the part that is needed is worth nearly as much as a whole new microwave. Because this came from several sources, we didn’t even try to do anything and just got a new microwave eventually.
There is nothing more frustrating than having something we rely on break down and although it can be more time consuming to work it out yourself (go ahead, ask my how long it took us to fix our dryer), if you are living on a tight budget as we are this has become a useful skill. I figure in the last year alone we saved more than $1000 being our own repairman.
The next time you are ready to pick up the phone to schedule an appliance repair, try these things first!
Have you successfully done a repair on your own? Please share!