Your Appliance Repair Journey: What to Know Before You Call a Pro
As a homeowner, few things can be more jarring than having your morning routine disrupted by the abrupt reality of a broken down refrigerator or a malfunctioning stove top, or having your washing machine break down when you need it most.
The anxiety that comes with a broken appliance can be excruciating. One may worry: Are all my groceries going to go bad? Will I need to buy a brand new stove? How much is this all going to cost?
Sometimes, the best way to get a handle on these problems is to take things step by step. Based on our experience connecting more than 90,000 homeowners with appliance repair techs over the last 17+ years, we have learned a lot about how homeowners can save time and money through effective troubleshooting, careful consideration of when professional help is needed, asking service professionals the right questions, and smoothing the way for their visit.
We hope that this guide will help you no matter what stage you are in your appliance repair journey.
Before You Call a Pro:
Read Your Appliance Manual For Troubleshooting Tips
In our busy lives, appliance repairs can be a time-consuming and costly affair. As such, it’s important to troubleshoot appliance issues before calling a service professional. If you treat appliance problems with due diligence, you may be able to avoid the hassle of calling in a specialist, leaving you to move swiftly on with your day-to-day activities and saving you money.
Simply referring to the troubleshooting section at the back of many appliance manuals can help you identify and resolve common issues promptly and cheaply. Often, people overlook these troubleshooting sections and miss out on easy fixes. For example, turning a machine back on or fixing a tripped circuit breaker can sometimes prevent an unnecessary service call.
At the very least, checking the troubleshooting section of your appliance manual can make you better informed about the problem your appliance is having, and thus allow you to communicate better with a technician when booking service.
Review your Appliance Warranty
Appliance repair professionals can be a homeowner’s best friend when it comes to appliance malfunctions. But before you call one, you should check whether your appliance is still covered by a warranty.
If your appliance is still covered by a manufacturer’s warranty or an extended warranty purchased from the manufacturer or a third party, call the warranty holder directly to set up repair service. By doing so, you can save tons of money on repair services you’re already entitled to receive, and prevent any confusion and frustration that might arise if you were to hire a technician directly.
In many cases, an appliance warranty provider will not honor their warranty for services not generated through their claims process. So be sure to save lots of money and prevent frustrating misunderstandings by giving your provider a call.
Your appliance repair journey can be smooth and easy if you get familiar with the process and what you can do prior to calling an appliance repair professional.
Ask: Do You Need a Pro, or Can You Do it Yourself?
After reviewing your troubleshooting documents and your appliance’s warranty status, your next consideration might be: is this an issue I can fix myself?
The answer to this question may depend a great deal upon your familiarity with your appliances. Doing minor appliance repairs can save money, build confidence, and speed up the process of getting essential household appliances back into use, but you can also quickly get in over your head if you are diving into unfamiliar territory.
While it might be easy enough to clean a clogged lint trap when fixing a dryer that isn’t heating, or manually defrost an iced-up fridge, certain appliance repairs should be handled by a professional appliance repair technician.
For example, many freezer and dishwasher repairs can get complex pretty quickly once one has exhausted the troubleshooting basics. Meanwhile, Stovetop and oven repairs can involve tricky electrical gas line issues, which introduce potential dangers to those who lack experience. Appliance technicians are trained on how to handle these safely.
Decide Whether You Need to Repair or Replace Your Appliance
After you’ve read your manual to assess troubleshooting tips and determined that it needs the attention of a service professional, there is one final thing to consider: is it a better idea to repair the appliance or replace it altogether? In the case of the average tabletop microwave that is out of warranty, the best choice is typically to buy a new one, but the question gets more complicated when we consider more costly appliances.
When making this decision, we suggest you take a look at this handy calculator from Consumer Reports to weigh out the most reasonable decision, given the age of the appliance, its original cost, and cost of repair.
In many cases, you’ll only find out the cost of repair after an appliance technician has already visited your home to assess your repair needs. Still, you can use the calculator to identify what your repair budget should be.
Though we recommend this calculator for identifying your repair budget, other factors could further tip the scales toward repair. If the appliance you are replacing was purchased to accommodate particular space constraints, or cabinetry was built around that particular appliance, you might need to factor in costs involving retrofitting your cabinetry along with replacement costs.
Moreover, due to supply chain shortages and inflation issues, replacing your current appliance with today’s equivalent might be a more costly and lengthy process than the calculator allows. For these reasons, an increasing number of people are opting to repair their appliances in lieu of buying new ones.
How to Best Prepare for Your Appliance Repair Appointment
After you’ve done your troubleshooting, considered your options, and determined you need a pro to help get your appliance working again, it’s time to book an appointment with a pro.
When calling your professional and preparing for their visit, there are a few things you can do to make sure the appliance repair professional who comes to your door will be able to do their job more efficiently and effectively. Here are some ways you can feel more prepared and ready for your appliance repair appointment:
Make Sure The Appliance Repair Company Works with Your Brand
When speaking with an appliance repair company, be sure to mention the brand of the appliance that needs fixing. While many appliance repair pros are well-versed in fixes for a wide variety of brands, there can be exceptions to this, especially when it comes to less common, higher-end appliance brands. So, it’s best to avoid surprises by making sure the appliance repair expert you hire works with the appliance brand you own.
Ask About Warranties and Maintenance Plans
It is always a smart move to ask your appliance repair professional about warranties they provide for their services, as well as any maintenance plan options that may be available for your appliances.
If your appliance repair technician backs their service with a warranty, you can often prevent paying for a repeat visit if you’re in need of a covered service. Regular maintenance, meanwhile, can extend the lifespan of an appliance and, in some cases, can save time and money preventing major repairs from arising.
By talking to your appliance repair professional about maintenance options and their warranty policies, you’ll be prepared for any necessary follow-ups.
Ensure The Appliance is Easy to Access
Appliance repair experts are some of the busiest people around, so when you call in for help, it’s important to have access and space readily available. Before they arrive, make sure that the appliance they need to repair is out of its tight corner, free from any other items blocking it, so they can actually work their magic.
Try to envision the appliance professional’s point of view: If your appliance is impossible to reach or move within your home, fixing it becomes more difficult – which means they won’t be able to fix your appliance at all! So do yourself and your technician a favor by removing all clutter from around the appliance before they arrive – because nobody likes a messy repair emergency!
Whether you are in the initial troubleshooting process, deciding whether your appliance needs professional repair, or preparing for your service call, we hope these tips have helped you feel more knowledgeable and empowered as you go about your appliance repair journey.
Appliance Repair 101 FAQs
I lost my appliance manual. How can I find troubleshooting documents?
You can find the manual for most home appliances in a product support section on the manufacturer’s website. Search for the model number for your appliance (usually inside the door or on the back of most appliances) on the manufacturer’s website.
What information should I have on hand before calling an appliance repair professional?
You should be ready to provide information about the type of appliance and its manufacturer, as well as a calendar with your schedule of availability handy. By doing so, you can handle booking your appointment in a single call instead of kicking off a game of phone tag.
What’s the quickest way to get my appliance fixed?
The best way to get your appliance fixed quickly is to call a professional today. Service Direct makes booking an appliance repair appointment in your area fast and easy. The quickest way to connect with a pro is to call the phone number on this page, provide your zip code. Then, you’ll be immediately connected to a pro near you.
My microwave has stopped working. Should I get it repaired or buy a new one?
Over the range microwaves can be good candidates for repair, since they are more costly than countertop microwaves, and their placement and look often complement your current kitchen layout. Think twice before repairing your countertop microwave; many appliance repair companies will not service them because replacement can often be cheaper than repair.
What appliances do appliance repair companies repair?
Common appliances in need of repair include kitchen appliances like dishwashers, refrigerators, cooktops, stoves, and over the range microwave ovens, as well as laundry room appliances such as washers and dryers.
Should I call an appliance repair company to fix my garbage disposal?
Since garbage disposal issues frequently involve the specialized knowledge of a plumber, we recommend calling a plumber to resolve garbage disposal issues. Check out our recent article on troubleshooting a stuck garbage disposal for more information.