“Next to a house and a car, appliances are probably homeowners’ biggest investment,” says Chris Granger of Sears Home Services. That’s why – boring or not – it’s important to know what you’re doing when it comes to repairing or replacing appliances.
Homeowners often don’t think about their appliances until something goes wrong and they can no longer use them. Unfortunately, this also means that you’ll have to make repairs that could end up costing you more money than if you had discovered the problem earlier. Your equipment has an important job to do, so you want to make sure it works as efficiently as possible. You need to do everything you can to make them work properly, such as keeping your refrigerator cool without overloading it unnecessarily. Problems with appliances can have many causes, but they can be solved through maintenance.
“The most common mistake made by homeowners,” says Granger, “is not performing regular maintenance on appliances. Appliances are like cars. If you don’t maintain them regularly, they will eventually break down.”
If you find one and decide to fix it, be careful. Check the warranty first. Many appliances come with a multi-year manufacturer’s warranty. Second, do business with the repair company you are looking for, not one near you. Some repair companies offer free or low-cost inspections and then take the opportunity to demand expensive repairs.
The better maintained your appliances are, the longer they will last without the need for repeated repairs. Clean the exterior and interior parts of your equipment regularly to prevent filters or pumps from getting dirty and needing repair. Small problems can be fixed by a technician so they don’t get worse.
Ask for a written estimate when the technician comes to your home. This estimate should include all necessary parts and labor costs. Ask for it in writing, because in some countries the technician must ask for your approval if the price is more than 10% higher than the written estimate. Find out if the company offers a warranty and ask for written confirmation.
Finally, underpayment or non-payment in advance. Dishonest companies have been known to ask for payment up front and then disappear. Reputable companies should not ask you for money at the beginning of the job.