By November 15, 2013 Read More →

Repair or Replace?

repair-or-replaceWashing Machine

It’s a sunny Saturday morning and the first task on your things to do list is to wash your clothes. You started loading worn clothes and dirty beddings, and filled the machine with water. When you turned it on, it didn’t run; dead. You can hear the clock ticking, giving you warning that I can’t just imagine how frustrated you are upon pushing the button. What will you do next? Would you want to call someone who is an expert in repairing it? Or you just hit the appliance center for replacement? This dilemma is common when broken appliances start to meddle with our daily goals.

Your budget, priorities, and lifestyle will play a role in making this kind of decision. One thing must be considered before rushing to the store is to determine the cause of the breakdown of the machine. From that information, you can calculate the cost for the repair with the experts’ assistance. It will surely depend on how serious the damage can be. Hence, it is not a hassle-free choice. You are lucky enough if the unit is still under warranty; it means that you don’t have to pay anything unless there is a need to replace certain parts. If it is out of warranty, then you must be prepared of the cost of repair and other charges that the technician will give you. One measuring technique to know if the cost of repair is expensive is when it reaches 40-50% of the price of a brand new machine. Though there are distinctions in the ways to reflect on if the repair is worth it, the above scenario is still considered the basic step when dealing with broken machines.

Clothes Dryer

On the one hand, if your clothes dryer has been having troubles despite low level of usage, fixing it is usually the best choice. Based on the current prices of dryer, you can save a lot on repair rather than replacement. When fixing clothes dryer, see to it that its sensor for moisture is still in good condition. Why it is important? Because it is responsible on turning the dryer off when the clothes are already dry, thus its tasks are to save energy and to avoid damaged clothes. Another thing to check is the machine’s age. A machine that’s already reached 15 years of usage is already old, and it is always advisable to buy a new one. The older it gets, the faster it consumes energy, which can deliberately affect your utility bills. Although winter and rainy seasons won’t make clothesline useful, line-drying is still the best option for drying clothes – very cheap, chemical-free, and totally fabric-friendly.

Electric Fans

When it comes to electric fans, one way to say that it can still be repaired is the humming of the motor. If you think that its motor is already functioning, but its blades aren’t working, it might be showing signs of wear and tear. When this happens, there are two issues to look into – the shaft, it is where the blade is connected, and the bushings. One of the factors that damage an electric fan is the accumulation of dirt in its motor and blades. An electric fan which is not cleaned regularly can collect thick dust which can cause corrosion. Overused electric fan can also go dead, as some parts of it may burn out, and it can even cause fire in your home. In this case you definitely need a new one. Though you can still purchase a motor for your electric fan for at most 10 dollars, the wirings and the motor alignment are the next problem to be solved. It is a heavy work for the beginners to face; surely it is not worth the hassle. If the problem is dust-related, you must get contact with the motor. First, remove the blade cover, and then detach the blade from the fan. Quick reminder: never remove any parts of the electric fan when it’s still plugged in. Make sure it’s been plugged out before doing the activity. Start cleaning the blade. Remove the screws attaching the cover to the motor. Then start brushing the dust off the motor and wash the cover and blade with soap and water. It is advised to clean the electric fan once a month to avoid corrosion and clogs. As the cliché goes, prevention is way better than cure.

Dishwashers

When it comes to dishwashers, the regulators panel of the recent models may sometimes look daunting. Buttons, knobs and other features are multifaceted to repair. However, this is not always the case. Parts of the dishwasher can be traded in one package, which is much cheaper than to hire a technician to see the machine. Examine the machine carefully. If you think some parts are not in use anymore, remove it. Have it checked with the technician. You can either replace the parts or have the old one repaired. Just a warning; dishwasher is connected to two systems: plumbing system and electrical system. Make sure to consider both in dealing with this appliance. If your dishwasher happens to be a decade old, I advise you to get a new one. It is more energy efficient and is of high quality than a repaired unit.

Refirgerator

The refrigerator is a staple in almost every household in countries that have tropical climate. It is a must have in extending the storage life of perishable goods, and it is also important in keeping water supply cool and refreshing. However, when a refrigerator starts to show wear and tear, such as hissing or leaking, it starts to consume tons of energy even when it is closed. It starts to function poorly, too. These are obvious signs that there’s a need to decide quickly on whether to repair or replace your refrigeration unit. Before you decide, there are some things that you should keep in mind when it comes to disposing a refrigeration unit. Let’s start with repair. Experts on refrigerator repair advice that a unit with side by side design should be repaired every 5 years while a unit with top and bottom design should be repaired every 7 years. Meanwhile, a unit with bottom freezers should be repaired in 7 years while a unit with top freezer should be repaired in 3 years, and 3 years more after its first repair. Appliance experts note that a side by side type refrigerator with an icemaker or freezer is more prone to early wear and tear compared to the top and bottom design. Icemakers, as refrigerator repair experts put it, are a nuisance in a refrigeration unit. Conversely, if you buy new refrigeration unit, particularly those with energy-saving feature, you can save as much as 15% electricity for the whole year. New ones are far energy-efficient than those made in the 70’s-80’s era, too. If you think that your refrigerator has been standing in your kitchen for a decade or two, might as well replace it with a new one. But always remember that icemakers or freezers are a bane in a refrigeration unit, so you might want to steer clear from models that have this feature.

Air Conditioner

An air conditioner is another necessity in a household. Firstly, it is always advisable to have the unit repaired first before opting to buy a new one. If you have a unit manufactured before 2010, it is best to have it repaired because the refrigerant used during those years contains compounds that damage the ozone layer hastily. However, if you think that the unit has been used pretty much, a good model that’s Energy Star rated should be picked first. Studies show that Energy Star certified air conditioning units let you save as much as $14 off from your electricity bill per annum. Another factor to consider when replacing it with an old one is proper disposal of the unit. As mentioned, it has parts that can tragically deplete ozone layer and harm the environment. Always make sure to buy from an appliance shop that provides proper disposal of old and broken appliances. Shifting to non-AC cooling units like ceiling fans and whole house fans is another way to cool down at pocket friendly prices.

Computers

Computers are a rage these days. It used to be that people with fatter wallets are the only ones who can afford a PC or a laptop. These days, aplenty of cheaper versions have come out and they’re even sold at installment plans, which are always a hot potato for consumers who want to get updated with technology without paying tons of bucks. When it comes to computers, repair should be the very first choice to make. These gadgets are manufactured with hundreds of chemicals, with lead and mercury being the most prominent compounds. Improper disposal of computers can lead to environment pollution since these chemicals will blend with the air, and then inhaled by nearby inhabitants. Another thing to consider when having troubles with this gadget is to upgrade. Low memory can cause lags, which can be solved by adding-on a higher one. If you want an energy saver computer, go for slim, LED monitors. Nevertheless, if the repair amount is half of the amount of a new unit, it is more practical to buy a new one than have the old one repaired.

If you are more devoted to a hassle-free choice and you are capable of paying much amount, then, never doubt on getting a new appliance. On the contrary, if you are the thrifty type owner, always have your unit checked with a technician before dismantling any of its parts. If you consider yourself an expert in the mechanical world, then, you can repair it yourself. Always consider the expenses that will cost you in repairs and purchases, and the age of your unit in determining which decision to make – repair or replace?

About the Author:

A senior writer and editor of The Green Guide and a father of 3 kids (1 girl and 2 boys). Rob's special interests include geography, enviroment study and hiking. Rob has traveled to over 100 places in 30 different countries in the past three years. His exotic and fun experiences will be talked in his new book which is going to be published soon.

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