Thursday, December 24, 2009

Can it be fixed?

This one is for the homeowners out there.

Nothing worse than settling in, and having a major appliance take a hooey on you. For us, it's been the dishwasher this past month, and then the oven element last night.

Now, for the dishwasher. My father has been a dishwasher repairman for commercial dishwashers for decades (literally). He has fixed this particular dishwasher for me three times before. When he was visiting in September, he and my husband gave it a going-over at that time because it wasn't working right. So, when it stopped cleaning dishes, YET AGAIN, less than two months later, it was unlikely to be a quick and easy fix. Also, factor in the age of the dishwasher (10 years), and it was due to be replaced. We shopped around, dickered with the salesman, and got a good deal. Hubby installed it himself.

For the oven element. To begin with, I touched the element twice (I was wiping out the ash at the bottom of the oven after having run the self-cleaning cycle, and the element had broken into two places when I lifted it up to wipe underneath it). Found out later, this is a big NO-NO. 240 currents (or is it watts?) runs through it at all times, even if the oven is "off". Since the element was broken, that current was "live". I could have shocked myself badly. It's a blessing I wasn't hurt.

Anyway, hubby checked on-line and found that a new element is relatively inexpensive. He then called around town, found a local repair shop that had it in stock today (so we save on shipping fees, and get it today....considering the shipping cost, we only paid a dollar or two more to get it today rather than have it shipped). Bonus, hubby was able to speak to a repairman at the shop face-to-face who works on those ovens who could walk him through how to install it. (Bare in mind, hubby is a mechanic, please only work with the skill level that you are comfortable with!)

The upside to this is that we were able to fix the oven for under $40. What a huge blessing that is. But, when the element broke, we didn't know how much the part would cost. If it would be terrifically expensive, or relatively cheap.

Word to the wise. When an appliance breaks around the house, check out your options. Can it be fixed? Can you simply get parts and fix it yourself, or do you need to pay someone to fix it for you? If you need to pay someone to fix it for you, what is the worst case scenario? Would getting a new appliance be more cost effective at that point (thinking about wear and tear, how long will it last until it breaks again and needs further repair)?

Something to think about.

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