When your home stove, no longer works like it used to, and remains so no matter what you do, suddenly you are faced with a choice: Repairman or replacement?
Time and money are the two factors that come to the fore when pondering over this. Ideally, you want to save time, and you want to save money whenever your appliance breaks down.
Depending on the age of your machine, you can save time and money by calling in a licensed Houston Appliance Repair Service. According to most experts, the cost of getting a repairman is usually no more than 30 percent of the cost of getting a new one. It also saves you the time and energy you would have spent searching for a replacement.
On the flip side, if your appliance is seven years old or more, and you find that the cost of repair is over 50 percent of the cost of replacement, then it may be a better idea to get a new one. Holding on to appliances longer than is their due could result in more cost for repairs in the long run.
Check out the lifespan estimates for standard appliances in Texas as provided by The National Association of Home Builders:
- Refrigerator: 13 years
- Washing Machine: 10 years
- Freezer: 11 years
- Dishwasher: 9 years
- Kitchen Range/ Oven: 15 years
- Dryer: 13 years
Paying attention to these estimates can go a long way in helping you make the right choice as to whether to call in a technician or get a new one.
Before you get to that point, it’s good to make sure that there is something wrong with your appliance in the first place, and if so, what you should do about it.
Create and Run Through a Checklist
Harris County may have a variety of selections for licensed appliance technicians, but the first thing you need to check is if your appliance at home is REALLY broken. Maybe the plug short-circuited; it could be a tripped circuit breaker, or maybe just a bad surge protector outlet. There are quite a few things that could be causing your appliance not to function properly. Glance through the troubleshooting section of the instruction manual to know the most common problems and their solutions.
Has the appliance given any trouble in the past? If the answer is no, then it may be better to repair it rather than replace it with something that is yet to prove itself against the test of time.
What is the cost of a similar appliance? Keep your eye on the money as you look through your local retailers in Houston, Texas. Do not ignore the hidden costs either, like removal, installation, disposal, and taxes. Does buying a new one fall comfortably within your budget?
What are the additional perks of having a new appliance? Are there any extra features that could come with a new machine which is not found in the one that you have?
What about energy savings and tax credits? Try to find out how much you will save in energy costs with a new appliance. The amount saved could offset the cost of getting a new one. Also, try to find out if there are tax credits to be gained for buying a particular energy efficient appliance.
Is your appliance still under warranty? If it is, then repairs and replacement may be covered.
After answering these questions, you can then decide on whether you want to go for repairs or get a new one outright.
Ask for help if you still aren’t sure.
If you still cannot make up your mind, then you can call a reputable repairman to take a look and offer advice on whether there is something wrong, and what to do about it. You may have to pay a service fee, but it will settle your doubts once and for all.
How to Choose a Reliable Repair Service
When the stove in your house goes awry, and it slowly dawns on you that you have to reach out to a repairman, how do you go about it? How can you avoid paying too much for the repair? The following are a few things you can do to avoid digging deeper than necessary into your pocket when you have to bring a repairman in:
Find the right repair service in Houston: It all starts with the right repair service. Talk to friends and neighbors who have had similar work done for them. Learn a little bit about their experience: the technician’s skill; the work done; the price paid; and whether they have had any need to call for a repeat job on the same device. Look it up online. There are many trusted sites like Angie’s List that give best and worst ratings for repair services in your area. This should help point you in the right direction.
When a particular service catches your eye, the next thing you should do is call or email them for inquiries as to the cost of a basic service call-out. Most companies charge a minimum fee just for coming out to look at your problem; anywhere from $50-$100 dollars. This cost is accrued, whether you have an actual problem or not, so you better find out first.
Find out the average cost for a repair job in Texas: The cost of a repair job varies from business to business, and depends on the job that has to be done. Going for an independent contractor, following referrals from friends and neighbors, may save you some money, but it is worth noting that these independent contractors do not come with the same safeguards you would expect from a licensed, bonded repair service.
Contractors also charge an hourly rate usually, and also include the call out fee into it from the get-go. It is always wise to know how the total cost is calculated, rather than being in the dark about it. Hourly rates may range from $99-$150 in any case, but this should not daunt you-many repairs take less than an hour in the hands of a professional. For example, fixing a defrosting unit on a fridge may only entail changing a few damaged connectors, and may take all of fifteen minutes.
Stay away from companies that offer cut rates for work done, especially if they prefer cash in hand payment. There is a certain level of security afforded by the use of credit cards in the sense that in the case of a job poorly done, or not done at all, the credit can be taken back by your credit card issuer.
How to keep appliance repair costs low: If you are going to keep repair costs low, then you have to know a little about what needs to be done. Know the difference between what needs to be fixed and what needs to be replaced. Trying to repair an appliance that is more than halfway along its lifespan with a high likelihood of breaking down again will cost you more in the long run. Replacement may be the better option in this case.
Get a quote from several repair service companies before you commit to any. Try to be as accurate as possible with your problem when talking to a repair service before they arrive. Give them a detailed explanation of the issue, along with the make, model, and a serial number of the appliance in question. An experienced service technician would be able to use this information to come at once with all that he suspects he may need to get the job done. This saves time and ultimately cost.
While some companies may have their reasons for shying away from providing estimates on the phone, it is best you avoid companies that do so: you do not want to get committed to a service charge before without a strong idea of the possible service cost.
Do the above and you should be able to stay on top of things when you call a repairman in.
Energy Saving Appliances
If you decide to get a new appliance, it may be worth taking the time to consider a replacement that is energy efficient or energy saving. You can save quite a lot with an energy efficient appliance, in particular with the new requirement standards for new home appliances.
Driven by regulation and competition, manufacturers are coming up with residential appliances that consistently offer more, while using less energy. Whether by making refrigerators larger with more compartments or upgrading washers so that clothes get drier in the spin cycle, “Energy [efficient appliances] are the new normal,” as per Jim Freedman, CEO of Metropolitan Appliance in Seattle.
So what does this mean for you who are looking to buy say, a new home stove, or a new residential central air conditioner?
It means more money you get to save annually! Annual net savings in 2012 for U.S. consumers from minimum energy-efficient standards stood at $10.5 Billion dollars. The same can be said for the individual appliances in your house:
Annual Reduction in Electricity: This stands at 7 percent. The decrease in electricity use mainly thanks to energy efficient standards.
Annual Washing Machine Usage: 10,000 gallons. This is down from 14,000 gallons from five years ago.
Standard Size for Washer: 3.5 cubic feet. This is up from the standard in 1980 which was 2.5 cubic feet. There has been an increase in capacity, even as energy usage has dropped.
Average Household Refrigerator Usage: 1,941 Kilowatt hours was the standard in 1972 and cost about $1,250 in today’s dollars. This is several times larger than the $550 the average household spends today for less than 500 Kilowatt hours.
Savings per Household: The projected savings for the typical home over a 15-year period stands at a whopping $8,430 a year because of the energy efficient appliances that are rolled out today.
This is something to think about when you decide to get a replacement for your existing appliance.
How to Prolong the Lifespan of Your Appliance?
It is inevitable that you will one day have to face the “Repair or Replace” dilemma. However, you can put off having to do so by taking proper care of your appliances.
The best way to solve the problem is to avoid one, so here are a few guidelines as to how you can take better care of a few select appliances:
The key to having your refrigerator working for a long time is having the condenser cleaned. A dirty condenser will cause the compressor to overheat and fail prematurely. Make sure that you clean you fridge at least once a week to keep yourself from calling in for a refrigerator service technician.
Ovens and Kitchen Ranges
Most of the time, when you have to call an oven repairman, it is immediately after having used the self-cleaning feature. When you use the self-cleaning feature, the oven gets very hot, emitting toxic fumes that may be damaging to your health as well as possibly causing oven components to fail. If you take care of any spills that occur when using the oven, you may never have to resort to using the self-clean feature.
Most gas ranges and cooktops have the ignite switch located directly under the burner control knobs. It is important not to allow these switches to get in contact with moisture as a spill could cause these switches to fail and catch fire.
Rinse off the food from your plate with warm water before loading them into the dishwater. Despite what you have heard, it is not okay to leave food on the plates when you use the dishwasher. This leftover food often ends up clogging the pump, drain lines or spray arms. Not a good scenario.
Following these instructions will keep the dishwasher repairman away, and postpone having to face the question of whether to replace or repair an appliance.
Always clean the lint screen before every load to avoid the need to call for a dryer service technician, even though this will not stop dust from building up inside the dryer and the dryer vent line. To prevent a possible fire in your dryer or dryer vent, it is important that you take the dryer apart to vacuum it out every few years, and also to clean out the dryer vent line.
Check the pockets of your clothes to make sure that they are empty before you wash them. Stray coins can damage the washing machines pump. Fountain pens and felts could ruin an entire load of laundry.
Never overload a washing machine. Heavy or off balance loads can damage the washer. A bigger washing machine does not necessarily give you leeway for much larger loads. These are just some of the things that will keep you away from calling a washer repairman.
If what you have in mind lies a little bit in the middle, rather than in either category, then other options are available.
You may just want to replace an appliance that works fine, but looks outdated. You can have them looking good as new with the help of services that are willing to retouch or refinish older appliances. Plus, the neighbors will never know it’s simply the old one looking brand new!