Calling out a professional to fix an appliance is expensive, which is why many of us feel it’s not worth it and simply buy a new one. What if we could fix it ourselves? Thanks to the internet, it’s possible to do just that.
Brad Moon of GeekDad.com regularly turns to the internet when an appliance stops working. “I’m not the world’s handiest guy, but I’m willing to tackle a project given decent instructions,” he says before advising to look on YouTube and DIY forums, and find instructions that seem trustworthy. Here’s how to follow in Brad’s handy footsteps.
Accept there are some items you have to leave well alone
Avoid dismantling electrics unless you really do know what you’re doing, and don’t even think about touching a gas appliance. Similarly, the functioning of a fridge or freezer’s refrigeration system is way beyond most DIY-ers. You may also find some appliances are so highly computerised they’ll need to be reset by the manufacturer after you’ve fixed them. Appliance manufacturers are guarded with their technical information so you might have to call their own people out anyway.
Check the warranty
Before you attempt a repair, check if your appliance is still in warranty, in which case you could get it repaired for free. A DIY repair will probably invalidate a warranty, but if it has gone beyond it, it’s academic anyway and could be worth having a go yourself.
Switch it off and back on again
If your appliance won’t switch on, check the electricity supply. Has its fuse box tripped? Has the fuse in the plug gone? Simply switching off and back on again might solve the problem. If not, switch on your search engine.
Have the relevant info to hand
Before you search online, make sure you have the exact make and model number to hand. You can find this on the appliance itself or the instruction manual (which you can also find online) that came with it. There’s no point watching a repair video for the wrong model. An error code may have come up on a display, so make a note of that.
Diagnose the problem
Knowing how to pinpoint the problem is the secret to home appliance repair. Once you know exactly what the problem is, most of the time you can fix it. Look on uk whitegoods and espares for help with diagnosing a problem, and ordering spare parts. As Brad says about his washing machine: “I searched online using the appliance make, model and symptoms. Bingo, I found a YouTube video from someone purporting to be an appliance repair technician, showing exactly how to remove a panel, drain the excess water and pull a likely clog from a concealed filter.”
Find your online repair
You’ll find, like Brad, that putting the make, model and symptoms into the search will throw up several video tutorials and DIY forum threads. It’s worth watching and reading several of them to make sure they give consistent advice. “I’m careful to corroborate any repair advice just in case someone is putting out fake instructions that end in a write-off,” cautions Brad. Prop your phone or tablet near your appliance so you can start and stop the video as you follow it.
Before you begin
Switch off the appliance and unplug it. Make sure you have plenty of old or paper towels and a mop and bucket handy. It’s a good idea to have a plastic pot to put screws and small parts straight into as you remove them - there’s nothing more annoying than losing them underneath the appliance. Take photos of any pipes and components before you disconnect/take them apart so you can see how everything goes back together again. Then simply follow the instructions, using some of your own intuition and common sense too.
Once you have done the repair, replace everything and test that your appliance works before you push it back into position. With any luck, it will run like a dream and you have saved yourself a fortune. Don’t forget to add to the online knowledge bank by posting your experience on the forum. As Brad says of his washing machine, “There’s no way I would have figured that one out on my own and I can just imagine what the repair would have cost. A lot more than an hour or two of my spare time.”