Understanding the Risks of DIY Appliance Repair
DIY Appliance Repair: Why Do It?
The rewards are obvious! You save money (maybe)! Or perhaps you’re not thinking as clearly as you should when you undertake that DIY repair on your stove, fridge, or air conditioner that has been running a little rough lately.
Dealing with a broken appliance is stressful. It’s also potentially expensive, so some homeowners may wait to call an appliance repair service.
Other DIYers may have an inflated sense of their abilities (Dunning-Kruger effect), in which case misguided self-confidence overwhelms common sense. They think they can do what the professionals do, or a close approximation of it.
So, if you plan to save a few bucks by handling the repairs yourself, consider the following risks.
- You may end up causing more damage to the appliance, which will ultimately cost you more money to fix.
- You could injure yourself. Many guys see this as more of a challenge than a risk.
- You may not be able to diagnose the problem correctly.
- A botched DIY repair could put your home at risk for fire or other damage.
- You may void the appliance warranty!
In the end, it’s often best to leave appliance repairs to the pros. But first, let’s examine some of the hazards of DIY follies in more detail.
A DIY Repair Can Be Complicated & Dangerous
Unless you’ve worked extensively with electrical components, you should always consult a professional for electrical repairs.
Cleaning a filter is a DIY job.
Replacing refrigerator gaskets can be a DIY task.
But when it comes to replacing a heating unit or compressor, you should see “proceed with caution” signs along the DIY highway.
Working with electrical wiring is dangerous, and if the repair is botched, it could result in even more expensive repairs down the road.
For example, if you were to wire your dryer incorrectly, not only could you cause a fire, but you would also void the warranty.
In addition, many appliance retailers offer free or discounted diagnostic services. So, before you start taking your appliance apart, it’s always best to get a professional opinion.
Sometimes, the first impulse is to get the tools out and fix the problem yourself when an appliance isn’t working.
Is your dryer not tumbling? You might naturally want to save money and tackle the problem yourself.
But before you start disassembling your dryer, take the time to consider whether or not the repair is worth your time and effort. For simple repairs, you should first get familiar with the mechanics of the appliance.
This will help you determine whether or not the issue is something that you can fix yourself. You should have a clear understanding of the repair process before you begin. Otherwise, you could end up causing more damage to the appliance.
You’ll Need Expertise & the Right Tools
For more complex repairs, save yourself time and heartache and hire a professional. Not do the pros have the experience and expertise to diagnose the problem correctly, but they also have the tools and proper equipment for the job.
Like cars, home appliances are more complicated than ever, with digital readouts and sensors that make them seem more like spaceships than the dumb machines of yesteryear.
In addition, many appliance manufacturers are now using sealed systems, which means that even if you’re able to diagnose the problem successfully, you may not be able to repair it.
If your refrigerator leaks Freon, you’ll need special training and a license to handle the toxic chemicals. The same is true for working with natural gas appliances.
Additionally, some repairs require special tools that the average homeowner doesn’t have access to.
For example, if your washing machine leaks water, you’ll need to access the pump. But to do that, you’ll first need to remove the motor. And to do that, you’ll need a special wrench.
In other words, unless you’re a trained appliance repair professional, certain repairs are simply beyond your scope.
A DIY Repair Could Void the Appliance Warranty
Many appliance repairs void the warranty. So, if you have a problem with a new appliance, you may be better off calling the manufacturer or retailer and taking advantage of their warranty coverage.
Even if the repair is something you could do yourself, it’s often not worth the risk of voiding the warranty.
Imagine that your washing machine is leaking water and you decide to repair it yourself.
You open up the machine, locate the problem, and make the repair. But in the process, you accidentally damage one of the sensors.
Now your washing machine is no longer under warranty, and you’re stuck paying for a repair that would have been covered had you not attempted the fix yourself.
A Bad DIY Appliance Repair Could Cost You More Than Time & Money
Appliance repairs often involve working with electricity, natural gas, or other dangerous things.
Every year, people are seriously injured or killed while attempting to repair home appliances.
If you’re working on a gas stove and you accidentally puncture a gas line, you could start a fire or cause an explosion.
Or, if you’re working on an electric appliance and don’t know how to connect the wires according to spec, you could give yourself a nasty shock.
Even if you manage to complete the repair without injuring yourself, you could still end up causing damage to the appliance.
And if that happens, you’ll be left with an expensive repair bill and a broken appliance.
In other words, unless you’re confident in your ability to repair the appliance (Dunning-Kruger effect), it’s always best to hire a professional.
Appliance Repair vs Replacement: The Bottom Line
When it comes to appliance repair, keep a few things in mind.
- Some repairs are too risky for the average person to attempt.
- A lousy repair could cost you more than time and money.
- The cost of appliance repair vs. replacement is something you need to consider carefully before deciding.
In some cases, the cost of repairing an appliance is almost as much as buying a new one.
There are a few things you need to consider, such as the appliance’s age, the severity of the problem, and the cost of the repair.
Of course, even if you decide to repair your appliance, there’s no guarantee that the repair will fix the problem.
And in some cases, the appliance may break down again soon after you’ve paid for the repair.
Call West Coast Chief Repair
West Coast Chief honors all manufacturer warranties and guarantees labor and parts for all repairs we perform.
Call us before you embark on a costly DIY misadventure. All estimates are free with a completed repair. We service all brands and appliance types. And we’ve been bailing out the DIYers since 1992.