Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Servicing Your Appliances

Heehee – servicing your appliances. It’s like a euphemism from a bad romance novel.

Back to the point of the post… You should have your appliances serviced (giggle) every now and then. Probably once a year if you use it frequently, like a vacuum. Yes, you’re supposed to use the vacuum frequently.

I brought my vacuum in recently to the local Sew-N-Vac. You know, that store that you have no idea what they do? They fix and clean sewing machines and vacuums. They also sell those items, accessories, replacement parts, and lately they tend to carry sewing paraphernalia like fabric, thread, patterns, etc. I brought my beloved sewing machine in a couple months ago and kicked myself for not doing it sooner – all of a sudden my sewing machine runs smooth as butter and all of the fancy stitches started working again. And with the success of my sewing machine tune-up, I decided the vacuum was next.

It costs $20 to have the technician take apart and inspect the vacuum, and belt replacements are included in that. I had him replace the filter too for an additional $17. With tax it was only about $40 and it ran like new. Well, until another belt broke and I brought it back in. So, $60 and it runs like new.

A lot of people wouldn’t even think about getting an appliance serviced or fixed. We’ve been raised as good little consumerists, myself included, and when something breaks we throw that one out and buy a new one. What stopped me from doing the same this time? I’m trying to save some money, be more eco-friendly (forgive the buzz word), and help a small local business out.

Point One: Money. It can cost a lot to have an appliance serviced – my sewing machine (originally $200 over 10 years ago) costs approximately $65 each time I bring it in for a tune-up or repair. I could spend $75 on a cheap replacement instead of a quality tune-up. But right there I’m saving $10, and I’m betting that the cheapy machine would break before my tune-up wears out. With larger appliances, like refrigerators and ovens, a replacement part and labor can be much more expensive – but so isn’t the appliance. I’d rather spend $200 on a repair than $1000 on a new oven.

Point Two: Be more eco-friendly. You’re keeping that appliance out of the landfill and you’re not buying a new appliance that cost resources to make. Pretty straight-forward. Yes, you can recycle a lot of appliances, but if you can fix it that’s often a better option since generally not every single bit of the appliance will be recycled and some of it will end up in the landfill.

Point Three: Help out a local business. I try to keep my purchases local when I can so the box stores don’t win, but I also like to save money. In this case it’s a win/win (see saving money).

If you can’t think of an appliance repair place off the top of your head, try the Yellow Pages. I started typing in “small appliance repair” and before I got through the second “p” it had auto-filled the category for me. Bam! A lot of places make house calls too.

My vacuum will likely be going in for a clean-out/tune-up pretty frequently now since we have a crawling baby and I like our floors to be as clean as we can get them. Cat explosions are a common occurrence in our house and I don’t need Max having an excuse to eat more cat hair. (Once a friend was pet-sitting for a week and on day three freaked out because our beige carpet was suddenly covered in cat hair. She thought they were sick or something – no, they’d just been wrestling. Intensely wrestling.)


~ Regan said...

Intensely wrestling... or servicing their.......
Nope, Can't say it. This here is a family blog! ;) LOL!

I also 'fix' things before I go and buy new. Like my vaccum. I figured out how to take the whole darn thing apart one night went it wasn't working just right. I figured, what have I got to lose? Turned out that it was just clogged with dog hair! I cleaned each piece, put it all back together, and it worked fine. THat taught me to not fear just jumping into something new, like fixing a mechanical thing. Since then, I also fixed the dishwasher, the toilet, relaced a burnt out garbage disposal, the garage door opener, and lots of things!

Jessie said...

Good for you! I've taken my vacuum apart to a certain degree (more on that later) but there are parts of it that intimidate me too much, like belts.