/ Home & Energy

Getting household appliances fixed can be easier than you think


Do you attempt to fix your busted appliances, or do you simply replace them?

You’re running out of clean clothes and your laundry basket is overflowing. You put a wash on to clear the backlog – and the machine gets stuck full of water and won’t drain. The last thing you need right now is a mission to buy a new machine – but chances are you can get it repaired for a fraction of the cost, or even fix it yourself.

When your household appliance breaks, the likelihood is that you won’t need to shell out the full cost of a replacement, according to our latest research. Many common faults on key household appliances can be fixed by professional repairers for an affordable price.

Take a broken drive belt on a Dyson vacuum cleaner. Our research suggests that this would cost around £40 for a professional repairer to fix – not bad when you’re looking at more than £250 for a new Dyson.

Repair is often worth a try

We investigated 14 of the most common faults affecting dishwashers, fridge-freezers, ovens, vacuum cleaners and washing machines, asking a panel of professional engineers if repair was advisable and, if so, how much they would charge.

The good news is that a repair was their recommended course of action in most cases. The prices the repairers quoted were generally reasonable, but there was a lot of variation. So the traditional advice to get multiple quotes is well worth following.

When to give up on an appliance

Most Which? members – a sensible bunch – know the benefits of fixing appliances when you can. We surveyed 1,157 members in June to find out what you did if your home appliances broke down. 61% of you got them repaired or made the fix yourselves, compared to 38% of you who replaced them.

The most common reason for replacing was that the appliance was too old to make it worthwhile. A good starting point for answering the question ‘Is it worth repairing?’ is to divide its original cost by how long you expect it to last. So a £100 appliance that you expect to last for five years would lose £20 of value per year. If a repair costs more than your appliance is currently worth, then it’s going to be harder to justify paying for.

Give DIY a try

If I told you that my own DIY skills are ‘limited’, that would be a kind way to put it. So it’s been encouraging to learn while researching this article just how many faults I could fix myself.

As well as the guidance in instruction manuals on how to carry out common repairs, there’s also a wealth of information on YouTube and elsewhere online. You could say it’s now easier than ever to save money by fixing problems yourself.

Tell us about your experience of repairing household appliances and how it went – did you find it easy to do?


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That sounds ideal but I have managed to use a microwave oven with a painted steel chamber since the late 80s or early 90s. I don’t run it of full power (all of 500W) for any length of time so that food does not get splattered on the surfaces and if necessary I wipe it with a damp cloth (without detergent, which could cause corrosion). The beauty of a simple (rather than combination) microwave is that it’s very easy to keep clean.

Commercial products are a good idea if you have room because they can be much better made.

My Sharp 500W microwave dates from 1984 or thereabouts and still works great. It, too, has a painted steel chamber.

My 2nd longest serving white good is my Zanussi FL 812 washing machine. It was bought some time around 1988.

I do also still use some bedroom furniture that was made for my mother’s parents in the late 1920s or early 1930s. Grandad was able to get them made by a neighbour, a skilled joiner, who was unemployed at the time.

I have been meaning to ask you if your Zanussi washing machine is still working, Derek. Had I not moved home I might still be using my 1982 Philips W082 machine.

I thought I would have to scrap my Kenwood food processor dating from the 80s but my last attempt to fix it seems to have worked. When it finally dies it will be because of failure of plastic components rather than wear & tear.

Being able to repair a domestic appliance,very often depends on the availability of spares.I know from my own
experience,obtaining spares is easier said than done.Manufactures helplines are not very helpful