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?