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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

Sheesh. I’ve been offline enough that I didn’t even mention my weekly post over at Forever Parenting. It’s all about the, ahem…adventures we’ve been having with the washing machine around here.

Have you checked into the cost of having an appliance repaired lately? Its frightening how quickly those charges can add up.

We purchased a washer/dryer set used from some friends almost 2 years ago. The machines were only about a year old when we got them. Everything went great for a while, then the problems started cropping up. Turns out that particular brand/model is the subject of a class-action lawsuit because they’ve been trouble for so many consumers. Sigh. Just my luck; and no warranty for me either.

First I called the brand repair folks. For a paltry $250 they were willing to let me buy an extended warranty on the machine; this translated into complete replacement IF it had 3 major problems during the warranty period. Of course, I’d be paying for those repairs along the way. Might as well just buy a new machine for that price.

Next I tried having the local appliance repair guy come in. He replaced a part, charged me an arm and left. This did not solve the problem. For his second visit, he made some other changes and charged me a leg. The problems persisted. Unfortunately the issue is not clear-cut. Being unwilling to deal with the appliance folks again, I started searching online for help.

That’s when I discovered a couple of really great resources for DIY appliance repair. I found them when I typed the error code and brand into a Google search box. The one I used the most is the Appliance Blog Forum. This forum is divided into categories like washers, dryers, refrigerators, HVAC, and more. Within each category are sub-categories by brand. I found a good deal of help on this forum, and many questions are answered by appliance repair specialists who know what they’re talking about. This site does sell parts as well, but they’re very supportive of the DIYer. Another big one is the Samurai Appliance Repair Forum, and there’s one called RepairClinic that sells parts and features diagrams of appliances which is tremendously helpful.

There are quite a few other appliance sites out there, these are just the ones I used and found helpful. After reading the forums, I got courageous enough to start taking my washer apart (with the help of my intrepid Mother-In-Law) and can now nurse the machine through a cycle even when it’s behaving its worst. I’m fairly certain that I need to buy and install a new control board. Thanks to the forums, I’m pretty confident that Hubby and I can do the job ourselves. The part on its own costs less than having a repairman walk through our door and smile, so I figure it’s worth the try.

I still have an arm and a leg left….

**Special note: appliance repair can be tricky and dangerous. All necessary precautions should be taken and instructions carefully read before undertaking the job. Ultimately, your health and safety is more important than your wallet, and if you’re not sure about the job, hire the professional.