Do-It-Yourself Repairs

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Appliance repair people, look away and skip this post.  The rest of you can save hundreds of dollars with the tips in this post.  Appliance repairs routinely start at a couple hundred dollars which can be one-fourth to one-half of the cost of a new appliance.  Most of that cost is for labor and even the cost for parts can be surprisingly high, but here is a way to drastically reduce that cost – do it yourself.  Wait don’t groan, I’m serious.

I don’t know anything about appliance repair, but I have recently been able to successfully repair my refrigerator and range each, several times.

Do-It-Yourself Repairs

The biggest surprise to me is how much money we can save by repairing things ourselves – even things we know nothing about.  I count the internet as one of the most life-changing inventions of my lifetime and one of the most wonderful examples is the capability to look up almost anything.  This includes a surprising number of maintenance and repair problems.  I highly recommend that your first stop for repair problems is not the phonebook, but the internet to search for your problem.  Chances are very good that you will find someone else who has encountered the same issue, has provided a solution, and even uploaded a video showing how to fix it.  Obviously, not all internet information is equally good, but I’m continually amazed at how often this works.

A recent example involved my refrigerator that sprang a leak from the water dispenser.  I know nothing about repairing appliances so I quickly called a repairman and learned that the cost would be at least $250 plus parts.  Next I searched the internet for my model and problem and found plenty of information about my problem, including a common consensus of the solution – I needed a replacement valve.  I quickly found I could order the part from many appliance parts websites for only one fifth of the cost of a repairman, but was still dubious that I could install it.  Then I found several YouTube videos that showed exactly how to do it.  Vindicated for my do-it-yourself labors; I ordered the part, re-watched the video, installed the valve, and barely contained my glee that it worked, saving over $250!  My family considered it just another routine repair, but I walked around with a swelled head for days.  Same thing for a replacement ice-maker for the freezer and circuit board for the range.  Other times, my internet research and YouTube videos convince me a repair is too expensive, so I know to just buy a new one – but again without having spent $250 for a repair person to tell me that.

Other Do-It-Yourself Repairs Around the House

When you do need a repairman, learn what they do.  I discovered that I could save big electrician costs by replacing my own failed circuit breakers, light switches, and light fixtures for just a few bucks.  Save plumber costs by unclogging your own toilets, not with plungers, but with a plumbing “snake”.  There is a good reason why Home Depot, Lowes, and hardware stores are packed these days – including by women.

About John Kimball

Over the past few decades, I have experienced most of these financial issues with both mistakes and successes. I sure wish someone had told me these things when I was first starting out. So many times I have cried out, "I want a do over!" when I learned a new financial lesson or tip. I aim to pass along to you the financial insights I have gained from experience, reading, analysis, and living the financial aspects of managing, saving, investing, and spending your money. I am an analyst with a large organization and happily married with two children on their way to an expensive college, no doubt. I read numerous financial blogs, websites, newsletters, magazines, newspapers, and books to bring you the latest news, insights, tips, and lessons combined with decades of experience.

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