Advice

Washing Machines

Repair or Replace ???

washing-machine-repair-washerwiseWell as mentioned on the washing machine page (and this applies to nearly all appliances not just washers) there are 3 main considerations

    * Current age of the appliance.
    * Previous reliability.
    * Overall condition.

I recommend that all the above should be considered carefully but also weighed up against the original purchase price and the replacement cost.

For example if your machine is less than 3 years old, has broken down more than once before, is possibly not in brilliant shape and only cost £250 when new compared to about £300 for a decent replacement then it's easy . . . . . ditch it and buy a more reliable and cost effective brand,

However if your machine is in good condition, cost £400 when new and has never broken down in 6 years + repair it.

Some people will naturally disagree and repair what I would throw away and some would throw away what I would try hard to salvage. So it is, at the end of the day a very personal decision and my advice should only be seen as a guide as every case is individually different, especially when you try to vector in other variables such as individual, current financial situations and other commitments etc etc etc.

50% of replacement cost on an over 4 year old machine that cost less than £300 originally is a good bench mark. You put in the figures and make your own conclusions. If you need advise on specifics ring me for free for a chat.

Brand reliability

This is a very difficult problem as individual experiences always cloud the issue. for example if you had a machine that lasted 15 years you would naturally be tempted to buy another . . . . . STOP ! Before you buy check the which magazine or better just ring me for a recommendation, as what was brilliant 15 years ago invariably is now owned by a completely different company and may not necessarily be anywhere near as good quality now as it was then ! Brand loyalty is a thing of the past ! Many years ago when there were relatively few choices of which brand to buy you could be fairly safe that the brand you had last time would once again stand you in good stead, but over the past 20 years this has completely changed to the degree that certain brands are now virtually unrecognisable other than by the name itself.

My rule of thumb currently tends to be avoid "fantastic bargains" as they quite often aren't. Look for more than 1 year manufacturers warranty. If a company is prepared to warranty a machine for "parts AND labour" for more than 12 months it is a good indication they are happy with the reliability of the product, as 1 or 2 repairs under warranty uses all the profit they made selling the item.

Classic example is the "sale special" £250 w/m compared to the 2 year warranty £300 machine. If the cheaper sale item breaks down in its second year it will quite possibly cost more than £50 to repair thus making the more expensive machine better value and much more likely to last a lot longer. Whilst this isn't a hard and fast rule as some cheaper appliances are very good the warranty offered does give a good clue as to how confident the manufacturers are in there products. Extended warranties are another option but be careful of clauses and conditions as well as price.

Tumble Dryers

A Long Story

tumble-dryer-repair-washerwiseIt isn't that long actually but can be a bit on the "boring science" side. OK here goes... Condensing tumble dryers take a lot longer to dry clothes than traditional vented dryers and because of the methods used to condense the steam back to water, collect or dispose of it they also are much more "high maintenance" having multiple filters and cleaning points. This gives rise to much more residual fluff and dust along with more condensation in the room that the appliance is housed in. Combine this with the obvious reliability problems that accompany any "more advanced technologies" and you soon find that the condenser dryer really has only 1 redeeming feature and that is that you don't have to vent it through wall or window ? Also the simple fact is that condenser dryers cost more and use more electricity to run. The old fashioned basic tumble dryer had a drum, a motor, a belt, maybe a couple of pulleys, a heater and some temperature sensors or thermostats, throw in a bit of a box to put it all in a filter and a door and hey presto !!! Rather than all the aforementioned + a condenser housing, cooling matrix, pumps, over spill systems, extra fluff filters, heat dispersal systems, water collection tanks etc etc etc... So now you know why I would ALWAYS recommend a vented dryer over it's condensing cousin. Why would anyone want anything more ???

Powder

Given the choice between Powder, Tablets or Liquid / Liqui-tabs I always recommend powder...

Cheaper, dissolves better, cleans just as good, easier to use less or more compared to the set amount dictated by tablets.
If ever you see froth in the washer it means 1 thing, for definite you have too much detergent in, aim for discoloured water and save money, excess powder doesn't get things cleaner and is harder to rinse out.

If forced into buying a washer dryer for space needs then try to go for the biggest drum size available within your budget, as although It is actually, physically very difficult to overload a washing machine as the dry weight of clothes rarely exceeds the drum specification, it is however very easy to overload a washer-dryer when using it for "drying", as the dryer load is always approx half the wash load, meaning a decent full load of washing will not dry efficiently without being stopped after the wash cycle and having half the wet clothes removed to make space. This leaves you with a bowl full of wet washing and pretty much negates the whole point of having a washer dryer in the first place.

Also washer dryers will naturally take longer than separate dryers to dry clothes and are much less efficient / economical to run combined with the fact that in a lot of cases if the washer breaks the dryer is also then out of action !!!

Dishwashers

Powder

dishwasher-repair-washerwiseALWAYS use ANY "cheaper" detergent but with separate salt in the salt pot and separate rinse aid in the rinse aid dispenser as the more expensive 3, 5 or multiple action in 1 tablets or liqui-tabs DO NOT and CAN NOT do the job of either of these products.

Without getting overly technical about it the salt cleans parts of the dishwasher that the detergent can not reach and must be put separately in it's own compartment for use independently by the machine at the appropriate time, contrary to popular belief the salt DOES NOT soften the water, however it does clean the part of the dishwasher that does the softening and as such is crucial to the longevity of the appliance ! Without salt your dishwasher will eventually under perform in it's ability to properly clean the crockery. SEPARATE SALT is a MUST !

The rinse aid similarly does a separate job at the end of the wash cycle that aids drying and thus MUST be dispensed at the appropriate time in the cycle. If a multi use tablet is used the rinse aid part (if any) can NOT be effective as the tablet or other is dissolved at the start of the cycle and is rinsed away at least twice before the final hot rinse where the rinse aid is actually required !

Ironically cheap "own brand" powder or tablets combined with separate salt and separate rinse aid can cost a lot less than a brand name 3 in 1 or similar and definitely work better. so take no notice of the adverts trying to convince you not to buy separate salt and rinse aid as it doesn't work that way!

And as you can see the adverts can cost you money and eventually ruin your dishwasher too!

One other dishwasher tip to note is always check your plates for solids, i.e. bones, cocktail sticks, wrappers etc and where possible always rinse plates before stacking especially if they have items such as red sauce or strong food colours on them as these in time will taint the plastic coatings of the baskets and also gradually corrode the internal seals within the workings of the machine, many say to me "hardly worth having a dish-washer if I have to rinse everything" My answer is usually this . . . It is a dish-washer NOT a waste disposal machine. It will virtually maintain and clean itself if you give it a chance but it won't last long at all if abused by excess solid food or foreign objects.

Electric Cooker

electric-cooker-repair-washerwiseThe doors of most built in cookers are really easy to remove to aid the dreaded task of "cleaning" it should be described in your instruction book but most put this in a safe place unread.

Most cookers with a timer will not work if the clock is not set so if you have a power cut make sure you reset the clock before calling me to repair the oven that suddenly stopped working!

 

 

 

Refrigeration

fridge-repair-washerwiseFrost Free refrigeration as a rule of thumb works OK but if it develops problems they can sometimes be complex in nature due to the way the appliance's are designed to work using multiple temperature sensors and digital circuitry to control frost levels and keep ice build up to a minimum. In my opinion a tiny amount of time and effort spent defrosting the appliance once or twice a year is negligible compared to the extra hassle and cost caused when these systems fail. In some cases the components within the appliance cost more than the item itself ! The old fashioned traditional refrigeration method used a compressor some pipes and a thermostat all fitted into a 1 or 2 door box ! EASY ! reliable and relatively cheap to fix. some bright (lazy) spark decided it would be good to "not need to" defrost and the rest is history. Similar to the unnecessary developments in tumble dryer technology I believe if you can stick to the basics you will be better off !

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