Sunday, January 6, 2008

cheaper to fix 'er

Have you ever heard someone say that it is usually cheaper to replace an appliance than to fix it?

That is what I was dreading when the door on my six years young dishwasher clearly had something wrong with it.

I was closing the dishwasher door and heard a really loud bang. I thought maybe something heavy had fallen off the rack. I went to open the door, and it immediately fell to the ground like a weight. Usually, the door feels light and bouncy.

I opened and closed the door a couple times, trying to figure out what was wrong. I couldn't, so off to Google I go.

Within minutes, I had our problem diagnosed, parts ordered, a diagram of the parts, and directions on how to fix it! Amazing. What did people do before google? They must have actually had to call a repair person, who would have charged $85 just to come to your house, then another $40 for parts and labor. No wonder why people just go out and buy a new one. You can get a new dishwasher for $229.

Luckily, I have a husband who is handy, has lots of tools, and refuses to hire anyone to fix anything (regardless of my pleading for him to "just call someone"). One time, Jeff decided he was going to replace our leaking oil tank, which had over 200 gallons of oil in it. I wasn't convinced this was a DIY kind of job. All I could picture was the Exxon Valdez spill in our basement. Does insurance cover oil spills? Jeff told me to have some faith in him, which I hear a lot. He was convinced he could do it. First, he transferred all the oil into our new tank, with some sort of fuel pump, borrowed from a friend of a friend. Then, he moved the new oil tank, full of oil, into place using a couple straps and an engine hoist (something I'm sure everyone has lying around - just in case you need to lift something weighing over a ton). Our old tank ended up in Jeff's truck to be brought to a scrap metal bin. Jeff did it all without spilling a drop of precious, very expensive oil. I was impressed. Who knows how much money he saved by doing it himself. I'm sure it was hundreds.

This time, I knew Jeff would be able to fix the dishwasher without much difficulty, and didn't even suggest calling someone.

Jeff was able to quickly replace the broken spring, along with the non broken spring, which the internet said to replace at the same time. All for $20. Unfortunately, during the installation the water line got jostled and the seal broke. A quick trip to the Depot and $10 later that was fixed too.

Neither of us would have known what was wrong with the dishwasher if I hadn't googled "broken dishwasher door". We would have had to call someone (gasp!) or bought a new dishwasher. I wonder how many people have gone out of business due to all the information on the internet and HGTV.

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