Ottawa and Gatineau

Professional Afforfable Appliance Repair Service In Ottawa

Professional Affordable
Appliance Repair Service In Ottawa

Why did my appliance break down so soon?

Old Maytag washer

Point of view of an appliance repair technician from Ottawa, Ontario.

As an appliance repair technician, I see a lot of broken appliances—washers, refrigerators, dishwashers, dryers, and stoves. Some of these appliances are more than 30 years old and it is remarkable to see how long they have held up. Others are “just after the one-year warranty” and, unfortunately, should be thrown away. In this article, I will share my experience and show you how you might prolong the life of your home helpers. 

Are modern appliances less durable than older ones?

There are a lot of articles about the average life expectancy of home appliances. Most of the numbers you can find are so approximate that using them doesn’t make much sense. My guess is that any home appliance should work for at least 10 years. 

Modern appliances really are less durable than their first-generation counterparts. You can see this yourself.

First, look at the materials. Where there was metal before, now there is plastic. Where there was once firm plastic, now there is cardboard. The thick copper refrigerator pipes were replaced with cheaper steel, which corrodes faster.

Second, consider the production and the technology. Where are the washing machines with thick shafts and strong bearings? Where is the anti-rust protection in the dishwasher?

One of my clients told me that when he was buying his old fridge, the shop seller wanted to demonstrate the quality of its components. She pooled out the food container, put it on the floor, and started to jump on it. Today, cracked refrigerator shelves are common.

Ecological restrictions.

Some of the new technologies that are reducing appliances’ lifespans were required due to ecological restrictions. The freon issue is an example. Over the last 30 years, the old refrigerants were banned and replaced with ones with less of a greenhouse gas effect. New ecologically-friendly repair methods were installed. Try to get your fridge repaired in Ottawa if it has a freon leaking issue! No technician will do it because this repair is too complicated and costly. After the eco-friendly regulations were installed to combat climate change, this repair became non-profitable, so we recommend just throwing the fridge away. I’m not saying that I am against the new environmentally friendly laws, but obviously, this particular law affects an appliance’s lifespan, and that’s a problem.

We also need to consider the economic aspect of this question. The fabricators are trying to follow customers’ demand for cheap home appliances. That is why they use cheap materials and more electronics, which production may automatize easily.  

Why are repair costs so high?

As a rule, you wouldn’t replace an appliance if you could repair it. When appliances get cheaper and repair costs go up, the average lifespan of appliances shortens quickly. 

In my previous article, I explained how to find the best price for appliance repair in Ottawa. But why does it cost so much to repair an appliance? Everybody knows that when there are more competitors, the price should go down. But this is not our case. In Ottawa, there are many small competitors, paying money to Google for advertising and to marketing companies for their website promotion in Google search results. Did you know that half of the repair invoice goes to marketing?

One more issue is the availability and the cost of spare parts. My advice is to buy local North American brands (Whirlpool, GE, Maytag) rather than European (Blomberg) or Chinese (Haier, Hisense, Midea) brands. Exclusively, parts for the German brand Bosch are always available. However, most overseas brands’ spare parts are either unavailable or back ordered with a waiting time of a few weeks. Although South Korean brands’ (Samsung, LG) parts are usually available (excluding some electronic components and door mechanisms), South Korean appliances use a lot of electronics, which makes repairing them more complicated. 

Appliance technician competence.

There is a point of view that modern appliances are more fragile because they are more “intelligent”, and more electronic components are used. I particularly agree with this. Before, you could easily replace certain elements, like a refrigerator defrost timer. That was cheaper than replacing a complete electronic mainboard, where the defrost control is integrated today. The diagnosis of electronic components demands additional qualifications. Not every appliance technician can do it properly. On the other hand, electronic appliances are much more economical. The electronic system of smart error codes is a remarkable help in appliance troubleshooting. So, yes, if your old refrigerator doesn’t have a defrost system, you can avoid many problems, but you have to defrost it yourself. But this refrigerator will live longer. 

Stove main board

The competence of appliance repair technicians is a very important aspect. A more qualified repairman will be willing and able to fix major appliance problems. Hence, your home appliance will have a longer working life.

Can users make a difference in an appliance’s lifespan?

One crucial factor is us, the users. How do we use our appliances? How much food do we put in the refrigerator door? Do we clean our dishwasher regularly? How much do we overcharge our washing machine?

Washing machines are the main supplier of work for appliance repair technicians. I can guess why this is so. The washer has many moving parts. The spin cycle is the most challenging because the speed is high and the weight balance is hardly ever achieved, which overloads the shaft, bearing, and suspension rods, especially for the modern, front-loading washing machines. 

Here is a list of the main killers of home appliances, because of costly spare parts and/or labor: 

  • Washers: Bearing, transmission, shaft, and electronics (cost of labour and parts)
  • Dishwashers: Main pump, electronics (cost of labour and parts)
  • Refrigerators: Freon, compressor, doors (labour cost)
  • Dryers: Drum, electronics (parts cost)
  • Stoves: Electronics, top glass, heating elements (parts cost)

Finally, the life expectancy of home appliances keeps going down. Is it possible to prolong the life of our home helpers? Do we need to hang onto them, or maybe it is better to replace them quickly with new ones that have more modern features? Anyway, the lifespan of home appliances is longer than that of other electrical machines (9-15 years on average). We should seek a good balance between the cost, sustainability, and quality to provide the optimal lifespan of home appliances. Overall, the most important factors of the optimal appliance lifespan are the brand, proper maintenance, and appliance repair technician experience.

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