Will I blow more money on a repairperson or by screwing things up myself?
June 24, 2009 3:30 AM Subscribe
When is it worth trying to fix your own appliances (an Amana ARB1917 bottom-freezer fridge in my case)?
posted by Shepherd to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
I've fixed a few little things around the house before -- replaced the thermal fuse on a coffee roaster, the gaskets etc. on an espresso machine, the headshell on a record player -- but I've never done any Appliance Repair per se. I can't read those funky diagrams with the squiggly lines, etc.
My Amana bottom-freezer fridge is dying, though, and I THINK I might know what the problem is after a lot of time doing research on various parts and repair sites: the back wall is frosting over and the fridge is not cooling, which by most indications means the defrost timer needs replacing. We're on our third "defrost" -- a 30-hour turn-off of the fridge last time -- and the problem keeps recurring faster and faster and faster.
Here's the thing: I'm 75% sure that's what's wrong, thanks to identical symptoms being posted, and solutions being prescribed, on various Internet forums. But I'm not 100% sure. It might be the defrost heater, it might be the thermostat control.
And these parts are -- for a broke guy trying to make ends meet with his new wife -- expensive. $60 for the defrost timer (I'm in Canada), $30 or so for the heater, plus shipping, etc.
So the spectre of getting something wrong, either in breaking the fridge even worse by mucking around, or just screwing up the part, or not having the right problem identified in the first place, makes me think the probable $100+ or so for a repairperson to come and know what exactly to do might be a worthwhile investment.
Then again, that's another $100+ I don't have.
So I'm really quite torn, and I'm hoping somebody with more DIY and appliance repair expertise than me will be able to offer some advice: how likely is it that a modestly skilled newbie will be able to open, disassemble, and reassemble a fridge without incident?
Is it worth trying to fix myself, given the expense of the parts, or should I just bite the bullet and pay a repairman?