Appliance repair calls are on the rise — here’s what to do if yours breaks
Americans have stayed home more than ever, which has resulted in a huge increase in the use of our home appliances. As people cook more at home and the frequency with which we run the washing machine and dishwasher increases significantly, it’s no surprise that appliances break down faster. With the vacation right around the corner, nobody wants to be caught with a broken refrigerator or dishwasher. NBC News investigative and consumer correspondent Vicky Nguyen looked at the surge in device repair calls and found that many Americans are either on long waiting lists for professional help or attempt DIY repairs in the hopes of getting their devices working again – fast.
“Repair requests are coming in quickly and violently across the country, with backlogs on service calls to businesses large and small,” Nguyen said in her report.
“With many of us working and studying from home, we use our devices more than usual … whether it’s the oven or the refrigerator. Consider this fun fact: before the pandemic, we had our refrigerator an average of 37 times open a day That’s up to 130 times a day! “
Daniel Pidgeon, CEO of Sears Home Services, said its technicians are struggling to keep up with the demand for repairs.
“Right now we have a shortage of 1,000 technicians to hire,” said Pidgeon. “It really is something unprecedented.”
Heather Dyer-Yoder, who directs Dyer Repair Academy in Richland Hills, Texas, says people who have lost their jobs in retail and restaurants are now taking their two-week course to become certified equipment repair technicians, Nguyen reported . Dyer-Yoder’s courses are booked until January 2021.
“I get calls from employers every week,” said Dyer-Yoder. “‘Do you have someone I can hire?’ across the country. All of my students get jobs, all of them hired before they leave. “
Dyer-Yoder suggests checking the health of the equipment. For example, clogged refrigerator coils and dryer vents are some of the most common culprits leading to repair calls that people with a little maintenance of their own can prevent.
While most homeowners try to fix their existing appliances to save money, those who want to replace them may find themselves lacking items like refrigerators. Dyer-Yoder says when buying a new device, consider a model that is more basic.
“Find something with fewer frills,” she said. “Less WiFi, fewer computer chips, because those are the things that break and that delay things for your refrigerator to work again.”
Nguyen suggests that even if you’ve been in your home for years, now is a good time to purchase a warranty on the home. “Read the fine print to make sure it covers your main devices,” she said. “What’s great about being covered by a home warranty, experts say it could cut the time you wait for a repair technician to come to your home by giving you priority as the warranty holder.”
And when bringing a repair technician to your home, remember that everyone, including the technician, is wearing a mask and consider keeping windows open to improve air circulation.
Another way is to tinker it. “See if it’s something you might be able to handle yourself,” said Nguyen. “Check out sites like Repair Clinic on YouTube for DIY videos for repairs. If you think this is something simple, you can always call your local repair shop for free advice.”