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Tips and Procedures
Learn how to restore appliances to the appearance and function they had when new.
Getting a part quickly is important if you are repairing your own appliance. Paying list price is acceptable because the cost of the part or parts will be your only expense. If you are buying new parts for your business, cost is very important. The parts will be purchased in quantity and in advance of need.
Parts for Repairing your own Appliances
So you need a new drum support roller for your Sears or Whirlpool dryer but you don't know where to go to get one? If you live near a town or city that has an appliance dealer with a service department, get out the phone book and give them a call. Will they sell you parts by their correct numbers? They should.
If you live in or near a city large enough to have an appliance parts business or a Sears Service Center, give them a call and confirm that they have the part on hand. Expect to pay list price plus any sales tax.
Live in a Remote Area or Foreign Country?
Our US manufactured appliances are scattered throughout the world. The appliance's electric motors may be different depending on what country they are in but all of the rest of the parts may be the same as their US counterparts. Getting a new part could be a problem for someone in a remote location in the US or a foreign country. See the yellow page directory for businesses that sell and ship new parts.
Parts for Your Business
The major parts houses are geared to sell parts to the appliance servicing businesses at a discount. Buying parts in quantities of two or more further reduces their cost. They carry Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts built by Whirlpool, Maycor and others. They also carry generic parts manufactured by companies other than the OEMs. An example of a generic part distributer is Gemline.
Buying Parts before You Need Them
Should you buy parts before you need them? This is a necessity for businesses but the homeowner should seriously consider it too. For instance, I would buy a belt and a control magnet for a Sears or Whirlpool belted washer and a heating element and a drum support roller for the matching electric dryer. If the dryer were gas, I would only buy a drum support roller. Belts last a long time on a dryer. The parts come sealed in a plastic bag and they store well. When these parts fail, you can take your spare and repair your appliance quickly using the procedures provided in this Web site. In fact, you should print out the replacement procedure for every spare part you buy put the part and the procedure in a plastic bag and store it near the machine. There is a perception that our appliances always fail on weekends and holidays when it is hard to get a repairman. We use our washers and dryers when we get home and the heaviest use may be on weekends or just Sundays when repairman are hard to find.
When to Use Them
Collecting used parts is only practical when you are running a small business. Used parts are good for washer and dryer restoration projects where the machines will be resold or leased. NEVER use used parts on a service call unless your customer is aware of what you are doing and the charges for the used part are significantly less than a new part.
What makes a used part worth salvaging?
When a part still retains most of its original function and useful life it is salvageable. Examples for a washer are; control consoles (with all components), white porcelain tops and lids, tub rings and gaskets, motors and transmissions. If you want to save a good looking cabinet, you may just as well save the whole machine to restore it. The motors are salvageable from a dryer. Burner assemblies are worth saving from gas dryers. Parts with electrical contacts that could be charred are not worth saving. Therefore dryer timers (and their consoles) are rarely worth saving. A dryer console and cabinet should be kept intact because of all the interconnecting wiring.
How big should a used parts inventory be?
Be careful with the volume that is required to store used parts. Starting a junk yard outside for used washers and dryers is not smart. Store only those parts that have a high concentrated value such as transmissions and motors and keep them out of the weather. Keep the volume of your used parts inventory equal to or less than that of your new parts inventory.
How about cabinet color?
White is great. Almond is on the way out. Leave all harvest gold, brown and avacado machines where they are.
What brand names?
Sears Kenmore and Whirlpool washers and dryers have great customer recognition and acceptance and usually provide a profit margin for restoration. Therefore, used Whirlpool parts are worth collecting.
Should you salvage refrigerators and parts?
Be very careful with non-working refrigerators. Electrical problems are relatively easy to repair but you should use new parts. Defrost thermostats, timers and heaters are generally not worth salvaging. Nothing is worth saving from an old refrigerator that has compressor problems or a refrigerant leak. Salvage a Whirlpool compact icemaker.
How to Get Them
Intercept washers and dryers that are headed to the land fill unless they look very old (more than 15 years). Put an ad in the paper that you want used washers, dead or alive. Let the word get out that you will come by and pick them up.
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All of the information in these Appliance Clinic procedures is provided FREE OF CHARGE. No liability is assumed by the author for the accuracy of the contents or damages caused by the use of these procedures.