Your Place: Advice on appliance repair, replacement

Posted: January 26, 2014

Time out from answering questions, to provide some useful information.

Cassie Eberle at Consumer Reports sends along this advice from the February issue on what it's like to be faced with the prospect of repairing an appliance.

This is just a taste of the full report (read it at ConsumerReports.org). You can send your thoughts along to me by e-mail.

First, the magazine says, products aren't breaking faster: Repair rates for most products in its latest survey are similar to results from the 2010 survey. And some products are breaking less often - for example, laptops had a repair rate of 24 percent in 2013, down from 36 percent in 2010.

Second, warranties don't improve satisfaction. People who had service contracts or extended warranties weren't any happier with their repairs, Consumer Reports says.

Actually, they were more likely to have had repairs done incorrectly the first time around than people without those contracts, and they waited at least two weeks for repairs.

A funny sidelight: In October, a Consumer Reports survey found that most of its readers spend 35 minutes preparing the evening meal but wish it took 27.

My solution: Find a pizzeria or Chinese takeout eight minutes closer.

A bulb just flashed. In 2007, Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act, which phases in a ban on lightbulbs that don't meet new energy-efficient standards. Banned already were 100- and 75-watt bulbs, but 60- and 40-watters didn't hit the skids until this month. Stores can continue to sell off their stock, but after that, they're gone.

I am not going to get involved in the debate over what motivated the changes. There is plenty of information about incandescents, CFLs, and LEDs online - I suggest you check out the arguments and options.

Tap, tap, tap. Reader Sando Francani, on a recent column about deterring woodpeckers:

"My home was being attacked by the male pileated woodpecker. The best solution was a device that sounded like the voices of predators."


aheavens@phillynews.com Write him at The Inquirer, Box 8263, Philadelphia 19101. Volume prohibits individual replies.

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