Why Buy New? Save Money with Simple Repairs!

Your home appliances will go wrong at some point. It’s sadly inevitable. When they do, booking a repair or buying a brand new replacement will put a nasty dent in your wallet. But modern appliances are complicated, so it’s best to leave repairs to the professionals, right? We beg to differ.

If you knew you could easily fix your appliance in less time than it takes to drive to the shops for a replacement (and only slightly longer than brewing a tradesperson a cup of tea) would you still feel the same? Let’s see. By the end of this article we’ll have taught you three of the simplest fixes for common problems with your fridge, vacuum cleaner and fan oven, without the use of any incomprehensible jargon. And all you’ll need is an open mind and a set of screwdrivers.

Ready to save some money?

How to Fix a… Blown Fridge Light Bulb

Let’s start with the really easy fix. How many people does it take to change a fridge light bulb? Well, one, exactly the same number it takes to change a ceiling bulb, as it’s just as easy. So there’s never any need to let the nuisance of a dark fridge annoy you into replacing your appliance.

There are just four steps to this fix.

  • First, buy your replacement bulb. You’ll need your fridge’s model number for this, which will be somewhere on the fridge itself, often on the inner wall behind the salad crisper. (If you’re having trouble here’s a guide to finding your model number.) Once you have the model number you can buy the bulb compatible with your fridge lamp.
  • Bulb arrived? Let’s begin. Please be sure to first switch off and unplug the fridge, or else this fix may be more shocking than anticipated. Slide out any drawers or trays getting in the way of your access to the fridge lamp.
  • Unscrew the cover protecting the bulb. Some fridges will have a cover that pops off so you may not even need a screwdriver.
  • Unscrew the old bulb and screw in the replacement. Replace the cover, switch the fridge back on and hey presto, let there be light.

Yes, it really is that simple. Even better you can fix your blown oven bulb too in exactly the same way.

How to Fix a… Faulty Vacuum Cleaner Belt

One down, two to go. Here’s how to fix an upright vacuum cleaner that’s not picking up dirt. 

So you’ve emptied your vacuum or changed the bag. You’ve checked there’s no stray sock (or hair grip or button or anything else) causing a blockage. But your vacuum still isn’t working as it should. Now what?

If you ever find yourself in this situation, turn the vacuum cleaner upside down whilst running, to see if the brush roll (the roller with the bristles) is spinning. If not it’s most likely a faulty vacuum belt to blame. If you can see broken length of rubber coming out of your vacuum, the belt is definitely the problem.

Why? Well, there’s a motor in your vacuum cleaner head that spins the brush roll and it’s the belt that connects the two. So if the belt is broken the brush roll won’t rotate and the vacuum will clean much less efficiently. 

But not to worry, in just a few moments you’ll know exactly how to replace it. 

  • Once again, switch off and unplug your appliance.
  • Remove the bottom part of your vacuum head (the sole plate), by unscrewing the screws on the base. There’ll be up to eight screws and if the indentations in them are star shaped you may need a “torx head” screwdriver.  
  • Lift off the base of the vacuum head and you should be able to see the belt running between the motor and brush roll. (Think big, black or grey rubber band.) If the belt is slack, has snapped, is cracked or has worn teeth it’s time to buy your replacement.
  • As before, you’ll need your model number to buy the correct part. It can be found either on the sides or base of your vacuum cleaner.
  • Once your new belt arrives, remove the old belt and attach the new one in the same place. Whilst the brush roll is fully exposed, you can also take the chance to remove tangled hair, threads and fluff, especially around the caps on the end. 
  • Put your vacuum cleaner back together and turn it on again – the brush roll should now be rotating.

FREE Tip: Did you know changing your vacuum bag can improve the performance of your vacuum? With over 1,850 different bags, eSpares can help you to vacuum your home more efficiently.

Job done. If only fixing your broken oven was this easy. Oh, wait…

How to Fix a… Faulty Fan Oven Element

Knowing how to fix a fan oven that won’t heat up sounds pretty impressive to people who don’t know just how easy this fix is.

But you soon will. 

If your oven light is on and the fan is audible but it’s not heating up there’s most likely a problem with the heating element (the metal coil in your oven which provides the heat). Bright spots or uneven patches on the element are signs it’s failing, but the biggest sign is that your oven is staying cold.

Time to roll up your sleeves again.

  • Turn off and unplug the cooker and remove the trays from the oven so you can access the panel at the back. The element will be located behind this panel in the majority of cooker models. 
  • Unscrew the screws holding the panel at in place. (You may need a torx head screwdriver again.)
  • Remove the panel. The circular metal coil behind it is the element. Unscrew the screws holding said element in place and you will typically see three wires attached to it (a red or brown live wire, blue neutral wire and yellow and green earth wire).
  • Unless you have a photographic memory, grab your phone and take a photo of the wires attached to the element to be sure you reattach the new element correctly.
  • Unclip the wires. You may choose to use pliers if they’re hard to remove, but pull on the clips not the wires themselves to avoid damage.
  • With the old element detached, the time has come to fit your new element. As above, when buying your replacement part you’ll need to find your model number (which for cookers is usually located behind the main oven door). 
  • Attach the wires to your new element in the exact same positions that they were attached to your old element.
  • Screw the element and oven plate back in place to finish the fix. Oh and make sure the oven clock is set – some models won’t work without doing so.

And there you have it, repair number three complete.

Now you know just how easy it can be to fix common appliance faults, will you try fixing your next appliance breakdown before buying a replacement? If you won’t try it for us, try it for the sense of achievement, the glory, the bragging rights… and of course all the money you’ll save.   

Want more tips to help you save money on household appliance running costs? Visit the eSpares Advice Centre for more free advice and eSpares.co.uk for replacement parts from the UK’s largest online parts store to keep your home and garden appliances running at their best.

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