Things break. Everything we own, from air conditioners to zippers, eventually wear out or stops working. We can toss them and get new stuff — or we can try to repair them. The Fix-It Club offers ten really good reasons to repair or recycle household things that break:
- You can be a smarter consumer by knowing how things work and what to do if they don’t: appliances, heaters, air conditioners, mowers, plumbing, electronics, clocks, paint, flooring and more.
- You can save money by not having to replace things that you easily can repair. It might just need a fuse, a new electrical cord, or a screw tightened. You can do that!
- You can buy better things that will last longer than disposables because you know you can probably repair them if they ever do conk out.
- You can reduce the environmental impact of having a replacement manufactured from raw materials and transported from a far-off land.
- You can learn how to recycle or reuse the things you just can’t repair.
- You can learn new skills and discover the satisfaction of repairing something that’s broken.
- You can spend some quality time with kids repairing things together — and teaching them the importance of recycling.
- You can keep that family clock or other heirloom running longer.
- You can justify the cost of expanding your collection of tools.
- You can impress your spouse, partner, and others with your new-found repair skills.
How can you repair broken stuff? The Fix-It Club offers easy-to-follow instructions. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a door chime, a barbecue grill, a child’s toy, or a computer printer. Figuring out what’s wrong with it is the most important task. Once you know what’s wrong with it, you’re well on the way to repairing it — or making an informed decision not to. Figuring out what’s wrong with something may sound obvious, but it’s often the step that keeps folks from repairing things easily.
- What does this thing do?
- How is it supposed to work?
- What isn’t this thing doing that it should do?
- What’s the possible cause(s) of the problem?
- What parts and tools will I need to repair it?
- What are the steps to repairing it?
- Once repaired, does it now work?
For example, a coffee maker, obviously, is an apparatus for brewing coffee. There are two types of coffee makers: drip and percolator. A drip coffee maker is designed to heat water then pump it to drip through the coffee basket and into a carafe. Most drip coffee makers also keep the carafe of coffee warm. That’s a drip coffee maker’s as-designed state; that’s what it’s supposed to do.
What does it not do? In our example, the drip coffee maker doesn’t keep the coffee hot, though everything else works. Knowing how a coffee maker is supposed to work, you will identify the problem to be within the warming element or controls. To check it you need a multimeter for testing these components. Then, following the specific steps in the Coffee Maker Repair Fix-It Guide, you disassemble, test, and, if needed, replace the part. Finally, you can brew yourself some coffee and know that it will stay warm.
So, that’s the fix-it process . You can apply it to every thing that’s broken. That’s because the fix-it process works for every thing. It’s a simplified version of a time-tested problem-solving system. If it’s repairable, you probably can fix it!
–Dan “The Fix-It Man” Ramsey