Your washing machine has stopped spinning, your computer screen is black, your coffee maker is leaking - sound familiar? We’ve all been there!
Much too often, we decide to simply replace our appliances and devices when they stop working. But repairing them can be beneficial for both our wallets and for the environment.
🔧🔩 Did you know?
A U.S. study determined that a family can save about $435 a year if they choose to have their appliances repaired! By extending the life of our devices through repair, there is less need to extract additional natural resources to make new ones and therefore fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from
Repairing is often easier than you think. Whether you want to learn how to repair something yourself or even if you don't have any technical know-how, there are a number of options available.
Read on for help with:
- Finding a repair expert;
- Discovering platforms to help you do your own repairs;
- Discovering resources that can help make your devices last longer.
Connect with an expert near you
To help find a specialist to repair your appliance, the magazine Protégez-Vous has published a map listing 300 repair businesses across the province for appliances, electronics and air-conditioners. The map also lists locations where self-repair facilities or tool rentals are available. There are also repair directories for a number of regions, such as La Mauricie and Sherbrooke. The Corporation des Techniciens en Électroménager du Québec (CTEQ) has an online listing of all of its members and Élexpertise provides a list of certified appliance repair technicians. Though some of these lists may not always be up to date, they’re a good starting point and a simple phone call or visit to the company's website will verify whether or not they’re still active.
What are the benefits of these resources?
They help to find nearby services.
Member companies have increased visibility.
CTEQ promotes cooperation among its members.
Do your own repairs... with a little bit of help!
Self-repair facilities, such as Repair Cafés, are good resources for people who want to learn how to do their own repairs, but don't feel comfortable going at it alone. All you have to do is show up with your defective item, and expert volunteers will help you identify the problem and repair your device. The equipment needed to make repairs is generally available through these facilities, or can be ordered. In Canada, there are about fifty self-repair workshops, and Protégez-Vous’s interactive map lists locations in Quebec. The Reparothons hosted by Insertech Angus are another good example of repair events.
What do I need to know before going to a repair workshop?
This is a cost-saving option.
The success rate is high (between 50% and 63%), as is the satisfaction rate.
Repair workshops foster a sense of community and the sharing of knowledge. They also help raise awareness regarding proper appliance maintenance.
The success of any repair may be constrained by limited access to replacement parts and repair manuals.
Clearly, we can't bring in our large appliances to these workshops. Some workshops only accept specific appliances.
Self-repair: Sharpen your manual skills
For those who wish to venture into doing their own repairs, there are numerous resources available to help you to repair things yourself. The iFixit website has over 75,000 tutorials, which cover close to 35,000 devices, and you can also buy spare parts, tools and repair kits. Its associated Youtube channel is also a useful platform, as many people upload tutorials and repair manuals to it. The Facebook group Touski s’répare can also be a valuable source of information, with over 60,000 members who share solutions for repairing all sorts of items! If you’re having problems with your refrigerator, you can order parts from Réparetonfrigo. The parts are all used or recycled, so they’re part of the circular economy!
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If you don't have all the tools you need, or if you want to borrow a small appliance instead of buying one, tool libraries are the place to go. These facilities can also be useful if you need to temporarily replace a small appliance while it’s being repaired. There is an annual membership fee if you want to rent items or have access to workshop space and training sessions. For example, La Remise, located in Montreal, has over 1,500 items available for rent. In Canada, there are over twenty tool libraries, including four in Québec.
What do I need to know before consulting these resources?
These online resources are often used by DIY repair shops and sometimes make it possible to access certain information that is not provided by manufacturers.
They encourage the sharing of knowledge and skills.
Tool libraries help save money and avoid the need to stockpile infrequently used tools.
Some of the advice given may be inaccurate, unsafe, or may not represent professional advice. Always be vigilant with content that you find online.
The logistical aspects of tool libraries can be complex (e.g., a tool being unavailable, or difficult to transport to your home).
The best way to make your appliances last is to opt for durable items and to take good care of them
There are many websites where you can learn about these specific points before making a purchase decision:
- Protégez-Vous, in partnership with RECYC-QUÉBEC, has developed a repairability index for a number of small electric appliances;
- iFixit assigns a repairability rating on several brands of tablets, smart phones and computers.
It’s important to keep your devices clean and well-maintained, because poor maintenance often leads to breakage. Protégez-Vous has published a guide ($) to making appliances last longer, and Insertech Angus has created a guide for computer maintenance. iFixit also has a number of tutorials that explain how to disassemble and clean various devices.
Our appliances and electronic devices deserve to live a long time! The next time one of your devices stops working, please consider these repair ressources!