Nature of the Work
Home appliance repairers, also known as in-home service professionals, install and repair home appliances. Some repairers work on small appliances such as microwave ovens and vacuum cleaners. Others specialize in major appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, washers and dryers, and window air conditioning units.
Home appliance repairers install household durable goods such as refrigerators, washing machines, and cooking products. They may have to install pipes in a customer’s home to connect the appliances to a gas or water line. In these cases, once the lines are in place, they turn on the gas or water and check for leaks. Home appliance repairers also answer customers’ questions about the care and use of appliances.
When problems with home appliances occur, home appliance repairers visually inspect the appliance and check for unusual noises, excessive vibration, leakage of fluid, or loose parts to determine the cause of the failure. Repairers disassemble the appliance to examine its internal parts for signs of wear or corrosion. They follow service manuals and use testing devices such as ammeters, voltmeters, and wattmeters to check electrical systems for shorts and faulty connections.
After identifying problems, home appliance repairers replace or repair defective belts, motors, heating elements, switches, gears, or other items. They tighten, align, clean, and lubricate parts as necessary. Repairers use common handtools, including screwdrivers, wrenches, files, and pliers, as well as soldering guns and tools designed for specific appliances. When repairing appliances with electronic parts, they may replace circuit boards or other electronic components.
When repairing refrigerators and window air-conditioners, repairers must take care to conserve, recover, and recycle chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) refrigerants used in the cooling systems, as is required by law. Federal regulations also require that home appliance repairers document the capture and disposal of refrigerants.
Repairers write up estimates of the cost of repairs for customers, keep records of parts used and hours worked, prepare bills, and collect payments. If an appliance is still under warranty, self-employed repairers will talk with the original appliance manufacturer to recoup monetary claims for work performed.
Home appliance repairers who handle portable appliances usually work in quiet and adequately lighted and ventilated repair shops. Those who repair major appliances may spend several hours a day driving to and from appointments and emergency calls. Repairers sometimes work in cramped and uncomfortable positions when they are replacing parts in hard-to-reach areas of appliances. Repairer jobs generally are not hazardous, but workers must exercise care and follow safety precautions to avoid electrical shocks and gas leaks, and prevent injuries when lifting and moving large appliances.
Home appliance repairers usually work with little or no direct supervision. Many home appliance repairers work a standard 40-hour week, but may work overtime and weekend hours in the summer months, when they are in high demand to fix refrigerators and window mounted air-conditioners. Some repairers work early morning, evening, and weekend shifts and may remain on call in case of an emergency.