Ask Angi: What do I need to know when hiring for appliance repair?

The holidays generally mean your appliances will experience a lot more wear and tear than the rest of the year. (Dreamstime/TNS)
The holidays generally mean your appliances will experience a lot more wear and tear than the rest of the year. (Dreamstime/TNS)

The winter season places the most pressure on our appliances. Not only is the home a closed envelope with heaters running full blast in cold weather, but the holidays generally mean your appliances will experience a lot more wear and tear than the rest of the year.

You never want to lose access to an appliance in cold weather; when you do, you want to repair it promptly. It might seem easy to call the first appliance repair place you can find, but take care when hiring. You want a qualified professional to give you the best work. Since most states and cities don't closely regulate appliance repair, you need to hire a top-notch pro. Ask these questions to improve your odds:

1. Who will be working on my appliance?

Some repair companies employ multiple employees. Avoid hiring contractors who are unwilling to share details about who will be working on your project.

2. What will this job entail, and how will you keep my home safe?

Any appliance installation, especially a big one, poses a risk of damage to the home, whether during installation or just by transporting a large object through the house. Ensure your pro has a strategy to keep your flooring, walls and furniture safe.

3. Do you carry insurance?

Lack of insurance should be a deal-breaker when hiring any pro. Appliance repair involves large equipment, working with water, gas, or electrical lines, and almost always occurs in your house. That means your contractor should carry insurance to cover any damage or injuries that take place -- or else you yourself might be liable for costs!

4. Are you experienced with my kind of work?

Your pro should be familiar with the type of appliance and the manufacturer. Different scenarios present their own challenges.

5. What kind of warranty do you offer?

A reliable appliance pro will provide a written warranty for both their work quality and whatever parts they supply.

6. Is it better to repair or replace my appliance?

In many cases, a simple formula helps you determine if it's worth the cost to repair an appliance. This formula usually compares the appliance's age to its expected lifespan and compares the repair cost versus how long it's likely to last. However, this varies by appliance. Make sure you can trust what your pro says about your appliance's lifespan.

7. What discounts and rebates are available?

A number of new, energy-efficient appliances are eligible for tax credits and utility rebates. This will vary by state and city, so ask your pro if they know all the perks available for your work.

Tweet your home care questions with #AskingAngi and we'll try to answer them in a future column.