Do It-yourselfers as well as mechanical klutzes may never have to call the electric repairman again . . . well, at least a little less often. GeneralElectric has recently come out with it calls it "Quick Fix System."
The system consists of five repair manuals and includes 94 of what inventor BruceAlbertson determined are the "most often used" parts. The manuals and parts cover five General Electric and Hotpoint product lines: the range, refrigerator/freezer, dishwasher, washer and dryer. The parts packages are color-coded to their respective repair manuals. Illustrated instructions and the estimated number of minutes to complete the job are included in the packages.
Each job has a rating of one to five, a diagnosis. If the job requires some skill, the manual says so and suggests calling a serviceman. Freeman Miller, who is marketing the system, adds, "We're not trying to do away with the repairman or take chances with the consumer's safety. When a job is more difficult, it is stated in the manual."
"The diagnosis part is the key," explains Claude Rose, General Electric manager of marketing communications. "Replacing a fuse, for example, is considered a low-level skill, indicated by one dot. Replacing the transmission in a dishwasher is a higher level skill and may require a professional, indicated by five dots."
Albertson says that during the research years, General Electric discovered that "consumers are now performing nearly 40 percent of their major appliance repairs." Why? "Three reasons," says Albertson. "One, to escape the high cost of service calls, which can run from $50 to $75. In about half these cases no parts are even needed. If one is needed, it usually costs less than $20 to solve the problem.
"The second reason is to save time and the inconvenience of waiting for servicemen. In a two-income family, one of the wage-earners will have to stay home to let in a repairman. This may mean sacrificing part of a paycheck or using up vacation time. Meanwhile, while trying to work out a repair visit, the homeowner is without the use of the broken appliance.
"The third reason is the satisfaction of accomplishing a repair job with your own hands. Consumers only need the basic knowledge and access to the right replacement parts. The Quick Fix System will help build confidence that they can repair their own appliances without professional help -- some of the time."
The system, says Freeman Miller, worksSee HELP, Page 2, Col. 1 Help for -Mr. Fix-It HELP, From Page 1 like this: Say your General Electric oven is not heating properly. The range repair manual includes a Problem Diagnostic Chart, listing possible problems, their repair procedure and the skill level required.
Suppose you've determined that the oven bake unit needs to be replaced. The part can be found at the Quick Fix System display. It comes in a package of the same color as the range repair manual. An illustration of the part appears on the package.
The manual estimates that it will take you 15 minutes to replace the part. The only tool you need is a one-quarter-inch nutdriver. You can purchase the part, take it home and install.
The manual contains step-by-step procedures on the installation, as well as photo sequences to guide you through every step of the job.
The manuals are not just excerpts from technical books. They are new works, says Bruce Albertson, created from the ground up specifically for the average homeowner. Each manual has approximately 100 pages.
The manuals are $6.95 each. The parts vary according to size and complexity. A fuse, for instance, will cost much less than a dishwasher transmission. Albertson says prices range from $1.50 for a dishwasher rack roller to $95 for a dishwasher motor. But most parts cost between $2 and $30.
The system was researched for more than two years and test-marketed last summer in five cities, according to Albertson. It is available in the Washington area at General Electronics, 4513 Wisconsin Ave. NW, as well as GE outlets in Falls Church, Woodbridge, Glen Burnie, Crofton and Westminster. More stores will be carrying the product by the end of March, when the system has been completely distributed. To find out where the nearest dealer is, call toll free: 1-800-447-4700.
Kitchenaid also makes service manuals to go with some of their appliances, but they don't have as extensive a program as GE. Kitchenaid service and parts manuals are available by writing Kitchenaid Division, Hobart Corporation, Troy, Ohio 45374.