The Range-hood Incident
The Start ….
Five years ago we purchased a range-hood for our new house. We selected one that was energy-efficient and quiet. It cost quite a lot of money. Some weeks ago it failed. The repairer told us the motor had fused. The motor couldn’t be repaired only replaced. The cost we were quoted was 25% of the original purchase price of the unit. We considered replacing the whole range-hood with a new one of a different brand; there would be very little difference in price but what a terrible waste of an otherwise usable appliance.
We still don’t have a working range-hood. There are a number of web-based complaints about this product from consumers. I contacted the manufacturer and asked them what they could do to help us. It turns out that the warranty on the range-hood only lasts two years and they no longer make island range-hoods but not, they assure me, because there were any quality issues with the product. They would have sold us a new range-hood for the price of the repair, if only they still made island range-hoods.
And Then ….
There is a slim chance that the manufacturer might ‘help’ us in some way if I send them a copy of the quote to repair the unit so long as the quote is from one of their ‘authorized’ repairers (it is). Now I am waiting for the repairer to send us the quote which means waiting for the post-Christmas resumption of business in the trades!
My dilemma is that we have a range-hood that has failed after less than five years. What is to say it won’t fail again even if we replace the motor? It also has four 20 watt halogen down-lights which I have replaced with three LEDs (you have to leave one LED in place or the residual current means that the lights can’t be turned off) which is not ideal. The current price of an equally efficient, quiet, new range-hood is not much more than the cost of repairing the current one. These are arguments for replacing the whole unit.
The argument for keeping the current range-hood and repairing the motor is the embedded energy in the original manufacture of the range-hood. I feel that we can’t keep discarding things after such a short time. All that metal (which I guess can be recycled) plus the wiring and other components. Is there a better product that will last longer? How do I tell? I have been to the Choice site but their most recent review of range-hoods is not all that recent. We purchased the current product because of its efficiency rating (as we did a number of other household appliances) but this only reflects operating efficiency not life cycle efficiency. If we added the amount of energy needed to manufacture the appliance plus its lifetime running costs, then maybe it wouldn’t rate so highly. I say this because this is the second highly energy-efficient appliance we purchased that has failed after a relatively short life (see The Refrigerator Incident).
I wonder if a lengthy warranty is an indicator of a good product. Often I don’t think about warranty periods but maybe I should.
And Then ….
The range-hood is still not working but a combination of open windows and a candle seems to deal with the smoke and smells. This can’t continue though – we have an open plan kitchen, dining and living room and sooner or later the fabrics will absorb the smoke and smells and bad weather means we can’t always have the windows open.
And Then ….
OK, so my patience has paid off. I went to see the authorized repairer, to get a copy of the quote to fix the range hood. Despite a number of requests and promises before Christmas, that the quote would turn up in the post or via email, it didn’t. I need the quote because, after the best part of five months going backwards and forwards with the manufacturer to see if they can help us get a working range-hood, they now need a copy of the quote to see how much it will cost to repair it.
Once I had the quote, I emailed it to the manufacturer’s service center. Within 24 hours someone phoned me to acknowledge they had it and to tell me that the possibility of them supplying the parts at no cost to us, would be discussed with a supervisor. Yeah! Within another 24 hours I had an email confirming that they had contacted the repairer to say that they would meet the cost of the parts and that I should now organize the repair. Guess what I will be doing first thing Monday?
And Then ….
With the installer booked, I awaited the moment when we would once again have a functional range-hood but my excitement was misplaced. The installer arrived, put in the new motor but discovered that the failure of the motor had caused damage to the control panel and so the fan couldn’t be turned off. I am now waiting for a new control panel to arrive and the installer to return!
The Latest ….
So the installer has been back with the new control panel and IT ALL WORKS! Now I am just waiting to find our whether or not Electrolux are really going to supply the new control panel without charge to us, as they did the motor. I guess I will see when the invoice for the labor and travel arrives. I am therefore nearly ready to move this incident into the concluded category after a mere six months!
To Be Continued ….