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Q and A: Adri needs help with an old appliance

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Q: I have a fantastic Sharp microwave with convection and now the touchpad no longer works. I can still press on and off, but then it’s always on the hottest setting of 250 degrees for the oven.

Apparently Sharp is no longer in SA. I would hate to lose this wonderful machine. 

A: This is not really my field, but if any readers can offer advice please contact me. However, the question raises another point – when to repair and when to replace. Mrs Mac and I don’t enjoy getting rid of old appliances, but there comes a time in every appliance’s life when it’s time to hit the junk yard in the sky. 

Having said that, I have noticed over recent months that prices seem to have risen quickly and I know modern equipment certainly does not last as long as some of the old classics. A further complication is that we are losing the skills to repair older appliances, not to mention the supply of parts drying up. So which way do we go?

Obviously the first thing to do is to get a quotation to repair your ailing appliance. Together with the quotation you need to try to get an idea of how long the repair is likely to be effective for.

Over the Christmas holidays I spent a fair amount of time taking an electric bread-maker to pieces to try to get it going again, only to find I could not get the parts. At the end of the day it would have been much easier to buy a new one. We have two appliances we will hold on to and repair at any cost.

The first is our top-loading Whirlpool washing machine which is well into its 30th year, and the second is our Kirby vacuum cleaner, also of a similar age. Apart from anything else they are basic and easy to operate and I do not find myself technically challenged when using them, unlike the situation with our tumble drier, which I have totally given up on.

I have sent Adri a few telephone numbers, and if Bob is reading this column I am sure he will have some advice to offer.

* If you have a question for Don, send it to or SMS only to 0824463859.


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