Repair or Replace?

By Mike Johnson

My desk area space heater crapped out yesterday. Itís a small electric fireplace that glows with a fake flame while its fan blows heat. Cute. Kept me warm for years.

It feels like an old friend, so I performed outpatient surgery to determine the problem.

The wiring connectors to the on/off switch are blackened. The wires nearby seem brittle. No way to determine how badly theyíre damaged. The wiring harness disappears deep into the metal infrastructure, invisible without major disassembly.

Past experience tells me this often creates new problems. Past out-sourcing to repair small appliances tells me parts may no longer be available, repair is uncertain and the labor cost is usually more than a replacement.

Despite its solid metal, dependable history and otherwise good appearance, the best decision is to euthanize this old friend.

The old me wouldíve never investigated the problem and just thrown it away. Why things broke was an unsolvable mystery. I didnít have the mechanical knack, knowledge or interest to noodle it out.

Then I realized that 50 pieces throw away as easily as one. If youíre going to throw it away anyway, you might as well get some learning and experience out of the situation.

This morning, looking deeper provided more information. That information allowed a cost/benefit calculation to be completed. The answer helped make a sound decision. And bring closure to the situation.

Iíll miss the old heater. But Iím excited to explore the replacement possibilities.

Loss and gain. Pain and pleasure. Obstacle and opportunity.

That my friend, is life on hearth.



I'm No Mechanic


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