From the simple change of a fridge lightbulb, to replacing a drum paddle in a washing machine, over half of Brits (55%) have adopted a ‘make, do and mend’ mindset through the pandemic, with new research from appliance spare parts retailer eSpares suggesting a growing generation of FIY (fix-it-yourself)-ers.
The study of 2,000 people suggests repairing, restoring and fixing appliances is more popular with young people in particular.
Nearly three in five (58%) 18-24 year-olds say they turned their hand at repairing everyday household appliances in the past year. As well as being spurred on by the pandemic, this age group is motivated by a desire to be more environmentally friendly (40%) and for their own satisfaction (40%).
Consumers are also increasingly taking on home appliance repairs to save money (47%) and time (44%), while over a quarter (29%) say that it’s more environmentally friendly to fix their items than to throw them away and buy a new one, according to the findings.
With global e-waste monitor reporting that 1,598KT of electrical waste went to landfill in the UK – the second worst in the world per capita – two in five 18-24 year-olds say they want to limit the environmental impact when a simple FIY job would suffice, the highest of any age group surveyed.
The FIY trend has seen a major boom over the past year through lockdowns and shows no signs of abating. From installing new filters in the cooker hood to replacing an oven door seal, people have realised just how easy repairs can be – and the satisfaction that comes with being able to fix things yourself.
Gen Zs are also more likely to be self-sufficient in FIY repairs when compared with other generations. Over half (51%) of 18–24 year-olds use YouTube tutorials as their source for fixing household appliances, while 42% say they don’t need to rely on their parents as much for advice on home repairs.
When looking at the nation’s most repaired items, vacuum cleaners (39%), followed by lawn mowers (25%) and cookers (24%) are the most popular repairs. eSpares’s own data shows a similar picture with a vacuum power pack and fan oven spare parts both appearing in the top ten selling items of the last 18 months. On average, people say they have saved £130 in the last 12 months as a result of fixing their own appliances.
eSpares says it has seen surging demand in the past 12 months as the FIY trend took hold with an 86% increase in site traffic at the height of the surge as people avoided shops when the threat of the virus became clear.
37% of people said they will be taking on their own appliance repairs in the future post-lockdown.
Andrew Sharp, CEO of CDSL Group, said: “The FIY trend has seen a major boom over the past year through lockdowns and shows no signs of abating. From installing new filters in the cooker hood to replacing an oven door seal, people have realised just how easy repairs can be – and the satisfaction that comes with being able to fix things yourself.
“It might seem daunting at first but there are so many tutorials easily accessible through YouTube and guides available online to help people fix and maintain their appliances so they last longer. We expect this trend to continue growing.”
Tips for first time fixers
eSpares shares its top five tips for first-time and existing FIY-ers:
- Research – Before you start any kind of repairs, be sure you know what you’re doing. Always read the instructions thoroughly to make sure you understand what the steps are. If you’re fixing an appliance, research online what the possible faults are so you know what you’re looking for.
- YouTube is your best friend – The Advice Centre on eSpares has over 700 YouTube tutorials that provide step-by-step advice from the experts on diagnosing, fixing and maintaining all your household appliances. With a simple search online, you’re almost certainly going to find a quick solution to all manner of problems around the home.
- Regular maintenance is an easy way to save money – By tackling limescale on your kitchen appliances and cleaning the filters on your vacuum cleaners and dishwasher once a month, you can save money in the long run as the products will work far more efficiently.
- Replenish your toolbox – There’s not much worse than being ready to start a FIY project and realising you don’t have the right tools. Every toolbox should include screwdrivers with a comprehensive set of heads, a multimeter to identify the faulty apart of your appliance, Allen keys in a range of sizes, safety gloves, a small torch and pliers. Vaseline and clear nail polish are also great for solving all sorts of conundrums from lubricating pressure wash seals to securing a loose screw.
- Say no to new! – As well as saving money, time and effort, you’ll also be learning a new skill and doing your bit for the environment by repairing instead of replacing. For extra support you can find loads of online social communities where you can meet other like-minded fixers.
With Right to Repair legislation coming this summer, consumers will have the right to fix appliances like fridges, washing machines and dishwashers themselves in order to extend their lifespan.
The new rules will be estimated to reduce the electrical waste generated in the UK each year and to contribute to reducing carbon emissions overall.