Let’s face it. We usually get so excited about buying a new appliance that we rip open the package and want to set it up right away. Most of us rarely even look at the manual that comes with it. In some cases, it might even get thrown away with all the packaging material or thrown in the recycle bin with the rest of the paper waste.
But the instruction manual for your new appliance is a very valuable item which can save you a good deal of money and time—IF you know where it is.
The first step is to not throw the manual away once you have set up your new item. We recommend that you CAREFULLY open the box and all packing materials. The main reason for this is in case the item does not work correctly, or you change your mind. Many stores will be reluctant to take back an item if the box has been shredded. They will certainly want to charge a re-stocking fee even if they do.
The other reason for being careful is to give yourself a chance to thoroughly check the box to see what is inside. In addition to the valuable instruction manual, their might also be small parts, batteries, fact and tip sheets, a warranty card, and more useful bits and pieces that you might overlook in your haste (or your children’s haste) as you try to get the item set up and working.
You will want to avoid tearing any of the papers and booklets that come with the appliance you have purchased. They will often contain valuable instructions, your warranty, instructions on what to do if you wish to return the item (for example, if you ordered it online and it was shipped to you) and troubleshooting or easy set-up guides.
The easy set-up tip sheets or guides might be printed on a sturdy card, or a piece of paper. They can be one of the most valuable items in the box if you are in a hurry to get your new TV, fridge and so on working. However, just because you read that set of instructions doesn’t mean you can throw the manual away.
The instruction manual will contain a wealth of information, often in a number of languages. It will give you contact information, warranty information, frequently asked questions (FAQs) and troubleshooting tips.
If you only find a piece of paper in the box with instructions to visit a particular url to download a copy of the instruction booklet, do so at once. Download a copy onto your computer (it will usually be in PDF) and also print out a copy. This may seem wasteful, but models are often discontinued and then the booklets are taken off the site, which will leave you stuck. It is also more convenient to grab a copy and read through it as you are troubleshooting the appliance rather than having to go back and forth from your computer.
Once you have located your instruction booklet in the box or printed it out, file the manual in a folder or in a drawer with all of your other instruction booklets. Keep all of them in the same place, and return them there when you are finished with them.
If it is a more complex item like a DVD, you might want to keep the instruction booklet close to it for at least a couple of weeks after you buy it, until you get used to it, and then file it with the other manuals in a safe place.
You can file the manuals alphabetically by item, or keep them in one large folder or drawer. If you suddenly start having trouble with one of your appliances, be sure you have the manuals handy to refer to first before enlisting the aid of a serviceman.
Instruction manuals are produced to help you get the most out of your new appliance and troubleshoot the most common problems that owners have experienced with the product. If you want to save time and money, and make the most of your appliance, take a few moments to read through the manual and file it away safely for future reference. It could save you a great deal of money on simple home repair jobs.
The Smart Woman’s Do-It-Yourself Guide to a Greener Home