Spanish vocabulary to explain when something’s broken

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Here’s our second installment from Spanish teacher Michelle Lewis, dealing with the common problem of speaking to workmen or technicians when something is broken. Below’s the basic vocabulary you need to describe the problem and understand the answers from your Spanish electrician or repairman. Let’s hope you don’t need it any time soon!

 La lavadora está averiada.  –  The washing machine has broken down.

¿Qué le pasa?  – What’s the matter with it?

Tiene escape – It’s leaking

El lavadero está inundado – The laundry is flooded

El tambor no da vueltas –  The drum isn’t turning

No se enciende. – It won’t switch on.

No funciona. – It doesn’t work.

¿El interruptor funciona? – Does the switch work?

¿Está enchufado? – Is it plugged in?

Huele a quemado. – It smells of burning.

No calienta el agua. – It doesn’t heat the water.

¿Qué modelo es el aparato? – What model is the machine?

¿Está bajo garantía? – Is it under guarantee?

Tiene garantía de un año. – It has a one year guaranntee.

Tiene que pagar el desplazamiento. –  You have to pay the call out charge.

La mano de obra es a 10€ por hora. – Labour charges are 10€ an hour.

Hay que pagar las piezas para la reparación. – You have to pay for parts.

Le llamarán dentro de 24 horas.- Someone will call you within 24 hours.

Pasan por casa mañana por la mañana. – Someone will call at your house tomorrow morning.

Necesito un electricista / fontanero / pintor / albañil. – I need an electrician / plumber / painter / builder.

la avería – a breakdown,     el  lavavajillas –  dishwasher,      el  horno – oven,                el hornillo –  hob,      el frigorífico – fridge,       el calentador de agua – water heater,   la placa solar  – solar panel,      la calefacción central – central heating,  el aire acondicionado – air conditioning,      el microondas – microwave,  el ordenador – computer,      la televisión – televisión     

Michelle Lewis is a Spanish Teacher, Translator and Interpretor. She can help with a wide range of issues in Spanish including; NIE, residency, registering at the medical centre, medical appointments, importation of cars, problems with the Town Hall, the gestor, the police, or Telefonica. Email or call 680 155 254 for more information.

If you’d rather not deal with maintenance problems when you’re renting long-term in Spain, HomeRentalontheWeb can take care of all your property maintenance issues. If you rent one of our properties, our billingual property management team can take care of everything and can deal with the landlord on your behalf if there is a problem. For more information about our Spain long-term rentals please visit our website or email

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