Repair Help & Tips

Dishwasher Repair Checklist

Appliance repair is one expense that do-it-yourself homeowners can do to save some money. If you are handy, there is no reason why you cannot diagnose and repair your appliance yourself. To be safe, make sure any appliance you work on is unplugged from a power supply before opening.

These are a few common dishwasher problems with solutions and suggestions for repair.

The dishwasher doesn't run at all.

  • Check the power to the dishwasher. This simple solution might often be overlooked while the DIY owner is searching for an exotic problem. The power cord might become loose from the back of the dishwasher. Make sure the circuit breaker did not get tripped, or a fuse hasn't blown.
  • Make sure the door is completely locked or the dishwasher will not start. The seal must be secure. This could be the result of a faulty door switch or lock. It will need to be replaced if broken.
  • An uncommon problem with the dishwasher that will cause it to not start is the selector switch being broken. It will need to be replaced if this is the cause.
  • Another uncommon, but potential problem, is a defective timer. This will need to be replaced.

Dishes are still dirty after the wash cycle.

  • A potential problem with the dishwasher could be no water or not enough water to the unit. Make sure the water shut-off valve isn't the culprit by checking under the sink. Another spot to check is at the bottom of the dishwasher behind the kick plate. That is where the water valve is located. It might need replacing.
  • Low water temperature can be an issue. To get dishes entirely clean, it is recommended the dishwasher's temperature be at 120 degrees.
  • The spray arms might be clogged. Check the holes to be sure debris hasn't clogged them.
  • Adding enough soap to the dispenser cup is essential, and it is also important to fill both sides with soap.
  • If the dishes are somewhat clean but with a smoky film, the issue could be calcium buildup in the dishwasher. There are many cleaners out there that can be used to remove the buildup.

Water won't drain out of the unit.

  • Some dishwasher pumps use a belt. This belt can break, so be sure to check whether the belt is worn or broken and replace it.
  • There is an air gap on some units between the sink and faucet. Make sure it is not clogged.
  • Check the pump, and make sure the drain impeller doesn't have any broken parts.
  • The motor can sometimes stick. Spinning the motor by hand can sometimes free it up to work properly. If that doesn't work, the motor might need to be replaced.
  • Many models of dishwasher use a drain solenoid, and they often get stuck. Try freeing up the solenoid by hand. If that doesn't work, the pump may need to be replaced.

Some Washer Repair Help

Homeowners can sometimes troubleshoot washing machine problems and fix them with a minimal amount of effort before they call a repair technician. Here are some common washing machine problems and the steps to fix them.

The washing machine will not run at all

  • First, check that the power cord is still plugged into the wall socket. If it is plugged in, check to see if the cord is not cut, damaged or disconnected from the washer. If it is, it must be repaired or replaced.
  • If there was no damage to the cord, check for a tripped circuit breaker. Flip the circuit breaker to the on position. If the circuit breaker turns off repeatedly, there is an electrical problem with either the washing machine or the circuit breaker. Call a repair technician.
  • If both the cord and the breaker are in good condition, check to see if the wall outlet is working. Look for scorch marks around the outlet holes. Use a 120-volt electrical tester to check for power. Insert one prong into each outlet hole. Take care to hold only the insulated part of each prong. If the outlet has no power, shut off power at the circuit breaker until it can be repaired or replaced.
  • If there is power to the outlet, check the lid switch. Most washers have a lid switch with a tab that depresses a button on the washer when the lid is closed. If the button does not make a click sound when pressed, it is broken. Have it replaced.

Draining and filling problems

  • If the washer fills and drains simultaneously, check to see if the drain hose is too low. It should be positioned at least three feet above the floor.
  • If the hose height is correct, check for a clogged drain line. Inspect the inside of the pump and the connected drain hose for obstructions.
  • If there is no clog, the water pump may have a broken impeller or a frozen pulley. If so, replace the entire pump.

No hot water

  • Make sure the hot water valve is turned on. If it is on and there still is no hot water coming into the washer, check the screen at the end of the hose for sediment.

Dryer Repair Help

Before attempting any repair, be sure to unplug the appliance and disconnect the power to it. If the appliance is gas-fueled, be sure to shut down the gas supply at its source. Also be sure to wear the appropriate safety gear including gloves and safety glasses, and be careful of loose clothing becoming entangled in machine parts. Your safety is top priority and heeding these steps first will greatly reduce the risks of injury.

Electric Dryers

A. Dryer Won't Run

  1. No Electricity
    The dryer may not be getting electricity. Check circuit breaker or fuse box for interruption. Two breakers or fuses must be active for electric dryers to fully function. If all is well here, check connection points – receptacle, both ends of cord, and then connections inside machine.
  2. Door Switch
    The door switch and its actuating lever inside the door can prevent a dryer from running. The machine does not receive its required signal of the door being closed and will not run.

B. Not Getting Hot or Taking Too Long To Dry

  1. Vent Blockage
    Check the internal and external ventilation lines for blockage. This can prevent the required airflow and cause shut down or even worse – fire.
  2. Thermostat
    Check the internal thermostats. A problem here can make the dryer very ineffective.
  3. Heating Element
    The heating elements are what makes the actual heat. Check for continuity and breakage.

Gas Dryers

A. Dryer Won't Run

  1. No Electricity
    Similar to their electric counterparts, gas dryers need electricity. Check along all points on the chain of supply – breakers, fuses, receptacle, wires.
  2. Door Switch
    Check the door switch and actuator lever for malfunction and replace as necessary.
  3. Timer
    Although uncommon, a faulty timer can prevent function.

B. Not Getting Hot or Taking Too Long To Dry

  1. Gas Valve Coils
    Check the coils and replace all if even one is faulty.
  2. Thermal Fuse
    Check inside the machine's vent port and meter the fuse for continuity.
  3. Igniter
    The igniter is very sensitive. Check it and if replacement is necessary, handle with great care.
  4. Venting Problems
    Check all venting for blockage and flow. Inadequate ventilation can cause the worst of problems if not corrected.
  5. Flame Sensor
    Located near the igniter, the flame sensor must be functional, Test and replace if needed.
  6. Thermostat
    Cycling thermostats govern the dryer's heating and run patterns. Check and replace malfunctioning thermostats.

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Ranges/ Ovens Help

Many handy homeowners feel confident taking on small do-it-yourself projects such as fixing minor home appliance problems. Tackling the troubleshooting or repair of your range or oven can be intimidating, but is not as difficult as you might imagine. Basic troubleshooting resolves common issues with your oven or range and makes it clear when it's time to call in for professional service. Professional expertise is required for ongoing issues or problems that involve gas adjustment, as inexperienced gas repair attempts may result in serious bodily injury or property damage.

Troubleshooting Electric Ranges:

No power

  • Check your circuit breaker panel to make sure there is not a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse. Reset the breaker or replace the fuse, if needed.
  • Check the electrical outlet for power with a voltmeter.
  • Inspect the power cord. If damaged or burned, replace or repair the terminal block and wiring.

Top range element doesn't work

  • If the burner element only partially heats, or heats sporadically but does not get red-hot when set to "high", the problem could be that the receptacle that the element plugs into is burned out. If this is the case, replace both the element and the receptacle.
  • Check the element coil for small holes or bubbles. Replace the element, if found to be damaged.
  • Check the infinite switch. This switch has a burner knob on its shaft, and is located behind the control panel. If found defective, replace the switch.

Oven does not bake or broil

  • Check the broiling element for damage or wear. Replace if defective.
  • Check the baking element for defects. Replace if damaged.

Troubleshooting gas ranges:

No power

  • Check your circuit breaker panel to make sure there is not a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse. Reset the breaker or replace the fuse, if needed.
  • Check the electrical outlet for power with a voltmeter or plug a small appliance in to check for power.

Top range burner doesn't work

  • If it is a pilot model, clean the burner thoroughly and clear any clogs.
  • It is recommended that you contact a professional appliance technician for troubleshooting or repairs if your range is a pilot-less model.

Oven doesn't bake

  • Check that your oven is set to manual mode rather than automatic mode.
  • Check the bake igniter. It is located on the oven burner, and depending on the model, is either round or flat.
  • A white or yellow glow indicates the igniter is working; if there is none, it has likely burned out and will need replacing.
  • A red glow indicates that the bake igniter may be too weak, and will probably need to be replaced.
  • If the igniter appears to be working, there may be another problem. Other common causes, such as a defective thermostat, selector switch or gas safety valve should be handled by a professional appliance technician.

Range Hoods

f your range hood stops working, don't panic. They're very simple machines. First check the breaker. If that's in order, check the power at the fan motor. This can be done with a voltmeter or volt stick. A volt stick lights up when it's placed next to voltage.

If there is power at the fan motor, replace the motor. If there is no power at the motor, check the switch with an ohmmeter. If the switch doesn't show continuity in the closed position, replace the switch. Be sure to turn off the power and remove the wires from the switch to check the continuity.

If the light doesn't work, check the power at the socket in the same way you checked the fan motor. If power is there, replace the socket. If not, check the switch in the same way as you checked the fan switch. Replace if necessary.

If one switch operates the fan and the light, check for continuity in both positions. Replace it if one or both positions aren't working. Range hoods are inexpensive and easy to replace. Turn off the power, remove the screws and pull it down and out. Install the new one. It's that easy!

Freezer Repair Tips

Before attempting to make any repairs on this freezer, you must disconnect the power and unplug the appliance to avoid the risk of injury or death. It is also extremely important to turn off the gas at its source before attempting to repair any type of gas appliance. When working with tools, you must always wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying debris or foreign objects. Your safety is our primary concern, so we recommend that you read our disclaimer in full before attempting to repair any electrical appliance.

When you work on this freezer, you may come into contact with Freon. This is a powerful refrigerant fluid than can be harmful or fatal when inhaled or used improperly. Due to the potential for serious injury or death, we do not provide our customers with freezer repair tips in this manual. Instead, we recommend that you schedule an appointment with a refrigeration appliance technician as soon as possible.

Refrigerator Repair Tips

You do not always need to call a service technician to fix common issues with a refrigerator or freezer. Many repairs can be accomplished with a few basic tools and the right parts. The first step is to look at common symptoms and isolate the problem. Most appliances are not that complex, and changing a simple part or making sure the unit is properly cleaned and maintained will usually eliminate issues and improve efficiency.

Refrigerators that do not properly cool or stay cold usually have problems with the condenser coils. They are located in the back of the refrigerator near the bottom in most units. These coils need to be able to freely radiate heat into the air in order to keep a refrigerator cool. Make sure they are clean and free of dust and grime. There should also be enough space between the coils and the wall to ensure proper and unobstructed air flow.

Freezers that are too warm are usually not defrosting properly. The thermostat may be faulty if you see a buildup of ice or the unit has difficulty maintaining a consistent temperature. A simple and inexpensive tool is all that is needed to test a thermostat, and it is easy to remove and inspect. If there are problems, replacement parts are inexpensive and simple to install.

For issues related to the ice-maker, check to see if the water inlet valve is blocked with ice. This can happen from time to time, and using a blow dryer can melt the ice and eliminate the problem. Just be careful not to melt the surrounding plastic parts or tubes with the hot air. Direct the hot air in a slow, sweeping motion until the blockage is cleared.

These basic tips can save you a lot of money from unnecessary repair bills, reduce energy costs and improve overall performance.