For most of us, the idea of fixing an appliance our self, conjures up feelings of fear and inadequacy. So the term 'DIY Appliance Repair' may not sound that appealing. Whether this a practical choice depends a lot on what is wrong with our appliance.
Understanding what your problem is will help you, even if you decide to call someone to come and fix it. Using the 'Troubleshooting' guide below will save you from having unnecessary items sold to you during the repair. This alone can save you some serious money.
When Does 'DIY Appliance Repair' Make Sense?
Below, we have listed some 'Pro's' and 'Con's' to trying to fix an appliance yourself. In the end it is up to you to decide. Take a look at the list and see what you think:
- Many repairs can be accomplished for just the 'price of the parts' and some of your time.
- Some repairs, don't even require any parts.
- No one will have to be at the house to meet the repairman.
- No worry about being sold things that you don't need.
- You can save between $100 and $500 on a single repair.
- You may not be physically able to wrestle with a large heavy appliance to fix it.
- You may not be able to determine what your problem is.
- You may not be able to locate the parts, or purchase them even if you find them.
- Some repairs that require specialized tools that are expensive to purchase and unlikely to be on hand.
Troubleshooting Appliance Problems
Below we have links and descriptions of the various troubleshooting articles for appliances on this website. Even if you are going to 'call someone', it is a good idea to review the information and try to determine your problem.
Garbage disposals are both a plumbing device and an appliance. The cost enough and are sufficiently difficult to install that they constitute an major investment. Keeping them in good working order just makes sense.
Clothes Dryer Troubleshooting
There are two common types of clothes dryers. Gas and Electric, with electric being the most common. Drums and controls are similar, the main difference is the heat source.
Gas Dryer Troubleshooting
A gas dryer uses natural gas to provide the heat source for drying the clothes. So you have some of the same issues with a gas dryer that you do with other gas appliances. They need to be vented properly, the ignition system (pilot light or electronic) needs to be functioning properly.
In addition to the gas issues you have a drum that is driven by a belt that is connected to a motor. Along with that you have the control board the takes care of the various cycles on the dryer. Some of the cycles rely on sensors with in the dryer to tell when the clothes are properly dried.
See the article 'Gas Dryer Troubleshooting' for a discussion on the various issues and how to narrow your problem down.
Electric Dryer Troubleshooting
An electric dryer is simpler than a gas dryer. The heating element is electric and you don't have all the gas related issues that come from using natural gas. However, electric heating elements can go bad and the are fairly expensive to replace.
You have the same motor, belt and drum issues with an electric dryer that you do with a gas one. You can also have the same control board problems.
See the article 'Electric Dryer Troubleshooting' for a discussion of the problems and guidelines on how to narrow down your issue.
See the article 'How To Clean a Dryer Vent' for information on keeping the dryer working at peak performance.
Washing Machine Troubleshooting
Washing machines can have several issues. Since they use water, both hot and cold, leaks are an obvious malady. There is also a drive motor for the drum that can be direct or belt driven.
Other issues are clogged filters, pumps and of course the controls. As with any appliance the more features it has the more opportunity you have for issues.
See the article 'Washing Machine Troubleshooting' for a listing of all the problems, symptoms and methods for fixing them.
How To Fix a Stove
Stoves or ranges are a standard feature in most kitchens these days. We use them for cooking of course. Some of us may even have and older wood version that also heats your home. The two popular fuels for a stove is natural gas and electricity. NOTE: Not much that can go wrong with a wood burning stove.
Free standing stoves include an oven for baking. Cook tops only have burners for cooking with the oven being another appliance in the kitchen.
Gas Stove Troubleshooting
For a stove to work, it has to have the gas burning. Newer stoves use electronic ignition systems. Older stoves may still rely on a pilot light. Of course when such fails the low tech method of using a match or lighter is still common.
The flow of gas is controlled by the knobs on the appliance. There usually are not any thermocouple devices associated with the burners. So if they don't light, it can be dangerous. The oven will likely have some safety features that won't allow the gas to continue to run without it igniting.
Parts burning out and ignition issues are some of the common problems with this type of stove. See the article 'Gas Stove Troubleshooting' to locate your issue and get it fixed.
Electric Stove Repair
Electric stoves like gas stoves are meant for cooking. Instead of a flame you have an electric element that gets red hot and provides the heat. The debate rages on among discriminating cooks worldwide as to weather or not electric gives you the ability to adjust the heat acceptably. Whether it is the best heat or not, many a meal gets cooked on electric ranges every day.
Of course the heating elements are the big issue with electric stoves. Next would be the controls. Since it involves electricity, shorts are possible and at times people do get shocked from an electric stove.
See the article 'Electric Stove Repair and Troubleshooting' for more information and directions on how to solve your problem.
No mystery here, this is the appliance the cleans the dishes. It is a common appliance in most modern homes.
Dishwashers use water and of course water has its own set of problems. Not the least of which are leaks. The other issue with water is that it needs to be drained away. A dishwasher that does not drain properly will not clean the dishes effectively. There are pumps that help the dishwasher to drain.
Some dishwashers have heating elements for both the water and to dry the dishes. Add to that some filters and you have a potential for several problems.
See the article, 'Dishwasher Troubleshooting' to identify your problem and work toward getting it fixed.
The main moving part in a refrigerator is the compressor. The good news is that they are fairly reliable and have been known to last for decades. The bad news is that if they go bad, they are expensive to replace.
There are other issues that are less dire. Water supply lines, temperature controls and seals to name a few. Problems, such as frozen vegetables in the crisper drawer can be a little aggravating.
To locate and solve you refrigerator issues you want to see the article 'Refrigerator Troubleshooting'.
Ice Maker Troubleshooting
Although it is technically part of the refrigerator, the freezer, to be more exact, it is really a separate appliance. It has its own water supply and mechanism the ejects the ice when the cubes are ready. There is definitely the potential for problems with this appliance.
See the article 'Ice Maker Troubleshooting' for a complete run down on the problems and solutions.