In the past year, I've done three appliance repairs that I'm
sure would have cost me three or four hundred dollars if I would have called a
repair service. All of these are common problems that are cheap and easy to
Front loading washer wouldn't drain properly
Remove the front panel. Look for the screws that hold the front panel on and remove
them. You'll probably need a hex driver for this. You'll find the pump and
filter behind the panel.
Our front loading washer seemed to be working fine; it just
wouldn't spin the water out of the clothes. After fooling with it a bit, I was
convinced it was some major problem like a switch or relay, and I was just
about to call a repair service. Then I remembered that the pump has a filter that I've
never cleaned and figured it was worth a look. It took about 15 minutes to
remove the access cover and get at the filter, and sure enough, the filter was
clogged. After I cleaned it out, the washer worked fine. Get more simple
washing machine fixes like this.
Clean the filter. Some washers like this have a separate filter that you can
twist off. Others have a filter that's built into the pump. You'll have to
remove the hose from the pump to clean this type.
Dishwasher not cleaning the dishes
A clogged filter can cause dirty dishes. To clean the filter
on your dishwasher, pull out the lower rack and remove the filter cover. If the
filter isn't removable, use a wet/dry vacuum to clean it out.
A few months ago, I noticed that the dishes weren't getting
clean. Sometimes it's because I put too many dishes in the dishwasher at a
time, but even sparsely packed loads were coming out dirty. So I tried the
easiest fix I know. I removed the bottom rack. Then I removed the spray arm to
get at the filter, and of course it was filled with bits of broken glass and
other gunk. I cleaned it out, put everything back together and washed a load
of dishes. It worked great! Even though for me this was a repair, you can avoid
the problem in the first place by cleaning the filter regularly.
Look for a tripped GFCI. If you have a dead outlet, first check the main circuit box
to make sure it's not a tripped circuit breaker. You may also find a GFCI
circuit breaker that needs to be reset. If this doesn't solve the problem, look
for a tripped GFCI outlet somewhere else in the house.
Last summer we were getting ready to build our annual shed
and needed power to run the saws and the compressor. The trouble was that the
outdoor outlet didn't work. After checking the circuit breakers, we figured the
outlet must be protected by a GFCI somewhere else in the house. We checked
everywhere and were just about to call an electrician. Then the homeowner moved
a mattress aside that was being stored in the utility room and found a tripped GFCI
outlet behind it. Believe it or not, this is a common problem that I'm sure many
homeowners have called an electrician to solve. The next time you have a dead
outlet, make sure to look for a GFCI outlet somewhere else in your house.
There's a good chance you'll fix the problem and save yourself $100.
— Jeff Gorton, Associate Editor