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10 Tips to Master Home Appliance Repair

Fixing your appliances, instead of calling in a pro, is cost-effective, time-saving and often allows you to extend the life of the appliances. If you want to solve home appliance repair issues yourself, these tips will help. And as always, safety first. Wear protective gear and remember to unplug before beginning any work on any appliance.

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Always Start By Checking the ObviousEHStockphoto/Shutterstock

Always Start By Checking the Obvious

It always pays to check for all the basic problems before you look for more serious problems and do your home appliance repair. And that includes checking power settings, making sure the appliance is plugged in and turned on, checking to see that the outlet is getting power, etc. Some appliances may refuse to work if they are placed on an uneven surface, or if their filters become clogged and they start to overheat. Cover these simple checks first before you dive down deeper.
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Know the 50% RuleGemenacom/Shutterstock

Know the 50% Rule

The 50% rule states: If the appliance is more than 50% through its expected lifespan (you can usually find life-span estimates in the manual or online). And the expected cost of repairs and replacements is more than 50% of buying a new appliance, you should probably replace the appliance entirely. This is helpful when comparing the costs of home appliance repair, professional services, DIY work and replacement.
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Listen to Your Moving PartsArthiti Kholoet/Shutterstock

Listen to Your Moving Parts

Moving parts are by far the most likely to fail due to wear or malfunction. When repairing appliances, start by taking a look at the moving parts. And for most appliances, this means check out the fans and motors to make sure they are functioning correctly. Your best hint for home appliance repair is typically noise. Fans, motors and similar components tend to make a lot of noise when they are failing. Note that fans and fan belts are relatively easy to replace, while motors are expensive and more difficult to repair or replace.
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Understand the Refrigerant Cycle

Understand the Refrigerant Cycle

Refrigerant is present in many appliances, including heat pumps, air conditioners and refrigerators, so it's important to understand the refrigerant cycle, how it works, and what can go wrong. And this guide will help you understand the path refrigerant takes and how the evaporator, compressor and condenser all work together. This makes it much easier to do home appliance repair and find specific problems when one of these components slows down or starts malfunctioning. So you can know what sort of maintenance your fridge needs and when it may have a refrigerant leak or similar problem.
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Buy a Good Multimeterjcm32/Shutterstock

Buy a Good Multimeter

How do you know if a problem is in the appliances's wiring? You test it! And for that, you need the right tool. Purchase a multimeter that allows you to measure voltage and other important signals that show you which wires or electrical components aren't working. If you want to become a master of home appliance repair, you need a multimeter and always be sure to take proper safety precautions.
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Check Ignition ProcessesMichelle Milano/Shutterstock

Check Ignition Processes

If you have gas-powered appliances, they depend on an ignition process to get started. And some have electric starters and some have pilot lights, but either way this is a common source of problems in otherwise highly durable appliances. Check your ignition process and make sure the pilot light is on, the starters are properly aligned, and that nothing has been blocked with soot.
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Know Where Your Hoses AreYunava1/Shutterstock

Know Where Your Hoses Are

Your dishwasher, washing machine and many other appliances depend on hoses to move water around. And if a leak or kink occurs, you need to check these hoses and surrounding valves to locate the part that needs to be replaced and re-sealed. Hoses tend to wear out before other components, so pay attention to the condition of these hoses when doing home appliance repair.
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Replace Seals and GasketsALPA PROD/Shutterstock

Replace Seals and Gaskets

Seals and gaskets are found on oven and refrigerator doors and other places behind the scenes. So get used to checking these components for damage or cracks and replacing them if necessary.
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Look Up Appliance Error CodesFamily Handyman

Look Up Appliance Error Codes

Thanks to the internet, it's easier to look up error codes than ever before. And more appliances have them, from microwaves and ovens to washing machines and dishwashers. When an appliance code pops up, look up what it indicates and determine if you can fix it yourself or not.
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A Screwdriver Isn't Enough: Buy a Full Toolkit Julia Sudnitskaya/Shutterstock

A Screwdriver Isn't Enough: Buy a Full Toolkit

You need the right tools for DIY home appliance repair. Fortunately, there are plenty of affordable tool kits to get you started. And don't be afraid to expand your collection as time goes on!