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.
1 / 10EHStockphoto/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.
2 / 10Gemenacom/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.
3 / 10Arthiti 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.
4 / 10
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.
5 / 10jcm32/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.
6 / 10Michelle 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.
7 / 10Yunava1/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.
9 / 10Family 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.
Originally Published: June 19, 2019