Appliance Maintenance and Repair for Homeowners

Appliance RepairWithin the last century, society has enjoyed the benefits of both industrial age and space age innovation. The results of which have bestowed an appliance for nearly every type of household task. Along with these innovative inventions, however, comes the need for home appliance repair which sometimes requires the assistance of a qualified service company or electrician. Our service here at Handy American provides you with the tools to find electricians or appliance repair companies if they are required for your projects.

While small appliance technology has evolved into “disposable” kitchen appliances such as an electric can opener, microwave oven, or electric coffee pot, many major appliance types still merit the services of a good old fashioned appliance repair man.

Although technology has brought forth incredible changes to appliances such as a kitchen stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, and clothes washer, they still have electronic or mechanical parts that may fail and require repair or replacement.

Know the Owner’s Manual – and Your Limitations

There are certain circumstances when a homeowner can resolve an appliance problem on their own. Before lunging head first into a do it yourself appliance repair project, however, there are a few basic points to consider:

  • The owner’s manual - every home appliance comes with an appliance manual. Whether a major appliance or small; usually including complete set up and operating instructions, troubleshooting guidelines, and maintenance information. Homeowners should thoroughly read this information to be as knowledgeable as possible before operating the appliance for the very first time.
  • Know your limitations – most homeowners have the necessary know-how to bring in a new or used appliance, set it up, plug it in, and begin using it. And many are adept at cleaning and providing preventive maintenance for home appliances. But few have the skills required to provide refrigerator repair or stove repair.

The reasons should be obvious; an electric stove or gas stove can pose an extreme hazard if not properly repaired by a certified technician. Furthermore, any warranty still in effect may be voided if someone other than an appliance service professional certified by the particular manufacturer for warranty repairs does the work.

In addition, homeowners attempting to disassemble an appliance for troubleshooting and repair could actually cause more damage than the initial problem they were trying to fix.

Viable Do It Yourself Appliance Repair and Preventive Maintenance

Types of do it yourself appliance repair maintenance viable for homeowners might include:

  • Fixing clothes washer plumbing, such as leaky water hoses. Simply replace the leaky supply hose, or leaky hose inside the washer.
  • Replacing a built in dishwasher. Most of these units are a “box” that slides right into a permanent frame. Completely shut off water and electrical supplies before removing the unit. Set the new unit in place; re-connect water and electrical hook-ups, and then turn utilities back on. Be sure to check for leaky connections. (Homeowners unsure of dealing with connections should hire a professional.)
  • Replacing a water heater. A leaking water heater tank usually indicates the heater needs replacement. If installed with screw-on water supply couplers with shut off valves, simply shut off the water valves and unscrew the couplers using large pliers or a wrench. For a gas water heater, make sure the gas supply is completely shut off before disconnecting the gas line. For an electric water heater, make sure the breaker is shut off before disconnecting the electric lines.

Whether electric or gas, the heater should be drained by hooking a garden hose up to the valve located at the bottom of the water heater. Discard the old heater, and then set the new one in place. (Homeowners unsure about how to properly connect wires to an electric heater - or how to ensure connections are secure on a gas heater, should have a service professional do the actual hook up.)

  • Routine stove cleaning and inspection. Spills on gas and electric stoves, as well as one piece ceramic stove top models, should be cleaned immediately after cool down. A smooth one piece ceramic stove top should be cleaned immediately after cool down. Use only cleaners recommended by the manufacturer. Ovens should be cleaned regularly. The oven door gasket should be checked regularly to ensure there is a good seal; replace if necessary.
  • Routine refrigerator cleaning and inspection. Refrigerator coils on the back of the unit should be cleaned monthly to keep unit from getting clogged and overheating. Use a vacuum. At the same time, check drain pans underneath; clean when necessary. For units with an ice maker, replace water filter at least twice annually. Clean door gasket using baking soda and warm water; check for a good seal. If not, replace the gasket.
  • Routine freezer cleaning and inspection. Freezers should be cleaned and defrosted every 3 to 4 months for peak operation efficiency. Use the same procedure as for a refrigerator to check and clean door gasket and coils.
  • Routine dishwasher cleaning and inspection. Inspect dishwasher water supply hoses annually for leaks or kinks; remove the spray arm and clean using a stiff brush; remove any deposits from the spray holes in the arm. Remove and clean the strainer using warm water and detergent twice annually. Run a wash cycle using 1 cup of white vinegar to remove soap and mineral deposits; do this 3 or 4 times each year. These steps can help prevent dishwasher problems over time.
  • Routine clothes washer cleaning and inspection. A clothes washer usually has an in-line filter on the water supply lines. The filter should be checked and cleaned or replaced at least once annually. Clean any detergent or bleaching agent spills immediately to avoid possible damage to the finish.
  • Routine clothes dryer cleaning and inspection. Dryers usually have a lint trap that slides out for easy cleaning. Be sure to clean it after each use, to keep the unit operating at peak efficiency and avoid any possible fire hazard caused by lint accumulation. Make sure the dryer is properly vented to the outside. Clean the hose and vent annually; more often, if necessary.

Consider Professional Services

For more technical problems such as refrigerator troubleshooting when the refrigerator temperature does not stay cold, or for clothes washer repair involving the transmission or electronic controls, it might be best to acquire the services of a major appliance repair professional.

Note: in most cases, a licensed plumbing company will provide water heater services; such as troubleshooting a water heater problem involving the temperature control, or replacing a water heater.

If a homeowner is unsure as to how to replace an appliance part (such as a stove part or dishwasher part) they should at least consult with a professional. This will avoid the possibility of purchasing an unnecessary part, or one that is the wrong type. Not only would this mean extra time involvement and an additional trip to the appliance part and service center. It could prove costly; as such parts are often non returnable.

To find a reliable appliance repair professional in your community, HandyAmerican.com offers online resources to get the task done; fast and easy – without cost or obligation.

Homeowners simply sign up for FREE, and post their appliance repair project online, where it is immediately visible to member contractors in their locality 24/7. Local contractors also receive instant e-mail notification of new project postings within their scope of services, and provide competitive bids in days, even hours of project posting.

Homeowners can view information on each contractor; including company profile, licensing/insurance/certification credentials, references, customer feedback, and photos of recently completed projects. And then make an informed hiring decision, or hire no one at all. Remember, there is no obligation or cost of any kind.



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