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By : Brendan Mitchell, 07-06-2017

Having trouble with one of your household appliances? There’s no need to panic. Despite rapid advancements in science and technology over the past twenty years, appliance problems are still almost as common as they were then. The difference is that now you have the Internet at your disposal, which means easy access to articles like this one that can help you identify and potentially resolve the issue without hiring an appliance repair professional.

The first thing you should do once you have identified there is a problem is confront the usual suspects. That is, check the appliance’s settings, ventilation, and if it is level on the ground. You should also try turning it off and on again. These are simple fixes, but can be easy to miss when you are distracted by the fact that your expensive appliance is not doing its job.

If your appliance has the correct settings and ventilation, is standing straight, and is still not working after a reset, the cause of your frustration may be mechanical. Alas, that does not mean you need to hire a professional. Check out the common appliance problems below that you should be able to fix yourself.

Warm Refrigerator

A warm fridge is often cause by dirty condenser coils.
A warm fridge is often cause by dirty condenser coils.
A warm fridge is particularly frustrating as it can feel more time-sensitive than some of the other problems in this list. You don’t want to have to throw away all the food in your fridge just because the repair person was late. While a warm fridge is one of the most common appliance problems that professionals are called to repair, it can often be resolved with just a little elbow grease.

If your refrigerator is not as cool as it should be, the chances are it’s because of dirty condenser coils. Condenser coils are a grid of black wire-like tubes, usually located at the back of or beneath the refrigerator. The coils contain the coolant for the fridge compressor, and when they are covered in a buildup of dirt, it causes the compressor to overheat. Dirty condenser coils are particularly common in homes with pets because of the increase in hair and dirt on the ground. 

The first thing you may want to do is remove the contents of your fridge and put them in a cooler with ice. That will buy you some time so you don't have to rush.  

Secondly, unplug the fridge so it is completely off. This is important so you don’t accidentally electrocute or burn yourself. Once the power is off, find the coils on your fridge and clean them thoroughly. A vacuum and brush will be immensely helpful. And that’s it! You’re done. You are free to turn on your fridge again and see if it works.

Strange Sound Coming from the Dryer

If your dryer is making a strange sound it should be investigated immediately.
If your dryer is making a strange sound it should be investigated immediately.
If you hear an unusual sound when using your dryer, the chances are there is something wrong internally that should be fixed as soon as possible. Depending on the specific sound your dryer is emitting, it could be one of the following problems.

If your dryer is producing a high-pitched sound, the issue is likely with a fast-moving part such as the rollers that support the drum. If it is the rollers, they may need more lubrication, which you can apply yourself.

If it’s a scraping sound, the issue could be worn out glides. Glides sit below the drum and are known to age and wear quickly. Both rollers and glides should be replaced as a set. Replacing glides is more difficult, but can be done without the help of an expert. However, if you’re having trouble confirming the issue, or not confident that you can complete the repairs yourself, there’s no shame in hiring a professional to save you some time and stress.

A rattling sound in your dryer may be a zipper or button that has fallen in to the dryer vent. Check below your lint filter with a flashlight and clean out anything you find in there. It’s a good idea to do this regularly to keep your dryer clean and healthy. 

Dishwasher that Won’t Clean

A dirty dishwasher can be frustrating but is easily fixed.
A dirty dishwasher can be frustrating but is easily fixed. 
Dishwashers have one job, so when they aren’t doing it correctly it can be very frustrating. The first thing you should do is make sure that you aren’t over estimating your dishwasher’s abilities. Try putting a smaller load on to wash; if the dishes still come out dirty, you'll need to do some more investigating.

The next thing you should do is give your dishwasher a thorough cleaning. Start with cleaning out the food filter, which you can locate by consulting your dishwasher’s manual. If your filter looks pretty good, the issue may be with the washer’s spray arms. The spray arms are designed to shoot hot water and detergent at the dishes, so it’s very likely they are responsible for the problem. 

Spray arms typically have four or more holes that can be easily clogged by a buildup of food or scale deposits from hard water. Cleaning your spray arms can be difficult, but is certainly not a task you need a professional for. The spray arms are also easy to find and remove – most dishwashers have an arm at the top and bottom, but there may also be one in the middle. You can find a detailed tutorial for removing and cleaning dishwasher spray arms here.

It’s also a good idea to confirm you are using the right type of detergent for your dishwasher. Using a detergent that is not recommended for your brand and model could be causing multiple problems.  Don’t forget to clean out the detergent hatch as well, as a buildup in the dispenser could potentially be the root of your problems.

Gas Burner Not Lighting

Cleaning your gas burner regularly will help keep it functioning efficiently.
Cleaning your gas burner regularly will help keep it functioning efficiently. 
Problems with your gas burner are always disconcerting thanks to the omnipresent threat of a gas leak. Suffice to say, if you smell gas or suspect a leak, immediately evacuate the area and call 911.

If you just can’t seem to get the burner to light, there is a less cause for concern. Like a warm fridge or non-functioning dishwasher, the issue will probably be resolved with a little cleaning. It’s easy to spill food when cooking on a gas burner, and this can easily cause a buildup in the ignition port that prevents the flow of gas. By cleaning out your burner you can quickly get your burner working efficiently again.

To get started, disconnect the burner from power. After that, remove the grate and burner cap, both of which should come off easily. This should give you access to the burner’s ignition ports which you can now clean with warm water and soap. Vinegar or baking soda will help with more stubborn blockages. Keep in mind that these are general instructions, so it’s recommended that you consult the manual for cleaning instructions specific to your gas burner.

Replace the parts you removed and give the burner time to dry thoroughly before reconnecting it to power and trying to use it. Your gas burner should work perfectly now. 

These are just some of the common appliance problems you can fix without the help of a professional, although the chances are you will still need help from a licensed repair person during the life of one or more of your appliances.

If you do need an appliance repair person now, try using EZBZ – the free concierge service. Our team of local business experts can help you find and compare reputable repair professionals in your area. Simply post a request online or through the EZBZ app, or call us on 1-855-46-8619 for a local recommendation.

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