How to Repair a Washing Machine

You will find a washing machine in almost every home in America. There are several brands to choose from – including Haier, Whirlpool & LG – as well as styles and models. You can find information on several types of washers here.

Homeowners love the convenience of owning a washer instead of trips to the local laundromat. Of course, if a home has a washing machine, odds are it has a clothes dryer too. Homeowners save time and money over the years with the addition of a washing machine and dryer.

A residential washer lasts for 10 years on average. That is the average lifespan for most common household appliances. You can extend the lifetime of a washing machine with gentle use, proper care and routine maintenance. However, over time, all appliances begin to show signs of wear and break down.

OBX has compiled a list of some of the most common washing machine issues that occur over the lifetime of the appliance. Most are related to age and wear. Some occur from poor construction or misuse. Additional information includes troubleshooting and repair tips as well as recommendations for local appliance repairmen should the repair be too complicated for DIY.

LOUD/UNUSUAL SOUNDS

The most common sign of an appliance wearing down or breaking is when loud noises start to come from it. All appliances create some amount of noise but if the sound coming from the washer is unusual it is best to inspect it. If there is a rattle sound, inspect the pump motor first. Otherwise, the problem is likely worn bearings or a worn belt that needs to be replaced.

LEAKING WATER

In order to run successfully, a washing machine requires several gallons of water to run through it. A leak can become a serious problem fast. Don’t ignore it if you start to see water dripping anywhere from the appliance. It is best to respond to the issue ASAP. A worn pump or worn door seals are one cause for concern. Also check for a failed water inlet valve on the machine.

WON’T START

A washing machine that won’t turn on isn’t of much use. First, be sure the appliance is plugged in. Sometimes the cord can loosen during operation and fall out from the outlet. Also be sure the circuit breaker did not trip. Then, inspect the door latch switches on the washing machine for signs of wear or missing parts. You should also troubleshoot the thermal fuses, timers and electronic controls.

WON’T AGITATE

A washing machine cycles the clothing inside and turns and tosses it around to spread out the clothing and disperse the clean soap and water. This function is critical for cleaning the clothes inside. If a washer is not agitating, you will need to address the problem right away. The agitator cogs on the washer are the first parts to inspect. Also, review the transmission, coupler and drive belt for any signs of damage or wear.

SHAKES & RATTLES

A washing machine will rattle a little during operation, but not too much. If the shaking becomes dramatic and loud, then there is a problem that needs immediate attention. There are a few reasons why this problem might occur. The first are the shock absorbers on the appliance. Be sure to inspect the leveling legs and the dampening straps as well. You can find replacement parts at an online distributor or possibly at a nearby hardware store.

BURNING ODOR

A burning smell coming from a household appliance is often a sign of friction between two parts of the appliance. This is also true of a washing machine. The threat of fire is minimal but the problem should still be tended to quickly. The drive belts on the washer are a common cause for burning smells. The other reason there might be a burning smell is if the motor pulleys are worn down. Schedule service from an appliance repair company for a quick and easy fix.

FILLS/DRAINS AT SAME TIME

During the beginning of a washing cycle, the washer will fill up with water. Then, at the end, the water drains from the appliance. If both functions occur at the same time, there is a problem and the clothes inside will not get clean. Most of the time, the reason for this issue is related to the water level on the appliance. The other reason are the pressure switches found throughout the washing machine. Inspect both to find the part causing the issue.

The problems listed above are some of the most common when it comes to washing machines 10 years old or older. There are other issues that occur as well, but these are the most common.

You can attempt to repair the issues above on your own with the proper tools. We recommend following our online guides found throughout our website. However, if you are not comfortable with DIY appliance repair, it is best to enlist the help of a professional appliance repair company. Here are some we recommend:

Metro Appliance Repair
Des Moines, IA
515-271-8870
www.metro-appliance.com

Dependable Refrigeration
Tucson, AZ
520-888-7039
www.appliance-repair-tucson.com

One-Call Sugar Land Appliance Repair
Sugar Land, TX
832-956-1602
www.appliancerepairsugarlandtx.com

How to Repair a Trash Compactor

You won’t find a trash compactor in every kitchen in America. It’s not as popular of an appliance as a microwave or dishwasher. However, it is still a wise investment for most homeowners as a trash compactor will reduce the amount of garbage and clutter in a home. This type of appliance is good for the environment to as it reduces a home’s carbon footprint and impact on the ecosystem. Learn more here: www.compactiontechnologies.com

The average residential trash compactor is built to last around 10 years. This timeframe is common for most household appliances. You will find that the trash compactor in your home will start to wear down as it nears 8-10 years old and repairs will become necessary.

OBX has compiled a list of common and uncommon issues that arise on trash compactors. The list includes troubleshooting information, repair tips and recommendations for local appliance repairman able to complete the job if needed. We encourage DIY trash compactor repair but advise against it if the homeowner is not comfortable with the process or necessary tools.

LOUD/STRANGE NOISES

A trash compactor is a loud appliance to begin with. If the noises coming from the appliance become even louder or strange sounds begin to occur, then there is a problem with the trash compactor that requires attention. The list of parts potentially responsible for this issue is long and therefore we recommend enlisting the services of a professional appliance repair company able to diagnose the machine in its entirety.

DOESN’T TURN ON

A trash compactor isn’t of much use if it won’t turn on. The most common reason an appliance – including a trash compactor – doesn’t turn on is that it isn’t plugged in. Be sure the cord is intact and plugged in. Also be sure the circuit breakers in the home are in the correct position. The parts responsible for this issue are the start switch, the directional switch and the drive motor. Be sure to inspect each thoroughly.

RAM WON’T MOVE

The signature part in a residential trash compactor is its ram. A ram is responsible for compacting the trash inside the appliance. The ram must operate smooth in order to complete its function. If this is not happening, OBX recommends inspecting these three parts on the machine: driver gear, directional switch and power nut. There is a high chance one of these parts is the cause of the problem.

WON’T STOP

The trash compactor should come to a complete stop once the cycle is complete. The machine should not continue running after all of the garbage has been compacted and the ram is in the final position. “If this occurs, be sure to inspect the directional switch and the start switch on the trash compactor,” says Robert Peterson, Owner Appleton Appliance Repair. If the problem persists, unplug the machine from the wall and call an appliance repairman near your home.

WON’T STAY ON

In order to complete a cycle, the trash compactor must remain on for the entire time. If the machine turns off mid cycle, the garbage will not be compacted to the full extent possible. This is a major issue and will require the services of a trash compactor repairman or small appliance repair company with the necessary tools and parts on-hand to complete the repair in a timely fashion.

DRAWER WON’T CLOSE/OPEN

To use a trash compactor, you must first place the garbage inside the drawer on the machine. To do this, the drawer must open and close properly. If the drawer does not open or close, then the machine will be unusable for the time being. The parts to inspect if this problem occurs are the foot petal and the drawer rolls. This is one of the easier repairs in the list and can be done DIY in a short period of time.

There is a good chance you will experience one or multiple issues over the lifetime of your trash compactor. When an issue does occur, you can either attempt DIY trash compactor repair or enlist the services of a professional in your neighborhood. Here are OBX recommend appliance repair companies:

JMC Appliance Repair LLC
Gary, IN
833-JMC-TECH
www.jmcappliancellc.com

Appleton Appliance Repair
Appleton, WI
920-306-8518
www.appliancerepairappleton.com

Fred’s Appliance Service
Cleveland, OH
440-336-8609
fredsappliance.com

How to Repair a Dishwasher

The days of washing dishes by hand are over for most homeowners thanks to a dishwasher in their home. A dishwasher is a very convenient kitchen appliance that saves a lot of time each and every day.

The problem is that the average dishwasher only lasts around 10 years. This means that dishwashers are not the most durable type of appliance and will need routine maintenance and repair.

You can learn how to complete common dishwasher repair projects on your own with tips from our list below. We include several tips and troubleshooting guides to help identify the problem and solution. In the event you are not comfortable completing a repair, we recommend hiring a local appliance repairman in your area. OBX recommends some below.

TOO NOISY

Loud or unexpected noises coming from a dishwasher often indicates a problem. You must first determine the type of noise – is it grinding or thumping? Then you can determine the source of the noise. You will want to inspect the pump housing, motor brushings and washer arm bearing. In most cases, one of these dishwasher parts are the cause of the loud noise.

WATER LEAKING

A leaking dishwasher is a serious problem considering the amount of water the appliance needs to use during an average washing cycle. This type of dishwasher repair often requires assistance from a trained appliance repair service in town. To attempt the repair on your own, first inspect the door seals, pump and water inlet valve for any noticeable malfunctions.

WON’T TURN ON

The most obvious reason a dishwasher won’t turn on is if it is unplugged. You must first be sure the appliance is plugged in and that all of the circuit breakers are correct too before continuing on with your diagnosis. The next parts of the dishwasher to inspect are its door latch switches, timers, electronic controls, motor relays and thermal fuses. You might find it difficult to identify the cause of this issue being that there are several parts to troubleshoot.

DOOR LATCH MALFUNCTION

A dishwasher door must be 100% closed and sealed before the appliance will begin functioning. Problems with a door latch or door that won’t close can be from a malfunctioning door latch kit. This is a serious problem but an easy repair that most DIY handymen are able to complete on their own.

NOT DRAINING/FILLING

A dishwasher must first fill in order to wash the dishes. Then all of the water must drain from the appliance before the heated drying cycle begins. If a dishwasher won’t fill, there is likely an issue with the water inlet valve, float switch or door switch. If a dishwasher won’t drain, you should inspect the drain pump motor, drain hose and timer.

WON’T RELEASE DETERGENT

The dishwasher in your kitchen should release detergent throughout the machine during the washing cycle in order to deep clean the dirty dishes. If there is no detergent then the dishes will not be washed after the cycle. “The bi-metal release, timer and wax motor are often the reason that detergent will not dispense from a dishwasher,” according to Dean Hutchinson, Lead Technician Avondale Appliance Repair Experts.

DISHES AREN’T DRYING

In order for a dishwasher to function correct, it must both clean and dry dishes. If dishes are not dry after a wash cycle, there is likely a problem with the heating element on the appliance. You can also check the high limit thermostats and rinsing dispensers for issues as both parts can also lead a dishwasher not drying.

The dishwasher problems above are common on models 10 years and older. You can complete most of these repairs in an hour or less. If you cannot complete the repair or do not have the time to do so, it is best to hire an appliance repair company capable of fixing your dishwasher for you. Here are some we recommend:

Knapp’s Service & Appliance Repair LLC
Portland, OR
503-928-4072
appliance-repair-services.portland-biz.com

Avondale Appliance Repair Experts
Avondale, AZ
623-500-6877
www.avondaleappliancerepairco.com

Home 360
Baton Rouge, LA
225-926-HOME
www.home360.us

How to Repair a Freezer

The average lifetime for a standalone freezer is around 15 years. This means that a freezer is one of the more durable home appliances. Even still, freezers are prone to minor issues and problems that will need repair.

You can learn how to troubleshoot and repair common freezer problems from our list below. We include tips on how to identify the issue and the common causes for a breakdown or malfunction. If the problem is serious, OBX recommends hiring a local appliance repairman near your home.

FROST BUILDUP

A buildup of frost can occur in a freezer for several different reasons. You should inspect the defrost thermostat first. This part is primarily responsible for thawing frost buildup. Then look at the door gasket and the defrost timer. The odds are one of these parts on the freezer are broken and need repair or replacement.

STRANGE NOISES

Homeowners often first notice an appliance is broken based on a machine making loud or strange noises. “If this happens on a standalone freezer, the first thing to inspect is the evaporator blade,” says Jim Simmons, Owner Able Reading Appliance Repair. You can replace a freezer blade or hire a professional to complete the repair for you.

WON’T START

A freezer that won’t turn on won’t freeze or cool the contents inside. You first need to be sure the freezer is plugged in and the circuit breakers are not tripped. If the machine is plugged in, continue troubleshooting. There are three parts responsible for ensuring a freezer turns on: start relay, start capacitor & thermostat

WON’T STOP

We’ve all heard the old joke, “Is your freezer running? Then you better catch it.” The truth is, if a freezer won’t stop running, you need to repair it. To troubleshoot, you should inspect the temperature control, defrost timer and defrost thermostat. You can replace these with new parts for sale on the internet or call a repairman to purchase and replace the freezer part.

TOO COLD

The ideal temperature for a freezer is 0 degrees fahrenheit. You do not want a freezer to be colder than that. If it is there is a problem. The temperature control, user control or thermostat could be broken if the freezer dips below 0 degrees fahrenheit. You can test the thermostat by using a handheld thermometer or thermostat to test the temperature of the freezer.

TOO WARM

You never want a freezer to be too warm. The entire point of the appliance is to cool and freeze foods and liquids. This issue needs immediate and perhaps professional attention. The first thing to consider if a freezer is too warm is to inspect the user control, defrost timer and thermostat. These parts are the most common causes for a freezer that is too warm.

The above problems are the most common issues we see with freezers. There are other more rare problems that can occur. If one of those problems is the issue we would recommend hiring a professional appliance repair company near you. You can find several online for each city and state.

Here are some we recommend:

BJ Appliance Service
Delaware, OH
614-890-7869
www.bjapplianceservice.com

Able Reading Appliance Repair
Reading, PA
610-463-1221
www.readingappliancerepairco.com

Hartman’s Appliance Repair
Orlando, FL
407-772-4849
hartmanappliancerepair.com

How to Repair a Water Heater

Every home has a hot water heater. The average lifespan for a hot water is around 10 years old meaning there is a good chance you will need to repair or replace a water heater on multiple occasions in your own lifetime.

You can learn how to troubleshoot common hot water heater problems with our list of issues below. The list includes issues common to both gas and electric water heaters because the symptoms are similar for both types of appliance. If a repair differs depending on electric or gas, OBX will note the difference in our guide.

LOUD NOISES

The primary cause for a noisy gas water heater is a buildup of mineral deposits in the water tank. This can occur if there is hard water in your home’s plumbing. You will need to clean out the mineral deposits in the tank and in the valves. This could also be the cause of loud noises coming from an electric water heater but another cause could be the heating element on the unit.

WATER TOO HOT

You need to regulate the temperature of the water coming from the water heater. If the water is too hot it means there is a problem with one of the two thermostats on the unit. There is an upper and a lower thermostat on most models. You will need to identify which one is broken and then replace it.

UNLIT PILOT LIGHT

The problem of an unlit pilot light only occurs on gas models. The thermocouple is responsible for lighting the pilot light. There could be a defective thermocouple. We do not recommend DIY repair for this problem. In the event of a defective thermocouple on a gas water heater, call a local appliance repairman to diagnose and fix the issue. The issue could also be due to a thermostatic control valve which is an easier repair.

WATER TOO COLD

Too cold water from a water heater is a bad sign. There are several issues that could be occurring if this is the case and a complete diagnostic test will need to be performed. In this case, we would recommend calling a professional appliance repair service to inspect the unit. The primary causes for this issue are either a faulty heater element or control valve on the machine.

WATER TEMPERATURE FLUCTUATES

The water heater should maintain a consistent temperature set on the two thermostats on the unit. If the temperature fluctuates between “too hot” or “too cold” then there is an issue with one of the two thermostats. You will need to identify which one is malfunctioning and then replace it with a new part.

LEAKING WATER

Leaking water is a common problem for older water heaters. You will need to identify the source of the leak and then repair the leak or replace the part with a new one. The most common sources for water heater leaks are drain valves, pressure relief valves and element gaskets. Inspect each of these parts first before moving on to other areas of the water heater.

LEARN MORE: HOW TO REPAIR A LEAKING WATER HEATER

The issues above are the most common that occur on water heaters. There are several other possible repairs that could occur. In the event of a more complicated issue, we recommend hiring an appliance repair service that specializes in water heater repair and household appliances.

Here are some we recommend:

PDQ Cicero Appliance Repair
Cicero, IL
708-477-3055
www.appliancerepaircicero.com

Paula’s AAA Appliance Repair
San Antonio, TX
210-981-5450
www.appliancerepairssanantoniotx.com

Wisman’s Appliance
Fort Wayne, IN
260-483-0575
www.wismansappliance.com