How to Troubleshoot the 6 Most Common Appliance Problems

Not every appliance problem has to come with the hassle and expense of a professional repair. In many cases, the fixes are simple enough to do yourself in just a few minutes. Before you call for help, keep your appliances running smoothly with these tips from our appliance experts.

1. Smelly Washing Machine

A bad odor in your washing machine can defeat the purpose of the appliance! If you’re trying to get your clothes clean and fresh, but your machine isn’t cooperating, run an empty cycle in hot water with two cups of white vinegar and a half-cup of baking soda to remove the smell. This problem frequently occurs in front-loading washers. To prevent future odors, leave the door open between washes to let it dry out.

2. Inefficient Refrigerator

A semi-cool fridge is never a welcome sign. Not only are your drinks less than refreshing, but your food may also be living in the temperature danger zone and on the verge of spoiling! In some cases, your fridge may not need repair work; it could just need a cleaning. Or, to be more specific, the coils on the back of the fridge need cleaning. Unplug the appliance and pull it out from the wall before giving the coils a thorough vacuuming. If you don’t see immediate cooling improvement, it’s best to reach out to a professional, like Appliance Outfitters, for diagnosis.

3. Clicking Igniter on Gas Stove

If the igniter on your gas stove clicks and clicks without the burner ever lighting, check to make sure your burner cap is in place and properly aligned. You may also experience this if you’ve had a recent boil over or spill on your stovetop. Otherwise, the source is likely to be a dirty igniter. To clean, remove the burner cap and wipe away any debris. You can also use a metal pin to pick debris from the grooves. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, it’s safest not to take a lighter apart without proper training; call a professional repair technician to investigate.

4. Broken Garbage Disposal

Your garbage disposal comes with a bit of self-protection in the form of an overload trip. If it becomes clogged, overheats, runs for too long, or has another problem, your disposal may simply need to be reset rather than repaired. First, make sure the switch is OFF. Then, locate the reset button on the disposal under the sink and press the button. If the button does not stay in, wait ten minutes and try again. Turn on the water and turn the switch on.

If the disposal is clogged with debris and you hear nothing but a humming sound rather than the grinding of food, you may need to manually turn the blades with a hex key to clear the jam. Then, press the reset button to get back to work. If these tips don’t get things working like normal, do not succumb to the temptation to shove your arm down the system to investigate. Be safe and schedule an appointment with a professional appliance repair technician at that point.

5. No Power at an Outlet

In the kitchen or bathroom, your outlets should be equipped with GFCI switches to protect against harm in wet environments. If a GFCI outlet isn’t providing power, press the red “reset” button to see if that restores juice. If not, or if you’re trying a standard outlet, make sure that a breaker hasn’t been tripped in your breaker box. If you’re unsure if a breaker has been tripped, flip it to the OFF position and back to the ON position. Remember, safety around electricity is critical. If you have any concerns, call a professional Appliance Outfitters technician.

6. Wobbling Washing Machine

A wobbling washing machine can produce quite a startling racket and isn’t a great way to get clean clothes. If yours is suddenly banging around, the machine may be out of plumb. To fix this problem, rotate the legs of the washing machine to lift or lower each corner until it’s straightened out. Another likely scenario is that the washer is off balance. Open the lid and rearrange the clothes so they’re more evenly dispersed within the drum. Doing this can help your washer not have to work as hard. If you attempt to rearrange the clothes a few times to no avail, don’t ignore the problem. You could have a loose drum or motor mount on your hands, which is easy enough for a professional to repair. But continuing to run your washer with this problem could damage other components and lead to a more costly repair down the road.

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