Thursday, December 12, 2013

Troubleshooting Appliance Break-downs During the Holidays

Ever wonder why it always seems like your oven, stove-top, dishwasher or refrigerator have to break down during the holidays, when you tend to be entertaining family & friends and need them the most? Well, don't despair- it seems like many of our customers go through this every year.  There are several reasons why this may be so.

First of all, when the weather gets colder, it makes it more difficult for any appliance motor and working parts to continue working at their normal pace.  Motors and electronic moving parts have to "work harder" to a certain extent in colder air temperatures.  So if an appliance part or motor is already in need of repair soon, it may stop working properly sooner.

This is particularly true of refrigerators, more so if your refrigerator or freezer is located in your garage! For example, if the defrost drain happens to be a bit clogged or even frozen, it will most certainly become more so and happen more quickly as temperatures drop in your garage.  This is really inconvenient- we all need our refrigerators to be working properly at this time of year when we are all buying extra food for holiday gatherings. 

In addition, everyone tends to use their oven, stove-top, dishwasher and refrigerator/ freezer a lot more during the holidays. This increase in the amount of use can also put wear and tear on appliance parts that are older or may already be close to needing repair.  This is why it's always a good idea to schedule a service call a few weeks before the holidays if you sense that your appliance may not be working up to par.

Don't despair though - we're here to help! Our experienced Chief Technician has the training and expertise to properly repair your refrigerator, stove-top or oven, and is quite  experienced with newer electronic components for these appliances.  Don't be inconvenienced during the holidays- just give us a call!  After we schedule your repair service, our highly-trained service technician will come directly to your home, quickly diagnose the problem, and quickly and efficiently complete the repair. Your appliance will be like new in no time - and at a fraction of the cost! 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Troubleshooting That Leaky Dishwasher's not fun when you come home and see water on the floor around your dishwasher.  This can indicate that the unit is leaking and may cause serious damage to your kitchen floor- especially if it's hardwood! However, the cause of the problem may not be as serious as you think.  Here are a few trouble-shooting tips for some of the more common causes of dishwashers leaking.

1) You See:  Water appears to be leaking from around the dishwasher door.

Troubleshoot: Open the dishwasher door, and take a look at the door latch to see if it securely closes. If the door latch is bent or damaged, it most likely does not seal properly, which allows water to run out. Time to call your appliance repairman to schedule a repair! New latch systems can be installed to repair this type of  leak.

If the door latch appears intact, next you can examine the door seal to check if it is pulling away from the unit, or if it has become cracked. If so, the door seal will need to be replaced.  This repair is fairly common, but properly installing a new seal can be tricky- again, call to schedule the repair.  

If the door seal looks fine, then another possible cause of this type of leaking is that the dishwasher may be over-filling with water. You can take a look at the water float (usually a plastic tube located in the base of the unit) for any damage or apparent clogs.  If it is damaged, it will need to be replaced and repaired.

2) You See:  Water on the floor appears to be emerging from underneath the dishwasher.

Troubleshoot:  If you see what looks to be water leaking out from underneath the dishwasher, the cause of the problem could possibly be the dishwasher hose. Hose connections can become loose over years of operation, since they are also subject to wear and tear and can become damaged or cracked.  If the hose clamps appear to be loosened or the hose is damaged, it needs to be replaced and repaired.

An inlet water valve can also cause excess water to spill out. This valve regulates how much water comes into the dishwasher. It's best to schedule a service call with a certified appliance repair technician to determine if the valve is not working correctly and needs to be repaired. Sometimes the inlet water valve becomes stuck "open," allowing too much water in to the unit and results in leaking or flooding.  This type of repair can be easily taken care of by your certified appliance repair technician.

3) You See:  What looks like a few drops of water on the floor after the washing cycle has ended.

Troubleshoot:  It's very common for water vapor to form on the dishwasher door, condense into droplets and then drip down onto the floor. Wait awhile to open the door until the drying cycle is finished (if you use it) or long enough for the condensation on the door to evaporate. Also, it's simple to just wipe the condensation off with a dish towel, if you need to open the door sooner.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Troubleshooting Your Electric Oven

It's that time of year when you may want to start using your electric oven more than you have recently.  It's nice to get a jump on baking holiday goodies, we want to make cookies, bake cakes, and we start craving casseroles and roasts for dinner as the fall weather gets cooler.  So, what do we do when our usually dependable oven may not seem to be heating as well as it used to?

A common issue this time of year when we begin using the oven again after not using it much during the summer months, is our food seems to take longer to get done or isn't done right. What's strange is the oven still appears to be heating up, so why isn't it working properly?

Most electric ovens operate with two heating elements:  one for baking and one for broiling.  Both elements heat up the oven, which makes it appear as if the oven is heating properly.   During the preheating stage, both elements come on until the oven is almost at the set temperature. 

The problem could be with the baking element.  If it is non-functional, the broil element will still turn on to preheat the oven, which can make it seem as if the oven is heating. You can test the baking element by setting the oven to its highest baking temperature.  The lower baking element should become glowing red within a few minutes. If it doesn't, the element may be burned out.  Next, follow these troubleshooting steps:

1. First- Disconnect the power source to the appliance!!! - Safety First!

2. Remove the screws from the area where the element attaches to the back wall of the oven.

3. Carefully pull the element away from the back wall.  Make sure you also keep the wires attached to the element with it as you pull it into the oven- take your time.

4. Now slowly remove the wires from the element. They can be connected to the bake element by screws or push-on fittings.

5. Run a test on the element using an Ohm meter or a continuity checker.  -If the bake element has continuity or a very low Ohm reading, it’s most likely fine and not the cause of the improper heating problem.  If it has no continuity or a very high Ohm reading, it's definitely time to schedule a service repair to replace it!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Buying New vs. Repairing Your "Old" Appliance

These days many people are deciding to take advantage of the seemingly attractive offers from major appliance manufacturers to purchase brand new appliances.  However, there are several key points that are really worth considering before making an important decision like this.  Purchasing a new refrigerator, washer, dryer, dishwasher, oven / stovetop without having all the facts can really impact your finances in a negative way.

In all the years we have been in business, we have found that generally, older appliances, 5-15 years old, were very well-made with higher quality parts than those currently being manufactured.  These older appliances are certainly worth repairing, because the cost of the parts and labor to repair them is usually far less expensive than buying a new model- unless it's a very unusual repair. If you choose to repair your older model, chances are it'll be in excellent running condition for a long time, because it was well-made.

Unfortunately, major appliances and appliance parts manufactured today by most companies are definitely not of the caliber they once were.  Of course, the more often you have to replace an appliance, the more money you spend and put into the economy and pockets of the manufacturers.  In addition, parts made by the manufacturers today to repair these new models of major appliances are more likely to fail sooner than they once did.  This all adds up to increased cost of buying new appliances which don't last as long, and increased cost of parts needed to repair them, more often.  People usually give up and buy yet another new appliance.

Depending on the appliance brand, model and repair problem, our Chief Technician can offer great advice about the pros vs. cons of  repairing your older appliance. Often it’s necessary to schedule an appointment with him to come out to your home to physically see the appliance needing repair, to provide a full diagnosis and final recommendation.  If an older appliance is not worth repairing, he will let you know, but many times it is a better decision to repair it, so it can go on working like a top for you for many years to come.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013



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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Troubleshooting That Darn Ice Maker - Part II

Well, folks, our Northwest Summer is now upon us! We often take for granted that our ice maker will continue making fresh ice on a regular basis, and we especially want it on really warm days.  Unfortunately, if our lovely ice maker goes haywire, so can we!

So to help, here is Part II of our Ice Maker Troubleshooting Points that address more of the most commonly reported refrigerator ice maker repair issues.

Complaint:  Why do the ice cubes have a bad taste and odor?
Generally the water filter needs to be changed out about every 6 to 12 months.  A bad odor or taste may just be the result of the filter not being changed recently.  If the ice has been in the receptacle for awhile, you may want to get rid of it and start making fresh ice.

Over time, ice will absorb any odors present in the freezer and refrigerator. We recommend Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, "Fridge-N-Freezer" refrigerator/ freezer Deodorizer Boxes.  This is a great product that effectively absorbs strong food or offensive odors in your freezer/ refrigerator before the ice can absorb them.  Just open a box and place it in your freezer close to the ice cube receptacle, and it'll help keep your cubes tasting fresher for longer.

Complaint:  There are weird, white blotches or specks in the ice cubes.
White blotches or specks that are sometimes visible in ice cubes are due to calcium carbonate deposits.  As the water in the cubes gets colder during the freezing process, less mineral content can be suspended in the water.  These normally invisible mineral particles begin to be visible as the cube freezes.

If you want to reduce or entirely eliminate the amount of the calcium carbonate deposits, or "white blotches," it's a fairly easy fix.  Just always use a proper water filter, one that's designed for your particular brand and model of refrigerator / freezer.  If you need help installing a new water filter, or with changing out the old one, just give us a call! - We'll be glad to help!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Troubleshooting that Darn Ice Maker! - Part I

It's getting to be that time of year when we all want fresh ice to be readily available, especially on really warm days.  Here is Part I of our Ice Maker Troubleshooting Points that address the most commonly reported refrigerator ice maker repair issues.

Complaint:   There's no ice in my Ice Maker- it's not making ice!

First, make sure the ice maker is actually turned on. There is usually a wire along the right side of the unit, and it should be in the lowest position possible.  When the wire is in the raised position, the ice maker is not engaged, and it will not make any ice.  Various refrigerator ice maker units will allow you to lower the wire to turn the unit on.

If the ice maker wire appears to be in the correct position, then the next step is to check the freezer temperature.  The internal temperature of the freezer needs to be between 0 to 8F degrees.  If the temp gets above 10 to 12F degrees, the ice maker cannot make ice.  For newly installed ice makers, the unit may not work properly until the ice mold temperature has dropped to 15F – 16F degrees.  It can take up to 24 hours for a new ice maker to start working initially.  

Have you just installed a new water line to the refrigerator?  It will be about 1 1/2 hours before the ice maker begins to make ice.  Something else to be aware of is that a newly-installed water line may have air in the line.  It will sometimes take a few cycles of making ice for the line to clear of air.

Another checkpoint is to make sure that there is water flowing to the ice maker, and that the household water supply is turned on.  It's also a good idea to check the water tube to see if there are any "kinks" in it, or if there are any frozen areas in the tubing, too.  Next, check to make sure the copper water supply line to the unit is turned on under the sink, or coming in from the basement.

Sometimes, the water inlet valve can go bad.  It's always best to call your appliance repairman to schedule a service call, if you suspect this is the problem.  Also, if there is water in the ice maker unit, but it’s not freezing, you can use a freezer thermometer to verify that the temperature is cold enough for it to freeze - again, between 0 - 8F degrees. 

More Ice Maker Troubleshooting Tips to come in Part II - Coming Soon!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Appliance Repair & Our Pet Family Friends: Rowdy Robin

Recently, our Chief Tech has had the most interesting experience with a neighborhood robin, whom we've named, "Rowdy," taking an unusual liking to our company A-Appliance Repair van!  One morning, Kerry went out to start up the van and begin his day.  He climbed inside the van and started the motor, just like any other morning, but all of a sudden his attention was caught by a loud buzzing sound outside his passenger side door window - a strange vibration indeed!

He looked closer, and to his surprise a large local robin was wildly flapping his wings, buzzing up the side of the window and apparently attacking the van! He thought maybe the bird had inadvertently flown into the window and was stunned or something, so he jumped back out of the van to see what was the matter.  The bird then flew off, but not without leaving a hefty bi-product of his recent breakfast behind all over the van's passenger side mirror!  Upon closer inspection, Kerry also noted "Rowdy" had left multiple scratch marks on the side door from crazily flapping his wings all over it.  Hmmmm.

Now, our Chief Tech was somewhat dismayed, thought it was annoying, cleaned off the mirror, and got back in the van.  However, Rowdy immediately returned and perched himself boldly again atop the passenger side mirror, and started loudly cherping / bleeping his unintelligible woes to our Chief Tech.  Kerry managed to wave the bird away, drove off and didn't think any more of it as he went about the rest of his day. Unbelievably, the very next morning when he went outside to start up the van, there was Rowdy --- at it again, beating his wings against the side of the van!  He chased the bird off, again cleaned off the messed-upon passenger side window, and began to wonder what in the heck this bird had going on in his head.  Kerry also mentioned it to me, the author, when he arrived home after work that evening.

I thought it was very odd, but then the thought struck me that it is Springtime, and all the birdies and animals are staking their annual territorial claims as part of their attempts to find new mates.  Weirder still -- did Rowdy actually see himself in the mirror and think it was another male robin that he needed to fight off?  Or was he just making a lot of buzzzz to attract a new mate?  What could it be?

Well, we couldn't figure it out. Rowdy continued his strange morning ritual, complete with mirror-messing, for over a week, and I was then able to catch these camera shots. The bird is bold, let me tell you!   Even our two pet kitties watching him from the front window didn't deter him. Then we noticed he was not around for a few days and had huge sighs of relief, hoping Rowdy had finally found a mate and had no more time for van fly-bys. 

Wrong again! - He's baaaackk!!  Well, either Rowdy doesn't like the mirror, or the van, period, or he just enjoys making a big rowdy messy fuss all over it as part of his morning happy dance....we don't know.  So we've just decided to accept our new birdie friend as part of our Pet Family and keep hoping he'll soon find a new, lovely robin mate to take his mind off perfecting van attacks.  (:

Monday, April 1, 2013

My Gas Dryer Isn't Heating Enough!

We want to alert our customers that there is a very common reason for improper heating of gas dryers that you can simply and quickly troubleshoot yourself.  The most common cause of this problem with gas dryers is actually restricted airflow.  These instructions are easy to follow and can save you an appliance repair service call.

Check the dryer vent that's usually located on the outside of the house to test the airflow. Simply put your hand over the vent while the dryer is operating. If you feel little or no hot air coming out of the vent, then you've got an airflow problem!
Next, open the dryer door and check the lint trap, which is often located inside the dryer at the bottom of the door opening.  Remove the lint filter and simply clean out any lint build up that you can see in the trap itself.  Some people like to use a small cleaning brush to do this - see photo at right.

In addition, if there is any restriction inside your gas dryer's external venting system, the clothes will take forever to dry. So it's important to look behind the dryer to ensure the vent duct hose has connection to both the dryer itself and to the outside vent. Carefully move the dryer away from the wall, if you need to go behind it to more closely inspect the vent hose. If the vent hose has a dent in it or is partially smashed, you will have little to no airflow and will need to try to reform the tubing so that it isn't dented or partially squashed, in order to get maximum airflow.

Now you can look to check the vent for any lint build-up or other obstructions inside the dryer duct.
If there is lint build-up inside the duct, simply remove the lint and clean it out as best you can.  It's a good idea anyway to do this general maintenance once yearly to avoid airflow restriction in your gas dryer and potentially costly repairs.

There are several types of airflow problems that can restrict moisture inside the dryer from escaping and keeping clothes from drying properly.  There are two main places that lint can build up in over time:  One is the area where your lint filter goes, or the inside the lint trap (see discussed above.)

Dryer Vents - Dirty and CleanThe second place where excess lint causes restriction in airflow is in the actual dryer vent duct tubing.  If there's too much lint build-up in the vent exhaust tubing, as in the photo at left (top), and it's too much for your vacuum to clean out, it might be best to just replace the vent tubing altogether. If it does not appear to be that severe, you can try to simply remove the excess lint by vacuuming it out.

If you've performed these troubleshooting steps, and the dryer is still not heating properly, please give us a call to schedule a service call!  We will get you on the service schedule quickly and perform any repairs needed for your gas dryer to restore it to proper heating function.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Appliance Repair & Our Pet Family Friends- Happy Papillon!

One of the most enjoyable things about going into people's homes to repair appliances is having the opportunity to meet their wonderful pets!  Here at A-Appliance Repair Service, we truly love animals, and it's a privilege to be able to meet and get to know so many of our customers' pet families.  Of course, it does help that our Chief Technician is practically Dr. Doolittle, but we'll let you draw your own conclusions about that.

Recently, our Chief Tech had to make a call at a customer's home to repair their dishwasher.  The customer was not going to be home at the time and "warned" us that her vivacious Papillon would be there to meet and greet us, to which we responded, "No problem!"  Sure enough, "Happy Papi" was waiting at the door, and well, you can see from these photos what happened.

This dishwasher repair happened to involve several visits. When we shared our experience with the customer about all the fun our Chief Tech had with "Happy Papi" during the repair visit, the customer assured us that she felt entirely comfortable with us being in her home with her Papillon even when she could not be there.  What followed was not only a very successful dishwasher repair, but a new, wonderful friendship blooming between Happy Papi and our Chief Tech, which he considers to be "the icing on the cake" part of the appliance repair business!


So if you have a dishwasher, stovetop/oven, washer, dryer or refrigerator in need of repair and you have pets in your home, please don't hesitate to call us.  It's our pleasure to visit with our Pet Family Friends whenever we get the chance!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Helpful Hints for Troubleshooting Washing Machines

 Here are some helpful hints on learning how to troubleshoot different, but common problems with your washing machine.  First, it's a good idea to start the New Year off with this annual check:  Pull the unit away from the wall, unplug the washing machine and then locate the motor. It's recommended to take a look at the motor once a year or so to check for buildup of dirt and dust. You can then use a vacuum cleaner nozzle attachment to gently remove any dirt built up from the motor. Washing machines can accumulate a significant amount of dirt, dust and lint over the years that results in restriction of proper airflow. This can cause the motor to burn out more quickly over time.

That loud banging noise you hear the washer making, even though no article of clothing could be causing the noise, could be an inlet valve that has shut. This causes water to rush through the pipes before coming to an  abrupt stop as it reaches the closed valve. Installation of a water-hammer shock absorber at both hot and cold water connections can alleviate this headache- but it's also time to schedule a service call with your appliance repairman, so he can properly look over the inlet water valve and machine.

However, a sudden transformation of your washing machine into the "vibrating demon from hell" is usually only the result of an "unbalanced" load.  Take a look inside the washer, and most likely you will see the  clothing in a big clump on one side or the other of the washer tub. Just redistribute the clothing so that it is more evenly placed in the tub, and "the vibrating demon from hell" should get back to normal.

In the unfortunate case that the interior of the washer tub becomes chipped, rust can then develop and become a persistent problem in your machine.  Rusty water in the washer causes rusty stains on your clothing!  You can use a clear nail polish to coat over any chips as a short-term solution, before the rust becomes a significant issue. However, it is definitely time to call your appliance repairman!

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Did You Know You Can Troubleshoot your Dryer Repair?

Did You Know You Can Troubleshoot your Dryer Repair?

Here's some info on how to troubleshoot your dryer repair. It's fairly simple and easy to do some of these steps before you have to call your dryer appliance repair guy to repair your clothes dryer.

To start, problems that occur with dryers are many times caused by the dryer vent being stopped up. So first, check your vent and make sure it is still connected or not clogged.  How often should I clean my dryer vent?  It is very important to clean your vent out once a year.  A clogged vent will be a nasty fire hazard and can reduce the life of your dryer. In addition, it's a good idea to always clean out the lint trap each time you use your clothes dryer. 

Another thing you must know before contacting you appliance repair service is the manufacturer of your clothes dryer. The procedures for clothes dryer repair vary greatly depending on the actual manufacturer.
Many appliance manufacturing companies have merged, split up and gone out of business in recent years. This can cause confusion for customers, eg.,Whirlpool manufactures the Roper brand. So, you must look at the Whirlpool dryer repair section of the Manufacturer's List (see below) if you have a Roper dryer. 

It's also very helpful to know is the exact symptoms of the problem that is occurring with your dryer.  For example, if your clothes dryer is not drying your clothes thoroughly, make a note of it. If there are any other symptoms that will help your appliance repair technician, make a list of them and share that with the technician when you call to schedule your dryer repair. 

Here are some additional questions that may pertain to your Dryer Repair symptoms:

Why is the top of my dryer getting hot when I dry clothes? If the top of your dryer is getting hot, the vent is most likely stopped up- check the vent.

I opened the door of the dryer, pressed the door switch and started it up. The heater appeared to be glowing, but only stayed on a few seconds -is this normal? This is one of the most frequently asked questions about dryer repairs. It's not a good idea to do this, because it tells you nothing. You may have tried this because the dryer is not drying clothes properly. Again, you can check the vent. If the vent is clear, give your appliance repair service company a call to schedule a repair.

My dryer is only a few years old - so why is it broken down already?  Unfortunately, the unhappy fact is that most major appliances manufactured today are not as well-made as they used to be. The average lifespan of most appliances today is about 6 to 8 years, whereas it used to be about 10-20 years. The cost of new appliances today in most cases is only slightly higher than it was 20 years ago, and labor, parts and materials costs are higher as well. So one way the manufacturers can continue to sell appliances at these prices is to cut the quality of the parts, so they break down earlier and folks often give up and just buy new appliances. Also newer appliances have more capabilities than they did in the past; therefore, more can break down.

Here is a list of brands and manufacturers that we hope you'll find helpful. Note: Either the Manufacturer  or the Currently Owned By company listed at the top may have manufactured each brand.

Currently Owned By
General Electric
General Electric
General Electric
General Electric
Kitchen Aid
Magic Chef
Modern Maid
General Electric
General Electric
General Electric
General Electric
Note that all of the information on this page is subject to change at any time and company buyout, merges and shut downs can render this information inaccurate.

Copyright 2013 - Nancy S. Bechtol/ A-Appliance Repair Service - All Rights Reserved.