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- Anatomy of Appliances - Refrigerators
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- Should I Repair or Replace My Appliances?
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Should I Repair or Replace My Appliances?
Our appliances are the most important tools in our home. Therefore, when one of them malfunctions, it can feel like your whole routine is thrown out of order. The question then arises: is it more cost effective to replace the appliance or repair it?
The first determining factor is your appliance's age. If it is close to or over the average life expectancy of its category, it may be time to just replace it. The reason being that you may just end up with tons of repair costs and an ultimately hopeless appliance. The average life expectancies for each major household appliances are as follows:
Appliance Life Expectancy
If your appliance still has a number of good years left, the next factor to consider is the extent of the damage and the specific issue. You can likely repair some of the small operational issues on your own without having to spend extra money on a manufacturer service call. You should also check to see if your appliance is still under warranty. Most warranties include parts and labor, so all you'd have to do is call your manufacturer's customer service line and they'll likely dispatch a service representative to help you out.
Common Refrigerator & Freezer Problems and Solutions
Your refrigerator is always plugged in and working to keep your food from spoiling. Thankfully, most problems can be taken care of with a little time and elbow grease, the DIY way.
Loud Noises: Noises are annoying, but they don't usually indicate any real internal damage. It's likely happening because your fridge or freezer is working harder than usual to cool any new groceries or warmer foods. It can also occur if the refrigerator or freezer is in a warmer environment than usual.
Door Seal Issues: The door seal strip, or gasket, is one of the most important parts of your fridge or freezer. It keeps all the cold air in and prevents your appliance from expending more energy to stay cool. If it is torn or wrinkled, just buy a new one for your particular model. Peel off the old gasket and install the new one.
Condensation: This often goes hand in hand with gasket wear. If you notice that your refrigerator or freezer is not keeping your food cool, it could be because the door does not seal properly, so check the gasket. If this is the case, replace the gasket. If the condensation seems to be originating from the fridge itself, check the temperature setting. This is a sure sign that you need a new fridge. Unless your fridge is relatively new, we recommend looking into a replacement. If it is new, call in for a service appointment with your appliance's manufacturer.
Leaks: Your fridge should be installed so it's level and then tilted slightly so the front of the unit is higher than the back. This will allow the fridge to drain properly. A leak is often indicative of a drain problem. There may be water frozen in the drain. If this seems to be the case, unplug your appliance to let the water thaw. If your drain doesn't seem to be the source of the leaks, call for a service technician.
No Ice in the Icemaker: Make sure the temperature in the ice maker reads 0 degrees fahrenheit. If this doesn't help, the problem may be tied to issues with the water valve or water supply. If that seems to be the case, you'll need to contact a technician. Also, if there is no water in the dispenser, this could also be a valve issue and should be reviewed by a professional.
Frost Buildup & No Water in Dispenser: Alternately, if you have too much ice and frost building up in your freezer, there are two possible solutions you can try. Regular maintenance is important for the longevity of all appliances, but it Is especially important for refrigerators and freezers. Check out our maintenance articles for more details on how to care for your fridge and other appliances.
Common Washer Problems and Solutions
Strange Sounds and "Traveling:" If your washer is moving during a cycle or making a rattling sound, check to make sure it is level and properly installed. If you're hearing a sound that seems to be coming from inside the washer and the appliance seems securely planted on the floor, the issue may be the tub bearings. If those are damaged they will need to be replaced.
The Water Doesn't Drain: If this is your problem, your drain pump might be worn out or damaged. You may need to replace it, but check the connection between the drain hose and the drain pipe before you proceed with the removal and replacement of the pump.
There's No Water At All: Alternately, if your problem is that the drum won't fill with water, the issue likely lies with the drain pump again. Damage to the drain pump is often caused by something as simple as an item left in a pocket rattling around in the drum. Make sure you always empty the pockets of all your clothes before putting them in your washer and dryer!
Common Dryer Problems and Solutions
Loud Sounds: CSSheck your drum seal! Make sure you're not over loading your dryer, as this could damage the seal. If the problem persists after carefully loading your clothes and paying special attention to the seal, you may need to replace it.
The Dryer Doesn't Dry Your Clothes: If you're noticing that your clothes still feel damp after a cycle that previously dried the load well, you may have a broken thermal fuse that needs to be replaced. This damage is often caused by poor dryer maintenance, namely, neglecting to clean the lint screen regularly. The thermal fuse may also be the problem if your dryer stops running entirely.
Dryer Turns Off During Cycle: When your dryer turns off mid-cycle, the issue is likely a broken thermostat or blocked ventilation. Check your vents and thermostat; clear anything that may be clogging the vent and replace your thermostat.
Most of these dryer issues should be handled by a professional, so we recommend scheduling an appointment with your appliance's manufacturer or your local appliance professional.
Common Dishwasher Problems and Solutions
Cycle Won't Run: If your dishwasher won't run at all, check that the lights on the buttons are on or turn on when you press them. If they do, this rule out any electrical issues. If they don't you'll have to reset the breaker. Make sure the door is tightly sealed and the supply valves are connected properly. This should clear up any issues.
Dishwasher Won't Drain Water: The part that drains the water in your dishwasher is the drain hose. If you're having this issue. Check that nothing is obstructing it and that it is properly connected to your sink's drain line.
Dishwasher is Leaking: A leaking dishwasher can be a huge problem, particularly for those with wood floors. Make sure the door seals tightly and the dishwasher is level on all sides. The problem may come from human error, like adding too much detergent or machine error, like adding too much rinse agent. Treat each like a variable and lower the doses for each one-by-one to see which one is causing the problem.
Common Range Problems and Solutions
Burners Won't Ignite: This is a very dangerous issue, and unfortunately, it's a very common one. If you try to turn on your stove and notice that the burner isn't turning on, turn the knob to burn the burner off immediately. Check your pilot light, it has likely turned off. Make sure you ventilate the room by opening all the windows. Check the burners again, they should light.
If the flame is weak, the opening may be clogged and you'll need to clean your burners. Check the other burners on your range to see if this is the case. If all the other burner flames are noticeably less powerful, your problem may be due to a low supply of gas. We'd recommend calling a professional for this.
We heavily recommend diligent maintenance for your range to prevent grease fires and clogged burners. We also think that you should contact a professional as soon as possible if you notice a gas problem--you can't put a price on the well-being of your family.
Energy Efficiency & Cost
Another major factor to consider that applies to all appliances is cost. Most new appliances are energy efficient, some even have the Energy Star stamp of approval. If your appliance is old and isn't energy efficient, you should definitely consider upgrading. Energy efficient appliances save you money on your utility bills in the long run and appliances that use a ton of energy, naturally, cost more over time. Additionally, if your older appliance is having any of the issues we mentioned above, it could be using even more energy, so you'd be losing even more money.