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General Appliance Smarts Refrigerators
Icemakers Dryers
Washers Dishwashers
Ovens/Ranges/Stoves Microwave Ovens

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General Appliance Smarts

Quick Tips Table of Contents


  • Brush and vacuum the condenser at least twice a year for maximum energy efficiency. Use a condenser brush for best results.
  • Place two thermometers in your refrigerator, one in the freezer and one in the fresh food compartment. Check the thermometers each time you open the door. The freezer temperature should be less than 10°F and the fresh food compartment should be between 36 and 38°F.
  • When a refrigerator is warming up and your frozen food starts thawing out, most of the time the problem is not the compressor or loss of freon but rather an electrical component.
  • Things to check when your fridge is warming up: excessive frost build up in the freezer (move the food and take a good look), freezer fan not running, condenser really dirty (use a flashlight to look), condenser fan motor not running, compressor not running, and bad door gaskets.
  • Many people do not adjust the freezer and fresh food compartment controls properly because it's not explained very well in the owner's manual. For a simple explanation of what these controls do and how to set them correctly, read The Cold Facts in the Appliantology Archive.
  • If your fridge is leaking water, you need to clean the crud out of the condensate drain. A dry drip pan is further proof that it's plugged up. Follow the drip tube back up to where it enters the fridge, move what you need to to to access it and clean it up.
  • To learn more about refrigerators or to order parts, click here.

Quick Tips Table of Contents


Quick Tips Table of Contents


  • If your dryer is taking a long time to dry, usually this is a bad vent system.
  • The white vinyl vent hose commonly used on dryers is not UL-Approved or dryer manufacturer-approved because they are a real fire hazard. If your dryer has this type of hose installed, replace it with a UL-approved aluminum dryer venting system ASAP. For more information on this, read the Appliantology article Dryers and Fires.
  • Unless you're going from gas to electric or vice-versa, it almost never makes sense to buy a new dryer because dryers are simple machines that can be repaired at reasonable cost no matter what the problem.
  • If your electric dryer runs but you get no heat at all, make sure you're getting the full 240 volts leg-to-leg at the dryer outlet as measured with your voltmeter. This is the single most common cause for a runs-but-no-heat complaint!
  • Trying to re-wire your dryer for the 4-wire power cord?
  • A whole bunch of other techie dryer articles in the Appliantology Reading Room.
  • To learn more about dryers or to order parts, click here.

Quick Tips Table of Contents


  • The black rubber fill hoses commonly used on washers will eventually burst and can create a messy flood in your house. Install steel-braided fill hoses that are guaranteed for life against bursting.
  • If you use cheap detergent to wash your clothes, you're probably wearing that detergent right now. The Appliantology article Soap on a Rope explains why.
  • If your washer is not pumping out the water, check the lid switch first. A good lid switch will make a clicking noise when you open and close the lid. A bad lid switch will prevent the washer from spinning.
  • Washer valves cause two main problems: no water coming into the washer (either hot or cold, usually not both at the same time), or the water won't stop coming into your washer.
  • Checkout the Appliantology Reading Room for more techie washer articles.
  • To learn more about washing machines or to order parts, click here.

Quick Tips Table of Contents


  • A common cause of dishwasher leaks is accidentally putting in dishwashing liquid instead of dishwasher detergent. Read about more common causes here.
  • Using cheap detergent is false economy because you're slowing choking your dishwasher. Soap on a Rope explains the straight dope on soap.
  • Another common cause for leaks is a bad installation. Make sure the tub is square in the cabinet and not twisted to one side. Make sure the mounting screws are used to secure the dishwasher to the countertop. Also, the dishwasher must be level, front to back and side to side. Finally, make sure the drain hose is looped properly. If the end of the hose is lower than the tub, the water can siphon out.
  • Run the hot water at your kitchen sink tap for several seconds to ensure that your dishwasher gets hot water when it begins the cycle. This will help dissolve the detergent, get your dishes cleaner, and shorten the cycle.
  • To avoid etching glassware (the cloudy or discolored look), do not rinse your dirty dishes before loading them in the dishwasher. Running your dishwasher without any food soils raises the alkalinity of the wash solution and increases the likelihood of etching.
  • For more common dishwasher misconceptions, read the Appliantology article, Dishwasher Mythology.
  • To learn more about dishwashers or to order parts, click here.

Quick Tips Table of Contents


  • If you use an oven thermometer and you happen to see a temperature that is significantly higher or lower than the cooking temperature you set, don't freak out. As explained in Home on the Range, ovens don't cook at the exact temperature you set them at.
  • If your thermostat really is out of calibration, most of the time the thermostat knob can be adjusted to compensate. To see if your oven can do this, just pull the knob off and look on the back for adjusting screws. If they're not there, you're outta luck--time to install a new thermostat.
  • Lots more techie oven/range/stove articles in the Appliantology Reading Room.
  • To learn more about your range/stove/oven or to order parts, click here.

Quick Tips Table of Contents

Microwave Ovens

Microwave not heating? Here are some quick checks to make:

  • Check for 120vac at the transformer primary winding in the cook mode. If no 120vac, check the door interlock switch, verify the control board relay is energizing, and check the wiring.
  • If you're getting 120vac to the transformer, check the following high voltage components: transformer, magnetron, capacitor, diode, and loose or broken wiring.
  • To learn more about your microwave oven or to order parts, click here.

Quick Tips Table of Contents


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