When your washing machine grinds to a sudden halt in the middle of the spin cycle or you notice your refrigerator isn’t running, the first thing that runs through your mind is often, “What am I most likely to do now?” Take a deep breath and don’t let yourself become instantly overwhelmed by the prospect of a broken appliance. You may need a major appliance repair, but don’t beat the gun by assuming your fridge, washer, or other appliance is kaput. There are several steps you can take to troubleshoot minor problems as well as prevent additional damage to your [UPDATED] appliance, all before you even consider bringing in the pros. As opposed to throwing your hands up in frustration when you discover one of your household appliances may be malfunctioning, this checklist may be an easy guide to help you answer that pesky “what next” question.
Check connections and cords.
Sometimes your appliance’s sudden refusal to activate or a newly developed leak is the result of a loose connection. Ensure that all electrical cords are firmly plugged into the outlet and that any water inlet and drain hoses are snugly secured to the supply and sewer lines. It may look like an obvious step, but many homeowners assume that because the cords and water lines were connected yesterday, they need to be today. However, anything from the cat crawling behind the washer to the gradual loosening of a hose in time can mean that these connections can suddenly fail. The bright side is that they’re quick fixes that every homeowner should be able to address in a moment.
Keep in mind that this does NOT apply to gas connections. If you’re experiencing problems with a gas dryer or range, you’ll wish to call a professional in immediately. That’s because gas appliance repairs, especially those that deal with the gas lines themselves, may be extremely hazardous to your health and the safety of your home and family. Play it safe and bring in the pros for all gas appliance maintenance and repair.
Look for blown fuses.
Similar to loose electrical cords or detached water lines, many individuals forget to check for blown fuses, flipped breakers, and engaged child safety locks when their appliances suddenly stop or won’t turn on. Start by searching in your home’s electrical panel for flipped circuit breakers, and after that consult your appliance’s owner’s manual or something like a dryer repair manual for instructions regarding internal fuses and breakers. This type of issue should be relatively straightforward to repair and can help save you the expense of calling an appliance repair service to take care of this rather simple solution.
Test appliances only one or two times, not repeatedly.
After you’ve checked the electrical cord and explored the possibility of blown fuses or tripped breakers, the next step is usually to test the appliance and see if it’s still experiencing the same problem. Do not hesitate to test your washer or oven, but only do so once or twice. Repeated tests are likely to exacerbate the problem by burning out the motor or pump or creating other types of additional damage, so make sure you limit your exploratory tests. As a caution, if the appliance is smoking, overly warm, sparking, or making grinding noises, turn it off immediately and do not attempt to restart it. These are all signs that your unit is experiencing a major problem that could result in a fire or complete deterioration of one or more parts, so it’s best not to jeopardize your appliance or your household.
If your appliance is still breaking down or you don’t feel that it’s safe to turn on, your best choice may be to contact a local appliance repairman. Because you’ve taken a few minutes to determine that the problem is not a blown fuse or unplugged cord, you’ve already eliminated a few potential causes for the issue and the appliance technician will have the ability to complete their diagnostic process just a bit faster.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when it concerns appliance repairs of all sizes and magnitudes is that you’re better off safe than sorry. Exploring minor issues like flipped circuit breakers and disconnected hoses are easy fixes for DIYers, but more extensive solutions should probably be left in the hands of a professional appliance repair man to ensure you get the accurate, safe repairs you deserve.