Easy Fixes for Everyday Appliance Problems

Man holding power tools. Ah, appliances. A modern convenience that has saved time and effort over the years, from the lowly microwave to the biggest air conditioner. Sadly, just like any machine, appliances are prone to encounter problems. And we all know those are jobs best left for the professionals, right?

Not so fast, my friend! Plenty of everyday appliances have common issues that normal folks like you or I can handle, no sweat. Read on for a list of common appliance issues, and what to do if they happen to you!

Garbage Disposals Garbage disposals are certainly handy for getting rid of waste and leftovers, but sometimes the stuff you pour into one makes it run a little slow. When most disposal motors becomes overloaded and heats up, it will automatically shut off for safety. If this happens, simply press the reset button on the bottom of the disposal! If the blades aren’t spinning, there may be something stuck in it. Turn the disposer off and try turning the blades with a special disposer wrench (available at most hardware stores) or by tightening the bolts on the bottom of the disposer.

Refrigerators If your leftovers aren’t quite ready for the garbage disposal, then a good fridge is exactly what you need - unless it isn’t running cold enough, or at all! If your fridge has suddenly conked out, the first thing to check is the coils underneath. On most fridges, you can get to the coils by opening the grille on the bottom (or you may have to pull the fridge out from the wall, if the coils are on the back). Special coil-cleaning brushes are available to help get any crud off, and after a good cleaning it should be back to normal. This is an especially common problem for pet owners, and cleaning your coils has the added benefit of saving on your electric bill!

Air Conditioners While central air work may be best left to the professionals, many issues with window-mounted units can be handled with some minor effort. Does your air conditioner cycle on and off too frequently? The thermostat may be covered, or affected by outside temperature. Make sure nothing is directly touching or covering the front panel (like drapes or poorly-placed furniture), and make sure there’s no warm air leaking in from around the window. Modern energy-efficient windows don’t have this problem as often, but older windows may not be able to hold a seal around the air conditioner as well.

Dishwashers Are your dishes not as clean as you’d like when they’re done in the dishwasher? Chances are you’ve got a food-filled filter! Take the lower rack out of the dishwasher, remove the filter cover (the location may vary depending on the model of dishwasher), and use a wet vac to clean off the filter screen. This should let water back in like normal.