Bob's Handy Dandy Hints and Tips
Search here for appliance repair answers to problems you're having. Scroll down for the question that best suits your problem then read through the list of possible causes/ remedies. These are only a few of the many problems that can require some sort of appliance repair. Here, we try to address the most common problems.
Remember; If you're in the San Diego area, we're here to help if the job gets too big. Or, you can contact us (via email) for specific advice.
If your appliance is electronic, it may generate "Fault Codes" to help you more accurately pinpoint the problem. We've provided a link for your convenience. (Go to: http://www.repairclinic.com)
I'm just touching on some of the more common problems you're likely to encounter. For a comprehensive service call and diagnostics, call us.
A word of advice about warranty issues: Often the servicer will ask to see or obtain a copy of your sales documentation (proof of purchase date). If` you hired a contracter to buy and install your appliances, he often keeps the sales reciept. Make sure he always gives it to you!
Let's also touch on under counter installations. If you're doing a remodel and new counters are being made, make sure the counters are high enough to accomodate the appliance sliding into and out of its place. (We often discover that a new floor laid infront of the appliance effectivly "boxes it in", and it cannot be brought out for servicing. Now what are you going to do?
FISHER & PAYKEL DISHDRAWERS
BEWARE OF SERVICERS CLAIMING TO BE "FACTORY AUTHORIZED"
THERE ARE COMPANIES CLAIMING TO BE "FACTORY AUTHORIZED" FOR SERVICE TO YOUR DCS, FISHER & PAYKEL AND U-LINE EQUIPMENT.
THESE MACHINES ARE SOPHISTICATED AND AN UNTRAINED SERVICER COULD ACTUALLY DAMAGE YOUR MACHINE. YOU'LL LIKELY ALSO PAY MORE-THAN-RETAIL FOR THE PARTS, TOO.
The older 602 model:
These appliances used an inflatable tubular seal that goes around the perimeter of the wash tub. An exhaust valve closes, and an air pump inflates the seal. When the wash concludes, the exhaust valve opens and the seal deflates. This was an excellent way of sealing the tub during the wash process. Unfortunately, many consumers were damaging the seal by accidentally nicking it when the drawer was shut.
Solution: Be absolutely sure that nothing going into the drawer is higher than the drawer rim. This way there's very little chance of nicking the seal. It only takes ONE time...
Another problem with these units was the drain hose repeatedly flexing at the "knee" joint behind the drawer. Eventually it would split and cause a leak. It’s a repair which is best left to a professional. Also if the unit is a double drawer model, save some time and aggravation by repairing both top and bottom drain hoses together.
The 603 uses a drop-down lid to seal the wash tub. Two motors on the sides of each drawer drive jackscrews, raising and lowering the lid onto the wash tub. The water level is automatically sensed by the amount of current being drawn through the controller as the rotor pushes greater levels of water.
The 605 and 24:
Very similar to the 603 but has had some refinements added both in the mechanics and software. There's even a deep drawer version.
Q: F1 ERROR. The unit is beeping, both drawers are flashing F1 and won't stop running.
A: Your appliance has flooded, or thinks it's flooded. The only way to stop the beeping is to remove power and dry out the catch pan. F1 error on just the top: Usually a fault with the lower unit
Q: F2 ERROR. My unit is showing an F2 error on one of the drawers.
A: The rotor is sensed to not be turning.
Q: U1 ERROR.
A: U1 means the unit has failed to prime with water within 3 minutes.
Q: When one unit drains the other drawer fills with water. What's happening?
A: One unit is back-flowing into the other. Contact us and we'll send you a diagram on how to modify the drain lines.
Q: Sometimes the cycle selection pads won't work. What happened?
A: The pads have gotten WET or DIRTY. Completely clean and dry the selector pads area and the function should return to life lickety-split.
Q: The lid seal is in the down position and wont release the drawer,
A: The machine may have experienced an internal software communication error. The problem is resolved by removing power for a few minutes and allowing the microprocessor to reboot.
Q: The dishes are not coming out dry
A: Be sure that you use rinse aid. The machine has no drying heat element. It relies on the residual heat of the dishes to dry themselves, while a small fan draws air through the drawer. Plastic items will not dry as well as china / glass due to their low thermal mass.
Use FRESH (less than 1 month old) quality powdered detergent. NEVER liquid. Always use a "Rinse-Aid" agent, and be sure the rinse aid cap is on securely.
Also, since Jan of 2010, the Government has BANNED Phospherous from dishwashing detergents, and since then I have never ending complaints about dishes not coming out clean. My best advice is (after you've registered your dissatisfaction the Gov't.) to try different products and brands till you find the one that seems to work best for you. You may also consider using a detergent additive or booster, or Lemi-Shine, or Glass Magic which takes advantage of a legal loop-hole and still has 23% Phosphorous..
If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us here on our "contact us" page, or call us at 858 229 8753
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1. To clean, sanitize and thoroughly dissolve detergent, the water should be at least 140 Degrees. Before starting, run HOT water in your sink to get hot water up in your pipes.
2. Use quality dishwasher detergent. Liquids have wax & line the ducting, gradually constricting them. Avoid large quantities that set, as they lose strength over time.
3. Lightly scrape the dishes,
4. Once a month, run your empty dishwasher with Citric Acid Crystals (available at: www.bulkfoods.com), or Lemi-Shine, or Glass Magic. Also, most spray arms can be easily cleaned out. The spray jets are cleared by lightly rapping the arm on a hard surface to dislodge buildup. Use a pin to clear orifices.
5. If your dishwasher isn’t draining well, check the Air Gap on your sink-top and make sure it’s clear. Or, the inlet to the dispose-all may be plugged. Be SURE TO PULL THE PLUG before putting your hand in there!
6. Load dishes facing the center, with tall items to the side. Be sure the detergent cup can pop open, & slender utensils don’t extend above or below the rack so as to impede rotation of the spray arms.
8. Apply touch-up paint and vinyl caps to rust spots on the racks when you see them. (A rusted-out rack is expensive to replace) A good idea is leave the door ajar for an hour afterward.
Q: Dishwasher leaks
A: If unit leaks at or near door top edges, slightly "tweaking" the door one way or the other may help. If unit is newer GE, Maytag, Jenn-Air or Whirlpool, the door seal may have become hardened and permanently indented by the door. Other sources; fill line, main pump / motor seal gone bad, spray arm holes clogged, or spray arm split along seam, dispenser seal leaking and foam seal, cracked tub.
Q: Maytag dishwasher not cleaning well.
A: Filter ring clogged, 4-arm balance rotor clogged, spray arm clogged, loose or broken wash impeller, water level too low (pump cavitating- water has turned into foam- did somebody put HAND dishwashing soap in there?), soap dispenser not opening,
Q: Kitchenaid dishwasher has stopped dead.
A: Most likely thermal fuse blown in control module.
Also look at the door latch assy. There are two frail plastic tabs that depress two switch levers when the door is latched. If either of them breaks (and they do) the machine won't start, though it WILL power up.
Q: Kitchenaid dishwasher door pops open during wash cycle
A: (This is the type that has the no press-to-unlatch handle. You just pull to open and shut down) Most likely a broken Door Tensioner cord,
Q: GE dishwasher won't drain
A: Drain solenoid stuck/ failed, timer
Q: GE, Kitchenaid or Bosch dishwasher wont run, makes buzzing noise
A: If the unit has not been run in a while the ceramic seal is stuck to the mating carbon ring surface, siezed motor bearings.
Q: Bosch or Kitchenaid dishwasher doesn't wash well
A: If every thing seems to be operating normally, but the wash just isn't coming out as clean as it should, it could be food and/ or other debris lodged at the intake port of the wash pump.
Q: Bosch dishwasher doesn't fill well.
A: Bosch units tend to go through water valves rather quickly. Also the touch pads on electronic models eventually flex and break.
Q: My Bosch diswasher seems to be taking forever to complete the cycle.
A: Bosch units have a problematic control module where a burnt or loose solder joint exists on the water heating relay circuit. If this is the case, a close examination of the solder joints (particularly around the relays) may reveal a poor connection.
Q: Refrigerator not cold enough
A: Condenser coil clean? (keep in good condition by cleaning every year). Especially important for folks in dusty places or have pets...
Compressor running? Is it cool, warm or too hot to handle? (Ideal: very warm)
(Condenser / Evaporator) fans running?
Check: cold control, defrost timer not advancing out of defrost, compressor start-run relay/overload (common on Whirlpool), fans for shorted/ open circuits, Low on refrigerant (leaking)
Evaporator iced up? (ideally a light frosting on the overall coil surfaces)
Check: Defrost timer, door seals, defrost heater and thermostat, Adaptive Defrost Control.
Evaporator thawed out with ice ball or small portion of coils frosted?
Check: System is low on refrigerant. Repair & recharge ($$$), or replace unit
IS THE CONDENSOR COIL CLEAN?
Q: Refrigerator leaking water
A: Defrost drain plugged, Broken ice/ water fill lines, Ice/ water valves leaking. Condensate drain pan (next to compressor) cracked or rusted through.
Q: Freezer cold, fresh food box is not
Evaporator iced up, Fresh food damper door closed / sticking / blocked with ice, Door seals torn, Defrost timer stuck in defrost mode
(Frost/ ice buildup just inside the door means door seal isn’t completely closing in that spot. Also check around the ice cube dispenser chute.)
Q: Hot Compressor runs short while then shuts off. Process repeats ever 10-15 min.
A: Over-current relay tripping. Check: compressor windings (typ. resistance: run to common- 5 ohms, start to common- 7 ohms), replace start/ run relay assy.
Q: Icemaker not making ice
A: Freezer not cold enough (Ideal: between 0-8 deg. F). Evaporater iced up. Water valve failed, water fill tube iced over (common), bad harvest thermostat on icemaker, open heater circuit on icemaker (replace icemaker), bad icemaker head. Optics boards bad.
Q: GE water/ Ice dispenser not working
A: Bad time delay board, bad 4 way water valve, water in lines frozen
Q: Maytag makes ice, but water/ ice dispenser not working
A: Bad power relay board, bad switch board (corroded)
Ice chute solenoid (common on GE) bad.
Q: Whirlpool icemaker not working (Ice bin in door types)
A: Newer units now have an optics board that casts a NIR beam of light across the ice bin, A full ice bin blocks the path of the beam and tells the icemaker to stop producing ice. Could be the optics boards or the icemaker itself.
Q: Frigidaire low to mid-range refrigerator not cooling well, or at all
A: These Fragile-aire units have unreliable compressors that fail often.
Q: Kitchenaid built-in FF box is not cooling well, and the freezer is only at 32 deg.
A: A possibility exists that the return air port has iced up and no longer allowing FF return air to get back to the evaporater.
Q: U-Line refrigerator / wine chiller getting power but not cooling
A: If the unit is the older variety with mechanical controls, the most likely culprit is the refrigeration control. If the unit is newer and run by digital microprocessor controls, the problem may be several: a bad thermister, a bad control board, bad compressor start device, bad fan motor.
General rule for all refrigerators: Keep door seals clean, especially along bottom where spilled sticky foods accumulate. If refrigerator has condenser coils mounted vertically along the back of the box, leave at least 2 inches between them and the wall. Sub-Zero and Kitchenaid built in refrigerators are very susseptable to condensor coil lint clogging. Make it imperitave to vacuum the coil out at least once a year.
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Make it your once a year routine to clean the condensor coils of your refrigerator, especially Kitchenaid, GE Monogram, and Sub-Zero.
A dirty condensor will not only cost you more in energy bills but if left long enough can destroy the refrigerator's sealed system. ($$$ repair)
A WARNING TO YOUR HEART …
Voltages present inside a microwave oven are lethal. Because of the high potential for injury or death, it is not recommended that you attempt to any repairs to these appliances by yourself. (Let us risk our lives...)
Q: Arcing and sparking inside?
A: Check the interior of the appliance for splatters of food or boiled over liquid. Repair by cleaning thoroughly, especially on and around the mica panel situated either at the top or side of the unit. Any bare metal spots inside the cavity will cause arcing. There is a repair paint (go to: http://www.repairclinic.com/) intended solely for microwave ovens
Q: Microwave Oven is totally dead
The power control module or the main line fuse has probably blown. It’s tempting to replace the fuse and go on, but that fuse blew for a good reason, and it should not be operated until it can be checked out by a knowledgeable technician.
Q: Light bulb burned out
A: microwave cavity lamp usually can be changed without opening the cabinet or exposing one’s self to dangerous voltages.
Q: Display is lit but no heat?
Check: door switch (primary or secondary), bad control module, bad magnetron tube.
Q: Door appears to be warped or tweaked?
Do not use the unit! Call a professional that can check for radiation leakage.
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Between washes, shut off water at the wall. It eases the strain on the hoses. Away for extended period? shut off all water sources, set water heater to lowest temp. setting.
Q: Machine is dead
A: Voltage at the wall socket? Power to the timer? Bad control module
Q: Machine won't fill.
A: Water valves on? Water pressure good? Valve inlet screens clear? Voltage to the valves? Selector switch faulty
Q: Washer fills, then drains (over and over)
Is the drain hose outlet at least as high as the top of the wash basket?
Q: Water valves won't shut off?
A: Disconnect power… Does the flooding stop? If no, replace the valves.
If yes, check timer for stuck contact
Q: Fisher Paykel wont drain out
A: If the water only continues to recirculate from the 2 o'clock position, you have a bad diverter valve. Also can be a small article of clothing caught in the pump impeller.
Q: Fisher Paykel dead
A: Motor controller module bad
Q: Machine shakes in spin?
A: Does it shake with an empty tub? If no, balance wash load. Cabinet solidly on all four feet? Placing a thick plywood plank beneath it may help. Tub springs all in place? Tub main bearing worn? Whirlpool DD Models: Motor counter-balance spring broken? Neptune models: see below.
Q: Machine won't agitate or spin and motor not running?
A: Maytag: Check switch, lid switch, timer
Whirlpool: Lid switch, cycle selector switch, timer
Frigidaire: Door lock switch
Q: Machine won't agitate or spin and motor is running?
A: Maytag: check drive belts, motor tensioner springs
Whirlpool: check motor/ transmission coupler (direct drive models), bad transmission, water level switch
Q: Machine Leaks?
A: Check: (Maytag) injector nozzle, fill/ drain hoses, house standpipe backing up? Leak in outer tub, tub to pump hose, drain pump, main spin tub bearing, water splashing over top (large loads)
Q: Everything else ok but no spin?
A: Lid switch, stuck water level switch, loose belt, motor tensioner loose
Q: Machine won't drain
A: Check drain pump for obstructions (common on GE Models), drain pump is operating? Clogged with small article of clothing (common on Whirlpool)
Q: Machine reluctant to spin (tries to spin- but just isnt happening)
A: (Maytag) Most likely Clutch / Brake Helix drive is worn out. Rel. small job.
Whirlpool: Clutch assy worn. Fairly labor intensive job
GE: Worn out clutch assy. Very labor intensive job, requiring a lot of adjustment trial and error to get right.
Q: Maytag Neptune making awful noise when it spins.
A: The main spin bearing is bad. Very costly job. Consider getting another washer.
Q: Maytag Neptune won't spin
A: Most likely the Machine Controller is bad, spin enable circuit is open, motor controller faulty. Door motor and machine controller replacement likely.
Q: Maytag Neptune starts and then shuts down after a few minutes and may flash a code
A: The motor drive system may have experienced a momentary loss of Neutral Line feed from the power cord to the Motor Control Board. This neutral line passes across the water valve solenoids. Check the neutral line (white) wires to all of the water valve solenoid connections, including the bleach and softener valves. Models with a display will code "LR". Models without displays will simply shut down. Make sure all the connections to the water valve are clean, tight and secure. Arrange the wiring to these valves to be as far as possible from other wires as stray line noise can enter the wires through EM induction
Q; Maytag Neptune shakes excessively
A: The machine spins quietly when the wash chamber is empty but really goes wild with clothes inside, check the cement counterweights to be sure they are secure. Check the front support springs near the top and front. Are they in place? Do they appear to be sprung? If all that is ok, you have bad shock absorbers, located in the lower back. Its a bit of a job to do, but with patience, you can master the task.
SOME NOTES ON THE WHIRLPOOL DUET WASHER...
In my opinion, the Whirlpool Duet is among the best front load washers out there today, along with the Frigidaire gallery and the Staber. It is however still not immune from problems. I'll point out a few that I've experienced...
FILL PROBLEMS: one of the weaker links in the fill system is the flow meter. The problem gets annunciated by an F-H error code. The flow meter either sticks, binds or produces weak signal to the MCU- until it decides that there is no water entering the machine (even if there is)
F-2 Long Drain. We see this one a lot. The culprits are obstructions in the drain line, like a sock, panties, bra under-wire, or something else small- lodged in the pump impeller preventing it from turning. Something else that has been appearing is a pump system that works prefectly fine when its tested manually, but during the wash cycle the error appears. Replace the MCU as a last resort, but chances are- the drain pump is still whats giving you grief.
Q: Theres a loud knocking sound comfroming from Duet when it spins
A: The Cement counter balances my be loose or the shock dampers might be getting worn. But, I've seen a few units where the knocking is from the breather manifold having come loose in the back of the machine. Forget about that cheesy cap that's supposed to hold it in place. get inventive and design something better!
DOOR LOCK / LATCH Mechanism
Too often this component gets mis-diagnosed as faulty. The assembly consists of two switches and two counter- wound coil solenoids. Its easy to decide the door switch is bad by just testing continuity on the switch leads. This won't prove anything, unless the coil to close the door lock gets energised. Only then can you test the switch reliably. Often the problem comes down to corrosion on connectors at the MCU.
AND AS LONG AS WE'RE DISHING ABOUT FRONT LOADERS...
It's vitally important that you ALWAYS use QUALITY, HIGH- EFFICIENT (HE) detergents. Failure to do so will result in poor wash, premature main spin bearing failure and microprocessors spitting out "SUDS" error codes. If you own a Front Load Washer, You have to use HE detergents.
Also to minimise mold and mildew on the boot seal, leave the door ajar, and oocsionally run bleach through the machine. IT'S THAT SIMPLE.
FISHER PAYKEL WASHER
This machine is amazingly simple.
It has only three moving parts. It has no motor or transmission, at least in the classical sense of what they are understood to be. This machine is amazingly efficient. It automatically senses the precise amount of water by a sophisticated sensing system. The amount of electricity used is also miniscule. The largest wire size in the machine is 27 gauge, about half the diameter of gauge 18 which predominates virtually every other machine.
One thing I regularly advise my customers that own these, is to check the resistance of the drain pump motor or, to have it re-fitted with an in-line fuse to prevent damage to the controller.
Q: My Fisher and Paykel washer won't drain or spin, and has begun beeping.
A: The washer drain pump may have failed, could have an obstruction in its lines or perhaps the diverter valve is broken.
Q: My washer continually keeps filling every few minutes.
A: The machine may be siphoning. Make sure the drain hose outlet is higher than the tub's highest water level.
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Q: Dryer warm but clothes take long to dry?
A: Dryer is dirty with lint inside, vent is excessively long, has numerous turns, or is filled with lint.
Lint screen clean?
(The house dryer vent line is notorious for being neglected and most people don't even consider that it needs to be cleaned out periodically. For an average family, about once every 2 years is about right. There are services that specialize in nothing but dryer vent cleaning, or with a vent cleaning brush on a 12 foor wire wound coil, you can get it done yourself.)
Burner coils, faulty thermostats. reduced airflow through machine (lint), If dryer is electric, getting 240 VAC from the wall? Check both rails of the 240 VAC supply… may be getting only 120 VAC.
Q: Drum turns but no heat at all?
A: Gas: Burner component failed. Check coils, flame switch, igniter, motor centrifugal switch, thermal fuse, thermostat, hi-limit thermostat, broken belt switch, timer.
Electric: Centrifugal switch, heater element, thermal fuse, thermostat, hi-limit thermostat, broken belt switch, timer
Q: Drum wont turn?
A: Motor turning? Broken belt, foreign object jammed in drum.
Q: Scraping sound?
A: Worn rollers, worn glides, cabinet has shifted (common on many Frigidaire), drum out of round
Q: Dryer getting too hot?
A: Stuck thermostat, airflow backing up from restriction in line
Q: Rumbling sound (particularily noticible when the dryer starts)
A: Worn out blower wheel. very common on Maytag models, also some Frigidaire. Hardly ever on a Whirlpool.
Q: Dryer runs normally then shuts down for about 10-15 minutes then starts back up again by itself.
A: Drum motor over-current or thermal relay is tripping. Probably due to hot air being blown against the motor. Check vent connections, clean out dryer / house vent. Could also be worn out motor drawing excessive current.
Heres the web address for a company that cleans out dryer house vents:
Dryer vent Wizard: firstname.lastname@example.org
By the way, you do have a FIRE EXTINQUISHER in your laundry room right? If not, WHY NOT?
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OVEN / RANGE
Q: Problems after putting oven in self clean mode?
A: Failed thermal sensor (electronic), failed Electronic Oven Control, failed hi-limit fuse / thermostat, failed door lock motor / thermostat,
My Advice: DO NOT USE THE SELF CLEAN MODE. PERIOD. Most oven calls are after the customer goes there... If the unit is high end, a replacement EOC will cost a bundle to replace. I've seen electrical components melt from the extreme heat of a self clean cycle.
Three Basic rules pertaining to self clean:
1. Don't do it.
2. If you absolutely must use self clean, Refer to rule #1.
3. But if after having read this much and you're still determined to do it, at least do it a month ahead of Thanksgiving, so we can order the parts and get them installed in time.
Q: Electronic cooktop (REIG) igniters won't shut off or turn on
A: Dirty/ failed/ cracked igniter electrodes, loose high tension lead connections, failed re-ignition (REIG) module, poor grounding, polarity of wiring reversed, failed spark module. Bad burner switch.
The thing to remember about a REIG module is that once the sparking electrode serves to light off the gas, it switches into a" flame sense" mode to continually keep proving the flame. That's why if the flame should go out, the REIG module will start sparking again till the burner lights. What you're looking for is a portion of the burner flame licking or being in contact with the spark electrode. The flame allows a small (read: micro-amp) current to flow from the electrode THROUGH the flame- and into the chassis ground.
Q: Cooktop flames uneven, poor lighting
A: Dirty burners, flame ports clogged, burner cap not on correctly.
Slow lazy yellow flame: Oxygen starved
Fast, hard edged blue flame: Fuel starved
Q: Oven won't light
A: Gas: Failed oven thermostat, oven igniter, safety valve, hi-limit thermostat open, Failed EOC
Electric: Failed heat element, only 120 of 240 volts available, oven thermostat, EOC, high limit thermostat
Q: Oven temps incorrect
A: Failed thermal sensor, EOC bad, oven temperature control bad or out of calibration, door seal leaking, gas supply low, only 120 of 240 volts available. Most electronic models can be calibrated to +/- 25 deg.
Q: Electric Oven not heating, controls functional
A: Check the high limit fuse, or thermal limiter. Usually looks just like a dryer thermostat, and can be a one time device, or have a resettable button. On many units you will find this on the back of the oven (sorry Charlie, you'll have to take the oven out from the wall) or on the top of the oven cavity (if you're lucky). Dacor units seem to like to blow early for some reason... Fortunately. they're resettable. And of course, you're just asking for troubles when you put the unit is SELF- CLEAN mode. Another possibility could be the house power lines to the oven loose or burnt through. Some homes were built with Aluminum wires to the oven (a VERY bad idea). Unlike copper, aluminum corrodes, and weakens the connection to the point that it can become HOT... enough to burn through the connector or EVEN START A FIRE. Fortunately I've seen very few aluminum wires in houses, but still enough that the homeowner ought to be concerned.
5% discount for payment with CASH