Posts Tagged ‘Troubleshooting’

Repair your refrigerator seal with Vaseline

December 13, 2011

Gasket, seal, "rubber thing" -- whatever you call it, keep it moistened.

If you’ve noticed ice crystals on your frozen foods or condensation in your fridge, check your refrigerator seal. After some troubleshooting, you might be able to make a DIY repair without having to resort to a refrigerator gasket replacement.

First, open your refrigerator’s freezer door and slip a dollar bill against where the gasket seals to the freezer cabinet. Shut the door to hold the bill in place.

If the bill slips out, your seal isn’t tight.

Fortunately, moistening the seal with Vaseline (petroleum jelly) should do the trick and revive the strong rubber grip of your fridge’s youth AND keep your foods nice and chilly. Just apply a thin layer of Vaseline to the part of the seal that touches the refrigerator or freezer, and voila!

If your stove dies on Thanksgiving

November 23, 2011

Many stoves choose to end their life right around the time you’ve finally finished thawing, brining, trussing and stuffing that huge bird on Thanksgiving morning.

Now your oven very well might be dead, but sometimes you just need to give it the ol’ Fonzie treatment.

Now, I’m not actually suggesting you punch your juke, er…range; but try shutting off your circuit or unplugging your appliance for 20 minutes. It’s always the first advice I give customers before we attempt service — and it’s worked before! Best case scenario, you’re back in business once you plug it back in or reset the circuit.

If you have a gas range and the cooktop is working but the oven isn’t, flip the regulator switch (which automatically cuts off the flow of gas at a certain pressure).

If you’re still getting an error code or the unit is still dead, you’re probably going to need service. You can call us on Friday at 651-222-0011 (opt. 4).

But at least you tried. In a pinch, fire up the grill.

Ice maker not working: Refrigerator not making ice

October 31, 2011

When your refrigerator’s ice maker isn’t working, you should definitely do some ice maker troubleshooting before calling repair.

Many people don’t even know how an icemaker works, so your ice maker problems can be a simple misunderstanding.

JennAir.com

Make sure the metal arm on your ice maker is DOWN and any control is set to “ON.”

Is the water supply properly connected and turned on? It should be, also.

A loose drain cap can leave you with thin ice because water will empty from the water pan, so tighten that drain cap!

The drain tube could be clogged from sediment, which you can flush out by shutting off the water line, waiting, and turning back on. Ensure there are no kinks in the drain that could prevent the flow of rejected water out.

Those are just basic tips everyone should try before calling for ice maker repair. Hopefully it works for you.

 

Dishwasher troubleshooting: Dishwasher drying tips

October 11, 2011

If your dishes come out of the dishwasher looking like this...

If your dishwasher isn’t drying, just know that your dishwasher drying problems might be completely fixable.

The No. 1 cause of wet dishes is lack of rinse aid, or drying aid as I like to call it.

Most think of rinse aid’s aesthetic benefits, because it helps water “sheet” off dishes rather than forming water droplets that cling and leave icky  spots.

But modern dishwashers are designed to use rinse aid for drying, so without it, your dishes and dishwasher interior will have excessive moisture. Also, the heated dry option will not perform as well without rinse aid.  (Now is a good time to check if your dishwasher includes a Heated Dry – or Extra Dry – option you might not be using.)

Once you fill your rinse aid dispenser, don’t forget to refill it. A full dispenser will last about a month, but I top mine off every couple weeks.

Proper loading also ensures good drying performance. Load items, especially plastic, at an angle so water can sheet off. Plastics have a porous surface and tend to collect droplets, so they take longer to dry and might not dry completely in a normal dry cycle.

For best results, the water should be 120 degrees F as it enters the dishwasher – not lower or higher by much. If your water heater is located far from the dishwasher, it may be necessary to run the hot water at the faucet closest to the dishwasher to minimize the amount of cold water in the water line.

Best cleaning tips posts

March 23, 2011

It’s official spring, which means it’s officially appropriate for a cliche “spring cleaning post roundup”!

We’ve accumulated quite a few cleaning posts, which might surprise my house if it found out about all this unused knowledge.

Anything else you’d like to see here? Leave a comment.

 

 

General

Cooking

Other kitchen cleaning

Laundry room

Dishwasher troubleshooting: Dishwashing detergent left in dispenser

December 7, 2010

My new baby (and yes, those are blue laminate countertops)

I got a new Asko dishwasher a couple of weeks ago, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it: the way all my pots and pans fit, the stemware holders for my house’s wine habit, the knife holder for my vegetable habit.

Nothing comes out with a speck of food, and we no longer have to yell at each other over a tsunami of washing sounds. My life has improved two-fold. No more dishwasher problems.

Well, there was one. The Cascade Action Packs we had just bought on sale were getting stuck in the dispenser.

After reading the Use & Care manual (gold star for me), I noted that Asko recommends using powder detergent, and only about a tablespoon of it depending on the hardness of your water.

When I switched back to powder, everything was fine. But it’s not always as easy as switching dishwasher detergent.

If you still have caked detergent after running your dishwasher, try these dishwasher troubleshooting tips, adapted from Whirlpool Corp.

Was the dispenser cup wet when you added detergent?

If dispenser cup is wet, the detergent can clump. This also means that if there’s still detergent left in the cup, don’t think, “Oh, well now I don’t have to refill it!” Clean it out and start over.

Is the cycle incomplete?

If the previous cycle did not complete, the detergent can become caked in the dispenser cup if it is left sitting in the dishwasher. But this probably isn’t the cause for those with chronic detergent-caking issues. Again, clean the detergent from the cup and start over again.

Is the detergent old?

Older detergent exposed to air will clump and not dissolve well, which will cause the dispenser door to stick to the detergent. Buy new detergent, and this time, keep it in a tightly closed container (i.e. not the box with an open flap) in a cool dry place (i.e. not under your sink right next to the wall where your dishwasher runs hot!).

Is the water temperature too low?

For best washing and drying results, water should be 120oF (49o C) as it enters the dishwasher, so check your water heater setting. I also try to remember to run the kitchen sink tip until hot water comes out to help this.

Were items blocking the dispenser that kept it from opening?

Items blocking the detergent dispenser will keep it from opening. Make sure water action can reach the dispenser.

Other good (if not obvious) detergent guidelines

  • Use automatic dishwashing detergent only.
  • Add detergents just before starting the cycle.
    • I’m guilty of this. I’ll fill the detergent cup when I’m done with the night’s dishes so I only have to press the button before bed a few hours later. Don’t be like me.
  • The amount of detergent to use depends on the hardness of your water and the type of detergent.
    • If you use too little, dishes won’t be clean.
    • If you use too much in soft water, glassware will etch.
  • Your manufacturer’s suggested amount is based on standard powdered detergent, so follow instructions on the package when using liquid or concentrated powdered detergent.
  • Water hardness can change over a period of time. You can find out your water’s hardness for about $15 by calling Water Doctors.

Dishwasher troubleshooting: Dishwasher won’t drain

October 6, 2010

Dishwasher not draining right meow? Perhaps you have a cat in there.

A number of things could be causing standing water in your dishwasher.

First of all, make sure that the door is completely closed.

Press the “cancel” button (sometimes twice, depending on model) to manually drain water left behind because the dishwasher cycle was interrupted (i.e. kids/roommates). The dishwasher will turn off after a couple minutes.

Other tricks:

1. If you have a disposer, run it, because your drain system could be blocked.

2. If you have an air gap, it could be clogged. Consult your particular brand for instructions on how to clear that, but mostly it’s just taking off the chrome cap, unscrewing the plastic cap and cleaning out whatever’s ailing it. (Here’s a video by GE that’s kind of fun.)

3. Make sure you’ve got drain hose in right dishwasher area codes. The drain hose should be looped to touch the underside of the counter and connect to the sink drain or disposer. The hose should not exceed a foot in length. Also, check for any kinks.

4. If you’re still under water, call a plumber (or go cheap like me). Your sink drain could be clogged, which prevents your dishwasher from pumping out water.

HOW TO: Troubleshoot (almost) any dishwasher problems

September 20, 2010

So easy, a baby could fix it! (I know, cheap excuse to indulge my "photos of babies playing in appliances" habit.)

I won’t necessarily admit that I hate my dishwasher lately, but I will project some anxieties onto blog readers via a dishwasher troubleshooting roundup (!!!).

Whether your dishwasher leaves you with cloudy dishes, wet dishes or still-dirty dishes, my top 4 blogs about dishwasher problems should contain your remedy.

Top 4 dishwasher troubleshooting blog posts

1. Dishes not drying

2. Dishes not clean

3. Dishwasher leaving white film on glasses

4. Food residue left on dishes

Unfortunately, you can’t troubleshoot small and noisy, so watch for an upcoming Things I Want, dishwasher edition.

Dishwasher troubleshooting: Dishwasher leaving white film on glasses

August 16, 2010

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It's all your fault. Seriously.

I’ve been noticing many more glasses coming out of the dishwasher with a white residue on them.

I blame this trend on my roommates’ overzealous dish-rinsing habits rather than my overzealous wine glass-using habits, of course.

But, what does rinsing my plate have to do with my wine glass, Julie?

Everything, Loyal Appliance Blog Reader.

Many of today’s dishwasher detergents contain phosphates, which need food residue to break down. So, if there’s no food residue or grease, the phosphates don’t break down. Instead, they somehow end up on your glassware (disclosure: I’m no chemist, if you haven’t noticed yet.)

As if you need another reason to stop pre-rinsing/washing your dishes.

So, washing my dishes actually causes them to become dirty?

That’s what we call irony, LABR. You’re catching on.

If you find yourself with a rack of filmy glassware, save the labor — and the water (rinsing dishes often uses more water than a dishwasher cycle) — and run a warm vinegar rinse.

Put 2 cups white vinegar in a glass or dishwasher-safe measuring cup on the bottom rack. Then run the dishwasher through a complete washing cycle using an air-dry or an energy-saving dry option. Do not use detergent. The vinegar will mix with the wash water.

Running a vinegar cycle every few months is a good idea, per se.

Authors who wrote this blog post also wrote: “Dishwasher troubleshooting: Dishes not drying?”

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Loud refrigerator? We hear ya

July 7, 2010

Image: maxabout.com

If you’ve replaced your refrigerator within the last several years, your shiny new model might be making its presence known in noisier way.

Why?

For one, foam insulation — often used to make these appliances more energy-efficient — lacks the sound-baffling capabilities of fiberglass insulation incorporated into previous energy hogs.

Here’s some other “normal” sounds to expect, along with their abnormal counterparts:

Evaporator coil

A boiling, surging or gurgling sound as the compressor starts and stops. Also, a pop as the evaporator expands and contracts after defrosting.

Evaporator fan

The sound of air being forced through the unit is normal, but a continuous ticking or even intermittent squealing is abnormal.

Defrost heater

Sizzling or hissing sound from water dropping onto the heater during defrost cycle

Compressor

Newer fridges’ compressors are much more efficient and run much faster, giving off a high-pitched hum, whine or pulse. But watch out for clicking during start up (especially if the lights dim), banging or knocking during start or stop, a ping or snap followed by the compressor stopping.

Cold control and defrost timer

A snapping or ticking sound as the refrigerator turns on and off

Plastic liner

Cracking or popping as the temperatures change

Drain pan

Running water during or after the defrost cycle

Water valve

Buzzing, clicking or running water as the icemaker fills or water is dispensed

Icemaker

Cracking of ice and cubes dropping into the bin

Condenser fan

Air being forced over the condenser is normal, but squealing from the motor is abnormal.

Condenser

You should hear a surging or gurgling sound from the flow of refrigerant when the compressor runs, but an improperly placed drain pan could cause rattling.

If the normal sounds bother you, consider a piece of rubber-backed carpet for underneath the fridge. You could even put sound absorbing materials inside the cabinet if the refrigerator sits in an enclosure.


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