Cleaning · Dishwashers · FAQ · HOW TO

HOW TO: Troubleshoot (almost) any dishwasher problems

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.

Cleaning · Energy Efficiency · Refrigerator

Beware of pet hair in your kitchen

Manufacturers say that most people don’t need to regularly clean their refrigerators’ condenser coils.

But, you should clean the condenser coils on refrigerators in greasy, dusty environments — and homes with “significant pet traffic” (which just sounds like a kitten parade, right?) — every two or three months.

What’s that? Cleaning stuff is a pain in the butt? Yeah, well so is replacing stuff. Regular maintenance not only ensures your refrigerator runs efficiently (aka for less money) but it will help it run for longer.

I’m betting it’s been about the suggested time span (times 10?) since you have cleared out what lies beneath, so here’s a refresher course:

1. Unplug refrigerator or disconnect power. (We don’t need any heroes, people.)

2. Take off the kick plate, or “grille.” How you do this depends on the configuration of your fridge (e.g. top freezer, side by side), but the “wiggle and pull” method seems pretty universal. For more help, consult your Use & Care manual or (do what I do and) ask a family member for help.

3. Clean the kick plate, the open area behind it and the front surface area using either a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment or, my sister’s favorite, a baby bottle brush duct-taped to a stretched-out coat hanger.

Appliance Design

Would you paint your appliances?

Anyone who follows Warners’ Stellian on Twitter knows that I have a slight obsession with DIY projects. So many of our customers are in the middle of their own DIY remodels and as a hopefully soon-to-be homeowner, I plan to pump a lot of sweat equity into my investment too — especially the kitchen.

While I consider myself open-minded — and certainly cheap enough — but perhaps not adventurous enough to try an idea from “This Old House”: Update an old fridge with a faux stainless steel finish.

I downloaded some before and after shots from the company that makes the paint, Thomas’ Liquid Stainless Steel:

rangeb4 rangeafter

The idea is innovative, and some people seem to really dig the idea, but all I can think of good intentions gone wrong.

Sure, $56 a can is palatable for most anyone, but the paint seems better suited for smaller projects. A white, black or bisque fridge generally carries a textured finish, which will never match the look of a contemporary stainless steel refrigerator. (Don’t know what I mean? Watch them paint a textured fridge in the promotional video.)

I’d love to see pictures if anyone has painted or knows someone who has painted appliances — with or without success.

FAQ

Dryer not drying? Check the vent

If your clothes still are damp after a dryer cycle or you’re increasing the drying time, you probably need to check your dryer for clogs or damage that slow moist air from leaving the dryer.

Squirrel in the Dryer Vent
http://www.flickr.com/photos/darkmarty/ / CC BY 2.0

Run your dryer and go outside to check the air coming out of your exhaust hood.  If you feel less air movement than a blow dryer on its highest setting, the dryer’s exhaust hood or interior vent could be clogged.

First, clean dried lint from your exhaust hood and make sure to clear any blockages such as leaves or overgrown plants. (Or squirrels…)

If your air movement still seems subpar, clean the lint from the entire length of the system. You should do this about every two years to keep your dryer running its best and to prevent risk of fires.

(See “How to Clean A Dryer Vent” video on YouTube.) If this seems involved, consider replacing your venting — it’s relatively inexpensive.

Also, replace any venting that’s been kinked or crushed (see example below) with rigid or flexible heavy metal venting at least 4 inches in diameter. NEVER use plastic or metal foil venting.

dryervent
whirlpool.com
To prevent clogs in the first place, clean your dryer’s lint filter after each use and keep your exhaust vent unobstructed.
Info source: ServiceMatters.com