6 Tips to Master Home Appliance Repair

Sometimes you just gotta take matters into your own hands. Whether it’s because you want to develop your skills, or if you just want to save some extra money, DIY repair is a great choice. You will be able to extend the lifetime of your appliances considerably, and you won’t have to rely on unreliable repairmen who will charge you a fortune.

However, this is not an easy task. Without the proper training, you may be at risk of hurting yourself, or, at the very least, have the risk of making things worse. So, safety first, get some protective gear and read about our top six tips to master home appliance repair below.

Get the basics down

No matter how obvious or banal this piece of advice is, we still expect people to read it. Too many wannabe DIY repairmen end up getting hurt or just destroying their appliances because they didn’t start with the obvious. So, first of all, always unplug the appliance before you start working on it. Furthermore, once you’re done, keep an eye on the said appliance and make sure everything is going well. The last thing you need is to have your microwave catch fire while you’re on the other side of the room.

Next, actually check to see if there are any obvious problems before you start disassembling the entire thing. So, double check the power settings, or whether the thing is actually plugged in. Maybe the problem isn’t in the appliance, but in the outlet. Maybe there are some issues, like a simple filter being clogged. Or, on the other hand, maybe the appliance isn’t working due to a standard operational characteristic it has (like not working when placed on an uneven surface).

Check the moving parts

Moving parts tend to be the most likely culprit when it comes to home appliance repair. We suggest you start with them when you are repairing your appliance because of their tendency to wear and malfunction quickly. So, take a look at the fans and the motor of the appliance. You can often check this by the noise the appliance makes. Since you are fixing appliances that you yourself own, and have probably owned for a long time, you are probably accustomed to the noise they make. Anything different is a tell-tale sign of what’s actually wrong. Now, as far as fans and belts are concerned, get the right appliance spare parts at any specialized store, and get it done. On the other hand, motors are a bit more problematic and may require professional assistance.

Stick to the 50% rule

The 50% rule goes as follow: if your appliance is older than 50% of its expected lifespan, and if the cost of repairs and replacement parts is more than 50% of the price of buying a new one, you shouldn’t bother. The most financially sound decision here is to simply replace it. Of course, you can always disassemble it for your own enjoyment if you’re gonna replace it soon.

Get the right tools

Now, we are not saying you should buy the newest, most expensive and advanced toolkit on the market. But, you need to understand that often a screwdriver will not be enough. Something middle of the line will definitely be enough. Besides, if you want to continue with your DIY home repair efforts, you need a good toolkit anyway.

Now, one specific, important tool that you should get is a nice multimeter. One of the more annoying things when doing home repairs is that it’s hard to figure out if the problem can be found with the wiring. With a multimeter, you can measure voltage, and figure out which wires are ok, and which are not.

Check the ignition systems

For most gas-powered appliances, the most common problem is the ignition process. This goes for appliances that have electric starters and pilot lights as well, however. The point being is that stoves, for example, are very durable appliances that rarely break down completely. The most likely culprit tends to be their ignition system. So, we suggest you start there, check if there is any soot, or if the entire thing is properly aligned.

Check pipes and hoses

Dishwashers, washing machines, and basically any other water-based appliances depend on pipes and hoses to use water. The most likely culprit here tends to be these same hoses. We suggest you check them, and the surrounding valves, first when you want to repair appliances like these.

Conclusion

If you really want to get better at home appliance repair, we suggest you take the above advice to heart. Work on getting the basics down, get the right tools and stick to the 50% rule. Check your moving parts first, figure out where your hoses are, and get familiar with the ignition processes on your stoves.

A Guide To Cleaning A Gas And Rayburns

An AGA or Rayburn, the traditional range cookers from Britain, often form the heart of a country or farmhouse kitchen. AGA owners are simply passionate about them, while others rave about Rayburns, which also provide hot water and central heating. Reconditioned AGAs now sell for a small fortune in the major cities, where they’ve become very fashionable kitchen accessories.

With oil, gas and the traditional solid fuel versions all available, there’s great flexibility in fuel sources. Of course, solid fuel versions require more cleaning as soot and ash from coal can quickly build up. With potentially harmful fuels used in the first two versions however, it’s absolutely vital to take extreme care when cleaning – especially inside.

A guide to cleaning agas and rayburns
It’s crucial to have both types of range serviced regularly to keep it running in tip-top condition, and safely. Always use a qualified, trained AGA engineer. But a lot of cleaning and prevention of problems can safely be undertaken yourself at home. While the ranges are simple to clean, the best way to keep them looking as if they were new is to prevent dirt and grease building up in the first place.

If anything spills onto vitreous enamel surfaces, it needs to be cleaned away immediately with a damp rather than wet cloth. That includes the doors and front, and sometimes the back plate. If spills are given a chance to bake dry, they can stain and are much harder to remove. Milk and fruit juice is particularly important to get off straight away. If you don’t, the acids will weaken and stain enamel.

Inside the oven, splashes aren’t a concern as they simply burn off. The dust left behind can just be brushed away, and it’s OK to use wire brushes on anything that’s cast iron inside. There are even self cleaning models now. It’s the same with the hot plates: most spillages simply burn away fast. Avoid cleaning them when the range is hot.

So its the delicate enamel that’s the most important to protect. It can be scratched and dented, so make sure the doors and wheel vent are treated with care. Far better to handle them with oven gloves than to kick them shut when they are hot. You can buy branded cleaners and cloths specifically designed for cleaning Aga and Rayburn enamels. A soft rather than abrasive soap pad also works well. Look for products that have the VEA – Vitreous Enamel Association – seal of approval.
A guide to cleaning agas and rayburns2
It’s very important not to use oven cleaners in spray form either inside or out, nor scourers, nor abrasive creams. Also don’t use very wet or cold cloths: damp only and warm is good. A gentle cream south east London cleaner should be fine. You can hoover away dust, but only when the range is not lit. A good polish with a lint-free, soft cloth, will buff up the surface, rails and lids to a shine. For ease, the doors can be removed as can the insulating rings: just don’t mix them up! Each only fits perfectly on its original position. Don’t soak any of the parts in water, however.

Older ranges may be more prone to scratches, stains and scorch marks than modern models. Enamel has come a very long way since the 1950s! A modern Rayburn’s surfaces should be able to withstand sudden temperature changes, and maximum heats of 400 degrees centigrade. Acids in food should not stain them these days. The enamel is hard and wont chip very easily, and it has the advantage of not allowing bacteria or mould to develop on the surface.

Easy Solutions To Everyday Messes

1 Put ordinary white candles to use for more than romantic dinner lighting. Rub them on bathroom grout to shield against mold and mildew.

2 Take an Alka-Seltzer tablet from your medicine cabinet and drop it in your toilet bowl for a quick, fizzy clean.

3 Icky buildup on the face of your iron? Lay out a piece of aluminum foil, and iron it. The buildup will stick to the foil. You can also use foil to dispose of cooking grease.

4 Line a cup with foil and pour in the grease. Once the grease has solidified, seal it in the foil and throw the package away.

5 Tackle spilled food in the oven right away by pouring table salt over it. The salt will form a crust that makes the food easy to wipe up. It also reduces the burning smell.

Spring Cleaning – The Kitchen

Walls and Appliances: When grease splatters or cake batter flies, you probably wipe it off in the moment, but you might not catch all of the grime that ends up covering your walls and appliances. Spring cleaning is the time to get rid of that caked-on dirt and grease. Spray all of your walls and appliances with an all-purpose cleaner and/or de-greaser and scrub them clean with a towel or sponge. Afterwards, rinse thoroughly to avoid leaving any sticky soap residue on the walls that could attract even more dirt and dust.

Kitchen Wall Hangings: This includes your kitchen clock and could extend to a hanging pot rack or even a spice rack or even a phone if you’ve got one mounted. Basically, anything that’s hanging on your walls or ceiling needs to come down for a thorough cleaning because nothing is safe from grease and dirt in the kitchen.

Oven: If you have a self-cleaning oven, run it now and wipe it down thoroughly when through (waiting several hours for the oven to cool down). One tip for self-cleaning ovens is to remove the temperature knobs because they tend to heat up and could melt. For regular ovens, follow your manufacturer’s instructions and/or the instructions on the oven cleaner you purchase. Always open any available windows and turn on vents when cleaning your oven to avoid fume contamination.

Refrigerator – Inside and Out: Throw out any expired food, empty jars, and other half-used products that are taking up space. Take out the refrigerator shelves and drawers. Wash them down, being careful with glass shelves. Wipe down the entire inside of the refrigerator and freezer before replacing shelves and food. Vacuum the coils of your unplugged refrigerator and wipe the outside completely, not forgetting the door handle (usually the filthiest part of the fridge!). If you can, ask someone to help you move the refrigerator to sweep and mop underneath it.

Stovetop:
Remove the knobs, burners, burner covers and spill catchers off the stovetop and either wash by hand or put into the dishwasher to clean and sanitize. Use a gentle abrasive and/or hot soapy water to thoroughly scrub the top of your stove. Use a crevice tool from your vacuum cleaner to remove crumbs or dirt from the cracks between your oven and the wall or counters.

Microwave: Wipe down and clean the microwave, washing the turntable by hand or putting it into the dishwasher. If the spills in the microwave are old or burnt in, boil a glass of water in the microwave. The steam should help loosen the crud. If the microwave smells, boil lemon juice to help freshen it up. Use glass cleaner on the outside surfaces and soapy water or all-purpose cleaner on the inside.

Kitchen Cabinets:Remove everything and wash the shelves, relining if necessary. Remove mismatched lids and bowls. Take out anything that isn’t being used on a regular basis. Reorganize and outsides of cabinets last.

Dishwasher:Try adding vinegar or baking soda to the empty dishwasher before running it. If your dishwasher has a food trap in the bottom, clean it out. Wash down the outside of the dishwasher.

Countertops: Don’t forget backsplashes.

Drawers: Remove everything and wipe the insides. This is a great time to tackle your “junk” drawer. If it’s really junk, throw it out. Remove utensils or cutlery that you don’t use and take the opportunity to re-organize and prioritize your kitchen items if you don’t feel they’re arranged in the most efficient manner possible.

Sink and Garbage Disposal: If you have a garbage disposal, now is the time to pour baking soda with warm water and/or a lemon peel down the disposal to freshen the drain. Put ice cubes through the disposal to sharpen the blades.