Before You Call A Repairman

Dryer Problems You Can Fix

Things to Check Before Calling the Repairman About Your Dryer

If your clothes dryer is not working correctly, there are dryer problems you can fix before you call the repairman.

Dryer will not run

Is it plugged in? This seems so simple but countless repairmen have said that's often all it takes to make an appliance work again.

Dryer will not run and it's plugged in

Check your central home electrical box to see if a fuse has blown or a circuit breaker has been tripped. You may be able to replace the fuse or turn the circuit breaker back on. If this happens frequently, call an electrician immediately!

Dryer is making a terrible noise

Stop the drying cycle and check the contents. Are all buckles fastened? Are zippers zipped? Are there "extra" items - coins, wallets, keys - taking a spin?

Still noisy? It could be the motor or a broken drive belt.

Clothes are taking too long to dry

Check the lint filter. If the lint filter is loaded, air will not flow freely and your machine is forced to work longer than necessary.

If the filter is full, you may also have lint trapped between the dryer drum and the filter. Use a long-bristled brush to clean out the trapped lint. You'll get your dryer working more efficiently and prevent a possible fire.

Filter is clean and clothes won't dry

If your filter is clean, the dryer is heating up but it is still taking too long to dry clothing; there are two things to check.
  1. Is the dryer exhaust hose kinked or clogged? Use that long-handled bristle brush to clean out the dryer hose. Ideally, the hose should be as short as possible between the machine and the outside exhaust vent to prevent clogging.
  2. Now, go outside and check the outside vent. Most are designed with a trap door that only opens when dryer air - and lint - are blown out. If the vent hood and/or trap door gets coated with lint, the trap door can't open. This is often a problem in high humidity climates. Check it every few months, you'll be amazed at the amount of lint you find. If it helps you to place a reminder on your calendar, then do it.

No clue what's wrong

When all else fails, pull out the operating manual and read it. The manual may have something specific for your model of dryer to check out. Misplaced the manual? Visit the manufacturer's website and having the model number handy will probably help. It may take a little time but it's much less expensive than a repair call.

Still no clue

One last thing to do before calling a repairman is to visit online appliance repair sites for any suggestions.

Washer Problems You Can Fix

Washer problems you can correct before you call the repairman.

Washer won't run

Is it plugged in? Countless repairman have found the washer was not plugged in and all it took was to re-seat the plug into the electrical socket.

Washer won't run and it's plugged in

Has a fuse or circuit breaker blown?  Check the electrical box. If needed, replace the fuse or reset the circuit breaker.  If it continues to blow fuses or circuit breakers, call an electrician immediately. Be safe.

Washer will not fill with water

Check both the hot and cold water supply lines to ensure both are open.  Some washers will not run unless both are open, even if you only use cold water. If the machine fills with water very slowly, one or both values may be partially open, open them all the way.

Water valves are open and the washer will not fill

If the supply valves are open, and the washer will not fill, a water filter may be clogged.  (1) Unplug the machine. (2) Turn the water valves to the closed position. (3) Find a bucket to catch the water remaining in the hoses. (4) One at a time, unscrew the hoses from the machine, emptying the bucket after each one as needed. (5) Check the filter for clogs and remove the clogs as needed. If you can only partially clean the filter, plan to purchase and install a replacement. (6) Reconnect the hoses, slowly open the water supply valves, and check to make sure there are no leaks.

Washer is making a terrible thumping noise

This is often the result of the contents of the wash unevenly distributed around the agitator, creating an out of balance condition.  It could be from uneven loading or from the contents shifting during the wash.  Always attempt to load the washer evenly at the start of a load of laundry.  If thumping occurs during a washing cycle, just stop the machine, redistribute the clothing and restart the machine.

Water puddles on the floor

Check the connection of the water supply hoses to the values. Tighten the connections if you find any dampness. Look at the hoses, if you find small splits, replace immediately (probably both hot and cold at the same time for peace of mind). Take the hose in your hand and squeeze. If it feels soft or soft in some areas and not in others, replace immediately. Burst hoses can create expense clean-up depending on what is near your washer. Water supply hoses should be checked regularly and replaced as needed to prevent bursting.

Soapy puddles on the floor

Front loading machines are designed to use a low suds detergent, sometimes called a high efficiency (HE) detergent.  Check the detergent you are using and switch if needed.

Front loading machines also have an overflow system, typically on the back of the machine. Excess suds could be escaping thru the overflow system.

Clothes are still wet after spin cycle

If your clothing is sopping wet after the spin cycle, the water is not exiting the machine as intended.  First check the water exhaust hose for bends or kinks that could prevent the water from exiting.  If your machine moves around during the spin cycle, it could have kinked the hose.

Second, if the exhaust hose has a lint trap, check to see it is clogged.  If it is clogged, clean or replace the lint trap.

Third, the exhaust hose could be clogged with lint or hair. The hose can be cleaned with a long flexible brush. If you cannot find one at the hardware store, check the pet shop for one used to clean aquarium tubes.

No clue what's wrong

When all else fails, read the instructions in the operating manual. Find it and read it. It could have something specific to your model of machine that is not covered in these guidelines. If you can't find it, check the manufacturer's website.

Still no clue

One last thing to do before calling a repairman is to visit on line appliance repair sites.

Air Conditioning Problems You Can Fix

Air conditioning problems you can correct before you call the repairman.

As air conditioners have become standard on most homes, so has the need for air conditioning repair. When you're experiencing problems with your air conditioning unit there are a few common sense solutions you'll want to check before you call in a repairman. If those don't get you back up and running, however, or if your air conditioners symptoms point to bigger problems, you're wise to call in a professional to take necessary measures.

Prevention Is the Best Medicine
An annual maintenance check of your air conditioning system is one of the best ways to avoid costly repairs.  An air conditioning repairman will come out to your home, inspect your unit and your duct work, perform all necessary upkeep, and address any maintenance issues before they become major problems.  Scheduling your annual maintenance check in the spring, before the start of hot weather, means you avoid the repairman's busy season and his rushing to the next service call.  Also, you will be able to shutdown the system on a cool day, instead of a hot day when you need air conditioning the most.

Before You Call for a Repairman
Most homeowners' reaction to air conditioning problems is to call in a professional immediately. It's not a bad practice, since the longer you put off potential problems, the bigger the repair usually ends up being. There are a few quick things to check first however, to make sure you don't end up paying for an unnecessary service call.

Check Your Thermostat
At the thermostat, verify it has been set from heating to cooling, and verify the temperature it is set to. Sounds silly, but you'll feel even dumber when your air conditioning repairman hands you the bill for this easy fix.

Clean Your Air Conditioner
Before cleaning you air conditioning unit, you want to make sure to shut off the power.  You do not want your hands near a moving part if the unit unexpectedly turns on.  Dirt and debris around and inside your air conditioner can cut down on the efficiency of your unit and reduce its cooling power.

Check Drainage Tubes For Obstructions
One the easiest fixes is also one of the most common reasons a repair man is called. Pooling water around or below your air conditioner is commonly the result of a blocked drainage tube. Look for obstructions like dirt, algae, or ice, and either clean out or replace the tube if you find a problem.

Replace The Filter
Just as with your furnace, it's recommended you replace or clean your air conditioning filter once a month when your air conditioner is running regularly. Failure to do so can cut down on your air conditioners ability to properly cool your home.