Appliance Repair Basic Rules

These basic rules for appliance repair assume that the do-it-yourselfer completing the repair is familiar with basic tools, and will follow the appliance repair instructions listed here using the following safety recommendations. Always wear shoes when working on major appliances. In some installations washers and dryers are located in basements or on concrete floors. If you did not disconnect an appliance from the electrical supply when servicing it, the electrical path could be going through you into the moist concrete floor. It’s not a bad idea to wear some gloves, preferably thin gloves, to prevent getting cut from sharp edges. Also remove all jewelry when working on major appliances, and make sure that you have adequate light to see what you’re working on.

 

Five Rules of Appliance Repair.

Rule Number 1 – Stand back from the appliance, put your hands in your pockets, and whatever you do, don’t open your toolbox.┬áCountless appliances have been taken apart only to find out that there was some minor problem such as, that it was unplugged, or the water was turned off, or it was a person unfamiliar with the appliance that had it on the wrong setting. The very first thing you should do to troubleshoot any major appliance problem, is to ask yourself what is supposed to happen. It sounds simple but it’s very important. For example, if the customer says, “my dryer will not heat”, the smart technician with his hands in his pockets will ask himself, how does this particular model dryer heat. Then he will look at the temperature selector switch and confirm that it is set for heat, only to find out it was set for air fluff.

Rule Number 2 – Confirm that there is electricity to the appliance. This is not as easy as you think. As a starting point, you can use a voltmeter to confirm that there is electricity at the receptacle. Most appliances used in the United States today, are connected by a cord to a receptacle on the wall. Dishwashers are the main exception to this rule. Let’s assume for a second that we have a washing machine that will not start. Believe it or not, just putting your meter in the wall socket to check for voltage is not adequate. That’s because there may be a breakdown in the electrical supply line. A meter has a very high resistance preventing any major current from flowing through it. If it did not, you would cook your meter the very first time you used it. Reading electricity at a wall receptacle for a major appliance will not tell you if that electrical supply will allow adequate current flow to operate the appliance. Here’s a good way to visualize this. Imagine for a second that an electrical supply to a major appliance was made up of 25 smaller pieces of copper wire. Under normal conditions it takes all 25 pieces of wire intact to operate the appliance. If 24 of those pieces of wire somehow became defective, electrons passing through the wire would get held back at the point where it was broken. This would not prevent a small amount of electricity from passing through the one intact section. Therefore, reading voltage at the receptacle without the appliance attempting to start, would show adequate line voltage. Technicians use alligator clips on the leads to their voltmeters to check for voltage. Here’s how to do that. Plug the appliance in, and slide the plug slightly out, so that you can attach your alligator clips from the leads under the voltmeter to the prongs that slide in the receptacle. At this point, your meter should read the appropriate line voltage, whether that is 120 volts or 220 volts. Watch your meter as you attempt to start the appliance. If you see a significant drop-off in the voltage, then you have an electrical supply problem. Not an appliance problem.

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