You have homeowners insurance to save you from what could be extensive costs of repairs to your house itself, but what it doesn’t cover are the costs of repairing major appliances that break down or just wear out from normal use. Once manufacturers warranties on those appliances have expired, it falls on you to open your wallet and pay what could be hundreds in repair bills.
That’s what a home services plan is designed to protect you from. Subscribe to such a service and when something goes awry with your refrigerator, cooktop, oven, microwave, dishwasher, washer or dryer, you’re not at sea trying to find a reliable repair service that can come out and do it at a price you can afford. You just make one call and are connected with a proven professional in your neighborhood. Better still, one flat fee covers repairs, including parts and labor.
Of course, not every problem you encounter requires the services of a pro. There are some things you should be able to take care of yourself even if you’re all thumbs. Here are some common problems and what you can do about them:
Is The Dishwasher Not Draining?
It seems that prime time for this to happen is at Thanksgiving when you’re surrounded by dirty dishes as far as the eye can see. But you can be faced with the problem at any time. Here’s what to do:
- Run the garbage disposal. This will fix an air gap that may have occurred in a connecting hose. A full disposal itself may have caused the drainage problem because the dishwasher drain hose is often routed through the garbage disposal.
- Check for blockages. Make sure there’s nothing on or under the bottom rack that’s blocking the flow of water to the drain.
- Check the filter. Find the filter that most dishwashers have on the inside bottom, and see if it’s clogged. If it is, you may need to clean or even replace it.
- Inspect the drain hose that connects the disposal to the sink. If it’s clogged, remove the hose and run a wire hanger through it to remove the clog.
Is The Freezer Not Freezing?
The most common reason for a freezer to stop working is dirty condenser coils. The resolution? Clean them:
- First, unplug the refrigerator or free-standing freezer and move it away from the wall.
- Locate the condenser coils, which are usually behind the base plate or behind a grill on the back of the unit.
- Use a coil brush or other implement to gently brush away dirt and debris.
- Vacuum or sweep up the area so it doesn’t build back up on the coils.
- Plug the unit back in. It should begin operating again if dust buildup was the problem.
Is The Microwave Not Powering On?
The fix might be as simple as making sure you’ve pushed the Start button. D’oh! If that doesn’t do it:
- Be sure the door is closing all the way. Microwaves have sensors that won’t allow the unit to start unless the door is secure.
- Try clearing and resetting the display by pressing the Stop or Cancel button.
- Check that the plug hasn’t come loose from the outlet. If it hasn’t, try resetting the breaker or fuse.
Is The Dryer Not Drying?
Even if you clean the lint screen every time you use your dryer, lint still builds up in the hose and vents. Cleaning it all out might solve the problem.
- Unplug the dryer and pull it out from the wall. If it’s a gas dryer, turn off the gas valve as well.
- Remove the clamp and detach the hose from the machine. Lint tends to collect at that point.
- Use a brush or vacuum to remove lint from the machine and do the same from the hose.
- Check the vent outlet on the exterior, too, and remove lint there.
- Replace all connections and try the machine. If lint was the issue, it should be resolved.
If DIY doesn’t do it, it’s time to call in the cavalry. Don’t try repairs beyond your skill level or you might just make things worse.