Appliances often show signs of problems long before they stop working. Paying attention to performance and looking for key warning signs will enable you to fix problems right away, improve efficiency and possibly extend the lives of your appliances.
Clue: Your dryer is taking longer to dry clothing.
Possible problem: Venting is clogged with lint. In addition to dryer performance, clogging creates a significant fire hazard. Clean the vent from the dryer to the outside using a vent-cleaning brush at least once per year.
Clue: Erratic noises.
Possible problem: A healthy refrigerator will hum; this is how you know a refrigerator's compressor is working properly. Changes in this noise pattern, especially during startup, may indicate that there is something wrong with the compressor. Troubleshoot with our refrigerator repair help.
Clue: Isn't cleaning dishes well.
Possible problem: The dishwasher may not be receiving enough water. The most common cause is a faulty water inlet valve. This valve is located underneath the dishwasher near the front and usually accessed by removing the front kick plate. Check out our model-specific dishwasher repair help.
Clue: Frequent clogging.
Possible problem: Your disposer's "blades" may have dulled to a level in which it can no longer perform efficiently. If that's the situation, it's often best to simply replace the whole disposer. Remember that garbage disposers cannot properly process fibrous food such as celery and corn husks. Putting such food into your disposer can clog the disposer or the drain line attached to the disposer.
Smelly disposer? Freshen it with biodegradable disposer pellets.
Clue: Your furnace is turning on and off every few minutes.
Possible problem: The flame sensor may need to be cleaned or replaced. This is an inexpensive component that senses whether the flame is present. Over time, ash coats it, preventing it from sensing the flame properly. Eventually, it can fail completely. Try removing the ash with 400 grit sandpaper first. If that doesn't work, replace it.
An energy usage meter can also help detect appliance troubles. A spike in energy consumption may indicate that components are working harder to make up for part failure.
Don't ignore appliance problems, especially leaks, no matter how minor. Damage to your home caused by water or other types of leaks may not be covered by home insurance policies if warning signs were ignored by the homeowner.
The solution may be as simple as replacing an inexpensive part. Pay attention to your appliances and troubleshoot and solve problems as you discover them.