The 10 Best Appliance Gifts for Mother’s Day Under $100

Moms are awesome. With all the difficulties they go through in running a household, it’s only fitting that she gets an awesome gift for Mother’s Day.

Since Mother’s Day comes every year, and isn’t the only occasion in a year that we get to give Mom a gift, you may find yourself running out of good gift ideas. If you’re having a hard time thinking up something that would give her a nice surprise, one thing we can suggest is to get her a gift that makes her daily life easier, and more fun!

Given this, you might want to consider getting her an appliance. Now appliances aren’t always cheap, and if you have a budget to stick to, you may find yourself with not a lot to choose from.

To help you out, we’ve put together a list of 10 small home and kitchen appliances that we think will give you the best bang for the buck under $100. So, without further ado, here are our handpicked choices that we’re sure would make Mom genuinely happy this Sunday!

For the mom who loves to make delicious goodies


1. Hamilton Beach 62650 6-Speed Classic Hand Mixer – $19.99
  • Surprisingly decent and has a powerful 290 watt motor, despite the cheap price tag.

For moms who are always in a hurry


2. West Bend 77203 Electric Can Opener – $38.18
  • Sleek and classy design that would look great in any kitchen.
  • Strong magnet captures cans easily.
  • Easy to use. Does not struggle to open cans.
  • Easy to clean.

For moms who can’t decide between a food processor and a smoothie maker


3. Ninja Master Prep QB900B – $47.71
  • Strong enough to crush ice.
  • A good blender and chopper.

For Mom’s day off


4. Nostalgia Electrics MSB64 64-Ounce Margarita and Slush Maker – $48.91
  • Does the job quick.

For the mom who loves desserts


5. Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream and Sorbet Maker – $53.99
  • Quick and quiet operation.
  • Makes perfectly textured ice cream.

For the mom who needs her daily Starbucks fix


6. De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker – $69.99
  • Best, if not a strong contender in its price range.
  • Great espresso machine for beginners.
  • Makes a thick layer of crema.

For the filth-phobic mom!


7. BISSELL 9595 CleanView Upright Vacuum with OnePass – $75.00
  • Good suction.
  • Bagless canister design: no need to buy disposable vacuum cleaner bags.
  • Has a large capacity dirt bin that is easy to empty. Less hassle than emptying and         cleaning a vacuum dust bag.
  • Is fairly lightweight.

For dads…uh, we mean moms who like to grill


8. Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler – $78.95
  • Very versatile. Can be used as a grill, a panini press, a griddle, or a combination of any just by swapping or reversing the nonstick grill and griddle plates.

For the tea-loving mom.


9. Cuisinart CPK-17 PerfecTemp 1.7-Liter Stainless Steel Cordless Electric Kettle – $84.98
  • Only the stainless interior touches the water during heating.
  • Beep alerts you when heat cycle is finished.
  • Handle features preset controls that heats the water to the correct temperature for tea.

For the health-conscious mom.


10. Breville BJE200XL Compact Juice Fountain 700-Watt Juice Extractor – $99.95
  • Very powerful motor.
  • Simple, quiet operation.
  • Well-designed and reliable.

We hope our list has helped you pick the perfect gift for your mom, at least for this year. Always remember, it’s always the thought that counts, so along with the gift you give, why not throw in some quality time with Mom as well? We’re sure that it’ll make the occasion so much more special.

From all of us at TJ’s Appliance Repair, we wish all the precious moms out there a Happy Mother’s Day!

Price and review reference:

Is Your Appliance An Unexpected Residential Fire Starter? [Infographic]

Most, if not all appliances nowadays are built with safety features that have passed strict and rigorous testing and quality control. But in rare occasions, there are some that still do fail, and when they do, the results can be disastrous.

In this infographic, we list a couple of uncommon appliance problems that can start a house fire. Most of these issues won’t be obvious, in fact, you may not even notice any signs or symptoms of a failure, so if you suspect that your appliance is at risk, have it checked immediately by our technician. It is also a good idea to check to see if any of your appliances are included in their recall list.

You can like and share this infographic using the social buttons at the bottom of the post. Who knows, you might help save a life by doing so.

Infographic on uncommon appliance problems that can start a house fire

Infographic on uncommon appliance problems that can start a house fire

7 Tips On How To Shop For Appliances On A Budget

Most people consider 7 to be a lucky number. Well you’ll definitely be lucky in savings when you follow our “7 Tips On How To Shop For Appliances On A Budget”!” If you’re on a shoestring budget, but want to get the appliance that you’ve been window shopping for so long, here’s the way to do it.

You may have seen these tips on our Facebook page before, but we figured we’d turn it into a graphic for easy bookmarking and sharing on Pinterest and other social media sites.

Always remember to check this list when shopping for appliances!

7 Tips For Shopping For Appliances On A Budget

How To Fix Your Vacuum Cleaner’s Suction Problem

Does your vacuum cleaner suck? Well it should!

Suck, as in suction, that is. If your vacuum cleaner’s suction is weak, or doesn’t work at all, it doesn’t automatically mean that it’s broken. There are a couple of things you can check before assuming it is a motor problem, and these checks are pretty simple to do.

To help you out, we’ve made a checklist that you can print out and use when troubleshooting your vacuum cleaner’s suction problem. We’ve included an embed code below, please feel free to share!


How To Fix A Coil-Type Electric Stove

Coil Top Electric Stove. Via

The simplest design is almost often the most reliable, which is why I bet most of you still have or use an electric range with a coiled heating element.

These sturdy ranges are generally uncomplicated; when you turn the burner dial on, electricity flows through the resistive coils and heats it up. The principle is the same for small stoves or electric ranges. So on the rare occasion that they do break down on you, you can be assured that there won’t be a lot to test or replace.

In fact, there are only 3 things that can fail with a coil top stove: a bad burner or socket, or the switch.

Checking and replacing the switch

If you’ve read some of our posts in the past, you won’t be surprised to know that the best way to test the burner switch is by using a multitester. Below are the steps on how to test an infinite, two-wire switch that uses a bimetal switch which cycles the burner on and off to maintain the desired temperature.

To begin, unplug the range. Then, remove the cover to expose the switch. You should see the terminals at the back of the switch marked accordingly. A pair of terminals should be marked “H1” and “H2“. These lead to burner element. Another pair will be marked “L1” and “L2“. These should be connected to the power supply wires. You should check each connection independently, so remove all the wires connected to the terminals before you start testing.

At the very least, the switch should allow a connection when it is set to “On”, and break the connection when it is turned off. Set your multimeter to “Rx-1″ or 200 Ohms, then turn the switch to the highest setting to make sure that the bimetal does not cycle the connection off easily.

Test the connections between H1 and the L1 terminals, and again with the H2 and L2 terminals. If there is no continuity, you’ll need to replace the switch.

Checking and replacing the burner or burner socket

Checking the burner socket is a straightforward matter. Usually when you see the burner socket burned out, it will need to be replaced.

The burner coil on the other hand, can’t be tested by visual inspection since it is a resistance wire housed in a metal alloy. Heat is generated when power flows through the wire, which means the burner won’t work if the wire breaks.

The only way to test it is by using a multitester. The test is pretty simple: as always, you begin by isolating the part, in this case, the burner element.

Proceed by touching each probe to a terminal. If there is no continuity, then the burner coil needs to be replaced.

Dryer Won’t Start? Check The Thermal Fuse and Thermostat

Dryer with clogged venting

Here’s one call we did where the dryer won’t start. Upon inspection, we found out that the vent was horribly clogged! Now the clogging wasn’t the one that caused the dryer not to start, but it did cause an overload which damaged some parts that were needed for the dryer to start up.

Basing on experience, we immediately looked at two things:

The Thermal Fuse

Dryer Thermal Fuse for Whirlpool Sears Kenmore 3392519. Image via Amazon.

The thermal fuse is designed to blow as a protective measure when your dryer overheats or gets an electrical overload. Your dryer won’t start if it is broken, but thankfully, replacements are usually cheap.

The Thermostat

Whirlpool 279816 Thermostat Kit for Dryer. Image via Amazon.

A cycling thermostat regulates the temperature by turning the heater on and off. When this breaks, it can set the heat at the highest setting all the time, which can cause overheating especially if the vents are clogged.

Testing the Thermal fuse and Thermostat

There’s only one way to test both, and that is with a multimeter. If you have no idea what it is an how to use it, check out our post on “How To Use A Multitester“. But we really recommend just calling us. Fixing appliances without sufficient knowledge and experience is very unsafe!

Take out both parts and then proceed to test for continuity. Continuity just means an unbroken flow of electrical current.

Testing the Thermal Fuse – since the thermal fuse only has two terminals, checking it is straightforward. Touch each needle to a terminal: if you get a 0 reading, this means the fuse is ok since there is no resistance and there is continuity. If you get a resistance reading, it’s time to replace the fuse.

Testing the Thermostat – you may notice that your dryer’s thermostat has more than 2 terminals. To test, touch the needles only to the outer terminals, as the inner terminals are mostly used only for smaller heaters. Same as the fuse, it should be ok if you are getting a 0 reading.

Thermostat circuits are typically closed, and opens only when sufficient temperature is reached. If you want to make sure that your thermostat shuts off the dryer heater at the desired temperature, you need to test it while it is exposed to a heat source.

The temperatures when the thermostat opens and closes should be printed on itself, but most are made to switch off at around 120 to 160F. Having an electronic griddle would be handy in this situation since you’ll be able to heat the thermostat up to the exact temperature while testing. If the thermostat doesn’t switch off anywhere within the temperature range indicated, then it’s time to replace it.

A Simple Guide On How To Use A MultiTester

A digital multimeter. Via Wikipedia.

Hi everyone! As your personal home appliance expert, one of our goals is to keep you informed on how to maintain your appliances so you can save more and have your peace of mind. You can always call us for any of your repair needs, but if you find yourself with an appliance emergency that just can’t wait, or maybe small fixes that you’d like to do yourself, you can also check our website for easy-to-understand appliance troubleshooting guides.

We’ll be posting a lot more tips and guides in the future, but first we figured it’ll be a good idea to do a basic guide on how to use a multitester, since it’s one of the most used devices when diagnosing appliance problems.

A multitester, also called a multimeter, is a device used mostly to check for voltage, current, resistance and continuity. Almost every home appliance nowadays includes an electrical component, and when these break down, most of the time you won’t be able to tell which part needs to be replaced simply by looking at it.

In most cases, you’ll be using the multitester to check for continuity or resistance. Continuity just means that there is a continuous electrical path between two points. Resistance, as the word suggests, means that there is an interference or at times, discontinuity in the electrical path.

Kinds of multitesters

An analog multitester. Via Flickr.

There are two main kinds of multitesters:

  • analog – uses a needle pointer
  • digital – typically uses an LCD display

Digital multitesters are more prevalent nowadays, and are pretty inexpensive. For normal household use, a multitester somewhere below $50 would do.

Parts of the multitester

Most multitesters should come with at least the following parts and functions:

  • Rotary switch – this is used to select the right setting for the kind of test you’ll need to do. Often you’ll use this to turn the device on or off, choose voltage ranges in either AC or DC, or to select the amperage or Ohm setting.
  • Probes – these are the two wires with needle ends that connect to the device. One is usually in black while the other one in red.
  • Jacks – these are the terminals where the probes are plugged in. You’ll often see 3 which are color-coded to prevent mixup. The black probe should always be plugged into the black jack (often labelled “common”), while the red probe can be plugged in either the “amperage” terminal or “volt/ohm” terminal red jacks, depending on what kind of test you’ll need to do.

Using the multitester

You’ll only be measuring for continuity and resistance in most cases. Anything more complicated will require a professional.

When testing, you’ll first have to isolate the part that needs to tested. But before opening and taking out a part of your appliance, always make sure to unplug it first!

Testing for continuity is the same as testing for resistance, except that resistance reading is given in number of Ohms, while continuity is just indicated as a beep or a light, depending on what sort of indicator your device has.

To begin, turn the multitester on. Calibrate it by setting the rotary switch to the lowest setting for Ohms of resistance. Next, touch the two probe tips together, then turn the ADJ dial to set the pointer to zero when using an analog multitester.

Touch each terminal with a probe. Via

You can now use the multitester on the part you wish to test. Touch each probe to a terminal: when you get 0 Ohms of resistance, it means that there is continuity.

That’s it! One thing to remember though, it doesn’t mean that a part is broken and needs to be replaced if it has no continuity. For example, dryer cycling thermostats are designed to break continuity at certain temperatures. If it doesn’t, it won’t cut off the dryer heater, which will cause an overload. Another example would be a switch, which should only have continuity when it is switched on.

How To Diagnose A Refrigerator Defrost Problem

Refrigerator defrost problem

Dug up this picture from a previous client of ours. Can you guess what’s going on here?

If you ever encounter a situation where your freezer is cooling fine, but the rest of the refrigerator is warm, it could be a defrost problem.

Above is the freezer with the problem. This happens when one or more of these components break down:

  • ADT (Adjustable Defrost Timer) board – this times the On and Off cycle of the evaorator coils.
  • Thermistor – short for “thermal resistor”, this is used as a temperarature sensor in the freezer.
  • Defrost limit switch – or defrost thermostat, this detects the presence of frost and makes sure the heater turns on only when needed.
  • Defrost heater – as it’s name suggests, this is a heater found in or under the freezer evaporator coil.

So how would you know which one is the problem? Here are a couple of tests you can carry out, but we recommend doing these only if you have experience working with electronics and appliances.

  • ADT – A simple way to test it would be to advance it to defrost mode. Turn the advance screw clockwise until it clicks. Wait 30-40 minutes then check if the compressor comes back on. If it does, then the ADT is still ok. If it doesn’t, then you’ll need to test the timer for continuity.

    Test the terminals using your multimeter. You should see 4 terminals, locate the one marked “C”, “3″, or the one that is connected to the white wire which should be the common terminal. Touch one needle on the common terminal, then tesh the remaining terminals with the other needle. One terminal should read “zero” and the remaining two “infinity”.

    Turn the advance screw again until it clicks. If the ADT is ok, two terminals that previously read “infinity” should now be “zero”, and the other one that previously read “zero” should now read “infinity”.

  • Thermistor – One way to test this would be using a multimeter. Expose the thermistor to a heat source like a soldering iron tip to determine if it reacts to change in temperature. A short thermistor will show a zero meter reading, while an open thermistor will show an infinity meter reading.
  • Defrost limit switch – The only way to test this would be to do a continuity test. First, remove the part from the refrigerator to isolate it, then place it ice water for a couple of minutes without submerging the terminals. This is to see if the thermostat is still triggered when the temperature is lowered. Use the multimeter to test: if the meter shows no resistance, then there is continuity and the switch is still ok.
  • Defrost heater – Since this comes in different shapes and sizes, the most accurate test you can do is a continuity test, which basically checks if a continuous electrical path is present. This can be done using a multimeter and is particularly useful when you can’t see if the connection physically broken.

For this particular call, we ended up replacing the ADT board. As you may notice, most of these tests involve using a multitester, so if all of these sound too complicated for you, call us!

10 Common Dishwasher Problems (and How To Troubleshoot Them)

Dishwasher schematics. Image via

Anybody who owns a dishwasher can tell you how great of a convenience it is to everyday life. They can also probably tell you how much of a headache it is to have one break down on you.

Say it doesn’t completely break down. Perhaps there’s just a weird odor coming from it, or you notice a discoloration on your dishes and silverware after washing. Minor as these may seem, these are problems you still should not ignore for the simple fact that the things that go into your dishwasher, also touch your mouth.

So, whether it’s a major or minor problem, your dishwashing unit needs to be in perfect working order, if you don’t want to do the dishes by hand!

Dishwashers rarely differ much regardless of brand. To help you recognize, we’ve listed 10 of the most common dishwasher problems and their respective troubleshooting steps.

Take note that these are quick and easy steps that won’t require any technical know-how or special tools. If problems still persist, then it’s time to let a technician take over, so give us a call!

1. Dishwasher does not start, no sounds or lights, water doesn’t come on – Check if the circuit breaker hasn’t blown. If that’s ok, check any external wiring for damage and make sure that the plug is securely in place and the outlet has no issues.

2. Water does not drain – Check if the air gap isn’t blocked, or if the drain filter isn’t clogged. Also check the drain hose for kinks.

3. Dishwasher does not fill with water – Confirm if the water supply to the dishwasher is turned on. If it is, check if the door is closed tightly. If the door latch isn’t secure, it can prevent the dishwasher from operating.

4. Detergent/water leaks out – If the machine froths over, check if you are using the correct detergent, or the right amount. Also check if the hoses are securely connected and undamaged, and if gaskets are kept tightly in place.

5. Dishwasher is noisy – Check for any debris that might have gotten caught in the sprayer arm.

6. Soap dispenser does not open – Check if the door is caked with detergent residue. Give it a good cleaning using an old toothbrush if you notice any buildup.

7. Dishes are not completely clean – Check if the fine particle filter or water inlet filters are clean. Also check the spray arms for any blockage.

8. There is discoloration and/or specks of rust – Check if there are any exposed rusty parts on the dishwasher rack. If there are, you can choose either to cover them with enamel that is available at any household product store, or replace the racks entirely.

9. Door won’t close or drops down easily – Check the hinges for any obstruction. This problem can also be caused by weakened or broken door springs.

10. Water spills through the air gap – Check if the garbage disposal knock out plug has already been removed. This is located in the dishwasher connector inlet pipe and can be removed using a hammer and punch. If your sink also drains slowly, you might want to clear it for blockage using a drain snake.

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