How To Choose The Right Washer and Dryer

It’s nice to have choices, but having too many can be a problem. Do you agree?

In our busy lifestyle, having a washer and dryer is a must, but getting one is always a big financial consideration.

Even the cheapest ones cost a couple of hundred dollars, by no means an easy purchase. This is why you should make sure that the one you buy will meet your needs perfectly.

With so many washer and dryer models out in the market today, how would you know which is the right one for you? If you are budget constrained, do you immediately go for the cheapest one? Or should you wait and save up for a high end model that comes with all the bells and whistles?

To help out those who are shopping for a new washer and dryer, we’ve made an infographic that compares the features of popular types of washers and dryers currently available in the market such as the top load washer and front load washer, the gas dryer, electric dryer and heat pump dryer, and the various configurations (stacked, washer-dryer combo, laundry center). In it we also provided several key criteria which you can base your decision on so that you can clearly see which washer or dryer type fits your purchase requirements.

The Ultimate Washer & Dryer Comparison Infographic

How To Troubleshoot Common Central AC (Air Conditioner) Problems

Residential HVAC diagram

via Taylorheating.com


“Brace yourselves, warmth is coming!”

It’s getting warmer now isn’t it? Whether you like it or not, it’s not going to get any cooler so you better see if your central AC is in shape and ready to operate.

Since AC installations are considerably complicated, even residential ones, you can only do limited troubleshooting before calling an AC repair specialist (that’s us), but it’s good to know what’s wrong with your AC nonetheless so you’ll know when to call and when to fix it yourself.

Listed below are some of the more common problems and their possible causes, as well as tips on how to fix them.


AC does not power on or suddenly shuts down.

  • Check the thermostat setting and make sure that it is set to cool. If your system has a built-in timer, wait for it to complete its cycle then set it several degrees below the current room temperature. If it doesn’t work, the thermostat may need recalibration, or is already defective.
  • Check if the circuit breaker is working. An overheating compressor or faulty wiring can cause it to trip or blow a fuse.
  • Check if the furnace and outdoor condenser power switches are on.

AC not cooling.

  • Check if the filters are clean. Even if the AC is producing cold air, dirty filters can prevent it from flowing through the ductwork.
  • Check if the outside unit is working properly. A dirty condenser unit can work inefficiently and may even overload and overheat, so make sure the entire outside unit is clear of dirt and debris. If the radiator fins are bent, you can straighten it out using a radiator comb.
  • The unit may already be low on coolant or refrigerant, perhaps due to leakage.

AC blower not working.

  • For belt-driven air handlers, check if the belt is still properly connecting the motor pulley to the blower pulley. You can access the two by opening the door of the air-handler cabinet.

AC is noisy.

  • Squealing noises – this usually occurs on older units with belt-driven air handlers. Check if the belt needs re-aligning, or if it is worn and needs replacing.
  • Grinding noises – you may hear this on direct-drive motors and may be a sign that the motor’s bearings are already damaged.
  • Pinging or popping sounds – you may hear this coming from the ductwork which can be caused either by thermal expansion or a loose metal flap.
  • Rattling noises – the cover panels of the furnace might be loose. Check and tighten as necessary. You may also hear this if the compressor fan is hitting some debris.

AC is leaking.

  • The drain line or condensate pipe might be blocked. Disconnect it and clear it by blowing compressed air into it or running a wire through it.
  • The condensate pump might be dirty or malfunctioning.

Some of these problems can have multiple causes, making it difficult and time consuming to diagnose. If some of the terms and procedures above seem to escape you, call us! We have the tools and the expertise to help.

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!

vacuum_cleaner

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 Instructables.com

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 Revpeep.blogspot.com

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.

How To Clean Your Dryer Vents

Lint: A fire hazard.

Lint: A fire hazard.

Did you know that around 15,000 fires are caused by clothes dryers? These fires are likely to start from vents clogged with lint. Lint buildup not only reduces airflow and promotes mold and mildew during the cold months, even worse, it is highly combustible.

If your laundry room gets unusually warm, or your clothes need another cycle to dry, then it’s time to clear your machine of lint and dirt.

There are 3 places you need to clean out:

  • the lint trap
  • the ductwork
  • the electrical wiring

The first two are fairly easy to do, while the last one is a job best left to a professional technician.

Before you begin, make sure that the dryer is unplugged and the gas is turned off, if you have a gas dryer.


Cleaning the lint trap

On most dryers, the lint trap can be found at the front, but always consult the manual first on where to locate it and how to clean it.

Next, clean the lint trap slot by running a flexible cleaning brush rod through it. You can get this brush at any household product store. Vacuum the hole after to suck up any remaining lint the brush didn’t reach. 


Cleaning the ductwork

This involves cleaning the hoses and the inside and outside vents. First, move the dryer carefully away from the wall to expose the hose. Now some hoses may be fastened using a ring with two prongs. To release the hose, simply pinch the two prongs together to loosen the rings.

Your dryer hose might also be fastened using a screw clamp. This looks like a band with screw thread holes held together by a captive screw. This just has to be loosened and does not need to completely come off. After the hose comes off, clean both ports with your vacuum.

Next, clean the hose with a hose brush. You should be able to get a hose brush at any household product store, but if you’re finding it difficult to clean the hose thoroughly, especially if it is an old vinyl one, it might be a better idea to simply replace it with a new foil-type one.

Clean the surrounding area after, then reattach the hose and move the dryer back into place.

Lastly, locate the outside dryer vent. Mostly what you’ll need to do is to just give it a quick brush and wipe. As long the opening isn’t being blocked by dirt, and the vent closes when the dryer if off, it should be fine.

That’s it! The entire task should take just around 20 minutes, but if your ductwork isn’t as accessible, or would also like to give the wiring a cleaning, we’re just a phone call away!