Here are some answers that can help you troubleshoot common appliance problems that you might be having.

Q: Should I repair or replace my malfunctioning appliance?

A: Generally older appliances are more durable and long-lasting than the newer product being made today. Complex modern models have wonderful features, but do need more maintenance and repair than their older counterparts. It is wise to get an estimate for repair before replacing. Most repairs are much less than half the cost of replacement, and your technician will gladly advise you on life expectancy after a repair. Typically up to 90% of customers will choose to repair vs replace when a technician checks out their machine.

Q: My oven door does not close correctly. Do I have to get it repaired right away?

A: Don’t ignore broken oven doors. Ovens are not furnaces, and are not connected to a chimney that vents dangerous gases outside. A broken door will not allow the oven thermostat to acclimate or shut off, so carbon monoxide continues to be produced due to continuous combustion. Also, the heat escaping will overheat and damage sensitive control electronics on modern ovens. A broken door may seem minor, but is actually potentially dangerous, and damaging.

Q: Is it really important to clean the condenser on my refrigerator?

A: Absolutely! Virtually all manufacturers recommend it be done once a year or more as noted in the owner’s “Care and Use Manual.” It saves electricity, minimizes bio concerns, and ultimately helps extend the life and productivity of the refrigerator. Cleaning methods vary by model, so check your owners manual. But it’s usually as easy as removing the kick plate and vacuuming out the dust!

Q: Why do my clothes take so much longer to dry than they used to?

A: Do not ignore this problem! There could be a malfunction inside the dryer preventing the proper heat from being attained. Many times, however, the problem is as simple as correcting a dryer vent that has kinked or become clogged. If your dryer ducting is long, you may need it cleaned professionally. A partially clogged duct causes a dangerous overheating and fire hazard condition inside dryer! As well as being inconvenient, this build-up of lint is a potential fire hazard, drives up your energy bill, and places a dangerous strain on other dryer parts. This complaint should not be taken lightly.

Q: After self-cleaning my oven, the door will not unlock. Should I force it open?

A: No! Self cleaning ovens reach such high temperatures that a fire could start if opened while hot! A temperature control governs when it is safe to unlock and re-open the door. Allow several hours to pass. It should open up after it cools down. If, after several hours, it still won’t open, call for service.

Q: My oven/cooktop knob will not turn. Should I force it?

A: No. If gas burner valves start “grinding,” turning hard, or breaking the knobs, we can often repair the valves before they require total replacement – if caught in time.

Q: Can bacteria really survive wash cycles in my washer?

A: Yes, unfortunately it can. That is why it is important to understand the proper temperature activation and lifetime of the detergent you use. Check the soap manufacturer recommendations on the back of the box. Typically temperature activation is around 72 degrees F, and the lifetime of the soap while sudsing is 15-20 minutes. Temperature of the water is important and should not be ignored! Cold temperature refers to about 70 degrees F, not 40 degrees F! In the winter, the cold water supply may fall below activation temperature resulting in no cleaning action at all! Medium temperature may be needed in the winter. Also, after laundry is completed, if bacteria is a concern, many experts recommend that you run an empty bleach cycle to kill the remaining potential bacteria. One other note about washers…NEVER overload a washer! This puts stress on its motor and transmission. One time is enough to do irreparable harm. Imagine towing a semi-tractor with your Ford Escort. The Escort might survive that single event, but the material stresses have killed the life of the vehicle. Blue jeans and cotton towels are the “semi-loads” of the laundry world.

Q: My range keeps making a “clicking” sound even when I am not using it, what should I do?

A: Unplug the appliance or turn off the power source immediately at the fuse or circuit breaker. It is possible that there was a spill, and that the components are wet. The clicking often stops when allowed to dry out. If it continues clicking after unplugging for 24 hrs, or if no spills have occurred, a short or other defect is indicated. Call for service.

Q: I burnt popcorn in my microwave, and the smell won’t go away. Can I get rid of the odor?

A: Yes, according to Linda Cobb, the Queen of Clean, place vanilla extract in a bowl, and microwave for 30 seconds. Leave the door closed for twelve hours. Remove the vanilla and wipe down the inside of microwave. The smell of popcorn should be gone.

Q: My dishwasher works fine, but the inside is starting to look rusted, what do I do?

A: To remove rust from the inside of a dishwasher, we recommend “CLR” cleaner, available at grocery and hardware stores. Follow instructions on label for dishwasher cleaining. If rust is coming from damaged surfaces inside dishwasher, they will return quickly, as automatic dishwashing detergent is very corrosive. Replacement of damaged parts may be required.

Q: Are there any foods that I should not put in my disposal?

A: Yes, manufacturers recommend avoiding stringy, fibrous materials, such as corn husks and artichoke leaves. You should always use cold water during, and for 15 seconds after running disposer, feed vegetable matter into running disposer slowly instead of all at once, and NEVER pour hot grease into any drain, as it will cool and stick to pipes, clogging them. (cold grease is ok) To free up and clean the disposer blades, dump a large glass of ice cubes into running disposer. The scouring action will clean and clear buildups. This allows the disposer to work better, and smell better too! Grinding citrus rinds in disposer will make it smell nice, as well as many commercially available products.