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Repair or Replace? Microwave, Refrigerator, and Dishwasher ProblemsMay 30th, 2013 by
This article was crafted with the help of Jeff Guinn from Guinco Service.
The kitchen is the nerve center of the home, so when major appliances—the microwave, the refrigerator, and the dishwasher—break down, it can throw a kink in the way the whole household runs. Jeff Guinn, owner of Guinco Service in Dallas/Ft. Worth, has years of experience in appliance repair.
He notes that though most major appliance problems need the assistance of a repair professional, “basic maintenance goes a long way toward preventing small problems from piling up into big trouble.”
From heating up coffee to cooking a full meal, the microwave has become one of the most depended-upon appliances in the kitchen. Given its frequent use, when a problem does arise with the machine, it can be a real disappointment to the home cook looking for a speedy answer to meal preparation.
Fortunately, the most common enemy of microwave operation is also the easiest to overcome. Accumulated food particles and grease that have hardened over time are the main things that interfere with the microwave’s operation.
“That hardened food will collect around what’s called the stir cover and in the corners of the microwave,” says Jeff, “and it will eventually burn.” This can cause sparking in the microwave, and, if allowed to remain over time, it can damage the interior of the microwave and create exposed areas and holes that can cause sparking or potential fires.
Regular cleaning can eliminate the problem and prevent extra wear on the microwave in addition to maintaining the machine’s efficiency in cooking.
Because a majority of the microwave’s operating parts are internal, most of the common things that go wrong with it will need to be serviced by a qualified technician.
|Microwave doesn’t turn on||
|Microwave isn’t producing heat||
|Carousel won’t rotate||
|Microwave display flickers||
|Microwave buzzes loudly||
As the one kitchen appliance that is always running, the refrigerator should be expected to suffer some wear and tear. But Jeff points out that a refrigerator problem often subtly announces itself through the appearance of condensation or frost—long before the time comes when a breakdown might be imminent.
“Visually check the fridge, maybe once a month,” says Jeff, “and if you see condensation or frost around the insides of the doors, then that means you have an air leak.” Any pooling water in the bottom of the fridge might indicate that the drain needs to be looked at and possibly cleaned out.
While replacing the gasket and clearing the drain line are tasks that a homeowner can sometimes complete, Jeff recommends they be left to a professional repairman to avoid any mistakes that might create bigger problems later.
Catching the problems early is definitely a matter of making a visual inspection of the refrigerator a regular part of your kitchen duties.
Another culprit that often contributes to refrigerator malfunction is dirty condenser coils. Usually located on the back, top, or bottom of the refrigerator, these coils help to cool the refrigerant. If the coils accumulate lint, they can’t get rid of heat efficiently, and the refrigerator’s compressor will work harder and use up more energy as a result.
So not only is regularly cleaning the coils an easy way to prolong the life of your appliance and avoid repair calls, but it can also save you money monthly by reducing power usage. And in a machine that is always on, this can put a few extra dollars a month back into your pocket.
There are a number of symptoms that a refrigerator can present that often require a professional to diagnose and repair:
|Refrigerator doesn’t turn on||
|Refrigerator is not cooling||
|Refrigerator makes noise||
|Icemaker won’t make or dispense ice||
|Doors pop open||
A sink full of dirty dishes will always drive home the importance of a functioning dishwasher. Not only is it a convenience to simply load the machine and have it do the hard work for you, but dishwashers have also been shown to sanitize dishes far better than hand-washing could ever manage.
When the dishwasher has problems, the complex internal mechanisms should be serviced by a professional, but Jeff says one of the most common complaints is simple to remedy. “Seventy percent of customer complaints are that the wash quality is poor,” he says.
“One of the best ways to help the dishwasher work more efficiently is by not pre-washing or cleaning the dishes before putting them into the machine as well as using quality soap and the correct wash cycle.” Since the phosphate ban a few years ago, manufacturers have changed the way dishwashing soaps work.
Surprisingly, soaps now work more effectively when they meet correct water temperatures and food particles, which get its chemical reaction going. Jeff recommends only scraping dishes to remove leftover food and not rinsing or brushing them before they go into the dishwasher.
Of course, there are still a host of other problems a homeowner might notice in the dishwasher, but actual mechanical issues like these require a call for help to a Best Pick:
|Dishwasher doesn’t turn on||
|Dishwasher won’t fill with water||
|Dishwasher makes noise||
|Dishes are not drying||
|Detergent dispenser won’t open||
Repair or Replace?
To repair or replace a major appliance is more a question of your personal household budget than any other consideration. However, Jeff notes that there are many variables that go into the decision.
A good rule of thumb is to get an estimate on the repair and compare it both to what you spent on the original machine and to what you would expect to spend on a replacement model.
If repair costs are at or above fifty percent of the replacement cost, then you have a significant point in favor of replacement, though Jeff also recommends taking into account the condition of the machine, its age, and even how much you like your particular model.
No matter what your appliance problem is, a professional technician will be able to guide you to the best decision.
This spotlight article was crafted with the help of Guinco Service, an Appliance Repair Best Pick in Dallas. While we strive to provide relevant information to all homeowners, some of the material we publish may not pertain to every area. Please contact your local Best Pick companies for any further area-specific advice.