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TAKING CARE OF YOUR WASHING MACHINE

1. Inspect the hoses

Water hoses

Check your washing machine’s water hoses for signs of wear or weakness a few times monthly year. If you discover any cracks or blistering, replace the hose. Any damage could cause a leak or burst – and extremely expensive flood damage in your home.

Most manufacturers recommend replacing the hoses every five years. For more peace of mind, use high-quality, stainless steel hoses.

2. Prevent flood damage

Floodstop

In the event that your washing machine’s fill hoses burst or water level switch malfunctions, you’ll have instant water damage in the room.

These two products can prevent this:

  • Water Shutoff System
    This water shutoff system prevents water damage by automatically shutting off the water flow when a malfunction is detected. Installation can be completed in five minutes. No special tools are needed.
  • Washing Machine Overflow Pan
    For smaller leaks and drips, this popular plastic panfits beneath a washing machine and will protect a floor from water damage due to overflow and leakage. It has a fitting to accommodate drain line attachment.

3. Don’t overload it

Open washing machine

Follow the owner’s manual’s instructions for appropriate loading sizes. Oversized loads will throw the machine off balance and that will lead to problems.

4. Keep it level

Level

It’s abnormal for washing machines to vibrate the floor and walls of your laundry room. If your washing machine is not exactly level, with all four legs on the floor, it may rock back and forth and vibrate strongly.

It’s best to keep the machine as close to the floor as possible. The closer the machine sits to the floor, the less it will vibrate. The front legs are adjustable with a locknut. Position the legs at the desired height and tighten the lock nut against the body of the machine so that the legs cannot rotate. Some models also have adjustable legs in the rear, too. Follow the same process for adjusting those.

It is more common for machines to have self-adjusting rear legs. Ask someone to assist you with this. Tilt the machine forward on its front legs so that the rear legs are three to four inches from the floor. When you set the machine back down to rest all on all four legs, the legs should adjust automatically. If you find that they are not level, tilt the machine forward again and tap on the rear legs with the handle of a hammer to loosen them.

5. Use the appropriate amount of detergent

Washing machine detergent

Regardless of what’s recommended on detergent packaging, follow your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended amount of detergent.

6. Clean the inside once monthly

Washing machine inside

It’s common for detergent residue to build up inside of washing machine tubs. Use a cleaner once per month to keep high-efficiency washing machines free of odor-causing residue.

7. Clean out the fabric softener dispenser

Fabric softener dispenser

Gooey in nature, liquid fabric softener is known to gum up along fabric softener dispensers. Use a damp rag and hot water to clean the dispenser periodically.

8. Polish the outside

Appliance cleaner

Spilled detergent, stain remover and fabric softener dry to a sticky mess. This all-purpose cleaner and a rag will make cleaning easy.

9. Touch up gashes and scrapes with paint

Appliance touch-up paint

Prevent rusting by taking care of gashes and scrapes right away using touch-up paint.

Call Absolute Appliance Repair NOW if you have any problems with your washing machine!

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(415) 831-1259 San Francisco
(415) 388-0690 Marin County
(650) 525-0512 South SF / Daly City / Pacifica

 

 

 

 

 

SAVING ENERGY

Biggest energy culprits in any home

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the one appliance that uses by far the most energy after heating and cooling equipment is the hot water heater. This means the appliances that rely on hot water, such as the dishwasher, are costing you even more. The best move you can make when upgrading your water heater is to switch to an energy efficient or tankless model. From there, the next major appliance putting a dent in the electricity is the clothes dryer with the refrigerator coming in at a close second.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, this is how the numbers break down for the average home. These figures assume your home has newer appliances, however. The numbers would shift dramatically if the refrigerator or freestanding freezer were 15 years old, for example.

  • Water heater – 2400 kWh for a family of two
  • Clothes dryer – 1000 kWh
  • Refrigerator – 600 kWh
  • Dishwasher – 300 kWh
  • Clothes washer – 200 kWh

Are there laws governing energy usage?

The more electricity a home uses the more tax the homeowner pays each month. Laws apply more to the manufacturers. There are standards set that compel them to produce appliances that use less energy. The law also requires each product to have a label that shows energy usage and the ENERGY STAR rating. Checking that ENERGY STAR rating before buying is one of the easiest appliance energy tips to follow.

What are the tax benefits of energy efficient appliances?

The state and federal government offer incentives to reduce energy usage, mostly in the form of tax credits. The tax regulations vary from year to year, so it is important to consult with a tax specialist when looking at appliance energy tips. In general, you may be able to deduct at least part of the purchase cost of an energy-efficient appliance along with the installation fees on your federal tax return using IRS form 5695.

In addition to the federal tax benefits, some local utility services offer discounts and rebates for switching to more energy-friendly appliances. It is worth a visit to the utility company website to see if they have a program that encourages energy efficiency.

Appliances are a big part of the energy picture. Let us help formulate appliance solutions that fit your needs and put you on the energy-saving fast track. Set up an appointment with one of our energy specialists for an evaluation and visit our website often to keep up to date on appliance energy tips.

 

Call Absolute Appliance Repair NOW if you have any problems with your dishwasher!

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(415) 831-1259 San Francisco
(415) 388-0690 Marin County
(650) 525-0512 South SF / Daly City / Pacifica

REPAIRING MAJOR HOME APPLIANCES

  • Always make sure the electric power and/or the gas supply to the appliance is disconnected before you test the appliance to diagnose the problem or make any repairs. If you turn the power on to check your work after making a repair, do not touch the appliance; just turn the power on and observe. If adjustments are needed, turn the power off before you make them.
  • If the parts of an appliance are held together with screws, bolts, plugs, and other take-apart fasteners, you can probably make any necessary repairs. If the parts are held together with rivets or welds, don’t try to repair the appliance yourself. Call a professional service person.
  • In most cases, broken or malfunctioning appliance parts can be replaced more quickly and inexpensively than they can be repaired by you or a professional. Replace any broken or malfunctioning parts with new parts made especially for that appliance. If you cannot find an exact replacement for the broken part, it’s okay to substitute a similar part as long as it fits into the old space. In this case, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for installation.
  • Check to make sure that the appliance is properly and firmly plugged in and that the cord, the plug, and the outlet are working properly. To determine whether an outlet is working, test it with a voltage tester.
  • Check to make sure the fuses and/or circuit breakers that control the circuit have not blown or tripped. There may be more than one electrical entrance panel for your home, especially for 220-240-volt appliances such as ranges and air conditioners. Check for blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers at both the main panel and the separate panel.
  • Check to make sure fuses and/or breakers in the appliance itself are not blown or tripped. Push the reset buttons to restore power to appliances such as washers, dryers, and ranges. Some ranges have separate plug-type fuses for oven operation; make sure these fuses have not blown.
  • If the appliance uses gas or water, check to make sure it is receiving an adequate supply.
  • Check the owner’s manual for the appliance. Many manufacturers include helpful problem/solution troubleshooting charts. If you don’t have a manual for an appliance, you can probably get one — even for an old or obsolete appliance — from the manufacturer’s customer service department.

Call Absolute Appliance Repair NOW if you have any problems with your appliance!

Phone lines

(415) 831-1259 San Francisco
(415) 388-0690 Marin County
(650) 525-0512 South SF / Daly City / Pacifica

 

 

 

DISHWASHER NOT CLEANING?

If your dishwasher is running but the dishes aren’t getting clean, one of these simple fixes could solve your problem. Start by consulting your manual to be sure you’re using the right detergent, loading the dishes correctly and maintaining the right hot water temperature.

Insufficient water in the dishwasher also can cause poor cleaning. If the float gets stuck in the raised position, the dishwasher won’t fill with water. Another likely cause is a clogged inlet screen or faulty inlet valve. To determine if your dishwasher is getting enough water, start a wash cycle. Open the door when you hear the machine stop filling. The water should reach or come close to the heating coil. If it doesn’t, first make sure the float valve is operating freely. If this doesn’t solve the problem, check the inlet valve and screen.

Inlet valves that are starting to fail sometimes make a hammering noise. If you hear this, replace the valve. But before you start any work on the dishwasher, unplug it or turn off the power at the shutoff switch or main circuit panel. Test to see if the power is off by turning on the dishwasher and making sure it doesn’t run. You’ll also have to shut off the water before removing the inlet switch. Usually you’ll find a shutoff valve under the kitchen sink or in the basement or crawl space under the dishwasher. Otherwise, close the main water valve.

Whether you’re replacing the valve or simply cleaning the screen, you’ll have to unscrew the brass fitting that connects the water line to the valve. Remove the four screws that secure the valve to the bracket to access the filter screen. Reassemble and reinstall the valve in the reverse order. Wrap Teflon tape around the fitting threads before screwing the fitting into the valve.

Call Absolute Appliance Repair NOW if you have any problems with your dishwasher!

Phone lines

(415) 831-1259 San Francisco
(415) 388-0690 Marin County
(650) 525-0512 South SF / Daly City / Pacifica

 

LEAKING REFRIGERATOR

Most homeowners’ first reaction to a leaking refrigerator is to call in the services of an appliance repairman. If you don’t count yourself among the legions of do-it-yourselfers out there, this is still a good idea. Your fridge isn’t going to fix itself, and any leak is a sure-fire sign of something gone wrong. If you’re game for a little fridge repair 101, however, here’s a few tricks of the trade to try before you call in the experts.

Make Sure Your Fridge is Properly Sealed
One of the most common causes of a “leaking” fridge isn’t a leak at all. It’s the direct result of your fridge not sealing properly, and as a result running overtime to keep things cool. A fridge that runs excessively will build up extra condensation on the coils, which in turn can lead to the pool of water on the floor that’s causing alarm. Check the rubber door seals on your fridge and freezer to make sure you’re getting a proper seal. If you find a problem, wash the seals with warm water and soap and apply a thin film of lubricant (petroleum jelly works best). If this doesn’t solve your problem, you may need to replace the gaskets. Also, check the adjustable legs on your fridge and make sure the fridge tilts a little to the rear. If it’s leaning even a little bit forward, a proper door seal can be compromised.

Check the Drain Pan
Your leaking refrigerator may just have a cracked or damaged drain pan. Your fridge regularly drains water into this pan to prevent water pooling in the fridge itself. Evaporation takes care of the rest. Look underneath your fridge where the drain pan sits and pull it out for inspection. If it has a crack or is otherwise damaged, contact the appropriate retailer about getting a replacement as soon as possible.

Check the Defrost Drain
If your leaking refrigerator is draining inside as opposed to onto your floor, you’re probably dealing with a clogged defrost drain. Your fridge is constantly producing condensation inside the freezer, and that condensation drips down the defrost drain into a drain pan underneath the unit. This defrost drain can become clogged with debris or, more often, it freezes shut. Look in your refrigerator manual to locate your defrost drain, and take the appropriate steps to unclog it (inundating your drain with warm water will often do the trick).

Check Your Ice Maker for Leaks

If none of these other quick fixes solve your problem, check your icemaker for leaks. It’s a bit unusual, but sometimes the water line to the icemaker fails or comes loose, letting water into your freezer. Try tightening all connections, and if necessary, replacing the line that feeds the icemaker.

When In Doubt . . .
If after performing these basic inspections you can’t find the source of your leak, or if you think you’re getting in over your head, be sure to contact an appliance repairman immediately to come fix the problem. A leaking refrigerator is usually an indication of a bigger problem, and it needs to be dealt with. Finally, if you suspect your fridge is leaking refrigerant rather than water, call an appliance repairman immediately. Refrigerant is a toxic material and you need to address this issue as quickly as possible in order to avoid subsequent health risks to you and your family.

 

GAS OVEN REPAIR

Is your oven not baking?

  • Bad bake ignitor. You can’t tell it’s bad by looking at it–you must measure amperage. Just because it glows orange, doesn’t mean it’s good. On round ignitors, look for a current draw of 2.6 to 2.8 amps. On flat ignitors, look for 3.2 to 3.6 amps. Insufficient current draw will not allow the gas valve to open. If unsure how to test, check this tech sheet.
  • Bad valve. If ignitor checks out OK, remove power from oven, pull the two wires off the valve and ohm test. Should read two to five ohms. If open, replace valve.
  • Pilot is out. Try reigniting pilot. If it goes out again, check 1) gas supply (out of gas, crimped line, etc.), 2) pilot orifice clogged or dirty.
  • Pilot flame not wrapping around thermocouple. Reposition the thermocouple bulb so the pilot flame wraps around it.
  • If pilot is spark ignited and you’re not getting spark to the pilot, replace the spark electrode, spark module, and the ignition wire. These parts are inexpensive enough that it’s not worth the trouble to just replace one, replace the entire ignition system as long as you’re in there.
  • If your broiler is not working check the above steps with the broiler instead of the oven

Is your oven not self-cleaning?

  • Self clean latch bent or misaligned. Inspect for proper alignment to make sure that latch is contacting the latch switch.
  • Defective Self clean latch switch. Run continuity check.
  • Bad function selector switch. Run continuity check on switch.

Is your gas oven not getting hot enough?

  • Sluggish ignitor. A good ignitor will fire the oven in less than three minutes. If it takes longer than this, the ignitor is starting to go. Measure ignitor current draw as described above. As the ignitor gets sluggish, it takes longer for it to fire the burner as the oven cycles on and off while the in use thus lowering operating temperature.
  • Oven door gasket ripped or torn.

Is your oven door stuck closed?

  • Defective ERC. Check for error code in display. If error code given, check against manufacturer’s code explanations in owner’s manual or tech data sheet inside oven control panel.
  • Misaligned self clean latch. Disassemble oven to manually free latch and realign or replace as needed.

REPAIRING A REFRIGERATOR

A refrigerator is one of the few appliances in your home that runs continuously, day or night, keeping your food cold. If you consider how hard a refrigerator has to work, it is actually quite amazing that they break down so infrequently. On the rare occasion your refrigerator does stop working, you may face a high repair bill and the expense of replacing all your lost food. Have no fear! This article is here to tell you everything you need to know about repairing your refrigerator and freezer yourself. You might be surprised to learn that repairs are actually quite easy, requiring only a little knowledge about the appliance and a little patience. Let’s get started with some basic information.

Refrigerators and freezers consist of two basic components: a condenser coil and an evaporator coil. A liquid coolant is circulated through these coils by a compressor and a motor. The refrigerant liquid is cooled in the condenser; it then flows to the evaporator. At the evaporator, the air in the unit is cooled by contact with the liquid-filled coil. The condenser of a refrigerator or freezer is the coil on the outside of the unit; the evaporator is the coil on the inside. The coolant is circulated through the system by a compressor.

Most refrigerators and freezers are frost-free. In this type of unit, a heater is automatically turned on by a timer in order to melt the frost inside the unit. Frost is melted by the heater at several different spots in the unit, starting with the coldest and most frosted areas. When the frost is completely melted, the thermostat automatically switches to a cooling cycle in order to maintain the standard freezing temperature. Because this process is automatic, frost does not build up inside the box.

The unit’s compressor system, which forces the coolant through the coil system, is driven by a capacitor-type motor. Other basic parts of the cooling/defrosting system include switches, thermostats, heaters, condensers, and

fans. A do-it-yourselfer can test and replace many of these refrigerator components. However, there are exceptions, as explained later, that are best left to a professional repair person.

Caution: Before doing any work on a refrigerator or freezer, make sure it’s unplugged. After unplugging the unit, check to see if the motor/compressor has a capacitor; this component is located in a housing on the top of the motor. Capacitors store electricity, even when the power to the unit is turned off. Before you do any work on a capacitor-type refrigerator or freezer, you must discharge the capacitor, or you could receive a severe shock.

 

Call Absolute Appliance Repair NOW if you have any problems with your refrigerator!

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(415) 831-1259 San Francisco
(415) 388-0690 Marin County
(650) 525-0512 South SF / Daly City / Pacifica

 

 

 

DISASSEMBLING A DRYER

 

Except for the power cord and the exhaust vent, the components that make up the dryer are contained in a sheet metal box. Each component acts independently of the others, but all are interrelated in some way. There are several different ways to disassemble the cabinet for tests and repairs, depending on the manufacturer and model of the machine. Basic disassembly procedures are simple.

Some knobs may be held to their shafts with setscrews. Unscrew the fasteners and pull the knobs straight out. To get at most parts, however, only remove the back panel. Don’t disassemble the rest of the cabinet until you’re sure you can’t make the tests, replacements, or repairs from the back. If the light in the dryer burns out, remove it from the dryer. You may need to remove retaining screws and panels to access it. Replace the burned-out bulb with a new one of the same type and wattage; check the ends of the old bulb for this information. Then replace any retaining panels. Here’s how:

Step 1: To remove the back panel, remove a series of screws or bolts that hold the panel to the top and sides of the cabinet.

Step 2: To remove the lower front panel, pull it away from the bottom of the cabinet. Lift the lower panel up and away. Remove the springs under each side of the lower panel.

Step 3: To remove the top panel, wedge a stiff-bladed putty knife under the rim of the top and pry the top off. The putty knife helps release several spring fasteners at the top of the cabinet sides and front.

Step 4: To remove the dryer’s control panel, remove the screws that hold it to the cabinet top or front. These screws may be under a piece of metal or plastic trim; pry off or unscrew the trim. Most knobs are friction-fit; pull them straight out.

Caution: When testing or repairing the electrical parts of a gas dryer, remember that the dryer is hooked to a gas pipe. Turn off the shutoff valve on the supply pipe before disconnecting the gas supply line or moving the dryer and before doing any electrical work.

Call Absolute Appliance Repair NOW if you have any problems with your dryer!

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(415) 831-1259 San Francisco
(415) 388-0690 Marin County
(650) 525-0512 South SF / Daly City / Pacifica

 

 

 

DISASSEMBLING A GAS RANGE

A gas range cabinet comes apart very easily. Here’s how:

Step 1: Take out the screws that hold the panels, and pull off the control knobs. On the control panel the knobs are friction-fit; pull them straight off. Some knobs may have setscrews in the base of the knobs; back out these screws using a screwdriver or Allen wrench and pull off the knobs.

Step 2: Remove the back service panel on the control panel by backing out a series of screws around the edge of the panel. To remove the front panel, take off the control knobs and remove a series of mounting screws that hold the decorative panel to the frame. These screws may be hidden by molding or trim; pry off the molding or trim with a screwdriver, or take out several screws.

Step 3: To gain access to the burner assemblies, remove the burner grates and then the top of the range. The entire range top should either lift up and off the range or open up and back on hinges. The oven door can usually be removed by pulling it straight up off the hinges on both sides of the door. Some hinges have a latch that must be unlocked before the door can be removed.

Step 4: If the surface light of the range burns out, remove retaining screws and panels as necessary to gain access to the bulb. Replace the burned-out bulb with a new one of the same type and wattage; check the ends of the old bulb for this information. Then replace any retaining panels.

Step 5: If the oven light burns out, unscrew it and remove it from the oven. Replace the burned-out bulb with a new one of the same wattage, made for oven use.

Call Absolute Appliance Repair NOW if you have any problems with your gas range!

Phone lines

(415) 831-1259 San Francisco
(415) 388-0690 Marin County
(650) 525-0512 South SF / Daly City / Pacifica

REPAIRING A FREEZER

Whether you have a refrigerator/freezer combination or a chest-style freezer — regardless of optional lights, ice makers or other features — the cooling system of any freezer works the same. The freezer compressor squeezes a refrigerant, typically freon, then transfers it to the condenser. Inside the condenser coils, the refrigerant changes from vapor to liquid as the heat in the refrigerant is expelled. This is the heat you feel blowing near the freezer when it’s in a cooling cycle. Next, the now-cooler refrigerant flows through an expansion valve and into the evaporator. There, the refrigerant absorbs heat inside the warming freezer and cools the contents even as the refrigerant turns back into a warm vapor. Finally, the now-warm refrigerant returns to the compressor to restart the cycle.

Even perfectly functioning freezers will not maintain frozen food if the door is left even slightly ajar, such as when an item sticks out enough to press on the door. Also, using a freezer to cool hot items or opening the freezer frequently will affect the temperature inside. Another common reason you may think the freezer is running but not freezing is improperly packing the contents. Situated behind a vent inside your freezer, typically in the rear, the evaporator fan circulates cool air. Pull the contents away from this fan vent and leave room around items so air can reach every point in the freezer. After you’ve done that, put a thermometer inside the freezer and check it after an hour or two. The temperature should read about zero degrees Fahrenheit.

The seal around the freezer door can be another problem when your freezer is running but not freezing. Test your freezer’s door seal by inserting a dollar bill between the door and freezer. Close the freezer door and see if you can pull out the dollar bill. If you can, something is interfering with the seal. A door seal that is dirty simply needs to be cleaned; if it’s badly damaged, replace it. Different seals vary, so follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions. If your freezer isn’t level, it may also prevent a proper seal. Use a carpenter’s level to determine when the door is plumb — straight up and down — or level and adjust the legs as needed.

If you’re lucky, the temperature setting in your freezer was raised accidentally and the repair is obvious. There are a few other things to check when your freezer runs but fails to cool. Pull the freezer out and look for dust, debris or ice that might be smothering the coils. As chest-style freezers use internal coils, this applies to upright models or refrigerator/freezer combinations. A hair dryer quickly melts ice and a vacuum or soft cloth makes quick work of dust. With the freezer unplugged, locate the motor underneath the freezer and clean it. Defrost the freezer if it’s clogged with ice. If you notice water pooling on the floor when the freezer is running but not freezing, check the drain tube in the freezer’s floor or underneath the vegetable drawers in the refrigerator compartment. Insert a turkey baster of bleach water into the tube to clean it, or run a length of smaller tubing through it to push out the clog. Also, check for adequate clearance around your freezer and ensure it doesn’t sit in a sunny, hot and humid location or in an unheated area.

Internal component repairs generally aren’t DIY friendly. The cooling system involves dangerous parts and attempting to service them yourself can lead to injury. Some repairs also require specialized tools and in-depth knowledge. Among these repairs are bad evaporator fans that chirp and squeak or refuse to circulate cool air and lower refrigerant levels. A malfunctioning door safety switch is difficult to pinpoint but also prevents proper cooling even though the freezer is running. Likewise, a faulty defrost control timer, a bad thermostat and a failing evaporator will prevent cooling. Some repairs aren’t even practical; both a bad compressor or a faulty main control board cost more to fix than to simply replace the freezer. A loud thumping is a sure sign that the compressor is at fault. Consult a professional in these situations.

Call Absolute Appliance Repair NOW if you have any problems with your freezer!

Phone lines

(415) 831-1259 San Francisco
(415) 388-0690 Marin County
(650) 525-0512 South SF / Daly City / Pacifica