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Three Simple Household Repairs That'll Save You Hundreds

  • Comments 8

In the past year, I've done three appliance repairs that I'm sure would have cost me three or four hundred dollars if I would have called a repair service. All of these are common problems that are cheap and easy to fix.


Front loading washer wouldn't drain properly

Front loading washer: removing the front panel
Remove the front panel. Look for the screws that hold the front panel on and remove them. You'll probably need a hex driver for this. You'll find the pump and filter behind the panel.

Our front loading washer seemed to be working fine; it just wouldn't spin the water out of the clothes. After fooling with it a bit, I was convinced it was some major problem like a switch or relay, and I was just about to call a repair service. Then I remembered that the pump has a filter that I've never cleaned and figured it was worth a look. It took about 15 minutes to remove the access cover and get at the filter, and sure enough, the filter was clogged. After I cleaned it out, the washer worked fine. Get more simple washing machine fixes like this.

Front loading washer: cleaning the filter
Clean the filter. Some washers like this have a separate filter that you can twist off. Others have a filter that's built into the pump. You'll have to remove the hose from the pump to clean this type.

















Dishwasher not cleaning the dishes

Cleaning a dishwasher filter
A clogged filter can cause dirty dishes. To clean the filter on your dishwasher, pull out the lower rack and remove the filter cover. If the filter isn't removable, use a wet/dry vacuum to clean it out.

A few months ago, I noticed that the dishes weren't getting clean. Sometimes it's because I put too many dishes in the dishwasher at a time, but even sparsely packed loads were coming out dirty. So I tried the easiest fix I know. I removed the bottom rack. Then I removed the spray arm to get at the filter, and of course it was filled with bits of broken glass and other gunk. I cleaned it out, put everything back together and washed a load of dishes. It worked great! Even though for me this was a repair, you can avoid the problem in the first place by cleaning the filter regularly.














Dead outlet

Resetting a tripped GFCI
Look for a tripped GFCI. If you have a dead outlet, first check the main circuit box to make sure it's not a tripped circuit breaker. You may also find a GFCI circuit breaker that needs to be reset. If this doesn't solve the problem, look for a tripped GFCI outlet somewhere else in the house.

Last summer we were getting ready to build our annual shed and needed power to run the saws and the compressor. The trouble was that the outdoor outlet didn't work. After checking the circuit breakers, we figured the outlet must be protected by a GFCI somewhere else in the house. We checked everywhere and were just about to call an electrician. Then the homeowner moved a mattress aside that was being stored in the utility room and found a tripped GFCI outlet behind it. Believe it or not, this is a common problem that I'm sure many homeowners have called an electrician to solve. The next time you have a dead outlet, make sure to look for a GFCI outlet somewhere else in your house. There's a good chance you'll fix the problem and save yourself $100.


— Jeff Gorton, Associate Editor

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  • Comments
    • by posted on


    • by posted on

      My problem is that one of the outlets get tripped on a daily basis and sometime it does not want to unclick. I had a second fridge connected to it but had to connect it somewhere else because of the constant tripping problem. Thanks. AL.

    • by posted on

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    • by posted on

      our freezer in the garage kept getting tripped and then we realized that a self defrosting freezer cannot be plugged into a GFCI outlet--it will trip constantly.  So, we plugged the freezer into the outlet in the ceiling of the garage with the garage door opener--now no problem.

    • by posted on

      Thanks for very good advice on how to fix washer and dish washer. The major problem for me is the fact that in my garage I have a couple outlets that keep on getting tripped. I guess in this article they are referred to as GFCI. I had to use an extension cord to connect a fridge that I have in the garage to another outlet where I have my washer and dryer connected. Sometime when I mow the lawn and am going to use the blower and discover it does not work because one of those outlets has been tripped. I already know which on because its always the same one. I would like to know why that happens so often. Thanks. AL.

    • by posted on

      Alsport2000, a fridge or freezer should never be connected to a GFI for the reasons you experienced.

    • by posted on

      For the very reasons described, fridges and freezers should never be connected to GFI controlled outlets.  

      If you do have a fridge or freezer on one, you should swap the outlet for standard outlet.  Don't be cheap. Get a 20 amp.

    • by posted on

      Household maintenance and repairs are the most common duty home owners trend to underestimate. It's typically where the most handyman related problems start from. A well maintained plumbing system can last for quite a while. Same goes wit cable and wire management, right? I've been a professional london handyman with www.fantastichandyman.co.uk for at least a few hundred odd jobs so far and when I write this I mean it. A good example that come to my mind are drainage systems. Same story.. Poor maintenance eventually causes the need of handyman services. Washing machines, dishwashers, the same rule applies for all maintenance and repair problems. One does not need to be the ultimate handy man, but a dash of effort and regular care for home appliances and etc. can and in most cases helps.

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