How to Fix Major Appliances

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Do you have any experience with appliance repair?

Appliances are designed to last for years and work tirelessly throughout their lifetime. It’s easy to take them for granted, but when they break down, it can be frustrating and confusing. You may not understand how they work, what caused the malfunction, or how to fix it.

So, what can you do? You can either hire a professional to repair it or try to fix it yourself and save money. This article will provide you with all the necessary information to disassemble and reassemble major appliances to get them working again. However, before you start disassembling your refrigerator, let’s learn some basics about major appliances.

Most appliances rely on your home’s electrical system and use AC current from the circuit wiring. Small appliances operate on 110-120-volt circuits and have two-bladed plugs on their cords. Large or major appliances, such as air conditioners, dryers, and ranges, require 220-240-volt wiring and cannot operate on 110-120-volt circuits. Large appliances have a grounding wire, and their plugs have two blades and a prong. These appliances must be plugged into a grounded outlet, which has openings to accommodate both blades and grounding prong, or grounded with a special adapter plug. All appliances are labeled with their power requirements in watts, volts, and sometimes amps, either on a metal plate or on the appliance casing.

Small appliances tend to be simple machines, consisting of a heating element, fan, blades, or rotating beaters attached to a drive shaft. They may also have two or three mechanical linkages. Repairs to these appliances are usually simple. Large appliances, on the other hand, are more complex. A washing machine, for example, may have a motor, timer, pump, valves, switches, and solenoids. With these appliances, problems can occur either in the control devices or the mechanical/power components. Failure of a control device may affect one or all operations, while mechanical/power device failure only affects the functions that rely on that device. When a major appliance breaks down, diagnosing the issue is as crucial as fixing it.

Major appliances are so complex that identifying a malfunction isn’t always straightforward. (Newer appliances have electronic diagnostics that can be understood from the owner’s manual.) The first step is to determine whether the problem is in a control device or a mechanical device. In a dryer, for instance, the mechanical components turn the drum, while the control devices regulate the heat. Which system is affected? If the drum turns but the dryer doesn’t heat, the issue is in the control system. If the dryer heats but the drum doesn’t turn, the problem is mechanical. This type of analysis can be used to pinpoint the type of failure in all large appliances: control system or mechanical system.

If you want to identify the problem with your appliance, you need to examine each part of the affected system to find the faulty component. However, this process is not complicated because appliance parts work together in a logical sequence. You can test the components one by one, starting with the simplest possibilities, to isolate the cause of the malfunction.

When attempting to repair any type of appliance, there are three essential rules you should follow. Firstly, always disconnect the electric power and/or gas supply to the appliance before testing or repairing it. Secondly, if the appliance parts are held together with rivets or welds, don’t try to repair it yourself. Finally, replace any broken or malfunctioning parts with new parts made especially for that appliance.

You can obtain appliance parts from various sources such as appliance service centers, appliance-repair dealers, and appliance-parts stores. If you cannot find a specific brand-name appliance parts center, you can order the part directly from the manufacturer. Before making any appliance repair, ensure the appliance is receiving power, as lack of power is the most common cause of appliance failure.

Here are some steps you can take to troubleshoot your appliance. Firstly, ensure that the appliance is properly plugged in and that the cord, plug, and outlet are all functioning correctly. To check whether an outlet is working, use a voltage tester. Secondly, check that the fuses and/or circuit breakers that control the circuit have not blown or tripped. There may be multiple electrical entrance panels for your home, particularly for 220-240-volt appliances like ranges and air conditioners. Check for blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers at both the main and separate panels. Thirdly, make sure that the fuses and/or breakers in the appliance itself have not blown or tripped. Push the reset buttons to restore power to appliances like washers, dryers, and ranges. Some ranges have separate plug-type fuses for oven operation, so ensure that these fuses have not blown. Fourthly, if the appliance uses gas or water, check that it is receiving an adequate supply. Lastly, consult the owner’s manual for the appliance. Many manufacturers provide helpful problem/solution troubleshooting charts. If you do not have a manual for an appliance, you can likely obtain one, even for an old or obsolete appliance, from the manufacturer’s customer service department. Once you have completed these steps, you can proceed to disassemble your major appliance and learn more about grounding systems in the following section.


1. What are the most common major appliances that require repair?

Major appliances that commonly require repair include refrigerators, washers, dryers, dishwashers, ovens, and stoves. These appliances are used regularly, which can cause wear and tear on their parts. Regular maintenance can help prevent major repairs, but eventually, most appliances will require some sort of repair work.

2. How can I tell if my appliance needs repair?

If your appliance is not functioning properly, it may need repair. Signs that your appliance needs repair include unusual noises, leaks, or a decrease in performance. In some cases, an appliance may simply stop working altogether. If you suspect that your appliance needs repair, it is important to schedule service as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

3. Can I repair my appliance myself?

While some minor repairs can be done by homeowners, it is generally not recommended to attempt major appliance repairs without professional assistance. Major appliances have complex electrical and mechanical components that can be dangerous to work with. Attempting to repair an appliance on your own can also void any existing warranties, making it more expensive to repair in the long run.

4. How much does appliance repair typically cost?

The cost of appliance repair can vary depending on the type of appliance and the extent of the repairs needed. Minor repairs may cost a few hundred dollars, while major repairs can cost several thousand dollars. The best way to determine the cost of appliance repair is to schedule a consultation with a professional repair service.

5. How long does it take to repair an appliance?

The length of time it takes to repair an appliance can vary depending on the extent of the repairs needed and the availability of parts. Minor repairs may be completed in a few hours, while major repairs may take several days or even weeks. Your repair service should be able to provide you with an estimated timeline based on your specific repair needs.

6. Should I repair or replace my appliance?

Deciding whether to repair or replace an appliance depends on several factors, including the age of the appliance, the cost of repairs, and the estimated lifespan of the appliance. In general, if an appliance is more than 10 years old and requires a major repair, it may be more cost-effective to replace it with a newer, more energy-efficient model.

7. How can I prevent future appliance repairs?

Regular maintenance can help prevent future appliance repairs. This includes cleaning the appliance regularly, checking for leaks or unusual noises, and scheduling routine service appointments with a professional repair service. It is also important to use the appliance properly, following manufacturer guidelines for proper use and maintenance.

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