There are some things you should do on a regular basis:
- Clean the filter. When you open the door there will be filter visible at the bottom of the tub. You should turn the filter handle clockwise or counterclockwise to take the filter off. Sometimes the filter is made from two pieces. To make sure you're doing it right check the User Manuel. If don't have one you can usually download it from the internet or call the manufacturer's customer service for web link or an electronic copy of the manual. Have dishwasher's Model Number at hand when checking online or calling the customer service. The most common symptom for prompting you to clean the filter is that dishwasher doesn't clean well.
- The other reason for not cleaning well is if the holes on any of the spray arms are clogged. There is usually a way to take off the bottom spray arm so you can clean it with running water. Check the User Manual to see how to take off the bottom spray arm.
- Another reason for not cleaning well or not dissolving the detergent pack is that the water entering the dishwasher is not hot enough. This is usually caused by hot water supply pipe or hose being too long. The easiest solution to this problem is to run hot water through the tap on your sink until becomes hot, close the tap and then run the dishwasher.
If your dishwasher makes foam on top of the water inside the tub, or if leaks foamy water underneath the door - that means that you are using old or inappropriate detergent packs. Dishwasher detergent is supposed NOT to make any foam. It it does make foam - you should change the detergent packs with fresh or different ones or just switch to liquid type of detergent.
There are specialty detergents to clean the actual dishwasher - dishwasher cleaners. They are available in many stores. One brand, for example, is Affresh. There is also a type for cleaning washing machines.
Ceramic top stove:
- To clean the ceramic top of the stove there are special cleaning chemicals and, also there is another type of chemical which you use after the cleaning and its purpose is to protect the surface. There is also a special patty knife to scratch the solid residues from the surface.
- Be carefool when you are trying to reach something from the cabinetry above the stove. I had a few customers they drop an item which broke the glass.
Old-fashioned stove with spiral elements on the top surface
- If you are replacing an element then check how the connectors on the old element look like. If they are not shiny like the ones on the new element that means that the socket where the element is inserted - is burnt or corroded and also needs to be replaced or your new element won't last long.
All type of stoves:
- I had a few customers they couldn't open the door or start the oven after self-cleaning. The door lock got damaged. To make sure you never have this problem, just use a cleaning spray.
- If there is power on the control panel but none of the elements work then you have problem with the power supply to the stove. This is because for the control panel to work only one line and neutral are needed but for any of the elements to work you need both lines. Check your household breakers if this happens.
- If your stove preheats too slowly and actually never reach the desired temperature, check the baking element. If the baking element is ok then most likely the main control board needs replacement.
Dryer maintenance is very simple:
- Make sure you clean the lint filter before (or after) every use.
- Check the exhaust on the outside of your house every spring. This is the most common spot where lint accumulates.
- If your dryer is installed inside a closet, mostly in apartment buildings, then there should be an additional lint screen on the ceiling. This one should be cleaned once a month or once every 6 months - depends how much you use the dryer.
Water supply hoses should be replaced every five to ten years. Most new washing machines do not come with water supply hoses so make sure you buy high quality ones prior to installing a new washing machine. The most common lengths are 5 Ft ad 6 Ft. Get 6 Ft ones so it will be possible to pull out the machine and still work on it with water hoses attached.
To make sure the door seal on your front load washer doesn't catch mold - make sure every time after use you whip the seal with a dry cloth and leave the door open.
Check all pockets before putting clothes into the washer since foreign objects can prevent water drain.
If your washing machine drains too slowly, or doesn't drain at all - check the filter at the front of the machine if one is accessible from the outside.
Check you user manual for additional maintenance instructions.
There is one thing you must do even before you start using your fridge: Do not plug your fridge into the wall outlet for 24 hours after you place the fridge where is going to be used. This is for oil inside the sealed system to settle down into the compressor in case the fridge was stored or transported or carried sidewise.
Once every two to five years you should clean condenser, which is located either underneath or behind the fridge. Make sure you use plastic brush, not a metal one.
If you see an ice buildup don't use sharp objects to chop off the ice. You can damage the evaporator that way. Unplug the fridge for 24 hours instead. Using hot water would make the problem even worse unless you expose the evaporator and melt all the ice and snow.
Every time you change the temperature wait 24 hours to see actual result.
Water filter should be replaced every 6 months or sooner - depends of how much water you use.
The decision would depend on the cost of the repair, the age of the dishwasher and the cost of purchasing and installing a new one.
The most common problem with a dishwasher is "it doesn't drain". Similar to washing machine a lot of people would think that the drain pump needs to be replaced. In reality, only one or two times out of hundred "no drain" problems the drain pump needs to be replaced. In most cases of "no drain" problem the dishwasher needs to be pulled-out and disconnected prior to pulling it out so the repair could take an hour or even longer. The repair cost should be in the range of CAD 200 - 300 depending of time spent.
The next common problem with dishwashers is water leak. It is usually caused by door seal, water inlet valve or one of the hoses damaged - usually the drain hose. The repair should cost CAD 250 - 350, parts and labor included.
The two above case scenarios are most likely the ones where repair is justified but if the problem is related to control panel or circulation pump then repair would cost 400 and up 600 or even more. This is the point where you have to consider the age of the dishwasher and the price of a new one. Most dishwashers today in use would last 5 to 10 years. The price of a new dishwasher would depend on material from which is the tub made, the features built into the dishwasher and the brand. Cheaper dishwashers have tub made from plastic and their price starts at around 500 - 600, but those which are stainless steel inside (and out) are a couple of hundreds of dollars more expensive, just to start with, and price goes to above 1000.
When comes to stove dilemma (repair or buy a new one) there are several case scenarios and I will describe them from the most expensive to the least expensive. I am talking about purely electric stoves here, mentioning gas stoves at the end of this post.
- The glass on the top of the stove is broken. This would cost you, parts and labor, in most cases CAD 500 - 1,000. If your stove is older than 5 - 10 years (depends of how often you cook) and you never replaced any of the heating elements - you should probably replace the stove (because - soon you will have to replace one of the heating elements).
- One of the surface elements doesn't work. In case of ceramic top stove - the cost of this kind of repair, parts and labor, would be in most cases CAD 400 - 600. When comes to this most people just decide to use the stove as is - since there is still at least one functioning element of each size. In case of a stove with spiral elements (old fashioned ones) the repair would usually cost CAD 200 - 300.
- Oven doesn't reach desired temperature or doesn't heat at all. In this case chances are that baking element or control board needs replacement. Baking elements cost from CAD 50 (aftermarket) to 220 (some very expensive originals). Replacement could take from 5 minutes to an hour, so price could vary a lot. If the baking element is ok then most likely the control board would need to be replaced. The control board replacement would cost from CAD 180 (if control panel is at the rear of the stove) up to 250 (if control panel is at the front) plus the control board itself an extra 200 - 300 in most cases if the control panel is at the rear, or, 300 - 600 if the control panel is at the front of the stove.
- Gas stoves. Since gas stoves don't have expensive heating elements (they have gas burners) the repair costs should be more reasonable, since the most commonly replaced parts are not that expensive (gas valve, burner or ignitor). Please keep in mind that replacing the whole stove would cost extra few hundred dollars since this must be done by an appliance technician licensed to work with natural gas and you shouldn't disconnect or reconnect the stove from/to gas line by yourself.
Decision about repairing vs buying a new washer is a little more complex than in case of a dryer.
The first thing to consider, regardless of age, is whether is washer very loud when spinning or not. Very loud means that you can't have a conversation while beside the washer, or, if the noise bothers you while you are in you living room (and the washer is in the basement). If the level of noise is half the level of as described above - it will reach that level in a mother of months or a year or two. This noise comes from back bearing (front load washer) or the transmission (top load washer). Those repairs could easily cost as much as two thirds (or more) of a new washer, and is the best thing to do - just buy a new washer.
Other than the above problem with noise, there are basically two other groups of problems (price-wise):
The simpler one, and very common, is that washing machine doesn't drain. Most people would think that the drain pump would need to be replaced, but in reality this is rarely the case. In 95% of "no drain" problems something is just clogging the drain system. The price of the repair would depend on time spent (drain pump and internal hoses accessibility) and should cost CAD 180 - 250. In a rare case when a new drain pump is needed it would cost 100 to 250 more - including the pump and extra work for the replacement.
The last group of common repairs is the one when something needs to be replaced. That "something" in most cases would cost CAD 150 - 300 with labor costing additional 180 - 250 in most cases.
Today most washing machines last 7 to 10 years with an exception of older ones which could last up to 15 years. Very few models today in use are older than 15 years (maybe 5%).
Maybe 1 or 2 percent of customers have a gas dryer, not just purely electric one. In this case, when thinking about replacing it you have to count in an extra cost of disconnecting the old one and connecting the new one to the gas line. This job has to be done by a technician who is licensed to work with natural gas. It will cost you several hundred dollars extra, while an electric dryer you might be able to install by yourself or with help of a friend.
Next factors to consider are the age of the dryer and how much you use it (a few loads weekly or much more?). If used by two adults only (a few loads a week) it could last up to 15 or more years assuming that you had to fix it once or twice during this time... or maybe never before. Dryers have wearable parts and if before and/or now this is what needs (needed) to be replaced than it is tolerable repair which was waiting for you to happen down the road sooner or later and you will now have new wearable parts (fresh, new, start).
But, if it is something else (like motor, timer, control board) then you should probably replace the dryer especially if you haven't already replace any wearable parts in that dryer. Wearable parts are belt, idler pulley, rollers or bearings (front and/or back), heating element, thermal fuse (thermal fuse is not rally wearable part but it is meant to burn if dryer or exhaust pipes are not clean).
If not sure - call a technician and you would have to pay only for a service call in case you decide not to proceed with the repair.
"Should I repair or replace my refrigerator?"
The decision would depend on the job that needs to be done.
Basically, there are four levels of repair from the cost perspective. Let's start with the worst case scenario:
1. Compressor needs replacement.
This is the most expensive repair. You are looking to pay CAD 1,000 - 2,000. Almost everyone just buys a new refrigerator at this point;
2. Major (other than compressor) component needs to be replaced such as a control board or air dumper assembly. The cost for those kind of repairs would be
CAD 400 - 600.
3. Minor (not that expensive) component needs to be replaced, like - defrosting timer, defrosting thermostat, defrosting heater, evaporator fan, condenser fan, water filter housing... price: CAD 250 - 400. And, the last case scenario:
4. No component needs to be replaced. The most common type of this kind of repair is water leak: There is a formation of ice underneath the evaporator preventing the water to go down the tube into the drip pane. This job is simple but could be time consuming - depends on the size of the ice build-up. Price: CAD 180 - 250.