Troubleshooting Appliances

If you've got a problem with one of your appliances, then you might be tempted to hire a professional to come and take a look. However, many problems with home appliances can be diagnosed by the average homeowner, if you know what you're looking for. The following article assumes that you have a basic level knowledge regarding appliances. Here are some of the most common reasons that clothes dryers and refrigerators break, and exactly what the warning signs are:

General problems:

  • Not turning on: You might have a problem with your circuit breaker/fuse box. Make sure to check those before attempting any thorough dismantling of your appliances. An outlet could also lack current, which can easily be tested with a personal multimeter.
  • Water problems: This is a large category, including low water pressure, no hot water, a total lack of water, or too much water. This can affect washing machines and dishwashers, so be sure to check your water supply before blaming the appliance.

Clothes Dryer:

  • Not starting: This could be caused by the plunger or possibly the door switch. Test both. Then check the thermal fuse. Be warned, a malfunctioning thermal fuse can indicate more serious problems, so take the necessary precautions.
  • Making odd noises: There are rollers which support the central drum. These get worn down over time, but can be replaced. 
  • Not rotating: This is most likely due to a broken belt, which can be confirmed by examining the drum.
  • No heat: Several components need to be checked to diagnose this problem, including the thermal fuse, radiant sensor, igniter, and possibly gas valve corks.


  • Freezer isn't very cold: If the back wall of the freezer is warm, then you need to move the refrigerator to check the compressor. If the back wall is cold, then the evaporator fan might be the culprit
  • Strange noises: Refrigerators generally make some noise on occasion, but if there is a constant noise that is out of the ordinary, you might have a problem with the condenser fan. Check for any blockages.
  • Leaking water: This could be caused by a variety of factors, such as the ice tray, filter housing, or clogged defrost drain, among others. You might have to check basically everything in order to figure out exactly what is causing the leak.

Hopefully you now have a better idea of what to look for when your appliances take a turn for the worse. Remember to always practice proper safety precautions, and good luck. If you run into a problem you cannot solve, contact an appliance repair professional to make sure everything is handled safely.