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  • Writer's pictureA Wild Lass

Savvy Mom's Guide to Fixing Home Appliances

Do you ever have one of those days where the budget doesn’t line up and then something else breaks, like the washing machine? Have you ever thought about trying to fix it yourself, but immediately dismissed that option because you were sure it was beyond your skills?

We’re all about empowering you and encouraging you here, so today we’re sharing the best tips for fixing home appliances yourself. This doesn’t mean we want you to tackle projects that a professional should handle, but it does mean we can help you decide whether you need help or can DIY the fix. Take a look!

*Disclaimer: Some of the links you see may be affiliate links. All that means is if you click through and end up making a purchase, I’ll earn a commission.

Determining the Problem

Before you skip the rest of this post, let me assure you it’s probably possible to fix an appliance yourself. Maybe in not every situation, but I can attest that I’ve personally fixed several different dryers, a washer, and some TVs in our home, as well as a printer, a stereo, and other machines.

Before you know if you need to call a professional, you need to diagnose the problem. Even if you can’t figure out exactly what’s wrong, you can start by eliminating some things you know aren’t the problem.

One note about how to use this post: I can’t go into a ton of detail without making this post way too long. Where appropriate, I’ve included links to articles about how to do some of the smaller steps I mention along the way.

Make Sure It Has Power

Check to see if the appliance is plugged in. If it is, try unplugging and waiting ten minutes, and then plugging it back in. Sometimes this is enough to fix it.

If the appliance doesn’t start working, then check to see if the electrical outlet is working. Plug in something else that you know was working on another outlet to see if it works on the outlet with the broken appliance. If the other item works, then you know the outlet is working.

If the other item doesn’t work, then there is a problem with the electrical outlet. Go find the fuse box (usually in a basement), and check to see if any of the breakers are tripped. Here is a great article about how to tell. It will also explain how to reset it if you find a tripped breaker.

It’s possible the breaker fixed the problem. If the breaker is on but the outlet still isn’t working, you may need to call a licensed electrician to trace the problem.

If the outlet is working, check the power cord for the appliance. Be sure there are no rips or frays in the cord, and that the end connected to the appliance is plugged in all the way.

Download the User Manual and Troubleshoot

Locate the model and serial number of your appliance. Then in your favorite search engine, type the make (like Samsung, GE, Maytag, or LG), the model number, and the words “user manual.”

Most manufacturer websites have PDFs available to download. Try to ensure you’re on a legitimate site by selecting one of the first few search results. If you’re choosing a page that’s several pages into the Google search, chances are it’s not what you need. Be sure you’re not downloading any files that look suspicious either. No one should ask you to pay for a user manual or need any personal information to access them.

In most cases, a user manual will have troubleshooting practices to follow. You can skip right to the troubleshooting guide (often a flow chart style) by using the table of contents or the index, or you can read through and familiarize yourself with the appliance first. You may find a solution as you read, just by virtue of learning more about how the machine works.

If you encounter a troubleshooting step that you don’t fully understand, my best advice is to turn to YouTube. There are plenty of DIY mechanics, handypeople, plumbers, and electricians who have spent hours recording resources for you. Try to use specific search terms and vocabulary that the troubleshooting guide mentions to help you get precise videos for your needs.

It’s possible that some of the troubleshooting steps will require tools. Chances are your home has some basic tools, like phillips and flathead screwdrivers, needle nose pliers, or wrenches. Other helpful materials may include WD-40 (a lubricant with an easy-apply nozzle), electrician’s tape, and even a multimeter.

Purchase Parts

If the troubleshooting guide helps you isolate a problem, often the next step is to replace a part. To help determine if you are able to replace the part yourself, read more about common repairs below.

Replacing a computer part: most modern machines are run by computers. A lot of them are connected by simple ribbon cables and other wires. You can learn more about how to disconnect and reconnect these cables in this YouTube video.

I’d suggest purchasing greenboards (another name for a computer board or a motherboard or a control board) on eBay. Plenty of repair people harvest working parts out of machines they have scrapped and resell them. You’ll search by your make, model, and serial numbers again, or possibly the part number itself if the troubleshooting guide gives you that information. Be sure that the eBay listing gives you a return policy and that it mentions that the part is in good working condition. If you’re not sure, find another part or send the seller a message to find out before you make a purchase.

Replacing power cords or mechanical parts: You’ll have more luck with these types of parts if you find a supplier or retailer of the specific brand of machine you are fixing. Keep in mind, you may have to be rather insistent about getting through to a repair person or someone who doesn’t work on the sales floor. Unfortunately, not too many women repair their own appliances, so your inquiry may be a surprise and not well received.

Replacing motors and springs: These types of repairs can be more dangerous if you aren’t quite sure what you’re doing. Before you buy any parts, I’d recommend watching some YouTube videos that demonstrate how to conduct the repair to see if it seems over your head. Watch different repair people doing the same job and listen to their commentary, don’t just watch the steps because they will have inside information about tricky steps in the process.

If you decide to go ahead, be safe and let someone know you’re working on the project so they can check on you. It’s also a good idea to disconnect power at the break box and at the outlet, wear safety goggles, and wear gloves. Remember that it’s also okay to welcome a repair person into your home if the project is over you head.

Get R Done

This is far from an exhaustive guide to fixing home appliances, but it will help you follow some steps to be a more savvy adventurous mom. Many problems with machines are simple fixes, and it’s a lot cheaper to repair them yourself than pay a professional.

We wish you the best of luck with your project! Drop us a note below if you have any stories to share about your own appliance repair experience!

Be sure to follow us on socials and check out these other free tools and resources we’ve created for adventurous moms and busy professional women:

(This is a tool to help you find books with characters who share a name with your child)

*Disclaimer: Some of the links you see may be affiliate links. All that means is if you click through and end up making a purchase, I’ll earn a commission.

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