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Friday, October 31, 2003
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
John W. Turner wrote:
I have a GE Refregerator model TFX24R,with Water and ice in the door. When I go to get water from the door there is a hesitation and it then comes out slow. Can hear it as soon as I push lever , and have changed filter and lines but still does the same thing. Is ther a part that is holding up the water??
Start by checking the water supply going to the fridge using the technique of the Master:
That should restore normal water pressure. You can buy a new water supply kit, which includes the saddle tap valve, here. More tips on the proper installation of a water supply line and saddle tap valve here.
If the water supply flow rate test, described above, appears normal, then the water inlet valve on the fridge may be gunked up with sediment. Here's how we check for that:
The foregoing discussion is neatly contained in this haiku (inspired by Fixum in the Appliantology group forum):
Sunday, October 26, 2003
Check out the new logo. Pretty slick, ey? The old logo served the site well for many moons but, in the end, I just got freakin' sick of looking at it. Actually, Mrs. Samurai got sick of looking at it first and started harping on me to change it. Those graphics gurus at Logobee.com designed the new logo for me. They were an utter joy to work with: quick turn-around on revisions and fast answers to questions I couldn't decide. If you need a logo, any kind of logo, click on over to Logobee.
DK Ezekoye wrote:
Thanks for your site! I have had major problems with all (4) of our less than 3 year old Kenmore aplliances. A tip and one question on my washer (Kenmore 417.40042990 front loader).
Your Kenmore front loader is made by Frigidaire and is, in my vaunted opinion, the best front loader out there. Most of the problems I've seen with this washer have to do with debris in the pump, as you described, or door catch breaking. Both are extremely minor problems in the world of washer repair. Compare with the Maytag Neptune which has been nothing but one long, sad song about fried control boards and door latch assemblies--at much more than $50 a pop! I talk more about various appliance brands here.
The U-hook on your drain hose should just hang in the drain pipe--the diameter of the drain hose hook should be less than the diameter of the drain stand pipe. Typically, drain hose diameters are around 1" o.d. and standard drain stand pipe diameters are 2" o.d. The hook of the drain hose is simply placed into the drain pipe and secured with either duct tape or a tie wrap. You can see that this creates a natural air break which you should not try to obstruct. If your drain meets these criteria and you're getting the suds-back condition, then we need to consider a couple of other things.
Start with the simple things. Have your drain professionally reamed out by a plumber who knows his sh*t: Mr. Rooter. If you're not using a high efficiency detergent (especially critical for front loading washers), then it's time to start. Finally, and worst case scenario, if your house is on a septic tank system, the back wash from the drain pipe could be an early warning that it's time to have your septic tank pumped out.
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
The rare and beautiful Cacapee bird once flourished throughout all New England. The name, Cacapee, is an Iroquois word meaning, "beautiful feathers." Its long, brightly colored tail plume was highly prized for fashionable head wear. The wing feathers of the Cacapee were commonly used as "tonsil ticklers" in the vomitoriums which were hubs of social activity in New England during the Colonial period. Because of these popular uses of its feathers, the Cacapee bird was hunted to near-extinction. In fact, this exquisite bird was thought to be extinct...until now.
During one of his recent bird-watching missions, the Samurai documented the existence of one of the last remaining Cacapee birds on the entire planet. The bird was spotted in a forest abutting Lake Sunapee, near the Samurai's home town of New London, New Hampshire. Unfortunately, the camera was damaged in a shower mishap, so no image is available. However, the audio recording survived. Here, now, is the only recording in existence of the Cacapee bird's mating call (patent-pending, all rights reserved, void where prohibited). Let's listen:
Monday, October 20, 2003
Yep, it's gettin' frosty outside and all the little vermin are scrambling to come inside for a warm place to crap. Their beady little eyes are fixed on your house and they're quietly invading at night, while you and your loved ones are sound asleep. A favorite destination: your appliances.
I have repaired many appliances that have been damaged by mouse activity. For example, I recently repaired a fridge that was getting warm because the condenser fan was jammed by a mouse carcass!
The house mouse can live in homes its entire life and reproduce with amazing speed. A female mouse can begin bearing litters of six pups when she is 56 days old. If the offspring begin reproducing at the same time, that means almost 8,000 mice per year can result from one female mouse. That's a lot of rodents running around!
Mice can nest in walls, attics, cabinet space, and appliances, and can accumulate shredded paper and other soft material as bedding. These piles of nest material within the walls or under appliances can pose a fire hazard. Mice gnaw on just about anything; they can even chew through metal, concrete, and wall boards. These pernicious beasts have caused electrical fires by gnawing on wires.
In addition to posing a fire hazard, those cute, furry little critters carry a smorgasbord of diseases that can infect humans. House mice also are a major cause of asthma and allergic rhinitis in susceptible people.
No house is immune. This time of year, I always find evidence of rodent invasions while doing service calls. Most common hangouts: underneath your dishwasher, behind your range and beside your refrigerator's compressor.
Now is the time to take the offensive and terminate the invading hoard with extreme prejudice. Place boxes of Decon in the following key locations around your appliances: behind the refrigerator, underneath the dishwasher (behind the kickplates), behind the range, in the cabinet underneath the sink, and behind the dryer. While you're at it, inspect appliance power cords for damage from chewing.
Personally, I prefer those glue traps with just a dab of peanut butter added. No mouse on the planet can resist peanut butter. I usually only have to leave the trap out overnight and the next day there's a precious little furball-of-love, desperately struggling to get unstuck. But alas, they never quite make it to freedom before meeting their demise at the end of my hammer. The problem with Decon is that you never get to see the fruits of your labor. But using the glue traps, you get a wonderful sense of closure when that hammer falls.
You animal-rights weenies are probably frothing at the mouth about now, sputtering some typically vacuous comments about, "like, hey man, like, they live here, too, y'know?" I want to hear you say that as you're staring in disbelief at the smoldering embers that used to be your house which burned down due to mice chewing on the electrical wires behind the walls.
Awwite, load 'em up, Hoss. We got us some rodents to kill. Yee-haw!
Sunday, October 19, 2003
carolyn kaluzniacki wrote:
I can't believe someone would recommend trashing your whole dishwasher just because one stinking little part, the water inlet valve, may be clogged and need to be replaced! Well, that's why he's just a numb-nutz "fix-it" man and I'm Samurai Appliance Repair Man.
If you're getting the "not enough water, check water supply" error message on this dishwasher, it usually means that the fill level in the basin is insufficient for proper cleaning. This almost always results from sediment and/or pipe scale accumulating on the protective screen of the water inlet valve. In this case, you can simply replace the valve, and dishwasher nirvana shall be restored.
Replacing the water inlet valve is no more difficult in your part of the country than it would be elsewhere. You can easily access the valve by simply removing the kickplates from the front of the dishwasher. You can buy the replacement water inlet valve here. Replacing the water inlet valve is simply a matter of turning off the water supply and then disconnecting and reconnecting a couple of water and electrical connections. It's plug and chug, any bonehead can do this.
Still thinking about buying a new dishwasher? Read this first!
Saturday, October 18, 2003
I just got one of those cool web cams, you know, those X-10's that you see in popup ads everywhere you go on the web? Yeah, one o' those. Well, I finally broke down and bought one. It was easy to set up and seems to work pretty well. I have it set up here on top of my monitor, taking pictures while I'm working. Here, check out the latest shot from the live Samurai Web Cam.
See you later.
Grasshoppers email me everyday asking questions about appliance repair. I get so excited about the prospect of imparting free appliance wisdom that I spontaneously burst into song. Oh, wait! I just got an appliance repair email from an AOL user! I can't resist the urge to sing...
The CIA has once again requested the help of the Samurai--this time to interpret an anomalous signal originating from Mars. I heterodyned the signal with a low frequency beat harmonic and was able to step it down into the audible range of human hearing. Since it has been recently de-classified, I am now at liberty to share it with all of you. It's pretty shocking so I recommend that you sit down before listening. DISCLAIMER: If you have a heart condition or hemorrhoids, please consult a physician before listening. The Samurai shall not be held liable for any unforseen side effects that result from listening to this authentic recording. All other unconditional disclaimers listed here apply, as well. You have been warned.
Thursday, October 16, 2003
As many of you know, the Samurai despises flying on commercial airlines. It's not fear, just good old-fashioned loathing. That basic sentiment notwithstanding, I wouldn't mind being a passenger on this flight.
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
The latest issue of Appliantology, The Journal of Appliance Wisdom, has been submitted to the publisher and will rear its hoary head in next week's issue of the Kearsarge Slopper. This issue addresses the perennial question that all my Grasshoppers secretly ponder to themselves behind closed doors while contemplating the "repair or replace" enigma, "How Much Be a New One, Yo?"
Click and learn, Grasshopper.
I reckon dryers are trickier than I thought for most folks. People seem to have a hard time understanding that the dryer vent is absotootly, posilootly critical to the safe and efficient operation of your dryer! Period. Folks, if your dryer vent sux, then your dryer's performance and safety will suck, too. It's just that simple. The idea with a dryer vent is to have as little back pressure as possible. Back pressure retards the flow of moist air outta the dryer and also collects lint in the dryer and vent system creating a fire hazard. And, hear this, poor venting will cause dryers to overheat, too! Another great cause of dryer fires.
The number one thing you should do to make your dryer safer to operate and dry clothes more efficiently is to follow the do's and don'ts in this chart. Look at this figure carefully. I didn't put the link there just to look purdy. Examine it, study it, memorize it, print it out and sleep with it under your pillow...well, maybe not. But you get the idea.
Note that white vinyl vent hoses are not UL-Approved and are a great way to start fires in your house. The American Household Appliance Manufacturers Association (AHAM) recommends the use of either rigid aluminum or steel duct or spiral-wound aluminum flex hose--NOT the white vinyl hose. For any dryer, but especially gas dryers, white vinyl vent hose should never be used. If yours has this installed on it, replace it ASAP with UL-approved materials. Examples of UL-approved dryer venting materials are shown here. If you need to upgrade your vent using UL-Approved materials, some recommended items are listed below. Hint: these are links, you can click 'em to see pictures of 'em.
One of the ways that dryers can start household fires is by igniting the excess lint that accumulates around the motor, burner shroud (for gas dryers) and cabinet interior. Y'see, Slick, lint is composed of very small, dry clothing particles which includes cotton and polyesters--both very good fire starters. Polyesters are particularly pernicious fire starters and are very difficult to extinguish once they ignite. Polyesters, vinyl in particular, pose another fire hazard when used as vent hoses, which we'll talk more about later in this article.
One of the biggest causes of vent hose fires is when this accumulated lint inside the vent hose ignites. Lint gets caught in the folds and creases and sticks there because of the humidity. Over time, the lint builds up to such a degree that the dryer cannot exhaust properly. This results in increased drying times initially and, ultimately, in a fire. Once a fire starts in a vinyl vent hose, the hose itself ignites and burns vigorously creating a fire that is very difficult to extinguish.
Another reason for using rigid, smooth-walled aluminum ducting for your dryer vent is that you can easily clean it out using a vent brush. You need to do this annually to keep your dryer running at optimum efficiency and to ensure that you won't get any lint fires started inside the dryer vent. Oh yeah, it can still happen even with aluminum duct but the results will be far less catastrophic than a white vinyl vent fire.
Folks, I don't make this stuff up. I couldn't make this stuff up even if I wanted to. If you're having dryer problems like long dry times and overheating, you need to check out your venting in accordance with foregoing pearls of wisdom.
I can't even tell you how many time I hear Grasshoppers tell me, "My dryer is (circle one) [overheating, runs too long, fires the heaters only briefly, smells hot, blah blah blah] and I checked the vent and it's OK." Checked the vent and it's OK? Checked the vent and it's OK? Well, just what in the hell does "OK" mean? What criteria are you using to check the vent? Do you even know what to look for? (Hint: the answer to all the above is "I didn't know but now I do after reading your inspiring and illuminating Appliantology article on the subject, oh wise Samurai.")
Wednesday, October 08, 2003
Couple of catchy tunes for you to feast your weary ears on. Check out the funky, new Mr. Appliance jingle, it's about a minute long but it's the best minute you'll ever spend listening to a jingle. Don't have a minute? Ok, here's a short little ditty about Super Sugar Crisp.
Monday, October 06, 2003
I have a dishwasher (whirlpool) in a summer camp. Do I need to do anything to protect it from freezing?
Excellent question, and the short answer is an emphatic "oui, oui!"
Two methods are commonly used to winterize wet appliances: the dry method and the wet method. Briefly, the dry method involves draining every last bit of water from the appliances using compressed air and requires more technical expertise. In the wet method, you run a nontoxic, potable antifreeze (propylene glycol or "the pink stuff") through the working parts of the appliance. For home appliances in most parts of the sub-arctic northern latitudes, including my beloved home state of New Hampshire, the wet method provides adequate protection (and it's a whole lot less hassle). So, that's what I'll describe.
The first step for winterizing your dishwasher (and generally all wet appliances) is to make sure that the dishwasher is as empty of water as it can get after a normal wash cycle. If residual water remains in the basin, sop it up with a sponge. Then, turn off the household water supply, open every single faucet in the house and leave them that way. Pour about half a gallon of PINK antifreeze--not the green or blue stuff, just the pink stuff--into the basin of the dishwasher. Run the dishwasher so it pumps the antifreeze around for a few seconds and then turn it off. You're done.
Have a good winter. See you next summer!
Saturday, October 04, 2003
I thoroughly enjoy your website, Samurai, and find it most informative and even hilarious. I am an appliance salesman for a regional retailer based in Indiana, and I have gleaned much knowledge in the field from your website. My contribution to your beer fund is forthcoming.
Howdy, Brad. Always good to hear from fellow practitioners in the arcane world of home appliances, whether it's manufacturing, repairing, or sales.
Your impulse to work in the best interest of the customer is really the only way to do business for the long term. Your question about whether or not you're fleecing the customer by offering extended warranties is wholly dependant upon the actual service that would (or would not) be provided in the event the customer needed to exercise that warranty. In other words, the warranty is only as good as the service to back it up.
I look at extended warranties as a type of insurance which, in reality, they are. In fact, most of the large, reputable extended warranty plans, such as Whirlpool's Homewise plan, are underwritten by major insurance companies, such as AON Corporation. To this end, true extended warranties, backed up by real service, can be considered no more a rip-off than any other type of insurance. Is liability insurance a rip-off? You might think so as you pay the premium year after year...until someone actually sues you. Then it pays off in spades.
Is the arrangement set up for the insurance company (or extended warranty dealer) to make money? You bet it is! Could it be any other way? Businesses exist for one reason and one reason only: to make a profit. If a business can't make a profit offering a legitimate product or service then it goes bankrupt. And who benefits from that?
Some customers are willing to pay a premium for the extra security and peace-of-mind that they derive from owning a legitimate extended warranty policy. Others are not. Your role as an appliance salesman is to offer realistic and honest choices to customers. As long as you're doing that then you should sleep well at night and I charge you to "Go placidly amid the noise and haste..."
Thursday, October 02, 2003
The final results of the Free State Project are in and Free Staters have wisely chosen to move, en masse, to my home state of New Hampshire, ultimately making it the first state to be liberated from the oppressive yoke of federal-government-on-acid.
Welcome, fellow libertarians! We SHALL overcome!
Wednesday, October 01, 2003
Ramadan begins October 26 so there's still time to order your Maytag Performa or Atlantis washer repair manual. But don't dilly-dally--Allah hates a slacker.
Announcing the inaugural issue of the print edition of the Appliantology newsletter which will be published monthly in the Kearsarge Shopper. This issue gives a few practical appliance tips that can save you money and avoid an unnecessary appliance service call. Check out the entire issue here. Each issue will be archived and available for reading at www.applianceguru.com.
Starting next Tuesday, I'll be running a new ad in the Intertown Record, the prestigious local paper for New London, New Hampshire, and surrounding towns. Check it out, yo!
I am your gracious host, Samurai Appliance Repair Man.
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