Monthly Archives: September 2004

Fire in the Hole!

Whirlpool is recalling over 2,400 freestanding electric ranges, double ovens and oven microwave combos because of faulty wiring. This wiring can overheat, melt through the insulation and cause a short circuit. It could also pose a shock hazard. This recall applies to Whirlpool and Kitcenaid brands.

But wait, there’s more! Never to be outdone by quality defects, GE has announced that it’s recalling over 28,000 freestanding electric ranges and double wall ovens. The recalled products include General Electric, Hotpoint, Kenmore and Americana brands. They, too, could have faulty wiring which can lead to a short circuit or, better yet, electrocution. Ya gotta love GE.

For details about these recalls, go to

To learn more about your range/stove/oven, or to order parts, click here.

Appliance Repair Revelation: Removing the Agitator from Your Washing Machine

appliance tip of the day archiveTrying to remove the agitator from your top-loading washing machine but feeling, instead, like you’re failing miserably at an I.Q. test for nitwits? Fear not, my mentally-challenged grasshopper, for the Samurai shall illumine your murky path.

GE Old Style Washer: Remove agitator cap by pulling it off and look for a bolt, remove the bolt and pull up hard on the agitator. Not all models of this style washer has a retaining bolt.

GE New Style Washer: Use a old dryer belt or rope to help remove the agitator. Hook the rope/belt under the lower agitator fins and make the loops to the top. Use a board to help “pop” up the agitator, lift up on the side of the board that is sticking out further.

Whirlpool and Kenmore Direct Drive Washers: Remove the agitator cap, some caps unscrew and some will just pull off. Look for a bolt and remove the bolt, lift up on the agitator.

Maytag Dependable Care Washer: Locate a 1/4 inch screw on the side of the agitator, ( about 3/4 of the way down) remove this screw and lift up on the agitator.

Maytag Atlantis and Performa: Remove the cap and softener dispenser by pulling it off and locate the agitator bolt. Remove bolt and lift up on the agitator.

Frigidaire Washer, Older Models: Older style, unscrew the agitator cap and bolt, lift up on the agitator.

Frigidaire Washer, Newer Styles: Remove center cap–this can be difficult to do–by lifting up really hard on the center tab. Locate bolt and remove it and lift up on the agitator.

Amana Washer: The older washers have a bolt under the cap that must be removed to remove the agitator, then grab hold of the agitator and lift up. The newer washer agitator just pulls out, remove cap, if no bolt, just grab hold and lift up hard.

To learn more about your washer or to order parts, click here.

grasshoppers learning the ancient and mystical art of washing machine agitator removal from the master

Appliance Repair Revelation: The Cold Facts About Refrigerator Controls

appliance tip of the day archiveRefrigerator manufacturers do a really cruddy job of explaining how your refrigerator cold controls work. Consequently, almost every grasshopper I talk to is thoroughly confused about how those controls work and how to adjust them. Well, go grab you a cold one and let the Samurai enlighten you.

If you open the fresh food compartment of your fridge (the non-freezer compartment), you will most likely see two different controls. One refers to the refrigerator temperature and the other refers to the freezer. Different manufacturers use different wording, but the idea is the same.

The first thing you need to know in order to understand what these controls really do is that all the cold air in the entire refrigerator is made in the freezer compartment. A portion of that cold air is then blown into the fresh food compartment. How much cold air gets blown in is controlled by the "freezer" control, which is really just an air baffle that opens or closed to let more or less air into the fresh food compartment. The "refrigerator" control is actually a thermostat that feels the temperature inside the fresh food compartment and turns the compressor on and off according to the temperature that the thermostat feels.

Let’s run through an example. Suppose you decide that your ice cream isn’t hard enough. You adjust the "freezer" control to make your freezer colder. What you’re actually doing is restricting the amount of cold air that gets blown from the freezer into the fresh food compartment and so keeping more of the cold air in the freezer. As a result, the freezer will get colder but also the fresh food compartment will tend to get warmer because its cold air supply has been diminished. The "refrigerator" control (the thermostat) will feel this increase in temperature inside the fresh food compartment and will keep the compressor running longer in order to maintain the temperature setting on the "refrigerator" control. So, you can see that any change you make to one control will affect the other.

Many people then wonder, "Well, how do I know what the correct setting on the controls should be?" Since the temperature inside a refrigerator will vary according to lots of external factors such as frequency and duration of door openings, it is impossible to say where your controls should be set all the time in order to maintain a desired temperature in the freezer and fresh food compartments without knowing the actual temperature inside both compartments. For this reason, you should place two thermometers in your refrigerator: one in the fresh food compartment (the big one) and the other in your freezer. The controls should then be adjusted to achieve -10 to +10ºF in the freezer and between 36 and 38ºF in the fresh food compartment.

Keep in mind, too, that it takes 24 hours for any change in the controls to work through the system and reach steady state so don’t look for instantaneous changes in temperature when you make control setting changes. Knowing the actual temperature inside your refrigerator compartments is also a great way to save money on your power bill since you can adjust the controls to avoid running your compressor longer than needed to keep your food cold.

To learn more about refrigerators or to order parts, click here.

grasshoppers chillin' with the master as they meditate on cold air control and distribution in refrigerators