Category Archives: Appliance News

Appliantology Newsletter: Keep Your Furnace Firing This Winter

Appliantology Newsletter
Keep Your Furnace Firing This Winter
November 15, 2012
Presents Another Award-Winning Issue of…
As the temperatures drop, folks all around the country are firing up their furnaces to keep out the cold. This issue of Appliantology offers you some tips for keeping your furnace running at peak efficiency and some resources for repair help and parts in case your furnace breaks.
Replace Your Furnace Filter Now
This is the single most important and easiest thing you can do to keep your furnace running right.

One of the biggest complaints with forced hot air furnaces is that air inside the house can become laden with dust mites and micro allergens from the recirculated air. You can cut way down on these allergens and breathe easier if you replace your furnace filter with a high-efficiency, micro allergen reduction filter. More on that later. First, here are…
Three Reasons to Change your Furnace Air Filter Regularly
1. Prolong the life of your furnace.

Air filters prolong the life of your furnace by keeping harmful particles out of the blower motor and heat exchanger. The blower motor can burn out if not kept clean and costs more than $200 to replace. Additionally, by not changing your filters every month, you can do the same damage to your unit’s motor by restricting the airflow needed to prevent the motor from being overworked. Considering the potential costs of repairs, filters are very inexpensive.

2. Cut down on your energy cost.

The second reason for changing your air filters regularly is to cut down on your energy cost. A dirty air filter can increase your energy cost by 35% by causing the furnace to work harder and run longer to maintain the desired temperature.

3. Promote better air quality in your home.

The third reason to change your air filters regularly and upgrade to a higher-grade filter is that it promotes better air quality in your home. Replacing your filter on a regular basis will cut down on airborne particles that can aggravate allergies and carry viruses.

It’s important to note that all filters are not created equal and there are several different types of filters to chose from. How do you chose the right one for you? I’m glad you asked…
Types of Furnace Air Filters – How to Choose One Right For You
Typically, air filters are rated by the size of the particles they can remove. Most good furnace filters can easily remove particles larger than 10 microns in size, but the best filters are able to remove particles smaller than 3 microns. One micron is one millionth of a meter or approximately 1/25,000 of an inch. For comparison, a human hair is about 70 microns thick.

Most pleated filters have a performance rating that is assigned a number to indicate the level of effectiveness. Generally the higher this number is, the higher the performance of the filter.

Different manufacturers use different performance ratings but 3M’s MPR rating is emerging as the industry standard. MPR stands for Micro-particle Performance Rating. The 3M MPR rating focuses on the smallest and most troublesome particles – those between 0.3 and 1.0 Microns in size. Generally speaking, a filter with an MPR of 1000 is twice as effective at removing those tiny particles as a filter with a 500 MPR.

The flat panel fiberglass filter, such as this one, is the lowest cost filter available under $1.50 retail each. This is the least effective filter in terms of particle filtration, but is good for protecting equipment if changed regularly. Flat panel filters are designed to catch only larger particles, allowing smaller particles to pass through. Flat panel filters have no performance rating due to their low efficiency. The recommendation is to replace flat panel filters every 30 days.

The second type of filter is the basic pleated filter like this 3M 300 Dust Reducing filter. Compared to flat panel filters, the pleated filter is 5 times more effective in catching the airborne particles than flat panel filters allow to pass through. The retail for a basic pleated filter is under $5.00 each. Because they catch smaller particles, they are more efficient than fiberglass filters. They reduce energy costs by keeping your unit cleaner, as well as keeping your air quality at a higher standard. Basic pleated filters, based on testing of residential systems, need to be replaced every 30 days. The MPR rating on basic pleated filters ranges from 300 to 500.

The best type of filter we will discuss is the electrostatic pleated filter like this 3M 600 Dust and Pollen reducing filter or this 3M 1000 Micro Allergen filter all the way up to 3M’s top-of-the-line 2200 Elite Allergen Reduction filter.

Electrostatic filters have media that is charged with electric current during the manufacturing process, allowing the filter to attract smaller particles; much like a magnet attracts metal. 3M electrostatic filters have both positive & negative charges to attract dust no matter which charge it holds. Electrostatic filters are up to 18 times more effective than flat panel filters and have MPR rating of 600 to 2200. The average retail on this type of filter is from $7.86 to $ 10.96 each. These filters are designed to be replaced every 90 days. Considering the lifespan of these electrostatic filters, they not only do a better job of cleaning the air in your home but the cost less on a monthly basis because they don’t have to be changed as often.
Broken Furnace? Get Repair Help!
If your furnace does stop running or isn’t running right, come get interactive repair help in the HVAC Forum at the Appliantology Academy.

Our friends at RepairClinic.com, the premiere online source for appliance parts, now offer furnace parts for Carrier, Lennox, and York with the same awesome, hassle-free one-year return policy that they offer on appliance parts! To shop for furnace parts, click here.

For your convenience, here are direct links to the three most common types of furnace parts that you’ll need to replace:

1. Furnace Circuit Boards

2. Furnace Limit Thermostats

Samurai Appliance Repair Man, www.Appliantology.org

Appliantology Newsletter: Keep Your Oven Cooking for Thanksgiving


Appliantology Newsletter
Keep Your Oven Cooking for Thanksgiving
November 1, 2012
Presents
Running Your Oven’s Self-Clean Could Mean Cold Turkey on Thanksgiving Day
Professional Appliantologists mark the seasons by the mix of service calls we get. We’re just now coming out of refrigerator season and getting into the thick of oven season. Every year, in the few days leading up to Thanksgiving Day, I can always count on a ton of last-minute, panicked service calls.

“Why is that, Samurai?” you ask.

Well, I’ll tell you. For some reason, people always wait until the last few days before Thanksgiving Day to run the self-clean feature on their oven. Some folks may be thinking the oven should be clean before they cook the communal turkey in it. Others may be anticipating the meddlesome mother-in-law oven inspection. The problem is not “why” you run the self-clean, but “when.” Lemme explain…

During self-clean, the temperatures inside the oven cell can exceed 900F. This is very stressful on the oven’s sensor, door lock assembly, and electronic control board. If anything is on the verge of breaking, it will usually happen during the self-clean cycle. This means that if you think you’re going to run the self-clean cycle in your oven, don’t wait until a few days before before Thanksgiving Day, when you’ll need it to cook that big turkey for a house full of guests, do it now! Then, if something does break in the oven, you’ll have time to get it repaired and won’t end up in a last-minute panic trying to get your oven fixed.

According to Rob Marriott, National Technical Manager for Dacor, a manufacturer of high-end ranges and ovens, “If you’re going to use the self-clean feature, use it a lot or don’t use it at all.” The reason for this is that the most common thing to fail in an oven during self-clean is the door lock assembly. On many modern ovens, the door lock assembly has a little motor that locks and unlocks the door. This motor is controlled by the oven’s electronic control board (the control panel with the digital display). If this motor isn’t used on a regular basis, the accumulated grease that collects in the motor during normal use will coagulate and harden during self-clean and bind the motor so that it can’t unlock the door.

The oven temperature sensor is also stressed during self-clean and is the second-most common thing to fail during or after running the self-clean cycle. Less commonly, yet still prevalent, the oven’s electronic control board can fail due the extra heat it receives during self-clean.

Personally, we never run the oven self-clean cycle at the Samurai’s dojo. But, I understand there are lots of valid reasons why someone would want to, two of which I mentioned above. So, if you’re planning on running the self-clean in your oven, here are some…
Handy Links In Case Something Goes Wrong
Post your question, get your answer at our DIY appliance repair forums, The Samurai Appliance Repair Academy:

Get parts FAST– even overnight and Saturday delivery– for any brand and model of oven with a one-year return policy. Just enter your model number in the search box at the top of the page at Appliantology.org.

This picture shows you the most common places to look on your oven or range to find the model number tag.:

Happy Thanksgiving!
… and thanks for reading.
Samurai Appliance Repair Man, www.Appliantology.org

Appliantology Newsletter: Special Weapons and Tactics in Appliance Repair


Appliantology Newsletter
Special Weapons and Tactics in Appliance Repair
October 19, 2012
Presents
Special Weapons and Tactics in Appliance Repair
All Master Appliantologists acquire advanced repair katas during their years of hand-to-machine combat with malfunctioning appliances. Examples of how some of these Special Weapons and Tactics are used in appliance repair include:

– diagnosing elusive or subtle problems

– gaining insight into the condition of a component and assessing its likelihood of future or imminent failure

– testing specialized components to see whether they’re good or bad

– facilitating or implementing a particular repair

In this special issue of Appliantology, I’ll reveal some of my personal, favorite SWATs that I use on some service calls which can also be useful for amateur appliantologists working on their own appliances.

The Hand-Held Steamer
Good for all kinds of household tasks such as cleaning and disinfecting, the mighty hand-held steamer is indispensable for some appliance repairs. For example, defrosting a frosted-up evaporator coil or clearing a clogged condensate drain in a refrigerator. In fact, since I’ve been using my steamer, I can’t imagine doing these types of repairs without it! It’s makes quick work of these messy jobs.

Take a look at the icy mess in the freezer in this video; this repair would have taken over two hours without a steamer but, with the steamer, I did this entire repair in less than an hour!

You can buy the very same steamer I used in the video at Amazon for $15 less than what I paid for it! http://amzn.to/OPggAo

Refrigerator Temperature Data Logger
Sometimes I run into situations where I need a way to log temperature data inside a refrigerator for at least 24 hours to get a clear picture of what’s going on inside that box. A couple of examples are:

1. Customer complains of warm temperatures in the beer compartment of her Maytag side-by-side refrigerator but says that the freezer compartment is fine (and we know how accurate customer temperature measurements are… NOT!). You arrive and measure the freezer temperature using your infrared temperature gun and get readings that vary from +5F to +12F. Marginal temperatures for a freezer but was that because it was just coming out of a defrost or off-cycle? Was the door recently opened just before you got there? You don’t know, and all you have is the one data point: the measurement you just made. Wouldn’t it help your diagnosis if you could put a data logger inside the freezer for a day or so and then look at a graph of the actual temperature measurements inside that freezer over time?

2. Customer complains that the freezer temperature in her GE built-in refrigerator fluctuates over time from 5F to 10F to 20F and then back to hard freeze. You maybe even verified this yourself (if you spent enough time there to do this). But how much time in a typical service call day do you have to babysit freezer temperatures? And you still wouldn’t be able to gather enough temperature-time data points to discern whether or not there’s a pattern to the fluctuations which could then be correlated to some other process in the refrigerator (defrost cycles, compressor cycles, etc.). Even seeing that there is no pattern, that the fluctuations are random, is also helpful because it could indicate something as simple as the door not being closed all the way (hinge adjustment issue?).

In cases like these, you just gotta be able to look at the temperature inside the compartment over an extended period of time. Enter the Supco LT2 LOGiT Dual Channel Temperature Data Logger. Here’s a video of me showing you how to set up and use the data logger:

Here’s the link where you can buy the Supco LT2 data logger at Amazon: http://amzn.to/WLMe2t

and you’ll need this software kit to get the data to your Windows PC, also available at Amazon: http://amzn.to/S3bmhb

Special Meter Technique for Testing a Microwave Oven High Voltage Rectifier
You probably know how to use a multimeter to make simple electrical measurements, like voltage and resistance. (If not, then see this page at my blog for a simple tutorial on using a multimeter: http://fixitnow.com/wp/2004/12/18/appliance-repair-revelation-making-basic-electrical-measurements/ ) But sometimes, you have to do a voltage test in an unusual way to check whether a component is good or bad. A common example of this is testing the high voltage rectifier (also called a diode) in a microwave oven. This is an inexpensive, common-fail part that will stop the microwave from heating if it breaks.

For most rectifiers, you test ’em by simply measuring the resistance and then switching the leads and checking it again– should read open (high resistance) in one direction and closed (low resistance) in the other. But microwave high voltage rectifiers are a special case because their internal resistance is so high that you’ll just read open in both directions and you can’t tell whether it’s good or bad that way. So, to test them, you have to actually do a voltage test using a 9 volt battery. This esoteric kata is fully revealed in this video:

The Mega-Ohm Meter (or “Megger”)
One of the common failures with a refrigerator compressor is that the varnish insulation on the motor windings starts to break down and then begins leaking current to ground. If the current leakage is large enough, you can deduce that this is happening by measuring compressor current draw– an abnormally high reading combined with the compressor running hotter than normal are sure signs that the insulation on the compressor motor windings is breaking down and the compressor is not long for this world.

Or you could directly test the compressor motor windings using an instrument called a mega-ohm meter, or “megger,” to directly test the integrity of the winding insulation. I use an inexpensive megger that cost less than $100 (back when I bought it a million years ago– it’s not much more than that now). This video shows using a megger to check the compressor motor:

You can buy the updated version of the Supco megger that I used in the video at Amazon: http://amzn.to/R8LDGd

The Clamp-On Amp Meter
Measuring current flow through a circuit or component is a powerful troubleshooting tool to have in your appliance repair SWAT bag.

For example, on a Bosch dishwasher that’s not heating, a quick current measurement a few minutes into the cycle will tell you whether or not current is flowing through the heater. If not, yet the control board is supplying 120 volts to the heater circuit, then you know the problem lies in the heating circuit itself because something in that circuit (heater, NTC, etc.) is open, stopping current flow.

Other times, the only way you can tell whether or not a part is bad is by measuring the current flow throughout that part. For example, the ignitor in a gas oven glows but the bake burner never fires up: is it a bad gas valve? Bad ignitor? Flip a coin and guess? No need to guess if you can make a simple current measurement. (Note that an ignitor can glow and still be bad– in fact, this is the most common case.) This video shows you how:

I prefer Fluke meters and I own two Fluke amp meters. Here’s the Amazon link to the one shown in the video, the Fluke T5, which is well under $100: http://amzn.to/Rd5pPh

And I also own the Fluke 322 which is a little more expensive (still under $100) but also more versatile: http://amzn.to/RIsQPf

And Hey!…
You can find whatever appliance part you need through the parts search box at Appliantology.org:

No harm in buying and trying with our 365-day, no-hassle return policy, even on electrical parts that were installed! And now shipping to Canada, too!

I frequently make videos when I’m on service calls and upload them to YouTube. Keep up with my latest uploads by subscribing to my YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/samurairepairman

Reading this online and want your own, personal copy of Appliantology delivered to your inbox in a discreet brown wrapper? Subscribe here: http://newsletter.appliantology.org/
Samurai Appliance Repair Man, www.Appliantology.org

Appliantology Newsletter: Front Load Washer Washouts


Appliantology Newsletter
Front Load Washer Washouts
October 1, 2012
Presents…
The Wisdom of Master Samurai and Appliantologist, Miyamoto Mushashi
One thing I’ve learned after years of being an appliance repair Samurai is how to pick your battles. You don’t want to engage in hand-to-appliance combat with an appliance that’s not worth repairing, such as with a front loading washer with a failure in either the inner basket or outer drum.

An inner basket failure is a corroded or broken drum support spider assembly, like this one:

See this page for examples and further explanation.

The most common outer tub failure is a bad drum bearing, but it can take other, more subtle forms.

“But, wise and besotted Samurai,” you ask incredulously, “what is it about these particular failures that makes even you, a seasoned veteran of the Appliance Wars, slink away from these battles like a ninja in the night?”

Ahh, Grasshoppah, in the words of my venerable Master, Miyamoto Mushashi, “You must understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain [of Appliantology].”

The parts alone for these repairs can run well over $500 and can take several hours to repair, sometimes requiring a second man. And then there are other things that can fail in the washer at a later time: motors, motor control boards, door boots, etc. So I ask you, Grasshoppah, would you rather spend your precious time, blood, and money resurrecting a machine that has given up the will to live or would you rather spend about the same amount of money and far less time purchasing a new washing machine?

What appears to you as running away from a fight is in reality another path to the top of the mountain of Appliantology. And to get there, you must learn to, “Perceive that which cannot be seen with the eye,” as my Master taught.

To help you “Perceive that which cannot be seen with the eye,” I have assembled three videos from my various encounters with these types of catastrophic failures in front-load washers to help you discern the situation and make a wise decision. Watch and learn, Grasshoppah…
Diagnosing a Broken Drum Support Spider
In this first video, you’ll hear the noise that a broken drum support spider makes at low RPMs. The customer called in with the complaint that the drum would bind while running, stalling the cycle and causing the control to flash an error code. Watch and learn the distinctive noise this particular failure makes:

Diagnosing Bad Drum Bearings
Bad drum bearings in a front loading washer can manifest in a variety of ways. In this case, the customer called with the complaint that her Whirlpool Duet (Kenmore-labelled) washer was stopping during the cycle and, upon further questioning, also showing the F06 error code. The F06 error code is a tachometer error which, as it turns out in this case, was actually being caused by the drum bearings binding and interfering with the drum rotation. I could hear the bad drum bearings when I ran the washer in a spin cycle.

Bad bearings can make a variety of noises depending on exactly how they are failing; you could hear a roaring noise like a jet engine or a clanking noise like in this video. But they all have one thing in common: they originate from the back of the washer and manifest audibly during the spin cycle. Had she reported that the washer was making this noise during spin, I could have saved her a service call fee!

BTW, this particular washer is only 5 years old. Her daughter has the exact same washer, same age, and reports the same problem. An all-too common story with the Whirlpool Duet line of front loading washers.

Diagnosing Outer Tub Failure
This video is a great illustration of why it’s so important to properly identify cause and effect when troubleshooting. In this case, what the customer saw as the problem, a twisted door boot (or gasket), was actually an effect of an underlying, catastrophic cause: outer drum failure. You want to make sure you’re fixing the actual cause and not the effect.

Oh, Canada!
Finally, after years of travail and miles of paper work trails, we are now shipping parts to our cool neighbors in the Great White North! Same great prices, same awesome one-year, hassle-free return policy as we’ve always offered our customers here in the (once upon a time) Land of the Free! Come git you some using the Smart Parts Search Box at The Appliantology Academy:

Wisdom from The Oz Man
Heed the wisdom of The Oz Man and don’t let the beauty of this Autumn pass you by: get up off your duff, get outside and take a hike!

Samurai Appliance Repair Man, www.Appliantology.org

Appliantology Newsletter: The Art of Troubleshooting


Appliantology Newsletter
The Art of Troubleshooting
August 12, 2012

Presents another award-winning issue of…

The Ancient and Mystical Art of Troubleshooting
A long, long time ago, people did things like read books instead of surfing the Internet or had thoughtful discussions about complicated topics instead of yelling political slogans and sound bites at each other. Most folks also had at least a conceptual understanding of the process of troubleshooting: the logical, step-by-step progression of tracking down the cause of a problem.

To troubleshoot an appliance, you first need to have a basic understanding of how that appliance is supposed to work both from the operator’s standpoint and how the components inside are supposed to work together. In other words, to figure out what’s wrong, you first have to know what “right” is. Then begin troubleshooting right at the problem and step through, checking inputs and outputs, whether mechanical or electrical.

For example, an oven electric bake element isn’t getting hot and is not visibly damaged. The element needs 240 VAC to get hot, 120 VAC at each of its terminals. The voltage at the terminals is controlled and delivered by different circuits or components inside the oven. Many people would just immediately replace the element, not even considering how the element works or checking to see if it’s getting the voltage it needs to operate. Maybe they get lucky and fix the problem, but that’s not troubleshooting. That’s changing parts like a monkey.

Appliance repair servicers who practice their trade like that are not technicians or Professional Appliantologists; they are called “parts changing monkeys.”

Parts changing monkeys can cost you a lot of time, frustration, and money.
Beware the Parts Changing Monkey!
What’s a parts changing monkey, you ask?

He (or she) is someone who knows how to change out parts on your appliance, but doesn’t know how to actually troubleshoot the problem. Based on your problem description, he will change out the most obvious part involved and hope that fixes the problem. That works just often enough to get by in many repair situations, but there are other times it results in a major rip-off of the customer.

Here’s a repair saga where I followed up behind a parts changing monkey who never bothered to troubleshoot an overfilling complaint on a GE front-loading washer. He had replaced two parts without fixing the problem and was trying to convince the owner to replace a third. I was called in and quickly found the actual malfunctioning component that monkey-boy failed to even check. It’s not rocket science! You just need to have a basic understanding of how these machines work, and that information is readily available in posts like this:

Wisdom! Let Us Attend!
You can find whatever appliance part you need through the parts search box at The Appliantology Academy. No harm in buying and trying with our 365-day, no-hassle return policy, even on electrical parts that were installed!

I’m always uploading new videos to my YouTube channel of my real-life appliance repair adventures that I do in people’s homes. I film, produce, and upload all these videos completely from my iPhone so they’re not all professional and slick looking but they are enlightening. You can keep up with ’em by subscribing to my YouTube Channel.

You can get more repair tips by liking our Facebook page.
Samurai Appliance Repair Man, www.Appliantology.org

Appliantology Newsletter: Weird Washer Leaks


Appliantology Newsletter
Weird Washer Leaks
August 3, 2012
Presents another award-winning issue of…

Brethren…
… and I mean that in the most gender-inclusive way… Let us open our Appliantology Hymnals to the Seventh Law of the Prophecy, wherein it is written, on whatever they use to write prophecies with, that, “All leaks are visual.” Yea verily, greater truth hath never been uttered. Can I hear an, “Amen?” Well, how about a “Hello, Newman?”

This issue of the Appliantology epistle will show you in living color just how self-evident we hold these truths to be. The Samurai will reveal unto thee two example cases where this sacred Appliantological precept was applied to successfully locate and repair unusual, uncommon, even weird leak sources in washing machines. One case will be a front-loader and the other a top-loader. In both cases, the Seventh Law of the Prophecy is applied to successfully vanquish the leak.
Locating and Repairing a Mystery Leak in a Front-loading Washer
Watch with shock and awe as Samurai Appliance Repair Man ruthlessly ferrets out the source of a leak in a front-loading washing machine and then mercilessly repairs it.

Locating and Repairing a Leak in a Maytag Bravo / Whirlpool Cabrio / Kenmore Oasis Washer
In this excursion into appliance repair excellence, the Samurai shows you how to locate the source of a leak in a Maytag Bravo washing machine and how to fix it. In case you didn’t figure it out from the title of this post, the Maytag Bravo, Whirlpool Cabrio, and Kenmore Oasis washers are all the same machine so this sublime repair kata applies to all three.

Addendum to the Last Issue, “Get the Apprentice Advantage”
One thing I meant in include in the last issue of Appliantology is this very important Apprenticeship offer:

If you have ever contributed any amount to the United Samurai Beer Fund prior to July 30, 2012, you are eligible for a complimentary promotion to Merit Apprentice Appliantologist together with all the rights and privileges thereof. Just Contact the Samurai and tell him the email address associated with your Paypal account from which you would have made the donation and he will promote you. This is our way of saying “Mucho Domos!” for your love-offering of support in the past.
And Hey!
Keep up with all the Samurai’s repair adventures by subscribing to his Youtube channel. Kanpai!
Samurai Appliance Repair Man, www.Appliantology.org

Appliantology Newsletter: Get the Apprentice Advantage!


Appliantology Newsletter
Get the Apprentice Advantage!
July 30, 2012
Presents another award-winning issue of…
It’s All You Can Eat… FREE!
In our continuing efforts to enhance your experience in getting the expert appliantological wisdom you need to repair your appliances, we have made some improvements to the Appliantology Academy.
With over 200,000 posts in the Appliantology repair forums, a quick search using the box in the upper right-hand corner of this page or using the Super Site Search box may reveal all the help you need for your specific appliance problem. Any guest or registered Grasshopper can access all of the posts in the Kitchen and Laundry forums absolutely free of charge.
That’s a great deal. But you need to know that there is a LOT more help available to you at the Academy if you need or want it.
To Unleash the Full Power of the Academy, Become an Apprentice
Here are the awesome advantages you receive as an Apprentice Appliantologist:
POSTING PRIVILEGES: You can start, edit, or reply to posts. Start a topic with your particular appliance repair question, and receive personal, interactive help from the team of talented Master Appliantologists. They will step you through your repair from start to finish with troubleshooting instructions, diagrams, photos, videos, insider tips, or whatever it takes to help you get the job done. BAM!
LIVE CHAT WITH THE MASTERS: Got a quick question or need help fast? Head on over to the Appliantology Chat Room and ask one of the Appliantology Masters… LIVE! If one of the Masters is in there, go ahead and ask. We’re here to help!
SERVICE MANUALS: Having access to the service manual for your appliance is another powerful information tool that may be a crucial help in completing your repair. You can get manuals either in the Downloads section of this site or, if you’re not finding the manual you need there, just ask us in the Appliance Service Manual Request Forum and we’ll git it to you taco-pronto!
ALL-FORUM ACCESS: Move beyond your kitchen and laundry appliances and participate in the many other forums at the Academy, such as Small Appliances, HVAC, Water Heaters, and more!
PRIVATE MESSAGING: Communication with the Masters becomes much easier with the addition of private messaging to your toolkit!
All of this Appliantological power at your fingertips, for as little as $10.
Go Ahead and Take the Next Step!
STEP 1: REGISTER AS A GRASSHOPPER (free) ==> CLICK HERE (If you’ve already registered, make sure you’re logged in– look for your username in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.)
STEP 2: SELECT YOUR APPRENTICESHIP PACKAGE ==>CLICK HERE
STEP 3: STRAP YOURSELF IN AND PREPARE FOR TOTAL APPLIANCE ENLIGHTENMENT™!
FAQs About the Appliantology Academy Apprenticeship Program
Q: Why should I pay to get help at your site instead of just going to another site that’s free?
A: Generally in life, you get what you pay for and that goes for the quality of help you get. And remember, the help you get at the Appliantology Academy isn’t limited to the just forum replies– you get service manuals and live chat access, too. At the Appliantology Academy, you’ll get priority attention from an elite corps of hand-picked, internationally-renowned Master Appliantologists together with the service manuals and technical bulletins you need to get it fixed right and fixed right away!
Q: Why are the subscription fees so low?
A: Thanks for asking! We’re not trying to make a profit off the subscriptions, we’re just trying to cover our costs which include web hosting, bandwidth, and software licensing fees and also the time it takes to actually run and maintain the site– time I could be spending earning money running my local service call business.
Q: Most websites today have Google ads on them, but I didn’t see any at the Appliantology Academy. Why not?
A: Thanks for noticing! I don’t run Google Ads at the Appliantology Academy because I value a neat, clear and uncluttered user experience over the few extra shekels that I could make by junking up the site with them. I think Google ads make a site look junky and cheesy. I don’t run them at my blog, Fixitnow.com, either for the same reason.
Q: You’re just charging money because you’re greedy.
A: Well, that’s not a question, it’s actually a Marxist accusation, the implication being that money somehow defiles an otherwise “pure and pristine” association. The sad reality is that it takes money to do anything worthwhile. Perhaps the cruelest irony of all, even building a Marxist temple or running Obama’s re-election campaign require money. Where’s the justice in that? No justice, no peas!
The time and resources I spend running the Appliantology Academy could be spent doing paying service calls in my local area and earning money for things like food, medical bills, mortgage payment, power bills, etc., not to mention the confiscatory taxes we’re all forced to pay at the local, state, and federal levels. So, if it makes you feel better, think of your subscription fees as helping to pay for Obama Care (if you’re a Democrat) or to help pay for more foreign wars and corporate welfare (if you’re a Republican).
But, because we feel your pain, we do offer a special tool to help you build up your shekels and buy an Apprenticeship subscription.
See you in the Academy!

Domo for reading and Sayanara!

Samurai Appliance Repair Man, www.Appliantology.org

Appliantology Newsletter: Secret Refrigerator Repair Tricks


Appliantology Newsletter
Secret Refrigerator Repair Tricks
Early-July 2012
Trade Secrets
Okay, before I divulge protected trade secrets for fixing refrigerators, I have to ask for your solemn vow of silence. Divulging this information to the profane can get me in big trouble with my Brethren in The Craft. I could get thrown out of the International Appliance Repair Guild! So, please, if you feel like sharing these secrets with someone, do so by forwarding them this entire newletter. That way, nothing can get taken out of context that might get me trouble with The Brethren. Domo!
Refrigerator Warming Up in Both Compartments and No Frost on the Back Wall Inside the Freezer?
This will be one of four things:

1. Dirty condenser (preventable)
2. Burned out compressor start relay (very fixable)
3. Bad or lazy condenser fan motor (very fixable)
4. Bad compressor or sealed system (“freon”) leak (terminal event: go shopping)

As indicated, the first three causes are very fixable, even preventable. But the fourth one is a 4th Down Time to Punt event. That’s because EPA’s DuPont regulations have made doing sealed system work so expensive that it’s not cost-effective to do it on most refrigerators… unless you paid so much for the box that you’re married to it (a la Sub-Zero). So, lots of easily-repairable refrigerators choking up the landfills today.

Be that as it may, let’s talk about the first three things that we can do something about…
Dirty Condenser
A dirty condenser will make any refrigerator warm up. Even the mighty Sub-Zero is not immune from a dirty condenser’s refrigerator-killing effects. Check this out, this could be you:

Burned Out Compressor Start Relay / Bad or Lazy Condenser Fan Motor
I grouped these two things together because they can and do occur together but most people, including most technicians, don’t catch this. But you, dear reader, are now privvy to one to the Samurai’s most cherished repair tricks…

And Hey! …
I frequently upload new videos to my YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe so you can check ’em out as soon as they’re uploaded: Samurai’s YouTube Channel

You can find whatever appliance part you need through the parts search box at Fixitnow.com or Appliantology.org. No harm in buying and trying with our 365-day, no-hassle return policy, even on electrical parts that were installed!

Samurai Appliance Repair Man, Fixitnow.com

Appliantology Newsletter: Stupid Plumber Tricks & Flooding Washers


Appliantology Newsletter
Stupid Plumber Tricks & Flooding Washers
June 2012
Don’t Let this Happen to You…
Yet another case of a washing machine that overfills and floods from the “Stupid Plumber’s Trick.” Typically, what happens is that the water flow got choked off in the washer and the machine started filling slowly, or the cold water stopped coming in. For some inexplicable reason, the owner got their plumber involved. Some hack plumbers (a small subset of the venerable plumbing trade) are famous for not knowing what they don’t know but *think* they know it all.

So the hack plumber starts poking around and opens the water inlet valve in back of the washer. He sees the protective sediment screens (note the word “protective”) clogged up with sediment and says, “Aha! I done found the problem! I’ll just remove these stupid screens that keep clogging up and problem solved. Imma frikkin’ genius!”

So instead of fixing the real problem, which is to install a sediment filter in the house water system, Stupid Plumber creates a new, bigger problem: now the valve is completely exposed to sediment damage and the piston inside the valve can– and often does– get stuck open so it can no longer shut off the flow of water into the washer. And the washer floods. I see this over and over again. Here are two examples; if you click the images below, it’ll take you to the video on YouTube where you can watch and hear more gory details:

Now, don’t get me wrong ‘cuz I ain’t complainin’ too much– fixing the boo-boos that those stupid plumbers make are helping me pay for my daughter’s big fat Greek wedding this September. So next time you see a plumber doing stupid tricks on an appliance, tell him Samurai Appliance Repair Man and The Appliance Guru said, “Domo, dude!”
Samurai Appliance Repair Man, www.Fixitnow.com

Appliantology Newsletter: Refrigerator Repair Visualized


Appliantology Newsletter
Refrigerator Repair Visualized
Late-May 2012
Professional Appliantologists mark the seasons by the prevalence of a particular appliance failure. For example, we are currently in what we professional Appliantologists call, “Refrigerator Season.” This is the time of year when the warm, humid weather brings out all those incipient and latent problems with your refrigerator: fresh food (beer) compartment no longer cold, no ice from the ice maker, water leaking from the freezer, etc. This issue offers you visual (video) repair tips for various common refrigerator problems that you’re likely to see this Refrigerator Season. These are just a few selections– check out all the videos on our Youtube channel. Each week we add new videos; subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss ’em!
Troubleshooting a Water Dispenser that Quit Dispensing Water

Fixing a Refrigerator with a Warm Beer (fresh food) Compartment

Fixing an Ice Dispenser that Only Dispenses Crushed Ice

Troubleshooting the Electronics in an LG Refrigerator

Appliantology.org, www.Appliantology.org

Appliantology Newsletter: The Warm Refrigerator Fire Drill


Appliantology Newsletter
The Warm Refrigerator Fire Drill
Early-May 2012
The Warm Refrigerator Fire Drill

So you’re minding your own business, going about your morning and getting ready for work. You open the refrigerator for your morning beer and discover, to your horror, that all the beer is warm! Bile burns the back of your throat as your trembling hands frantically search the internet for an answer. But your terror turns into frustration and then outright rage after you’ve sifted through a dozen pages of fluff and non-answers. Why isn’t there a page that can just methodically guide a panic-stricken mind through process of figuring out what’s wrong with his warm refrigerator?
Ahh, but there is! Behold the Samurai’s Warm Refrigerator Flowchart. It’s the perfect page for a Grasshoppah facing down a warm refrigerator. The Samurai methodically and expertly steps you through the diagnosis and then links you to the page that shows you exactly how to fix the problem. Check out the Warm Refrigerator Flowchart, download it today and keep it handy. Also makes a great gift for that special someone who already has it all.
Washer & Dryer Recommendations

In this episode of their award-winning and internationally-acclaimed podcast on Fixitnow.com Radio, Samurai Appliance Repair Man and Mrs. Samurai discuss their recommendations if you’re considering buying a new washer and dryer. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, it’ll become a part of you. Come have a listen.
In the podcast, they discuss stand-alone machines; if you’re thinking about buying a stack laundry unit, you’ll want to watch this short video from the Samurai’s alter-ego.
Appliance Service in New London, NH

The Samurai is re-launching his local in-home appliance service business as The Appliance Guru. It’s an old business with a new name. Why? Well, our other business name, Fixitnow.com Samurai Appliance Repair Man, plays well on the web but we discovered not so good as a service business. For one thing, people just could not seem to remember the web site address, Fixitnow.com. Invariably, they’d ask, “What was it again, Fixit.com?” We actually had a local writer do an entire article in a local magazine about our site and she re-named it, “Fixitagain.com!” Read more about our name change here.
So if you live in the New London, New Hampshire, area or know someone who does, please keep The Appliance Guru in mind for expert in-home appliance repair service!
The Appliantology Academy, www.Appliantology.org

Appliantology Newsletter: Making Refrigerator Water Safe


Appliantology Newsletter
Making Refrigerator Water Safe
Mid-April 2012
What kind of gookus is lurking in the water and ice from your refrigerator?
What kind of gookus is lurking in your water?Short answer: you don’t wanna know! As the water filter in your refrigerator removes bad taste and scale from the water used in your ice maker and fountain, it accumulates lots of poisonous yucky stuff often found in tap water such as lead, asbestos, chlorine, giardia, cysts, pesticides, and herbicides. But after six to 12 months of use, the water filter becomes saturated and needs to be replaced because it’s no longer filtering out the bad stuff. Instead, you’re drinking it all in. Replacing the water filter is a snap and we have replacement filters for all brands and models of refrigerators and even add-on filters. Check out our selection of refrigerator water filters.
Adding an ice maker to your refrigerator is a snap!
Looking to replace your dearly departed icemaker? Sick of filling ice cube trays and you’re finally ready to install an icemaker kit in your fridge? Figuring out which kit you need can be confusing. Let this handy table be your guiding light.
And check out these recent episodes of our award-winning podcast:
Death By Chocolate
This decadent dessert is a legend at our parish’s Paschal (Easter) feast – the serving bowl is often literally licked clean when everyone is done! It’s super easy because it relies on box mixes and Cool Whip, but somehow the combination of the various ingredients results in a surprisingly tasty and even elegant completed dish. Come git you some!
The Appliantology Academy www.Appliantology.org

Perfect Appliance Gift Ideas

The Samurai has scoured both the Innernet AND the Outernet rounding up those perfect Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, and Festivus gift ideas for that special Fixer Dude or Dudette in your life.  Click the photos for more info or to purchase.

 

Stay warm AND safe with this Pocket Air Check combustible gas leak detector. Works with Natural and LP gas.

Gas Leak Detector - Part # 1028649 Mfg Part # 500A0300A

 

Multimeter.  The indispensable tool for every DIYer.  Specs: Volts AC 750 , Volts DC 1000, Amps AC 10, Resistance max. (Ohms) 2M, Continuity, Temperature -4 °F to 2498° F, Display (Counts) 2,000, Operating Temperature 32° F to 74° F (0°C to 23°C), Fuse Protection mA: 0.2A/ 250V, Power 9 V Battery (included), Size 5.5″L x 3″W x 1.5″. Temp probe included.

Multimeter - Part # 964740 Mfg Part # DM10T

 

Non-contact A/C voltage detector. Test for voltage without touching any bare wires. This detector works by sensing voltage through the wire’s insulation. Detector has an audible beeper and visible flashing light indicator.

Voltage Tester - Part # 1255942 Mfg Part # 1000100009

 

3 in 1 tool for splicing wires. Has wire strippers for stripping off insulation from the wire. Crimpers for crimping solderless connectors and bolt cutters for cutting small bolts. High quality.

Wire Splicing Tool - Part # 967613 Mfg Part # 1002

 

240 Volt 240 Volt outlet checkers for checking the outlets on electric ranges and dryers.

Tool - Part # 1176379 Mfg Part # 4396932

 

Dryer Vent Tester for testing the backpressure on a dryer vent.  Excessive backpressure is the single most common cause of overly long dryer times, repeatedly blowing thermal fuses and poor dryer performance.  A vent can be free of lint and still be bad!  Use this spiffy tool to check your dryer vent.  A must-have if you’re a pro in the trade.

Tool - Part # 1447456 Mfg Part # W10106710

 

Microwave leakage detector.

Microwave Test Kit - Part # 1668485 Mfg Part # A138

 

Refrigerator and freezer thermometer, temps from -20 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Thermometer face has special markings to show where food is safe and where it is at risk of spoilage.

Thermometer - Part # 903650 Mfg Part # 8171720

 

The Kill-A-Watt Energy Usage Meter. This plug-in meter allows you to track total power consumption by hour, day, week, month, or year. Also displays Voltage (V), Line Frequency (Hz), and Power Factor (PF). 15 amp maximum. No batteries required. Accepts standard 110 volt plugs, 2 or 3 prong.

Energy Usage Meter - Part # 1012487 Mfg Part # P4400

 

Freezer alarm, sounds if freezer temperature goes above 15 degrees.  Never lose expensive frozen foods again!

Freezer Alarm - Part # 786349 Mfg Part # 8171458

 

Gasohol tester.  Used to test the alcohol content in the fuel.

Gasohol Tester - Part # 1611245 Mfg Part # 795161

 

Polder 3 function thermometer: large LCD read out displays the temperature of food during cooking. Presettable HI/LOW and inside the range temperature alert. Timer: 24 hour count down and count-up. Clock: Real-time clock. Stainless steel probe. Temperature chart and battery included.

Digital Meat Thermometer - Part # 905158 Mfg Part # 601-90

 

Glide n Guard floor protector for appliance moving.

Floor Protectors for Moving Appliance - Part # 12914 Mfg Part # 93001

 

Affresh HE Washer Cleaner Pack – Use once a month to keep your HE (high efficiency) washer clean and odor-free! 3 Power Puck tablets and 4 Grit Grabber cloths per box.

Cleaner Kit - Part # 1914804 Mfg Part # W10306172

 

Affresh Dishwasher and Disposal Cleaner – 6 Tablets.

Dishwasher and Disposer Cleaner - Part # 1552531 Mfg Part # W10282479

 

Glisten dishwasher cleaner

Dishwasher Cleaner - Part # 1915432 Mfg Part # 5304482929

 

Refrigerator and freezer condenser coil cleaning brush with instructions. Also works great for dryer lint.

Long Handled Bristle Brush - Part # 12859 Mfg Part # 5303318693

 

Solid-surface range element cleaner (Sponge no longer included).

Solid Surface Element Cleaner - Part # 12830 Mfg Part # 5303310267

 

Vacuum cleaner attachment for condenser and dryer cleaning – This long vacuum cleaner attachment will help to clean dust and lint build-up in and around your refrigerator condenser coils underneath the refrigerator and dryer lint in the area where the lint filter is inserted. Fits 1-1/4 inch vacuum hose.

Vacuum Hose Attachment - Part # 1544893 Mfg Part # 8171579A

 

Dryer vent cleaning brush. For 4″ diameter round ducts. 20 feet long.

20 Foot Vent Cleaning Brush - Part # 424663 Mfg Part # 18001034

 

Complete Ceramic Cooktop Care Kit – contains a 10 ounce Cooktop Cleaner to clean and polish all glass or ceramic cooktops. A 4 ounce bottle of Cooktop Protectant. Six small cooktop cleaning pads and one larger Cooktop Protectant applicator.

Glass Cooktop Cleaner - Part # 959474 Mfg Part # 31605

 

Stainless steel cleaner.

Stainless Steel Cleaner - Part # 1542817 Mfg Part # 31462A

 

Gas grate cleaner.

Grate Cleaner - Part # 496592 Mfg Part # 316119700

 

Rust remover – Removes rust stains from clothes, dishes, glassware, kitchen and bathroom fixtures, painted surfaces, concrete and water softeners. 16-ounce bottle.

Rust Remover - Part # 1550725 Mfg Part # W10278629

 

Appliantology Newsletter, May 2011: The Case of the Leaking Refrigerator

Appliantology Newsletter, May 2011: The Case of the Leaking Refrigerator

Greetings and Permutations to all my fellow Appliantologists!

This month, the Samurai brings you glad tidings for a refrigerator problem that lots of folks are having this time of year: water leaking out of the refrigerator.

The good news is that this is easy to repair and usually requires no parts.

The bad news is… well, there is no bad news!

The cause is what we professional Appliantologists call a “plugged condensate drain.”

I hear you; at this moment you’re wondering to yourself, “What, o besotted Samurai, is a condensate drain and in what unspeakable manner does it become plugged?”

Good question and Im’ma splain it to you.

Y’see, Hoss, there’s this coil inside your freezer compartment that gets real cold and that’s where all your cold air for the entire box is made. This coil normally runs at a temperature of about -15F. That’s enough to give anyone a pointy chest! The fan inside the freezer pulls air across those chilly coils and cools it down to about 0F.

Well, it don’t take a nucular fizzisist, like yours kinda truly, to know that at that temperature, water vapor will freeze into white fuzzy ice on that thang faster than fried on rice in a hot wok. After a short while, that frost can build up so thick that the air is no longer contacting the coils but is flowing over the fuzzy ice instead, which is at a considerably higher temperature than -15F.

Okay, enough theory. Periodically, the refrigerator has to defrost that coil in the freezer. When it does this, all that frost is melted into water that we professional Appliantologists called “condensate,” which then runs into a trough with a drain hole underneath the coil and then on down to the condensate drain pan down by the compressor, where it evaporates.

Pop quiz: Where does all that melted condensate go if the drain hole in the trough happens to be plugged?

Answer: Out onto your floor!

To fix this, you have to remove that back wall inside the freezer and clear the trough and drain. Don’t be surprised if you find a slab of ice there. Or there may be an ice plug extending down the condensate drain hole. You just need to patiently work at it with hot salt water. The salt helps melt the ice faster, but be careful not to get the salt water on the coil because it could cause corrosion. If you’re not comfortable using salt, just use plain hot water and add a little more patience.

If you need help taking your fridge apart so you can get at this stuff, come to the Samurai School of Appliantology and start a new topic in the Kitchen Forum. We can post diagrams and instructions that’ll show you how to get to the condensate drain and get ‘er done. In fact, we can help you fix any of your appliances that are givin’ you some trouble.

And if you need appliance parts, get ’em thru the parts search box at the top of the page there at the Samurai School. There’s a one year warranty on all parts ordered thru the site so, if you order a part and it doesn’t fix it, return it for a refund– even special order or electrical parts that you already installed! It’s the deal of a lifetime!

Samurai Appliance Repair Man
http://fixitnow.com

The Samurai School of Appliantology
http://appliantology.org

#Appliantology Newsletter, April 2011: #Refrigerator and #IceMaker Maintenance

Refrigerator and Ice Maker Maintenance

We’re trying out a new concept for a newsletter here in Samurai-land. In
addition to the quarterly (or so) full-blown newsletter with lots of
diverse information, we’re going to experiment with a monthly, shorter
issue that focuses on scheduled preventative maintenance tips for specific
appliances. Let us know whatcha think. If it’s not useful to you, then
please lemme know ‘cuz, if that’s the case, then I’d rather be out hiking
in the mountains instead of playing tippety-tap on the keyboard.

This being early Spring, we usually start getting lots of refrigerator and
ice maker service calls. Here are some things you can do that may help
avoid a service call on these cold appliances.

Refrigerator or stand-alone Freezer

Manual Defrost Refrigerator or Freezer

On manual-defrost refrigerator/freezers, check for frost build up in the
freezer. If there’s more than half an inch, it’s time for a defrosting.
Remove all the food, unplug the unit, and block open the door to let all
the frost melt. On upright units, this can make a wet mess on the floor so
put some towels down. On chest freezers, there will either be a drain or
all the water will collect in the bottom and can then be sponged out.

NEVER ever even think about using a putty knife or any kind of sharp metal
to scrape the frost off. It is very easy to puncture the evaporator and
ruin the refrigerator. Ain’t no going back from that one, Hoss.

Automatic Defrost Refrigerator or Freezer

On self-defrosting refrigerator/freezers, clean the drain pan underneath
the refrigerator that collects water (Some are not accessible. Don’t worry
if you can’t find yours). No need to go crazy, just wipe out the dog hair
and dried gookus so you don’t get a scum floatilla with stinkus when the
flood of condensate starts with the more humid weather.

Clean the refrigerator cooling fan and the condenser coils. The coils are
underneath the refrigerator. They are usually black and look like a series
of small tubes and “fins” connecting the tubes. Order a refrigerator
condenser brush to make the job easier: http://fixitnow.com/?p=6234

Check the door seals to be sure they are sealing properly against the frame
of the refrigerator/freezer. While you can get by with weak seals during
the colder, dryer winter months, they’ll let in lots of heat and moisture
during the humid, warm summer months and cause all kinda weird problems
inside the box. Do the Federal Reserve Note test: take your favorite
Federal Reserve Note and close the door on it, then give it a tug. Should
require some tension to pull it out. If not, that’s a weak spot in the
gasket. Do this all the way around the both doors.

If the gaskets are torn, or don’t seal properly, the refrigerator or
freezer may not cool properly. You may also start seeing frost formations
in weird locations inside the beer compartment or the freezer. This
problem is worse when the weather is warmer and more humid. Clean the
gaskets and frame with warm soapy water so they don’t stick to the frame.

Inspect the back wall of the freezer for any frost build up. It’s not
normal to have any frost on the back wall or floor of a self-defrosting
appliance. The presence of frost is normally an indication the
self-defrosting system has a problem. You can remove the back wall inside
the freezer to get some eyeballs on the evaporator coil. This page will
help you interpret what you see: http://fixitnow.com/?p=6036

For help troubleshooting warm refrigerator problems, use our warm
refrigerator flowchart: http://fixitnow.com/?p=4296

Ice Maker

If you have a built-in ice/water filter, replace the filter approximately
every six months. If you don’t have a water filter, and you find your ice
tastes bad and/or smells funny, use a “taste and odor” water filter on the
incoming water supply line. A universal water filter will fix ya right up.

We carry filters for all refrigerator brands and models:

http://fixitnow.com/?p=4102

If you don’t have an icemaker, consider installing one now before the
Department of Energy outlaws them. No chit, Mon, they’re really moving to
do exactly that, see this topic at the Samurai School of Appliantology for
more info:

http://appliantology.org/topic/30729-doe-to-ban-ice-makers/

Many people don’t realize that virtually all refrigerators are set up to
easily accept an add-on icemaker. Many refrigerators have a tag inside the
freezer at the back that gives a kit number indicating exactly what kind of
icemaker will fit in that refrigerator. We carry add-on icemaker kits that
fit virtually every refrigerator/freezer on the market, most are
conveniently laid out for you on this page:

http://appliancepartsresource.com/ice_maker_accessories.php

If you’re having a problem with your refrigerator, freezer, or ice maker,
come get free help from the appliantological masters in the Samurai School
of Appliantology:

http://appliantology.org

Kanpai!

Samurai Appliance Repair Man
http://fixitnow.com