Category Archives: General Appliance Wisdom

Tools for Appliance Repair

Appliance repair is a trade that uses both common and specialized tools. In this video, I show you the basic tools you need to have with you, either in your tool backpack or in your vehicle, on every service call you go on.

Ryobi P882 One+ 18v Lithium-Ion Drill and Impact Driver Kit
Ryobi TEK4 4-Volt Screwdriver
JH Williams WRS-1 Magnetic Ratcheting Screwdriver
BOSTITCH BTMT72275 Specialty Wrench Bit Set, 32-Piece
Genau Gear 3730 Soft Cushion All Purpose Knee Pads, Navy Blue
Motion Pro (08-0485) 6″ Magnetic Parts Dish
SKIL 2354-01 iXO 4-Volt Max Lithium-Ion Palm-Sized Cordless Screwdriver
Fluke 117/322 Electricians Multimeter and Clamp Meter Combo Kit
Milwaukee 49-66-4562 Shockwave 1-7/8-Inch Magnetic Nutdriver Set
9 Piece Metric Quick Change Magnetic Nutsetter Set
TEKTON 1916 Combination Wrench Set, SAE/Metric, 24-Piece
MAXCRAFT 60199 1/4-Inch Dual-Drive Mini Ratchet Driver
62 Pc Metrinch Combo Spanner Socket & Wrench Set
TEKTON 7609 Telescoping Lighted Inspection Mirror
IIT 21560 Pick & Hook Set with Rubber Grip – 6 Piece
Stanley 28-140 1-1/4-Inch Nylon Handle Stiff Blade Putty Knife
Linzer 7103S Plastic Putty Knives, 3-Inch
GE 50725 Cable Ties, Nylon Assorted Sizes, 650 Per Pack
Sperry Instruments GFI6302 GFCI Outlet Tester
TEKTON 1491 3/8-Inch Quick-Release Drive Swivel Head Ratchet, 72-Tooth Round Head
TEKTON 7597 36-Inch Claw Pick-Up Tool
TEKTON 7601 Telescoping Magnetic Pick-Up Tool
Klein 11055 Klein-Kurve Wire Stripper/Cutter, Blue with Yellow Stripe, 10 – 20 ga.
Klein Tools 1005 9-3/4-Inch Crimping and Cutting Tool for Insulated and Non-Insulated Terminals
Custom LeatherCraft 1132 75-Pocket Tool Backpack
Princeton Tec Apex 275 Lumen Led Headlamp
Grease Monkey Gorilla Grip Gloves
Custom Leathercraft 125M Handyman Flex Grip Work Gloves, Medium
Knipex 002006S1 3-Piece Cobra Pliers Set (7-Inch, 10-Inch, & 12-Inch)
Stanley 84-114 3 Piece Basic 6-Inch Slip Joint, 6-Inch Long Nose, and 6-Inch Diagonal Plier Set
Stanley 66-095 3/8-Inch Vinyl Grip Square Blade Screwdriver
Victorinox Swiss Army Deluxe Tinker, Red
Victorinox Cordura Belt Pouch Swiss Army Knife Pouches Black 33214
Bondhus 20399 Ball End L-Wrench Double Pack with BriteGuard and GoldGuard Finish
Irwin Industrial Tools 2078700 6-Inch and 10-Inch Adjustable Wrench Set, 2-Piece
Irwin Tools 36- 2 Piece Original Locking Pliers Set Contains: 1 Each 7WR and 6LN
Set of 6 – Heavy Duty 6-Inch Steel Spring Clamp with PVC Grip
MAXCRAFT 60626 8-oz. Stubby Claw Hammer
Amprobe VP-440 Non-Contact Volt Detector
Kintrex IRT0421 Non-Contact Infrared Thermometer with Laser Targeting
McCulloch MC1230 Handheld Steam Cleaner
ArmorAll AA255 Utility Wet/Dry Vacuum

Measuring Appliance Power Consumption

Your Name: Jan

Type of Appliance: Microwave Oven

Brand: Kenmore

Model Number: 721.8801080

Your Precious Words:
Trying to find out how many watts it is. Its a little 1988 machine that came in a little camper I bought. It works but I can’t find any info on it and am wondering if technology is better or safer now. Thanks for helping, Jan

This is a perfect application for the Kitt-A-Watt meter! It’s a simple device that plugs into any standard 120v outlet that you plug your 120v appliance into, such as your microwave oven, and then read the power consumption right there on the digital display. Sounds expensive but it’s not! The Kill-A-Watt meter is less than $30 and comes with a one year warranty if purchased right here.

The Kill-A-Watt power consumption meter

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

How the Samurai Rolls for Appliance Repair Service Calls

Join Samurai Appliance Repair Man on this exclusive guided tour through the Guru Mobile– the fixit vehicle that he does real-life appliance repair service calls in.

For awesome appliance repair service in the New London – Greater Lake Sunapee Region of New Hampshire, call The Appliance Guru:

For expert appliance repair help and to buy appliance parts, click on over to the Samurai Appliance Repair Academy at

Preference for Kenmore Brand Appliances?

Your Name: Araceli

Type of Appliance: Oven/Range/Stove

Brand: Kenmore

Model Number: 911.46569096

Your Precious Words:
Dear Appliance Samurai,

My parents are looking to replace their Kenmore slide in range which is now 10+ years old and have asked me to research brands/prices of electric ranges. They prefer Kenmore, but which brands are the higher end quality while still staying in their $800 budget? Any suggestions on brand comparison sites?

Thanks for your time and Happy Valentine’s Day!



Click the play button below to hear my enlightening and inspiring reply:

Appliantology Newsletter: Special Weapons and Tactics in Appliance Repair

Appliantology Newsletter
Special Weapons and Tactics in Appliance Repair
October 19, 2012
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!

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:

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

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: ) 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:

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:

And I also own the Fluke 322 which is a little more expensive (still under $100) but also more versatile:

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

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:

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

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,

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.)
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,, 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,

Pulling an appliance out without damaging the floor using appliance glides

Name: Gene

Type of Appliance Oven/Range/Stove/Cooktop

Brand: any

Model Number: none

Briefly Describe the Problem: Their used to be these nylon runners about 4 inches wide and about 2-3 feet long that were used to place under the feet of appliances and pull them out from easily without damaging the flooring.I am a appliance tech and used to have a set but have misplaced them and am looking for a new set of what i am calling “appliance glides” Do they still exist and if so where can i get them.

I’m sure one of the senior techs knows what im takling about,if i am not mistaken i belive i got them from Wagner appliance parts but in searching their website i can not find them and sure would love a new set. They work just as well as air sleds and were a whole lot less expensive

Howdy Gene,

Indeed there is! You’re talking about the good ol’ Glide n’ Guard floor protectors:

Glide n' Guard floor protectors

Standard piece of equipment in my appliance service Prius. Come git you a set here ==>

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

Subscribe to our FREE, award-winning newsletter, Appliantology: The Oracle of Appliance Enlightenment ==> and download your free report on appliance brand recommendations! Every issue is jam-packed with appliance repair tips and inside information direct from the Samurai’s fingertips to your engorged and tingling eyeballs.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man

Appliantology Newsletter: Reefer Madness Issue!

Appliantology Newsletter
Reefer Madness Issue! Early April 2012
This One Mistake Can Cause Massive Food Spoilage
Click to Find Out!Our mission here at and The Samurai School of Appliantology is to prepare our students for that moment of appliance satori–a profound and simultaneous awareness of all appliances everywhere. It often strikes like a lightning bolt when a student least expects it, such as while working on an appliance that’s still plugged in. Conversely, the cherished moment of appliance satori can occur in the absence of any electricity, as revealed in this haiku.
Silence and stillness,
food rotting, decomposing…
Find out why: click here.
Early Warning Sign of Impending Fridge Doom
Click to learn more!Do your refrigerator door gaskets feel hot? I’m not just talking about warm, I’m talking HOT. If so, then this may be an early warning sign of a refrigerator that’s about to lose its cool altogether. It could happen gradually and imperceptibly. Maybe you start noticing that the milk is spoiling faster or the beer just ain’t tooth-crackin’ cold like should-awwta be. If you’re one of the edumucated refrigerati who keeps a thermometer in both compartments of the refrigerator (hint, hint), then maybe you notice that the freezer can’t maintain 0˚F and the beer section can’t seem to get below 40˚F. Find out why in this illuminating and inspiring screencast from the Samurai.
Samurai Unleashed!
Click to Listen!Listen in as Samurai Appliance Repair Man and Mrs. Samurai let loose in their latest podcasts. You might be surprised at what they have to say about appliances, running a web business, and the government conspiracy against effective dishwashers!
Here are a couple of our more popular episodes:
Click to Subscribe to our Podcast!You can get all our action-packed, adrenaline-gushing episodes of our award-winning FREE podcast right on your phone or mp3 player by subscribing on iTunes!
Amp Up Your Nutrition by Becoming an Eggs-pert!
Click to Read More!Want better health and vitality? Then you need to get the most nutrition possible out of your food in order to combat the negative effects of stress and environmental toxins. In Mrs. Samurai’s latest blog post, learn how to decipher the somewhat confusing terminology on your egg carton so that you can easily boost the nutrients on your breakfast plate!
The Appliantology Academy

How to start a new topic in the Appliantology appliance repair forums and get free help

Oscar writes:

Don’t know how to post a question.

Hi Oscar,

Well, lucky for you Mrs. Samurai has made a couple of screencasts on exactly this topic– getting started in the Appliantology Academy. Check ’em out…

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

Subscribe to our FREE, award-winning newsletter, Appliantology: The Oracle of Appliance Enlightenment ==> and download your free report on appliance brand recommendations! Every issue is jam-packed with appliance repair tips and inside information direct from the Samurai’s fingertips to your engorged and tingling eyeballs.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man

The Appliantology Academy

Illustrated tips for repairing a burned spot in a circuit board

Most of the appliances made today have circuit boards in them. This is to help make them more “energy efficient” as mandated by the Energy Star requirements, to save costs over using discreet mechanical switches, and also to make them more amenable to being controlled through the Smart Grid nightmare being unleashed across the country. Point is, if you’ve bought a major appliance recently, then it has at least one, maybe more, over-priced and shoddily-made circuit boards in them that will one day go poof at the worst possible time. I guarantee it.

When that fateful day arrives, you have two choices:

– Buy a new circuit board (thru,, or 8) 365-day return policy on parts ordered thru those sites!)

– Repair your existing board

If the failure is not something visible, there’s a slim-to-none chance that you’ll be able to repair it because the appliance manufacturers guard the schematic and tech info on the circuit boards like the secret ingredient to Coca-Cola (psst, it’s high-fructose corn syrup).

If, however, you remove the control board in your Bosch dishwasher or the muthaboard in your GE refrigerator and you see an obvious burn spot, well, you got nothing to lose by going ahead and taking a whack at trying to fix it. Worst case scenario: your repair will fail and you’ll have to buy a new control board.

I’ve previously posted some repair tips for working with electronic circuit boards. But here’s an annotated photo describing some common repair techniques for the types of burn damage to circuit boards that you’re likely to actually encounter. Click the image for a larger view.

Tips for Repairing a Burned Circuit Board
Uploaded with Skitch!

If you need more help fixing your appliances, whether or not it has to do with the circuit boards in ’em, come start a new topic in the Appliantology Academy and we’ll help fix y’up ==>

Appliantology Newsletter: Burnin’ Down the House!

Appliantology Newsletter
Burnin’ Down the House! Mid-March 2012
The Hottest New Way to Burn Down Your House…
This one innocent and friendly-sounding thing in your kitchen can end up burning down your whole house. Think I’m being hyperbolic just to get you to click a link? Okay, then please DO NOT click this link to learn what it is.
New LG Tech Info Hot Off the Training Press…
Fresh out of the LG training circuit, here’s the latest inside scoop on LG’s new front-load washers and bottom-mount and top-mount refrigerators all arranged in two easy-to-browse photo galleries for your edification and sanctification. I even made a screencast describing them so you can bask in the soothing sounds of my mellifluous voice. Come have a listen and a look.
Enough Appliance Talk– Let’s Go Hiking…
Even though I am the one and only Samurai Appliance Repair Man, appliance warrior extraordinaire, I can only do so much appliance talk before it starts eating my brain. You too? Yeah, when that happens to me, I head for the hills. Specifically, hillstomping in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Come refresh your spirit on virtual hikes along the Welch n’ Dickey Loop and on Crawford Path to check out the view from Mt. Ignatius.
The Appliantology Academy,

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, August 2011: Appliances and Disasters

Appliantology Newsletter, August 2011: Appliances and Disasters

0. Introduction
1. Can I use my appliances during a disaster?
2. Does it hurt my appliances to run them or have them plugged in while the power is blinking on and off?
3. Can running my appliances off a generator damage them?
4. What about water?
5. How do I store food safely while the power is out?
6. Epilogue

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0. Introduction

With Hurricane Irene rampaging up the East Coast and record-breaking earthquakes off the coast of Virginia (or a nuclear detonation in a sea bed bunker, depending on who you’re listening to), disaster prep seemed like the obvious topic du jour for this Special Irene Edition of *Appliantology*.

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1. Can I use my appliances during a disaster?

Using appliances during a storm or other disaster can be risky to the appliance because of the power going on and off, voltage spikes (more on that below), trees falling on power lines, etc.

Even most gas appliances need electricity. For example, the spark module for your gas stove burners won’t work though the burners are still usable by manually lighting the gas, which is perfectly fine; it’s safe and doesn’t hurt the appliance. Just don’t use the gas stove to heat your house!

Most modern gas ovens with hot surface ignition require 120vac to heat up the ignitor and there’s no manual bypass for that so, without a power source, you won’t have an oven.

### ### ### ###

2. Does it hurt my appliances to run them or have them plugged in while the power is blinking on and off?

Absolutely! Every time that power blinks off and goes back on, it slams your appliances with transient voltage spikes. Depending on the severity of the spikes, these can fry control boards right away or slowly degrade them over time through a process called electronic rust. After getting slammed with a finite number of such spikes, the electronic control board(s) will eventually fail (at great expense and inconvenience to you).

To prevent this unhappy and completely avoidable scenario, any appliance with an electronic control board in it– which is most of ’em today– should be plugged into a surge suppressor, not directly into the wall. Surge suppressors for common household 120vac outlets are inexpensive and you can get ’em at your local hardware store. This will provide reasonable protection for all your 120vac appliances. Read more about surge protection for your appliances here…

To protect your 240vac appliances with fancy control boards during a storm, such as an electric range with a digital display, you should switch off the circuit breaker to that appliance until the coast is clear.

### ### ### ###

3. Can running my appliances off a generator damage them?

If you haven’t purchased a generator by now, it’s probably too late for the Irene event. But in case you can (or already have a generator you’re planning to use), here are some fun facts to know and tell about using generators with appliances.

For appliances with electronic control boards– which is most appliances today– you should only use generators that produce a pure sine wave output.

Most generators produce a modified sine wave output, which is not a pure sine wave but more of a stylized square wave. This is fine for motors but not good for the AC-to-DC rectifiers in appliances. The modified sine wave messes with the rectifier, making it overheat and crank out off-spec voltages for the control board. The result is often burned out rectifiers and fried control boards.

Producing a pure sine wave output requires much more sophisticated circuitry in the inverter and usually only comes with more expensive, higher-end generators. It’s a big selling point, too, so if a generator doesn’t specifically say it’s a pure sine wave generator, then it’s safest to assume that it only puts out a modified sine wave.

So, if you do not have a generator that produces a pure sine wave output, be careful to only run appliances that do not have the electronic control boards.

Oh, and one point of safety: don’t run your generator inside the house. I know, it sounds crazy to even say it but there are knuckleheads out there who do that kind of thing. Like this guy…

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4. What about water?

Flood waters in urban areas are a lethal cocktail of sewage, petroleum products, and just about every kind of chemical you can imagine. Simple disinfection (e.g., boiling, chlorine drops, iodine drops, etc.) is woefully inadequate for this water. You can treat the water so it’s safe from pathogens and it can still be lethal because of the gasoline, mercury, or any one of thousands of other contaminants commonly found in urban Ameedika.

The other problem is that coastal flood waters will also be either salty or brackish which, in itself, renders the water undrinkable.

The best treatment for making flood waters potable is distillation. Reverse osmosis is the next best thing. If you can’t treat flood waters using either of these two methods, don’t drink it at all!

Bottled water is the best bet but there are logistical limitations on how much you can store.

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5. How do I store food safely while the power is out?

I posted some information on food preservation and safety during disasters. You can read it here:

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6. Epilogue

As we say in Fukushima, “Rots of ruck, GI!”

Samurai Appliance Repair Man

The Samurai School of Appliantology

Find and Buy Appliance Parts

How to handle and store food safely during power outages

With Hurricane Irene and earthquakes cranking up along the East Coast and the ensuing power outages that are sure to follow, here’s some timely info on safely storing and handling food during weather emergencies and power outages.

We practice basic safe food handling in our daily lives, but obtaining and storing food safely becomes more challenging during a power outage or natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods.

Steps to Follow to Prepare for a Possible Weather Emergency:

Keep an appliance thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer. An appliance thermometer will indicate the temperature in the refrigerator and freezer in case of a power outage and help determine the safety of the food.

Make sure the freezer is at 0 °F (Fahrenheit) or below and the refrigerator is at 40 °F or below.

Freeze containers of water for ice to help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator, or coolers after the power is out.

Freeze refrigerated items such as leftovers, milk, and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately-this helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.

Plan ahead and know where dry ice and block ice can be purchased.
Store food on shelves that will be safely out of the way of contaminated water in case of flooding.

Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than 4 hours. Purchase or make ice cubes and store in the freezer for use in the refrigerator or in a cooler. Freeze gel packs ahead of time for use in coolers.

Group food together in the freezer—this helps the food stay cold longer.

Steps to Follow During and After the Weather Emergency:

Never taste a food to determine its safety!

Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.

The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full and the door remains closed).

Food may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40 °F or below.

Obtain block ice or dry ice to keep your refrigerator and freezer as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time. Fifty pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic-foot full freezer for 2 days.

If the power has been out for several days, then check the temperature of the freezer with an appliance thermometer or food thermometer. If the food still contains ice crystals or is at 40 °F or below, the food is safe.

If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, then check each package of food to determine its safety. If the food still contains ice crystals, the food is safe.

Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers, and deli items after 4 hours without power.

When in Doubt, Throw it Out!