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"Where should I set my refrigerator controls?"

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on a refrigerator service call and the customer asks me, “I have my controls set on 5.  Where should I set them?”  In almost every case, I notice that they do not have any thermometers in their fridge.  Now I prepare Standard Answer #637 where I explain to my customer that the single most important indicator of a refrigerator's health - and the way they determine where to set the controls - is by measuring the temperatures inside the freezer and fresh food compartments.

So that's the whole point of this blog post: to help you, my valued customer, to appreciate the importance of temperature measurement in a refrigerator and to give you the means by which to do it.

First, as mentioned, you have to appreciate that temperature is, in fact, the single most important number that tells the story about the health of your box.  Makes sense for a refrigerator, right?  Further, home refrigerators are very sensitive to changes in conditions and usage: changes in ambient temperature throughout the seasons; frequency and duration of door openings; condition of the door gaskets and their ability to seal out warm, humid outside air; the temperature of foods placed inside the compartments; amount of pet fur on the condenser, etc.

Next, unless your refrigerator controls actually measure and display the temperatures inside the compartments, the indexing numbers provided on the controls are simply a way for you to note the relative changes that you need to make to the control dials in order to achieve the target temperatures inside the compartments. And how are you going to know what those target temperatures are unless you are actually measuring the temperatures inside the compartments?

This is where refrigerator thermometers come into play.  You should buy two of these refrigerator thermometers right now and keep one of these thermometers in each compartment of your refrigerator box: fresh food and freezer.  Here's how to use the thermometers to set your refrigerator controls according to temperature measurements.


Fresh-food compartment:

For normal, day-to-day tracking of the temperature, place the thermometer in the central area of the compartment (not on the door).  Ideally you want it to be easily visible whenever you open the door so that you can glance at the display regularly.  Make it a habit to look at the thermometer at least once a day, perhaps in the morning the first time you open the door.  The needle should be in the purple “REF.” section, approximately 33 to 40 degrees.

Be aware that opening the door of the fridge, particularly if the ambient conditions are warm and/or humid, can raise the temperature quite a bit in the compartment.  If you notice that the temperature is above 40, and the door has been opened recently, leave the door closed for awhile then check the temperature again.

If the temperature is consistently above 40 by a few degrees, you should adjust the cold controls of your refrigerator to see if you can get it down into the 30’s. (See your fridge’s instruction manual for help on this - how to adjust the controls can vary among different brands and models.) Any adjustment to the controls can take several hours or overnight for the temperatures to settle to their new level.

Freezer:

Place the thermometer in a central location in your freezer and monitor the temperatures as described above.  Although frozen food is safe at any temperature below 32 degrees (the blue zone), a normally-operating freezer should be between 0 and 5 degrees.  If you see temperatures consistently above that, try adjusting the freezer’s control to a colder setting.

If your temperatures remain above-normal despite adjusting the refrigerator’s controls, call The Appliance Guru at 603-290-5515 for service as soon as possible to avoid food spoilage and loss. 


Kenmore: Just another brand or yet another scam?

Sears is a popular place to buy appliances because they are located all over the country, they frequently have special offers, and they are an old, familiar name. When you stroll through the rows of shiny machines in a Sears store you see all the major brands, including lots of Kenmores. Does buying this "Sears brand" have any downside for the consumer? Ya sure, ya betcha!

Although there are still a few folks who haven't gotten the memo yet, most people understand that there ain’t no Kenmore factory in Malaysia or some place. The Kenmore “factory” is several floors in an office building where corporate bureaucrats from Sears schmooze with other corporate bureaucrats from real manufacturing companies, like Whirlpool or Electrolux or LG, and get them to make their stuff for them and slap a Kenmore label on it.

"So what?" you say, "I like Sears and I don't mind spending my money with them." Well, there's more. Check this out and see if you still feel so sure…

Kenmore is essentially a marketing gimmick that Sears uses to sell you appliances at a higher profit margin. The Kenmore game is this: sell you a Kenmore-branded appliance, sell you an extended warranty on the appliance or, even if you don't buy the extended warranty, get you to call them when (not if) it breaks, and to sell you replacement parts and accessories for the appliance. It's a complete package designed to keep you on the Kenmore plantation, spending your money exclusively with Sears.

This wouldn't necessarily a bad thing, as long as you are aware of this scheme and a willing participant, if there weren't other downsides to Sears inserting themselves between the customer and the original equipment manufacturer ("OEM") of the appliance.

Downside No. 1: Information Blockade

It is difficult if nigh on impossible to cross over the Kenmore model number to that of the OEM's version of the same machine. This means if you or an independent servicer would like to work on your Kenmore machine, you cannot easily access the manufacturer's service bulletins or manuals, which may leave you at the mercy of Sears "service." Most people don't like to limit their options that way, particularly given Sear's service reputation. More on that below…

Downside No. 2: Stuck with Sears for Warranty Issues

When you buy a Kenmore machine and it needs warranty service, it will be performed by Sears rather than the local independent servicers who usually handle warranty work for the manufacturers. How bad this is for customers varies from place to place, but in my considerable experience in dealing with folks who have been in this situation, they have had much less frustration in dealing with an OEM company compared to Sears for warranty issues.

Are they really that bad?

Sears has a reputation for slow, inconvenient scheduling and ill-trained technicians who frequently don't get the repair done correctly. OEM companies, on the other hand, tend to be much more interested in keeping their customers happy by dealing with problems promptly and fairly. We are drawing on years of feedback from customers, but, of course, your mileage may vary.

Bottom line: Sears is the only entity that really benefits from the Kenmore brand. There are no actual upsides for the customer (compared to buying an OEM brand), but there are significant potential downsides when your appliance needs to be serviced.

What to do? 

Buy an OEM appliance. If you like shopping at Sears for some reason, they do offer OEM machines that you can choose. Assuming you don't fall for, er, I mean opt for, the extended warranty, then any warranty issues would be handled through the manufacturer and their local authorized servicer. And when service is needed after the warranty period, you will have many more options for service since you won't be subject to the Kenmore Information Blockade.

The Appliance Guru

www.ApplianceGuru.com

Diagnosing Catastrophic Front Load Washer Drum Bearing and Inner Basket Failures

Front Load Washers Rule! 

First, lemme start off by saying I love front load washers. I think they offer the best clothes washing technology out there combining low water use with a gentle tumble wash that's easy on the fabrics, making your clothes last longer, and does a very thorough job of cleaning the clothes compared to the high efficiency (HE) top load washers.

We're a family of five with dogs and cats. We've used a front load washer for over 16 years at our house and, aside from routine repairs, have never had any washability or odor complaints. You'll hear some people complain about these issues with their front loader but, in almost every case I've seen during service calls, it's been due to user error-- usually using too much or the wrong type of detergent.


The Economics of a Repair

Okay, so front load washers: rah-rah, go team go. Why have a special post dedicated to front load washer drum bearing and inner basket failures?

Because these failures are usually considered a "total" event (as in "Dude, I totalled my car last night") by professional Appliantologists due of the huge cost of the repair. Not only are the parts expensive (sometimes more than $500) but the job itself can take more than three hours (depending on the particular nightmares you run into) and usually require a second man... or one with a very strong back, though it may not be after completing one of these repairs solo!

Everything is repairable. The question is: does it make economic sense to do the repair?

There are two circumstances where it may make economic sense to repair a failed drum bearing or inner basket support spider:

1. You are going to do the repair yourself, so you're only paying for parts.

2. The machine is still under full or partial manufacturer's warranty and some or all of the cost of the repair will be covered.

So, if you're in a situation where neither of the above conditions apply, wouldn't it be nice if you could positively diagnose a bearing or basket failure on your own and at least save yourself the cost of a service call? Ya sure, ya betcha! And hence, the raison d'être for this post.


How to Tell if Your Washer has Bad Drum Bearings or a Broken Inner Basket

Okay, enough talk. Let's do some basic watching and listening.

1. Broken Inner Basket

The inner basket is supported in the back by a special metal structure called a "spider." The spider has three support members that extend from the basket hub to the outer perimeter. A common failure is for the support members to corrode by galvanic corrosion, eventually weakening the metal to the point that it breaks. Here's an example of what that looks like, this particular washer is a Frigidaire but this is typical regardless of brand:

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Here's another example, but this is from a GE front loader:

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What you see in these photos is called galvanic corrosion. Various theories abound as to whence cometh this galvanic doo-doo. Some of the more plausible ones include:

- Dissimilar metals used in the support members vs. the basket metal itself.

- Certain combinations of hard water and detergents.

- Running the washer on a non-grounded or improperly grounded outlet.

Regardless of the cause, which is a whole separate and interesting engineering discussion, if this happens to your washer, your immediate tasks are to 1) properly and positively identify this failure and 2) decide whether to repair or replace based on the economics of the situation.


2. Bad Drum Bearings

This failure usually manifests as a roaring noise during the spin cycle. This first video demonstrates the tell-tale sound of bad drum bearings:


In advanced stages of this failure, you can also diagnose bad bearings manually using this technique:

Ruh-row, trouble in washer-land! These drum bearings are factory-pressed into the back half of the drum. So it's not like you can buy a set of OEM bearings, pop 'em in and off you go. You have to replace the whole drum, at least the back half, with the factory-installed bearings. Problem is that you'll usually find the drive shaft on the inner basket so corroded that you'll need to replace the inner basket at the same time. Double whammy!

If you look around the Internet, you'll find third-party bearings that claim to be a drop-in replacement for the factory-installed bearings. I've not heard of a single case of this repair lasting more than a few months. If you've done this repair and have gotten longer than a year out of it, send me proof and you'll be a rock star.

The reason these third-party bearings have such a dismal reliability record is because the tolerance on these bearings is astonishingly tight. When you consider the pressure and speeds that these bearings need to work in, it's amazing they last as long as they do. These bearings are actually a precision-machined piece and that's why they have to be installed at the factory for maximum reliability. 

What about Protection Plans or Extended Warranties for New Appliances? Are they worth buying?

I get asked about new appliance protection plans and extended warranties a lot both during real-life service calls as The Appliance Guru and via emails from my DIY appliance repair site. So, FWIW, I thought I'd offer my contemplations and musings on the topic.

First off, you gotta realize that protection plans and extended warranties are only as good as the people offering or doing the actual service work. Protection plans are basically a form of insurance. Lots of companies wants to get in on the protection plan biz because, structured correctly, it’s a highly lucrative arrangement: you pay a chunk of money for service that the warranty company is betting you won’t need. Insurance companies have this game figured out in all aspects of our lives, including home and appliance warranties.

But there’s one big difference.

In auto, home, and medical insurance, for example, all the insurance company has to do is write a check for a claim. Insurance companies are all about cash so even writing big checks are no problem for them.

Now consider an appliance repair insurance plan— which is basically what protection plan and extended warranties are. When a claim is made, what’s the payout? Instead of a check, the payout is usually a repair. And herein lies the dirty little secret about appliance protection plans: they are only as good as the repair services available in your area, as in a live, skilled technician coming to your house and fixing your broken stuff.

When you’re being sold on the plan, they’re trying to implant the Fantasy Scenario vision in your head:

The Fantasy Scenario

The technician gets there the same day or next day, knows exactly what the problem is, has the part on his vehicle and gets you all fixed up right then and there. This almost never happens in a real-world warranty situation but that's the fantasy when you buy the plan. 

Okay, let’s come back to planet earth and look at how these protection plans work in the real world.

Suppose something breaks and you need service. Depending on who is actually providing the service for the protection plan, the response will likely be one of the following scenarios:

The Typical Sears Scenario

You call and get an appointment for two weeks from now. If you're lucky, you'll get a decent tech who can troubleshoot the problem accurately. But much of the time you'll get an undertrained guy who "thinks" he knows what the problem is but, since corporate policy prohibits him from carrying inventory on his service vehicle (to prevent employee theft and moonlighting), he has to order the parts and come back. That’ll take another two weeks. On the second trip, the servicer installs the new part only to realize that he guessed wrong. Whups! “Golly, ma’am, must be sumpin’ else!” Or, “Dang, another bad board outta the box, that’s the 5th time today!” He scratches his head, takes a guess at another part, and has to come back yet again. Each trip is a four hour window for the servicer’s arrival so that’s two or more half-days you’ll need to take off work to wait for him. Oh, and they may call you on the day of the scheduled appointment to cancel for that day and re-schedule. 

The Typical Home Warranty Company Scenario

There are several of these types of companies out there-- NEW, American Home Shield, and others. They all work the same way: you pay them for an appliance warranty plan (repair insurance) and, in return, they’ll cover any repairs that need to be done under warranty. Sounds great on paper and they do a great job selling these plans. But, as you might expect, there are not one, but two big Achilles’ Heels with this arrangement.

1. Their service is only as good as the independent servicers they can find in your area. If you live in a densely populated area, this may be a non-issue. But if you live in a sparsely populated area, this could be a problem. The warranty company won’t have any easier time finding a qualified servicer than you would on your own. In fact, they’ll have a harder time because of the second Achilles’ Heel:

2. Most independent servicers hate working for warranty companies because 1) they are difficult to deal with like any corporate bureaucracy, 2) they are either slow to pay or pay very little compared to COD rates, or 3) they have gotten a reputation in the industry for stiffing servicers and not paying at all after the repair is successfully completed so, as a result, many independent service companies flat out refuse to work with particular warranty companies. The result is a delay in finding a servicer willing to work with the warranty company which means a delay in getting your stuff fixed. This miserable process usually culminates with you spending hours on the phone with the warranty company (most of that time on hold listening to blaring muzak or repetitive announcements telling you how awesome they are).

Protection Plans from Independent Retailers

This requires careful investigation on your part because, again, their warranty is only as good as the service to back it up. Some dealers service what they sell. Okay, fine. But are their technicians any good or are they parts changing monkeys? Hard to know. One way to find out, though, is to use the Internet and see what people are saying about them on places like Google reviews, YP.com, and the Better Business Bureau. Do a Google search of the company’s name and see what you come up with.

Most service companies should have a company website that tells how they do business and a social web presence, at least a Facebook Page. If they don’t, that’s a red flag right there. I don’t say that because I’m a Facebook fanboy, but because it shows something about the company-- that they have a public reputation they are cultivating and want to protect. It also shows that they’re in business for the long-haul.

If you are inclined to go the protection plan route, a good way to go is with a local dealer who services what they sell and one whom you have personally vetted nine ways to Sunday. You don’t want to end up in the situation where you call your local dealer for a protection plan service only to find that their phone has been disconnected. Hey, a lot more common and possible in today’s economy that you may think.

What would I do if I were me? No, wait: what should you do if you were you? No, wait…

IMHO, the best thing to do is to find a good local servicer (using the vetting suggestions discussed above) and establish a relationship with them. Some may offer some kind of protection plan you can purchase. Otherwise, just budget a little money each month into savings to cover eventual repairs. 

Here are a few more vetting strategies...

If you don’t get a live human when you first call, don’t leave a message. Call back another time and see if you get a human then. You’re looking to see if getting voicemail is how these people roll or was that a fluke due to bad cell reception or something else going on with them. You want a service company that strives to always answer the phone, even after hours and on weekends. Honestly, in this day and age of cell phones, there’s no excuse for not doing this… unless they just don’t care whether or not they get your work. And that’s what you’re trying to assess.

You also want to find out what their typical response time is. What do they claim their response time is at their website? You’re looking for someone who strives for same day-next day service. The best service companies will offer Saturdays as a regular working day because that’s when people are home and it’s convenient for them (that’s why it’s called appliance repair service).

Once you’ve found this golden service company, cherish them, woo them, nurture that relationship, send them Christmas cards, bake them Kwanza cookies, carve them Hanukah dradles, knit them Ramadan kufis, whatever you think will solidify your connection with them because, when your fridge breaks on a Saturday and you have a houseful of guests, you want them out there that day to get that box cooling again taco-pronto.

If you have the supreme good fortune of living in the Kearsarge-Lake Sunapee Region of New Hampshire, call The Appliance Guru for fast, expert appliance service, including weekend and holiday emergency service at no extra charge. Learn more here: www.ApplianceGuru.com 

Soot: A Clear and Present Danger in your Gas Oven

I was at a service call on gas range the other day for an oven that wouldn't bake or broil. The cause turned out to be a bad range control board. Nothing unusual about that. The astonishing thing with this range was the inside of the oven cell-- all the surfaces inside were coated with a thick layer of soot:

Inside a Gas Oven that was Never Converted for use with Propane NA
Inside a Gas Oven Never Converted for use with Propane NA

This is NOT a normal condition in any gas range. If you see soot accumulated on your oven cell walls, even a little, STOP USING IT AND GET IT CHECKED OUT!

Soot is a product of incomplete combustion. So is Carbon Monoxide (CO), dubbed "the silent killer" because it is odorless and kills by displacing oxygen in your blood, making you sleepy and, in high enough concentrations, can make you take that final dirt nap. We've all heard the stories of people dying in their homes from CO poisoning. Improperly adjusted gas appliances, like the the oven shown in the photos above, is one of the more common ways this happens.

A standard practice in the appliance industry is that all gas appliances, ranges, ovens, dryers, etc., come ready to burn natural gas. If you're going to use propane (also abbreviated LP for "liquid propane"), you have to convert the gas system in the appliance to safely burn it without producing soot or unsafe levels of CO.

Since propane burns hotter than natural gas (2,500 Btu/cu ft for propane vs. 1,030 Btu/cu ft for natural gas), it needs more air to make a "complete" (or at least safe and soot-free) combustion. If the air-fuel ratio (AFR) is too low (too much fuel or "too rich" in automobile terms), you'll create soot and unsafe levels of CO. If you're interested in some numbers on the AFR for natural gas and propane, start here.

While no combustion is 100% complete, you can still get close enough to prevent soot formation and keep CO production to safe levels.

The range in this service call is a Kenmore (Frigidaire-built) range that was purchased from a famous, nationwide retail chain (I'll give you one guess; hint: it's a Kenmore). This range, like all gas appliances, came ready to burn natural gas and needed to be converted for use with propane.

The customer paid the retailer for the conversion but it wasn't done properly. They converted the gas burners on the cooktop correctly by replacing the gas metering spuds for each burner with the smaller diameter spuds sized for propane. But they completely neglected to convert either of the gas burners in the oven (bake and broil). Behold:

Gas Oven that was Never Converted for Propane NA
Gas Oven that was Never Converted for use with Propane NA

To make matters even worse, when the customer called the retailer's customer service department to complain about the soot in the oven, they advised her to run the self clean feature which successfully produced copious amounts of soot and, at the 900F temperatures reached in the oven cell during self clean, baked the soot onto the oven walls. The soot will never come out. This range is only three years old and the oven is effectively ruined.

So how is the strange and mysterious conversion process done in gas ranges? It's really not a mystical experience at all. It's as simple as following the instructions and installing a few pieces that all manufacturers provide for this very purpose. For example, here is an official conversion instruction sheet that Frigidaire includes with the conversion kits for its ranges

What brand of appliance can you buy today that will give 10 to 15 years of trouble-free operation?

Many appliance owners are frustrated today because they don't realize that the days of buying an appliance and having it work trouble-free for 10 to 15 years are long gone.

The good news is that you can buy an appliance today for about what you would have paid 15-20 years ago.

The bad news is that there's an on-going cost of appliance ownership in doing repairs-- industry average is every 2 to 4 years.

What varies among brands and models is how big will that repair need to be, not whether or not it'll need one-- I guarantee you it will!

Short answer to the question asked in the title of this post: NONE! That brand doesn't exist anymore. 

As for brand recommendations, I have a complete report that I update periodically and give away for free when people subscribe to our free newsletter, Appliantology: The Oracle of Appliance Enlightenment


An Easy Fix for a Frosty Freezer

In this journey into Total Appliance Awareness™, The Appliance Guru reveals the mysterious and elusive cause for excessive rime ice (frost) formation inside the freezer compartment of a GE Profile French Door refrigerator.  


Beware the Temptation to run the Self-Clean cycle on your oven

This is the time of year, the countdown to Thanksgiving, that we professional Appliantologists lovingly refer to as “Cooking Season.” 


I love cooking season. It marks the next season in my local appliance service bidness from the warm refrigerator fire drills all summer long, through the inevitable slowdown after Labor Day, to cooking season when families get together to break bread and turkey legs, crack a few cold ones, catch up on each other’s lives and generally get on each other’s nerves. Through it all, The Appliance Guru is right there with you, helping, listening, seeing things we shouldn’t see… oh, wait, that’s the NSA. 


Many of my local service customers, aware that they’re coming up on Thanksgiving, figure they better go ahead and run a self-clean cycle on their range or oven in case that nosey mother-in-law decides to inspect the inside of the oven. 


Problem is that this is about the only time during the whole year they run the self-clean cycle. More often than not, what ends up happening is that all the grease accumulated on the door latch motor gets hardened into a crusty, burnt cement that prevents the door latch from unlocking at the end of the cycle. 


Result: door stuck closed at the end of the clean cycle and no access to the oven. I get dozens of these calls in the run up to Thanksgiving. It’s nice, profitable work for me so it’s definitely not in my self-interest to give away these closely-guarded trade secrets. But you’ve just reaped the bountiful benefit of reading my blog here at Appliantology! 


I’ll let you in an another secret: Our range at home has the self-clean feature, like most medium to upper-end ranges do. We have never used it, not even once. I don’t generally get away with telling Mrs. Guru what to do— she doesn’t take kindly to that and can get downright ornery. But when I explain to her that using the self-clean feature can break her oven and it might take me months to get it fixed (because no one pays me to fix my own broken stuff), she sees the light. And now you do, too. 


Learn how to Stop the Stink in Your Front-Load Washer

One of the most common complaints I hear people make about front-load washers is about odor: stinky basket, stinky door gasket, stinky towels, stinky underwear... okay, I'll stop there.

In almost every case, when I see (smell) this problem on service calls, they all invariably have the same cause: incorrect detergent usage, either too much or the wrong kind.

For front-load washers (and HE top-loaders), you should only be using HE detergent.

And, no, using less of the regular stuff is not the same thing because washing clothes in a low water environment requires a special chemistry, which is what the HE detergents are engineered to do. I don't understand why someone would spend over $1,000 for a front-load washer and then try to shave shekels buying cheap detergent. That's what we call penny-wise and dollar-dumb.

I'll hear some techs say that you should only use powdered detergent, sometimes they'll even recommend a specific brand, like Tide. This is well-meaning but misguided misinformation. Using powdered or liquid HE detergent is not the issue because the chemistry is the same. What does matter is using the correct amount of HE detergent for your water hardness quality. The general guidelines are:

HE detergent: 2 tablespoons

HEx2 (double concentrated): 1 tablespoon

HEx3: 1 teaspoon

Unless you know for a fact that you have very hard water where you live (defined as > 10.5 gpg, more details here), then the most HE detergent you should ever use, powder or liquid, is 2 tablespoons.

The number one problem that people don't seem to get is that they are using too much detergent, whether powdered or liquid. Even if it is HE, too much will cause odor problems.

FWIW, we've been using liquid HE detergent in our front loaders for the past 15 years and never had even a whiff of an odor or mildew issue. But we have always implemented the 9 odor-beating techniques AND always remove the clothes from the washer as soon as they're done.

It's also important that your detergent is fresh, and if you use powdered, it must be kept completely dry. If the powder gets damp while in storage, it loses most of its punch.

Pop quiz:

Q. What's the biggest single difference between HE and non-HE detergents? Give up?

A. HE detergent has additives specifically designed to suppress sudsing because sudsing interferes with the mechanical action of removing soils from fabrics.

Okay, here's another one:

Q. What do most people like to see when they do laundry?

A. SUDS! Lots and lots of suds. They open the lid or look through the glass and don't see suds, what do they do? Yep: add more detergent until they see suds. Then they wonder why their clothes stink.

Fun Fact to Know and Tell (FFTKAT): Detergent contains most of the necessary ingredients to support microbial life. In other words, it's bug food. What do bacteria do as they grow? Like all life forms, they produce waste products. Sometimes, this is a good thing, like in the case of making beer. But other times, it's a bad thing, like in the case of making stinky laundry.

The detergent manufacturers are partly to blame here, too. They put idiot directions on the label instructing the customer to use too much. Supposedly, the usage instructions are based on a North American average of water hardness. I'm not sure I believe that. The amount they say to use would be appropriate for areas with extreme hard water. For most areas, the amount on the label is three to four times too much and causes all kinds of problems, including odors and the infamous F35/sud error code in Whirlpool steam washers…


Troubleshooting a Whirlpool Duet washer with an F11 error code and repairing it without using any parts

Many appliance servicers have been befuddled by the elusive and mysterious F11 error code in these Whirlpool Duet front loading washers (also sold under the Kenmore brand).  In their confusion and frustration, many will go into Parts Changing Monkey mode and start blindly replacing expensive control boards without really fixing the problem (but still charging the customer, of course).  

The Appliance Guru never does business that way.  You hire me to solve a problem.  Period.  I give a quote up-front for the complete repair cost and I stick to it.  If my diagnosis is wrong, that's my problem, not yours and it won't cost you a penny more than what I quoted.  

How can I offer professional appliance repair services this way and stay in business?  Well, it means I better know what I'm doing and be able to do real troubleshooting, not just throw parts at the problem and hope to get lucky.  

The infamous and all-too-common F11 error code in these Whirlpool Duet front load washers is a case-in-point.  The tech sheet inside the washer says this is a communications error between two control boards: the CCU (central control unit) and MCU (motor control unit).  Even Whirlpool's own technical guidance for this error is abysmal; they say to replace the CCU and if that doesn't fix it, then replace the MCU.  This is why there is so much confusion among appliance repair techs in the field.  Each of these control boards costs well north of $200 and the CCU in particular goes on frequent backorder, adding lots more cost and inconvenient downtime to the customer.

As I show in the video, the F11 error code problem in these Whirlpool Duet washers can almost always be repaired without replacing any expensive control boards.  While I'm sure the Whirlpool engineers know about this repair, I'm also sure that Whirlpool management has prevented them from issuing a technical bulletin on this.  After all, selling expensive replacement parts is a big profit center for Whirlpool Corporation (they are not alone or unique in this regard-- most of the manufacturers play this game).  

The Appliance Guru is always looking for ways to add value to his service by saving his customers money!  

If you have the supreme good fortune of living in the Kearsarge-Lake Sunapee Region of New Hampshire, call The Appliance Guru for expert appliance repair service.  All repairs are guaranteed 110%.  (603) 290-5515

© The Appliance Guru 2013
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