The Appliance Guru Guides

Here are our insider tips on things that you should know or check for to keep your appliance operating at peak performance. Many malfunctions can be remedied by proper maintenance or other simple actions. Check this list before contacting us in case you can fix the problem yourself!

For other resources, such as ordering parts or advice on buying new appliances, click here.

No power? If any appliance is “dead” (no lights or operation), check the power supply.

  • Check the circuit breaker (flip it off then back on)
  • Check the outlet (if possible) by plugging a lamp or other small item into it.


  • Keep a refrigerator thermometer in both compartments, and know what your temperatures are! Here’s a short video on the importance of this.
  • What should the controls be set at? Watch this video for the answer to that common question!
  • Help! My fridge/freezer is warming up! Have you cleaned the condenser and gaskets lately (see this video)? Have you overloaded the compartment or blocked any vents?
  • Help! My lettuce is freezing! Adjust your controls to see if you can get the temps back above freezing.
  • Water is leaking in the fridge (or on the floor). If it’s a steady flow, then a water line is probably leaking and you should shut off the valve. (ALWAYS know where your water shut-off valves are!) If it’s a periodic leak, then you probably have a blocked condensate drain (where the liquid produced by a defrost cycle is supposed to go). This is repairable, but since the blockage is usually due to ice, the free fix is to temporarily relocate your food, turn the fridge off, block open the freezer door, and let it sit at room temperature for at least a day and thaw any unwanted ice buildup.

Electric ranges or ovens

If there is no heat, check the circuit breaker (even if the lights are on). Electric ranges and ovens have “2-pole” breakers, since they have two lines of power. One of those poles can trip. So, turn the breakers off then back on.

If bake doesn’t work, check to see if the broiler still works and give us that information when you contact us.

Gas ranges

Make sure that you have an adequate amount of propane in your tank!

If your surface burners won’t light, make sure they are clean and dry. Also check the little electrode that provides the spark. Clean gently with a soft brush if you see any residue on it.


Clean the filters! Many brands of dishwashers have filters that must be cleaned – often with a bristle brush – or you will start noticing crud left on your dishes. Check your user’s manual.

Use good detergent! Unfortunately, eco-friendly detergents and cheaper gel-types can lead to long-term performance issues in your dishwasher, and actually shorten its life. Our favorite detergent is Finish Quantum (either regular or Power and Free). Most stores carry this.

Are you having “washability” problems? In other words – are your dishes not getting as clean anymore? Clean your filters, if you haven’t, and then run a dishwasher cleaning product such as Glisten or Affresh in your washer. (If it’s been a long time since you’ve done this, you might have to repeat the cleaning cycle.) Then switch to a good-quality detergent like Finish Quantum. Also, be sure to use a rinse aid such as Jet Dry. Modern dishwashers depend on this for best results and especially proper drying.

Other best practices:

  • Scrape, don’t pre-rinse dishes
  • Run the hot water in the kitchen sink before starting the dishwasher
  • Pay attention to how you are loading the dishwasher – make sure the water can reach everything.

Most of the time these steps will improve the washability. If not, then there may be a functional problem with the dishwasher and you should contact us.


Use good detergent! Unfortunately, the “eco-friendly” detergents are usually not very friendly for your machine. They are often lye-based, which can lead to faster deterioration of your washer components than normal. We recommend using a quality name brand like Woolite or Tide.

If you have an HE washer, you MUST use HE detergent, and not too much of it! The amount of detergent you need to use depends on the hardness of your water. For our area, you can use less detergent than the directions recommend. For example, in our HE washer, we only use 1/8 cup of liquid Woolite Darks or Tide for a normal load.

If you have a front-load washer, it will not develop an odor if you follow a few simple steps! Simply be careful how much detergent you use (see above), leave the door open between washes, use an old rag to wipe excess water from the folds of the gasket, and each month run a cleaning cycle with Affresh.

Is your front-load washer making a terrible noise and/or does the drum seem loose? See this article for what is likely going on.


Does your electric dryer tumble but there is no heat? Check the circuit breaker! The heating element is powered separately from the motor.

Is it taking a longer than usual time for clothes to dry? 95% of the time this is due to a clogged or pinched duct. Proper air flow is critical for dryer performance. The simple solution may be to simply clean out the ductwork. However, some ductwork really needs to be replaced with a better quality product. The Appliance Guru does not clean or replace dryer vents. This is a good job for do-it-yourselfers, handymen, or you can use a company called Dryer Vent Wizard.

Here’s a great article on cleaning your dryer vent.

Watch this video for more information.