Appliance Repair

Dishwasher Repair - Stopped Draining

Last year my Kenmore dishwasher stopped draining completely. It still worked but was not draining all the way which led to having some funky dishes. The dishwasher was only 5 years old so it was too soon for it to break down. I did some research knowing that I live in a hard water (lots of calcium) area of the country. I did most of the simple troubleshooting ideas but nothing was fixing it. We finally ran about 2 gallons of white vinegar through the dishwasher and that ended up fixing the problem.

Refridgerator Repair - Fridge Side is Warm

This year my Kenmore Side by Side refrigerator stopped working as well. It is model number 106.54532400. The problem started one day when we noticed the refrigerator side started becoming warmer and warmer until it got to about 55 degrees. The freezer side was working fine and was actually building up some ice and frost. This was abnormal so I started reading online and going through all of the trouble shooting guides. I ended up learning a lot about how refrigerators work. Here are most of the steps I took to fix the fridge.

  1. First I cleaned the coils underneath the fridge. This was a pain in the butt since I learned that there are more than just the first set of coils in the front behind the plastic cover. There are 8 rows of coils and it took some fancy coil brush work to get it cleaned.
  2. That didn't do the trick but it needed to be done. Second I noticed that the door closer cams on the fridge side was worn down and not working properly. These were cheap and available at the local appliance parts center. I bought a kit that included the cams and screws for two doors for $13.00. I used a stack of flat wood to support the door slightly higher than wear it was sitting to remove stress off of the door hinge bracket. I removed the upper and lower cams, and replaced them.
  3. I now had clean coils, a door than closed correctly but still a warm fridge. I now began removing the freezer shelves to get at the freezer components. These are all behind the back panel in the freezer. With these parts removed I could see how this machine works. The freezer makes all of the cold air. It uses a fan and thermostat to blow and control the airflow into the fridge. If any of those parts are blocked or not working then you get a warm fridge. I found ice in the upper air flow vent/damper and also ice in the lower vent. Cleaning the ice only in the upper damper does not cut it. I also needed to remove the ice in the lower vent but that was caked in there where I couldn't reach it. We removed all of the fridge's contents and let it completely thaw out. After a it thawed out and I checked the drain to make sure it worked and then I plugged it back in. Later that evening we had our 34 degree fridge back.
We determined that the problem was the door closer cams. They allowed the door to be left open too many times which eventually led to a build up of ice and frost that blocked the air flow. It took 5 days to diagnose correctly but I only spent $13.00 fixing it. I think I will keep up with my fridge maintenance on a more frequent schedule.

AC, Central Air stopped Working

About 2 years ago our AC stopped working in the hottest months of the summer. This was an absolute nightmare! Hot nights, bad sleep, expensive service calls, parts having to be ordered. I was not looking forward to this so I set off to the garage to find the problem. The central air furnace is in the garage with the condenser located outside the back man door. I again read online and went though the troubleshooting guides. I performed the basic tests and cleanings to no avail. The problem was that I could hear the AC start, it would ramp up to start running but then shut down after about 60 seconds. I went out to the garage to listen first hand and had my wife start it again. I listened and didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. I then touched the copper line that ran from the condenser to the cooling coils (there is a small area that is exposed above the furnace) and it was burning hot, almost burned my hand. I waited and then had my wife start it again but this time I noticed something missing, there was no roar of the super loud cooling fan on the condenser. I through the AC breaker and started to investigate. I pushed the fan blade and it moved which was puzzling until I watched it stop. It stopped abruptly which is not normal for well oiled ball bearings/bushings. I knew that I found my problem. I have tinkered with enough AC motors to know that that was not normal. I pulled the motor and got the motor info from the nameplate. When I finally got the large fan blade off of the motor I could barely turn the shaft with my fingers. The motor was toast.

With the correct problem diagnosed, our next challenge was to find someone that had and would sell us an AC condenser motor cheaply. I never tried the appliance store, instead I went right to our local Grainger outlet. I found our part number and model online using their motor sizing application. I fortunately have a small business license and Grainger sold me a motor for $80. I believe they do not sell to the public. The motor went in without a problem. I had one little wiring issue but that was fixed and we were up and running in no time. This would have easily been a $500 - $700 repair visit int he middle of the summer.

 AC, Central Air stopped Working AGAIN! 6/12/13

Unfortunately our A/C stopped again for the second time! Here is a new post with how we fixed it.