Refrigerator Repair: How to Remove and Prevent Ice Build-Up in the Freezer

Alex HRefrigerator RepairLeave a Comment

Have you ever gone out to your refrigerator in the morning only to step in a puddle of water, wondering where it came from and how it got there?
The water seems to be leaking from underneath the refrigerator but that still doesn’t really tell you how it got there. Before you make that service call, read on to see if you might be able to perform this refrigerator repair yourself.
The first thing to do is open the freezer drawer, slide the bottom basket out so you can inspect the freezer floor. Is there a sheet of ice present? If the answer is yes, then the repair is fairly straightforward but will take a bit of time and patience if you’ve never done it before.
More than likely, the drain grommet has become gunked up and needs to be replaced. Ah, I can hear some of you asking, what is a drain grommet?  A grommet is best described as a nipple that sits securely at the end of the drain tube allowing water to pass through to the drain pan. It opens when the freezer goes into the self-defrost mode, allowing water to flow through the drain line to the drain pan and closes when self-defrost concludes. The reason it closes is to prevent warm air from entering the unit through the drain tube.
The sheet of ice is the biggest clue and what it tells you is that the water that is supposed to be flowing through the drain line to the drain pan is frozen. And every time the refrigerator goes into self-defrost the melted water has nowhere else to go other than the floor of your freezer with some of it leaking out on to the kitchen floor.
What many people do is unplug the unit and remove everything from the freezer and refrigerator, leave the doors open, and allow the frozen water to melt away. They correctly troubleshoot the problem by understanding that the water in the drain line is frozen. What most people fail to do is ask why or how that happened in the first place.
Depending on the level of your experience this repair should take 45 minutes to an hour to complete.
Tools Needed for This Repair
  • ¼ inch Nut Driver
  • Putty Knife
  • Flathead Screwdriver
  • Needle nose pliers
There are two things you need to do to carry out this repair. The first is to gain access to the lower back panel to the drain line so the grommet can be replaced. The next thing to do is to gain access to the front freezer compartment to thaw out and remove the ice that has accumulated in the drain pan and drain line. It may not make a difference which way to approach this process, but we shall begin this repair by replacing the drain grommet.

How to Access the Drain Grommet

  • Unplug the unit before doing any work. Always Safety First!
  • Loosen and remove nine screws from the lower back panel
  • Disconnect wiring harness that goes to the inlet valve
  • Remove back panel and set aside. You are now looking into the compressor compartment
  • Move out of the way a plastic device that enables the water to complete its journey to the drain pan
  • Just above this part is the drain grommet which is attached to the drain tube. Remove the drain grommet and inspect for wear and tear, dust, and gunk like stickiness. If the grommet appears like it has melted or is dirty beyond what you are able to clean it, then replace it.
  • But if it looks good enough to use again, clean it.
  • Clean the grommet by running warm soapy water through the opening
  • Securely attach the clean or new grommet back on to the end of the drain tube
  • Plug the inlet valve harness back into place on the rear panel.
  • Reattach the rear panel.
Wouldn’t it be nice if that was all you needed to do? To complete this repair, however, you need to return to the front freezer compartment to remove the ice build up on the freezer floor and from the drain pan. The following brief will explain how to do that.

How to Access the Drain Pan

The last thing you need to do is gain access to the drain pan and drain tube. Be patient and cautious around some of the sharp edges you encounter. After you remove all your frozen goods do the following.
  • Loosen the four screws that hold the freezer door in place. Lift it from its frame and set aside
  • Remove the bottom basket
  • To remove the upper tray, push in the small tabs on either side near the front. There are two remaining screws, one on each side, that must be removed before you can remove the tray.
  • If you have an ice maker, remove it by locating two screws on the top and one on the bottom. The ice maker should be free to pull out, so you have access to the wire harness that connects it to the unit. Disconnect the harness, remove the ice maker and set aside
  • Locate the back cover and remove the two screws that hold it in place. The screws are located at the bottom of the cover.
  • Press the two tabs on top of the cover with the flathead screwdriver. The cover is flexible and needs to be manipulated to completely remove it. Be careful of sharp edges.
  • Using the flathead screwdriver, press the tab that holds the thermistor cover in place. Remove the cover and set aside.
You should now have access to the drain pan. Do you notice ice build up in and around the drain pan? The following should help you remove it.
  • Slide a putty knife along the icy slot that opens to the drain pan. Break up as much ice as possible. By now, with the refrigerator unplugged much of this ice should have melted away.
  • Use the turkey baster to squirt hot water on the drain line which is located dead-center in the drain pan. Keep squirting hot water until you are sure all the ice has melted away.
  • Use the putty knife to help break up the sheet of ice on the freezer floor
  • Wipe the area down with a clean towel
  • In reverse order, replace the rear cover, thermistor cover, ice maker, upper tray, lower basket and finally, replace the bottom door
Plug your refrigerator back into its power source and return the frozen goods back into the freezer.
If this repair seems to be a bit complicated or you don’t have the time to do it yourself, give a shout out to a professional appliance repair company.

How to Diagnose and Repair a Whirlpool Dryer That Runs but Won’t Heat

Alex HDryer RepairLeave a Comment

Back in 2009, John La Grou, an electronics innovator, gave a Ted Talk on how to prevent home and office fires with a “smarter type of electrical outlet”. John wanted to look his best. The night before he was to give his Ted Talk, he did a load of laundry. After the wash cycle completed, he threw the load in the dryer and went to bed. Upon rising, he went to the laundry room, opened the dryer door, only to find that his laundry was still as damp as when he had pulled it from the washing machine. He only had a few hours before his presentation. In dismay, he Googled the keywords, dryer won’t heat up. Lacking the time to do any troubleshooting on his own, he called a reputable appliance repair company where he was greeted by a kind and patient customer service representative who asked a few basic questions. The inquiries seem basic but were intended to eliminate oversights that could happen to anyone. Especially when your mind is overloaded with other obligations.  When troubleshooting, it is best to start with the most obvious and simple repairs first, working toward the more uncommon and difficult repairs.
The customer service rep wanted to know the following:
  • Does the dryer run at all?
  • If the dryer does not run, have you looked to see if the dryer is plugged in?
  • If the dryer is plugged in but still does not run, have you checked the circuit breaker switch? It is possible for there to have been an overload on the circuitry that tripped a breaker switch.
  • However, if you’re not on a circuit breaker system, have you looked for a blown fuse?
  • Have you checked the selector switch to see if you set it to air dry only?
  • When you open the dryer door, are you met with the distinct scent of mold and mildew? This could indicate poor drainage or some type of moisture leak from previous drying sessions and definitely increases the chances of an electrical short. If the washer is leaking, some of that water could have invaded the dryer and become the source of moisture.
  • If it’s a smart dryer, such as the Samsung model # DVE55M9600V, it could have a damaged control panel that might need replacing.
Asking these questions may seem redundant but could save John the expense of an unnecessary service call.
Let’s assume that John’s dryer runs but does not heat up. There are a few reasons for this to happen and the remainder of this article will focus on two of them.

Tools Needed

  • Multi-meter
  • 5/16th nut driver
  • Flathead screwdriver
The multimeter is the most important tool in an appliance repair toolkit. Give particular consideration on how to check for continuity. In reference to electrical components, continuity is simply the unbroken flow of electricity from its power source and distributed through the appliance components. A break in continuity in any part of the electrical system would indicate that electrical current is not flowing to that component. The good news is that if you do find a break in continuity you will usually have found the part that needs to be repaired or replaced.
Unplug the dryer before beginning any work. Be careful while you work around sharp edges and delicate components. You don’t want to cut yourself and you don’t want to damage another component.

Testing the Thermostat for Continuity

The high limit thermostat is actuated by temperature change. It is located behind the back panel and is attached to the heating element. The thermostat must be removed (see below) and tested at room temperature. Testing for continuity will determine if there is an unbroken flow of current. The following guide is for an analog multimeter.
  • Dial the ohms resistance to the smallest possible setting
  • Calibrate the multimeter by touching the probes together and adjust the display needle to zero
  • Next, place a probe on either of the thermostat terminals and the other probe on the other thermostat terminal
  • If the multimeter reads zero ohms of resistance, the thermostat has continuity
  • If the multimeter display needle does not move or change, there is no continuity and the thermostat should be replaced
Thermostats should show continuity at room temperature and should shut off when heated up. If it doesn’t turn off when heated, the dryer could overheat and increase the chance of a home fire.
If the thermostat didn’t test well for continuity, replace it. It’s an inexpensive repair and shouldn’t take longer than 15 minutes to complete. Here’s how to access the thermostat on your Whirlpool Dryer.

How to Remove and Replace the Thermostat

  • The thermostat is attached to the heating element located behind the back panel
  • Remove the back panel
  • Disconnect the wire from the old high-limit thermostat
  • Detach the thermostat from the heating element terminal – Test for continuity (see above)
  • If the thermostat failed, replace it. Position the new thermostat and secure with two screws
  • Reconnect the wire to the top terminal
  • Use the wire that came with the thermostat replacement package and connect the thermostat to the heating element
The thermostat is designed to turn off at high temperature. If it doesn’t shut off when heated, the dryer itself could overheat, increasing the chance of a home fire. This is one reason to not throw your clothes in the dryer and then go out to lunch or whatever. Never leave a dryer running while you’re not at home. Now let’s take a look at the thermal fuse.

Testing the Thermal Fuse for Continuity

  • With a multimeter, set the ohms resistance to the smallest possible setting
  • Calibrate the multimeter by touching the probes together and adjust the display needle to zero
  • Next, place a probe on the thermal fuse terminal and the other probe on the other terminal
  • If the multimeter reads zero ohms of resistance, the thermal fuse has continuity
  • If the multimeter display needle does not move or change, there is no continuity and the thermal fuse should be replaced
You won’t be able to determine if a thermal fuse has failed by simply looking at it. It must be removed and tested for continuity.

How to Remove and Replace the Thermal Fuse

  • Disconnect the wires to the old thermal fuse, remove the screw that holds the fuse in place, and remove the old thermal fuse
  • Next, install the new thermal fuse with the mounting screw
  • Reconnect the wires
  • Replace the back panel
  • Plug the dryer back in to make sure it’s functioning properly
Oftentimes a failed thermal fuse is caused by a clogged venting system. Ensure the venting system is free of lint and any other material that may have inadvertently become lodged inside. It is recommended that you check the venting system after you change the thermal fuse. To inspect the dryer vents, turn the dryer on and inspect the vent flap to see if it opens when the air is being pushed through the system. If it opens you’re good to go. If not, that means that something is preventing the air flow to escape. Dryer venting systems should be inspected annually.
We have yet to discuss some of the more difficult repairs that could solve your dryer heating problems. If this simple repair tutorial does not fix your dyer, or if you need a part contact us for more information.

5 Reasons Why Your Electric Cook-top Burners Won’t Get Hot

Alex HOven RepairLeave a Comment

In preparation to cook a meal, people from all over the world turn on their electric stovetop burners and give no thought as to how any of it works. They want to cook an omelet, boil some water, or maybe grill a big fat juicy rib-eye and the only thing they want is the end product sitting on their plate. What they may not realize is how this process works and they may not care how it works until a time comes when it doesn’t.
So, let’s fan the flames of some basic electricity knowhow that may help you understand how your range works and what could be wrong with it when it doesn’t work, usually when you need it the most.

Understanding How an Electric Range Works

The more someone knows how something works the easier it is to diagnose why something is not working. You don’t need an associate degree in electronics to understand how an electric range works. Of course, we are going to be discussing how to repair an electric cooktop, but it is good to have a basic understanding how the range works.
  • Electricity from a power source is delivered to a terminal block inside your range through three large wires in the power cord.
  • Electrical power is then distributed to the various components that operate the various features of the range. Such as the thermostat, heating elements, and the heating coils that comprise most of the cooktop.
  • Heating elements are insulated coils with a metal covering that creates heat and electrical resistance to achieve the desired temperature.
  • Range cooktops come equipped with either a conventional burner or a radiant burner. The radiant burner sits underneath a ceramic surface that was designed for better heat distribution.
  • Each element is supported by its own switch that turns the burner on and sends a message to the thermostat to heat to the desired temperature.
  • The oven is designed to effectively maximize heat and air control.
  • Desired levels of heat are controlled by switches and thermostats.
  • Switches control the on and off while the thermostat controls the level of the desired temperature.
  • One type of switch for electric range tops is called an infinite-heat switch which pulsates power to heating elements on an as-needed basis, maintaining the correct level of heat.

#1. Burner Won’t Heat Because of an Electrical Short

  • Plug-in burners can collect grease and moisture into the power source receptacle.
  • This can lead to an arcing situation creating an intermittent electrical short that may not be noticed any more than a minor headache.
  • Eventually, the element will burn out.

Solution

  • To prevent a burner from shorting because of grease, oil, or moisture, it is recommended to clean the element tips and inside of the receptacle.
  • When the repair calls for a heating element replacement, make sure to replace the power source receptacle also. Do not assume that just because the heating element shorted that the receptacle does not have any problems.
  • Do not immerse the burner in water to clean. The plug-in tips on the burner element contain porcelain and will absorb water. The burner may appear dry but even a small amount of water could cause serious electrical shock.
  • In order to prevent cross-contamination, make sure to return the same heating element to the receptacle it came from.
  • Use a drip pan to capture grease and oil, however, do not line drip pans with foil. The light from the from the element reflects off the foil back to the element, causing hot spots to develop which would render the heating element useless.

#2. Burned Out Element

Needless to say, each burner element is controlled by its own switch. When the switch selector knob is turned to a particular heat setting the switch allows voltage to travel to the element which closes the circuit and causes the element to heat. If the element does not heat the component has burned out. Let’s take a closer look at how to manage this repair.
  • Inspect a conventional element for any blistering or breaks in the coil. If there is any visible breaks or bubbling, the circuit has been interrupted and the element needs to be replaced.
  • When inspecting the coils that sit underneath a ceramic top, look for any breaks or burn spots in the coil. If there is any incongruence in appearance, the coil needs to be replaced.
  • Lastly, if there is no visible damage you can check for continuity with a multi-meter. If there is no continuity you have found your problem.

Solution

  • Replace the burned-out heating element.

#3. Burned Out Receptacle

If the heating element test proves that the element is in good shape, consider the power receptacle.
  • burned out receptacle interrupts the voltage sent to the heating element.
  • Inspect the contacts for visible burn marks or damage.

Solution

  • If there is visible damage, replace the power receptacle with a new one.

#4. Loose or Burnt Wire Connection

As you work your way through these troubleshooting tips, be sure to look for any loose or burnt wires.
  • It is common for element power supply wires to burn out near the element. If this is the case, you will see visible burn marks. If a wire is loose, try wiggling it back on to its connection.

Solution

  • Replace the wire or wires that are damaged or burnt; replace the power receptacle and replace the heating element.

#5. Defective Surface Element Switch

The heating element switch regulates the voltage that controls how much heat is displaced to the coils. When the element reaches the desired temperature the switch shuts off the voltage. In order to maintain the designated temperature, the cycle continues throughout the cooking process.
  • A defective switch may prevent the element from working at all.
  • A good troubleshooting procedure is to simply take a similarly sized element and plug it in (see below for directions on how to replace a plug-in burner).
  • If the new element fails to work, then suspect the switch.

Solution

  • Replace the element switch.

How to Replace a Plug-in Burner

  • Plug-in burners are commonly used in General Electric, RCA, Hotpoint, and Kenmore ranges.
  • When doing this repair, be careful to avoid any sharp edges.
  • Remember Safety First! Before beginning any work on the range, unplug it from its power source.
  • Once the range is unplugged, go ahead and grasp the damaged burner by the outer coil and lift it up and pull it straight out.
  • Replace the burner by sliding its prongs into the terminal receptacle.
  • Then pull the burner forward to lock it in place.
  • Reconnect the range to the wall outlet and turn the new burner switch to on.
If this short troubleshooting guide does not solve your cooktop problem, contact us today for more assistance.

Proud to sponsor Boys and Girls Club

Alex HNewsLeave a Comment

Over the last week, we were proud to take part in a charity program that provided school supplies to children in need in the Tucson, Arizona area through the Boys and Girls Club.  Over 200 book bags were donated full of various school supplies(only about 40 are shown in the picture).  This took place during the annual WFCC convention.