When one of your appliances starts to rebel, your first thought might be about how much you dread paying pricey repair bills. While sometimes the wisest choice is to call a professional, at other times you can solve the issue yourself. Here are a few tips to help you troubleshoot common appliance problems.

If Your Fridge Isn’t as Cold as It Should Be

troubleshooting tips
Image via Flickr by notfrancois

A fridge that isn’t cold enough can cause your food to spoil before its time, so it’s important to tackle this problem as soon as you can. First, check the fridge’s setting; someone might have accidentally bumped the controls, increasing the fridge’s interior temperature.

Another possible cause of the issue is that the condenser coils are clogged by dirt and dust. Find the coils behind the kick plate, which is at the front or the back of the fridge. Use a brush to loosen the grime in the coils, and then use a vacuum to finish cleaning up.

The problem could also be that the fridge isn’t sealing like it should. Head to your local home improvement store and buy a new gasket, which is fairly easy to install yourself.

If Your Furnace Is Blowing Cold Air

Are wintertime temperatures invading your home? If the air coming from your furnace is cold, the first thing you should do is change its filter. A clogged filter can reduce the amount of warm air that makes its way into your home; it can even cause the system to stop working altogether.

If changing the filter doesn’t make a difference, head to your thermostat and check its settings. Turn up the temperature a few degrees and see if your furnace starts to blow warm air. You might need to change the thermostat’s batteries or clean it out.

Still getting cold air? It might be time to contact an HVAC professional who can thoroughly inspect the system.

If the Dishwasher Won’t Fill

Sure, you could live without the convenience of a dishwasher, but who wants to do that? If your dishwasher won’t fill, turn off its power and open it up. Find the float, which is usually near the front of the appliance’s interior. It is inside a little dome or tube.

Lift out the float and clean around the dome or tube; if debris got stuck in there, it can affect the float’s function and mess with the dishwasher’s ability to sense how much water is in it.

If the Oven Doesn’t Heat Properly

The solution to this quandary depends on what type of oven you have. If you have a gas oven, your best bet is to call a professional to take a look at it. On the other hand, if you have an electric oven, you might simply need to replace the bake element, which is the wire on the oven floor that radiates heat. You can usually buy a new element for under $50.

Sometimes, you have to call a pro to fix your appliances, but at other times, all you need is a little know-how. Use the above tips to keep your home’s gadgets in good working order.