Before calling in a specialist to deal with an appliance that has stopped working, there are certain basic checks that you can carry out yourself to remedy the most commonly occurring problems. Always unplug an appliance while fault finding until you are ready to test it. With all appliances, first check the instruction manual under ‘Fault Finding’ and recommendations for your particular make of appliance. Ensure that the plug or plugs are pushed in firmly and that the socket (receptacle) switch is on. This may seem an obvious point, but can easily be overlooked if the switch is hidden behind the appliance. Look to see whether the flex is loose or split, if so, switch off the power and replace the flex as soon as possible.
If all these things are in order, see below for checks and repairs that you can carry out yourself. If these are not successful you will have to call in an engineer.
A portable air conditioner
If an air conditioner is not cooling properly, or is operating erratically, it may he the incorrect size for the room, if too small, it will operate continually and may ice up, making the room feel cold and damp. Check to see whether the filter needs cleaning, or whether the seal or panels are out of position. Also check the internal evaporator and exterior condenser coils, and clean them as necessary.
If an air conditioner is not working at all, the thermostat control may be incorrectly set. Alternatively, if the machine has a water reservoir, this may need emptying.
If the hose is leaking, it may be due to a loose clip, or the hose may be damaged. Ensure that clips are right and secure, and either tape up the hose or replace it as necessary. lf the water is emptying slowly, there may be a blockage in the pump or outlet filter. Disconnect the outlet hose and remove any debris, prise out the filter and clean.
If the dishwasher is simply not cleaning the dishes properly, you maybe using the wrong program, or there may be a blockage in the spray arms. If the program is correct, unscrew the central hub cap on the spray arms and wash it out if necessary.
A food processor
If a food processor only produces intermittent bursts of power, or the speed is erratic, the causes could be a worn drive belt, or food clogged inside the casing or commutator. Undo the machine casing screws and check the belt for nicks or signs of perishing.
Clean the inside of the machine thoroughly using a soft, dry brush. The commutator contains lots of copper strips and is situated between the brushes in the motor. Clean gently with methylated spirits (denatured alcohol).
If there is no power, and the kettle will not hear up, check for any loose wiring or poor connections in the lead and plug and re-wire as necessary. If this does not solve the problem, the cut-out device may have been triggered. Try resetting the cut-out device; if it continues to trip, you will need to replace it. Another possibility is that the element is damaged, so check for hairline cracks. If the repair is likely to costly, however, it may be easier simply to replace the kettle.
If the problem is poor cooling, causing the ice box to melt, the causes are likely to be a faulty door seal or a faulty condenser, or it could be that the fridge simply needs defrosting. Check the door seal for perished or damaged areas, and replace it if necessary. Check the condenser by turning the temperature control to the lowest setting. Leave the door open for 5 minutes, and then see whether the motor comes on when you shut the door. If nothing happens, the condenser is probably faulty and you will need to call in an engineer. You should defrost the refrigerator approximately every month.
If the refrigerator temperature is too cold, causing some foods to freeze, the problem may simply be an incorrect thermostat setting, or the thermostat may he faulty.
A tumble drier
If a drier is particularly noisy when in use, the drum hearings may be worn or the fan could he loose. Check the condition of the front and rear hearings, and that the large fan on the main motor is secure and not rotating independently. Check the fan for damage and replace it if necessary.
If loads of washing are not drying properly, the cause may be a blocked filter, or it could be that you are simply overloading the machine. Remove the filter and clean away any fluff. Place a smaller quantity of laundry in the drum before restarting the drier.
A washing machine
If the problem is leaking water, the causes could be a faulty hose or hose connection, a perished door seal, a blocked outlet or a faulty pump. Switch off the machine and remove any washing from inside. Check that the filter is not blocked, check the outlet hose for any blockage, and check the pump by switching to the rinse cycle. Check the hose and connections for any leaks, and make a temporary repair with adhesive tape if possible to prevent further leakage. Examine the door seal and replace it if damaged, or see whether garments or any objects have been caught in the door gasket.
If the problem is that the machine is not emptying, the causes could be a faulty pump, or a blocked filter or outlet hose. Switch off the machine, and drain down the system following, the instruction manual. Open the filter and remove any debris or objects using an old toothbrush. Also check the pump disturber and remove any blockage. If the drum of the machine will not turn, the reason may be a slack or broken drive belt.