Fix-It Tips: October

Fix-It Tips: October: How to troubleshoot and repair or replace - by the Fix-It Club.Here are October’s 10 Fix-It Tips including working on a dishwasher, repairing appliance cords, what you should know about product warranties, replacing electrical switches, replacing a thermostat, our recommendations for your Fix-It Club Toolbox, and more.

Fix-It Tip #1

Here’s what we recommend for your basic Fix-It Kit:

  • A good quality 8- or 16-ounce curved-claw hammer for installing and removing nails
  • An adjustable wrench (6, 8, or 10 inches long) for tightening and loosening bolts
  • A set of screwdrivers or a combination screwdriver with assorted tips (standard and Phillips) for tightening and loosening screws
  • Adjustable pliers (6, 8, 10, or 12 inches long) for holding or turning things
  • Optional: A basic multimeter or continuity tester for testing electrical voltage, current, and resistance.

Fix-It Tip #2

Before working on a dishwasher, always turn off power to the machine. Built-in models are plugged in under the sink. If you can’t easily access the plug, turn off the appropriate breaker in the electrical service panel . Also remember to locate the water supply shutoff and turn the water off before beginning repairs. From Dishwasher Repair.

Fix-It Tip #3

Lamps and smaller appliances use flat-cord plugs. Cords on electrical devices typically are manufactured with and sealed to the cord. Quick-connect replacement plugs are easy to install but won’t stand up to repeated plugging and unplugging because they are not sealed to the cord. Medium and larger appliances and devices typically use round-cord plugs, often with a third prong for grounding the circuit. Some heating appliances use detachable cords. If you replace a detachable cord, make sure the new cord is of the same power rating and prong configuration. From Electrical Cord Repair.

Fix-It Tip #4

Plumbing repairs can get messy, but most are fairly simple. Plumbing relies on just two basic principles: pressure and gravity. The pressure typically is created by the difference in height of the nearest water storage tower and the elevation where the water comes out of the system in your home. Gravity makes drains work. From Plumbing System Repair.

Fix-It Tip #5

Don’t try to repair electric furnace heating elements or other major electrical components. Refer to the Heating Element Fix-It Guide and other fix-it guides for troubleshooting information and call a professional HVAC (heat-ventilation-air conditioning) technician for service. From Electric Furnace Repair.

Fix-It Tip #6

The majority of problems with cooking appliances are caused by food. Pancake batter is especially tough on controls, seeping into crevices, then cooking into a hard mass. Yuk! From Cooking Appliance Repair.

Fix-It Tip #7

As you shop for replacement things, open up the box and read the warranty card to find out how long the product or specific parts are covered for repairs or replacement. From Warranties.

Fix-It Tip #8

Want to save some money? If the door’s lockset requires the service of a locksmith, remove it and take it in for service rather than pay for the locksmith to visit your home. From Door Hardware Repair.

Fix-It Tip #9

If you’re buying a new electrical switch that will get lots of use, spend a little more and buy one that is labeled “commercial” or “spec-rated.” Internal parts are sturdier and will stand up to use longer–and safer. From Switch Repair.

Fix-It Tip #10

If you’re replacing an older thermostat with a new programmable unit, get one that allows at least two daily cycles. Select one that allows you to vary the settings for the weekend or daily requirements. From Comfort Controls Repair.

–Dan & Judy Ramsey

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