Appliance Repairs You Can Do Yourself and Those You Should Not

Close up of stainless steel oven

We take appliances for granted until they break. Then our entire day goes down the drain. A repair can be expensive and time-consuming. However, sometimes you can do the repair yourself. Here are 5 repairs you can do yourself, and two you shouldn't.

Replace the Thermostat in The Dryer

In most cases, the thermostat is the problem with a dryer that won't heat up. A new thermostat can be purchased at most hardware stores for under $80, a considerable savings over a dryer repair, which generally costs around $180. In your dryer manual, you'll find the location of the thermostat, and you can watch a YouTube video if you need further guidance if needed.

Clear the Drain in the Dishwasher

If your dishwasher isn't draining, it's likely that there is a clog. You can clear this up with a shop vac. You may be able to avoid costly dishwasher repairs by plugging in the vacuum hose, operating the vac for a few minutes, then testing the dishwasher again.

Replace the Fan in the Freezer

It could be a bad freezer fan that's causing your freezer not to keep things cold. This fan circulates the cold air throughout the freezer. If it's broken, cold air won't reach those areas. A new fan costs about $85 at your local hardware store. It can be replaced in a few minutes by unscrewing and connecting it, and then replacing it. You've just saved a lot of money.

Clean Coils in the Refrigerator

Dirty coils can cause your fridge to lose its cooling capacity. You can find them under or behind the unit, and they can accumulate a lot of debris, dust, and pet hair. If that happens, the coils can freeze up, rather than cool the inside. Clean coils by unplugging the fridge and sliding it out, then vacuuming, dusting, or wiping them down. Plug it back in and give it an hour to cool back down to its normal temperature.

Unclog the Burner in the Gas Stove

Gas stoves that have trouble lighting or emit a gas smell might be the result of a clogged burner. If gas and electricity are working properly, you may just have to fix the burner. Once the gas is shut off to the stove, use a small brush and cleaning solution to scrub out the burner head. Restart the gas and the burner should light right up.

When to Call a Pro

The fixes above are easy. But here are two things that definitely need a pro.

Repairing the Icemaker Broken on the Fridge

In the event that your ice maker unexpectedly stops working when still connected to water, the compressor is most likely to blame. In some cases, icemaker repair can cost up to $300. Icemakers are among the most expensive components of a refrigerator, and often require some major work to the refrigerator itself. This will need a pro, as things can easily be made worse if the repair is done wrong.

Repair the Microwave

It is best to contact an expert if the microwave you own is more expensive and needs to be repaired. Do not attempt to make repairs yourself. Those devices can leak microwave radiation when not properly sealed, so call a pro for help before you start fiddling around. Or just buy a new microwave if it's old enough and a replacement will cost the same as repair.