After 30 years as an appliance technician, I’ve found three quick and easy home appliance repairs that anyone can do in less than five minutes. They require very few tools and will save you hundreds of dollars and extend the life of your equipment.
1. Gas stove burner that clicks but does not ignite
It is very common on a gas stove to have front burners that will not ignite even though you can see and hear the ignition spark. What happens is not enough gas gets to the spark to cause ignition. This is caused by a small blockage where the gas is released. Food that overflows into the burner while cooking can cause this clogging and prevent gas from reaching the igniter.
The good news is that you can fix it in less than a minute and all you need is a paper clip.
Align the paper clip by bending it with your fingers. Yes, you can bend steel with your bare hands.
Remove the large burner grate and then lift off the round metal burner lid.
Look for a small round or hexagonal brass-colored part in the center of the burner. You may need a good flashlight to see it. On many models, it’s about 1 inch from the top of the burner, right down the center. For some, it can be as low as 2 inches.
Use your straightened paper clip to get into the very small hole in the center of the brass-colored part. Push the paper clip in and twist it around like a drill. Six turns should be enough to clear the obstruction so that the gas can now flow.
Put the burner cap and the grate back on.
Now the fun part: turn on the burner and you have instant ignition and a more powerful flame. Consider doing this on all of your burners to get your oven working like new again.
2. Dishwasher does not start or does not drain
This is a very common and frustrating problem with dishwashers. Dishwashers must be able to drain easily for work. If you can’t get rid of the water from the last cycle, you won’t be able to start a new cycle.
Symptoms of a dishwasher that won’t drain include:
- The dishes come out stained or with leftover food.
- The dishwasher does not start a new cycle.
- Water is visible above the filter after the cycle is finished.
The most likely point clogged in the drain system is the air gap, which mixes air with the sewage leaving the dishwasher to help the water flow more easily. You can find the air gap on the top of the sink near the kitchen faucet, it’s a silver cylindrical thing that is about 3 inches tall.
This DIY solution will get your dishwasher up and running again in under five minutes.
Pull the silver metal cover of the air gap straight up.
Unscrew the plastic cap – or, on some models, carefully pry up the cap with a small flat-bladed screwdriver. On either side of the cap you will see plastic tabs that need to be pushed in to release the cap.
Look in the smaller diameter tube in the center of the larger opening for stuck food particles. If you can see the clog, just squeeze it between your fingers and pull it out. If you can’t see anything at the top of this little tube, use an outstretched wire coat hanger to push it into the tube several times. Try lowering the wire hanger 8 inches or more.
With the cap off, set your machine to pump out by pressing Cancel. (On some models, press and hold the start button for three seconds to abort the cycle and activate the drain motor.) Be sure to close the dishwasher door to start the drain cycle.
You should hear the engine start and you should see a column of water at least 3 inches high shoot out of the air gap. At this point, open the dishwasher door to stop the drain. Then close the door again for five seconds so that the water shoots out of the air gap again to clear the blockage.
Now you can put the cap back on the air gap as well as the silver cover. Let the hole on the silver cover point towards the sink so that an additional air gap can flow into the sink.
If you only see a drop of water coming out of the small tube during the drain test, or if your drain hose goes straight to your garbage disposal, there is an extra step you need to take. Remove the drain hose from the bottom of the air gap or take it out of the garbage can. Then place the hose in a bucket and start the draining process again while shaking the hose. This should clear the clog and drain it again.
If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Should I wash the food off my dishes before I load it?” … here is my expert answer to this very common question: Yes, definitely yes.
3. The oven door does not stay closed
This repair borders on appliance magic and many of my YouTube viewers who try this fix can’t believe how easy it was. You need two tea towels and you can complete this repair in less than two minutes.
The symptoms of an oven door that does not close properly are:
- The oven lamp flickers or lights up continuously.
- The oven does not start.
- When it starts, the heat can escape from the top of the oven.
Here is the solution:
Fold the two small tea towels in half and then fold them again.
Place the two folded tea towels flat against the inside of the door in the lower right and left corners on the right where the hinges are.
Now to the magic.
Close the oven door and press in three times at the top.
Slide the door a little further each time. You will encounter some resistance, but with a little more effort you can fully close the door on the third press.
Now open the door, remove the tea towels and let yourself be impressed by your solution. Your oven door will now close completely. If you want to close it even further, repeat the above process after folding the tea towels one more time to make them a little thicker.
Hope you enjoyed these three quick and easy solutions. Thank you for fixing your device and helping keep more devices out of our landfills. If you have any questions, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We have hundreds of more quick and easy home improvement repairs here on our YouTube channel: Green Appliance Repair Videos. You can also find the above fixes explained in video form.
Want more fixes for appliances from the fix-it guy? Check out 3 tips to double the life of your front loading washing machine.