DIY Appliance Repair | Whirlpool HE Dishwasher Error Codes

I included Whirlpool dishwasher error codes because of the huge population of these units. There is a reason so many are out there. The main one is all about Whirlpool’s reputation. Another is their dependability.

All machines have their problems, regardless of price. That said, why not learn more about your dishwasher and repair it yourself? At the very least, if you would rather have it done for you, knowing the source of the problem puts you in a better position when the repairman gives you an estimate!

Please remember these codes can’t troubleshoot for you, but they should point you in the right direction to help you narrow down the part or section of the machine causing the problem. I promise to keep technical jargon to a minimum.

Note: On some non-digital display models, the codes display by blinking the "clean" light on the console. The first sequence represents the “F” code, and the second represents the “E” code. The clean blinks a certain number of times, pauses for two seconds, then blinks the second code. An example is if the light blinks seven times, then pauses for two more, then blinks once more, the code is 7-1 (heater related error). In this list, find 7-1 (F7E1) for the error. Others display the F#E#, hence the two styles of codes in this list.

1-1 (F1E1) - A stuck relay indication is the culprit, but don’t assume the board is bad. They’re expensive and a few minutes with a flashlight, good eyes, and a meter might save some big money. Use the tech sheet behind the toe-kick of the dishwasher as a guide. They show strip circuits to help troubleshoot problems like this.

Without a tech sheet, check point-to-point in the harness for continuity. If resistance checks don’t reveal the cause, and the harness isn’t damaged, you won’t have any choice but to replace the main control.

1-2 (F1E2) - In every case of this error that I’ve seen, the only fix is a new main control. The internal memory fails and triggers the error. As a last resort, remove power for 5-10 minutes and try again. In rare instances, the control works and doesn’t show any sign of problems.

2-1 (F2E1) - Stuck key on the user interface. When this happens, disconnect the harness from the interface leading to the main control. Leave the dishwasher open and apply power. Wait about 10 seconds and close the door.

If the drain pump runs, replace the user interface control. With no drain pump operation with the interface harness disconnected, the main control is at fault.

3-1 (F3E1) - This shows either a thermistor (water temperature sensor) or the OWI has failed (turbidity sensor for checking water clarity). Check the harness between the control and the sensor. If there’s any indication of high resistance, repair or repair the harness. Check operation again. If the error still shows, replace the thermistor/OWI sensor.

3-2 (F3E2) - Indicates a shorted (not open) thermistor/OWI sensor. Follow the same tests as F3E1, except if you find a short in the harness, repair or replace it. Check for proper operation.

3-3 (F3E3) - OWI (turbidity sensor) wasn’t calibrated during the last cycle, or the drain hose check valve failed (most likely), causing water to backflow into the dishwasher. A quick test is to remove the drain hose and inspect the check valve (one-way valve) at the drain pump end. If it’s damaged, stuck, or missing, replace the drain hose before doing further tests.

With a new drain hose attached, place the machine into a Service Diagnostics Test. Find the instructions in the tech sheet at the toe kick under the machine. There’s an OWI test procedure for checking its sensitivity. A low soil level indication is good; A high level requires cleaning the OWI and retest. The retest calibrates the OWI through the main control. If the code reappears, replace the thermistor/OWI sensor.

4-1 (F4E1) - Communication error between the main control and circulation pump. Check the harness and connections between the two and repair or replace as necessary. A good harness and solid connections could show the need to replace the sump/motor assembly (especially on older units). A quick test is to remove the sump assembly and try moving the wash motor impeller by hand. If it’s seized, replace the sump/motor assembly. If the motor tests ok, replace the main control.

5-1 (F5E1) - In later models, you’re given four seconds to close the door after pressing “Start/Resume”, after which you may get this error, but it’s not common. If either of the two door switches are faulty, a legitimate F5E1 occurs. Drop power and remove the door skin, then check the door switches with your meter. If they check good, check the harness for breaks or connection problems. Replace the door latch assembly because it’s possible the linkage isn’t actuating the switches when the door closes.

5-2 (F5E2) - Door opening not detected between cycles by the main control. On newer models, the main control expects to see the door opened between cycles. You’ll see this code if you attempt to start a new cycle for say, a second wash to double-wash your dishes. Press Cancel, open and close the door, then start a new cycle. If that doesn’t work, the door switch might be defective. Refer to code F5E1 for more information about testing the door switches.

6-1 (F6E1) - Dishwasher won’t fill with water. This is a common problem caused by a stuck float. Look for something blocking the overfill float. The float sits on the floor of the dishwasher in the lower right corner toward the front. It looks similar to a three inch diameter disc with a raised center. Check for proper operation by gently lifting up or pushing down on the disc. You should hear a click when pulling up. If you pull too hard, the stem connected to the disc pulls out of the switch housing. It’s easy to fix, but it’s preventable if you’re careful.

After checking the float, verify the water entering the machine. The entry point is on the inside left wall of most dishwashers, a few inches from the bottom. If the float is fine, and you still don’t see water flowing, turn the water supply off, remove the water line and aim the hose into a bucket while turning on the water. A strong stream of water should flow into the bucket. If not, remove the water inlet valve. Check the screen inside the valve. If it’s clear, the valve is faulty and needs replacing.

Sometimes, the valve and water supply work fine, but still no water flows. It’s time to check connections and power from the control board. The valve vibrates when on, and water should pass through. No power to the valve means a break in the harness or the relay on the control failed. The latter requires a new control.

6-2 (F6E2) - Water inlet valve windings open. First things first. Check for obvious signs of a damaged wiring harness. You can repair these, but replacing the harness might be the best idea. Check the resistance at the valve terminals. Here, you should read about 1400 Ohms. A bad or open winding shows infinite resistance. Replace the valve. If the alarm shows with a new valve installed, your only choice is a new control.

6-3 (F6E3) - This is a SUDS alarm caused by excessive suds in the drain system. Drain pumps cannot drain sudsy water, so remove excess suds and water with a wet-dry vac or several bath towels to soak up the sudsy water. Using soap other than dishwasher soap causes excessive suds and becomes a nightmare if you don’t catch it in time.

Another easy to miss cause of a suds alarm is low water in the dishwasher. Low water causes air in the drain pump, tricking the control into thinking suds is the cause. A quick check of the water level is to confirm that the water is just touching the bottom of the overfill disc. Bowls and pans hold water if they’re loaded wrong (face up) triggering the suds alarm because of low water. Don’t forget to include checking the water fill valve as a possible cause of low water. If you find the inlet valve clogged, it’s best to replace it because part of the clog could lodge in the valve assembly forcing it to stay open and flood your kitchen!

6-4 (F6E4) - The control detected the float switch open. Once again, check the overfill float switch for obstructions or a malfunction. Confirm no water enters the dishwasher when it’s off. Check for a possible failed water inlet valve or bad overfill switch. Replace as necessary.

6-6 (F6E6) - Incoming water too cold. Confirm hot water to the dishwasher and check the temperature. Normal temperature on start-up is about 110-120F. In cold climates where hot water takes a few minutes to reach the dishwasher, unheated water can shock the thermistor/OWI into failure. It doesn’t happen often, but be mindful of the possibility. Use the tech sheet to reference the test for the thermistor. Failed parts include the thermistor/OWI sensor or the main control (rare).

6-7 (F6E7)  - Flow meter error. Not every WP dishwasher uses them. The magnetic reed switch failed, or it’s corroded. If the harness is good, replace the flow meter.

6-8 (F6E8) - Water Softener Models Only - A problem with the water softener regeneration valve is indicated. As always, check the harness first. If it’s ok, replace the valve or the main control, in that order.

7-1 (F7E1) - Open heating element. These heaters can look bad because of scale and discoloration. It’s best to check continuity with your meter. Dishwasher models vary, but an approximate reading for a new heater is in the 10 to 50 ohm range. You should see some resistance on your meter. If the meter shows resistance over a few hundred ohms, replace it.

Safety tip: Always remove power from the dishwasher before checking the heater continuity. Also, use an adjustable wrench to remove the plastic nuts holding the heater in place. Remove one lead from the heater to check and don’t pull on the wire. Remove the connector without damaging the wire or the connector.

7-2 (F7E2) - Heating element stays on. Remove power for five minutes and recheck. If the code reappears, the control has a shorted heater relay causing the error. Replace the main control.

8-1 (F8E1) - Slow drain or no drain. Confirm the pump is running to rule out a power problem. Remove power and turn off the water supply. Your first check is to confirm that the knockout plug on the garbage disposal is removed. Next, remove the drain hose under the sink and check for a buildup at the end of the hose. If it’s clear, remove the hose from the drain pump outlet at the sump.

Check for obvious discoloration of the drain hose and suspect a possible clog at that point. Don’t assume it is a clog. Instead, confirm the check valve (one-way valve) hasn’t failed. If it’s ok, remove the drain pump to check for debris (broken glass, food particles, etc) inside the sump where the pump attaches, and clean.

The impeller (AKA fan blade) should turn with a little resistance. If the impeller appears jagged and rough, replace the pump because debris has worn the impeller blades down to a point where it can’t push water. Examine the filter and clean. Water won’t drain if food and debris block the filter screen.

If the drain hose, sump, drain pump, and filter appear to be in good shape, recheck the drain function by starting a cycle, then canceling it to force an automatic drain. If drain issues remain, remove the drain hose from the dishwasher and run a water hose from the drain pump end to check the function of the check valve.

Allow water to flow through the hose until you’re sure it’s clear. Another option is to replace the drain hose.  Reattach the drain hose, then recheck the drain system by turning the water on, power up, and run a cycle so water enters the machine and recheck by canceling the cycle.

8-1 (F8E2) - Drain pump electrical issue. Drop power to the dishwasher and check the wiring at the drain pump. If it’s ok, remove the pump and check the windings with your meter. An open winding triggers the same error code.

9-1 (F9E1) - The control cannot determine the position of the diverter disc. The disc diverts water to the spray arms, depending on the cycle chosen and the options of the dishwasher. If the control doesn’t receive confirmation from the diverter motor, suspect the motor or a possible leak in the diverter motor seal inside the sump assembly. The leak is easy to spot. Look for water below the motor as you look under the sump. The repair requires a new sump ass’y in this case. In rare cases, you might find this error caused by the main control.

9-2 (F9E2) - Control senses diverter motor has constant power. The diverter relay on the control is shorted, feeding power to the diverter at all times. Replace the control.

10-1 (FAE1) - Dispenser failure. To confirm the error, remove power, then remove the door panel (Phillips or Torx bit required). Check for an obvious problem such as a jammed door or soap buildup. Usually, this error is caused by a faulty dispenser and replacing it is your best option.

10-2 (FAE2) - Vent wax motor issue. Check the harness to the vent wax motor. Repair or replace as necessary. If the error reappears, replace the vent wax motor.

10-3 (FAE3) - Drying fan failure. Confirm the harness at the fan is ok. If there’s no damage, replace the drying fan. In rare cases, the main control is faulty.

12-1 (FCE1) - The WiFi module and the main control lost communication. It's best to check the connections between the board and module. Sometimes reseating them is successful. More often, a complete power down for 15 seconds then restarting allows communication to resume. If that doesn't work, the WiFi module is the likely cause.

12-2 (FCE2) - The link from your appliance lost its connection to the wireless router. Sometimes rebooting the router takes care of this problem. If it doesn't, follow the instructions in your owner's guide to link the WiFi module to your router.

12-3 (FCE3) - This is a total loss of Internet connection. Check or reboot the router to restore the connection.

12-5  (FCE5) - This is telling you the WiFi antenna failed. If the wiring and connections are good, the antenna needs replacing.

We hope the information presented here helps you figure out what's going on with your dishwasher! Remember, we're only a click away anytime you need us. Please feel free to add your comments below. Do you like the layout? Should something change? Is information missing? If so, please advise. We love to hear from you!


DIY Appliance Repair: Bosch Dishwasher Error Codes Explained

Anyone with a Bosch dishwasher will at some point experience a problem. Fortunately, Bosch self-diagnostics are accurate, and most times once we address the error, you won’t see the alarm again for some time! I like to think the error codes point to a single problem, but experience has taught me to think differently. You may find that after you repair one problem, another one follows. Don’t be discouraged because it happens like that when a problem with, say, your drain pump, causes a backup of debris in the drain hose that you weren’t aware could cause a problem.

Let’s also say you have a drain problem and you find the drain pump failed and no longer drains. During the time the pump gradually fails, debris begins to build up inside the drain hose, and eventually prevents wastewater from passing through. The drain pump continues to work hard and do its job until it finally stops. Let's say you discover the pump is worn-out, so you replace it with high expectations, only to realize the water still isn’t pumping out like it should.

Scenarios like that are why when you’re troubleshooting, consider every possibility for accurate problem solving. In that scenario, the drain pump is slowly failing (which they do from time to time) and can't drain the wastewater, but also debris is building up inside the drain hose, which makes the problem even worse!

When the pump fails, if I know Bosch, then you'll probably received a few error codes related to a drain issue, which is great! However, it’s possible the codes may take you in another direction, veering away from the real problem. When this happens, it’s good to know how your machine works and why you might see erroneous codes, because your machine is doing what it does and doing its hardest to help you. Learning about the most common Bosch dishwasher error codes is good and it's where we're going to start today.

Note: use the codes here as a guide only. They should get you close to the cause of the problem, but troubleshooting is the best way to know for sure. Also, keep in mind that depending on your model, some codes won’t apply to your machine as they change from time to time without notice.  

If your machine doesn’t use a full LCD display and can’t display alphanumeric codes, find the single letter fault codes at the end of this list.

E01 – There’s a heating issue detected, and most likely caused by a bad internal heater. Also check for correct water level. If it’s too low, the control locks out the heater to protect it.

E02 – Temperature Sensor (thermistor)

E03 – Not sensing water fill (water inlet valve)

E04 – Water switch faulty (water level switch)

E05 – Water overflow (flood mode) (float switch or water inlet valve)

E06 – Aqua sensor fault (aka Turbidity Sensor)

E07 – Not drying (vent fan or heater/fan)

E08 – Water level issue at heater (water inlet valve)

E09 – Flood mode (not draining, check drain pump and filters)

E10 – Lime scale built-up on heater surface (try Dishwasher Magic to clean or replace heater)

E11 – Thermistor fault (this is an error code for an older Bosch dishwasher)

E12 – Lime scale built-up on heater surface (try Dishwasher Magic to clean or replace heater)

E13 – Water temperature error (most commonly occurs if water temperature exceeds 75C or 167F)

E14 – Water flow meter failure

E15 – Leak detected (float switch at bottom near sump is activated)

E16 - Uncontrolled water flow (water inlet valve stuck open)

E17 – Water pressure too high (flow meter error, water inlet valve)

E18 – No water flow detected flowing into machine (water supply, kinked hose)

E19 – Recirculation valve failure inside heat exchanger (found in European units with cold water supplied at inlet)

E20 – Wash motor failure (circulation pump or clogged system at sump)

E21 – Drain pump failure (clogged pump or filter, impeller damage)

E22 – Dishwasher filter in sump is blocked (clean and check operation)

E23 - Drain pump is blocked or clogged (drain pump failure)

E24, E25 – Not draining (drain hose clogged or kinked, drain inlet in sump, drain pump)

E26 – Reserved

E27 – Improper input voltage to unit (usually caused by a voltage drop)

E28 – Turbidity sensor (see E06)

LETTER FAULT CODES

A or B – Water leak detected (check float and bottom near sump for water)

C – Circulation pump error (wash motor)

D – Electrical issue from main control to wash motor (possible motor relay or triac)

E – Diverter valve error (diverts water to top rack)

F – Long fill error (check water supply or water inlet valve)

G – Diverter triac fault (check main control)

H – Not heating (heating element, thermo, or board)

K – Thermistor fault (NTC)

O – Pressure sensor error (water level)


View Looking Out From Inside Washing Machine With Red Sock Mixed With White Laundry

DIY Appliance Repair: Clothes Dryers

You might think dryers are simple and you’re right. But they do break. Most times it’s not serious but still a big inconvenience. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could diagnose a dryer problem in five minutes flat? After reading today’s edition in the DIY Appliance Repair Series about dryers, you will have a better understanding of what they do, how they do it, and a few simple solutions to some common problems.

Here’s what I’ll be talking about today:

  • How dryers work
  • Common problems you can fix
  • When not to try
  • It’s time to contact Neli for help

So, how do dryers work?

They’re not scientific marvels. Not even close. They have a drum for your clothes and a drive belt driven by an electric motor. When the drum turns, heat is produced by the heater (electric or gas) and assuming it has a clear vent, begins its mundane task of drying your clothes.

The genius part of dryers is how easy they perform its task of drying clothes. You may remember drying clothes on a clothesline before dryers came along. Speaking of clotheslines, the process represents what happens in your dryer today.

Illustration of laundry hanging from clothesline.All dryers require three things to happen in harmony with each other. First, we need heat (sun) to dry clothes. Heat by itself cannot dry clothes. It can only heat them. Airflow (wind) mixed with heat dries clothes. Good airflow dries them faster and better.  So, you see, we need heat and airflow to dry clothes.

The third thing all dryers need is a way to tumble clothes to allow hot, moist air to escape through the clear vent to facilitate drying. In a clothesline scenario, clothes suspended in mid-air and wind gently blowing around them replicates tumbling.

Dryers replicate the clothesline process well. However, if any of the three elements of drying are missing, efficient drying can’t happen. That said, let’s look at what you can do quickly to remediate a drying problem.

Common, easy to fix dryer problems

  1. I’m sure you’re familiar with long dry times, but have you learned what causes it and better yet, how to fix it? When you notice towels taking 80-90 minutes or more to dry, something is up.

The first place to check is outside where the vent exits your house. Inspect it. Is it clogged? My guess is yes. Remove the screen if needed and reach inside to remove packed in lint but watch for a nest! Birds and other animals like the seclusion and warmth of a dryer vent. Wear gloves for this!

If it was clogged and now it’s clean, run your dryer empty for about 5 minutes to remove any loose lint. If you’re satisfied that everything is OK, put the screen back in, and you’re good to go.

TIP: Some people opt to leave the screen out and get in the habit of checking the now open vent regularly. If your vent has louvers, leave them in for protection.

What I just shared with you could save you big time in charges for vent cleaning and higher bills for the extra run time of the dryer!

  1. If your vent is clear and you’re still experiencing long dry times, look at the vent from your dryer to the wall. Is it crushed or kinked? Crushed or kinked vents are a leading cause of long dry times, eventually leading to excess lint buildup inside the dryer, increasing the chance of a dryer fire.

The simple fix for this is a new vent. Lowe’s, Home Depot, or any other hardware store sells them. Remember to use only metal vent. Refuse vinyl if you see it. It’s dangerous to use and banned in most states.

  1. If I had a nickel for every time I found the next simple problem and fixed it in under 2 minutes, I would be on easy street. Can you guess what it is? If you guessed to check the breaker, you’re right!

It happens this problem occurs far more often with electric versus gas dryers. If an electric dryer is missing half of its required 220 Vac, it runs but won’t heat. Many times, checking and resetting the breaker fixes it. Try resetting it a few times. Another simple fix!

When Not to Try

If dry times haven’t improved after cleaning the vent to the outside and replacing the section from the dryer to the wall, a mechanical problem such as a stripped blower wheel might be the culprit. It doesn’t happen often but enough to talk about it.

A stripped blower wheel is one repair that isn’t a simple fix. In fact, if you’re not trained to repair this, do not try it. You’ll discover you’re in too deep once you have the dryer torn apart. For this repair, it’s time to reach out to us and let us guide you through every step.

It’s time to contact Neli for help when…

  1. Your dryer has no power.
  1. It powers on but won’t start.
  1. It’s very noisy when running.
  1. It runs but doesn’t heat (for electric dryers, check your breaker first!)
  1. It runs but doesn’t heat (for gas dryers, the flame goes out quickly)

Wooden Blocks Spell Final ThoughtsAs usual, I’ve had a great time writing this article for you. It’s my hope you’ll learn a little each time you read this and our other super-informative articles and use your new knowledge to save some money and understand more about your appliances. Remember, we love to hear from you! Please, leave a comment below and tell us how you fixed your dryer. Our readers will enjoy it!


Close up view of clean plates in a dishwasher

DIY Appliance Repair: Dishwashers

Think of it – relaxing after a nice dinner, talking about the day, and enjoying some well-deserved down time. Sounds great, doesn’t it? What if your dishwasher wasn’t working and you, your wife, and the kids couldn’t relax just yet because the dishes need to get done?

Surprisingly, we can trace most dishwasher issues back to the operator (that’s you). But what you probably don’t know is they’re easy to solve when you understand how they work and how to make them run their best. See, it's not you, it’s only because you weren’t trained well.

That’s what I’ll be discussing here. Welcome to the dishwasher edition in our Getting Started Series presented by none other than our favorite group of DIY Online Appliance aficionados known as Neli!

What will you learn today?

  • I’ll describe typical dishwasher operation such as what happens when you close the door and press START.
  • How to troubleshoot and solve two common “washability” issues.
  • When you should contact Neli for a helping hand.

Basic Washing Operation

Dishwashers clean dishes much like a touchless car wash. It uses high pressure water mixed with a special soap designed to clean dishes. After washing, rinsing occurs followed by a drying cycle to finish.

You may wonder why dishes take forever to clean. Lots of things happen internal to the dishwasher causing wash times to vary. Water temperature sensors and turbidity sensors (water clarity) affect wash times.

If your dishwasher uses a digital display, the time shown is an estimate and varies or appears to get stuck and not move. More about this in the Washability Section.

As water gets pumped into the dishwasher, the upper and lower spray arms move and spray water on the dishes. If your dishwasher offers options such as upper rack only, or turbo wash, pressure changes from upper only to lower (turbo) only, depending on the option chosen.

Rinsing

Before rinsing, the dishwasher drains and brings in fresh water and starts a similar wash-like action without soap. It’s during this cycle the dispenser pulses its solenoid and releases a measured amount of Rinse Aid into the rinse water.

Some people refuse to use Rinse Aid, but it’s designed to increase overall washing performance. It helps water drain in sheets from dishes, reducing water spots and help dry, too. Using Rinse Aid or any other rinse agent is your choice but knowing how well it works might change your mind.

Drying

Picture of modern dishwasher with door open slightlyAfter the final rinse, the heater turns on and starts its drying cycle. If you prefer to air dry the dishes, crack the door after the final rinse, or select the option for air dry. Most dishwashers use an exposed heating element for drying. It’s located inside on the bottom and gets very hot. Don’t touch it!

Some newer dishwashers offer air dry only, so watch for this when shopping for a new unit.

Others use a combination of forced air through a heated chamber on the bottom of the sump assembly inside, near the lower spray arm. Heads up – this option doesn’t perform well.

Washability Issues

  1. Takes too long to wash. One of the more common complaints we receive is the dishwasher washes for three or more hours and dishes aren’t clean. Three hours is about the limit for any dishwasher working normally in extended cycles such as sanitize or sensor wash.

Solution: Aside from a normal three-hour cycle, the turbidity sensor or main control usually is the blame for this. We define turbidity as the clearness of the water. If the dishwasher is dirty from prolonged use, food particles build up in the sump and mix with fresh water used for washing and rinsing.

As wash water passes through a turbidity sensor, it can shorten a cycle too much, or cause extended cycles over three or more hours. If the sensor fails, either can happen with dirty dishes as a result.

When a working sensor detects dirty, cloudy water, it directs the dishwasher to pause its wash cycle, drain, and bring in fresh water to help clean the wash water. The function adds significant time to the cycle.

You’ll notice something isn’t right when the display seems to get stuck on say, 2.5 hours or 150 minutes and doesn’t move – ever. Suspect a failed turbidity sensor or main control. If so, contact us for an appointment to walk you through the repair.

TIP: Use dishwasher cleaner monthly to keep it running its best (i.e. Dishwasher Magic by Glisten).

  1. Dishes don’t dry. Believe it or not, dishwasher heaters rarely fail today. Not so long ago, a common replacement part was a heater and control for most models. Gradually, manufacturers lowered the output of their heaters to rely more on Rinse Aid and venting to dry dishes.

Solution: Take my advice to use Rinse Aid. Also, watch your soap usage! A tablespoon is all that’s needed for any size load. Do NOT use the Pre-Wash section of the dispenser – ever. Pods are OK, but they’re borderline over soaping your dishwasher. If you use them, be sure to use Dishwasher Magic every month to clean out excess soap.

A telltale sign of a bad heater aside from wet dishes is lukewarm wash water on a high-heat or sanitary cycle. Before spending money on parts, contact us first for help in pinpointing the problem.

TIP: Use a tablespoon of good liquid soap for best results with no risk of over soaping.

I hope you gained insight on dishwasher operation. They’re amazing machines! Changes over the years make them indispensable tools for convenience, but like anything, issues come and go. Now you have a better understanding of how they work and maybe you’ll be inclined to figure out a solution before spending your hard-earned money on a repair you can do yourself!

As always, Neli is only a few clicks away! Reach out to us for DIY appliance repair help, any time, night or day!  If you liked what you read here today, please leave a comment below. You know we love hearing from you!


Closeup of microwave

DIY Appliance Repair: Microwaves

open tabletop microwave oven on a white backgroundWe find microwaves in just about every home we enter for service. To most people, however, they’re a mystery. We put our coffee inside, press one or two buttons, and a few minutes later we have hot coffee! Gotta love this technology!

From a DIY appliance repair perspective, when a novice attempts to repair a “not-heating” problem, half-way into the unit they back off because many components inside stand ready to punish them for trying. But, if they have the right knowledge before starting, chances are they might get the thing running again.

For now, I’ll leave the repair talk out of this and review how microwaves work and why never attempt to repair them on your own without expert help.

That said, welcome to Neli’s latest article in our Getting Started Series! Today’s article reaches further into microwave technology. How it heats, when it doesn’t, who invented it and when. Great stuff to know!

What Makes a Microwave Work?

Each time you press “start” on the control panel of your microwave, several events take place to heat your food. The main control receives input from pressing the start button and a safety check of the door switches determines if the microwave can proceed.

After initial checks, house power (120 Vac) feeds to the main control where 120 Vac is fed directly to the high-voltage transformer where it’s doubled by the high voltage diode and capacitor circuit before reaching the magnetron. The magnetron produces microwave energy and cooking begins.

This is a simplified description of the microwave process, but overall it should give you an idea of what happens after you press start on the keypad. Many components come together and operate to produce heat. While failure of any one component would shut off high voltage, most times lights and display work, but food doesn’t cook.

Because of the extremely high working voltage of a microwave (approx. 2200 volts), it’s recommended having a working knowledge of safety and follow every step when disabling high voltage.

Inverter Technology in Microwaves

Standard microwave operation lacks a consistent, even heat in the cavity. To circumvent this, Panasonic and GE use inverter technology in some of their models. An advantage of using an inverter in place of a standard high-voltage transformer is when adjusting a cooking cycle power output to 50% for example, it outputs power at exactly 50% of its full, rated power.

A standard microwave achieves 50% power by turning its magnetron on full for approximately half of the set time in the cycle. Due to heat losses within the unit, the microwave averages 50% output, meaning power fluctuates above and below 50% power.

Inverter technology holds the advantage in cooking food with steady heating, and it can defrost food without burning the edges. However, the cost of microwaves using inverter technology is much higher than standard ones, and repair parts cost more, too.

Convection Microwaves

Tabletop convection microwave with door open showing inside.Sometimes I wonder why convection microwaves haven’t caught on yet. They’ve been around a long time, but few are sold. Perhaps the price scares people away. If I had to guess, I would say it’s because microwave cooking never got people excited enough to try it.

Convection cooking in a microwave is nearly the same as in a standard range with convection. They both use fans to circulate hot air around the cavity and bake food evenly. Wait! Bake in a microwave? Yes, that’s what convection microwaves do! Maybe now we know the reason they’re not popular. Your existing range with convection outperforms the microwave in every way, including cooking space.

One last topic about repair. I couldn’t resist.

Typical Causes of No Heat

A non-heating microwave is a huge disappointment and if you don’t have a clue of the reason, you’re more upset. I know how you feel because I’ve been there, too. Most times, the cause is a simple one, but not as easy to fix. Let me explain.

Standard microwave magnetron.By far, the most common cause of no-heat in a microwave is a failed magnetron pictured here. A simple reason, but a challenge for a novice to fix. Neli can guide you through diagnosing this and any other symptom and find out exactly what is causing the issue.

Another common cause of several issues is the door switches. If one or more fail, lights staying on, no heat, not starting, and starting unattended are some of the symptoms you’ll see. As I said earlier, simple reason, but a challenge to fix.

If you go ahead with a repair, we help you through every step, and if needed, our camera sharing app, Virtually There™ shows us in real time exactly what you see. It’s just like being there with you!

Wooden Blocks Spell Final ThoughtsWho Invented the Microwave?

The story about how microwaves got their start is funny! In 1945, a man named Percy Spencer working at Raytheon was working on a radar system and microwaves produced from it started melting a Hershey’s chocolate bar in his pocket!

Initial tests were popcorn and yes, an egg. We all know what happened to the egg, right? It exploded!

From there, Spencer fabricated a sealed metal box and tested his discovery with food inside. He verified temperatures in food rose rapidly but didn’t burn the outside. Raytheon filed for a U.S. patent on October 8, 1945. The rest as they say, is history!

If you have any comments to add from your experience with microwaves, please feel free to add them below. Or, if you liked what you read here today, please let us know. As always, we love to hear from our readers!


Kitchen with dining room

DIY Appliance Repair: Wall Oven Installation Tips

Modern kitchen with a built-in wall ovenMost of us think a wall oven works the same way as a conventional slide-in range. In many ways, it’s true. But there are differences you should know about before installing your new oven. I know they’re beautiful pieces of technology, and it’s worthwhile learning a few tips now instead of finding out the hard way!

For years, I’ve seen great installations and some very reckless and dangerous ones, too. After an installation, most customers have no idea what’s behind or around their oven. The assumption is as long as it works, all is good. Please, read on…

Self-Clean Misfortune

Wall ovens require specific minimum distances around the unit providing ample room for air flow. The open space around the oven allows it to cool properly without tripping its internal temperature sensors and stopping operation.

I won’t give specifics here because each unit has its own specifications. My point is, make sure your installers follow the specifications. They’re too important to ignore. I’ve seen too many ovens installed in spaces clearly not designed for them. That said, lack of airflow clearances creates an immediate problem.

A majority of my customers love keeping their ovens clean using the self-clean function. Aside from the steam option, a regular high-heat option remains the common choice. However, in a case of a bad installation, it’s risky to allow ovens to reach high temperatures (750-900°) for extended periods, such as during a self-clean unless proper ventilation allows sufficient airflow.

I should say all ovens I’ve seen with optional self-clean have been tested for high temps, but problems occur when insufficient airflow around the unit prevents proper cooling, tripping high-limit thermostats. This leads to a complete shutdown of the oven, or at least the bake and broil elements.

Electrical Pigtail Too Short

A potentially dangerous and novice-like installation is apparent when electrical installers don’t follow instructions and leave enough slack in the electrical pigtail connecting power to the unit. It’s too late when your wall oven gets removed for repair.

Cartoon electrician with toolboxEnough length in the power cord (pigtail) is essential to allow someone to remove the unit from the wall with enough room to maneuver around the unit while it’s sitting on an oven cart. A pigtail too short makes it impossible to remove the unit without disconnecting the pigtail from the unit, which is awkward, hard to reach, and potentially dangerous.

I should note here most units come pre-wired with a five-foot pigtail attached, but that’s not guaranteed. Please, watch carefully during the installation and insist they add enough length to the pigtail to avoid a disaster whenever the unit needs repair and must be removed from the wall!

Using Shims to Raise or Level the Unit

If an installer uses a block of wood under the unit to raise it high enough to close up gaps at the top of the opening, don’t allow it. Instead, have them use a solid piece of wood with the same footprint as the oven directly under the unit to accomplish this.

Shims shift and crush built-in exhaust vents. They’re not designed to withstand the oven’s weight, which is why they’re recessed underneath. A shim will slip during installation and end up directly below a vent, crushing it when the oven comes to rest.

Confirm Unit is Level

Before the installers leave and ask you to sign off, open the oven and check the slide-out racks. Do they slide out when you open the oven door? If yes, your unit is not level and will create major problems for you.

Hopefully, your installer won’t attempt to use shims mentioned earlier to level the unit. A basic step in a wall oven installation is to make sure the opening is correct according to spec, and level. It’s the installer’s responsibility to correct any problems before attempting installation.

Wooden Blocks Spell Final ThoughtsWe know how frustrating a bad home appliance installation can be. All Neli techs have seen their share; that you can be sure of! I hope the tips I’ve shared with you help make your new wall oven installation a glowing success! I’ve included a link to another article about home appliance installations you might find helpful.

As always, if you like this article, please write a comment below. We love to hear from our readers. Need to suggest something? Please, feel free. We’re here to help!

 


Pot and vegetables in modern kitchen

DIY Appliance Repair: Electric Stoves - How they Work

Welcome to our latest edition of the DIY Appliance Repair: Getting Started Series - Electric Stoves intended to provide our readers with a refresher about their kitchen appliances. To avoid confusion, I use interchangeably the term “stoves with the modern term “ranges”.

Why are we doing this? The answer comes from necessity because although most people are accustomed to using an electric stove, we found many don’t understand what happens inside these marvels of the kitchen. Also, we understand knowing how they work doesn’t make you a better cook (practice makes perfect) but knowing how each function works might make you a more efficient cook!

As you already know, Neli exists to help our readers understand how to use their appliances safely and efficiently. Our commitment to you extends far beyond showing you how to make owning your appliances easier. Repair and maintenance is a big issue with appliances, and rather than put you through the hassle of calling a tech to come into your home and upset your routine, we're only a website click away!

DIY (do it yourself) appliance repair is taking the online appliance repair space by storm, and Neli is leading the way. We use modern technology to help diagnose or repair your appliance easily and inexpensively compared to in-home service rates!

Starting with the Basics

Conventional Five Burner Electric StoveElectric stoves in 2019 still do what they say, but changes in how they heat food might surprise you. I won’t go into all the changes, but I’ll give you some highlights.

The coil element (eyes, as some call them) is still used, but had to make room for new, instant-on, self-regulating surface elements. That’s technology at work! You won’t see modern surface elements exposed. They’re used under glass cooktops.

On conventional stoves, elements or coils connect to switches called infinite switches, and get their power directly from power entering the stove from the back through the harness. The switches are dials used to turn elements on and off.

Modern glass cooktops use a variation of the above, or a touch control where temps are adjusted by simple touches of the glass surface. Bake and broil differ in that most times ovens have their own settings on the stove control because they use relays to send power to the bake and broil elements, and some have touch controls on the glass cooktop, too.

Pretty cool stuff and getting more advanced every year!

Convection Cooking

Oven with convection baking optionCustomers often tell me they don’t use convection because they don’t understand how it works and why it’s useful. I think most people don’t use it because it’s hardly mentioned in recipes. Those who use convection love it, but not for all baking.

Generally speaking, food cooks about 20 percent faster at approximately 25 degrees less than normal. The secret of convection is a fan mounted on the back wall of the oven circulating heated air inside the oven cavity, cooking food evenly from all directions.

My wife uses convection as often as possible and I can tell you from experience, it’s a great way to cook! Chicken, meats, and vegetables cook evenly and leaves the juices. Just remember to check your food at about the three-quarter timing mark.

Safety Devices on Modern Ranges

Fortunately, ranges do have safeties built in to prevent fires from overheating. In the ahem, old days, stoves didn’t use high-temperature cutoffs to stop power from the elements in case of problems. Modern ranges have high-limit thermostats that instantly cut power to bake and broil elements if internal temperatures reach a preset limit.

If your range stops heating from all sources, suspect one of these safety devices. This is true especially if you just performed a high-temperature self-clean of the oven. In case of a blown high limit after a self-clean in a built-in oven, removal is necessary to replace the switch located on the outside back wall of the oven.

A slide-in range uses a similar device, but much easier to access on the back wall of the oven. The switches are not resettable and replacing them is the only way to get cooking again.

Over the years, safety devices vastly improved and now that technology has taken hold inside kitchens, it was only a matter of time when ranges and wall ovens would have their turn! Below are two such inventions I think you’ll like.

  • https://www.cookstop.com/ Prevents fires from unattended kitchen ranges. It uses motion sensors to detect activity in the kitchen. If it doesn’t sense movement, a countdown timer starts and shuts off the range when time expires but resets the timer again once it senses motion.
  • https://www.pioneeringtech.com/product/smart-burner/ SmartBurner prevents stovetop fires from happening with their device replacing existing coil elements. SmartBurner elements won’t exceed temperatures above that which ignites standard cooking oils and other household items.

Also, Whirlpool recently included in their ranges a variation of exposed electric elements designed to limit their temperature just below the point when they turn red. Elements have built-in current limiters preventing elements from glowing red.

Many of you might be familiar with this one. It’s the anti-tip device for stoves. It prevents the stove from tipping over when the oven door is open and something (or someone) pushes down on the open door, causing the stove to tip forward, spilling hot pans and scalding hot food! If your range is missing this device, call the manufacturer to receive a new one, and have a handyman install it. Remember: Safety First!

Wooden Blocks Spell Final Thoughts

I hope this first article in the DIY Appliance Repair: Getting Started Series is informative and answered questions about your electric stove. Neli believes in educating its customers about their appliances, aside from occasional repairs.

If you found anything missing that might help others, please let us know in the comment section below. We love hearing from you!

 


Young handyman or DIY homeowner in a store

DIY Appliance Repair: Getting Started Series

A multimeter checking resistance of washing machine heater.Neli wants nothing more than to help anyone interested save money on their home appliance repairs! We take your problem appliance and tell you what’s wrong and how to fix it right.

This article is the first in a series beginning with getting started with DIY appliance repair, then subsequent ones will review basic operation of common kitchen appliances. From our experience, we see many customers struggle with basic operation and we feel it’s important to have this knowledge before attempting repair or diagnosis.

Troubleshooting an appliance without knowledge of its process confuses people and discourages them from trying to tackle a simple repair. Our articles will help you gain confidence in your ability and teach you do-it-yourself repair is fun!

Leave your lack of confidence at our online doorstep because you will discover repairing your appliance is easier and cheaper than you ever thought possible. If we assume correctly, you’re new at DIY appliance repair and apprehensive about your ability?

Let us put your fears to rest because you’ll be in the hands of professionals with one thing in mind. Customer satisfaction is our goal, and we guarantee our work from start to finish.

Troubleshoot with Pros

Word cloud with keyword Troubleshooting.To start any repair, we need you comfortable and relaxed. Also, remove any distractions and leave yourself room to move around the machine while you’re working.

With every repair, we’ll need to assess the problem with your help. We trust your input because you’re the operator of the machine and you know its normal sounds and capabilities. We can quickly pinpoint trouble areas with your input and observations.

I think one of the most important questions is what you see wrong with the machine. Many times, problems are simple and easily fixed. Others may require more in-depth troubleshooting. Our professional technicians guide you to the problem and solution.

Checklist Before We Start

Nobody is more important to us than you. We want to make sure you’re safe throughout our time together, so if we seem overly safe, please excuse us. We’re trying to make sure you don’t get hurt. We ask you to follow strict rules when working with or around electricity. Please take our suggestions and follow them closely. It’s ok, we have the time.

  • Make sure all power to the machine is off. Please confirm by double checking your machine’s circuit breaker and make sure it’s off. Instruct anyone nearby to keep that circuit turned off until we tell you to turn it on. Further, try to turn the unit on. If it comes on, it’s still powered up and must be disabled.
  • If you have a multimeter and know how to use it safely, great! We can dig deeper if needed. But if you don’t, no worries. We can work around it!
  • Have a pair of thin, tight-fitting gloves handy. We prefer cut-proof type gloves with rubber grips, but any other quality glove works. If we have you remove panels, sometimes the edges are very sharp!
  • Basic hand tools including slip-joint pliers, large and small straight-tip and Phillips head screwdrivers, a set of metric and SAE sockets (1/4” or 3/8” drive), a small hammer, Vise-Grip pliers, and a putty knife round out the minimum tools needed to start a repair. A good flashlight or a good source of light is optional but recommended.

Repair Easy!

One of the most amazing things about DIY appliance repair is the “aha” moment you’ll experience when you find the problem and fix it yourself! Neli takes what seems like hard, frustrating work out of appliance repair and guides you directly to the solution.

Once you discover the easy and inexpensive Neli way, we hope you’ll come back with all your DIY appliance repair needs!

Wooden Blocks Spell Final ThoughtsAs we go through the repair and discover more is needed, you can decide to keep going or stop. You’re always in control and we won’t charge more money if the repair gets excessive. Like we always say, “Repair Easy!”

Neli takes DIY appliance repair to the next level with our exclusive camera sharing app called Virtually There™. It’s an awesome tool allowing us to share screens so we can see exactly what you see in real time! No more guesswork and we make sure you get the job done quickly and safely.

As always, if you liked what you read here, please feel free to leave a comment below. We appreciate hearing from you!


Home improvement and repair work table

The Evolution of Appliance Repair Service

Thirty-five years ago, on-site appliance repair service was the only game in town except for toasters, irons, and miscellaneous household appliances people brought to the shop for repair. Almost every small town had at least one “repair shop” specializing in well, everything.

During the 1980s I noticed manufacturers paid more attention to their field training and insisted techs were better trained. Yes, I’ve been doing this a while! Up to this point, good training, aside from what was available at the dealer level, was lacking.

The 1990s ushered in advancements in electronics and the appliance industry saw many changes. Microelectronics meant better efficiency, more features, and better looks to boot. The changes required knowledgeable technicians and a new era of technicians emerged.

Manufacturers trained their techs better and demanded a high level of expertise for certification, or permission, to work on their products. For consumers, the training helped convince them to trust technicians working on their now expensive appliances.

Rise of Repair Costs

Customer looking concerned while reading appliance repair service invoice.With the new, fancy appliances came higher price tags and even higher repair costs. The appliance repair service industry changed from groups of inexperienced technicians into larger groups of intelligent and specially trained techs.

The new group of techs have advanced troubleshooting skills and specialized knowledge of appliances. With this knowledge comes a higher price, however. The higher price is justified by the level of knowledge and experience of technicians, and the higher cost of parts, especially electronic PC boards.

I think it’s a good thing most techs have advanced skills, great training, and plenty of work. But, as a consumer, does the fact techs have these new skills benefit you? I think the answer is yes, with a few exceptions.

All of us who own appliances know from experience nothing lasts forever (anymore, that is). When the time comes for that dreaded repair, would you rather be inconvenienced with having to take time off work at least once, or maybe twice to have the repair done, or would a simple online chat be a good place to start?

The Advantage of Online Appliance Repair Help

The charge for a typical repair visit in your home includes the trip charge, diagnosis, and repair. If the tech has the part on his truck which is becoming increasingly rare, you’ll have the repair done in one visit. You’re faced with the usual part order, and the return trip is another inconvenience and a hit to your daily routine.

Appliance repair service doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, it should be the exception and not the rule. It’s a pain as we all know. Neli relieves you of the hassle of waiting and wondering when your appliance will work again.

https://youtu.be/laRz21GDoDM

Check out the video for a cool, but a kind of geeky explanation of what we do!

For a much-reduced cost, we can determine what’s wrong and either recommend a fix or guide you through the repair in a matter of minutes instead of days. Read more about when DIY repair is a better option for you in this article.

I think the best part is you always chat with experienced, certified techs who see problems just like yours every day. Efficiency and getting answers for you is our goal, and we like to think we’re pretty good at that.

Sometimes a repair is out of the question because cost becomes the deciding factor about repairing or replacing an appliance.

We get that, and it’s why we’re always willing to discuss the hard questions with you. Appliances aren’t cheap but we know the best brands with the least repairs.

Our vast appliance repair service experience qualifies our techs as experts in their field, who possess an intimate knowledge of all types of appliances, willing to share their knowledge to help customers.

Less Cost and Better Results

Chalkboard with three ingredients of efficiencyOn average, a normal in-home service call begins with a $75.00 trip charge including perhaps a minor diagnosis. From here, costs add up quickly. Many times, a problem requires more than one part for a good repair, and labor adds more to the total.

For most in-home repair calls, a final bill over $300 is not uncommon for basic repairs. Two basic repairs in one year add up fast. I know from experience most repairs are not difficult or dangerous and a capable person can perform them and save hundreds of dollars each time!

There’s an old saying you may know. It goes like this: “If you want something done right, you do it yourself.” I think most DIY’ers would agree. Not only is the price right, the work is, too.

Wooden Blocks Spell Final ThoughtsIt’s my hope you leave with a better understanding of how appliance repair service evolved over the years. New appliance technology makes them more efficient loaded with features no one dreamed of only 10 years ago.

I talk to customers daily who tell me they wish they had their old appliance back! Why? Many tell me all they want the darn thing to do is wash or dry their clothes. They don’t need all the extra features. Sometimes, I have to agree!

Tons of cool features make us want them, but if you’re looking for better results, chat with a Neli Technician and we’ll give you the truth you’re looking for!

If you loved reading this post as much as we loved writing it for you, please feel free to add your comments below. We always enjoy hearing from our readers!


Contemporary technician in workwear installing pipe system by bathtub

Easy Home Appliance Installation Checks

Most people assume their appliance is installed properly because the installer said it was. I know this sounds a little harsh, but the reality is all too often, I find installations of washers, dryers, dishwashers, and built-in ovens lacking in areas that are cause for concern.

Washers

Picture of Front Load Washer w Wrench IconsIf I had a nickel for every time (as the saying goes) I found a washer drain hose stuck to the bottom of the drain standpipe, I could retire and move to Hawaii. Time after time, installers, many who are unskilled and rarely taught correctly, assume placing the drain hose to the bottom of the standpipe completes the job.

Far from it. Without knowing it, they created a siphon which causes a problem during the first wash cycle of the machine. Water level errors or a no-drain situation occurs, and my customer is fit to be tied.

The end of the drain hose must be only 4.5 inches down the standpipe or drain and secured into place with a wire tie or tie wrap. While you’re checking the drain hose, be sure the installer didn’t mix up hot and cold water hoses to the washer.

To be fair, bad installations aren’t rampant, but enough I wish they would end. It’s a simple thing to read instructions and why they’re not confounds me.

Dryers

Picture of an empty clothes dryerYou might think installing a dryer is simple enough. Most times it is. However, a dryer has its own set of rules for installation. Installers do all the work, but you must confirm final operation.

A cursory check at the back of the dryer could save you misery later. In its final place, please confirm they do not crush the vent at the back of the dryer. If it is, long dry times will start with the first cycle. If they crush the vent, don’t accept the installation until it’s corrected and the vent and airflow is back to normal.

While you’re checking the vent, also check for heat inside the dryer. Aside from a bad heater, the power to the dryer might cause no heat. This could mean no power, or one “leg” of the 220V AC is missing.

 

Dishwashers

Picture of modern dishwasher with door open slightlyOh boy, this is one is a biggie. Out of say, 10 dishwasher calls, about half of them have a “not draining” problem. They’re brand new machines and installed by Lowe’s, Home Depot, Best Buy, or several other stores who send their installers out to unpack and install the machines in customers’ homes.

After many calls over the years for new installations of dishwashers, the first question I ask is, “Have you installed a new garbage disposal?” Sometimes the answer is no, and sometimes yes. Regardless, I check the knockout plug on the disposal and confirm it’s not there.

If it is there, the dishwasher will not drain. The knockout plug gets removed only when a dishwasher is installed and uses the nipple on the disposal to connect its drain hose. If there is no dishwasher, removing the knockout is unnecessary.

Do yourself a big favor and confirm operation of the dishwasher which includes washing and draining before accepting the installation.

Built-In Wall Ovens

Picture of a built-in wall oven installed in a kitchenI know you love your new wall oven. They’re beautiful appliances and look great in your kitchen. Aside from proper power applied to it, sometimes while you’re doing a high-temperature self-clean the unit shuts down or displays an error code.

The reason isn’t a bad installation this time. It’s almost always because of a lack of air space around the oven inside the wall. When a high-temperature self-clean ramps up heat to around 750 degrees, the body of the oven gets super hot, but not so much to cause damage to the cabinet.

The problem is there is not enough space around the oven inside the cabinet. Manufacturers specify clearances for inside the cabinet to prevent overheating during normal use and self-clean cycles. Hot air needs to vent and enter your kitchen instead of being trapped around the oven.

When the hot air can’t escape, a high-temperature thermostat opens, and either shuts down the oven or prevents it from heating to protect itself and your home. The next time you’re in the market for a new wall oven, look over the installation instructions and write down the air gap measurements they recommend.  To learn how to get the most out out of your oven's performance, read this article on our blog.

Wooden Blocks Spell Final ThoughtsI hope these tips come in handy the next time you’re having a new appliance installed. They can save you a lot of grief and frustration! They’re easy to do because all you need is a flashlight to verify a good installation. Also, don’t forget to watch your new appliance operate before accepting it.

Oh, here’s one more final tip: If you have a new washer/dryer set installed and they’re side-by-side, move the dryer away from the washer and check for dents or damage on the sides of the appliances. And, make sure your dryer has its legs!!

Enjoy your new appliances and always be sure to contact us with questions or do-it-yourself appliance repair help you may need! We offer a brand new service called Virtually There™. Read more about it here. You’ll love it!