Frequently Asked Questions - Hudson Appliance Repair

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DISHWASHER

Longevity: 9-11 years

Which detergent type is better, liquid gel or powder?

We recommend the powdered/granular detergents--like Cascade--because sometimes the gels don't perform as well. We've also found that prominent brands are better than some of the generics.

Do I have to rinse my dishes before washing them?

Not usually. Most dishwashers handle the normal food residue left on dishes after eating, if you first scrape the dishes to remove any larger bits of food. But if anything is burned, melted, or stuck to the dishes, rinse and scrape them well, before you put them into the dishwasher. Leaving some residue is actually best, because the protein in the food reacts with the soap for more-effective cleaning.

My dishwasher takes too long. What's wrong?

It may be a model that pre-heats the water. If so, and if the water entering the dishwasher is cool, the heater may take up to half an hour to heat the water. To avoid the wait, increase the incoming water temperature before turning on the dishwasher. Do that by running the kitchen sink faucet until the water runs hot. Or increase the temperature of the hot water to the entire house at the hot water heater. NOTE: Newer dishwashers will take 2-4 hours to clean a load.

My cups and glasses are coming out spotty and filmy. What's wrong?

For spotting only, try using the heated drying cycle. If that doesn't help, try one of the rinse-aid products you can find at your supermarket. Film can be caused by a couple of things:
Film can be caused by a couple of things:
It could be from a lack of water flow within the dishwasher
It also could be from hard water. If you can remove the film with vinegar, it's probably caused by hard water deposits.
Etching--a corrosion of the glass--can be caused by using too much detergent. A rainbow hue on the glasses is the first sign of etching. Try cutting in half the amount of detergent you use.
Detergents do not have phosphate therefore you will need to use rinse agent.

Do I really have to run the water in the sink before starting a cycle?

Yes. Dishwashers work best with very hot water. Letting the water at the sink run for a few moments (until it's hot) before turning on the dishwasher brings hot water to the dishwasher faster.

Filter cleaning

On many dishwashers, there's a filter near the bottom, or under the lower spray arm that needs to be cleaned regularly. If you have this sort of filter, check your owner's manual to find out how to remove and clean it. If it has holes in it, replace it to protect the pump and motor seals from particles that may be in the dishwasher.

Spray arm cleaning

Over time, the small holes in the spray arm(s) of your dishwasher may become clogged with bits of paper, toothpicks, glass, etc. Your dishwasher will do a better job of cleaning your dishes if you take a moment to clean out these small holes, from time to time.

DRYER

Longevity: 13 years

How long should it take for my clothes to dry?

Most dryers dry a large load of laundry in about 45 minutes. If the load takes significantly more time than that, you may have a clogged vent tubing system.

How often should I clean the lint filter?

Every time you dry a load.

Is a gas dryer cheaper to run than an electric dryer?

Yes. Gas dryers are typically half as expensive to run as electric dryers.

Do dryer softener sheets hurt the dryer?

Yes and no. Dryer softener sheets don't harm the dryer. However, their residue may cause the screen of the lint filter to become partially clogged or the electronic moisture sensor to be coated with residue. If this happens, clean the screen with a little detergent and a soft-bristle brush, wipe off the sensor with a cotton ball and a little rubbing alcohol. Sometimes the softener sheets get stuck in the lint filter or over the vents on the inside of the dryer, so check to be sure the sheets come out of the dryer with the load of clothes.

Is it important for my dryer to be level?

Yes. All appliances perform best when set up properly. If a dryer is not level, it can cause some components to wear out prematurely.

ICE MAKER

Longevity: 6-10 years

Why do my ice cubes taste/smell bad?

Even if the water produced by your household water source tastes good as drinking water, it probably tastes and smells a bit unpleasant when frozen into ice cubes. A water filter can reduce the taste and odor problems. Note. Ice cubes also pick up odors from the inside of the freezer and refrigerator--especially from open food containers. To minimize that problem, empty the ice cube bin from time to time, and start with a fresh set of ice cubes.

Can I add an ice maker to my freezer?

Usually. Most refrigerators made in the past 20 years are wired to accommodate an add-on ice maker. Call Hudson Appliance Repair to find the correct ice maker for your appliance.

Why won't my ice maker make ice?

Maybe the ice maker is turned off. Look for the thin, coat-hanger-like metal bar on the right side of your ice maker. When this bar is up, the ice maker is off. When the bar is down, the ice maker is on. During normal ice maker operation, the bar is up (the ice maker turns off) while the unit drops ice into the holding bin. The bar comes down (the ice maker turns on) when all the ice has been dropped. If the bar is up, gently lower it to begin making more ice.
Newer icemakers will be activated by a switch or by the computer control. Consult your owner’s manual.

How often should I change my ice maker water filter?

Change it whenever you start detecting a disagreeable taste or odor. If you use ice frequently, you probably need to change the filter every 6 months. If you use ice infrequently, you can probably change it only once a year.

How long should it take to make a batch of ice?

Your ice maker turns out a new batch when the water in the ice maker has frozen--usually in 75 to 120 minutes. Exactly how long a batch of ice takes depends on the freezer temperature, the temperature of the room in which the freezer is located, the humidity level, and so on.

How can I get clear ice cubes from my ice maker?

You can't. The cloudiness is caused by entrapped air bubbles. The clear ice cubes you get at a store or a restaurant are rapidly frozen by commercial equipment that traps little or no air. Your relatively slower-freezing residential in-freezer ice maker traps air bubbles in the ice.

TRASH COMPACTOR

Longevity: 6 years

How do trash compactors work?

The ram in a compactor squeezes the trash flat with tremendous force.

What are the benefits of a trash compactor?

The trash compactor so compresses the trash that two to three times as much trash fits in the same size bag. This saves trash storage space, removal time, and disposal labor.

What can I put into my trash compactor?

You can put into your compactor any garbage that you would normally put into your kitchen wastebasket.

Can I put glass bottles/jars into my compactor?

You can put glass bottles and jars into your compactor. but don't put them at the bottom of the bag or near the sides. Otherwise, broken glass could tear the trash bag or injure the person who changes the bag. Note. If your community has a glass recycling program, it would be better to recycle your glass than to compact it with your trash.

Are trash compactors noisy?

They're a bit noisy alright, but the noise isn't overwhelming and it lasts for only a minute or so.

Cleaning

You need to regularly, thoroughly clean the interior of your trash compactor. We recommend that you use a bacteria-fighting cleaner and/or degreaser to clean the ram (the platform that presses down on the garbage) and any other part of the compactor that comes into contact with the garbage.

Odor control

Because you put food waste into it, bacteria can grow on the inside of your trash compactor. For temporary odor control between cleanings, spray the interior with a germ-killing deodorant/disinfectant. Also replace the filter (if there is one) once or twice a year.

MICROWAVE OVEN

Longevity: about 9 years

Why do eggs, potatoes, and other things explode in the microwave?

Microwave energy penetrates foods much more deeply than conventional heating does. The water molecules inside the food heat as quickly as those on the outside. And water expands when you heat it. Eggs, potatoes, and other things with shells or skins explode because the expanding water has nowhere to go. That is why you need to puncture a potato with a fork before heating in the microwave.

Are the microwaves in my oven dangerous?

Not usually. As long as the microwave oven door remains closed and you make no direct contact with the inside of the oven while the oven is on, the energy is safe. If you were to operate the microwave oven with the door open, it would be dangerous.

Why do some foods come out with tough spots?

Because the microwave energy is beamed into the interior of the microwave and then dispersed by a metallic "stirrer," the pattern of the energy can be fairly consistent, rather than completely random. But this pattern sometimes causes certain portions of the food to overcook (creating tough spots) and others to undercook. A microwave oven with a carousel is far better at cooking the food consistently--the pattern becomes quite random while the carousel is turning.

Why is there a glass tray in the bottom of my microwave?

The glass tray has two proposes. It catches spills. It also raises the food off the floor of the microwave so that the microwave energy can reach the bottom of the food, too.

RANGE VENT HOOD

Longevity: 10 - 14 years

Should my vent hood quickly clear smoke from the room?

No. Your vent hood is designed to carry away normal cooking odors and smoke produced while cooking. It's not well suited to clearing smoke from an entire room. If the room is filled with smoke, open a window.

When should I turn on my vent?

If you have the type of vent that's beneath a built-in microwave oven, follow the manufacturer's guidelines (in the owner's guide). Otherwise, it isn't ever really necessary to turn on your vent. Just turn it on whenever you want to keep cooking odors from permeating the room or house.

If I have a fire on my stove, should I turn the vent on or off?

OFF! Extinguish the fire as quickly as possible and, if you can, also turn off the vent fan. The fan could draw the flames up into the ductwork and create a greater fire hazard.

Do vent hoods get clogged?

Occasionally. Check the grease trap filters often, and clean them as necessary. Also, if the unit vents to the outside, check the vent on the outside of the house to be sure there's nothing obstructing the air flow.

Can a fire start in my vent?

YES! Over time, vent ducting systems can become coated with grease, which could catch fire if it's exposed to an open flame or other heat source. When there's grease coating the duct work, get it cleaned professionally.

Do "down-draft" venting systems work as well as the standard kind?

Some work quite well, others don't. In general, any ventilation system should be adequate for the typical needs of a household. However, during heavy cooking--when you're using several burners simultaneously, or when you're cooking in tall pots--the over-the-stovetop vent systems work best.

My vent doesn't seem to work well. How can I test it?

Here's how to test your vent:
Turn the stove burners off.
Cut an 8" x 8" square of newspaper.
Turn on the vent fan and hold the newspaper square over the vent filter.
If the vent holds the newspaper in place, it's probably working properly. Otherwise, it may be clogged--or the ductwork to the outside may be too long, which can cause poor venting performance.

Why won't my vent work on low (high)?

Most vent fans have a multi-speed motor. When you select High, Low, Medium, and so on, power goes to different parts of the fan motor. A problem with speed selection can be the fault of either the selector switch itself or the motor.

RANGE

Longevity: 11-15 years

Why are the burners on my gas stove slow to light?

The air holes on the side of the burner that faces the center of the stove may be clogged. They help the pilot or spark igniter to light the gas. Try cleaning the holes with a toothpick.

There is a red glow in my oven, but it isn't heating. Why?

Most modern gas ovens and many broilers use a "glow-bar" style of igniter that glows red-hot to ignite the gas. If the igniter doesn't reach the proper temperature, the gas valve won't open. You may need to replace the igniter.

How do I use the self-cleaning feature on my oven?

Every self-cleaning oven is different. It's best to consult the owner's manual for the correct procedure for your oven. But often the steps are:
Set the Start time for the time you want the cleaning to begin.
Set the Stop time to a time 2-3 hours after the start time.
Close and latch the oven door.
Set the selector switch and/or thermostat to "Clean."

Why won't my oven heat to the proper temperature?

Your oven may need to be recalibrated.

Should I leave the oven door open when broiling?

Maybe. Many ovens have the broiler built into the oven near the top. If this is true for your unit, it may be best to leave the oven door open a few inches. If the broiler is at the bottom--in a drawer--you can leave the door closed.

Why does my oven smell so much during self-cleaning?

Ovens reach extremely high temperatures (800 to 1,000 degrees) during the self-clean cycle--to incinerate the grease, food splattering, and drippings inside the oven. When all of that burns, it can smell pretty bad. Make sure you have good ventilation in the room where the oven is--at least when using the self-cleaning feature.

Can I use oven cleaner on my self-cleaning oven?

Most manufacturers recommend not using oven cleaner on self-cleaning ovens. Check your owner's manual for specific details.

REFRIGERATOR

Longevity: 9-17 years

Can I put a refrigerator/freezer out in my garage?

Yes. But, if the refrigerator is self-defrosting, don't let the garage temperature drop too much below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, the oil becomes thick and causes premature compressor failure.

How full can I pack my freezer?

Full. There is generally no limit to how full it can be. Just take care not to block air vents. For best efficiency, try to keep it at least half full.

How full can I pack my refrigerator?

Refrigerators work best if they're not packed full, because the air flow becomes restricted, which limits cooling capability.

How cold should my refrigerator/freezer be?

Your refrigerator should be 36 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit and your freezer 0 to 8 degrees.

Can I change the doors from one side to the other?

Usually, yes. You can reverse the doors on most refrigerators. Consult the owner's manual for your refrigerator/freezer to get the proper instructions.

Is it easy to add an ice maker to my refrigerator/freezer?

Yes, if your freezer has the necessary internal wiring (most do).

How much clearance do I need behind my refrigerator/freezer?

If the unit has a large black, grid-like device on the back, you should leave at least 1 inch of space between the grid and the wall, and avoid "building-in" the appliance. If there is no grid on the back, you may push the unit all the way to the wall.

Can I change my manual defrost refrigerator to frost-free?

No. There are numerous component, internal wiring, and design differences.

How do I change the seal around the door?

Follow the instructions that come with the seal. A person with moderate repair skills can replace the seal.

How do I pull the refrigerator away from the wall to clean?

Virtually all refrigerators made in the past 15 years stand on built-in rollers. Often you need to retract the front leveling legs before trying to move the unit. Unloading the food from the unit first, really helps too. Grab the refrigerator near the bottom and pull it straight out, taking care not to damage your floor.

Can shelves be added to the refrigerator/freezer?

Usually. If there is room in your unit for an additional shelf, and the necessary hardware in the walls and/or ceiling, you can add a shelf.

How often should I clean the coils under the refrigerator?

At least once a year. If you have pets, more often.

How do I prevent shelves and brackets from breaking?

Many of the plastic parts in your refrigerator/freezer are fragile. Take care not to load--or force--too many items onto the shelves or slam the door.

Does the freezer get warmer during self-defrost?

Yes. The freezer temperature increases by about 20 degrees during the defrost cycle. This is normal and doesn't affect the quality of the food in your freezer.

What is freezer burn, how can I prevent it?

Freezer burn is dehydration caused by food being exposed to the air in the freezer. Often the wrappings used in supermarkets don't prevent dehydration. Re-wrapping foods in airtight containers or wrappings usually avoids this problem. It's not unsafe to cook and eat freezer-burned food, but the resulting meal is often tough and tasteless!

My refrigerator seems to run constantly. Is that normal?

It's generally not normal. If your refrigerator/freezer runs constantly it may:
Have a dirty condenser coil.
Not have adequate clearance around the appliance for proper air flow
Have a bad seal on one of the doors
Have a light bulb that is not going off when the door is closed
Have excessive frost build-up on the internal evaporator coils
Have a defective thermostat
Be low on refrigerant

Manual-defrost refrigerator/freezers

Manual defrost refrigerator/freezers require very little maintenance. When frost has accumulated on the inside walls of the freezer to a thickness of ½ inch or so, remove the food from the refrigerator/freezer, turn off the thermostat or unplug the unit, and allow all of the frost to melt. Once the frost has melted completely, turn the unit back on, wait for it to reach its operating temperature, and restock it with food.

Self-defrosting refrigerator/freezers

You don't need to manually defrost your self-defrosting refrigerator/freezer. Every 6 to 90 hours, it heats up its cooling coils slightly and melts any frost accumulation on the coils. The resulting water drains into a shallow pan at the bottom of the refrigerator/freezer. There's no need to empty the pan. The water in it will evaporate. But it may begin to smell bad over time. You may be able to remove it for periodic cleaning by detaching the lower grill and sliding the pan out the front of the refrigerator/freezer. Note. When mold grows in the drain pan, it is sometimes considered to be a health concern. If your drain pan is removable, and if you're sensitive to mold, consider cleaning the drain pan periodically. Under your refrigerator/freezer is a set of coils and a cooling fan that you need to clean at least once a year. The coils may look like a grate or like a wide radiator. Unplug the refrigerator/freezer and use a Refrigerator Condenser Brush and your vacuum cleaner to clean any lint, pet hair, and so on from the coils. If the gasket or interior of the refrigerator/freezer needs cleaning, try Refrigerator Cleaner to clean the surfaces. For odors in the refrigerator/freezer try baking soda or activated charcoal.

WASHER

Longevity: 10 - 14 years

What causes those fuzzy balls on some clothing?

Many synthetic clothes shed small fibers that ball up and cling to the clothes. Remove these "pills," if you like, with a fuzz-removing device that you can get from your local clothing materials supplier. Overloading your washer can make this condition worse.

How do I know how much to put into the washer?

For a top loader, a general rule of thumb is to lay clothes loosely inside the washer until they reach the top of the agitator. For a front loader, fill it until it's full, with minimal compression of the clothes.

Is it bad to let the machine run with an unbalanced load?

Yes. Washing machines are complex and have many functional components. It's always best to stop an unbalanced load, rearrange it, and re-start the washer.

Is it true that a nail, accidentally put in the washer, can break it?

Absolutely. So can a small chain or any other small metal object. That's why it's important to always empty all pockets before laundering.

How can I get rid of residual soap suds at the end of a cycle?

This is usually an indication that you're using too much detergent for the clothes you are washing. Try reducing the amount of detergent by half. Then, if the clothes aren't getting clean, increase the amount slightly for each load, until the clothes do get clean. Make sure you are using HE type detergent for front load washers.

Why do some clothing dealers suggest washing clothes inside out?

In the washer, the clothes often turn inside out during the agitation cycle. Turning the clothes inside out first may be easier on the clothing. It limits abrasion on the "good" side of the fabric, reducing "pilling" and extending the life of some fabrics such as corduroy. In addition, any embroidery, decals, and so on are better preserved. It should not affect the performance of the cleaning action to have the clothes inside out during wash.

Water-fill hoses

Over time, the water hoses that came with your new washing machine may leak or burst. It's a good preventive maintenance practice to check these hoses from time to time for any sign of wear or weakness. Often there's a small blister in the rubber of the hose, which could rupture. Most manufacturers recommend replacing the hoses every 5 years. Note. If the hose ruptures, large quantities of water could gush from the hose. If it's the hot water hose that ruptures, the gushing hot water may scald anyone nearby. For more peace of mind, one alternative is to use high quality stainless steel fill hoses.

Leveling

Because your washing machine is so heavy, when it's not level, it can vibrate strongly during the spin cycle. If your washing machine is not perfectly level--with all four legs touching the floor--it can bang and rock back and forth, and even begin to "walk" across the room. This isn't good for the machine and may damage anything near the machine. Your washing machine has adjustable, front leveling legs with a lock nut. You adjust the leg to the proper height, then tighten the lock nut up against the body of the machine to keep the leg from rotating. Some machines have adjustable leveling legs in the rear also, and you can adjust them in the same way. Keep the machine as close to the floor as possible--the lower it is, the less likely it is to vibrate. Most machines, however, have "self-adjusting" rear legs. You set these legs by tilting the entire machine forward onto its front legs (with the rear legs 3 to 4 inches off the floor) and then setting the machine back down. The legs should adjust automatically. If they don't, you may need to tilt the machine forward and rap on the rear legs with the handle of a hammer to loosen them--a procedure that's easier to accomplish with a helper. Front load washers do not do this.

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