Fix-It Tips: August

Fix-It Tips: August: How to troubleshoot and repair or replace - by the Fix-It Club.This month, the Fix-It Club offers ten more tips that can save you time and money around the house by fixing stuff that breaks. We’ll cover water heaters, cooktops, cordless phones, electric knives, cameras, outdoor structures and more!

Fix-It Tip #1

Many homes are located in areas with hard water. The contaminants in the water supply build up over time, creating a layer of sediment on the bottom of the water tank, hindering the heater’s performance and shortening its life. You can slow this process by softening the hard water and by lowering the temperature to 130°F or less. Also, to minimize sediment, purge your tank every few months. Simply drain off 2 or 3 gallons of water from the tank, then let it refill. From Electric Water Heater Repair.

Fix-It Tip #2

Note that newer gas cooktops may have digital controls that aren’t serviceable by the consumer. Check the owner’s manual for troubleshooting tips and how to get plug-in replacement parts as needed. Some units also have diagnostic tests and error codes that can point you to the problem. From Gas Cooktop Repair.

Fix-It Tip #3

Sometimes the only problem with an appliance controller is that an electrical connection to or from it has become loose. With the appliance unplugged, carefully wiggle the connection to make sure that it fits snugly. If there is corrosion at the terminal, remove the connection and clean the terminal with a small brush. From Appliance Controls Repair.

Fix-It Tip #4

If purchasing a new cordless telephone look for one that is relatively easy to disassemble and replace an antenna or other major component that might easily break. Also ask what parts are readily available for that model. From Cordless Telephone Repair.

Fix-It Tip #5

Many digital control systems include error codes that can tell you what the problem is. The appliance’s owner’s manual or a helpful parts supplier can help you find and interpret the codes. From Appliance Controls Repair.

Fix-It Tip #6

The most common fix to heating pads is cleaning out the control unit on the cord. Unplug the heating pad, then use a screwdriver to open up the control unit. If parts are loose, tighten them. Otherwise, you may need to invest in a new heating pad. From Heating Pad Repair.

Fix-It Tip #7

Bought an electric knife to make cutting easier? Let the knife’s motor do the work. Don’t force the knife blade down hard while cutting or you could wear out the motor. From Electric Knife Repair.

Fix-It Tip #8

A problem with your water heater may be due to overwork, not mechanics. If a water heater holds less than 15 gallons per family member (tank volume is stamped on a metal plate affixed to most water heaters), consider a larger unit or staggering your use of hot water. From Gas Water Heater Repair.

Fix-It Tip #9

Purchase a lens-cleaner brush or chemical from your local camera store and keep it with your camera. Or you can use canned air. Also make sure the camera has some type of lens cap or automatic cover to protect the lens from dust and scratches. Once damaged, the lens should be replaced or it will include marks in every photo you take thereafter. From Film Camera Repair. Also see Digital Camera Repair.

Fix-It Tip #10

Power wash your outdoor structures yearly when you power wash the outside of your house, deck, and driveway. From Outdoor Structure Repair.

–Dan & Judy Ramsey

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