The Fix-It Club offers simple instructions for common household repairs. Here are ten more household repair and maintenance tips, including what to do if electrical things fail, where to start looking if an amplifier quits, how to troubleshoot a modern clothes dryer, how to remove a stain, how to make better coffee, how to figure appliance wattage, and how to save on your heating bill. Have fun!
Fix-It Tip #1
If you don’t know the wattage rating of an electrical appliance but you do know the amperage (current), multiply it by the voltage. The formula is: V x A = W. Since all plug-in appliances in your home are either 240V (electric stove or clothes dryer) or 120V (everything else) it’s easy to figure wattage. A toaster that is rated at 7.75A (indicated by a label or plate on the toaster’s bottom) uses 930W of electrical power (120 x 7.75 = 930). From Repair Electrical Things.
Fix-It Tip #2
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 #3
If you learn to enjoy fixing things, donate something that breaks to your education. That is, put it on the workbench for a rainy day and disassemble it to figure out how it works. You may even be able to salvage and reuse an otherwise good motor, heat element, or switches. From Recycle or Reuse It!.
Fix-It Tip #4
Treat stains immediately. Soak any washable garment with a stain in cold water before laundering or applying a stain remover. Some stains, such as blood, coffee, and wine, can set in warm water, making them more difficult to remove. Sponge a stain, don’t rub it. Rubbing only spreads the stain and may damage the fabric. From Clothing Repair.
Fix-It Tip #5
If all your home’s lights and electric gadgets suddenly quit working, check the electrical service panel to see if the main breaker or fuse has tripped. Also check to see if your neighbors have power. If in doubt, call the power company. If an individual circuit breaker trips or a fuse burns out, check the electrical service panel . If an electrical appliance or device quits working, refer to the specific Fix-It Guide for testing instructions. From Electrical System Repair.
Fix-It Tip #6
From Amplifier Repair. One of the first things you can try is to remove all other audio sources from the amplifier and use only the internal receiver to determine whether the unit is getting power or good sound.
Fix-It Tip #7
As basic maintenance, wipe down your exercise equipment with a soft dry rag after each use to keep perspiration from corroding metal parts. Once every few months, clean surfaces with mild household cleaner and water. From Exercise Equipment Repair.
Fix-It Tip #8
Save money with a programmable thermostat–it pays for itself in energy savings within just a few seasons. For example, if you lower the temperature in your home from 70° to 60° for an eight-hour period every night, you’ll save about 9 percent of your energy use. From Comfort Controls Repair.
Fix-It Tip #9
Newer dryers use digital rather than mechanical timers and other controls. Many of these offer diagnostics that can be activated to report problems in the form of codes. Check your machine’s owner’s manual for information on how to activate and interpret diagnostic codes. They can save you hundreds of dollars in unnecessary repairs. From Clothes Dryer Repair.
Fix-It Tip #10
Basic coffee maker maintenance can minimize repairs. Periodically brew a batch of water without the grounds, adding a small amount of vinegar to the water to neutralize accumulated acids. In addition, if you live in an area that has hard tap water, only use distilled or filtered water in your coffee maker. Not only will it last longer, the coffee will also taste better. From Coffee Maker Repair.
–Dan & Judy Ramsey
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