How to Troubleshoot the 6 Most Common Appliance Problems

An electric tea kettle, toaster, coffee machine, and espresso machine sit in a row

Not every appliance issue needs professional repair. In certain cases, the fixes are simple enough to do yourself. Are you experiencing any of the common appliance problems below? Before you contact an expert for help, read these tips from Mr. Appliance® experts.

1. Smelly Washing Machine

A bad odor in your washing machine can defeat the purpose of the appliance! If you're trying to get your clothes fresh but your machine isn't cooperating, dump two cups of white vinegar and a half-cup of baking soda into the drum. Then run a cycle on the hot water setting to remove the smell.

This appliance issue frequently occurs in front-loading washers. To prevent future odors, leave the door open between washes to let it dry out. If you see any mold forming, check out this guide to cleaning front-load washer mold.

2. Inefficient Refrigerator

A semi-cool fridge is never a welcome sign. Not only are your drinks less than refreshing, but your food may also be on the verge of spoiling! This is a common appliance problem with a few potential causes. In some cases, your fridge may not need repair work; it could just need a cleaning. To be more specific, the coils on the back of the fridge may need cleaning. Unplug the appliance and pull it away from the wall before giving the coils a thorough vacuuming. If you don’t notice immediate cooling improvement, it’s best to reach out to a professional team—like us at Mr. Appliance—for refrigerator repair services.

3. Clicking Igniter on Gas Stove

If the igniter on your gas stove clicks and clicks without the burner ever lighting, check to make sure your burner cap is in place and properly aligned. If the cap looks fine, the source is likely a dirty igniter—a very common appliance problem. To clean, remove the burner cap and wipe away any debris. You can also use a metal pin to pick debris from the grooves. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, there are a couple of other reasons for a clicking gas stove—but it’s safest not to take a stove lighter apart without proper training. Contact a professional stove repair service to investigate.

4. Broken Garbage Disposal

Your garbage disposal comes with self-protection: an overload trip. If the appliance becomes clogged, overheats, runs for too long, or has another problem, your disposal may simply need to be reset rather than repaired. First, make sure the switch is OFF. Then locate the Reset button on the disposal under the sink, and press it. If the button does not stay in, wait ten minutes and try again. Finally, turn on the water, and turn the switch on to confirm the disposal works.

If resetting your disposal doesn’t work and you hear a humming sound when you try to use it, you may need to manually turn the blades with a hex key to clear the jam. Then press the Reset button to get back to work. If these tips don’t get things working like normal, do not succumb to the temptation to shove your arm down the system to investigate. Be safe and schedule an appointment with Mr. Appliance!

5. No Power at an Outlet

In the kitchen or bathroom, which can be wet environments, your outlets should be equipped with GFCI switches to protect you and the outlet against harm. If a GFCI outlet isn't providing power to your appliances, press the red Reset button to see if that restores the juice. If not, make sure that a breaker hasn't been tripped in your breaker box. If you're unsure if a breaker has been tripped, flip it to the OFF position and back to the ON position. Remember—safety around electricity is critical.

6. Wobbling Washing Machine

A wobbling washing machine can produce quite a startling racket and isn't a great way to get clean clothes. If yours is suddenly banging around, the machine may be out of plumb (i.e., not level). To level the washing machine, rotate the legs of the washing machine to lift or lower each corner until it's straightened out. Another likely scenario is that the washer drum is off balance. Open the lid and rearrange the clothes so they’re more evenly dispersed within the drum. If this common appliance problem persists, don’t ignore it.

Continuing to run the machine could damage it further! Your washer probably has a loose drum or motor mount, which can be resolved with professional washing machine repair.

Get Help with Common Appliance Problems & Tougher Issues

If these quick fixes don't solve your appliance issues, you can trust the speedy experts at Mr. Appliance to resolve them. Our friendly technicians will get you up and running in no time! Simply schedule service online or connect with your nearest team.