October 24, 2022

Easy DIY appliance repairs that anyone can do

Introduction image for article on easy DIY home appliance fixes.
Introduction image for article on easy DIY home appliance fixes.

Be the hero of your household by safely fixing appliance problems yourself.

We have the DIY appliance repair help you need to fix simple issues such as your dishwasher not powering up. The fix for this problem can be as simple as flipping that mysterious light switch beside the garbage disposal light switch next to the kitchen sink. Yes, many people don’t know what that light switch does. It shuts off power to the dishwasher when turned off. Imagine how embarrassed you would be if you scheduled an appliance service technician to visit your home and complete that simple task.

Performing simple DIY fixes yourself can save you lots of money on appliance repair. Just remember to follow the safe advice that we offer here at Sears PartsDirect. In addition to the simple dishwasher fix described above, here are more DIY appliance repair that you can easily do on your own.


Ice maker not working

Check the simple stuff first--such as the ice maker settings.

Some ice makers have a bail arm that needs to be in the “down” position before the ice maker will work. Other fridges have settings on the display panel that will turn off the ice maker.

Make sure the ice maker is turned on.

Here are additional troubleshooting steps that may help you fix an ice maker problem:

  • Check for jammed ice cubes. Clear out any stuck ice cubes if you find them blocking the ice maker ejection arms.

  • Turn the icemaker off for a few minutes and then turn it back on. This will fix the problem with some ice makers.

  • Unplug the fridge (or shut off the house circuit breaker for the refrigerator) to completely kill the electrical power supply. Restore power after 3 minutes. This will reboot electronic control board in the fridge that governs the ice maker. Sometimes, the ice maker will resume ice production after rebooting the electronic control board in your fridge.

Not cooling

Check the temperature settings. This basic step can save you lots of grief when dealing this a fridge that isn’t cooling. Make sure that the refrigerator is set to 37 degrees and the freezer temperature setting is at 0 degrees F.

Look for blocked air vents. One of the leading causes of cooling problems in refrigerators is blocked air vents. A simple cure of fridge cooling problems is to move stuff around inside the refrigerator so air can flow smoothly. Don’t just look at supply air vents, check the return air vents too. You’ll find those vents at the bottom back portion of the refrigerator section in a French door refrigerator.

Check for problems with the automatic defrost system. Another common cause for refrigerator cooling problems is a failure of the automatic defrost system. Although this isn’t that simple of a fix, simplicity is defined by one’s ability to understand and execute DIY troubleshooting tactics. At Sears PartsDirect, we make DIY troubleshooting simple for you.

Follow the well-defined and safe steps described in this hugely popular YouTube video to diagnose and fix a defrost system problem that is preventing your fridge from cooling properly:

Our Troubleshooting a Refrigerator Not Cooling is another popular YouTube DIY video that provides addition troubleshooting help for fixing a refrigerator that isn’t cooling.

Our DIY appliance repair help videos always start with troubleshooting the basics then move on to more complicated topics. Don’t hesitate to rely on our Sears PartsDirect YouTube videos to help you fix stuff in your home. We have a track record of success and the comments on our YouTube videos prove it.

Easy garbage disposal troubleshooting tips

Garbage disposal

Garbage disposal problems are one of the leading causes of homeowner frustration.

Relax, we have it covered.

Garbage disposal hums but won’t run

When your garbage disposer buzzes but doesn’t run, it likely has an item blocking the inner flywheel. The motor can’t turn so the garbage disposal just hums. Leave the garbage disposal light switch turned on long enough, and the buzzing will stop because the overload switch will trip. (See the troubleshooting in the next section below to fix that problem.)

Don’t leave the garbage disposal switch on when the unit just buzzes and won’t turn.

To free up a stuck garbage disposal, follow these steps:

  • Check for any foreign object lodged between the turntable and grind ring. Dislodge the object by rotating table with a wooden broom handle or wooden spoon and remove the object.

  • If you don’t see a foreign object inside the disposal, insert the Allen wrench that came with your garbage disposal into the hex-shaped fitting at the bottom of the disposal. (If you don’t have the Allen wrench that came with your garbage disposer, find an Allen wrench that fits in that hole.) Rotate the fitting back and forth to free the foreign object.

Freeing up the garbage disposal inner flywheel will likely fix the problem.

Garbage disposer won’t run

If the garbage disposal won’t doesn’t make any noise when you turn the light switch on, follow these simple troubleshooting steps to fix the problem:

  • Start with the basics. Make sure the garbage disposal is plugged in. The outlet cord can sometime get unplugged when you move stuff around under your sink.

  • If the outlet cord is plugged in, press the red reset button on the bottom of the disposal. An overload switch will trip if an item is caught in the disposer and the flywheel won’t turn. If the disposal just hums after resetting the overload, follow the troubleshooting steps described above to free up the disposal flywheel.

  • Check the outlet to make sure it has power. Plug a night light or small appliance into the garbage disposal outlet to check for electrical power.

  • If the outlet is dead, check the house circuit breaker for the garbage disposal outlet. Reset the house circuit breaker if it’s tripped. Have an electrician check the breaker and the circuit if the breaker continues to trip every time you turn on the garbage disposer.

These simple tips may help you resolve problems when your garbage disposal won’t run at all.

Garbage disposal smells

You can be a super hero when you resolve garbage disposal odor problems. Here are the top DIY remedies for a smelly garbage disposal:

  • Use a cleaner such as Affresh Garbage Disposal Cleaner. It’s specially designed to clean and remove odor-causing residues with a powerful foaming action. Each easy-to-use tablet is designed for monthly use, or as needed, to scrub your garbage disposer clean with a citrus scent.

  • Pour ½ cup of baking soda into your garbage disposal then add a cup of white vinegar and allow the mixture to marinate for about 10 minutes. Run hot water through the garbage disposal rinse out the baking soda and vinegar mixture.

  • Load the garbage dispose with a mixture of ice cubes and lemon slices. Turn the garbage disposal on and run water to rinse out the mixture.

Repeat the garbage disposal cleaning process monthly to help keep your kitchen sink smelling fresh.

Garage door opener

When you try to close your garage door open from your car remote and the opener light blinks 10 times, the unit is telling you that the safety sensor are blocked or misaligned.

Follow the troubleshooting steps in our popular Garage Door Won't Close: Lights Blink 10 Times DIY repair video to fix the most common garage door opener failure.

Troubleshooting home appliances using easy DIY tips

Additional common appliance fixes

We can go on and on with DIY appliance repair advice. By now, you likely get the picture. Go to YouTube (specifically our Sears PartsDirect channel) or browse our Sears PartsDirect Repair Help Content to get simple, practical advice on fixing home appliances.

Here are our Sears PartsDirect top fixes for major appliances not described above:

Air conditioner

When your air conditioner won’t run, check the float switch as shown in this Sears PartsDirect YouTube video:

Air Conditioner Not Cooling: Clearing a Drain Pipe Clog Video

Restoring AC cooling in your home during the heat of summer will establish your reputation as a bonafide lifesaver.

Water heater

Being without hot water is traumatic for your entire family. Fixing the water heater can sometimes be as simple as resetting a tripped circuit breaker or pushing the little red reset button on the heating element thermostat.

Follow the basic troubleshooting steps in our No Hot Water: Electric Water Heater Troubleshooting Video to fix a heating problem in your electric hot water heater.

Clothes dryer

The dryer is one of the easiest appliances to diagnose and fix yourself. Whether you have a gas dryer or an electric dryer, we have troubleshooting videos that cover all common dryer failures.

Our YouTube videos start with basic troubleshooting steps and then move on to more advanced DIY diagnostics.

When your dryer is acting up--or not working at all—use the simple troubleshooting steps at the beginning of these repair help videos to fix the problem:

More appliance DIY troubleshooting tips

Visit our Sears PartsDirect Repair Help page for troubleshooting and repair tips for major appliances not mentioned above. We describe simple cures for common problems with washing machines, stoves, ovens, freezers and more.

Be the super hero of your home by fixing anything that goes wrong when possible. Simple fixes resolve most home appliance problems so it doesn’t require an engineering degree to establish yourself as a DIY home appliance repair expert.

Symptoms common to all refrigerators

Choose a symptom to see related refrigerator repairs.

April 20, 2023

Main causes: control board or cold control failure, broken compressor start relay, compressor motor failure, defrost tim…

April 20, 2023

Main causes: jammed ice cubes, broken ice maker assembly, dirty water filter, kinked water line, bad water valve, freeze…

April 20, 2023

Main causes: damaged door seal, faulty defrost sensor or bi-metal thermostat, broken defrost heater, bad defrost timer o…

April 20, 2023

Things to do: clean condenser coils, replace the water filter, clean the interior, adjust doors to prevent air leaks, cl…

April 20, 2023

Main causes: blocked air vents, compressor problems, condenser or evaporator fan not working, control system failure, se…

April 20, 2023

Main causes: water valve leaking, frozen or broken defrost drain tube, overflowing drain pan, cracked water system tubin…

April 20, 2023

Main causes: leaky door gasket, defrost system failure, evaporator fan not running, dirty condenser coils, condenser fan…

April 20, 2023

Main causes: blocked vents, defrost system problems, evaporator fan failure, dirty condenser coils, bad sensors, condens…

Repair guides common to all refrigerators

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your refrigerator.

How to replace a refrigerator temperature control board
July 20, 2015

How to replace a refrigerator temperature control board

If the temperature in your refrigerator doesn't match the temperature you set, the problem could be the temperature cont…

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
How to clean refrigerator condenser coils
July 20, 2015

How to clean refrigerator condenser coils

Help your refrigerator run more efficiently by cleaning the condenser coils. It's easy and takes just a few minutes.…

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
How to replace a refrigerator water valve
July 20, 2015

How to replace a refrigerator water valve

Replace the water valve that feeds water to the ice maker and water dispenser if it no longer controls the flow of water…

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less

Articles and videos common to all refrigerators

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your refrigerator.

How to Replace the Water Filter in a GE Refrigerator
September 15, 2023

How to Replace the Water Filter in a GE Refrigerator

See how to install the water filter on your GE refrigerator, no matter the filter type or refrigerator style.…

How to Replace the Water Filter in a Maytag Refrigerator
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How to Replace the Water Filter in a Maytag Refrigerator

No matter what style Maytag refrigerator you have, we can walk you through replacing the water filter.…

How to change the water filter in an LG refrigerator
April 19, 2022

How to change the water filter in an LG refrigerator

Get tips and advice on replacing the water filter in your LG refrigerator.…