February 26, 2016

Quiz: Are you abusing your appliances?

By Sears PartsDirect staff
Are you abusing your appliances?

You use your appliances every day—but are you misusing them in a way that either gives poor results or shortens the life of the appliance? Take our quiz to see if you’re helping or hurting your appliances. 

How often do you change the water filter in your refrigerator?

A.     As soon as the Replace light goes on.

B.     Once or twice a year.

C.     When the flow of water from the dispenser drops to a trickle.

D.     Huh. Didn’t know I was supposed to do that.

How do you prep your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher?

A.     I scrape or rinse off large chunks of food.

B.     Depends how busy I am. Sometimes I scrape, sometimes I don’t.

C.     I wash off all the food—the dishwasher is pretty much just rinsing off clean dishes.

D.     I leave bones and food chunks on the dishes.

How often do you drain your water heater?

A.      Once a year.

B.      I try to get to it every couple of years or so.

C.      When I run out of hot water 2 minutes into my shower.

D.      You can drain a water heater?

How do you keep spills from building up on the bottom of your oven?

A.      I use the right-size cooking container to avoid spills. And I clean the oven often.

B.      I clean the oven when the bottom looks like cooled lava flow.

C.      I clean the oven when smoke from built-up grease sets off the smoke alarm.

D.      I line the bottom with aluminum foil so I never have to clean the oven.

How often do you refill the rinse-aid dispenser on your dishwasher?

A.      When the level is low.

B.      When my dishes start spotting.

C.      Once or twice a year.

D.      I don’t bother using rinse aid.

How much HE detergent do you use in your HE washer?

A.      I use a tablespoon, more or less. It depends on the size of the laundry load.

B.      I eye the size of the load and use the amount I think it needs.

C.      I fill the detergent bottle cap to the brim for every load, no matter what size the load is.

D.      I don’t use HE detergent. I use plenty of regular detergent so I get really clean clothes.

How often do you clean the lint filter or screen in your dryer?

A.      Every load.

B.      Every few loads.

C.      It’s part of my regular spring cleaning.

D.      There’s a lint screen?

How often do you microwave food wrapped in aluminum foil? 

A.      Never, I always use microwave-safe cookware and utensils.

B.      I left the foil on a baked potato once. Scared the daylights out of me.

C.      When I’m in a hurry and don’t have time to unwrap it.

D.      Whenever I’m in the mood for a good fireworks show.

Add up your score

Give yourself 4 points for each A answer, 3 for each B answer, 2 for each C answer and 1 for each D answer. Add up your score to see how much you know about using and caring for your appliances.

  • 30-32 points—Well done! You treat your appliances with all the love they need to keep working hard for you.

  • 21-29 points—Your appliances are probably working okay, but there may be a few things you could do better.

  • 14-20 points—There’s definitely room for improvement. You’re making your appliances work harder than necessary.

  • 8-13 points—We have a message from your appliances: “Read your owner’s manuals. Please.” Just enter the model number at searspartsdirect.com to look up the model—if we have the manual, you can download it from the model page.

Here’s what to learn from this quiz

Refrigerator water filter replacement. Eventually, fridge filters clog with the gunk they trap, so change the refrigerator filter when the light goes on, or as often recommended in the manual if there’s no light. You can set up automatic filter reordering through Sears PartsDirect, and shipping is free.  

Dishwasher pre-rinse. Modern dishwashers just need the big food chunks removed; you waste water if you rinse them clean before washing. Get 7 tips on how to best use your dishwasher.

Water heater draining. Sediment builds up inside the water heater tank. This water heater video shows how to drain it. 

Oven spills. Lining the oven floor with aluminum foil is a fire hazard. Check out our oven articles for more advice.   

Rinse aid. You don’t have to use it, but your dishes will be cleaner if you do.

Dryer lint screen cleaning. Lint clogs can cause serious problems with dryers, including overheating and fires. Prevent clogs with these easy dryer maintenance tips.   

Microwave use. Microwaves bounce off aluminum foil. Check out more microwave don’ts.

Symptoms common to all dishwashers

Choose a symptom to see related dishwasher repairs.

Main causes: light switch beside the sink turned off, lack of power, bad dishwasher door switch, control system failure, wiring problem
Main causes: not using rinse aid, rinse aid dispenser failure, broken heating element, malfunctioning vent, drying fan failure
Main causes: damaged or stuck spray arm, leaking door seal, damaged door hinge, leaky heating element water seal, cracked water supply line
Main causes: improper loading, low water temperature, improper detergent dosage, detergent dispenser failure, spray arm or pump problems
Main causes: water supply problem, stuck overfill float, clogged water inlet valve screen, water inlet valve failure
Main cause: damaged rack height adjuster
Main causes: clogged kitchen sink drain, clogged drain hose, drain check valve damaged, drain pump failure, control system problem
Main causes: broken door latch, tripped circuit breaker, broken heating element, faulty vent fan, sensor failure, control system problem
Main causes: broken door spring, detergent dispenser failure, cabinet mounting brackets loose or broken
Repair guides common to all dishwashers

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

October 1, 2016
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dishwasher diverter motor

Upper spray arms not getting water? The diverter motor could be broken. Use this guide to replace it.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
October 1, 2016
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dishwasher high-limit thermostat

Follow these steps to replace the high-limit thermostat in your dishwasher if prevents the heating element from heating.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
October 1, 2016
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dishwasher vent and fan assembly

If the control panel goes blank, the fan could be to blame. Replace the vent and fan assembly using these steps.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
Articles and videos common to all dishwashers

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

September 29, 2016
Dishwasher not draining video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn where to check for and remove clogs to get your dishwasher draining again.

September 28, 2016
Dishwasher has no power video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Sometimes you just plain forget to turn the dishwasher switch on, but you might also need to check for faulty wire connections or user interface control.

September 20, 2016
How to anchor a dishwasher to the floor video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Use a floor-mounting kit to fasten your dishwasher to the floor.