Seven things your appliances are trying to tell you

You may be tempted to simply fork out for a new one - but sometimes there's a simple reason for something not working


7 Things Your Appliances Are Trying to Tell You

Dishwasher not washing, dryer not drying, or freezer not freezing? Before you call out an engineer, check our guide to common appliance problems and how to fix them. If your appliance is playing up, it might be trying to tell you something...

1. Dishes not getting cleaned properly? "I'm not getting enough hot water."
To work efficiently, your dishwasher needs hot water. Lukewarm suds aren't going to cut through grease. Before starting your dishwasher, try running the hot water tap in the sink. If it takes several minutes before hot water comes out, then your dishwasher is being filled with cold water for several minutes too. You may need to check the settings on your boiler. Not the problem? Check the filter, usually located on the floor of the unit. If it's clogged with food, water won't be able to flow correctly.

2. Food in the fridge not cold enough? "I'm being overworked!"
Check the condenser coils. If they're covered with dust, fluff or pet hair, then the fridge is having to work extra hard to cool itself - which uses extra energy and shortens its life span. Remove the kickplate and clean the coils at least use a year, using a vacuum cleaner. Vacuum not getting the job done? Invest in a special brush that is designed for this purpose. Remember to unplug the fridge before cleaning.

3. Ice building up at the bottom of the freezer? "My defrost drain is clogged."
When the freezer runs the defrost cycle, the melted water should run through the drain to a drip pan. If the drain is blocked, the water will pool along the bottom of the freezer and turn to ice. If you have a model with the freezer on top, you may notice water dripping into the fridge unit below. Remove all the food, unplug the unit and let it thaw. Once thawed, check to see that nothing is plugging up the drain.

4. Tumble dryer not getting clothes dry? "I have a nasty case of lint build-up."
You should clean the filter in your tumble dryer after every single load. A clogged filter reduces airflow. Even if the filter looks clean, it's worth running some water over it. If the water pools on top without draining through, clean it with soap, water, and a brush. Lint can also plug the vent leading from the dryer to the outside of the house, which can be a fire hazard. If necessary, remove the cover to reach inside to remove clumps of lint.

5. Front-loading washing machine stinks? "There's mould or mildew growing inside me."
The door on front-load washers seals extremely tight. That means the inside can stay damp, allowing mould to grow. This is especially common around the gasket sealing the door. Clean it once a month, by running the washing machine without any clothes inside on a clean or hot-water cycle with a special tablet inside. When you finish a load, wipe away the moisture around the door seal with an old towel and leave the door open between washings to let the moisture evaporate.

6. Gas burner won't light? "I'm clogged with food."
You can hear a clicking noise but there's no flame. If that's the case, you probably had a pot boil over. Food that has boiled over and gone hard can be enough to stop a burner from working. Take a look to see if the hole is clogged up. Cleaning it with a cloth will fix the problem.

7. Electric burner won't get hot? "You need to replace me."
Placing too much weight on a burner – in the form of a heavy saucepan – can be enough to damage it. If it's damaged, you need to replace it. If that doesn't solve the problem, call out a professional. Stoves have a high voltage running through them, so leave it to those who know what they're doing.

Three products to keep your appliances clean:

Dettol Washing Machine Cleaner 250Ml, £3.00

Dr Beckmann Service-It Deep Clean, £2.00

Cillit Bang Bleach And Hygiene Cleaner 750Ml, £3.50

Related videos:
When to Repair and When to Replace Broken Appliances?