Top Appliance Fails: The Breakdown

Are you the type to read a manual? If so, congratulations- you are one of the few. So many of us (including me) try to get away with skipping that important step of ownership. We buy a new coffee machine and decide we can wing it as we go along, only to find out months later that there’s a timer; instead of pacing the kitchen floor in our slippers listening to the drip. drip. drip. we could’ve had a piping cup of Joe awaiting us on early morning arrival.

Don’t fret. Everyone agrees that there’s something so unappealing about slowing down life to actually study boring instructions – especially when eager to start using a new product.

Let’s Make This Easy:

Here are the top fails for some of the major appliances in your life. So even if you skip studying instructions, you can keep your senses attuned to these possible and probable main appliance fails.

Refrigerator Top Fails:

Did you know that refrigerators usually break in the summer, especially in July? The most common areas of distress are the ice maker, the evaporator fan, and the compressor.

If your ice maker isn’t producing ice or is producing cubes or crescents that are smaller than usual, it’s typically indicative of a clog somewhere. A common cause for a clog is frozen water in the line.

The refrigerator evaporator fan sits behind the freezer wall. It draws air across the evaporator coil and circulates it throughout the freezer and refrigerator compartments. An inoperative fan not only causes the cabinet temperature to rise but causes the compressor to overheat, which leads to its premature failure and a costly repair. Yikes.

Humming is a sign of a happy refrigerator compressor. If you don’t feel a slight vibration or that quiet buzz, your compressor may be compromised. Other signs would be sour milk, too soft butter, and an unpleasant sweaty smell that may resemble your after-the-gym aroma.

Washing Machine Top Fails:

A bit of trivia for you to share at your next gathering: Washing machines are the most common of all the appliances to break down. The parts for concern are the water valve, the control board, and the transmission.

Washing machines pull in water from your home’s water supply and mix it with detergent in the laundry tub. The water is then pumped out, and the clothes are rinsed and then spun dry. A problem with the water valve can cause the washer not to fill properly or not fill at all. This naturally translates into dirty laundry piled high and re-wearing unlaundered socks. Ugh.

The main electronic control board, also called the motherboard (female power – yeah!) governs the timing and execution of the washer component functions. It controls the fill valves, the drive motor, and the drain pump. A failed front-load washer machine control board has several symptoms, including the washer not starting, filling, spinning or draining.

The washing machine transmission turns the drum of the washer and helps transition the washer through its cycles. If your machine is whining more than your kids, it is a good indicator that the transmission is on its way out. Now, if you smell something burning and you haven’t cooked in a few months, put your takeout aside and go check your washing machine. That smokey smell can be another indicator of a transmission gone bad. Ah and just when you thought the only agitator in your house was your rambunctious ten-year-old, look again. Your washing machine has one too. It’s the device in the center of the drum that shifts and shimmies your clothing around during the washing and rinsing cycles. If that agitator is too peaceful, it may be an indicator of a faulty transmission.

Dishwasher Top Fails:

In order for your dishwasher to properly remove the remains of a festive holiday dinner from your best dishes, a number of moving parts must be moving. The spray arms direct the flow of water over the contents loaded into the machine. As time goes on, the wear and tear of continual use can create issues causing the spray arms not to turn properly.

In most dishwashers, the water pump is located under the lower sprayer arm. This component pumps the water through the dishwasher. The pump has two impellers, top, and bottom. These, as well as other components, can become clogged with food or detergent.

If it’s 12am and you’re finally putting in the last dish in your dishwasher, only to notice the lights blinking on the panel and a machine that won’t run, understand this: You have a problem with the control board.

Oven and Stove Top Fails:

So you placed a fully loaded tray of cookie dough balls in your oven only to find, ten minutes later, that there is a fully loaded tray of cookie dough balls just sitting there with no rising or fluffing or melting of the chips going on. One possible reason all’s still raw can be a faulty heating element. A fan oven that has stopped heating up or is not getting hot is one of the most common oven problems that oven repair and cooker repair engineers are called out to fix. In many cases, cooker elements will show visual signs of failure such as signs of burning, blowing, bulging, or splitting, in a particular area of the fan oven element. However, in many cases, there will be no visible signs of failure.

Igniter and Gas Valve The igniter is the most commonly defective part for a gas oven or stove that won’t turn on. The igniter gets hot enough to glow and ignite the gas in the burner assembly. If the igniter gets weak, it will fail to open the safety valve correctly. If the valve does not open, the oven will not heat.

The oven control board controls the oven burners and houses the digital display. If the range oven won’t bake or broil, or if the display isn’t working, replace the board using a manufacturer-approved replacement part.

OEM Definition

And this last sentence brings me to the discussion of the importance of using an OEM. Do you know what that is? The letters stand for “original equipment manufacturer,” meaning parts that come from the maker of your item. Using these original parts is nothing to take lightly, which is why I’m here to tell you to get a CYA warranty for all of your treasured appliances. Why’s that? Because if your item does fail, CYA will get you suited up with a repairman who has been specially trained to fix your make and model + plus he’ll only use new OEM elements.

Just as with everything in life, good service comes with a price tag. I’m not here to tell you that the service is free or cheap, but suiting yourself up with a good warranty will eventually save you time, money, and stress.

And so, while you may be the type to tuck unread user manuals into junk drawers you barely open and even challenge Google Map satellites while traveling, you’re probably intelligent enough to know that when it comes to taking care of your valuable appliances properly, it’s better to listen to the authorities (also known as CYA.)

I hope this reading was what you’d categorize as “worth it.” Now go have a care-free day!

Who We Are

Cover Your Assets (CYA) is a leader and disruptive innovator in the field of service plans. The company offers extended warranty coverage for virtually all types of consumer purchases ranging from high-end consumer electronics to computers, major appliances, power tools, lawn & garden equipment, and much more. All plans are backed by an A.M. Best Rating of “A-” (Excellent) Insurance carrier. Learn more about CYA by visiting

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