Q&A: Wayne Archer on appliances

Wayne Archer
Aug 23, 2018

Wayne Archer fixed appliances for 20 years and now provides DIY help for appliance and lawn and garden equipment through SearsPartsDirect.com. Wayne’s troubleshooting videos offer easy-to-understand instructions that help people diagnose and fix problems with their refrigerators, water heaters, lawn and garden equipment and more.

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Wayne Archer fixed appliances for 20 years and now provides DIY help for appliance and lawn and garden equipment through SearsPartsDirect.com. Wayne’s troubleshooting videos offer easy-to-understand instructions that help people diagnose and fix problems with their refrigerators, water heaters, lawn and garden equipment and more. If you want some advice on an appliance that's acting up, here's your chance.

Good morning, I am ready to answer your appliance repair questions.


My front-load washer is starting to smell. How do I get rid of the stink?

Over time, an odor-causing residue can build up from all the dirt, detergent, fabric softener and water that pass through your front-load or top-load washer. One of the best things you can do to prevent odors is to remove wet clothes as soon as possible when the wash cycle is done. Also, leave your washer door or lid open between loads to dry out. If you have young children who might find the open washer door an invitation to play, make sure to keep the laundry room door closed while airing out the washer. For additional tips, recipes for natural cleaning solutions and links to washing machine cleaning products, check out this Sears PartsDirect article: https://www.searspartsdirect.com/article/how-to-keep-your-washer-odor-free.html.



Hello My Kitchen Aid - America dishwasher is about 2 years old. I use it once or maybe twice a week. Dishes I put in yogurt, scrambled eggs, tomato sauces and such do not come clean. Even if the food is not dried on the dishwasher does not clean them. I have even tried putting it on the Soil Cycles, Prowash or Tough cycle but they do not come clean. I used Costo brand of pods. When the dishes were coming clean I tried using Casade Complete pods I followed the instructions in the manual which says "The triple filter system consists of 2 parts, an upper filter assembly and a lower filter." I have taken the filters out and they are all clean. But it is still not cleaning the dishes. Do you have any suggestions before I call for service? What is a fair price for serve call/repairman for Anne Arundel County, MD? Thank you!


Check the holes in the spray arms for hard water deposits that could be blocking water flow. Clean any blocked spray-arm holes using tooth picks or bamboo skewers. If the spray-arm holes are clear or the dishes still don’t get clean after cleaning the spray arms, follow the tips in this video to address other possible dishwasher cleaning issues: https://www.searspartsdirect.com/article/dishwasher-not-cleaning-dishes-video.html.

You can call 1-877-496-8746 for an estimate of repairs or to schedule service.


I have occasional bouts of dirty water appearing in the bottom of my dishwasher, presumably from the sink next to it. Appliance repairman says the washer is functioning fine. The plumber made sure the dishwasher water hose was raised up a bit and advised I clear the sink drain occasionally with yeast or Rid-x. Any other ideas?

If your dirty water is appearing in the dishwasher at random times, your problem might be from a restriction in your house drain line. This will block the water from going down the drain causing the house drain water to back up and fill the dishwasher with some dirty water. I recommend checking the dishwasher for dirty water after you run water from other places such as sinks or showers. If water appears then, you will need to have a plumber come over and clean your home drain lines.

My 10-year-old microwave suddenly stopped working. Except for the "Popcorn" button, any other cook function causes it to conk out and give a "Reset Clock" message. Looking online it sounds like a "magnatron" problem. Would it be cheaper to just get a new one?

Yes, repairs for a 10 year old microwave would most likely be more expensive than buying a new one. 

My electric dryer overheated and blew a fuse. I replaced the fuse and cleaned out the lint filter, but now it won’t heat at all. Do I need to replace the heating element?

A bad heating element could be the problem, but it could also be the high-limit thermostat, operating thermostat, thermal cut-off fuse or the timer. Watch our video at https://www.searspartsdirect.com/article/electric-dryer-wont-heat-troubleshooting-video.html to see a few easy tests you can run to find the problem.

There used to be a small shop in Alexandria where you could get a new cord for a steam iron or get a balky food processor fixed. My internet searches find plenty of folks who will look at my dishwasher or oven, but I can’t find a true small appliance repair person. Do they exist in Northern Virginia, or are small appliances just disposable now? Might a chat reader help with a resource?

Any contacts to share?

We have a Kenmore refrigerator (manufactured by LG) that was purchased in late 2004. About three years or four ago I needed to replace a slider for one of the crisper drawers, but neither Sears or LG still stocked the part. I was lucky to find it on EBay. Do you have any suggestions on where to find parts that are no longer available from the original seller?

EBay or Amazon is the best places to look for discontinued parts. Also, search (Google or similar search engines) the part number with part name and you might find some part supplier with one in stock.

We have a 6-year-old French-door DCS (by Fisher-Paykel) refrigerator that we love. A 10-inch section of the gasket on the top of the freezer door is cracked, and the appliance store where we bought the unit told us that DCS no longer makes or stocks that gasket. The repair man who visited said it is a "dart mount" gasket, but apparently DCS changed the shape of its gaskets somewhat. He suggested that we could glue the torn section of the gasket together. Do you know of other sources for buying a gasket? What problems might we have in the future if we go with the do-it-yourself fix?

We didn’t find other major parts sources for buying DCS freezer door gaskets. Try using a search engine such as Google to find the part on E-bay or Amazon. Using silicone glue to repair the cracks in that freezer gasket will likely work for a year or two. Eventually, air will likely start leaking through the cracked freezer door gasket and you’ll see frost forming on items inside the freezer. Frost can also build up on the evaporator and the refrigerator section may not cool as well.

I have used Sears' online parts diagrams and ordered replacement parts for several major appliances (dryer, dishwasher, furnace...). Not only do I save money by doing the repair myself, but I get to learn more about my appliances... and my friends are seriously impressed!

Thanks for your kind comments—happy to hear you like Sears PartsDirect! For those who aren’t familiar with our DIY repair help, we offer repair guides, troubleshooting advice and videos for 35 different products, from washers, dryers and refrigerators to lawn and garden equipment, exercise equipment and garage door openers. You can find it at https://www.searspartsdirect.com/repair-help.html.

We don't use our dishwasher at all. But I've been wondering if we should run a load through once a month or so to keep it working. Would this be a good idea?

Yes, running a load once a month will help keep water seals moist and flush out any water in the pump and hoses.

My GE dryer no longer sounds to alert me when the drying cycle has ended, and not only that, if the dryer door is closed for a week, there is a lot of moisture build up inside the drum. I have even noticed a small puddle of water on the floor beneath the dryer door. What is causing these problems? Thanks.

Check the dryer’s control settings to see whether the end-of-cycle signal is turned off. Turning the signal back on may fix that problem. If not, then a wiring failure or faulty control may be causing the signal failure.

 Moisture inside the drum could be caused by a broken vent damper on the wall cap where dryer exhaust air blows out of the side of your house. A flapper on that wall cap should close and prevent air from entering your home when the dryer isn’t running. If that damper is broken, replace the wall cap.

I've been doing repairs and remodeling since I bought my first house in 1979. Way back then, I had a home repair manual that showed me how to replace the thermocouple in my water heater. More recently, a Youtube video showed me how to replace the belt in my clothes dryer. And Youtube videos convinced me that I did not want to attempt to replace the thermostat on my gas range by myself.

Glad you didn't!

I've gone to Trible's in the past. https://www.tribles.com/locations/Merrifield


I have had great service from Appliance Fix-It in Bailey's Crossroads. http://www.appliancefix-it.com/


Look for sew & vac repair shops or places that fix lawnmowers. They often have the skills & materials for other small appliances as well.

Great tip.

My top load washing machine has a cracked agitator "fin". Can the machine continue to run effectively if a piece breaks off completely, or would I need to replace the agitator unit? I am wondering if this would throw it off balance, also.

Yes, it could throw the washer off balance. Plus it could also rip clothes that get caught on it. We recommend replacing the cracked agitator.

What is the best way to keep the surface free of streaks and splashes? I have tried many cleaners and they always seem to be smeared.

Stainless Steel is known for streaks and smears and fingerprints show up on the doors and handles. Here’s a video we have on how to clean and maintain your stainless steel products. https://www.searspartsdirect.com/article/stainless-steel-appliance-cleaning-tips.html

Stainless Steel is known for streaks and smears and fingerprints show up on the doors and handles. Here’s a video we have on how to clean and maintain your stainless steel products. https://www.searspartsdirect.com/article/stainless-steel-appliance-cleaning-tips.html

My kid scratched up the inside of my microwave. Can I use appliance touchup paint to repaint the entire inside?

Sorry, no. Touch-up paint is designed only for use on arcs and burn marks up to the size of a quarter. The touch-up paint shouldn’t be used to repaint the entire inside of the microwave. For safety, a service technician should examine the inside of the microwave if it has large scratches. If the technician determines that it’s safe to repaint the inside of the microwave cavity, the technician can apply the paint and then test the microwave for radiation leakage. The microwave leakage test must be conducted on the microwave before it can be used safely. 

I am so grateful for this chat. The ice dispenser on my KitchenAid Superba Side-By-Side refrigerator stopped working suddenly. I have to scoop ice from inside the freezer door. It's a minor inconvenience, but I wonder if there's a simple solution like flipping a switch (It's not locked). The water dispenser works fine as does the ice maker.

Open the freezer door and look into the ice chute from the inside of the freezer door to check for an ice clog. Use a hair dryer on a low setting to defrost ice and clear the clog if you see ice cubes in the chute. If the chute is clear, then a wiring failure or faulty control is likely preventing the ice dispenser door from opening.

When the spin cycle is ending, and the drum starts to slow down to a halt, the washer makes this loud and alarming rattling noise. What is it, can I fix it myself ( I'm not really the handy type), is it worth the cost of having it repaired, or should I just buy a new one? Thanks.

Foreign objects such as coins under the agitator could cause your washer problem. Remove the agitator and check for any foreign items. On older washers the spin bearings could be wearing out and starting to make noise. I recommend to have a service technician check your washer if no foreign objects are found under the agitator. Repair or replacing would depend on the age of the product and overall shape it is in.

Necessary? Other than cleaning the filter, do I really have to "clean" it? I do make sure the 'arms' drain...Thanks

Cleaning it once a month helps get rid of standing water for odors and food particles that collect around the side of the door.

My front-loader has developed a black stain on the gasket. It's spreading from the side where the door hinge is, which led me to think it's some kind of mold growing in the damp (the door can't swing all the way open because of the wall, so the hinge side probably doesn't dry out completely between loads). However, I tried scrubbing and bleach to no avail. Do I have to replace the gasket? I've done that before, but I'd much rather not.

To remove washer mold already present on the door seal of a front load washer, follow these steps:

  1. Empty all garments from the washer.
  2. Mix 3/4 cup of liquid chorine bleach in 1 gallon of warm tap water. 
  3. Wipe the seal area with the solution and let stand for 5 minutes (see the tips below about safely using bleach in your washer).
  4. Rinse the area thoroughly with plain water.Open the door wide and let the seal air dry

The door frame on my Bosch front load washing machine is broken and it now hangs askew of the hinge when open, I can close and latch it and it works but I am afraid that the weight hanging off it will break the frame at the other hinge too. How can I replace the front part of the frame?

Take a look at the parts diagram for the washer to see how the door parts fasten together. Order replacements for any broken parts. On your Bosch washer, you’ll likely need to remove screws from the hinges that attach the door to the front washer panel and then pull the door off the washer. To remove and replace the outer frame, you’ll likely have to remove screws from the inner door panel and door hinges to release the outer panel.

Thanks for the great questions today. I hope I have helped you with your appliance problems. Check out SearsPartsDirect.com for more DIY repair help on appliances.

Wow. Nice to have Wayne on and get so much useful information. Thanks so much.   

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Jura Koncius
Jura Koncius is a Washington Post staff writer who specializes in home and design. Read her daily twitter feed @jurakoncius or follow her on Instagram @jurakoncius for the latest in decorating trends, shopping, decluttering and organizing.

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