How to Maintain Kitchen Appliances | Ask This Old House

How to Maintain Kitchen Appliances | Ask This Old House

so let's talk about the kitchen right because we've got a lot of appliances in the kitchen you got one right here let's start with the dishwasher okay and in fact why don't you sort of give us a little anatomy lesson how's this thing work well let's take this rack out of here and I'm going to show you how it works you actually have hot water coming into the dishwasher through this little spout right here it goes to the bottom of the tub here and there is a heating element which is this element right here can also heat the water if the water is not hot enough yeah and then the water circulates through and it goes up to the spray arms and it cleans your dishes so we've got to spray arms working here on this particular dishwasher some of them have more or less spray arms okay and then the water during the cycle gets discharged out of this hose and you have nice clean water for every cycle and at the end of the cycle you should have no water in there at all all right so that's how it works and what are some of the things homeowners should be thinking about to avoid having to call the repairman well you want to make sure if you want to put the rack in we can make sure that the rack is actually in and not blocking the wash on from spraying because if it can't spin and it won't spray so if you have anything sticking down or blocking it mm-hmm that's you want to make sure that doesn't happen and I guess don't do what I do which is lay that lasagna pan down flat across the whole bottom no not a good idea you're going to block all the spray from going up till you clean all the dishes and you want to make sure that there's no pot up in handle or silverware or whatever blocking that washer from spinning okay and the other thing is you want to make sure that the water is actually real hot before you start this dishwasher that's why I'm thinking that there's a heating element there is why do I have to make the water hot there is because you don't want to have the dishwasher sit there and try to heat the water so at that's at this point if you come in with hot water it's going to sit there for a lot less time and it's going to kind of run on the side doesn't it call for hot water from the plumbing system it does but if you purge all the cold water out of the line first then you'll have hot water what you want to do by turning the faucet on on your sink get the water nice and steaming hot and then shut it off and then start your dishwasher and you'll be starting with nice to hot water which is great to dissolve the soap that you need to use and you might want to make sure that you is the correct kind of soap and you want to feel so so correct me not that this soap up on top of the say absolutely not actually one of your dishwashing detergent is important and you want to put in the pre rinse in the main and then you're going to shut the main and then it's going to go on its own and it's going to dispense it at the right time and you want to make sure you use rinse aid so the right soap hot water make sure you've got it loaded properly anything else there is let's look at it on a different dishwasher okay you're looking at here we're looking at a filter mm-hmm this little guy right here if it gets blocked it absolutely will not clean properly so you want to make sure you take that out and clean it up if there's all sorts of debris in it and every every dishwasher has a fill it has a filter not necessarily exactly like this but they do all have yep okay so keep that nice and clear right and then the next thing is they have what's called a float switch the float has a switch underneath and when the water comes up it lifts the float and it makes the water actually shut off so it knows there's enough water in it so if something gets underneath the float and holds it up like a fork or a spoon piece of plastic you'll you'll have no water coming in because it thinks it's already full so a normal operation is that goes up the trash off shuts off the water back down it calls for water wrecked but if they can't get down not going to call exactly you'll never get any water into it even though you can have an empty dish one the next thing you want to make sure if you ever break a glass you want to make sure you clean it up with a wet/dry vac you get it all out of there two reasons it'll first of all it'll get pieces of it to block the wash on from actually having having spray and it'll also ruin the motor because the seal will get ripped by the glass you don't want to do that and the other thing is if you see a whole bunch of water in the tub at the end of the cycle you probably have a problem with the drain hose or or actually a mechanical problem somewhere but if the drain hose gets blocked with debris then it will not drain and that's not good okay so make sure that this is cleared I know that you've got a problem full of water yep perfect alright so lots to know about the dishwasher but we've also got other appliances a refrigerator let's do it one thing you need to know about a refrigerator it actually does not make hold it removes heat let me show you how that works take this piece off here and I want to show you this is called an evaporator fan motor that circulates the air through the unit and it actually draws here across the coil this is called an evaporator coil and the refrigerant runs through this system right here and then it absorbs the heat out of the refrigerator so we're taking heat from the refrigerator actually expelling it to the room and I'm going to show you what happens here it goes to the back to something that's called a condenser and this condenser right here is where the heat gets dissipated and this is a fin that actually circulates the air out of here and it also cools the compressor at the same time so we've got a second fan yes second coil we know how it works tell me about maintenance at home our should be thinking about well the best way to keep it operating properly is by cleaning the condenser this is a dirty condenser which I pulled out of another refrigerator yeah you never want to have a condenser get dirty because the refrigerator will not work properly and it'll overheat all the motors so make sure you can clean that and assuming we can get access to this how do we clean it well the first thing you want to do is unplug the refrigerator and then next you could use a condenser brush or you can use a radiator brush or you can use a vacuum cleaner either by sucking out the dirt or you can put a run exhaust and blow it out of there all right good to know another thing that we want to think about is we want to make sure that we keep this door seal called a gasket clean it's very important because if this seal doesn't seal properly we're not going to have a good cooling in the refrigerator gonna have warm air rushing in so what I like to do is some petroleum jelly I like to take some of that and put a thin layer all the way across the face of it and that helps to make a good tight seal wait a second are you you're using the jelly to clean this or using the jelly to make sure that this doesn't crack and dry out it'll do two things it'll make it so it doesn't dry out the gasket because Robbie has a tendency of drying out and it'll also grab with a real tight suction something in the petroleum jelly that'll make it go real tight that's good to know I've never heard that before and then the last thing I want to show you is an icemaker very very convenient everyone loves it but I see a lot of service calls on it and one of the main problems that we have is clogged water line this happens because some people like to use what's called the self piercing valve alright so the idea is that we've got a water supply line somewhere near the freezer and we've got to tap into that and then bring the water over to the ice maker correct and with self piercing yeah you turn this down until it actually penetrates the copper mm-hmm and it actually makes a hole oh that size small small hole real good chance of it getting clogged up so what I suggest is putting a tee into it and once you put the tee in you can actually add a real shutoff yeah and I like to use copper tubing because that way it won't dry out and crack and you won't have a problem and if you need to service it you'll always have that shutoff the service to go on or off perfect all right another appliance in the kitchen is the range and a range is a range when it's got a cooktop and an oven built into a single unit correct two kind of ranges we have a gas range we have an electric range two kinds of electric range we have one that has a coil and we have one that has a smooth top all right and in terms of maintenance other things that a homeowner can do keep it clean that's it that's it well we're way to say what about problems like this I mean I'm seeing broken elements it can happen what happens you get a hot spot with the filament and it just burns out nothing you can do to prevent it so when it's it's time it's just going to go time it's time all right so in terms of cleaning what tips have you got for us there well if it's a self-cleaning oven you cannot use any oven cleaner on it why not it'll ruin the surface of the interior of the oven so this is too aggressive absolutely alright and so how does a self-cleaning oven work what is that magic all about it gets up to 900 degrees and it burns off everything in there and all you have is a little powder after you wipe it up a vacuum it out so it just does it was super high super high heat and is this a manual or this one's a self clean I'm going to show you how you usually know this one has a latch assembly which locks it you cannot open this door you certainly once it also gets to a certain temperature like over 450 I think it is on this it will not be able to be open until the oven is actually cooled um so that kind of makes sense because I don't want to really want to be opening another degrees that's right by accident and the other thing you want to also keep in mind do not try to solve clean your oven right before people are coming over why is that well because you're putting this into a very high heat and this has a safety built in that's called the high limit thermostat once that temperature gets up so high you have a chance of tripping that thermostat and you're suggesting it if you're just baking something at 350 it's unlikely that you'll trip it right so it's only when you bring it up to the high heat correct say yeah if I do trip it if I got a reset button or something don't yeah at that point you have to have a service man to services so I've got to call you after all I'll be happy to be there and I'd be happy to give you a call Ritchie thanks for the info

43 thoughts on “How to Maintain Kitchen Appliances | Ask This Old House

  • Takes about 2-3 minutes to get hot water at my kitchen sink. Have though about installing a point of use water heater there.

  • What is the process the repair man has to do if you trip that barker on the stove? If you knew then you would not need to call the repair man.

  • O.M.G. 9:06 I'm quite confident that the coating on all the screws during "self cleaning" didn't shear off because of an oven cleaner previously used!
    Yes the heads of the screws did shear off. You could pop the heads off the crews with your thumb or just see them laying there a couple of inches from where they are supposed to be. I think the $200-$300 keypad replacement after the door FREAKING locks on you and goes to a temperature that it is not actually designed to go to and you have no option to say SSSSSTTTTTTTTTOOOOOOOOOPPPPPPPP. is one of those things where the company makes you destroy your own equipment so you have no option but to pay for replacement parts; Parts that would have never need replacing if not for the self destruct button.
    Tell me I'm incorrect!
    If I am correct and you feel the same way give me a thumbs up!

  • The best type of condenser is a natural draft, mounted on the back of your refrigerator because it doesn't need a filter and it's less expensive.

  • Why not use dishwasher with washing tabs instead of have to think about salt and dishwasher soap?

  • 8:11 you cannot use any oven cleaner on it (richi)
    Why not?(Kevin)
    I’ll ruin the surface of the interior of the oven(richi)

  • The float description in the dishwasher isn't exactly accurate. Most dishwashers have a timed water fill so if low water pressure you are going to have a problem. The float is meant as a safety device to shut off the water so the machine doesn't overflow

  • I have a friend he's 47 by the way who uses the clothes washer his grandmother new in 1933. A may tag clothes washer electric with the double rollers over the machine to roll the water out of the lever for engaging the agitation and another lever for engaging the water pump and the last ever is on the double rollers to turn them on or off as well as reverse the rollers.
    He still uses the washer today, clothes dryer? A couple of ropes on the covers porch.
    His wife he was overjoyed when she first saw it and he was so surprised he asked her why. Her mother has an identical machine at home and wouldn't sell it to her.

  • Awkward photographer showing up at 1:45 with inconvenient making of photos for the company mailing.

  • I thought he was going to say “I’d be happy to send you a 200 dollars”. If you don’t have two left hands, you can fix anything without service man.

  • Decades upon decades of no improvement in appliance design, or most house elements.
    Example, condenser coil – not a snowball's chance that's going to be cleaned enclosed in the back.
    Why aren't lighting fixtures and range hoods connector wired?
    Why aren't cabinets cleat mount?
    Why aren't mechanics of appliances cassette slide out?
    Range hoods – why are these on rails?
    It seems to be an industry stuck in 1940s.

  • Most dishwashers in EU use cold water and heat the water in the dishwasher. And the heating element is not visible. And there is no float switch that is visible either. And we don't need to lube up the refrigerator rubber gasket. And most stoves are induction ranges. But yes the old electric ones are still fairly common.

  • Yes the appliance mfg wants you to bring 140 deg water into the dishwasher when 120 water is the highest safe temp for the rest of your fixtures. So they think we should run a separate line to the dishwasher attached to a separate water heater

  • Is this a fairly recent video?
    I ask because the US really lags behind on kitchen appliances, they all look so ugly and like 30-40 years old.
    Europe clearly has better kitchen appliances than america does

  • This might be true in other places but in The People's Socialist Quagmire of California, heating elements in dishwashers are forbidden. All new dishwashers sold in CA don't wash dishes; they just get them wet. And the only hot water used is the water from the tap. To "dry" the dishes (and I use the term "dry" loosely) the system uses steam to heat up the interior and anything plastic just stays wet. New dishwashers are nowhere near as good as the old style dishwashers.

  • Good informative video! Be safe with kitchen appliances….probably the room in the house to catch on fire easily.

  • The heating element in the dishwasher isn't meant to heat up your water, its meant to keep the proper temperature, as well as help during the drying process. It isn't meant to be a water heater.

    One of the common issues we run into at work is people install a new garbage disposal, and call us saying that their dishwasher isn't draining. They install the new disposal and never pops the knockout for the drain line from the dishwasher out.

    Never, ever use the self cleaning function on an oven. The temperature of the oven heats up, and in the process it will ruin the electronic control boards in them. The high heat actually vents out around the control board area in many ovens, as a result it heats up that control board and it will cause it to fail.

    If the high limit thermostat fails, you don't need to call a service man, you order the part, and replace it yourself…unless you want to pay someone else to do it.

  • if door seal is rubber, wouldn't the petroleum grease deteriorate the seal? why not use silicon paste/dielectric grease

  • If/when your heating element eventually breaks, you can replace it fairly cost effectively, as opposed to replacing the whole stove. I managed to do it myself recently for about $50 just for the part, just had to get one the right size. Super handy because my oven was an older built in wall unit. Just make sure you turn off the power first. 🙂

  • 6:00

    Mineral oil = petroleum jelly (Vaseline) is bad for the most rubber elements.

    It's better to use silicone lubrication or glycerine

  • Straight forward info but lookout trying to service ie. GE product these days since China owns GE , bought recently for approx. 5.5 billion, along with many North American companies like Sears  etc. The quality has gone down hill. Throw away appliances now are appearing more and more, that is a shame for sure.

  • Nice guy and clearly understands how things work; why is it I always get the install and/or repair guys who haven't a clue?

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