Maintenance Tips

Some tips on how best to clean and maintain your appliances

Machines

Read your manual:

This is our number one tip for each and every appliance you own. After all, when it comes to use & care the manufacturer knows best. By reading your manual and following all the manufacturer’s instructions, you can enjoy the high level of performance and efficiency your appliance was designed to provide.

If you notice that your appliance is not performing like it should, don’t ignore the problem. If you do, it is only likely to get worse. For your own convenience as well as to prolong the service life of your appliance, you need to be proactive. If you cannot correct the problem on your own, do not hesitate to call us for professional advice, troubleshooting and repair.

Appliance-Specific Tips:

Refrigerators & Freezers

  • Give it space: Most refrigerators require at least 2cm to 3cm of space between the unit and the wall to allow for air flow.
  • Keep it clean: Refrigerator condenser coils, especially frost-free ones, should be vacuumed twice per year to remove hair and lint that would otherwise interfere with the cooling power of the coils.
  • Save energy: You will get the best energy efficiency from keeping your fridge and freezer on the temperature settings recommended by the manufacturer. Fridges and freezers also hold cold better when they are at least half full.
  • Replace water filters: If you have a water dispenser or ice maker, you need to replace the filter about every six months or as recommended by the manufacturer.

Washers

  • Use the right detergent: If you have a front loading washing machine you must use detergent for front loaders. If you try to use regular detergent, it will produce way too many bubbles, which may actually overflow from your machine.
  • Let it dry: To prevent mold or mildew from developing in your washing machine, it is a good idea to leave the door or lid open between cycles. You should also leave the detergent tray open and wipe down the door gasket on your front-load washer between uses.
  • Check Pockets: To prevent loose items from getting trapped in the workings of your washing machine, always check the pockets in clothes before washing.

Dryers

  • Remove lint from the filter or filters after each load. The lint traps are not the only place where lint can accumulate and present a fire hazard. You also need to clean out the cavity where the lint trap is housed. Once every few months should be sufficient. The exhaust duct and the external dryer vent if you have one needs to be cleaned at least twice per year.
  • Don’t overload: Stuffing too many items in the dryer impedes air circulation and makes the load take longer to dry. Even worse, a heavy load can put strain on important parts like dryer belts and cause premature failure.

Dishwashers

  • Scrape dishes: While you should not actually have to prewash your dishes before loading the dishwasher, you should scrape them to remove the larger food bits. This will help prevent drain clogs.
  • Clean the sprayer arm: Over time, sprayer arm holes can get clogged, which will prevent water jets from reaching all your dishes. It is a good idea to clean the sprayer arm every so often to help avoid this problem.
  • Don’t overload: If you cram too many dishes into the dishwasher, some of them probably won’t get cleaned properly.
  • Don’t use too much detergent: Using too much detergent can leave spots on your glasses as well as gum up the works with residue.

Cooktops or Stove Tops

  • Clean spills promptly: Sugary spills can cause cooktops to yellow, while acidic spills can mar the finish. Cleaning spills up quickly is also much easier than waiting until they are cold, dry, and hard.
  • Keep burner bowls clean: In a gas cooktop, the burner bowl actually helps reflect heat back to the pot. If your burner bowls are black and dirty, you won’t get any heat reflection and your cooktop will be less efficient.
  • Don’t drag pots: If you have a glass or ceramic cooktop, you never want to drag a pot or pan on it as any grit or rough spots on the bottom could scratch your cooktop.
  • Use non-abrasive cleaner: Whether you have a flat cooktop or not, abrasive cleaners have the potential to scratch the finish on the cooktop. Instead of scrubbing away baked-on food with a harsh cleaner, use a product specially made for cooktops or a paste of baking soda and water.
  • Be careful with bakeware: Never put hot glass bakeware on your glass or ceramic cooktop to cool.

Ovens

  • Self-clean sparingly: The self-cleaning cycle heats the oven to extreme temperatures, which some ovens are not really designed to withstand. Occasionally, this can cause damage to important components like fuses and control panels. The risk of damage is increased if you overuse the self-cleaning feature, so it is advised to do most of your cleaning by hand and only use the self-cleaning feature for heavy-duty messes.
  • Clean racks in the sink: If you leave your oven racks in the oven during the self-cleaning cycle they may warp. Racks can be cleaned in the sink with soap and water.
  • Don’t peek: Opening the oven door to check on your food lets out heat, wasting energy and increasing cook times. Keep your glass clean so you can check food without opening the oven.

FAQ

Most frequent questions and answers

Telltale signs of using too much powder are that your clothes feel sticky and/or slimy after they are washed, or they feel slightly stiff or hardened. In some cases, this can even reduce the vibrancy of the colour of your clothing, or having white clothing turning off-white or grey.

The most obvious thing to look out for is if your washing machine smells bad, musty or mouldy. If this is the case, we recommend using vinegar or baking soda to clean the washing machine.

You can use either for the cleaning process, but using both will be most effective. Pour around 250ml of baking soda into the drum, and up to 250ml of vinegar into the detergent and softener compartments each, and then run your washing machine on the hottest possible cycle.

Finally, we recommend leaving the washing machine door slightly ajar at all possible times to avoid the smell in future.

How much should I be using?

Something to keep in mind is that soap companies are in the business of selling soap powder.

The amount you actually need depends on how dirty the clothes are, how big your load is as well as the pH of the water coming out of your tap is.

Johannesburg water’s pH is perfect for washing clothes. Make sure you are using the correct washing powder (for automatic, and not hand-wash powder). At Holland Electrical, we recommend OMO Auto washing powder for all our customers.

For our fellow Johannesburg residents, we recommend using a half to two thirds of the recommendation on the packaging for a full load, and checking the results to find the optimum dosing.

If your ice maker is not working there are several potential reasons including a clogged or partially clogged water filter. Read on to learn more about this possibility as well as other common reasons for an ice maker not to work.

Clogged or partially clogged filters can cause numerous issues:

If you have a clogged or partially clogged filter then you could have slow running water from your dispenser or no water running throughout at all. This is why we recommend replacing your filter at least every six months. We can help you locate and install the right filter for your unit.

If you are not sure if your filter is clogged, take the filter out and install the bypass plug. Then try the dispenser and note how the water flows. If it has improved greatly then the issue is with the filter and it is time to replace it. If you have no bypass plug, one did not come with your unit, or you have misplaced it, check if you can buy a replacement.

In some cases, it may be necessary to change your water filter more frequently:

While six months is a rule of thumb, if you live in an area with new construction then there could be more sediment getting into your water system, which can clog the filter more quickly and require more frequent changing. If you have hard water then you may need to change it more frequently. After you have changed it a few times and experienced the improved function, you will be able to more easily tell when it is time to change it.

More common issues that can cause your ice maker not to work:

While a clogged water filter could be the cause of your ice maker not working, there are more common causes. First, make sure that your icemaker is simply turned on and plugged in. Check the power cord and make sure it is plugged in. Take a look at the feeler arm or paddle to confirm it can move freely. If there is ice blocking it, then the ice maker will get the message it should not be producing more ice.

Check the water supply to make sure it is going from the fridge to your freezer. Check to make sure the fill tube is not frozen.

If your appliance has seen better days and is in need of a repair, your first question is like: Do I have to use an authorized service center for appliance repair? The answer is not as simple as yes or no. The truth is that it depends on what your warranty says. However, there are a number of reasons that it always pays to turn to an authorized service center for all your appliance repair needs.

Manufacturers want to know first and foremost that a repair center can properly maintain and repair their appliances – but that is just the start. They also want to know that the proper licenses and insurance are in place and whether a company is trustworthy.

Proven expertise is required for all appliance repair and maintenance services:

The stamp of approval from a manufacturer comes only after a company has proven their expertise. This requires technicians going through a specialist training process utilizing test equipment and real world experience. Technicians must study products to learn how to properly estimate repair costs and they must maintain ongoing education to keep their accreditation. No matter how “simple” the project is, a factory authorized service center provides the specialist care that is needed.

You can get genuine parts with an authorized service center, and your warranty will not be invalidated by an authorized service center:

Depending on the specifics of your appliance, your warranty, and the issue, if you hire an unauthorized dealer, you could end up invalidating your warranty. This would lead to unauthorized technicians making potential mistakes – and having none of their actions covered by your warranty.

First and foremost, make sure you should never use scouring pads, abrasive cleaners, or anything that includes chlorine. You should also not use steel-wool pads, paper towels, or gritty washcloths. Using any of these can actually damage your refrigerator.

The best way to clean the surface is to spray a stainless steel cleaner on a clean, microfiber cloth and wipe the fridge. Wipe off any excess spray and try not to get any on the plastic parts. Dry the area with another clean, dry cloth.

Note that your warranty can be voided if you improperly clean it or use the wrong products. To stay in line with your warranty you can use:

  • Soft, clean towels
  • Warm, soapy water
  • Stainless steel cleaners designed for appliances

Do not get stainless steel cleaner on any plastic parts or you could void the warranty.

You CANNOT use the following or you risk voiding your warranty:

  • Abrasive cloths
  • Oven cleaners
  • Ammonia
  • Abrasive powders
  • Abrasive liquids
  • Newspaper
  • Steel-wool
  • Citrus-based cleaners

 

How to clean black stainless steel and fingerprint-resistant stainless steel:

First, wash the outside surfaces and gaskets with warm water and mild soap and then wipe dry. The best options are soft cloths, preferably microfiber cloths. Make sure everything is entirely dry. As is true of traditional stainless steel, there are some dos and don’ts that can affect your warranty. Do NOT use:

  • Abrasive cloths
  • Flammable fluids
  • Paper towels
  • Oven cleaners
  • Newspaper
  • Ammonia
  • Steel wool
  • Abrasive liquids
  • Abrasive powders
  • Window cleaner
  • Acidic cleaners
  • Vinegar-based cleaners

If you are not sure if it is okay to use a particular cleaner, then we recommend not using it.

If you know your refrigerator is not running well, you may jump to the conclusion that the issue lies with the compressor. The truth is that many property owners have paid thousands of Rands for new appliances, or wasted money on replacing a compressor, when it was not the issue at all.

This is why we at Holland Electrical have provided you with comprehensive information to tell if the issue is likely the compressor or if there is something else going on. While the instructions here will help you determine the likely cause, the best way to know for sure that is going on is to contact us at 011 614 9017 for service.

Listen for the compressor noise:

Most everyone is familiar with the sound of a refrigerator kicking on and off. This may sound like a faint humming and you may not even notice it anymore because you are so used to it. That is the compressor. If you do not hear it, then it may be that your compressor is not working correctly or is broken. Pay attention for half an hour. If you do not hear it, then there is an issue.

If you do hear the compressor working but your fridge is not cold, or you hear it running constantly without shutting off, then it is likely there is an issue with the compressor as well. Keep in mind that at very cold times a quiet compressor may be normal

Should you not hear the compressor feel the compressor, the black ball at the back, if it is very hot it has likely ceased, has an open circuit or there is an internal blockage. In most cases the compressor is broken or in a very few cases the start relay has broken.

The amount of ice your ice maker should be making will be almost entirely dependent on the particular freezer and ice maker you have. Different models offer different capacities. However, ice temperatures can affect how much ice your ice maker is producing.

One of the factors that has a big impact on how much ice your ice maker is producing is the temperature of your freezer. If your freezer has a knob with 1 – 5 as options then it should be set to 3. Check your particular model to see what the setting should be on.

In addition to the temperature setting, how often you open the door can impact your freezer temperature. Note that every time you open it, you are immediately dropping the temperature inside. This does not make a huge difference if you open it a few times per day but if you open it repeatedly then it could prevent ice from forming.

Finally, the food load will affect how cold your freezer is. The more food you have in your freezer, the more stable the temperature is – and the more effectively your freezer can work. Think of it like this: The frozen items in your freezer act as insulators to keep the inside cold. Ideally you should keep your freezer about three-fourths full. If you do not have enough food for this then we recommend filling plastic jugs 2/3rds full of water until the load is increased to the recommended three-fourths volume.

Your ice maker will not start making ice until it is properly installed. It should normally fill to capacity within 48 hours.

If you have just had a new freezer or fridge/freezer combo installed and it is not making ice, make sure that the ice maker itself is turned on. It will not start making ice until it has gotten down to around 15 degrees or cooler. It can take up to 24 hours for an ice maker to start cycling after it has been installed.

Your refrigerator works 24 hours per day every day of the week every day of the year. With a workload like that, it deserves some maintenance. While some types of maintenance need to be done only once a year, there are also maintenance steps you can take on a daily basis.

Daily maintenance for your refrigerator:

A few minutes of simple daily maintenance can make a big difference in the lifespan of your fridge. This includes covering food to keep odors from moving throughout your refrigerator and your freezer, buying a box of baking soda and leaving it in the fridge to absorb odors, and maintaining enough clearance on all sides of the fridge that it is properly vented.

Monthly maintenance tasks for your refrigerator:

Every month, empty out your ice. If you do not, the ice can end up absorbing the odors from your freezer. The ice can also form into a solid block that is impossible to use when you need it. If you want your ice odor-free and easy to grab, empty your ice bin once a month.

Refrigerator maintenance every three months:

Take a look at the door gasket of your refrigerator. If it is dirty or flimsy, it could keep the door from closing correctly, which puts stress on the fridge’s motors. If it is dirty, clean it off with soapy water and dry it. If the seal is loose, replace the embedded magnets. If you are not sure how to do this, contact your local appliance repair company.

You may also want to take the time to clean the condenser coils. These are found in the back of your fridge and are important to condense and cool the refrigerant, which releases heat. If those coils on the back of your fridge are full of dirt, debris, and pet hair, you are likely wasting energy and putting unneeded stress on the compressor. Vacuum these coils with the brush attachment on your vacuum every three months.

You should also level your fridge every three months. If it is not entirely level, whether it is leaning to one side or too far in the back or front, it will not close properly. This can strain the motor and result in condensation inside. Check it by placing a level on top of the refrigerator and rotate the feet on your fridge until it is level.

Six-month refrigerator maintenance:

Every six months, replace the water filter on your refrigerator. This helps ensure that the water and ice are clean and odor-free, and helps to prevent clogs or leaks. You can check the owner’s manual of your fridge to find out where the filter is located and how to replace it, or you can call on Holland Electrical for help.

You should also clean the drain hole and drip pan every six months. If you see food, mineral deposits, or other debris then you should scrub the drain pan clean. Once again, you can find more details on how to do this for your specific unit in the owner’s manual or by contacting us at 011 614 9017.

There are several potential reasons your fridge may be freezing up and many different ways to fix these issues. If the following causes and solutions don’t fix the problem for you, contact Holland Electrical for help.

It may be your door seal:

One potential cause is a faulty door seal. If you have a faulty gasket, warm air could seep into your fridge, which then requires it to work harder than it should. This can in turn cause freezing up. To find out if your door seal is working properly, put a piece of very thin paper between the door frame and the gasket. Then try to pull the paper out. If it comes out easily – or does not stick at all – then your seal is faulty. If it does hold, then it is likely not the seal.

You may have issues with your thermostat:

The job of your fridge’s thermostat is to control your fridge’s condenser, compressor, and evaporator. If the thermostat is not working correctly, then none of those elements will be working correctly. To test for this, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure your appliance is powered on. Does your light bulb work when you open the door? If it does, then it is on.
  2. Check to ensure that the thermostat is turned on by checking the power indicator. It should be located near the display panel.
  3. Listen closely to your fridge to see if you can hear the fridge working.
  4. Use a multimeter to check your thermostat and ensure it is working correctly.

 

Your fridge’s sensor may be in failure mode:

Your fridge has a temperature sensor that sends the temperature to the fridge and freezer so that adjustments can be made. If it is not working, then there may be an issue with the sensor. Access your sensor by looking at your owner’s guide to find the location. Look to see if you can find visual signs of damage to the sensor, then use a multimeter to test and ensure it is working.

Issues with defrost heaters or regular required defrosting:

Your fridge’s defrost heater melts any ice and frost that forms from the evaporator coils. It should be located under the evaporator. Test this by visually inspecting it for damage and using a multimeter to ensure it reads between 200 and 400 ohms.

Finally, it may be that your fridge simply needs manual defrosting. This may be the case if you have an older fridge and freezer. If you are having this issue, we generally recommend replacing your fridge with an updated model that handles defrosting for you, though we can also do a manual defrost if you would prefer.

Dishwashers can be a huge convenience – but only if they are working correctly. There may be numerous reasons that your dishwasher is no longer draining correctly. Learn what they are and then contact Holland Electrical if you need help.

If you use dishwashing liquid that is not meant for your particular type of dishwasher – or for dishwashers at all – then it may create so many suds that the dishwasher cannot drain. If that is what has happened to your unit, bail out your dishwasher as described above and then run it again with the right detergent.

Your drain basket may be blocked:

There is a drain basket at the bottom of your dishwasher. It generally looks like a basket that’s been turned upside down. Take off this cover and look to see if there is food buildup underneath it. If so, use a spoon to get rid of it, replace the basket, and run the dishwasher again.

There could be a kink in your drain hose:

Just as the hose you use to water your flowers will not work correctly if there is a kink in it, if there is a kink in your drain hose then it will not allow the pump in your dishwasher to drain correctly. You may be able to simply unkink the hose, but if it happens again then it’s likely time to replace the hose.

Get help from the dishwasher professionals:

If the above options have not helped solve the issues you are having, please contact Holland Electrical at 011 614 9017 right away and we can get your dishwasher running correctly in no time.

All refrigerators make noise but if yours has suddenly gotten louder then you are likely wondering what the cause is and whether or not you should have it looked at. At Holland Electrical we are happy to come take a look and determine the cause and potential solutions. In the meantime, follow the below steps to find out why your refrigerator is making so much noise.

Begin by determining where the noise is coming from:

One of the most telling factors will be where the noise is coming from. If the noise is a rattling noise and comes from the bottom of the fridge then it is likely an issue with the drain pain. This is the easiest one to fix – just secure the pan back where it goes.

If the sound is coming from the back of your fridge then you may have an issue with the compressor, the defrost timer, or the condenser fan. It is not uncommon for a fridge compressor to get loud, but it can be expensive to do so. If the defrost timer is causing the noise then it will most likely need to be replaced. On the other hand, if it is the condenser fan then you may be able to simply clean away the dust and have it working well again.

Finally, if the sound is coming from inside of your refrigerator then the most likely culprit is the circulation fan. To test this theory, push in your freezer’s light switch. If the noise gets louder, then it is an issue with the circulation fan. This is an issue that requires replacement.

How to clean a condenser fan:

Some refrigerators don’t have condenser fans but most do. If yours does, then you will find it behind an access panel on the back of your fridge. Turn off the fridge before you begin cleaning. Then simply get rid of any dirt or debris that may be obstructing the fan. Check out the rubber grommets to see if there are any visible signs of wear and tear.

How to check your fridge’s evaporator fan:

The evaporator fan is located in the back of your fridge’s freezer. You can get to it by taking everything out of the freezer and removing the inside panel. Check all wires and components to see if there is visible wear and tear. Check the rubber grommets. If you find that the fan blades are not moving freely or there are signs of wear and tear on any wires or connectors, then parts may need replacement.

Let the professionals take care of the issue for you:

If you are having serious issues with your fridge, if it is making too much noise, or if it is not working as well as it used to, then it is time to contact Holland Electrical at 011 614 9017, or email us at [email protected]o.za

Has your washer stopped working as well as it once did? Is it not running at all? Before you call for appliance repairs you may want to find out what is wrong in the first place. The following are a few ideas of what could be wrong if certain issues are occurring.

What is wrong with a washer when it won’t turn on:

The first thing to check is that the machine is properly plugged in. If it is plugged in, try unplugging, waiting a minute, and then plugging it back in. If this does not fix the issue, unplug your washer and plug something else into the outlet. This could show you that there is an issue not with your washer but with the outlet yourself.

If that device works then one of the following is likely the culprit:

  • There is a bad lid or door switch in your washer.
  • The timer in your washer is bad.

These are both issues that a professional needs to address.

What is wrong when a washing machine won’t fill up with water:

Take a look at the lid switch and timer as they are the most likely reasons for your washer not working. You can also take a peek at the inlet hoses for the washer to ensure they are not clogged or damaged. It may also be that the water switch within the control panel is the problem.

What is wrong when the water won’t drain:

First, you want to see if the hose in the back is clogged. If it is then you will need to clear it. If not, then you may have a bad or loose drive belt. Check the drive belt and if it is not loose, call Holland Electrical for help at 011 614 9017.

What is wrong with my washer when it is leaking:

If you have a leaking unit then you will check all hoses. It is likely that one of them is leaking. Look to see if any hose appears to be loose. If it does then you will need to tighten it or call in the pros to do so. If it is damaged then you will need to replace it. At Holland Electrical we provide comprehensive assistance getting you the parts you need and/or repairing the machines.

Need more specific tips?

Give us a call, or fill in the contact form with details of your problem, and we’ll get back to you