Garage Door Opener Quits

Problem: The automatic opener does not open the garage door.

Background: An electronic garage door opener may not activate be cause its power supply is interrupted, its antenna is out of position, its transmitter is defective, its remote battery is expired, or its push-button switch inside the garage is defective. First make sure the unit’s receptacle inside the garage is receiving power, and that the opener is plugged in.

What to do: To determine if the transmitter or its battery is bad, simply see if the opener operates when the push button inside the garage is activated. If it works with the push button, next check to see that the unit’s antenna is not bent out of position. Try replacing the transmitter’s battery. If the transmitter still doesn’t work, its button may be defective. Try cleaning it with electrical contact cleaner. If that doesn’t correct the problem, you will most likely need to replace it. Conversely, if the transmitter works but the push button inside the garage doesn’t, turn off the power and clean the push button with electrical contact cleaner. If that doesn’t fix it, turn off all power and replace the switch simply by removing and detaching the 2 wires that are under the screws on the back, and reinstalling a new switch.

Special advice: When a power failure traps your car inside the garage, pull the emergency release mechanism located on the opener track. Usually, this will be a cord hanging down between the opener motor and the door. Pull the disconnect cord down and away from the door to release it. Important: If you disengage the emergency release during a power failure, be sure to also unplug the garage door opener. After the power is back on, pull on the emergency re lease again to re-engage the opener. Make sure all drivers in your house hold know how to use the emergency release mechanism.

Helpful hint: For routine adjustments, and consult the opener owner’s manual. If you don’t have an owner’s manual, contact the manufacturer and request a copy for your specific model. The opener model number should be on the back of the power unit.

Clothes Washer Quits

Problem: Clothes washer is not working, or does not work properly.

Background: Clothes washers use 3 basic systems, all controlled by electricity: water fill, water drain, and drive. Before calling for service, check for the following possible problems. If the washer still doesn’t work right, check detailed appliance- repair handbooks available, or call a technician. Tithe machine won’t fill, for example, the problem may be dirty water-sediment screens, defective water-mixing valve solenoids, or a defective water temperature switch. If the water won’t shut off, the problem could be dirt inside the mixing valve, a bad water-level control switch, defective timer, or a short circuit. If the machine won’t agitate or spin, a faulty water-level control switch or agitator solenoid may be the problem. No-spin problems also may be caused by a faulty drive unit or timer. If the machine doesn’t drain, the problem may be “suds lock,” a water pump belt, or a damaged water pump impeller.

What to do: If the clothes washer won’t fill or agitate and won’t spin or drain, or stops, make sure that the power cord is plugged into an electrical outlet, that a fuse hasn’t blown or a circuit breaker tripped, and that the control knob is not turned “off.” If the washer fills slowly, make sure that the inlet hoses are not plugged or kinked, that the water faucets are fully on, and that water pressure is sufficient. If the unit won’t fill or agitate, also double-check to be sure that the inlet hoses are not plugged or kinked, and that the water faucets are turned on. If the washer won’t spin or drain, also check that the lid is not open and the water faucets are turned on. If the unit drains when it is not running, make sure that the drain hose is not lower than the washer or is not fitted too tightly in any standpipe being used.

Special advice: If your clothes washer shakes and vibrates when in use, check the following. Make sure that the front legs are not loose, that shipping straps are completely re moved, that the washer is level, that the load is balanced, and that the floor is strong enough. The floor beneath the washer should be level, with no more than 2 inches slope under the entire washer. The floor must be strong enough to support the weight of the filled washer, about 315 pounds.

Helpful hint: A clothes washer should drain into a 20-gallon tub or a 2-inch diameter standpipe. If the washer is connected to a floor drain, a siphon break must be installed. The drain should be able to carry away 17 gallons of water per minute. The end of the drain hose should be more than 34 inches, but less than 72 inches, above the base of the washer. If you use less than a 2-inch diameter standpipe, there must be an air gap around the hose inside the standpipe to a siphoning action from occurring.

Central Air Conditioner Quits

Problem: Central air conditioning doesn’t come on, doesn’t cool, or makes noises.

Background: An air-conditioning system pumps heat out of your home. There are two types of central air conditioners: the package system and the split system. The package system has the compressor, outdoor coil, indoor coil, fan, and blower motors in the same housing outside the home; it’s connected to the ducts in the home through an outside wall. The split system has the compressor, fan motor, and coil outdoors. The coil and blower motor (usually art existing furnace blower is used) is indoors and refrigerant lines run between the two sections. Your air conditioner, unless it is used in conjunction with a gas or oil furnace, may also be equipped to provide auxiliary heating with what is called a strip heating system. This system warms the air by blowing it across an electric resistance heating element.

What to do: Many times air conditioners do not start up or work properly because the electrical power is not turned on. Check the circuit breakers or fuses and load-center handles in both indoor and outdoor locations. Study the user’s guide. Make sure that the setting on the thermostat is set to “cool” or “auto” and that the fan switch is set on “auto” or “on” for continuous operation. The setting should be below room temperature. Check the coil outside to be sure that the fan is running. Make sure grilles, registers, and indoor filters are not restricting air flow. (Dirty filters are the most common cause of inadequate cooling and compressor failures.)
Call a technician if you hear new, unusual noises or if the air conditioner is short-cycling (turning on and off rapidly) and not cooling properly. When performing any maintenance, be sure to shut off the electrical power. But otherwise manufacturers suggest you leave the power to the outdoor unit on at all times. To prevent damage to the compressor, do not use the air conditioner until electrical power has been turned on for at least 6 hours.

Special advice: Never use the out door coil as a stand for garden hoses or tools. To assure free air flow, keep the outdoor coil clean and free of grass clippings, weeds, and other debris. Keep fences and shrubs at least 2 feet away from it. Clean and wax the cabinet with car polish to protect the finish. Manufacturers recommend not covering an out door unit with any all-weather cover unless it is a ventilated type or is made of breathable fabric that will allow moisture to evaporate rapidly. A cover that holds moisture may cause more rust and other damage than normal exposure to weather.

Helpful hint: Replace glass fiber throw-away filters when dirty. Clean plastic fiber or foam filters by soaking them in a mild detergent and rinsing them with cold water. Aluminum mesh filters can be washed with detergent and water, but they should be recoated according to the manufacturer’s instructions; they won’t filter dust or dirt as effectively without the adhesive coating.