Mold: Causes and Hazards

Research has shown that leaking appliances and other water based utilities remain as one of the most significant sources of water waste. In addition to washing machines and dishwashers, refrigerators and dryers now have the possibility to be connected to a water source as well – due to their water and ice dispensers and wrinkle care features respectively.

With the majority of household appliances now connected to a water source, the potential for a leak increases. Leaks can cause significant damage to your household, and induce potential hazardous living conditions – with the main cause for concern being mold.

WHAT IS MOLD?

Mold is a common type of fungus that can be found inside and outside, almost everywhere, year round. It grows best in warm, damp and humid environments, and multiplies using its microscopic spores that travel through the air and attach to various structures and materials.

There are more than 100,000 types and species of mold, some of which are harmless, but some can cause serious health problems. The most common categories of mold, which can affect your health are Allergenic Molds. These types of molds contain allergens, which can cause allergies and other various symptoms in humans.

SYMPTOMS CAUSED BY MOLD

Molds and other fungi grow easily in damp indoor environments. People who spend time in such environments sometimes complain of:

  • Memory problems, brain fog, trouble with focus and executive function
  • Fatigue, weakness, post-exercise malaise and fatigue
  • Muscle cramping, aches, and pains, joint pain without inflammatory arthritis, persistent nerve pain, “ice pick” pain
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Headache
  • Light sensitivity, red eyes, and/or blurred vision
  • Sinus problems, cough, shortness of breath, air hunger, asthma-like symptoms
  • Tremors
  • Vertigo
  • Persistent nerve pain
  • Abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, appetite changes
  • Metallic taste
  • Weight gain despite sufficient effort (weight loss resistance)
  • Night sweats or other problems with temperature regulation
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Static “shocks”

While it is completely normal for a small amount of mold or mildew to appear on shower walls or any other application where water accumulates, mold or mildew growth in room corners or non-shower walls clearly indicates that there is a leak in the surrounding area creating the perfect living and breeding environment.

Mold growth in homes, schools, and businesses should be eliminated to maintain health, structural integrity, and quality of life. Cleaning up small amounts of mold can be done by homeowners. Eliminating mold from large areas requires expertise and protection both for the removal specialists and occupants of the affected space.

DON’T FORGET TO DEAL WITH THE LEAK!

In order to prevent a potential mold outbreak in your home, or to prevent an existing mold issue from escalating further, it is recommended to take care of the leak after the mold issue has been cleaned.

Internally, water faucets, toilets, water valves, household appliances, pipes, and tubes are all among the potential causes of a leak within your household. A plumber will be required to come in, assess the situation further, and locate the cause of the leak. If there is an external leak, please notify city representatives to come in and inspect piping leading to the house, as well as the water meter itself for any potential faults or misreadings.

Dishwasher Not Behaving? Try These 4 Easy Repairs First!

Over the past decade, dishwashers became an absolute necessity in modern household kitchens, relieving the owner from the task of manually washing dishes, which can be very time consuming, and overall – a hassle.

Dishwashers operate on a basic principle of washing a load of dishes that has been placed in specified racks inside the dishwasher with multiple jets of water. With the complexity of functions and features increasing, there is a correlating inflation of faults and breakdowns within the appliance as well.

Power and water supply issues, dish cleanliness quality, and drain function problems are all relative and common faults that could occur with any dishwasher of any make and design. Several simple tips and tricks exist for consumers to be able to troubleshoot their unit independently, without paying for a service visit from a qualified technician.

Power supply problems

One of the broadest issues that can occur within a dishwasher, with external and internal factors that can attribute to the usability of the appliance. With electronic parts consuming up to %85 of any dishwasher build, it is very probable for an issue to occur due to an electrical surge or miscommunication between parts.

If your unit is not powering at all, the first recommended action is to make sure that power is being supplied to the unit, which will have to be verified by a certified technician or electrician.

Next step is to perform a hard reset of the unit by turning off the power. In most cases, dishwashers are hard-wired directly into household electricals and will be needed to be shut off directly from the fuse box. A hard reset should be performed for a minimum of 15 minutes before restoring power.

Once power is restored, check for the functionality of the dishwasher and if you are still encountering issues, it is indicating that a fault exists within the unit, with one on more parts possibly damaged and attributing to the fault at hand.

Common parts that can be related to a power issue include main control board, door switch, power cut-off fuses, user display/control boards, or the main wiring harness that connects to all the aforementioned parts. In order to provide a further diagnosis, a certified technician will be required to disassemble the unit, and test every component separately.

Water supply issues

Simple to diagnose, and can be attributed only to two main valves that operate in conjunction to properly supply water to the unit. Before diagnosing, ensure the main household water valve is on and working correctly.

The first valve that should be tested is normally located under the kitchen sink and is the hot water supply valve with a water line (either copper or braided steel) connected directly from it to the dishwasher.

In order to check that the valve is open and providing water, it is possible to disconnect the water line from the valve (make sure the valve is turned off at this point to avoid leaking or flooding while the line is disconnected) and see that water pressure exists by placing a bucket and turning the water valve on. If there is no water pressure, a plumber will be required to come in and test the valve and associated plumbing within the household.
The second valve is located within the dishwasher itself and is located in the bottom left corner of the unit, behind the kickplate.

This valve can be tested by powering the dishwasher on, and listening to any indication of the flow of water, and checking the inner tub of the dishwasher within five minutes of starting the cycle for any signs of water inside the dishwasher compartment.

If the dishwasher valve is deemed inoperable, it will require further testing to ensure that it is receiving power correctly, and will require a qualified technician to be called in for service.

No drain fault

In order the diagnose a dishwasher that does not drain, or only partially drains, there are only a few simple minimal things that can be checked without the requirement of a technician.

Ensure that the drain hose is not kinked or blocked by debris, anywhere along the line; it is also possible to disconnect the drain hose from underneath the sink and let the dishwasher drain into a bucket to ensure a full flow.

When entering a drain cycle, if any apparent cracking or humming noises are apparent, the drain pump can be either blocked with debris, or the impeller is damaged and is no longer creating enough turbulence and pressure to push water out, which will require the drain pump to be serviced or replaced.

In some cases, there is a filter assembly inside the dishwasher, located on the floor that can be disassembled and checked for any debris that could be possibly clogging water exits, or the pump itself – please refer to the manufacturer brochure for proper instructions on how to clean the filter.

Other possible parts that can cause a dishwasher to not drain properly include: main control board, door switch, diverter valve, and cut off fuses; but all are required to be tested by a technician as well.

Not cleaning dishes properly

A dishwasher not cleaning dishes properly negates the main demand from a dishwasher and therefore deems it ineffective.

General misuse of dishwasher function is regarded as the biggest contributor to ineffective cleaning and poor performance. Dishes must always be rinsed and cleaned of any significant food debris, in order to prevent the debris clogging certain passageways within the unit.

Spray arms can be removed and assessed for any clogs in the jet holes, which could prevent water from effectively cleaning dishes, rinse with water and remove any possible obstructions in the washer arms.

Vinegar cycles are highly recommended to be performed once a month to maintain cleanliness in the tub; remove any accumulated debris in the circulation pump and associated water hoses; and potentially remove any calcium build up that would leave your dishes with a foggy, smoky film layer after wash.

Further potential parts that can be at fault include: circulation pump, diverter valve, water heater, and potential clogs in piping within the unit; all the aforementioned parts will require a certified technician in order to disassemble the dishwasher and test further.

 

For further questions and maintenance tips, please contact us via our free chat, located on our website at www.ManwithaWrench.com/troubleshooting, for immediate support from one of our qualified technicians. We are available 24/7, and will always attempt to answer your questions as quickly and thoroughly as possible.

4 Common Problems with Washing Machines and How to Fix Them!

In today’s world, automated washing machines are an absolute necessity in every single household. An upgrade over the old scrubbing board, modern washing machines will automatically determine load sizes, soil levels, required water levels; all within a reasonable timeline.

As with any technological advancement, the increase in the use of electronic parts causes an increase in breakdowns and faults, due to cheaper build quality and overall complexity of electrical circuits and membranes.

Check your cycles

If the washer in question is not powering on or is not responsive, it is recommended to perform a hard reset by unplugging the washer from power for a minimum of 15 minutes. After plugging the washer back in, test the unit for responsiveness and progression in cycles by turning on several different cycles, as follows:
Normal – The washing machine will fill up with water and agitate the load, which will ensure proper motor and drive belt function. The cycle should be tested for a minimum of 10 minutes to ensure proper function.
Rinse and spin – Will let the washer fill up with fresh water and properly tumble the drum. The cycle should be tested for a minimum of 10 minutes to ensure proper function.
Drain and spin – Will let the appliance drain the water that is in the tub, and accelerate the drum to full spin to ensure proper motor velocity and end of cycle protocol. The only cycle that will have to be fully completed.

After performing a hard reset, if the unit is still unresponsive, or is pausing during specific sections in the cycle, attributing components can involve main control, noise filter, door lock, and/or the user interface itself. The aforementioned components are not easily accessed or tested, and therefore would require a service technician for a full diagnosis.

Water intake issues

Problems with water fill into your washer will cause your washer stall at the beginning of the cycle due to insufficient water volume. When tested for water intake, make sure that the hot and cold water supplies from the household are open.

If the unit is refusing to fill, close water supply and remove hoses from the back of the unit and allow to drain into a bucket – turn the water supply on – observe for proper water flow through hoses into the bucket.

If water pressure exists, and hoses allow water to pass, the issue at hand could be attributed to faulty water valves within the washer, or the main control board that is not supplying current for the washing machine valves to open.

For further diagnosis, it is recommended for a qualified technician to measure current and resistance levels for components within the washing machine.

Drain issues

When a washer does not properly drain water, it will leave clothes soaking wet inside the drum, and will never progress to the high-speed spin at the end of the cycle due to the excess weight in the drum, which can cause further damage to drum components.

The number one go to the component to check is the drain hose, make sure that it is not kinked and that there are no obstructions preventing from water to flow out.

In most modern washing machines, the drain pump is easily accessible through a flap at the bottom of the washer; it will contain a filter assembly that can be unscrewed and cleaned of any obstructions and a dump tube that is to be used to drain all the excess water that remained in the drum. Before unscrewing the filter cap, always make sure to use the dump tube to drain out all the excess water from the drum into a bucket, preventing a big leak of water onto the floor.

When entering a drain cycle, if any apparent cracking or humming noises are apparent, the drain pump can be either blocked with debris, or the impeller is damaged and is no longer creating enough turbulence and pressure to push water out, which will require the drain pump to be serviced or replaced.

Damage to drum components

If your washing machine is making a loud grinding or squeaking noise while spinning or agitating, the drum assembly may have something caught or stuck in it, or it can have potential damage to drum components.

Survey the gasket for any articles of clothing that may have got stuck between the metal and plastic drum assemblies, and manually spin the drum to notice if there is any resistance in drum movement.

When manually spinning the drum, observe if the drum is on the correct axis and is not making any wobbly, out of center movements. Once tested, if the drum seems loose or is making a loud grinding or banging noises while in spin, the indication is that your bearing and spider assembly are damaged and require replacement. For replacement please contact a service technician for proper quotes and repair procedures.

 

 

For further questions and maintenance tips, please contact us via our free chat, located on our website at www.ManwithaWrench.com/troubleshooting, for immediate support from one of our qualified technicians. We are available 24/7, and will always answer your questions as quickly and thoroughly as possible.

6 Tips for Refrigerator Maintenance

Refrigerators are counted as the most important appliance within the modern day household – present in 99.5% of all American homes. Refrigerators have become an essential part of our daily life, they have taken their place in almost every space of daily living, from homes and restaurants to office spaces and schools. It is now considered a home support system, without which a daily visit to the grocery store or take-out restaurant would be unavoidable.

In order to keep your refrigerator in tip-top shape, there are several basic maintenance tips and tricks that can be performed to ensure proper function and life span.

Set the right temperature

The fresh food compartment must be set at a temperature at or below 40degrees Fahrenheit (or 4 degrees Celcius), while the freezer compartment must be set at 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celcius). If the refrigerator at hand has knobs for controllers and not an adjustable digital display – set both knobs to the middle (usually marked as “recommended”).

Properly setting up temperatures will provide the highest quality of food preservation, resulting in a space for your food to stay fresher, longer.

Door seal inspection

A gasket is the rubber piece that goes along the edge of the doors. It functions as a seal to keep the colder temperatures inside the compartments, not allowing warmer air to enter.

When getting something out of the refrigerator, make sure to close the doors all the way and ensuring that no gaps are left between the door and the frame. Warm air entering the refrigerator can cause frost build up on the compressor coils which will affect air circulation through the unit, resulting in poor cooling performance and spoiled food.

Door gaskets can be thoroughly cleaned from any food or drink residue by using a mixture of water and baking soda and is a recommended action to perform two to four times a year.

If the gasket has noticeable rips or tears in it or is no longer holding well to the door, request for a professional for help in replacing the gasket in question.

Cleaning the Refrigerator

Frost, liquid and/or food residue, or simply dirt can exist in your refrigerator and ruin the air quality within the compartments. It is recommended to empty the unit completely – twice a year – and unplug it to let the unit defrost for 24 hours.

Once defrosted, clean the inside with a moist towel, ensuring the inside is clean and frost free. Once cleaned, a simple solution to remove any existing odors is to store an open box of baking soda in your fresh food and freezer compartments and replace it once every three months.

Once cleaned, a simple solution to remove any existing odors is to store an open box of baking soda in your fresh food and freezer compartments and replace it once every three months.

Clean compressor compartment

The compressor compartment includes the condenser coils, cooler fan, and the compressor itself. The condenser coils and fan are responsible for removing heat from the compartment, allowing the compressor to work efficiently.

In order to clean, remove the grate covering the compartment (NOTE: built-in refrigerators contain the compartment above the refrigerator, while stand-alone units contain the compartment in the lower rear section) and use a brush to clean the interior – special brushes do exist to make the cleaning easier.

Once dust and dirt are removed from the compartment, use a vacuum to clean up all the dirt. For proper maintenance, it is always recommended to follow the instructions in the provided user manual that is specifically made for your model.

Keeping your refrigerator and freezer full

When the fridge door is opened, cold air escapes replaced by warm air that comes in. When the door is then shut closed, the refrigerator has to start cooling the compartment down again.

Keeping the unit full creates less space for the aforementioned air exchange, meaning the fridge does not have to work as hard, which in the long run increases efficiency and saves energy.

If your freezer compartment is full it will help hold temperature safely in case of a power loss. If the freezer is half full, it can maintain temperature for roughly 24 hours, while if it is completely full the temperature can be held for up to 48 hours.

Replacing the water filter

It is recommended to replace the water filter every six months on average, dependent on how frequently the water dispenser is used. Replacing the filter will prevent unwanted chemicals, particles, and bacteria mixing in with the water that is being dispensed, as well as the ice that is made in the icemaker.

If the indication light is on to notify you that it is time to replace the filter, proceed accordingly, and refer to the user manual for instructions on replacing the filter and resetting the indication light.

These simple maintenance tips can result in your refrigerator having a much longer lifespan, while also removing the financial strain on your pocket when it comes to paying for repair services and electrical bills.

 

For further questions and concerns, please contact the Man with a Wrench toll-free line at 1(888)454-4840, or submit a request via our Facebook or Homestars pages. It is our duty to help inform our customers of all industry standards, requirements, and faults, in order to assure proper use and maintenance of appliances!

Oven repair: don’t spend money on it unless you need to (and the dangers of the oven’s self-cleaning function)

ovenrepair

manwithawrenchlogo

Are you using your oven’s self-cleaning function? You may be sending in your oven in for a repair. Keep reading, unless you want to spend a hefty sum on oven repair!

In today’s modern day, manufacturers release a various set of options and cycles that are meant to make life easier in maintaining your appliance.  While most are very beneficial and cut down the effort required for maintenance, others can cause significant issues to the life span, usability, and general performance of the appliance.

One such option that is created for ovens/ranges is called the “self-clean” option. “Self-clean” is a cycle which involves the oven using temperatures over 1000 degrees Celcius in order to burn off the food residue, leaving a thin layer of ash at the bottom of the oven that can be wiped easily once the cycle is complete and the oven/range has cooled off. It is quite an increase over the usual 350-500 Celcius range that is used regularly for baking.

Most manufacturers state that the requirement of the “self-clean” cycle was created by consumer demand resulting in the urge to find a better way to clean the inside of the oven/range without putting the required “elbow grease” to clean it manually.

Consumer reports indicate that while the “self-clean” cycle is very easy to use and is very time efficient, most users start experiencing issues with the performance of the appliance, with some even indicating faults and breakdowns, requiring for repairs. Most ovens and ranges are installed within a cupboard space that restricts the potential of air flow to the rear of the appliance.

The accommodating design of the venting system involves air being evacuated around the door of the oven, which is dangerously close to the location of the main control boards, and all other associated electrical components in the control panel. With such high temperatures inside the oven chamber, it creates the potential to melt, damage, or short the plastics and associated relays and resistors of the body of the main control boards, and control switches. Temperature limiters and sensors tend to get damaged and cut off power completely to the oven/range, rendering the appliance completely useless until the aforementioned sensors are replaced.

The door lock mechanism is also located inside the venting chamber, with numerous reports indicating that ovens would not open after the cycle is complete, with the door lock motor damaged and unresponsive. One issue that occurs only to ranges, in particular, is the potential to damage the cooktop elements and wire harnesses that connect them, resulting in the inability to effectively cook on the surface.

Lastly, interior components such as the temperature probe, bake and broil elements, and convection fans can also be affected. Damage to any one of those components can result in incorrect temperature readings, improper distribution of heat, and potential heating issues with the oven not reaching required temperatures, or not heating at all.

With most manufacturers refusing to correct the design of this feature, it will continue being one of the most damaging attributes to stoves and ovens. As a consumer, always make sure to read the instruction manual in regards to this feature, and inquire further with the manufacturer.

Research regarding proper use, as well as reviews and ratings of all available ovens/ranges on the market, should also be deemed mandatory before making a decision to purchase.

ovenrepairmanwithawrench