How to Fix Appliances Yourself and Save Tons of Money

The other day, our dryer quit working how it’s supposed to.  We have an LG dryer that we bought to go with our washing machine when we bought our house ten years ago.  It has a special sensor that can tell when the clothes are dry, and I love it! There is no guessing and no over drying clothes, which leads to tons of static.  I had put a load of wet clothes into the dryer, set it on “normal”, and went about my business doing my chores.  After about an hour (much longer than usual), I went to check on it and discovered the dryer said it had six minutes remaining in the cycle.  I stopped it, opened the dryer, and found the clothes were beyond dry and hot.  I figured it was a fluke, put in the next load, and then continued doing what I was doing.  The same thing happened- I went down to check on them and saw again that the dryer was displaying six minutes left in the cycle.  Gah. Not good.  I freaked out, thought we would have to call our a repairman or buy a new dryer, both which would cost us money that I’d rather not spend.  I got the brilliant idea to try to fix the dryer ourselves, and went about trying to come up with a solution.

How to fix appliances yourself and save tons of money

Search the problem

This is my first step- diagnosing what the problem is. Many times, others have had the same experience and have gone looking for advice on how to fix it. I searched “LG dryer stuck at six minutes” and plenty of results came up. I looked at some of the links and found out that most likely the sensor in the dryer was dirty and needed to be cleaned. Easy! Not to mention, it would save us so much money versus calling out a repair person.

Look for videos on how to fix it

With this particular problem, it seemed pretty straightforward on how to fix it: take apart the dryer lint trap, remove all the lint, clean the sensor, and put it back together. It didn’t seem necessary to look for a video. However, a few weeks ago Mr. Money had to replace a door handle on our 2005 Ford Freestyle and got hung up on one step. He searched for a video on YouTube, found one, and the repair was successful! There is such a wealth of knowledge available on the internet today.

Shop on Amazon or eBay

When in need of parts, Amazon or eBay are my go-to to find replacements. When I needed the door handle, the first place I looked was Amazon. Luckily, there was a seller that had a prime eligible item and I ordered it and had it shipped to my house in two days!  So easy.  A few years ago, I needed a laundry detergent cup dispenser for my LG washing machine. I looked on eBay and found one for a lot less than the local appliance store. I like ordering things online, especially with kids, because it’s so much easier than going to the store to get it.

Fix it!

Generally, after all the above steps, I have a pretty good idea on how to repair the issue at hand. If I get stuck, I repeat one of the steps until I have a better clue as to how to fix it. I have also found using message boards geared towards appliances/appliance repair has been very helpful if I’ve gotten stuck. There are so many nice people out there willing to help!

Hopefully these tips will help you repair your appliances yourself and avoid spending money unnecessarily. Have you tried to fix appliances yourself to save money?

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Don’t Use Homemade Laundry Detergent.

Years ago, I hopped on the homemade laundry detergent train.  I thought it was cheaper, more natural, and worked just as well as commercial laundry detergent.  I used it in my high efficiency front loading washing machine for years until we had Penny and then I decided to try a different laundry detergent on our cloth diapers.  I figured they were the dirtiest laundry I would probably ever wash so I wanted a heavy duty detergent (aka not homemade) to tackle the filthy diapers.  I bought liquid Ecos laundry detergent to try, as it is Earth friendly and claims to be “green”.  It didn’t work very well for cloth diapers as it’s a pretty gentle detergent and the liquid I bought didn’t contain enzymes.  At that point I decided to try to use it up on my regular laundry when the homemade ran out.
oilspots copyThat is when the oil spots started appearing on our laundry.  I would put in clothes that I knew didn’t have oil spots on them in the wash, and they would come out like this.  I can’t tell you how many hours of my life I wasted trying to figure out the cause of these oil spots.  I cleaned the filters to my machine, switched from powdered to liquid laundry detergent, switched back to liquid, tried scented laundry detergent, tried unscented laundry detergent, tried everything.  I noticed the worst spots would show up on dark clothing, usually cotton knits.  It wasn’t until I put in a navy pair of cotton jersey t shirt sheets and they came out with the spots on them that I knew without a doubt that something was wrong.  I called an appliance repair place and they told me that there was no way that the machine could be leaking oil into the drum of the washing machine so there had to be something else wrong.  They offered to send someone out to check on the machine, and I agreed because my next step was to take the washing machine outside and set it on fire.  I am not joking-I was so tired of dealing with washing laundry and it coming out worse than when I had put it in!

The repairman came out, took a look at the washer and was disgusted.  He said the machine was absolutely filthy and had a gunk build up around the rubber boot at the door and all around it.  He removed the rubber boot and scrubbed it with a brush in the sink.  He also scrubbed around the drum and where it met the rubber boot to remove gunk.  He ran two washing machine cleaning cycles with washing machine cleaner and told me that should help.  What was happening was the clothes would be washing and when they started to spin they would shake the rubber boot so hard that it was basically spewing the nasty gunk from around the rubber ring back onto the clothes.  Disgusting!!

He recommended we switch to a liquid laundry detergent and use washing machine cleaner once a month and we shouldn’t have any more problems.  We followed his advice and haven’t had any problems since! Whew.  I also have wondered if it was bad for our pipes and septic system as the homemade laundry detergent contains bar soap which is notorious for build up.  That is the main problem with the homemade detergent- all it is is soap, washing soda (a water softener), and borax (another water softener).  Good laundry detergent needs surfactants and sometimes enzymes in addition to water softeners.  Surfactants lift away dirt and enzymes eat stains.  The water softeners allow the water to be softened so that the detergent works more effectively.  We generally buy store brand free and clear laundry detergent now since I can’t stand scented detergents.  We’ve been very happy with it, and I am so pleased to not be dealing with those annoying oil stains any longer!

What kind of laundry detergent do you use?    

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My Free Living Room Makeover

Before                                                              
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After
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We all know I like to take on home improvement projects that are just too big for me sometimes. That’s just my personality. A few weeks ago, I decided that I was sick and tired of our living room and having it feel like a cave. I wanted to brighten up the room, so I decided I would paint, especially before we replace the flooring. Using the Points I had accumulated, I redeemed them for a $50 gift card to Home Depot. I went there, picked out my primer and paint, and went home and got started.

I spent many, many days off working on priming, taping, sanding, trimming, and finally painting. It took me a few weeks with me working off and on, but I love the end result. The best part for me? I didn’t have to spend anything out of pocket. Using my bank’s rewards program and my own time didn’t cost me a penny. Also, I reused everything that I had existing: curtains, pictures, decor, and lamps.  That was really inspiring to me.  I decided on a light neutral color because I wanted the room to feel open and airy.  The only windows in this room are pictured here, and they sometimes don’t provide enough light.  Now the room feels so much cleaner and bigger! Next project up is replacing the flooring!

Do you like my frugal transformation?

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