Specialize in Difficult Appliances: Learn How to Read Wiring Diagrams

Fred's Appliance Academy
June 12, 2018

Appliance repair has changed a lot over the years. Instead of relying purely on knowledge and an appliance’s wire diagram, you have smartphones that can bring up step-by-step guides and videos. But that means customer behaviors have changed, too: people who are comfortable with a bit of DIY plumbing and electrical repairs have the same resources. Quick developments in technology also mean potential customers are more likely to buy a replacement appliance instead of call in a repair technician, even for major appliances.
What does this mean for your business? It means installation expertise becomes a priority, especially if you can work with older or customized systems that national home improvement stores won’t touch. It also means the repairs you are called in for are too tricky for appliance owners to risk trying themselves. That often means easy online resources aren’t available. You have to go back to that wiring schematic, after all.
Here are four reasons why using an appliance’s wire diagram can actually strengthen your service.

You know what the specific ratings for each part should be.

Buildings are a confusing mess of different electrical inputs and appliances. Maybe a previous electrician wired around a problem instead of solving the problem. Appliances might be plugged into sockets they weren’t meant for. Older and more powerful appliances are also more likely to be wired into the walls instead of just plugged in. Whether you’re repairing a part or replacing the whole device, you need to know how much power the appliance is receiving compared to how much it can handle. A meter can only tell you what is, not what should be.
Wiring diagrams carefully label each component part based on the type of input, the strength of the device, and how it works. Those numbers matter, especially for devices that don’t have a matching online guide.

Know the details to prevent confusion.

While almost anyone can follow a YouTube video that has enough detail and clarity, wiring schematics aren’t so easy to follow. You need a solid foundation in how circuits work to make sure you’re interpreting the diagram correctly.
For example, crossed lines on a diagram that look like an X don’t mean a four-way connection; unless there’s a dot at the intersection, it’s just different lines of connection crossing over each other. A resistor’s Ohms aren’t often labeled with a unit, but the watts are. Unless you have a growing familiarity with how wire diagrams should like and how different companies developed their own style, you could spend time looking for connections or power problems that aren’t there.

You know where to start troubleshooting.

If a dishwasher is leaking, it’s relatively easy to find the source of the problem. You might have to dismantle the appliance as you backtrace the water damage, but you have a list of likely culprits. Electrical problems are a little more difficult to troubleshoot, especially because the damage isn’t necessarily visible.
There are two main schools of thought when it comes to narrowing down the cause of an electrical problem:

You can start with the problem and check either side.

Sometimes electrical problems are narrow in scope: a light won’t turn on, one setting won’t work, or the output is weak in a specific way. At this point, you just need to figure out why. Wire schematics can help you pinpoint the problem area, such as a sensor light, and identify likely problems on either side before you even start dismantling.
You can start at the power supply and follow the electricity’s route.
If an appliance just won’t turn on, start at the power source. Using the diagram, you can start to systematically troubleshoot each component part and make sure the output matches the written specifications.
A solid foundation in wire diagrams is just good business. It means your company is the go-to company for difficult problems and old appliances. It also means you can get to the bottom of electrical problems faster. Go to Fred’s Appliance Academy to see what other skills can help you grow your business.
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