When repairing appliances, you get many opportunities to try out your tools. Appliances are put together in all sorts of ways. Every brand does the design differently, even for seemingly identical machines. You will find opportunities to use nut drivers and Torx screwdrivers. You will pry open panels and unwind metal springs. You will even get to hit panels with a rubber mallet to set them. But no matter which tools you’re using, a few best practices can really help along the way.
When it comes to appliance repair, it’s always helpful to have a few tricks up your sleeve for better results. Here are five of the best tooltips for any appliance repair technician.
1. Don’t Overtighten Screws and Bolts
That final twist of the screw forces materials into each other and the head. Think about the materials, the purpose, and the opposing forces of each screw before you force it tight. Most screws are safe tightened to a single twist beyond sticking. Combined with bolts and washers, these are very secure connections that don’t need to be over-tightened.
Over-tightening forces the layers that you are securing to wrench together. Sometimes even bending and cracking the materials. Overtightening can not only damage what you’re screwing in and warp the appliance frame, but it will also make those screws that much harder to remove when the next repair rolls around. There are very few occasions when machine-tightened screws are appropriate. Most of the time, don’t overtighten screws. They will be secure and easier to access for the next repair.
2. Keep Loose Screws on a Magnet
A magnet is a home repair person’s best friend. Whether you repair HVAC, outlets, plumbing, or appliances, a magnet can be incredibly handy in otherwise tricky situations. There are many predictable and unpredictable moments when you’ll be glad to have a powerful magnet. A magnet on a chain can fish up lost screws. A magnet can hold small parts and tools and stick to the side of metal appliances. Magnet-tipped screwdrivers can hold a screw for you and prevent losses into appliance housing. Many technicians find ways to work magnets into the toolbox. Remember the handiness of a magnet when creatively solving problems on the job. And if you’re solving an unusual challenge with ferrous materials, don’t forget to ask yourself if that magnet is the answer.
3. Wear Work Gloves for Sharp, Slippery, or Stuck Conditions
The value of a protective yet flexible pair of work gloves cannot be understated. Find yourself a pair of work gloves that fit your hands well without getting in the way or limiting your range of motion. Try a few brands and sizes until you find the perfect work gloves for your toolbox to keep your hands safe from sharp edges, small shocks, and add more than a little extra grip. There are many circumstances where work gloves can prevent injuries and enhance your tool-handling abilities.
1. The inside edge of the appliance panels can be sharp.
When you’re taking apart appliance cabinets, you’re handling parts that are never meant to be touched by customers. These are thin metal panels and the edges can be sharp. Many untrained appliance repairs result in cut hands from grasping heavy, sharp-edged panels. Wearing work gloves can help prevent injuries from grasping, carrying, and releasing sharp components.
2. Insulation from Heat and Shock
Work gloves also provide you a layer of protection from dangerous conditions. If an appliance has retained a charge or if a component is still dangerously hot, your gloves can help prevent an injury from direct skin contact. Work gloves commonly have a rubber or synthetic layer that both increases grip and can protect from mild shocks and heat.
3. Increased Grip and Skin Protection
Sometimes, you need to wrench two components apart or together. You may need to grip and pull or push with your hands, and gloves make that a safer action. Gloves increase your grip with texture and rubberized material while also protecting your skin from ripping in the process.
4. Always Replace the O-Ring Gaskets
O-rings and gaskets are the soft components that create a seal, but they also wear out faster than metal. In plumbing and water components, inspect and replace the rubber o-rings regularly. Any connection that has an o-ring has the potential for that piece to be dried out, rotted, or otherwise damaged. Replacing this part can prevent leaks on a broad scale.
Remember to inspect gaskets as well, most commonly found around appliance doors. They can dry out, twist, rip, or get dirty which will prevent the door from sealing.
5. Carry Spare Multimeter Leads
The multimeter is an appliance technician’s most-used tool, aside from the screwdriver. It measures how current flows from the positive to negative in any electrical component. You will need to take readings from all sorts of components, as it’s the primary way to tell if a piece is broken or malfunctioning. Of course, not all components are the same. The way you need to connect the leads can vary. Keep a collection of multimeter leads. Have a few alligator clips, probes, and spares. You never know when an appliance or component will need to be clipped or poked, or if when you’ll need to switch that function out. Then you’ll be ready to quickly test whatever you find inside an appliance’s housing.
—Here at Fred’s Appliance Academy, you can learn everything you need to become a pro technician. From working with tools to hands-on experience with the latest appliance models. Our renowned appliance repair school has a comprehensive curriculum to choose from and we are proud to welcome students from all over the country and all over the world. Here at Fred’s Appliance Academy, you’ll learn the basics, the advanced skills, and the pro-tips that other appliance repair technicians have learned over decades of experience. Like that magnet trick for fishing up lost screws. Contact us today for more information about our appliance repair courses and student housing options.