Is your appliance really dead or is it just “playing possum”?

One of my clients emailed me the other day asking for my advice on a new refrigerator.  She told me her existing one was dead.  I asked if the light in the refrigerator worked and she said no.  From that comment I knew that the refrigerator probably wasn’t dead.  If the compressor stops working on a refrigerator the light bulb will still work.  A brief visit to the electrical panel showed a tripped breaker.  It turns out that the contractor working on the pool turned off the wrong breaker because it was mislabeled (another blog subject). Can you imagine buying a new refrigerator, installing it and finding out it does not work either?  Remember, all appliances with motors are supposed to have separate breakers.

The issue is not as uncommon as it may seem.  Most dishwashers in homes built in the last 25 years have a switch in the back splash.  This practice has been discontinued in the last few years because of all of the problems that it causes and that a cheaper way to disconnect has been found. It is amazing how many homeowners do not realize they have that switch. I have received numerous calls from clients telling me their dishwasher did not work when it was only the switch turned off. It is very easy for a disreputable appliance repair company to sell you a dishwasher, install it and merely turn on the switch when they discover the true problem and not tell you.

If your appliance stops working, check the breakers or switch before incurring an expensive service call.