By Joe Gagnon - Originally Printed in The Observer Eccentric Papers
Mrs. Barringer writes----I have a garbage disposer that didn’t run when I turned it on. I heard a humming sound for 10 seconds or so and now when I turn it on, nothing happens. Do you think I should call a plumber or go and purchase a new one.
Reply---Thanks for writing and before you go out shopping let me have you try and do a little service on the one you have. The humming sound you heard is normal whenever the cutter blade inside should become jammed. You may have dropped something like a little wire twist off the loaf of bread inside the disposer. Even a tab from a can of pop is enough to jam the disposer. First you need a hand small enough to get into the thing and then you start feeling around the edge of the base plate. Once you find the obstruction, use a flashlight and a pair of needle nose pliers and pull it out. Take note---you should always have the power in the off position whenever you work on something electrical.
Next, you should have a large allen wrench, which came with the disposer that inserts into a fitting on the very bottom of the disposer. Turn it back and forth several times to see if it turns freely. When you heard the humming sound, you popped the circuit breaker on the bottom of the disposer. If you press it inwards with your finger, it will stay in and you are now ready to turn on the power switch to check it out. In most cases, the disposer is repaired with this remedy. Please let me know.
Jason writes----Our 8 year old gas stove was not working properly the other day. The oven light was flashing and the heat was not on. When you look inside, there was no light on, like it was not heating. If you turned it off and turned it back on in a minute or so it would work. Could the oven need a good cleaning?
Reply---Thanks for the note Jason and I think you have an igniter that is going bad on you. There will come a time soon when it won’t work at all and you can replace this part yourself rather than calling for a service technician. It’s mounted to a railing and is located under the floor of the oven. It’s in a wire cage and make sure you use the correct size screwdriver when removing the screws or you will strip the screw heads. Two wires come off the back of the igniter and need to be disconnected from the terminals they lead to. Use extreme care with the new igniter, as they are very fragile and rather expensive. Igniters in a gas range are very common to fail and an oven, which is dirty, will not normally be the cause. You will have to be the judge on whether or not yours needs a good cleaning. Warm white vinegar is a good solution to loosen up the heavily soiled spots with a little elbow grease.
Ms. Carol wrote me and asked if I had come to a final conclusion on the Maytag Neptune front load washer we purchased 7 months ago. Well, my darling Valorie still loves it, there are no odor or mold or water problems around the front door tub boot, and it hasn’t needed any sort of service call. I trusted the store when they told me that all past problems with the washer have been resolved and so far it’s running like a champ. Keep in mind that the washer we had before this new one was something like 35 years old. I guess I’ll come to final conclusion on this new one if should last anything close to 35 years. Stay tuned.