Fix Appliances, Help Planet Earth: Tips for Basic Appliance Repair to Avoid Replacements

26th Apr 2023

Access Environmental Benefits by Repairing, Not Replacing, Home Appliances

We all know planet Earth is irreplaceable, and we know we ought to be doing our part to be more eco-friendly and sustainable every day. But how can we do that in reality in our day-to-day lives?

Caring for the environment can be done in sometimes simple, unexpected ways. Did you know being thoughtful with and maintaining home appliances can be a smart and easy way to maintain planet Earth as well?

Strange noises or ineffective processes don’t necessarily mean you need to kick your appliance to the curb. In fact, some quick adjustments and replacements can greatly reduce landfill waste, which, in turn, reduces other environmental threats.

Maintaining appliances will not only help you be more sustainable, but it will allow you to be financially wiser as well. It costs a great deal less time and money to purchase new parts and take ten minutes to clean an appliance than it does to buy a whole new washing machine or dryer.

According to Eco Car 2, three-quarters of people throw away broken appliances, despite the majority of the appliances being reparable. Next time you have trouble with your dishwasher, think twice about the financial and environmental repercussions of panicking and rushing out to buy new!

This article will provide a brief overview of common repairs that can be made to most household appliances. If you are not an experienced handy-person, the helpful team at McComb’s Supply is happy to provide guidance on how to make basic appliance fixes. Another great how-to resource is YouTube, which has thousands of videos of how to repair common household appliances. Repairing, not replacing, is personally empowering. When that repair is completed, at your own hands, you’ll feel a sense of deep satisfaction that you did it yourself. Read on to feel more prepared to handle minor repairs and upkeep for your home appliances.

How Exactly Does Appliance Upkeep Help the Environment?

It may seem odd, at first, to learn the way you treat the common appliances in your home can benefit the environment overall, but it really is these small steps that can help you do your part in leading a more sustainable lifestyle. Remember: small changes start at home, so it makes sense to change the way you handle these big ticket items in your home.

Check out the environmental impact that can be earned from appliance repair and upkeep:

  • Appliances running properly utilize less energy — According to BioFriendly Planet, extending the life of your appliances improves their efficiency. Poorly maintained appliances can consume more energy than necessary, resulting in higher greenhouse gas emissions, according to AZ Big Media.
  • Not throwing usable appliances away contributes less to landfill waste — Placing junk in landfills is no joke, and it shouldn’t be done unless absolutely necessary. Landfills have several possible negative impacts on the environment, including:
    • Altering the native flora and fauna of an area - Landfills take away land that used to be forests and fields, thus eliminating native habitats.
    • Causing fires – While landfill fires are not common, they do happen and they can be very difficult to extinguish.
    • Emitting greenhouse gasses, such as methane and carbon dioxide, which contribute to climate change. The EPA estimates that landfills account for 14.3% of greenhouse gasses in the U.S.
    • Contaminating soil and water – Contaminants can leach out of landfills into the groundwater supply.

  • Large appliances require more energy to be manufactured — Many household appliances can last for about a decade; sometimes, with proper upkeep, they can last even longer. It makes much more eco-friendly sense to utilize repair parts to keep your appliance working for as long as possible.

Making the small choice of not placing a still usable appliance into a landfill can reduce the overload that contributes to these harmful environmental threats.

Understanding the Life-Cycle of Things

Having the mentality that something needs to be thrown away because one part of it is broken can generate unnecessary waste and requires using energy and raw materials to manufacture a replacement. The reduce, reuse, recycle mentality can be applied to more areas than just the paper or plastic trash you handle on a daily basis. In fact, being aware of not wasting large, metal appliances can be an even more impactful path toward sustainability. Equipping yourself to make small repairs on your appliances will avoid waste and the hassle of buying new appliances.

The good news is you’re not alone — McCombs stocks all of the appliance parts you need, so it’s easier than ever to replace small parts and use simple tools to keep your appliances running as they should.

Below are some basic tips to help you with your appliances, including small repairs to look out for, advice on cleaning basic appliances and more.


  • Don’t push the refrigerator right up against the wall — According to Green America, allowing the refrigerator some space in front of the wall helps hot air from the compressor disperse. This keeps the appliance cool and helps prevent issues related to overheating.
  • Replace valves and coils if water isn’t flowing properly to the ice maker — Although it can be frustrating when a refrigerator isn’t producing ice, it definitely wouldn’t make sense to replace a refrigerator for that reason. Instead, make sure you’re changing your filter — it can be easy to let this slip when it’s not marked on the calendar every six months. If the filter is up to date, check to see if one of the water lines is clogged. If that doesn’t solve the problem, replacing the valve of an ice maker is a much simpler, smarter idea than replacing an entire refrigerator. McCombs stocks parts for several different brands, including Whirlpool, Maytag, Kenmore / Sears, Amana, KitchenAid, Jenn Air, Magic Chef, Dacor and more.
  • Vacuum the coils in the back of your fridge once or twice a year — Speaking of coils, it’s important to keep refrigerator coils clean to keep everything running smoothly. You’ll be shocked at the amount of grime you can get out of the coils when you take the time to clean them well with a coil brush.
  • Keep an eye on the temperature of your refrigerator — The FDA recommends keeping the refrigerator temperature at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. If your thermostat isn’t reading correctly, replace it quickly to avoid risking the quality of your food.

Washing Machines

  • Check the lid of the machine — According to the Spruce, a washer’s lid switch strike is the area of the door frame that communicates to the machine that the door is properly closed. Replace the switch, or the timer on your washer, to avoid replacing the entire appliance.
  • Replace hoses — The hoses of a washing machine should be replaced every three to five years, according to HomeServe. Replacing hoses, and also checking to make sure they don’t have cracks, will prevent the hose from bursting, which can be a much more expensive fix. In addition, a burst hose can cause water damage in your house, which is something you definitely want to avoid.

  • Check out this video to see how to fix hoses on your washing machine:

  • Clean the machine thoroughly and properly — Like most appliances, taking the time to conduct a solid cleaning will save further hassle in the long run. Washing machines will work best when cleaned twice a year. According to the Spruce, simply fill the machine with hot water, add in a quart of chlorine bleach, run a wash and spin cycle and fill it again with hot water. Then, add a quart of distilled white vinegar to the water, and run another wash and spin cycle.


  • Clean out the lint vent properly — Unsurprisingly, it’s as important to properly clean out the lint vent of a dyer as it is to clean out the washing machine. However, instead of pulling off the lint with your hand, occasionally put the screen under water so all the tiny holes in the screen can be completely cleared to let air pass through easily.
  • Purchase a dryer lint alarm — Dryers are one of the most common causes of house fires. In addition to regularly cleaning out your dryer vent properly, protect yourself and your home against overheating and fires by installing a dryer lint alarm, like the DrySafe Dryer Alarm, to alert you when the temperature is too high. This simple purchase can be the key in preventing a disaster in your home.
  • Replace damaged roller shafts — Your dryer may make an unpleasant squealing sound, which is never a pleasant noise to come from an appliance. This sound could be caused by a damaged roller shaft; replacing these can relieve the issue.
  • Check the idler pulley — If the roller shafts are fine but strange noises are still coming from the dryer, it may be due to the idler pulley not working properly. Both idler pulleys and roller shafts can be purchased from McCombs for around $12 – a sharp contrast to the cost of replacing an entire appliance.


  • Check the oven heating element — The heating element, also known as the baking coil, is attached to the back wall of the oven, according to Today’s Homeowner. If you’re noticing food not cooking all the way through, it could be due to a faulty heating element.

  • Fix the oven door — Food certainly won’t be able to cook if the door to the oven isn’t closing properly. Check for broken hinges and springs, which can be easily pulled out with pliers and replaced if necessary.
  • Utilize the oven’s self-cleaning feature — All appliances work better when they’re cleaned well, but the oven makes this task particularly easy. Using the oven’s self-cleaning feature once a year will keep the appliance nicely clean.

Check out this video to see how easy it is to repair your oven or stovetop:


  • Replace door gasket — It can be easy to panic when water from the dishwasher is suddenly on the floor instead of staying inside the appliance. However, leakage could simply be a sign of a faulty door gasket, according to the Family Handyman. A quick replacement gasket can fix this problem easily.
  • Spin the dishwasher motor by hand — Also according to the Family Handyman, the motor of the dishwater can stick sometimes, particularly if it hasn’t been used in a while. You can remove the lower panels of the dishwasher and spin the motor by turning the fan blades by hand to get it working again. Note: It is important to turn off the electrical power at the main panel to safely do this, according to the Family Handyman.
  • Replace the dishwasher's heating element — Like an oven, a dishwasher also has a heating element. According to Appliance Repair Specialists, dishes that are still dirty or wet after a cycle could be indicative of a faulty heating element. It’s worthwhile to replace the heating element to fix this issue, rather than replacing the entire dishwasher.


You don’t have to be an experienced handyman to recognize that small repairs and replacements can be made to appliances to prolong their lifespans. Parts of appliances are almost always replaceable, but planet Earth is not. Basic upkeep and repairs of large appliances can go a long way in decreasing environmental threats. As an added bonus, repairing appliances rather than replacing them will save you an incredible amount of money.

Next time your appliance isn’t working as effectively as it could, or if it is making a suspicious sound or smell, check out McCombs Supply Co. Inc. for the replacement part you need. You can also call us at 717-299-3866 or email us at to ask questions or place an order. We are committed to total satisfaction for our customers.

TL;DR = Tips for Home Appliance Repair

Replacing appliance parts instead of replacing the entire appliance prolongs appliances’ lifespans and has the added benefit of positively impacting the environment. Repairing, rather than replacing, results in less landfill waste, reduced impact on climate change, and more energy savings. Virtually all home appliances are repairable, including refrigerators, washers, dryers, dishwashers and ovens. Timely upkeep and repair will also help you save money while you help save the earth.

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