Having a broken washing machine or refrigerator at home can be scary and frustrating. It stands to reason that you don’t want to pay a large bill for repair costs or live without a vital appliance for a long time.

Fortunately, some of the most common problems with appliances can be easily solved at home without calling a technician or appliance repair. Even if you don’t know anything about repair, many fixes are very straightforward. When your dryer or washing machine, oven, dishwasher, or refrigerator are giving you a headache, remember these simple tips to get it working again.

Turn your switch off and on again

If one of your larger appliances suddenly stops working, you may have ‘thrown’ the switch. Sometimes when too much electricity is passed through an outlet, your home’s breaker box will automatically cut power to the outlet.

The first thing to do is unplug everything that is plugged-in in your kitchen, except for the largest appliances, such as the refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, and microwave. Make sure each of your major appliances is plugged into its own socket. They must not share a plug!

Finally, go to your switch box and flip any switch that points in the opposite direction from the rest. If they all appear to be located in the same direction, turn off the master switch (the big one), leave it for a few seconds, and turn it back on. Go back to the kitchen and check that all the appliances are on.

Check the power cables

If checking the breaker box didn’t work, turn the main switch off again and check all the wires, especially the power wire, for broken or damaged wires. If so, that may be the reason for the problem. The best thing to do in these cases is to try to repair it or replace the cable. Most home improvement stores carry replacement cable kits and they are easy to install.

Clean the filters

It doesn’t matter if it’s a washing machine, dryer, ice maker or dishwasher; a dirty filter can quickly reduce its efficiency, cause it to leak or even cause it to catch fire. You should read your device’s owner’s manual for instructions on how to clean the filter.

A good ‘shaken’

You have probably seen in a cartoon a furious dad who hits or shakes an appliance hatefully when it does not work. Sometimes that is good advice. A flickering screen, incessant sounds, and buttons that don’t work can be a sign of a sensor malfunction. Things like dust, bugs, and lint can get stuck on the computer’s sensors inside the drive, causing it to act strange. A good but gentle ‘shake’ will get the grime out.

Check the stamps

If your refrigerator isn’t keeping food cold enough or if your oven isn’t heating your dishes enough, a door seal is probably damaged. Check for cracks and tears in the rubber around the door. If the seal or ‘rubber band’ appears to be too old or past it’s prime, consult your owner’s manual on how to replace it.