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Safely Repair Your Home Appliance

Updated on January 2, 2008

Safety First


There are two important rules you must follow before attempting to repair any home appliance.

  1. Remove Electrical Power
  2. Shut Off Natural Gas Supply

Most home appliances have standard power cords plugged into standard outlets. Some appliances have larger plugs running to dedicated outlets. Wall units have no plug to pull but are run to a dedicated circuit in your breaker box. Whatever the means, you must first unplug (if there is a plug) or kill the circuit (if there is no plug) powering the appliance you intend to repair.

If your only option is to shut down the circuit from your breaker box you must then use a zip tie or some other means to prevent anyone from accessing the circuit box without your knowledge. This prevents having the circuit re-energized while you are working on the appliance.

Gas dryers and stoves/ranges/cooktops all have natural gas lines running to the back of the units. Properly installed lines will have a shut off valve within 6 feet of the unit. You must shut off this valve before working on the unit to prevent accidental gas leaks from cracks forming in the supply line or unintended removals of the supply line while manipulating the unit into position for maintenance. All valves indicate open or closed status by the position of the valve lever. If the lever is in-line with the supply lines, it is open. If the lever is perpendicular (pointing to one side or another) to the supply lines, it is closed.

Some (many) older installations will not have a gas valve close to the appliance. In this case follow the gas line until you find a valve, making certain that the valve supplies only the appliance you will be servicing. If this is not the case then you must shut off the gas supply at the meter. Once you have shut off the remote valve, secure it in a manner that will prevent anyone from turning it back on without your knowledge.

Before you turn the gas back on you must follow these steps:

  1. Make certain all gas connections you have loosened are properly tightened and secure.
  2. Look for any crimps in the gas lines around the appliance you were servicing. If any crimps are found the line needs to be replaced before restoring gas flow to the unit.
  3. If you shut off the gas at the meter, open the valve slowly, allowing the gas to refill the meter and it's components before turning it fully on.
  4. Relight the pilots of all gas powered units in the house. (i.e. water heater, boiler, furnace etc....)
  5. DO NOT IGNORE THE SMELL OF GAS IN THE AIR. Leaks can be small and hard to locate. If you can't find a reason for the smell, call your gas company immediately and follow their instructions.

Following these two rules are your most important steps in maintaining you home appliances. Skipping them could cause serious injury or death.


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