Mr. Fix It Advice & AAA Appliance Service Center FAQ
The Customer Care Center and Parts Counter is located at 416 Higgins Rd in Park Ridge, IL.
We also have eight kiosk locations for our technical staff in Chicago, Mundelein, Wheaton, Naperville, Downer’s Grove, Schaumburg, and Winnetka.
The service call includes the original and any future trips to the service location as well as the diagnostic labor during the original visit. Our labor prices have been developed by the national organization USA. Labor at AAA Appliance Service Center is a flat rate. We don’t charge hourly, so we make sure our technicians get the job done asap and our clients don’t have to pay for any unexpected errors.
Please be advised that our competition may say that they “waive” the trip charge if you approve the repair, however, truthfully they do charge you. They add the trip charge or service call charge into their labor billing. AAA Appliance Service Center does not have hidden charges.
As of July 1st, 2010 detergent manufacturers had to remove phosphates from their soap. Phosphates helped to clean the dishes and they also neutralized minerals in the water to keep this white film from appearing.
- Clean all of the soap residue out of the dishwasher. To do this we have a Dishwasher Cleaner that we sell. This needs to be done because all of the soap and soap deposits need to be removed from the dishwasher. You cannot mix different brands of phosphate free soaps or it will make the problem much worse.
- Change soap use. The brand that we recommend (as well as Bosch, Whirlpool & Maytag) is Finish. Please consult your manual if you own an ASKO or MIELE dishwasher. They may prefer a particular powder only type of detergent. Finish has replaced phosphates with enzymes and it works very well. Our technicians have free samples for our clients.
- Do not rinse your dishes before putting them in your dishwasher. Sounds crazy, but it is true!! Dishes need to be scraped off, but the residues need to be left on the dishes for the soap to work properly. The enzymes need something to wash and if you rinse first then it simply won’t work as well.
AAA Appliance Service Center technicians are all full-time employees. Our technical staff and our office staff undergo background and drug tests. We understand you need to have a genuine professional in your home or place of business.
In preparation of a gathering at your home and in the midst of cleaning you decide to self-clean your oven. Many times this will work without any problems, however occasionally something will go wrong and the oven will not open or won’t work. Now your have an emergency. We understand and we take care of these problems all the time. However, this panic and disaster can be prevented.
We recommend is to run this self-clean a couple of weeks in advance. During the self-cleaning process the oven will exceed temperatures of 900 degrees. Weak components can then lead to a failure. To make sure there is plenty of time to fix a problem, if one arises, running this cycle a couple of weeks ahead of time will make sure that everything is working perfectly in the time!
A refrigerator does not use up refrigerant. The refrigerator is NOT like changing the oil on your car. If your refrigerator is low on refrigerant, you have a leak. So, if you have a leak more refrigerant will not solve the problem. Please be aware that it is illegal to add more refrigerant when you have a leak because refrigerant is extremely harmful to the environment.
Furthermore, if you have a leak, your system will become contaminated. If left untreated, this contamination will eventually lock up your compressor and render your unit unusable and very expensive to repair.
So, if your refrigerator has stopped cooling properly, the lack of refrigerant is probably not the issue.
There are a number of causes. If you have a high efficiency (HE) washer, most likely you’re experiencing a build-up of detergent and dirt. HE washers don’t use as much water, and therefore can’t wash out the tub as effectively. Bleach doesn’t typically clear out this residue, so we recommend AFFRESH Washer Cleaning Tablets, which is specifically designed to break up that residue and clean out your washer. We do carry Affresh.
- A fire extinguisher should always be kept in the kitchen area at minimum.
- Each gas appliance should have its own, independent shut-off valve.
- Smoke detectors should be installed. Be sure to change the batteries in the spring and fall when you change the clocks.
- Monoxide detectors should also be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Nighthawk™ brand with a digital LED display is a type of non-battery detector that re-samples the air in two-minute intervals to accurately log events which can prevent false alarms. Always locate these in sleeping quarters, but never around items such as stoves, water heaters, furnaces, etc.
AAA Appliance Service Center staff can only give a complete quote for a repair after a trained technician has inspected and diagnosed the appliance in person. Our service call, maintenance agreements or parts can be determined before or without an evaluation and diagnosis of the equipment or appliance.
If you know what you part you need replaced before a technician comes to your location, we can quote you the price of the part and we will make sure that the technician has it with him when he arrives. Any additional labor charges are based on our national flat rate Price Guide. The “Price Guide” is based on data accumulated over the last 60 years. Any charges will be submitted to you for approval before the final work is started.
Generally older appliances are more durable and long-lasting than the newer products being made today. Modern models have wonderful features, but they do need more maintenance and repair than their older counterparts. It is wise to get an estimate for repair before replacing. The general rule to follow is for the repair not to exceed 35% of the total replacement cost. The replacement cost includes; product, tax, delivery, extraction of old appliance, etc.
If you have any questions, we are more than happy to answer them.
*Please note that AAA Appliance Service Center cannot warranty work based on another’s diagnosis. Returned parts are subject to a 20% restocking fee. Electrical parts, if opened, are not refundable.
Don’t ignore broken oven doors. Ovens are not furnaces and are not connected to a chimney to vent dangerous combustion gases outside. A broken door will not allow the oven thermostat to acclimate or shut off, so carbon monoxide continues to be produced from the continued combustion. A broken door seems minor, but it is potentially deadly.
Absolutely! Virtually all manufacturers recommend it be done once a year or more as noted in the owner’s “Care and Use Manual.” It saves electricity, minimizes bio concerns, and ultimately helps extend the life and productivity of the refrigerator. We have a regularly scheduled condenser cleaning service program for our customers to enroll in….it is that important!
Gas leaks can be very dangerous, possibly resulting in a fire or explosion. There are three ways to detect a gas leak:
Smell: Natural gas is injected with a distinct odor, which many people relate to rotten eggs. If you are curious, you can contact Nicor Gas for a scratch ‘n sniff card with the scent.
Sight: Visible blowing dirt, bubbling water or discolored vegetation near a buried natural gas line.
Sound: A hissing or blowing sound near the gas meter or gas appliances.
If you suspect that you have a leak, take the following steps:
1. Exit the building or area immediately, leaving the doors open as you exit. Do not open windows if they’re not already open. Do not use your cell phone or telephone, operate any appliance, light a match or turn light switches on or off.
2. Call Nicor Gas at 1-888-Nicor4u from a neighboring location without a gas leak.
3. Wait at the different neighboring location until Nicor Gas determines it is safe to return.
Many times the problem is as simple as having the dryer vent cleaned properly and professionally. As well as being inconvenient, this build-up of lint is a potential fire hazard, and should not be taken lightly. Alternatively, there could potentially be a malfunction inside the dryer that is preventing the proper heat from being attained so the dryer should be inspected.
Do not try to force the door open. There is a safety temperature control that governs when it is safe to open the door. Allow some time to pass. It should open up after it cools down. If, after several hours, it still won’t open, please call for service. We know how to safely treat and resolve the problem.
No. If gas burner valves start “grinding,” turning hard, or breaking the knobs, we can often repair the valves before they require total replacement – if caught in time.
Yes, unfortunately it can. That is why it is important to understand the proper temperature activation and lifetime of the detergent you use. Check the soap manufacturer recommendations on the back of the box. Typically temperature activation is around 72 degrees F and the lifetime of the soap while sudsing is 15-20 minutes. Temperature of the water is important and should not be ignored! Cold temperature setting refers to about 70 degrees F, not 40 degrees F! So in the winter in the Chicago area, the cold water supply out of Lake Michigan can fall below activation temperature resulting in no cleaning action at all! Medium temperature may be needed in the winter. Also, after laundry is completed, many experts recommend that you run an empty bleach cycle to kill the remaining potential bacteria, and then run an extra rinse cycle to get rid of the bleach fully.
For some extra advice on washers, we recommend to NEVER overload a washer! This puts stress on its motor and transmission. One time is enough to do irreparable harm. For example, imagine towing a semi-tractor with a Ford Escort. The Escort might survive that single event, but the stress has killed the life of the vehicle. Please remember that blue jeans and cotton towels are the “semi-loads” of the laundry world.
Immediately, unplug the appliance or turn off the power source at the fuse or circuit breaker. Then call for service. This is typically an electrical issue and if there is a possible spill, it is even more dangerous. Please call a professional.
According to Linda Cobb, the “Queen of Clean”, place 1 tsp vanilla extract in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Leave the microwave door closed for twelve hours. Remove the vanilla bowl and wipe down the inside of microwave. The smell of popcorn should be gone.
Q20. My dishwasher works fine, but the inside is starting to look rusted. What should I do? Is this a problem?
Linda Cobb, the “Queen of Clean”, recommends filling both detergent cups with Tang™ Breakfast Drink and run through a normal cycle. When doing this, do not put detergent or dishes in the dishwasher. If rust is bad, several treatments may be required.
Yes! Do not put bones or celery in your disposal!
For maximum energy efficiency, keep your refrigerator between 36 degrees and 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Your freezer should be between 0 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit. If temperatures are kept 10 degrees lower than recommended, energy use can increase by as much as 25%!
lide a pan lid over flames to smother grease or oil fires. Turn off the heat and leave the lid in place until the pan cools. Never carry the pan outside. Extinguish other food fires with baking soda. Never use water or flour on cooking fires. Keep the oven door shut and turn off the heat to smother an oven or broiler fire.
Important basics are to keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and keep working smoke detectors in your home and test them monthly.
Lastly, call the fire department if the fire continues uncontrolled. In many cases, dialing 911 will give you emergency services.
Q24. Do I need to clean the duct on my dryer (dryer vent) or is cleaning the filter between loads enough?
Clothes dryers are equipped with lint filters, which should be cleaned out after each use. However, particles of lint manage to get past the filter. Over time, lint accumulates in the venting system which will restrict airflow and consequently will cause the dryer work harder and eventually malfunction. Lint buildup is also a fire hazard. The dryer vent pipe should be made of either rigid or flexible aluminum tubing. White vinyl tubing is actually more prone to lint accumulation, and should be replaced. This system should be cleaned professionally at least once a year. However, if you want to try and tackle this task yourself, you should do the following:
Begin by unplugging the dryer. If it is a gas dryer, turn off the gas supply. Pull the machine away from the wall, and vacuum behind and beneath it. Then, disconnect the duct from the back of the dryer, which is usually held on with a ring clamp or duct tape. Using a crevice attachment, vacuum the dryers exhaust duct. If you have flexible aluminum tubing, vacuum it thoroughly, or replace the entire length. Rigid tubing should be disassembled and each section cleaned by pushing a cloth through it. Then, reconnect all the pieces, reposition the dryer, and plug it in. And don’t forget to clean out the exhaust hood mounted on the outside of your house.
Manufacturers and home repair and service professionals recommend the following practical tips to maintain and operate built-in appliances.
Oven/Range/Cook-top – Clean the burners by hand, not in the dishwasher. Don’t line the oven with aluminum foil, which may damage the oven’s finish or result in improperly cooked foods. Never block the vents of a gas oven or range. Good ventilation is necessary in order to keep combustion levels operating properly. Clean the hood and grease filters every three months to provide proper ventilation and help prevent grease fires.
Garbage Disposal – Always run cold water, and be sure to let water run until the disposal has been shut off. Avoid overfilling the disposal with waste, and avoid putting onion skins, corn husks or other fibrous food into it. Check for a potentially faulty condition if: (a) bottom of unit shows signs of rust; (b) you see signs of water leaking under the sink; (c) the circuit breaker trips continuously.
Dishwasher – Run the dishwasher at least once a week to prevent seals from drying out and causing leaks. Check for signs of a potentially faulty condition including: (a) rush on rack seams and tub bottom; (b) the door doesn’t close properly; (c) discoloration on floor near dishwasher.
Different manufacturers have particular recommendations or solutions to remedy the problem. They are as follows:
Put coffee grounds in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
Put wet newspapers in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
Rub down the walls with lemon juice.
Put activated charcoal in an unplugged refrigerator for a couple of days.
Wash down with 1 cup baking soda, mixed with 1 cup water.
Stuff crumpled newspaper in unplugged unit.
Spray down unit with Smell BeGone
Flush drain tube with 1 capful of bleach to 3 cups water. Then wash unit down with soapy water and finally set box of baking soda in refrigerator
Rinse unit with tap water & ammonia and then let it air out.
Put mixture of coffee grounds or coffee beans with 1 tsp of vanilla in a bowl in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Put a couple of pieces of newspaper in a bowl, and then add water and 1 tsp lemon juice.
Overloading the washer will cause mechanical wear on clothing and produce lint. The wash load needs adequate water to properly circulate in the tub.
Q28. I just bought new clothes and put them in the washer. Now they are torn and damaged, is there a problem with my clothes or my washer?
Fabric damage, holes, and tearing of faded or frosted fabrics (although a new purchase) may actually have abraded and partially worn-out.
- Pre-stressed finishes include frosted, acid washed or stone washed denims, sand washed silk, or weathered knits.
- Shorter agitation times and lower spin speeds can be used to prevent further damage to already weakened pre-stressed fabrics.
White residue can be the result of undissolved detergent resulting from low water temperatures. The mix of hot and cold water for “warm” setting may not be hot enough to dissolve some detergents, depending on water heater thermostat setting, distance between washer and heater, and pipe insulation. Consumers may use too much concentrated detergent. Most water heaters are factory preset at 120 to 125 degrees. With 40% hot and 60% cold water mix, the warm water wash will be 73 degrees. A “hot” water wash should be 140 degrees, “warm” should be 110 degrees, and “cold” wash water should be 80 degrees
Try to remove the ink stain by one of the following methods or a combination of them:
- Clean the area well with an all purpose cleaner.
- Spray with an aerosol laundry presoak such as Spray n’ Wash or Shout.
- Rub gently with a light abrasive such as SoftScrub. Then wipe off with a damp cloth and tumble-dry a load of rags at regular heat settings. At the conclusion of the drying cycle, some staining may still be visible, but it will not transfer to any clothing.
If this is not satisfactory, the drum can be replaced.
In general, it’s far more economical and eco-friendly to repair an appliance than to replace it. Not only does throwing away an appliance create non-biodegradable waste, but some of the materials in these appliances can be harmful to the environment. Also, when purchasing a new appliance, you must take into account that there will be additional charges for delivery and installation.
Some companies are known to use their service departments as a sales tool and often will try to sell you a new unit regardless of the level of repair needed. AAA Appliance Service Center is not a sales driven business and we are realistic about repair. We are a service business that has the customers’ best interest in mind. We believe that if we give you the best honests answer you will be a long term client. If we do find that it is in your best interest to replace the unit, our technican staff will advise you of the situation and why. Our staff will be happy to recommend, educate and assist in your upcoming purchase.
If you are still not convinced of the right course of action, please know that older units tend to last much longer, even after a repair, than newer units. In the appliance business, they really don’t make them like they used to.
Q32. My Washer/Dryer shakes a lot. The shaking is cause for concern regarding damage to the floor or walls. How can I fix this?
There are a number of things that could cause this problem, including but not limited to overloading your washer/dryer. If the unit is problematic even with small loads, we recommend trying Kellet ShakeAway™ pads, which can be purchased at our online store.