Troubleshooting & Repair Resources for Small Appliances

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Has your electrical small appliance bit the dust? Or maybe it doesn’t quite work as well as it used to? Finding deals on the latest and greatest new device can be incredibly tempting. However, before you click that purchase button we want to spread the word about an eco-friendly alternative to buying new. We encourage you to repair the small appliances that you already have!

Yes, old and broken small appliances can be recycled through our ElectroRecycle program, hurray! But before you bring in your old appliance to one of our collection facilities for recycling, have you thought about what you can do to repair your device?

If you’re not exactly the handiest individual but want to do your part to help the planet, you’re probably wondering – where do I even start? Here are some tried and true tips to begin your small appliance repair and some great resources that can help you get fixing!

Basic Troubleshooting Tips

First off, keep it simple and do some initial investigating to see if you can pinpoint the issue. Be sure to unplug or remove batteries from the small appliance when touching and inspecting the components of it. As an extra safety measure, you can purchase a multimeter to ensure there is no energy flow through the device.

  1. Check the electrical outlet

    It sounds obvious but sometimes it might be the outlet that is broken. Be sure to try a different outlet. Also, check your circuit breaker for popped fuses before investigating your small appliance.

  2. Check the battery

    If it has a battery – verify that it is charged or replace the old with new. It’s not revolutionary, but you would be surprised how often expert fixers at Repair Cafes get items running like new – solely by putting in a fresh set of batteries!

  3. Inspect the electrical cord and plug for damage.

    Look for frayed areas, check if it has been chewed by a pet, diagnose if its attachment to the appliance body has damage, and determine if the plug prongs are bent.

  4. Read the User Manual.

    Common issues with small appliances are usually detailed in the manual. Use Google or check the manufacturer’s website for a digital version of the User Manual. Note that some appliances, like coffee makers, have cleaning modes that need to be completed regularly for proper functioning. Such maintenance requirements will almost always be explained in the User Manual.

  5. Check the warranty.

    Contact the manufacturer if it is still under warranty. Even if the warranty is expired, the manufacturer can likely direct you to a repair shop or let you know where to find a broken part.

  6. Clean the outside.

    Dust and hair build-up are common culprits in the malfunctioning of many small appliances.

  7. Clean the inside.

    Before cleaning the inside, make sure you are not voiding the warranty by disassembling it. Read the product’s User Manual or search online for cleaning and maintenance instructions specific to your appliance. The Spruce has great cleaning tips for common kitchen appliances. Keep in mind that components inside appliances may need special cleaning considerations since soap and water washings can cause rust or electrical issues. Be delicate in your cleaning and ensure all connections are secure before putting it back together.

Additional pro-tips:
  • snap pictures of the small appliance as you work. That way, you’ll know how to put it back together!
  • as you troubleshoot, try turning the device on and off again to see if your efforts have been successful. No sense disassembling your whole bathroom scale when all it needed was new batteries.

If these general tips don’t bring your electrical item back to life, check out the following resources with detailed instructions to repair small appliances.

Online Repair Guides and Resources

Visit IFixIt.com and use their search bar to find Repair Guides and answers to common issues for a variety of small appliances from Keurig Coffee Machines to electric toothbrushes. Many of the guides are tailored to a brand and model but general fixing tips can also be found.

RepairClinic.com offers a library of tips and has handy videos on their YouTube channel. They have resources for vacuums, microwaves, humidifiers, and some outdoor power equipment.

Here’s a helpful Repair Clinic video about how Vacuum Cleaners Work and fixing tips for them:

Also, Fix.com has a YouTube Channel with easy to understand videos for small appliances and power tools.

Of course, you can always search by appliance type and model on YouTube for repair tips. There are YouTube videos for all types of small appliances and all levels of fixers. Some appliance makers even have their own YouTube channels with support videos, such as Dyson!

Videos are a great visual way to compare if you are on the right track with your repair. However, some may find it easier to print out step-by-step instructions to follow. Check out Fixitclub.com for detailed instructions to repair small appliances, from A to Z. Here’s the start of their Electric Can Opener Repair Instructions:Steps to fix electric can opener

Connect directly with Repair Experts

Fixit Clinic now organizes Virtual Fixing Sessions on Zoom! Their Sessions allow those knowledgeable about repairs to connect with those who need help fixing at home. It’s accessible globally and is free to sign-up for repair help!Virtual Repair Clinic website

Alternatively, IFixit.com offers a community platform for all levels of fixers to pose and answer questions. Everyone is welcome to sign-up for an account. You can ask for help from skilled fixers or contribute to the array of free Repair Guides.
In 2021, we have our fingers crossed that it will be possible to attend Repair Cafes once more! Once larger gatherings are allowed, be sure to follow local repair organizations in your community or check with your municipality about upcoming free events.

For more tips on how to maintain or repair small appliances, you can also check out our blog posts:

Finally, if your fixes are futile, it’s time to recycle! Search our website to find the closest ElectroRecycle collection location near you. We partner with more than 200 locations across BC!

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