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Appliances are built to perform. They work hard, year after year, usually without too many problems. They're easy to take for granted. The result is that when an appliance breaks down, you may be completely at a loss -- you don't know how it works, you have no idea why it stopped working, and you certainly don't know how to fix it.
What can you do? You can pay a professional to fix it, or you can fix it yourself and save money. This article will provide you with all the information you need to know to pull your major appliances apart and then put them back together in working order. But before you attack the refrigerator with a screwdriver, let's get some background information on major appliances.

Most appliances operate on your home's electrical system: They use AC current from the circuit wiring in your home. Small appliances work on 110-120-volt circuits, and the plugs on their cords have two blades. Large or major appliances, such as air conditioners, dryers, and ranges, usually require 220-240-volt wiring and cannot be operated on 110-120-volt circuits. All appliances are labeled -- either on a metal plate or on the appliance casing -- with their power requirements in watts and volts, and sometimes in amps.

Most appliances operate on your home's electrical system: They use AC current from the circuit wiring in your home. Small appliances work on 110-120-volt circuits, and the plugs on their cords have two blades. Large or major appliances, such as air conditioners, dryers, and ranges, usually require 220-240-volt wiring and cannot be operated on 110-120-volt circuits. Large appliances are wired with a grounding wire; their plugs have two blades and a prong. This type of appliance must be plugged into a grounded outlet -- one with openings to accept both blades and grounding prong -- or grounded with a special adapter plug. All appliances are labeled -- either on a metal plate or on the appliance casing -- with their power requirements in watts and volts, and sometimes in amps.