If something major in your house breaks down, you can probably still get it fixed. Appliance, HVAC, electrical, and other repairs are still essential during quarantine.
But there are some items that, while not technically “essential,” will absolutely ruin your shelter-in-place life if they stop working. It’s tricky to get them repaired by their makers right now, if it’s possible at all. But you can probably still find the parts, and most of the time, they’re not fundamentally broken, just in need of some maintenance or re-alignment.
Here’s a primer on some of those different-kind-of-crucial fixes we can help you with. There’s enough stress and uncertainty to process without knowing whether you’ll have to go without coffee, sparkling water, or (have mercy) bread.
KitchenAid Stand Mixer
KitchenAid mixers are workhorses, and they have horsepower. They make mixing dough, beating cake batter, or whipping up egg whites possible, even fun, without arm-straining effort. But, like anything with moving parts, things can wear down, sound funny, or plain stop working.
- Carbon brushes, which transfer power to the moving motor by contact, and so wear down over time. They can be a cause for a motor not starting or intermittently operating.
- Worm gear, which also wears over time, but can also (intentionally) fail under a sudden heavy load or resistance.
- Gasket, which keeps the gears and grease inside and air and food particles out. If grease is leaking, though, it’s more likely you need to replace the grease itself than the gasket. But it can’t hurt to replace the gasket on an older model, too.
- Circuit board, especially if only certain speeds are working.
Before you buy the part and jump inside, be warned: there is a lot of grease in there, so you’ll want to do this away from your food and nice cabinets. Replacing the grease is good maintenance, but be sure to use food-safe grease.
Fizzy water is wonderful. Buying it in cans takes up space and weight in grocery orders, not to mention uses more energy and costs more, than fizzing it yourself. It’s a pretty simple device, but things can still go wrong when you brute-force carbon dioxide into water.
- The rubber seal, if you sense gas is escaping while you’re filling the bottle.
- An internal air hose, if gas seems to be escaping when you’re not filling bottles.
- The battery, if your device stops working or the lights don’t come on.
- Some general issue that does not require repair, as addressed in our troubleshooting guide.
NutriBullet or Other Smoothie Blender
Before you were stuck at home, you might have thought of shakes as something you made when you were hitting the gym, too busy for breakfast, on the go. But, like me, you may have recently learned that shakes are also good for when the thought of cooking another meal, and cleaning up after it, exhausts you before you’re even awake. Losing that easy way out really stinks.
Like the KitchenAid Mixer, the NutriBullet Pro has a motor, but that’s often not why the device stopped working. Because it’s going to blend the heck out of your shake, it wants to make sure your jar is on tight, and that you don’t have a finger in there. So it can be the activator notches that line up with the tabs on your shake bottle. Or the gasket on the bladed cup. Or, sometimes, just the power cord itself. We have even more fixes for the standard NutriBullet, the Oster Blend-N-Go, and more general-use blenders.
Tell certain people that your coffee maker is starting to go, and they’ll tell you to switch to some fancier hand-poured method: Chemex, AeroPress, Kalita Wave, whatever. But maybe you don’t want to find and buy obscure filters, a grinder, and a water kettle. Or maybe now just isn’t the time to put more effort into getting ready for work, CHAD. Ahem.
There are a lot of coffee makers out there. We’ve got guides for Ye Olde Mr. Coffee, Keurig, the odd-duck Dolce and Senseo makers, and lots of other models. It’s not always easy to find parts for individual models, but look at similar coffee machines to the one you have. You might get inspired to check the rubber hoses or O-rings for leaks. Or the top needle on a Keurig machine. Or, if you can find a replacement, the heating plate.
Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
To someone inexperienced with pressure cookers, they can seem like an overthought device. They’re a rice cooker, a slow cooker, and that weird kinda cooker your aunt had in the 70’s? But if you’ve used one a few times, you probably think of it more like the magic dinner machine. Food goes in, and in less time than a sitcom episode, food is ready, sides included.
The brand that brought the pressure cooker back, during a wild 2016 run on Amazon, is Instant Pot. We’ve got guides to fixing up parts of the Bluetooth-controlled Smart 60 and the larger DUO80 V2. There is no need to hit up Amazon again just because the sealing ring, the float valve, or the steam release handle start to go.
While we’ve got you covered for a couple models, we’re glad to see that Instant Pot is designed to make replacing the wear-taking parts easy, and that the company has its own parts store, although not much in the way of repair guides. You can find some official and unofficial videos on YouTube. If you do a good job of replacing a piece of your Instant Pot, we invite you to make a guide for it!
Have you pulled off your own heroic fixes on not-quite-essential, but still drastically important devices? We’d dig hearing about them from you, in the comments or on social media. We’re @ifixit on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and most platforms.