Your Smart Appliance Stopped Working: Is the Problem Mechanical or Digital?

smart appliance

You work hard for your money and you love saving time by converting your appliances to be smart home compatible.

But are these appliances that much smarter if they can’t tell you what’s wrong when they stop working?

The added convenience of every smart appliance brings an extra layer of worry.

How do I know if my appliance has stopped functioning because of a good old mechanical error, or because of the motherboard inside of it? Do I have to become my own tech geek AND my own handyman now?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Keep reading to see how to troubleshoot smart home appliances.

Mechanical Vs. Digital Appliances

Some smart home features can seem complicated, but most digital appliances are not too different from mechanical ones.

For the most part, the only difference between a smart dishwasher and an old school mechanical dishwasher is the way it starts and stops. The machinery on the inside that washes the dishes is roughly the same.

The advantage of intelligent appliances is that you can hook them up to wifi or your smart home network. This allows you to start, stop, adjust settings, and check timers on your appliances from another room with a smartphone or other device.

But this also means when your smart appliance gets disconnected from the network or shuts down, you won’t be able to start the darn thing at all.

Herein lies the way to tell whether your smart appliance has stopped working because of a digital or mechanical error:

  • If the smart home appliance won’t start or respond at all, it’s most likely a digital issue.
  • If the appliance responds to your commands but isn’t good at doing what you tell it to do, it’s likely a mechanical problem.

Here are some examples…

It’s a Mechanical Problem If:

You use your phone to tell your smart dishwasher to begin a load of dishes from the other room, and it notifies you when the job finishes. But when you come to unload the dishes, you notice they’re not as clean as they usually are.

Your smart fridge isn’t making any noise, it isn’t keeping your food cool, and none of the lights on the front panel will turn on no matter what you press. It’s clear there is no power going to the fridge at all, which indicates a problem with your circuit breaker or power cord.

It’s a Digital Problem If:

You try to use your phone to tell your smart dishwasher to begin a load of dishes from the other room, and you get a command error notification OR you don’t hear the machine start washing at all when it says it should be washing.

Your smart fridge is making noise and keeping your food cool, but the front panel won’t respond to your commands. It’s stuck on the same screen or doesn’t register what you tell it to do.

Some Facts About Appliance Longevity

As great as smart appliances are, it’s no secret they don’t last as long as their old fashioned counterparts.

Intelligent appliances become less responsive over time, like an iPhone. And you’re much more likely to need to call a mechanic to fix a touchpad interface than a manual dial on a stove or washing machine.

Here’s the good news:

Many smart home appliance brands know this and will pay for someone to come fix your smart appliance. Or, you can expand a Geek Squad coverage plan you’re already using for your computers and phones to cover the cost of smart appliance repair. Although you’re much more likely to need to call a mechanic, there’s a chance you won’t have to pay for it.

Let’s assume an appliance stops working and you’re certain it’s a digital issue.

Now what?

When Your Smart Appliance Stops Working…

…there are a few steps you should do yourself first before calling IT support.

1. Try Turning It Off and Back On Again

This is a meme and common IT joke for a reason. You’d be amazed at how often smart appliances start working again like new from an easy reboot. Give it a shot before you wait half an hour on hold for a person to tell you the same thing.

2. Restart Your Wifi Router

When rebooting the appliance itself still doesn’t fix the problem, the next thing to check is your wifi connection.

Same as you would if your computer or tablet stopped connecting to the internet, check your wifi router. You may need to unplug the router for about 30 seconds. Every device that uses wifi will still have all the right passwords and reconnect on its own.

3. Perform a Software Update

Sometimes an appliance stops working because the software needs to be updated.

Internet appliances like your smart fridge and smart oven need to have their software updated just like your smartphone. Falling behind the most recent software update could be the only reason your appliance has stopped working.

Don’t assume your appliance updates by itself, as some brands are better about update reminders than others. You may need to check for an update yourself on the manufacturer’s website and download it from a desktop.

Be Smart About Purchasing Smart Appliances

Your satisfaction with a smart appliance depends on who you buy it from. Not all companies provide a warranty with your purchase.

Don’t get stuck with a subpar machine. Whether you prefer Sony, Samsung, LG, or someone else, always make sure you’re purchasing from a verified distributor.

And of course, check out our supply of smart home mesh wifi systems right here to keep all your smart home appliances in sync.

Don’t be shy! Feel free to contact us here.

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