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4 tricky problems around the house and how to solve them

A broken washing machine, a wasp nest on your property – enter the inspection camera.
A solution for every DIY problem – let’s get started! © getty images

What would you do if your washing machine stopped draining properly, or your favourite ring fell down the sink? Or if a family of wasps makes itself at home in your garden shed, or perishable foods roll under the fridge? First thing’s first: stay calm. Tricky problems like this come up time and time again. Now we’ll show you how to solve them.

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Your washing machine isn’t draining properly

Repairing a broken washing machine.
When a washing machine isn't draining properly, every DIY enthusiast becomes a detective. © istock

A broken washing machine is always annoying, especially when it stops draining properly in the middle of a cycle. In most cases, the cause can be traced back to an item of clothing or other foreign object that has got itself lodged somewhere it shouldn’t. But don’t panic – all is not lost. The first thing to do is to manually let the water out (there’s usually a drain hose next to the lint filter for this purpose). Once the water is drained, take a look inside the lint filter. In most cases, you’ll find the culprit there. If not, you should unplug the washing machine from the electricity and water supply, and continue your search:

  • Object in the drain pump: while the lint filter is out, take the opportunity to look into the drain pump. You can do this with a torch and your own eyes – but it’s even easier with an inspection camera like the UniversalInspect. The camera is so small that it can be inserted into the pump – and it doesn’t matter if the pump is still wet because both the camera head and cable are waterproof. Simply take a few photos, pull out the camera and then view the images on the display. Usually a pump has four blades. If you see something else, you’ve most likely found the problem. If your pump only has three blades, the fourth has probably broken off and might still be trapped in the pump. This means you’ll need a new one – so you’re best off calling in the professionals.
  • Clogged drain hose: it could also be that the object has found its way into the drain hose. To check this, unscrew the hose and insert the inspection camera – or simply a long piece of wire – to see if something is stuck in there.
  • Clogged outlet hose: if no more water runs out when you remove your lint filter, it’s possible that small socks or underwear have become trapped in the outlet hose. If you still have a warranty for your washing machine, we recommend using it. To reach the outlet hose, the washing machine needs to be taken apart – and if you do that, the warranty is no longer valid.
  • Broken drain pump: still no success? Then you probably have a broken drain pump. This is rare, but when it does happen it needs replacing. If you still have a warranty, you should definitely make use of it here.
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A piece of perishable food rolls under the fridge

Use the inspection camera to find items under the fridge.
Here's how to retrieve it. © istock

Hasn’t this happened to everyone? One clumsy moment and a piece of carrot, which was meant to go in your salad, ends up rolling under the fridge. Retrieving it is quite a challenge that requires both skill and patience. The biggest problem is that you can’t see under the fridge, so you don’t know exactly where to look. But with an inspection camera, you can get a good view of even hard-to-reach, enclosed spaces. Once you know where your chunk of carrot ended up, you can retrieve it using the hook on the camera. Or you can use a long ruler to get it out.

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Your ring falls down the sink

Locate your ring using the inspection camera.
Stay calm: if your ring fell down the sink, it's almost certainly stuck in the trap. © istock

There’s no reason to panic if your ring or another valuable object falls down the drain. In all likelihood, the ring is caught in the trap (the S or U–bend pipe under the sink). To avoid screwing that apart unnecessarily (after all, it can make quite a mess), you should first check that the ring is there using an inspection camera. The black-and-white mode will show you the picture in high contrast, and you can even zoom in. Found your ring? Perfect. Then put a bucket beneath the pipe and unscrew it – and remember to put your ring in a safe place next time.

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You find a wasp nest on your property

A wasp nest on your property can be dangerous.
Call in the professionals to remove a wasp nest from your property. © istock

Is there an unusually high number of wasps buzzing around your home? Then it’s likely the insects have moved into a sheltered corner. They will build a nest wherever good protection against the wind and rain is offered. To be sure, you can take a look with an inspection camera. Just be careful not to irritate the wasps. If you see a nest, you can show the photos directly to the local conservation agency. In many places, wasps are protected and their nests should not be removed under any circumstances. It’s not only illegal; it can also be dangerous. So it’s important to get permission and then call in the professionals.