Common Causes of Intermittent Operation Failures in Appliances

It can be incredibly frustrating when your appliances like your refrigerator, oven, or washing machine only work some of the time.

Here are some of the Causes:
  • Loose Electrical Connections:
    With prolonged use, vibrations from normal appliance operation gradually loosen electrical wiring and connections. Actively inspecting for loosened terminals and wires and securing these connections is crucial for resolving intermittent electrical failures.
  • Defective Door Switches:
    Many appliances have door safety switches that engage when doors close, allowing operation. If these become worn out or damaged, the unit may only work when the door makes contact the right way.
  • Failed Thermal Fuses:
    Thermal fuses are safety components that disable the unit when overheating is detected. Repeated overheating from a separate issue can cause thermal fuse failure. When the fuse resets, the appliance will resume function.
  • Component Overheating:
    Similar to thermal fuses, some individual components like compressors and motors can overheat and shut down until they cool, causing intermittent stopping and restarting.
  • Timer and Program Errors:
    Defects in electronic control boards and programming can lead to intermittent operation if the unit shuts down prematurely or doesn’t run for the full duration.


Defective heating elements, bad thermostat contacts, and loose electrical connections can prevent proper power flow to elements and cause intermittent heating.

A worn out water inlet valve might get stuck closed. Thermal fuses may trip, halting filling until the unit cools. Door latch problems could also be preventing activation.

If agitation and spin work occasionally, it’s typically due to a loose wiring connection, broken motor coupler, or failure of the lid switch to engage properly.

Restricted exhaust venting triggering the thermal fuse to trip temporarily can be one cause. Overheating motors may also be overloading and shutting down intermittently.

Yes, it's highly recommended to contact an appliance repair pro for diagnosis of intermittent issues, as identifying the underlying problem requires expertise.

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