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3 Things to Check Before You Toss Your Toaster

It has finally happened. Your faithful toaster has browned its last piece of bread. Warmed up its last Pop-Tart. Toasted its last bagel.

Or has it?

Toasters are sensitive appliances, and it doesn’t take a lot to put them on the fritz. Before you toss yours in the trash, check these three things to make sure your toaster really is a goner. It will take you five minutes and could save you a trip to the store for a replacement.

Safety Note: Make sure you unplug your toaster before you try to save its life.

1. The outlet. Before you go blaming your toaster, make sure the outlet it’s plugged into is working. Test another appliance on the same outlet. If it doesn't work, the problem is likely a blown fuse, not your toaster.  

2. Crumbs in the lever. If the lever on your toaster won’t stay down, nine times out of ten crumbs are the culprit. Sometimes you can solve this problem with nothing more than a good shake over the trash can. If that doesn’t work, try removing the crumbs with a toothpick or a few sprays from a compressed air can. Note: You may have to remove the front cover of the toaster to dislodge the worst of the crumbs.

3. The internal thermostat. If your toaster has begun subjecting all of your food to a brutal scorching session, there’s probably an issue with its internal thermostat. Resetting your thermostat is a little more complex than the other fixes, but it’s still pretty easy to do. Here’s how:

  • First, remove the carriage lever and front cover of your toaster (check your manual for specific instructions). Find the knob or lever located near the “light/dark” setting.
  • If your toaster has a knob, remove it and readjust the screw behind it by turning it slightly to the “lighter” setting. It probably won’t even require a full turn.
  • If you have a lever, bend it (again, slightly) to the lighter setting. Throw in a piece of test-toast and see how it goes. Adjust more if necessary.

Once you’ve diagnosed and fixed the problem at hand, prevent future toaster problems by cleaning it regularly.

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