Much like runners passing a baton in a relay race, a TV relay passes a signal from one part to another in your television. It's an important part of the on-off switch. A relay is a very simple component but can wreak havoc when it breaks. When charged with electric current, the coils in a TV relay act as a magnet to pull a metal mechanism toward it, activating the switch and causing your TV to turn on. Without a functioning relay, it's pretty hard to operate a television set. Along with numerous other components, a faulty relay is a fairly inexpensive repair, and a trained repair technician should easily be able to tell if the relay is causing the problem or if it's something else.
While it would be more convenient if a piezo buzzer went off to alert you that your TV is about to go on the fritz, in reality, electronics do break, often at the most inopportune times, and need repair. It is not always expensive to repair a TV, and most TV repair technicians can handle just about anything that comes up with ease. In fact, many components inside your TV, while inexpensive to purchase, can be hazardous to handle if you don't know what you're doing, especially in regard to the risk of electric shock, so you should always seek out a qualified technician if your set is in need of repair.
Another common repair with televisions is faulty TV fuses. If you try to turn on the TV and it's obvious it's getting no power, the fuse might have blown. Or, the fuse in your outlet could have blown; that's the first place to check, of course. Simply plug another appliance into the outlet and see if it will power up. Then, once you determine that the outlet is in fact supplying power, checking your television is the next logical step in seeing where the problem lies.
When the volume on your TV sticks or simply won't adjust properly anymore, it's possible you'll need a new potentiometer. This is a very common repair even for the high-end plasmas, LCDs and HD televisions on the market today. Potentiometers help control the sound levels on your TV; they are also used in light dimmers. They were also used to control the vertical hold on tube televisions, but with so many digital components included in televisions today, pots are mainly used for audio control.
Before giving up on your TV, be sure to have a technician diagnose the program. It could be something as simple as a fuse or relay. Whatever replacement parts you need, you can count on Sears to help you get your TV working again.