Common Freezer Issues & How to Diagnose Them

Whether you’ve just purchased a new freezer or are using one that’s a few years old, it’s no secret that something can go wrong. Just like every other household appliance, your freezer can experience performance issues from time to time. When it comes to freezer repair, Absolute Appliances Repair offers quality repair services in San Francisco, San Rafael, Mill Valley and other locations in the Bay Area.

Before focusing on freezer repair, it’s important to understand what may or may not be wrong with your freezer. A number of common problems exist in this realm, and they include the following, according to the APWagner Appliance Parts Blog:

  • The freezer has a large amount of frost built up inside it
  • The freezer isn’t keeping anything frozen
  • Food kept in the freezer looks iced or burned (known as freezer burn)
  • The freezer isn’t working at all
  • The freezer runs constantly

Now that you’re aware of the issues that can affect the performance of your freezer, how do you diagnose them? While diagnosing some issues may be better left to the professionals at Absolute Appliances Repair, there are some simple things you can do to diagnose the more basic issues that may be plaguing your freezer.

Some of the simpler ways to diagnose problems include the following:

  • Check the power cord or extension cord (if you’re using one) for any damage, and make sure it’s plugged in
  • Test the temperature control mechanism and ensure it’s set to your desired temperature
  • Make sure there is enough room in your freezer for a proper amount of airflow
  • Test your freezers defrost timer and other defrosting components

For other diagnosing tips and ideas, go here.

Understanding the common issues that can affect the performance of your freezer is important, but if you’re still unsure, contact a professional. Absolute Appliance Repair services San Francisco and the surrounding area.

How to Clean Your Washing Machine – and Why You Should Do It

You may not have every had it cross your mind that a washing machine would need cleaning – after all, the detergents used in it would keep the machine itself clean too, right? Actually, the truth is that any good Bay appliance repair pro will tell you that washing machines do need regular cleaning; detergents for clothes are not going to keep your machine clear of issues. Neglecting to perform regular maintenance and cleaning is going to lead to you having to pay for unnecessary washer repair, and will also contribute to you having to purchase a replacement machine faster.

Minerals from the water (whether it’s iron, calcium, or anything else) along with soap residue are going to build up in your machine over time. You might eventually start to notice that clothes that come out of the wash just don’t seem quite as clean as they used to. Although you might at first think it’s because you shove too many items in at once, or because your washing machine is breaking, it might just be that your machine is long overdue for a cleaning. Read on before you make the call to a professional for washer repair in San Francisco.

Cleaning Your Washing Machine

There are many products available at grocery stores, hardware stores, appliance stores, and just about anywhere that were designed specifically to clean your washer. If you instead want to pass on these products and try a quick and easy two-step method that will do the job, all you’ll need is bleach and white vinegar – that’s it! (You can also skip the bleach step if you’re not comfortable using the chemical in your machine.)

Fill your washer with hot water, just as though you would if you were cleaning a large load of laundry. Add one quart of bleach and let the machine run for about one minute. Open the lid of your top-loading machine and let the bleach and water sit for one hour. After one hour, close the lid and finish the cycle. Repeat the above instructions, this time using one quart of white vinegar instead of the bleach. Let the tub fill, add the vinegar, allow the washer to run for a minute, open the lid and let it sit still, and then close the lid to allow the cycle to complete. Once all is said and done, you should notice that the inside of your machine’s tub feels smooth and clean, instead of rough with soapy build-up and hard water spots.

All it takes is two common, inexpensive household products and a couple of hours to clean your washing machine. It also costs only about $3.00! If you’ve noticed lately that your washing machine just is not performing up to par with the level of cleaning that it used to when it was new, you may want to consider a cleaning. If, after cleaning your machine, it still is not performing well, then you’ll want to think about calling us for appliance repair in San Francisco and the surrounding areas. We serve customers in places from San Rafael, Novato and Larkspur to Marin County, Mill Valley, and more.

Happy Washing!

Troubleshooting a Malfunctioning Ice Maker

An ice maker is one of those luxuries we take for granted so much that we usually only ever think about it when it stops working. But when that day eventually comes, it can be extremely frustrating. There are many different things that can go wrong with an ice maker, but the good news is that most common ice maker issues are pretty easy to fix. So, before you shell out your hard-earned cash to a technician or handyman, take a look at this quick and easy ice maker troubleshooting guide.

Safety First: When working with the electrical components of any major appliance, disconnect the appliance from its power source. If you run into a problem that you do not feel comfortable fixing yourself, call an appliance repair professional to avoid risking physical harm, or damaging your appliance further. Call Absolute Appliances Repair for appliance repair in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Not Producing Ice

Problem: If your ice maker isn’t producing ice, the first thing you should do is check the shutoff arm. The shutoff arm is a bar that extends away from the ice maker over the ice cube bin. When ice piles up in your ice maker, it raises the bar up, automatically stopping the ice production process when the bin is full. However, it is quite common for people to accidentally nudge the shutoff arm into the off position when moving things around in the freezer.

Fix: This is a simple fix. Just locate the shutoff arm and move it into the on, or down position and you should be good to go.

Problem: If your shutoff arm is in the on/down position, but your ice maker still isn’t producing ice, you might have an issue with your water supply line.

Fix: The water supply line connects to a valve that’s usually located behind the freezer, or under the kitchen sink. If the supply line is pinched, or dented, or the valve is not opened wide enough to allow for the proper pressure, the water may not fill the ice mold. If you don’t see any kinks or dents in the line, try to open the valve a little more and see if that solves your problem. But, if the supply line or valve does appear to be damaged, it is best to replace it.

Problem: If the ice cube bin is filled with ice, but the shutoff arm is in the down/on position, the problem is most likely with the motor, gearbox or electrical connection.

Fix: Slide the refrigerator out from the wall, unplug it, and turn off the water supply valve. Find the quick release plug located on the rear wall of the inside of the freezer. Unplug the connection it and reconnect it to make sure it is fully connected. Remove any ice from the mold. Plug the refrigerator back in and lift the shutoff arm to the off position. Then lower the arm back down and wait 10 seconds or so for the mold to begin filling with water. Wait a few hours for the ice to freeze and then test the ice maker. If ice still won’t eject, you most likely need to replace the motor or gearbox.

Frozen Fill Tube or Mechanism

Problem: If your ice maker stops working, and you’ve noticed that the cubes have been getting smaller and smaller, that could indicate that your fill tube is frozen. Sometimes ice can get backed up around the mechanism, causing the fill tube to freeze, which will slow down and eventually stop ice production.

Fix: Unplug the refrigerator and remove the ice bin and any loose ice from the ice maker. Locate the fill tube. This should look like a white rubber hose that delivers water to the ice maker. Some ice makers have a small metal clip which holds the fill tube, if yours is one of those models, pull the clip off the housing that holds the fill tube. Warm the hose and surrounding mechanism with a hair dryer to melt any ice blocking the mechanism. It is best to keep the hair dryer on the low setting to avoid melting the plastic. Be very careful to collect the ice melt to avoid any potential risk of electrical shock.

Producing Too Much Ice

Problem: If your ice maker keeps making ice even when it’s full, this could be another problem with the shutoff arm.

Fix: Make sure that the arm is firmly in place and that nothing is impeding its movement. Then test it by raising it into the off position and leaving it there. Check back later to confirm that no ice has been made. If it still continues to produce ice, you might need to replace the control module.

Final note: Whenever you are working with the electronic components of your appliance, be sure that your appliance is disconnected from its power source. And if you run into a problem that you do not feel comfortable fixing yourself, it is always best to call an appliance repair professional to avoid risking physical harm, or damaging your appliance further. Call Absolute Appliances Repair for appliance repair in San Francisco Bay Area, and the surrounding areas. We serve customers in places from San Rafael, Novato and Larkspur to Marin County, Mill Valley, and more.

Stoves vs. Cooktops: Which is Best?

One of the most important appliances in your kitchen is your stove, and for very good reason. It’s the centerpiece for cooking a good, wholesome meal. If you’re in the market for something new or new-used, there are two options for you to choose from — ranges and cooktops.

Whether you’re making your choice through appliance repair in San Francisco or through other means, it’s crucial to know the difference between a range and a cooktop before making your final decision. But what exactly are the differences?

What You Should Know

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when choosing between a range and a cooktop is the biggest difference between the two appliances.

A cooktop functions much like a regular stove, but does not contain the oven portion — it’s burners and the knobs to operate them, and it is installed into a countertop. A range contains the burners and function knobs, but also includes an oven.

While there is really only this one difference, it’s obviously an important one. You’ll need to understand your cooking needs before making your choice between the two, of course. For an even bigger decision-making influence, let’s look at the benefits of ranges and cooktops.

The Benefits of Choosing a Range

A range is a great choice for large or small kitchens, as it is the hub of the cooking area. It also gives you what you need — burners and a stove — in an attractive, simple package. Deciding on a range gives you numerous options when deciding on size, finish, cooking style and much more. You’re even able to choose from a slide-in or drop-in range, a freestanding range, or even dual-fuel option — all of which have their own distinct benefits.

Ranges come on a spectrum of price points, which is a huge benefit if you’re working on a budget. Because sizes and other options vary, you’ll be able to find an option that’s perfect for your home without spending a boatload of money.

The Benefits of Choosing a Cooktop

  • Cooktops are much smaller than a range and therefore are easier to install. Because they are only a set of burners, you’ll also have extra space below for a cabinet or other item.
  • When choosing a cooktop, you’ll have plenty of options for burner size and finish. Plus, glass and smooth cooktop options make cleanup much easier.
  • A cooktop stove has its controls on the countertop, making this option a safer choice if you have children in your home. They won’t be able to reach the controls as easily as they might with a range.

Purchasing a new appliance can be exciting, but it’s important to remember that doing your research beforehand can make the process easier. When you know what you need to create meals you can be proud of, it’s easier to narrow down your options. You’ll want to do everything possible to make the process quick and painless so you can get back to cooking!

If ever (or whenever) you’re in the need for stove repair, call Absolute Appliances Repair!

Which Dishwasher Style Should You Choose?

When it comes to choosing new appliances, making a final decision can be pretty daunting. Numerous brands and styles of washers, dryers, and refrigerators exist, but did you know that there are plenty of dishwashers to choose from too? Whether you’re choosing something brand new or one that may need dishwasher repair, navigating the sea of options can be difficult.

Understanding what each dishwasher style can offer is an important part of making a final decision. From traditional to drawer styles, each has its pros and cons. Let’s take a look at some of the different options.

So, just what are the options a consumer has to choose from today?

Built-In Under-the- Counter Dishwashers (Traditional Dishwashers)

This option is immobile and resides under the counter in a kitchen and can normally be found near the sink. It is incredibly convenient, allowing your kitchen sink to be used for other things as it washes dishes, thanks to the fact that it doesn’t need to be hooked up to the faucet to be used. It also never needs to be moved or put away.

There are negatives to closing the traditional dishwasher, however. This option almost always needs to be installed by a qualified plumber to avoid the chance of an accident. Not only do you have to buy the dishwasher, but you’ll likely have to pay a plumber as well.

Another negative point is that you may end up losing a good chunk of cupboard space to the dishwasher. The good news here is that there are smaller traditional dishwashers that can be installed. However, the tradeoff to a smaller dishwasher is that not as many dishes can be washed at once. It is also useful to remember when choose this option that, should you decide to sell your house and move, the dishwasher will likely stay with the house (meaning you may have to buy a new one after moving).

Drawer Dishwashers

Typically meant for use in a smaller household, these dishwashers come in single-drawer and double-drawer styles and are also permanently installed in a home. They are a more expensive option, but provide a fairly large amount of convenience (for example, you don’t have to bend over to insert dishes).

Drawer dishwashers allow for different wash cycles to be chosen, but are also meant for smaller dish loads in each cycle. This option typically a bit more energy efficient than a traditional dishwasher, which is great for those who re especially energy-conscious when it comes to home appliances.

Countertop Dishwashers

Fairly small and very mobile, a countertop dishwasher is the perfect option for smaller living spaces, such as studio apartments. They do not require installation of any kind and simply connect to your kitchen faucet with a simple and easy-to- use adapter. Countertop models are economical and typically work very well as long as dishes are rinsed before being washed.

This type of dishwasher easily sits on a counter or stable cart and runs as long as you have the faucet turned on. For those on a limited income or in a small home or apartment, a countertop dishwasher is a great option.

Choosing a dishwasher doesn’t have to be a stressful decision. By understanding your own needs and options, your decision can be made easier. The best advice is to understand your own living situation and do your research on the dishwasher models you are considering.

If ever (or whenever) you’re in the need for dishwasher repair, call Absolute Appliances Repair! Happy shopping!

Major Appliances You Can Control with Your Phone

Smartphones can do some truly incredible things. In addition to enabling us to communicate with people around the world, take pictures and videos, read entire books, and monitor our health, they can also control major appliances in your home—when you’re not even there.

At the grocery store and not sure if you need to buy more milk? You can take a look inside your fridge. Don’t feel like going downstairs to see if the washing machine is still running? Check its progress on your phone.

Read on to find out some of the ways you can control major appliances in your home with your phone.

Oven

What if you could turn on your oven and keep tabs on your baking from afar? There are now apps and programs that allow you to do so. If your oven supports Alexa integration (Amazon’s smart home product), you can control your oven with Alexa. Additionally, GE has a range of Wi-Fi- connected smart appliances and these can now be controlled with Google Assistant, which works the same as it does with Alexa. Samsung also has smart ovens that can be controlled with and Android app.

All of these programs enable you to do things like turn your oven on and off and control cooking time. The Samsung oven can even tell you how much your food weighs and many calories are in your meal!

Refrigerator

Refrigerators are getting cooler (pun intended) all the time; they can do things like dispense sparkling water, cool areas within your fridge at different temperatures, and display calendars, notes, recipes, shopping lists, and even stream television with LCD touch-screens. If that’s not incredible enough, you can now peer into your refrigerator when you’re not home.

Samsung’s Family Hub Refrigerator includes three cameras which can be accessed through a smartphone app at any time. Now, you don’t need to rack your brain to remember if you have enough butter or your raspberries have gone bad—you just grab your phone and see!

Washers and dryers

Your phone can also make doing laundry easier. With the Whirlpool Smart Front Load Washer and Samsung’s Smart Care washers and dryers, consumers can download an app and monitor your laundry’s progress from anywhere. The Whirlpool washer’s app also enables you to set and change cycles from wherever you are and track the amount of energy you’re using. There are also electric LCD touchscreen washers and dryers which can send your smartphone notifications when your laundry is finished.

Controlling your appliances with your phone gives you more flexibility and peace of mind. Check on your washer’s progress, take a look inside your refrigerator, and make sure that you turned off your oven. And if you live in the San Francisco area and your smart appliances are in need of repair, contact the experienced and professional staff at Absolute Appliances Repair.

Buying the Right Major Appliance for You

Other than your home itself, some of the biggest purchases you’ll make for your home are major appliances. At some point, it’s likely you’ll need a new refrigerator, oven, washer or dryer, and more; because these can be pricy—and not easy to return—it’s important to make sure you’re making the right choice.

Read on for four tips on buying the right major appliance for your home.

Don’t make an impulse buy

This should go without saying, but impulse buys aren’t limited to candy bars at the cash register; some shoppers are prone to buying things, even major purchases, on a whim. Avoid this mistake by first making a list of desired features, such as “energy efficient” and “lifetime warranty.” Identify competing stores where you’ll be shopping (including online outlets) so you can comparison shop. Wait for a sale if you can. Fall is often the best time to buy appliances because stores are trying to clear space for next year’s models.

Ask friends and family for advice

When it comes to research, start by asking your friends and family about their appliances. What do they have in their homes? What do they like and dislike about the appliance? How often has the appliance needed repairs? Reading expert and user reviews is great, but sometimes the best tips come from those you know.

Find out about maintenance, repairs, and power requirements

Before making your purchase, ask the dealer/store for the appliance’s use and care manual and read it; this will give you an idea of any special care the appliance requires. Ensure that there is authorized factory service in your area for the brand of appliance that you select. Moreover, make sure your home has adequate electrical service for your appliance, including grounded three-hole receptacles.

Know yourself

It’s easy to buy an appliance based on a vision of who you want to be. For example, maybe you fancy yourself as someone who loves cooking or entertaining at home. However, if, in reality, you only invite your friends over once a month and you guys usually just order pizza, then it’s best to accept that and buy the appliance that suits you and your actual needs. You don’t want to end up with a large, expensive appliance with features that you won’t use.

Live in the Bay Area? Should your (carefully selected) appliance need repairs, contact Absolute Appliances Repair and make an appointment today. If we service your appliance, your initial quote is on us.

Appliance Maintenance Tips to Keep Them Running Like New

Save Money with These Appliance Maintenance Tips

Appliances are the vital organs of your kitchen. Without them, cooking meals at home would be next to impossible. Large items like your refrigerator, stove, dishwasher and the microwave cost a great deal of money. Considering how much you rely on these large pieces of equipment, it’s important to keep them running as efficiently as possible. Performing some routine maintenance will save you thousands of dollars in the years to come. Learn how to make the most of your kitchen appliances with these DIY maintenance tips.

Using Your Refrigerator Wisely

Most people tend to neglect the interior of their refrigerator, but all of those crusty containers of food are forcing your refrigerator to work overtime. It’s time to throw out the Chinese takeout that’s been sitting at the back of your fridge for months on end. Using drawers and shelf space wisely is one of the easiest ways to improve efficiency. Try not to overload your fridge either. The more food you add, the harder your fridge has to work every second of the day. Think of your fridge as a human being. Just like an obese person that’s at risk of heart failure, the cooling system in your fridge won’t last forever. Help your fridge drop a few pounds and clean out the interior regularly.

Keep Power Cords Tidy

The idea of inspecting the power cables on your appliances might sound frightening. The area behind your fridge or the stove probably hasn’t seen the light of day in over a decade. But cords tend to get bogged down by dust, dirt and all kinds of debris, making it that much harder for electricity to go from point A to point B. Take a deep breath and get behind those large-ticket items and start cleaning. Take a moist cloth and run it over the power cord on your refrigerator, microwave, washer and dryer, and the stove.

Lighten the Load for Your Dishwasher

You might be amazed with your dishwasher’s ability to gobble up and dispose of large bits of food, but your dishwasher doesn’t have the same rip-roaring power as your garbage disposal. Those hearty chunks of food will take a toll on your dishwasher overtime. Bits of food will jam the system in all sorts of places, leading to frequent clogs and poor drainage. Do your automatic dishwasher a favor and take a few seconds to rinse off your unwanted food in the sink. Your garbage disposal is much better equipped to take on those large chunks of food.

Address Spills and Messes Immediately

So your frozen pizza spilled some cheese on the oven floor. What’s the big deal? If you don’t clean up all of those splats and stains, your oven, microwave, or toaster oven will reheat those leftover pieces of food every time you need to cook something. For efficiency’s sake, wipe down the interior of your appliances on a regular basis. If you notice bits of sauce, a stray onion, or a clump of cheese sizzling on the oven floor, you might as well clean it up now instead of waiting until it’s black and crusted over.

If you’re having trouble with one of your appliances, contact Absolute Appliances Repair for fast, reliable in-home service today!

AVOIDING UNNECESSARY APPLIANCE REPAIRS

Keep your refrigerator condenser clean.

The condenser is what keeps your compressor from overheating. Most refrigerators have a fan motor which moves air across the condenser which cools your compressor. Lint and pet hair gets sucked into the condenser. When it builds up and restricts the air flow, your compressor overheats. Compressor replacement is the most expensive repair on a refrigerator. Clean your condenser regularly to help prolong the life of your compressor.

 

Never overload your washing machine.

If you want your washing machine to last, don’t try to get your laundry done so quickly. Heavy loads and off-balanced loads put a strain on the moving parts of your machine and wear them out prematurely. It’s better to do smaller, evenly balanced loads.

 

Keep your dryer and vent line free of lint.

Cleaning the lint screen on your dryer before every load should be a habit but that’s not enough. Lint builds up in your dryer vent line over time. When your vent line starts to get restricted, more lint backs up into your dryer which creates a possible dryer fire. The inside of your dryer and vent line need to be vacuumed out periodically. You can prevent dryer fires with regular cleaning.

 

Rinse the excess food off of your dishes before placing them in the dishwasher.

Even though you may have seen commercials that say you can be lazy and leave the food on your dishes, there are still risks to your appliance. The food has to go somewhere and it commonly gets clogged up in the pump and spray arms, necessitating a call your appliance technician.

 

Avoid using the “self clean” feature on your oven.

The oven reaches such high temperatures during the self-clean cycle that the extreme heat causes parts to fail. A large percentage of oven repair calls occur right after someone has used the self-clean feature. If you just keep your spills wiped up when they happen, you won’t need to use the self-clean feature and risk health issues and repair costs.

Call Absolute Appliance Repair NOW if you have any problems with your appliance!

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REPAIRING A DISHWASHER

The control panels on the latest dishwashers can look intimidating.

They’re loaded with so many dials, push buttons, and other features that the machine looks too complex to repair. This is actually not the case. With the exception of the control panel, dishwashers haven’t changed much in basic design over the last two decades. You can repair most dishwasher malfunctions yourself, and we’ll discuss tips for do-it-yourself service and maintenance in this article.

Dishwasher parts can be replaced as a unit, which is often easier and less expensive than having a professional service person make repairs. If you aren’t sure a part is still usable, remove it from the dishwasher and take it to a professional for testing. You can then decide whether to buy a new part or have the old one repaired on the basis of the repair estimate.

Dishwashers usually run on 115-volt or 120-volt power. The water they use comes directly from the water heater, and wastewater is drained into the sink’s drainpipe. The dishwasher is not connected to the cold-water supply. For best dishwashing results, set the temperature control of the water heater to no less than 140 degrees Farenheit. Water cooler than this usually doesn’t get the dishes clean, unless your dishwasher is a newer model that preheats incoming water. The water shutoff for the dishwasher is typically located below the adjoining sink.

Caution: Because the dishwasher is connected to both the plumbing system and the electrical system, you must consider both systems when working on this appliance. Before doing any work on the dishwasher, make sure the unit is unplugged or the power to the unit is turned off, and remove the fuse or trip the circuit breaker that controls the circuit at the main entrance panel or at a separate panel. Shut off the water supply to the dishwasher at the shutoff in the basement or crawl space under the kitchen.