Energy-Saving Tips for Large Home Appliances

Simple Ways to Use Less Energy in the Kitchen

The kitchen tends to be a hotbed of energy consumption. Large appliances such as your automatic dishwasher, refrigerator, and oven are some of the biggest energy hogs in your home, right after your air conditioner. If you’re looking to cut down on consumption, use these tips from the U.S. Department of Energy to reduce the amount of energy your home uses in the first place.

Shopping for Savings

Buying energy-efficient appliances is one of the best ways to reduce consumption in the long-term. Instead of adjusting your behavior on a day-by-day basis, energy-efficient appliances do most of the work for you. When shopping for appliances, look for the EnergyStar label. These products are designed to use a fraction of the energy that some older models require. When shopping for a refrigerator, look for models with a top-mounted freezer. They use anywhere from 10 – 25% less energy than side-by-side models and those with bottom-mounted freezers.

Reducing Energy Consumption by Changing Your Behavior

Let’s face it: most people don’t have the money to buy new energy-efficient appliances. Instead of spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars at your local appliance store, you can reduce consumption by being mindful of how you use your existing appliances.

Stove and Oven

The best thing that you can do for your stove is to keep it clean. Messy burners and stovetops become barriers for heat, boosting the amount of energy needed to heat up a cup of soup or boil some water. Make sure that you use pans that match the size of the burner. Using a small pan on a large burner is a massive waste of heat. Using lids and kettles instead of open pots also helps to lock in the heat.

Dishwasher

Most of the energy used to power your automatic dishwasher comes from your home’s hot water heater. Check your user manual to see if you can lower the water temperature. Try to scrape off your dishes as much as possible instead of rinsing them before you load them into your dishwasher. Make sure that your dishwasher is full and not overloaded. And, lastly, try air drying your dishes by laying them out on the counter instead of using the dry cycle.

Refrigerator

Operating 24/7, the refrigerator is a major energy hog, generally the second biggest consumer in your home. Keep an eye on the internal temperature of your unit. You should be able to control the temperature using a knob in the back. Your refrigerator should be set at around 36°F and your freezer should be at, you guessed it, 0°F. If you suspect that your internal temperature monitor is not accurate, which is often the case, fill a small glass with water and a thermometer and let it sit overnight. Compare the readings with what’s on the internal monitor. If the readings are off, the doors on your fridge might not be sealing properly. If that’s the case, it might be time to replace your fridge.

You can also reduce consumption by covering liquids and wrapping foods. You should also clear away spills, crumbs and any built-up frost that might be collecting in your fridge or freezer. All that extra gunk is just one more thing that your refrigerator needs to keep cool.

If you’ve noticed a major uptick in your utility bill, some of your appliances might be the culprit. Make sure that your large household appliances are working properly by calling Absolute Appliances Repair, your number-one choice for San Francisco Bay Area appliance repair.

Simple Fixes to Common Oven Problems

If your oven is getting older, or you use it heavily throughout the year, it’s not uncommon to encounter some issues here and there. Lucky for you, ovens are fairly simple appliances. So, before you splurge on a brand-new oven, or spend money on hiring professional help to fix your old one, take a look at this troubleshooting guide for common oven problems:

PROBLEM: NOT HEATING UP

Cause: With an electric oven, the heating elements can wear out over time causing your oven or range to stop heating up. To find out if this is the case, simply turn on the oven and/or ranges and look to see if the heating elements are glowing red. If the elements are not glowing, or are they are just barely glowing, it’s time to replace them.

Fix: To make this fix all you really need to do is order the correct part that matches your oven. Once you have that, the rest is a snap. Simply disconnect the oven from power, remove the heating element’s cover, take out the screws holding the heating element in place, exchange the old part for the new one, and screw everything back into place.

Cause: If you have a gas oven, the problem could be a faulty igniter. To find out if that’s the case, test it out by setting a temperature on the oven. If you do not hear the normal clicking and ‘wooshing’ sound of the gas igniting, you should consider replacing the igniter.

Fix: Replacing an igniter can involve a number of different processes depending on the model of your oven, and it is not quite as simple as replacing heating elements in an electric oven. Typically, the process requires unplugging the range, removing a few screws, disconnecting the wiring connection, inserting the new igniter, and then tightening everything back down. However, while this process can seem simple, if you have any concerns about working with gas lines or electrical components, contact a professional. Also, if your appliance is still under warranty, it might be best to seek a professional appliance repair service to ensure everything is kept up to standards.

Problem: Not heating to the correct temperature

Cause: If you notice that your food is undercooked, or taking longer to cook than usual, it might be because your oven’s temperature sensor is not working properly.

Fix: The first thing you should do is make sure that your temperature sensor is not touching the inside wall of your oven, as this will throw off your sensor and cause inaccurate readings. If this is happening, all you need to do is reposition it so that it’s not making contact with your oven walls. If it’s still not heating properly, you’ll probably just need to replace the sensor, which is a quick and easy fix.

PROBLEM: Clogged Burners

Cause: If the burners on your gas range won’t ignite, you could have clogged burners. This usually happens because food and liquid that spills on the burners accumulates over time and hardens into gunk, which can block the gas ports and prevent ignition.

Fix: Turn off the gas supply to your range, and disconnect your appliance from power. Lift the cover off your burners, and remove the burner itself from the range. Then soak the burner in a solution made of water and household detergent, and gently clean it with a soft cloth. When the burner is clean, allow it to dry completely before replacing it and reconnecting the power and the gas supply.

No matter what, make sure you always remember to unplug your appliance before you attempt any repairs. And again, if you are nervous about working with gas or electronic components, call a professional, such as the pros at Absolute Appliances Repair in San Francisco. If you can’t easily fix the problem yourself, you’re better off spending a little bit of money on the repairs than risking injury, or shelling out a big chunk of change on a whole new appliance.

Easy Ways to Clean Your Stovetop

Just about everyone is familiar with the struggle to keep traditional cooktops and conventional stovetops clean; even if you don’t cook on the stove every day, the remnants of boil-overs, drops, and over-zealous flips can create quite a challenge for us when it comes time to clean. Even with a daily wipe-down, the chore of keeping up with a spotless stovetop can seem endless. As you probably already know, just one pot that boils over can easily create a mess worthy of a scrubber commercial. Keeping the surface clean will not only help it to look better, but will also stave off the need for premature stove repair in San Francisco.

Tips for Cleaning Your Stovetop

If you’re searching for some new cleaning ideas to try that don’t include harsh, dangerous chemicals, read on. There are plenty of products and substances that can tackle even the toughest job with impressive results:

  1. Salt and Baking Soda: Just take one tablespoon of each ingredient, and add to one tablespoon of water and mix to form a paste. Dip a rag into the paste and it naturally scours grime and crud away. You can also pour the mixture on stubborn spots to soak; it also absorbs liquid, making the clean-up quick and easy.
  2. Ammonia: While it’s true that this strong solvent isn’t great for cleaning everything, what it is great at is cleaning stovetops. You can use it to wipe up those dried-on, caked-on spills, and you can also remove the burner tops, soak them in a sandwich bag of ammonia on your porch overnight, then rinse in the morning to reveal super shiny burner tops.
  3. White Vinegar: White vinegar is hailed by many as the ultimate cleaner, and it’s a useful product to have around to clean your stovetop. It’ll easily loosen up stains and streaks, so you’ll want to mix one part vinegar to two parts water in a spray bottle. It’s the acidity of the vinegar that helps remove all the grit and grime. Be sure to label your spray bottle for quick access next time, too.
  4. A Razor Scraper or Scour Stick: Both of these items can be held at an angle while you gently scrape away at residue. Simply wipe away residue as it comes off, and you can even rinse with an ammonia or vinegar solution. Just be careful not to press to firmly, or you will scratch up the stovetop quite a bit.
  5. Lemons and Baking Soda: Baking soda has tiny fine particles that make a great substance to help scrub off grit and grime, and lemons contain natural grease-cutting characteristics. What’s great about this solution is that it’s powerful enough to really break up tough stains, but still won’t scratch the top of your stove. Sprinkle the baking soda over stains on your stovetop and rub the surface using lemon slices, and wipe away remnants with a damp cloth.

Before you start cleaning your stove top, regardless of which method you use, you’ll want to make sure that all burners are off and that the stovetop is cool. Try to clean the surface every day in order to keep up with the task; regular buffs will make it easier to deep clean. You’ll want to regularly clean off those burners to prevent build-up and oils from damaging your appliance, and you’ll also prevent having to contact us for stove repair that could’ve been prevented.

For more tips on caring for the appliances in your home, and for appliance repair in San Francisco, contact Absolute Appliances Repair today.

Easy Tips for Eliminating Dishwasher Odors

How to Get Rid of the Smells in Your Automatic Dishwasher

If you notice a strange, alarming smell every time you open your automatic dishwasher, it’s time to take matters into your own hands. All kinds of food and debris can collect in your dishwasher, creating some truly nasty odors overtime. It’s important to clean out the interior of the appliance every once in a while to make sure that your family’s food is being disposed of properly. Use these DIY tips for removing offensive smells from your dishwasher.

Clean the Drain Filter

This filter is the exit point for all the food and liquid that you put into your dishwasher. Open your dishwasher and search for a small mesh contraption, usually found along the floor of the appliance. You’ll probably find something stuck to the inside of the filter. Thoroughly wash the drain filter in your sink until all the food and slimy residue has vanished.

Wipe Down Inside Surfaces

With all the splashing and spraying going on inside your dishwasher, it’s a wonder that the walls inside the appliance are ever clean at all. Occasionally, you might notice a few streaks of food or liquid dashed across the inside of the machine. Pull out the racks and quickly wipe down all the internal surfaces, including the walls, the floor, and the ceiling. Everything should be sparkling white when you’re finished.

Wash the Racks

While you have the dish racks out of the machine, you might as well rinse them off in your sink. Pay special attention to what’s underneath the racks, another common place where food residue can easily hide. Slide the racks back into the machine and see if your odor problems have vanished.

Run a Vinegar Cycle

As unpleasant as the smell of white vinegar can be, it can be effective when it comes to removing harsh smells. To start, make sure that there is nothing inside your dishwasher. Now add a small glass of white vinegar. 8 ounces should do the trick. Leave the glass standing up right instead of dumping the vinegar all over the inside of the machine. Now run the machine using a normal cycle. When the cycle is complete, all the vinegar should be gone along with all those nasty smells. If you still smell the vinegar, don’t fret. The scent of vinegar won’t linger for more than a few hours.

Toss in Some Baking Powder

You can also try tossing a handful of baking powder into the machine before your next load. Baking powder is considered an all-natural deodorizer, making it an excellent choice for your dishwasher. The baking powder should mix with the soap you use on your dishes to get rid of those unruly odors.

Contact Your Local Dishwasher Repair Man

If these strange smells persist, you might have a more serious problem on your hands. Contact your local appliance repair man for advice and assistance. They will inspect the parts of your dishwasher that might be malfunctioning such as the drain hose or the electrical connection.

Get in touch with the professionals at Absolute Appliances Repair for the best dishwasher repair in the San Francisco area.

Common Dryer Problems and How to Fix Them

DIY Tips for Troubleshooting Your Home’s Dryer

Nothing beats the convenience of having a washer and dryer in your own home. Just turn a few knobs and presto, your work is done. But what happens when your dryer goes off the rails? Your clothes come out soaking wet, or maybe your dryer just stops working all together. If you’re having trouble with your dryer, use these tips to see if you can fix the problem yourself.

Dryer Spins But There’s No Heat

Before you examine or tinker with anything, make sure that the dryer is unplugged and at room temperature. If your dryer refuses to heat up during a normal cycle, there’s probably a connectivity issue or something wrong with the appliance’s internal temperature monitor.

Broken Fuse

Now, take a look at the machine’s back panel. You should be able to remove it using a small screwdriver. You should see a small fuse connected to the back. If it appears broken or frayed, you’ll need to replace it with a new fuse.

Checking the Thermostat

You should find the thermometer located on the back panel. Connect an A/C voltage multimeter to the thermometer and you should get a reading of 0. If not, you’ll need to replace your thermostat with a new one.

Checking the Temperature Switch

The same thing goes for the machine’s temperature switch. Remove the top button on your temperature switch and connect the multimeter. Adjust the switch and see if there is any change in the meter’s readout. If not, your temperature switch will need to be replaced.

Dryer Turns On But It Won’t Spin

If the machine turns on, but refuses to spin, chances are that you have a broken belt on your hands. Buy a replacement and open the back of the machine. Remove the old belt and insert the new one. Slide it through the motor pulley until the new belt is firmly in place. If that doesn’t fix the problem, keep troubleshooting.

Replacing the Roller

You should also see a roller underneath the belt next to the tumbler. Take out the roller and inspect it for any damage. Rollers can easily get worn out, especially if your machine is more than 10 years old. Swap out the roller for a new one to see if that fixes the problem.

Replacing the Motor

If you’re still out of luck, you probably need a new motor. In order to replace the motor, you’ll have to pull out the air duct and the blower wheel and then slide in a new motor. You might want to take photos of the inside of the machine before you begin tearing it apart.

Trapped Heat

If your dryer refuses to turn on all together or is getting too hot during a normal cycle, your air vent could be clogged. Empty out the lint trap and inspect the vent. Clear away any debris that might be blocking the airflow.

Taking apart your home’s dryer can be a labor-intensive endeavor. If you don’t feel comfortable troubleshooting such a large piece of machinery, you’re better off calling the pros at Absolute Appliances Repair, offering reliable washer dryer repair to the entire Bay Area, including San Francisco, Mill Valley, Marin County, Novato, and Larkspur.

What to Do When Your Refrigerator Dies

The refrigerator is one of those appliances that’s pretty hard to live without—even if it’s for few hours. So when you’re refrigerator suddenly dies, or is in the process of dying, it can be really nerve-wracking. Fortunately, there are signs that tell you when your refrigerator is dying so you can address the problems before it completely gives out. Read on for more information.

Signs your refrigerator is dying

Your food keeps expiring before it’s supposed to

A faulty fridge can cause food to go bad before its expiration date. This could mean that the thermostat isn’t working properly, the condenser coils are covered in dust, or the motor is working overtime because condenser coils are too hot.

Your energy bills are increasing

If your energy bills are going up, it may be a sign that your kitchen appliances are using too much energy. And because your refrigerator and freezer are on all the time, they may be to blame. The thermostat, motor, or compressor may be on its way out.

The interior feels relatively warm

Ideally, the interior of your refrigerator should be 35˚F at all times, with the freezer being at 0˚. If your refrigerator isn’t staying at the correct temperature, it may be dying. Check the door seal to make sure it’s not loose and make sure the condenser coils are clean.

The compressor or motor is constantly running

Your refrigerator will always emit a soft humming sound; however, when the internal temperature rises above its set level, the compressor and the motor will turn on to lower the temperature. This increases the noise level for a short time. If the sound doesn’t decrease, though, this may be a sign that something is wrong with the refrigerator.

There’s a puddle of water around the fridge

This could mean that the door isn’t closing all the way, the drip pan is broken, the fridge is filled with frost, or hoses from the fridge to the drip pan might be loose.

If your refrigerator is showing signs of imminent death, don’t panic. Help is usually just a phone call away. If you live in the San Francisco area and you’re in need of refrigerator repair or freezer repair, contact Absolute Appliances Repair for professional, reliable service.

Keeping Food Safe When the Fridge Dies

How to Avoid Food Contamination without a Fridge

Keeping food safe during a power outage is about being prepared. If there’s a major storm headed to your neighborhood, you need to take certain precautions to avoid getting stuck with a fridge full of rotten food. Losing all that food isn’t just about wasting money; it’s about protecting your family from harmful bacteria and pathogens. Prevent a worst-case scenario and use these tips to keep your family’s food as fresh as possible.

Prepare for a Major Power Outage

Sometimes it’s impossible to predict the weather or when your fridge is going to fail. But if you have a warning such as a major storm, you can make a few preparations ahead of time. Start by making sure that you have a working, accurate thermostat in your refrigerator and freezer. If you’re not sure if your thermostat is accurate, leave a new one in the fridge and then compare the readings. Your goal is to keep the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer at 0 degrees or below. The next step is to fill plastic bags with water and keep them on hand in case you need to keep certain foods cold while the power is out. If you have ice packs or freezer packs, keep those cold as well. You should also have a store in mind that’s nearby in case you need to run out and buy ice.

What to Do When You Lose the Fridge

Whether you’re facing a power outage from a storm or your fridge bites the dust, you need to act fast if your fridge is no longer working correctly. Keep the doors on the fridge and freezer closed as much as possible. If you need to reach in and grab something, think carefully about what you need and where to find it. Your fridge will maintain its current temperature for about 4 hours. Your freezer should stay frozen for about 48 hours if it’s full of food. It will only last for about 24 hours if it’s half-full. If the temperature starts to drop, you can add bags of ice from a local store. Stuff the ice around sensitive items like meat and produce. You can also bundle items around or on top of each other to help them maintain their current temperature.

To prevent cross-contamination, place any meat in separate plastic bags and place them on one side of the fridge or freezer. If any juices from the meat start to leak out, you’re better off throwing the meat out rather than exposing your sanitary food to harmful contaminants.

When you finally get the fridge working again, be cautious when deciding which foods to keep and which to throw out. If you’re not sure, don’t take a risk. Be safe and toss it in the trash.

If your family’s fridge or freezer is on its last leg, contact Absolute Appliances Repair for appliance repair in San Francisco, San Rafael, Mill Valley or Marin County.

How You Can Get the Most from Your Dishwasher

A dishwasher is quite the investment, and as such, you want to make sure you’re getting every penny’s worth from it. Like many other appliances, your dishwasher may need repairs at some point during its lifetime. If yours does, Absolute Appliances Repair services San Francisco, Mill Valley, Marin County and many other locations. They offer washer repair, dryer repair and are able to service many other appliances – including dishwashers!

Did you know you can help preserve the lifespan and function of your dishwasher by performing regular maintenance and cleaning? Repairs and service may get expensive, but by following tips below, you can get the most from your dishwasher regardless of its age.

Tips to Keep Your Dishwasher in Tip-Top Shape

Your dishwasher deserves some TLC, just like your other appliances and electronics. If you’re noticing that a first run-through isn’t leaving your dishes with a sparkle, it may be time to make some adjustments. Rather than spending money on unnecessary repairs, why not try these tricks first?

  1. Keep the filter in your dishwasher clean. This is one item that many people tend to overlook in the hurry to get dishes loaded and into the wash cycle. The filter can easily get clogged with food and water deposits, which can definitely have an effect on how clean your dishes get during a typical wash cycle. Keep it clean and clear for optimal results.
  2. Scrape leftover food from your dishes, rather than pre-rinsing or soaking. You’ve probably heard that rinsing your dishes before running them through the dishwasher is a necessary part of the process. It’s not. Rinsing and/or soaking is a big waste of water, and you’d be better served to scrape your dishes thoroughly before putting them in the dishwasher. This also cuts down on the food and other dish grime that can gather on the filter.
  3. Always run hot water through your faucet before starting a dishwashing cycle. This is incredibly important, but is another tip that is easily overlooked or forgotten. Hot water helps kill bacteria on your dishes and inside the dishwasher much more effectively than cold or luke-warm water. Plus, hot water can help rinse your dishes cleaner as well.
  4. Consider having your water tested every so often. An issue many people may not think about, hard water can have negative effects on your dishwasher’s ability to thoroughly clean your dishes. It can also be bad for your dishwasher in general, leaving hard water deposits on moving parts and on the filter. Clean, balanced water is not only good for you and your family, but for the life of your dishwasher, too!

If you’ve tried these tips and are still having troubles, your best option for Bay Area appliance repair is Absolute Appliances Repair. Protect your investment. Take the proper steps to care for your dishwasher and keep it running.

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!