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.

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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.

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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.

 

Home Appliances Tips

Replacing a refrigerator or oven range can take a bite out of your budget, as can buying a new washer or dryer. To make sure your appliances stand the test of time and continue to perform, follow these home appliances tips:

Keep your fridge and freezer clean

In general, appliances operate best when spick-and-span.

Besides regularly cleaning up leftovers in the fridge, keep condenser coils clean. Do so by using a condenser coil brush.

To clean the freezer, unplug it, remove all food, wipe it down with a baking-soda solution, use water to rinse it, and then dry the freezer with a towel before plugging it back in.

Defrost your freezer

Many freezers today are frost-free. However, if you have a manual defrost freezer, plan to defrost it at least once every year, before frost gets to about a half-inch thick. Use a plastic or wooden scrape — no knives or other sharp instruments — to remove the frost layer.

Scrub your oven and range, too

Clean inside your oven often and never let food debris stick around on burners, even if it requires a bit of elbow grease to remove.

Don’t spray cleaning fluid directly on control panels though, which could cause them to short circuit. Instead, apply a little onto a rag to clean that surface.

Don’t foil your oven

Experts debate whether you should use the self-cleaning feature if your oven comes with one, but they agree you shouldn’t use aluminum foil under the baking element.

Replace filters

Whether it’s a charcoal filter in an oven, a filter in some dishwashers or refrigerators or the one in your furnace, follow manufacturer guidelines to clean and/or replace them as directed.

Don’t use dish soap in the dishwasher

This can hamper the machine’s performance with gunky buildup. Use only dish detergent.

Scrape off plates

Food debris can clog dishwasher pumps. It’s going to stop up the spray arms and, in the case of emptying the water out, it’s possibly going to make the pump … fail prematurely.

Don’t overload your clothes washing machine

Doing so adds strain on the motor, tub bearings and other parts, besides not getting your clothes clean if water and detergent can’t swish between them. You shorten the life of the machine.

Instead, follow the owner manual instructions on how much to load. Hint: If your machine is banging around under the weight of all of your laundry, you’ve gone overboard.

Improve your dryer’s circulation

Often forgotten, the lint screen needs to be cleaned regularly. Failing to do or allowing your dryer vent to become clogged will force your dryer to work overtime (read: retire sooner) and can present a serious fire hazard.

Plan to have your dryer’s exhaust system cleaned annually.

Watch where you apply stain removers

Spraying it on top of washers or dryers can corrode painted or plastic parts.

Best Refrigerator Temperature to Keep Food Fresh

For the food in your refrigerator to stay fresh for as long as possible—no ice crystals on the lettuce or bacteria breeding in warm spots—the refrigerator temperature should hover right around 37° F. In the freezer, a temperature of 0° F will keep foods thoroughly frozen.

Knowing that, the reasonable step would be to set your refrigerator to those temperatures. But the temperature controls on many refrigerators only allow you to choose from a series of numbers—say, from 1 to 5, with 1 being the coldest and 5 the warmest. Even when refrigerators have digital controls that allow you to set a specific refrigerator temperature, the settings aren’t always accurate. But the temperature-measuring equipment Consumer Reports uses in its tests is extremely precise, down to a fraction of a degree, so we can tell you exactly where to set your refrigerator temperature to achieve optimal freshness.

 

Read More here

Consumer Reports

DISHWASHER NOT DRAINING

Piston & Nut Assembly

Some models of dishwashers utilize a check valve as part of the drain sump. Within the check valve there is the piston and nut assembly. If your dishwasher is not draining water properly, the piston and nut assembly could be the source of the problem. This assembly is located on the bottom of the tub beneath the sump cover and is accessed by removing four screws. The piston and nut assembly should move up and down freely. When the piston is in the down position, it should form a tight seal. If it is not forming a complete seal, the dishwasher will not completely pump out the water and the piston and nut assembly will need to be replaced.

You should also check the body valve gasket to make sure it is fitting properly over the threaded portion of the piston and nut assembly and replace if damaged or worn.

Drain Pump & Motor

All dishwashers will have a method to drain the water. Most models will have a single motor driven pump with two separate compartments, one for circulation and one for drain, each with its own impeller. Other types will have a separate drain pump and some will utilize the main circulating pump in conjunction with a drain solenoid and diverter valve or flapper. On models that use a separate drain pump you should check to see if there is any obstruction to the input and output of the pump and also verify that there is power getting to the pump motor during the drain portion of the cycle. If both check ok, then you should replace the pump and motor assembly.

On models that use a drain flapper and solenoid, again you should check for any obstructions and verify that the solenoid is getting energized and that there is continuity. Use a multi-meter to make these tests. Check that the linkage operating the flapper or diverter is moving freely and replace any defective parts. On models that have a two section pump, the drain impeller may be at fault. First, verify that the motor is running in the proper direction. If the motor does not run, then check for power at the terminals on the motor. If voltage is not present, then you should check door switches, timer or electronic control as a possible cause. If proper voltage is present, then the motor windings could be open. If the motor is humming, then the problem could be that the drain impeller is jammed or the motor could be seized. If the motor is seized, then the motor or motor and pump assembly will need to be replaced. The electrical checks can be made with a multi-meter.

Disassembly of the pump will be required to determine if the impeller is the problem. The drain compartment is typically located beneath the circulating compartment. Remove the lower rack, spray arm, pump cover and filter assembly to gain access. Inspect the drain impeller for damage or wear and replace if required. Also check that the food chopper is in good condition and not allowing large food particles to clog the drain outlet, and that both the chopper and impeller are turning freely.

Check Valve Flapper

Some dishwasher models will use a check valve in the drain outlet. The check valve is used to allow water to flow in one direction but will prevent the dirty water from re-entering the dishwasher. The valve is normally a rubber flapper that is located on the outlet port of the drain pump or housing. If you suspect that the drain hose has a restriction or if you find that waste water is getting back into the dishwasher tub, then the check valve is most likely the problem. The flapper valve should fully open during the drain portion of the cycle but should close the opening to the pump outlet when in the wash or circulation portion of the cycle. If there are no foreign objects restricting this action, then the check valve should be replaced.

Belt

Some older dishwashers may use a belt driven pump. If the belt has come off or is slipping then the pump that drains the dishwasher won’t function properly. Inspect the belt for signs of wear or stretching and replace if required.

Timer

Some dishwashers will use a mechanical timer to operate the cycles. The timer controls the main pump motor as well as the drain solenoid or separate drain pump motor if your model has that style. The timer is normally located in the control panel at the top of the dishwasher door. You will require a wiring diagram and schematic to identify the correct timer contacts that control the drain cycle. These can then be checked for continuity with a multi-meter and if defective then the timer will need to be replaced.

Drain Hose

A dishwasher will not drain properly if it has a restricted or clogged drain hose. Restrictions typically appear most often at the outlet from the pump or drain housing where a check valve may be located, at the input to the household drain system or anywhere that a kink may have formed in the drain hose. If food debris has caused a restriction, then you should check the condition of the food chopper as a possible source of the problem. If the hose has developed a kink it should be replaced and the new hose should be supported well enough to prevent any new kinks from forming.

More Repair Parts

We’ve identified the most common parts that can cause a dishwasher to stop draining, but there are other parts that could be at fault. If you are unable to fix your dishwasher with the information above, enter your model number into the search box for additional repair help. Searching with your model number will give you access to all parts and schematics, symptoms for your specific dishwasher as well as all installation instructions and videos.

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

Phone lines

(415) 831-1259 San Francisco
(415) 388-0690 Marin County
(650) 525-0512 South SF / Daly City / Pacifica

 

 

WHO INVENTED dishwasher

By definition the kitchen is a room used for food preparation that is typically equipped with a stove, a sink for cleaning food and dish-washing, and cabinets and refrigerators for storing food and equipment. Kitchens have been around for centuries, however, it was not until post-civil war period that the majority of kitchen appliances were invented. The reason was that most people no longer had servants and housewives working alone in the kitchen needed culinary help. Also the advent of electricity greatly advanced the technology of labor saving kitchen appliances.

Dishwasher

Everything changed thanks to Joel Houghton, who patented a wooden machine with a hand-turned wheel that splashed water on dishes, in 1850. This was hardly a workable machine, but it was the first patent. This was just the beginning, though, and advancements came pretty fast. Thus, in 1865, L.A. Alexander obtained a patent for a device that used a hand crank and gearing to spin a rack of dishes through the dishwater. Again, this didn’t do to much to clean dirty dishes.In 1886, Josephine Cochrane (granddaughter of John Fitch, the inventor of the steamboat) proclaims in disgust “If nobody else is going to invent a dishwashing machine, I’ll do it myself.”And she did, Cochrane invented the first practical dishwasher. She was a rich woman who had a lot of dinner parties. She had servants to wash her dishes but she wanted a machine that could do the job faster without breaking so many. So, she built a dishwasher herself!First, she measured her dishes and then built wire compartments – each specially designed to fit plates, cups, and saucers. The compartments fit in a wheel that lay flat inside a copper boiler. A motor turned the wheel, while hot soapy water squirted up from the boiler and rained down on the dishes. She unveiled her invention at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, and won its highest award.

Cochrane’s friends liked her dishwasher, and soon, Mrs. Cochrane was getting orders for the machine from restaurants and hotels around Illinois. She patented the design and went into production. Her company is now the well-known upscale kitchenware corporation KitchenAid. Other companies made dishwashers for restaurants and caterers that were powered by steam. They worked by passing the dirty dishes under jets of hot water using a conveyor belt or spinning basket which were inefficient. It was not until the 1950s, when dishwashers became cheaper and smaller, that they caught on with the general public.Models installed with permanent plumbing arrived in the 1920s. In 1937, William Howard Livens invented a small dishwasher suitable for home. It had all the features of a modern dishwasher, including a front door for loading, a wire rack to hold crockery and a rotating sprayer. Electric drying elements were added in 1940.
Adoption was greatest at first in commercial environments, but by the 1970s dishwashers had become commonplace in domestic residences in the US.


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HOW TO GET YOUR KITCHEN SPARKLING CLEAN

how to clean your kitchenWhen you think about it, you practically spend as much time in your kitchen as you do your bedroom — and it can get just as messy. Follow our easy plan to keep your appliances sparkling clean.

Clean Weekly:

  • Appliance faces: Use a mild cleaner or make a paste of baking soda and water to clean. Dissolve grease on the stove top with a sponge soaked in white vinegar.
  • Microwave: Soak the turntable in sudsy water while you wipe up interior splatters. Or try a steam clean: Fill a microwave-safe glass with 2 cups of water and either 1 teaspoon of vanilla or a few slices of lemon. Run on high for 5 minutes and wipe the sweet-smelling interior clean with a paper towel.
  • Counter tops: Spray on an all-purpose cleaner (or run disposable wipes over the surface) and let it sit 10 minutes.
  • Sink: Pour down several quarts of boiling water to flush out grease. Follow with 1 cup of white vinegar and scrub the basin with baking soda.
  • Floors: Wash tile or stone floors with 1 cup vinegar and 1 gallon of water. For icky grout, mix 1 Tbl. bleach and 2 cups warm water. Scrub with an old toothbrush.

 

Clean Monthly:

  • Oven: If you don’t have a self-clean oven, sprinkle salt on the residue while the oven is still warm. When it cools, scrape it up with a spatula and wipe clean with a cloth. Got stuck-on crud? Use a nylon scrubby sponge dipped in soapy hot water.
  • Fridge: Wash the interior with a solution of baking soda and warm water, about 1/2 cup of baking soda for every gallon of water. Clean the drain pan and vacuum underneath the refrigerator.
  • Garbage can: Hose it down with hot water; then spray with a disinfectant.
  • Cabinets: Wipe them down with 1/2 cup white vinegar or a solution of 1/4 cup liquid oil soap and 1 gallon of warm water.
  • Dishwasher: Run a complete cycle with an empty machine (just detergent) for a clean, deodorized space.

 

APPLIANCES RECENT NEWS

Samsung adds a Sodastream dispenser to its new refrigerator

 

If you like sparkling water or homemade soft drinks flavored with syrup, the Samsung RF31FMESBSR four-door refrigerator might deserve a spot in your kitchen. Samsung partnered with Sodastream, manufacturer of the countertop soda makers that have become popular in recent years. The refrigerator’s dispenser uses the same CO2 cylinders as the countertop devices. The cost of the sparkling water works out to about 25 cents per liter, if you get 60 liters to the cylinder, according to Sodastream. Syrups, available in more than 60 regular and diet flavors, are an additional cost. The cylinders and syrups are available online and at 10,000 locations, so you shouldn’t have to travel far for replacements.

KitchenAid dishwasher recycles water as it washes

Twenty years ago, it wasn’t unusual for a dishwasher tested by Consumer Reports to use 10 gallons of water or more for a normal cycle. Today, because of tighter federal efficiency standards, half that amount is common. And this week, Whirlpool introduced a KitchenAid dishwasher that’s even more of a water miser, using up to a third less water with a water-recycling system made available two years ago in Europe.

The AquaSense Recycling system, which will appear first in Whirlpool’s KitchenAid, filters the water from the last rinse of one load of dishes and uses it to prerinse the next load. It stores the extra water in a slim tank on the side of the dishwasher (at right in photo), which holds a little more than three quarts of water, without the need to enlarge the dishwasher cavity. The rinse water is mostly clean, company representatives said, but contains a residual amount of detergent that makes the water slightly alkaline and discourages mold growth.

And AquaSense has other ways to keep the system clean. If you don’t use your dishwasher again within three days, or if you lose power for a period, the dishwasher drains the holding tank. And every 30 days (or 30 cycles), the unit adds an extra 30 minutes to a cycle to flush out the tank and lines with hot water.

TAKING CARE OF YOUR WASHING MACHINE

1. Inspect the hoses

Water hoses

Check your washing machine’s water hoses for signs of wear or weakness a few times monthly year. If you discover any cracks or blistering, replace the hose. Any damage could cause a leak or burst – and extremely expensive flood damage in your home.

Most manufacturers recommend replacing the hoses every five years. For more peace of mind, use high-quality, stainless steel hoses.

2. Prevent flood damage

Floodstop

In the event that your washing machine’s fill hoses burst or water level switch malfunctions, you’ll have instant water damage in the room.

These two products can prevent this:

  • Water Shutoff System
    This water shutoff system prevents water damage by automatically shutting off the water flow when a malfunction is detected. Installation can be completed in five minutes. No special tools are needed.
  • Washing Machine Overflow Pan
    For smaller leaks and drips, this popular plastic panfits beneath a washing machine and will protect a floor from water damage due to overflow and leakage. It has a fitting to accommodate drain line attachment.

3. Don’t overload it

Open washing machine

Follow the owner’s manual’s instructions for appropriate loading sizes. Oversized loads will throw the machine off balance and that will lead to problems.

4. Keep it level

Level

It’s abnormal for washing machines to vibrate the floor and walls of your laundry room. If your washing machine is not exactly level, with all four legs on the floor, it may rock back and forth and vibrate strongly.

It’s best to keep the machine as close to the floor as possible. The closer the machine sits to the floor, the less it will vibrate. The front legs are adjustable with a locknut. Position the legs at the desired height and tighten the lock nut against the body of the machine so that the legs cannot rotate. Some models also have adjustable legs in the rear, too. Follow the same process for adjusting those.

It is more common for machines to have self-adjusting rear legs. Ask someone to assist you with this. Tilt the machine forward on its front legs so that the rear legs are three to four inches from the floor. When you set the machine back down to rest all on all four legs, the legs should adjust automatically. If you find that they are not level, tilt the machine forward again and tap on the rear legs with the handle of a hammer to loosen them.

5. Use the appropriate amount of detergent

Washing machine detergent

Regardless of what’s recommended on detergent packaging, follow your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended amount of detergent.

6. Clean the inside once monthly

Washing machine inside

It’s common for detergent residue to build up inside of washing machine tubs. Use a cleaner once per month to keep high-efficiency washing machines free of odor-causing residue.

7. Clean out the fabric softener dispenser

Fabric softener dispenser

Gooey in nature, liquid fabric softener is known to gum up along fabric softener dispensers. Use a damp rag and hot water to clean the dispenser periodically.

8. Polish the outside

Appliance cleaner

Spilled detergent, stain remover and fabric softener dry to a sticky mess. This all-purpose cleaner and a rag will make cleaning easy.

9. Touch up gashes and scrapes with paint

Appliance touch-up paint

Prevent rusting by taking care of gashes and scrapes right away using touch-up paint.

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

Phone lines

(415) 831-1259 San Francisco
(415) 388-0690 Marin County
(650) 525-0512 South SF / Daly City / Pacifica