SAVING ENERGY

Biggest energy culprits in any home

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the one appliance that uses by far the most energy after heating and cooling equipment is the hot water heater. This means the appliances that rely on hot water, such as the dishwasher, are costing you even more. The best move you can make when upgrading your water heater is to switch to an energy efficient or tankless model. From there, the next major appliance putting a dent in the electricity is the clothes dryer with the refrigerator coming in at a close second.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, this is how the numbers break down for the average home. These figures assume your home has newer appliances, however. The numbers would shift dramatically if the refrigerator or freestanding freezer were 15 years old, for example.

  • Water heater – 2400 kWh for a family of two
  • Clothes dryer – 1000 kWh
  • Refrigerator – 600 kWh
  • Dishwasher – 300 kWh
  • Clothes washer – 200 kWh

Are there laws governing energy usage?

The more electricity a home uses the more tax the homeowner pays each month. Laws apply more to the manufacturers. There are standards set that compel them to produce appliances that use less energy. The law also requires each product to have a label that shows energy usage and the ENERGY STAR rating. Checking that ENERGY STAR rating before buying is one of the easiest appliance energy tips to follow.

What are the tax benefits of energy efficient appliances?

The state and federal government offer incentives to reduce energy usage, mostly in the form of tax credits. The tax regulations vary from year to year, so it is important to consult with a tax specialist when looking at appliance energy tips. In general, you may be able to deduct at least part of the purchase cost of an energy-efficient appliance along with the installation fees on your federal tax return using IRS form 5695.

In addition to the federal tax benefits, some local utility services offer discounts and rebates for switching to more energy-friendly appliances. It is worth a visit to the utility company website to see if they have a program that encourages energy efficiency.

Appliances are a big part of the energy picture. Let us help formulate appliance solutions that fit your needs and put you on the energy-saving fast track. Set up an appointment with one of our energy specialists for an evaluation and visit our website often to keep up to date on appliance energy tips.

 

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

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

Baking in a Gas Oven: 5 Things to Know About

All ovens have their own unique quirks, but gas ovens can be particularly tricky. Most of the time it’s business as usual, and then out of the blue, you’ll bake some muffins that won’t brown on top or a cake that bakes unevenly. Wonder why, or what you can do about it? I have a few tips to help you out.

Understanding Your Gas Oven

All gas ovens have the main burner on the bottom of the oven compartment, usually shielded by a sheet of metal with large vents on the sides. This main burner provides very intense radiant heat upwards into the main oven compartment.

Some models also have a second burner on the roof of the oven, but this is primarily used for broiling and not for warming the oven for baking.

Gas is very efficient, so gas ovens tend to heat very quickly. However, the oven temperature can fluctuate more widely and the overall heating is often less even. Most gas ovens (especially older ones) will have hot spots. Gas ovens also tend to be more humid than either electric or convection ovens since the combustion of the gas releases some moisture into the air of the oven; this can lead to issues with browning and crisping some baked goods.

These are general characteristics of gas ovens. Your own oven might not show all these characteristics, particularly if it’s a newer model.

1. Always rotate your trays.

Gas ovens are notorious for having hot spots, so it’s important to rotate your trays once or twice during cooking (depending on the length of cooking). This ensures that everything bakes as evenly as possible. When baking foods like cakes, quick breads, or trays of muffins, rotate them 90 degrees midway through cooking. If you’re baking multiple trays of cookies, swap the top and bottom trays as well as rotating them. Long-cooking foods, like casseroles and some breads, will benefit from rotating a few times.

If you do a lot of baking, it can also be useful to map out the hot spots using a tray of shredded coconut or breadcrumbs.

2. A pizza stone helps provide even cooking.

A pizza stone holds heat incredibly well and also radiates it outward at a very even and steady rate. This makes it a great tool not just for making pizza, but also for turning your cranky gas range into a sure and steady cooking machine. When you’re not using it for actual baking, place your baking stone on the floor of your oven or on the lowest rack. Cook your foods on another rack just above the baking stone — baking directly on the stone can sometimes cause the bottoms of delicate foods to burn, but baking just above ensures you get the maximum benefit of that even, radiant heat.

If you’re purchasing a new pizza stone, I suggest buying a large rectangular one. This gives you a surface area that most closely matches the shape of your oven.

3. Move trays higher for browner tops.

Since gas ovens tend to have more ambient moisture in the air, it can take longer — sometimes a lot longer — for foods to brown on top. If you’d like to speed along the browning process, move the tray to the top of the oven or place a second baking sheet directly above the food. The heat will bounce off the ceiling and help brown your foods. Alternatively, you can run the food under the broiler for a minute or two. Be very attentive if you do this, though — it’s very easy to go from lovely golden-brown to scorched and burnt in just a few seconds under the broiler.

4. Turn up the heat for more crisping action.

Also due to the humid oven atmosphere, it can sometimes be hard to get foods as crispy as you want them to be — particularly things like roasted potatoes, meringue, or pâte à choux. If crunchy and crispy is your aim, try turning up the oven heat by 25°F. The cooking time will change slightly, so be attentive toward the end of cooking and look out for visual and aromatic cues that your food is done.

5. Avoid dark metal cookware.

Because the heat coming from that main burner is so intense, the bottoms of your foods can start to burn long before the middle or top is done. If you can, avoid using dark-colored metal bakeware, as this absorbs more heat and speeds up cooking. Light-colored metal, glass, and silicone are great choices for baking in gas ovens and will reduce the risk that the bottoms burn.

If you only have dark metal pans or if you’re still having problems with burnt bottoms, try moving the trays one rack higher in the oven to put a little more distance between the food and the heating element. You can also try reducing the oven temperature by 25°F, particularly in the last half of baking.

Major APPLIANCE BUYING TIPS

A major appliance is a major purchase. Be smart before you shop with these often-overlooked tips.

Think of it this way: Unlike a rug, lamp, or hat, you can’t take it back—or at least not easily. That’s why it’s called a major appliance. Here are 13 ways to avoid major buyer’s remorse.

Appliance Problem?
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What is A Self-Cleaning Oven

Unless you’ve mastered the clean-as-you-go approach to hosting, the aftermath of a dinner party can feel a lot like the hangover that comes with it — fond memories of a great time overshadowed by the stomach-churning odor of dirty dishes in your kitchen sink. And let’s not talk about that molten mess you left crystalizing behind your oven door.

Short of hiring help, there’s only one other way to handle this madness: By keeping that door shut and letting your oven clean itself.

But how does that self-cleaning mechanism work, anyway?

How exactly does the feature work?
Typically, this cycle uses high heat to burn off spills and spatters in the oven. An automatic safety lock on self-cleaning models prevents the oven door from being opened until the oven has cooled. Some models have a countdown display that shows the time left in the cycle.

Does it mean that you never have to scrub your oven again?

If you get one of our highly-rated models, yes. All you should need to do is wipe up some ash.

Are all self-cleaning features created equal? If not, how might they differ from one oven model to the next?
Sadly no. Some are much better than others at cleaning up messy, baked-on foods according to our tests. A few professional models may not have a self-cleaning feature.

How often is self-cleaning generally recommended?
It depends on your tolerance levels and how much you cook; check out the owners manual.

What are the biggest mistakes people make when using this feature?

  1. Not leaving enough time for the cycle, which can take 3-6 hours, because it takes time for the oven to heat up and to cool down once the cycle is finished.
  2. Not ventilating the kitchen while the cycle is running. Open the window a crack and turn on the range hood, otherwise it can get smelly.

Is there any new technology around self-cleaning ovens?
Some manufacturers offer lower-temperature self-cleaning cycles that use water and steam. They were faster, but really couldn’t handle big messes, especially grease on the oven walls and on the window in the oven door.

the World’s Most Exclusive Oven

Since 1986, in-the-know designers and high-end homeowners have coveted the Gaggenau 300 Series 36-inch wall oven. Its unique design can fit four chickens at once, and a single-piece quadruple-glazed door retains heat inside the oven.

Its price? If you have to ask, it isn’t for you. But even those who can afford the 300 Series can’t always get one.
That’s because of supply and demand. Unlike mass-produced appliances, Gaggenau builds each 300 Series oven by hand in a factory in Lipsheim, France. The door is made from a single piece of metal, and the interior is coated in a proprietary cobalt mixture.

The factory can only create so many ovens in a year, so would-be customers can’t simply head down to a local appliance store and pick one up.

Consider the Gaggenau 300 Series the Birkin bag of home appliances: Coveted, exclusive, and hard to find.

This year, in honor of the German brand’s 333rd anniversary, Gaggenau is making some major updates to the 300 Series. The all-new EB 333 wall oven gets a new digital control panel, complete with automatic cooking modes.

Like its predecessor, the EB 333’s temperatures can still be set in increments as small as 5ºF, it still comes with standard convection and self-cleaning functions, and it can still fit an optional, built-in rotisserie.

One thing hasn’t changed: The 300 Series’ unique look. The oven is wider than it is tall, and retains the familiar front door with raised window. So, despite all that new technology, the EB 333 is still instantly recognizable as a Gaggenau.

read more here

REFRIGERATORS

The EnergyGuide label on new refrigerators tells you how much electricity in kilowatt-hours (kWh) a particular model uses in one year. The smaller the number, the less energy the refrigerator uses and the less it will cost you to operate. In addition to the EnergyGuide label, don’t forget to look for the ENERGY STAR label. A new refrigerator with an ENERGY STAR label uses at least 15% less energy than non-qualified models, 20% less energy than required by current federal standards, and 40% less energy than the conventional models sold in 2001.

REFRIGERATOR-FREEZER ENERGY TIPS
  • Don’t keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold. Recommended temperatures are 35°-38°F for the fresh food compartment and 0° F for separate freezers for long-term storage.
  • Check the refrigerator temperature by placing an appliance thermometer in a glass of water in the center of the refrigerator. Read it after 24 hours. Check the freezer temperature by placing a thermometer between frozen packages. Read it after 24 hours.
  • Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight. Test them by closing the door over a piece of paper or a dollar bill so it is half in and half out of the refrigerator. If you can pull the paper or bill out easily, the latch may need adjustment, the seal may need replacing, or you may consider buying a new unit.
  • Cover liquids and wrap foods stored in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release moisture and make the compressor work harder.
  • Regularly defrost manual-defrost freezers and refrigerators; frost buildup decreases the energy efficiency of the unit. Don’t allow frost to build up more than one-quarter of an inch.
LONG-TERM SAVINGS TIP

Look for the ENERGY STAR label when buying a new refrigerator. Select a new refrigerator that is the right size for your household. Top freezer models are more energy efficient than side-by-side models. Features like icemakers and water dispensers, while convenient, do use more energy.

DISHWASHERS

Most of the energy used by a dishwasher is for water heating. The EnergyGuide label estimates how much power is needed per year to run the appliance and to heat the water based on the yearly cost of natural gas and electric water heating.

DISHWASHER WATER-SAVING TIPS
  • Check the manual that came with your dishwasher for the manufacturer’s recommendations on water temperature; many have internal heating elements that allow you to set the water heater in your home to a lower temperature (120° F).
  • Scrape, don’t rinse, off large food pieces and bones. Soaking or pre-washing is generally only recommended in cases of burned- or dried-on food.
  • Be sure your dishwasher is full (not overloaded) when you run it.
  • Avoid using the “rinse hold” on your machine for just a few soiled dishes. It uses 3-7 gallons of hot water each use.
  • Let your dishes air dry; if you don’t have an automatic air-dry switch, turn off the control knob after the final rinse and prop the door open slightly so the dishes will dry faster.
LONG-TERM SAVINGS TIP

When shopping for a new dishwasher, look for the ENERGY STAR label to find one that uses less water and energy than required by federal standards. They are required to use 4.25 gallons of water per cycle or less — older dishwashers purchased before 1994 use more than 10 gallons of water per cycle.

REPAIRING MAJOR HOME APPLIANCES

  • Always make sure the electric power and/or the gas supply to the appliance is disconnected before you test the appliance to diagnose the problem or make any repairs. If you turn the power on to check your work after making a repair, do not touch the appliance; just turn the power on and observe. If adjustments are needed, turn the power off before you make them.
  • If the parts of an appliance are held together with screws, bolts, plugs, and other take-apart fasteners, you can probably make any necessary repairs. If the parts are held together with rivets or welds, don’t try to repair the appliance yourself. Call a professional service person.
  • In most cases, broken or malfunctioning appliance parts can be replaced more quickly and inexpensively than they can be repaired by you or a professional. Replace any broken or malfunctioning parts with new parts made especially for that appliance. If you cannot find an exact replacement for the broken part, it’s okay to substitute a similar part as long as it fits into the old space. In this case, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for installation.
  • Check to make sure that the appliance is properly and firmly plugged in and that the cord, the plug, and the outlet are working properly. To determine whether an outlet is working, test it with a voltage tester.
  • Check to make sure the fuses and/or circuit breakers that control the circuit have not blown or tripped. There may be more than one electrical entrance panel for your home, especially for 220-240-volt appliances such as ranges and air conditioners. Check for blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers at both the main panel and the separate panel.
  • Check to make sure fuses and/or breakers in the appliance itself are not blown or tripped. Push the reset buttons to restore power to appliances such as washers, dryers, and ranges. Some ranges have separate plug-type fuses for oven operation; make sure these fuses have not blown.
  • If the appliance uses gas or water, check to make sure it is receiving an adequate supply.
  • Check the owner’s manual for the appliance. Many manufacturers include helpful problem/solution troubleshooting charts. If you don’t have a manual for an appliance, you can probably get one — even for an old or obsolete appliance — from the manufacturer’s customer service department.

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

Phone lines

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

 

 

 

More Appliance tips

General Appliance Tips

  • Unplug electronic appliances when not in use.
  • Upgrade your refrigerator if it is 10 years old or older. Refrigerators use more energy than any other appliance in your home, but an ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerator uses about half the energy of a 10-year old conventional model.
  • Clothes washers use energy to both clean clothes and heat water, so to save on energy costs, wash your clothes in cool water.
  • Run dishwashers only when you have a full load.
  • Use the air dry cycle on your dishwasher.
  • Use the oven less. Use microwaves, toaster ovens, and crockpots more often.

     

Appliance Tips

Appliance Tip #1:

For best dryer performance and to prevent possible fire, inspect outside vent weekly for lint obstruction and good air flow.

Appliance Tip #2: 

For best dishwasher performance, run water at the kitchen sink until hot just before starting your dishwasher.  It’s also best to use soft water for improved washability as well as increasing the life of your appliance.

Appliance Tip #3: 

Using a small nylon mesh laundry bag for small articles, such as children socks, etc can prevent such items from entering your wash pump and causing damage.  Always carefully check pockets and remove all items before washing such as keys, hair pins, safety pins, coins etc.

Appliance Tip #4: 

Using too much fabric softener can cause a build up over time that can actually affect your dryer’s performance. If using liquid fabric softener in the washer, use a very small amount, diluted. If your choice is a dryer sheet,  appliance manufacturers now recommend cutting the dryer sheet in half. Not only will your dryer be happier, you’ll save money, too.

Appliance Tip #5: 

Adding a product called “Finish Glass Magic” to your dishwasher may increase the cleaning performance.  Pour “Finish Glass Magic” into the bottom of the dishwasher tub.  Then, add your favorite detergent to the dispenser as you normally would.  There are several Finish products, but it must have the words “Glass Magic” on the box. Recently, phosphates have been removed from all dishwasher detergents and many people are calling us to report that their dishwasher is no longer getting dishes clean and/or leaving a white residue on dishes, particularly plastic items. You may need to soak the items in a vinegar solution to remove the residue.  Then, use the “Finish Glass Magic” with each wash.  Another product that is very useful with kitchen and laundry appliances is “20 Mule Team Borax”.  Simply pour 1/4 cup of “20 Mule Team Borax” in the bottom of the dishwasher tub for each load.