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!

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.

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.

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!

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