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How a Dryer Can Damage Your Clothes

If you’ve ever noticed that, over time, some of your clothes don’t look or fit like they used to, it’s not your imagination. There’s substantial scientific evidence that supports the idea that drying clothes in a dryer does irreparable damage to them. Dryers are at fault for clothes that shrink, clothes that lose their color, and clothes that wear thin and tear. To get to the bottom of just how our dryers are damaging our clothes, we’ll take a look at the studies that have been done on the matter. However, it’s important to remember that if you notice anything wrong with your appliances that point to a possible malfunction, you’ll want to contact us so we can come out and take a look to perform washer or dryer repair if needed.

The Incredible Shrinking Clothes

Researchers have taken pieces of cotton/synthetic and cotton fibers, along with blended fabrics, and marked different areas on the pieces. Then, they measured the distances and angles between each mark that was made. Putting the pieces of fabric through various washes was done, followed by either a high-heat cycle, a low-heat cycle, or air drying. You can perhaps guess how each turned out.

The experiment revealed some knowledge that most people already were aware of, like the fact that drying shrinks clothing almost twice as much as washing, and further, that tumble-drying shrinks twice as much as air-drying does. However, some new interesting facts about dryers were revealed, too:

  • When washing or tumble-drying is concerned, temperature does not actually affect the amount of shrinkage of clothes as much as most people think.
  • The hot water cycle for the washing machine shrank clothes just as much as the cold-water cycle.
  • The low-heat tumble-dry cycle shrank fabric just as much as the high-heat dry cycle.
  • What actually shrinks clothes most in a washer is the mechanical agitation.
  • What actually shrinks clothes most in the dryer is the forced air.

What About Fading Colors?

Tests on color were also performed; researchers found that most dyes don’t start to become compromised until around 340 degrees Fahrenheit, which is far hotter than any dryer should ever get. (If you have a dryer that ever gets this hot, you need to call us for repairs right away!) Therefore, dryers probably don’t cause colors to run.

Although colors don’t fade from dryers, the fabric itself does undergo some “running” of its own. Microscopic damage occurs each time fabric is put in the dryer. Although the damage itself is hard to see on clothing, all you have to do is check the lint trap to see it. Lint is what results from tiny tears in the fabric of clothing; over time, these tears cause clothes to fall apart.

How Do Dryers Contribute to Wear and Tear?

Researchers used cotton towels and rinsed them in a washing machine; then, they dried them in a dryer on high heat (about 150 degrees Fahrenheit), and then without heat. They did this for 20 cycles, and reported the results: After only 20 cycles, the fabric had already lost 50% of its strength! So after only 20 washes and dry cycles, the fabric became twice as easy to tear.

But what about dry cycles with no heat? The fabrics became 24% weaker after 20 cycles. To make matters worse, no matter what temperature is used for dry cycles, the tensile strength doesn’t level out over time; in other words, clothing damage doesn’t ever “slow down”, so each cycle pushes your clothes closer and closer to total ruin.

What Can You Do to Help Avoid Premature Damage?

Dryers save everyone valuable time and give a great deal of convenience to our daily chore schedules – but at a cost. While all dryers damage clothes, no matter the cycle, hot tumble-drying in particular takes a big toll on fabric. If you want to strike a balance between convenience and limiting the damage your clothes endure from the dryer, you should only use short dryer cycle times and low heat; the idea is to minimize mechanical action and exposing your clothing to the heat.

For more information on the best dryers for your clothes, the latest energy-efficient models, and more tips on how you can maximize the life of your clothes (and your dryer), contact our experts today – we can help with everything from tips and suggestions to maintenance to repairs.

Citations: Textile Research Journal, 2000, Vol. 70(8), pp. 739-743 Klausinger, S. L. et al., AATCC Review, 2012, pp. 51-57;

When to Repair Vs. Replace Your Large Home Appliances

How to Spend Your Money Wisely When Repairing or Replacing Appliances

Large home appliances are some of the most expensive items to a person’s name, right behind their car and the deed to their house. But many homeowners don’t spend much time thinking about or caring for their appliances until the damage has already been done. Suddenly, the refrigerator or the oven stops working, and the person has no idea whether they should repair or replace one of the biggest items in their home. This is a common dilemma for many homeowners. A person can save a lot of money when dealing with a broken appliance if they’re willing to do some homework.

Know the Life the Appliance

When dealing with a broken appliance, it’s important to understand the lifespan of the item. This will tell the person how much longer their appliance will last and whether or not it’s worth spending the money to have it repaired. The National Association of Homeowners recommends using these numbers as a reference:

  • Air conditioner: 15 years.
  • Dishwasher: 9 years.
  • Dryer: 13 years.
  • Garbage disposal: 12 years.
  • Refrigerator: 13 years.
  • Stove: 13 to 15 years.
  • Washer: 10 years.

These numbers can vary a bit based on the brand and whether the appliance has been well maintained over the years. If an appliance is getting towards the end of its lifespan, it’s probably best to have it replaced.

Check Your Warranty

Homeowners should also take the time to check their warranty information. If the appliance is still covered by the warranty, the person should have it repaired while they still can. Most manufacturers offer long-term warranties, so there’s a good chance that the item is still protected. Homeowners should also get in the habit of keeping a copy of their warranties in a safe place.

Consider Your Current Financial Situation

If the appliance isn’t covered by a warranty, the homeowner should contact an appliance repair company in their area to get an estimate. If the repairs will cost around 50% of the item’s total cost, it’s best to start from scratch and buy a new one.

If the person doesn’t have a lot of money when their appliance breaks down, they might have to have it repaired just to get by in the short-term. It all depends on what the person can afford. It usually makes more financial sense to replace the broken item sooner rather than later instead of spending money on intermittent repairs over the next several years.

Those looking for a company that provides appliance repair in Marin should contact Absolute Appliances Repair for the best customer service in town!

 

The Benefits of Luxury High-End Appliances

The possibilities when it comes to integrating convenience and appliances in today’s tech-savvy world cannot be overstated. These days, the finest ovens take cooking commands from smartphones and the top-of-the-line refrigerators can text you to pick up a dozen eggs. Every so often, manufacturers entice buyers with all kinds of new features and options for luxury kitchen appliances – some prove to be valuable and others – well, not so much. It might be hard to imagine life without your self-cleaning oven, but what about the refrigerator that has a television installed in its door?

Luxury Appliances for All Generations

Some of the most popular new appliances are those that have features that make life a little more convenient for more than one generation. Today’s modern family often includes people spanning at least a couple of generations, and oftentimes up to three.

For example, Bosch Appliances brand manager, Micaela Shaw, says that the company’s new best-sellers have features and designs that consider young hands, aging eyes, and middle-aged backs. Many control panels have larger numbers and letters that are easy to see, one of its dishwashers shines a light on the floor to relay the current status of the appliance, and one of Bosch’s ovens has a side door that eliminates the need to bend over a door to pull out that Thanksgiving turkey.

Another benefit of many luxury kitchen appliances is their smaller sizes; BlueStar features a 24” oven that easily fits into tiny spaces (perfect for the adult child or in-laws in the attached suite at home) and Blomberg offers a refrigerator/freezer that, at just 22” wide, fits easily into small kitchens.

The Wireless Revolution Comes to Luxury Appliances

“Smart” appliances that interact with you in new ways are rapidly infiltrating the scene, and they include everything from refrigerators that tell you when you are running out of an item to ranges that remind you to turn them off or clean them. Manufacturers seem to be moving along with the idea that people want to be able to connect with their appliances for everything – anything that offers a glimmer of the possibility of more convenience.

Nowadays you can find refrigerators with several different doors, freezers with compartments that offer individual temperature controls, fridges that let you re-order items right from their screens, dishwashers with new bottle-washing jets built right into their top racks, and more. Do you have any luxury appliances with new, modern features that make your life easier?

For Bay Area large home appliance repairs, contact Absolute Appliances Repair!

Why You Should Clean Your Dryer’s Lint Trap After Every Use

It’s common knowledge that lint filters, or traps, need to be cleaned out often, but how often? And why is it so important to keep that filter clean? When clothes are dried in the dryer, the agitation and heat cause linens and clothing in there to shed fibers, and this is what is caught in lint screens. The screen’s purpose is to prevent those fibers from obstructing the vent hose. Cleaning the screen is important in order to:

  • Keep Your Dryer Lasting Longer: A clean trap helps the machine work less, so to speak. Any time you take pressure off the dryer, you’ll reduce wear and tear and keep visits from your Bay area dryer repair pro to a minimum.
  • Dry Your Clothes Faster: The only way a dryer is able to do its job is if it has plenty of airflow. A clogged filter is going to reduce the rate of airflow, increasing the length of time needed to dry a load.
  • Keep Your Energy Bills Down: When the lint screen is clogged with all those “fuzzies” the dryer is going to have to work harder to dry your laundry. The harder it works, of course, the more energy it uses and the higher your energy bill will be.
  • Reduce the Risk of a Fire: High temp air is the key factor in how well your dryer does its job, and lint is highly flammable. Getting rid of this Firestarter is important to help keep your family safe from fires.

Should You Really Clean the Lint Filter Each Day?
With so many important reasons to clean your lint trap as often as possible, it stands to reason that cleaning it out each day – even between every single load of laundry – is ideal. Some of the newest machines on the market today have automatic reminders about checking the lint filters. Not all dryers are the same, and a lint trap might be found just inside the door, on the top corner of the dryer near the controls, or even on the dryer’s back wall inside the drum.

Lint can really just be pulled right off the screen; if it’s gunked up and stuck on there, though, just soak the screen in hot water and dish soap for a bit to remove oils and grease. Let it air dry completely before putting it back into its slot. Getting into the habit of cleaning your dryer’s lint filter each day will help ward off the need for San Francisco dryer repair experts to come out and repair a dryer that’s been damaged from a lack of easy maintenance with the lint trap. For more information on maintaining your dryer or any other appliances, contact Absolute Appliances Repair today.

Keeping Your Appliances Safe When Moving to a New Home

So, you’re moving to a beautiful new home and you want to take all those hefty appliances with you. But before you load everything into the truck, you need to make sure that your appliances are ready for the big move. All that rattling around on the road can damage some of your most valuable items like the refrigerator, stove, automatic dishwasher and your washer and dryer. If you’re not careful, some of those big-ticket items might not work properly when you arrive at your new home. Protect your appliances with these moving tips from Absolute Appliance Repair, your local home appliance service company.

Packing Up Your Fridge

Before you pack up the fridge, make sure that you leave it unplugged for at least 24 hours. This gives the fridge some time to defrost. As soon as it’s unplugged, throw out any perishable items and thoroughly clean all surfaces including the bottom drawers, shelves, and the walls. Make sure that you’ve removed all the water from the freezer where large chunks of ice tend to form, unless you want to unpack a fridge full of mildew. Lastly, take out the shelves and drawers and secure them separately before you load the fridge onto the truck.

Clean Out the Stove/Oven

Just like your fridge, start by cleaning out the inside of your oven and wiping down the stovetop. Pack up and clean all the loose pieces, including the racks and knobs. Finally, you’ll need to unplug the stove from the wall. Make sure that the gas has been turned off before you try to unplug the stove. Unless you have experience installing and uninstalling your stove, you should contact the manufacturer or your local gas company for assistance or more information.

Removing the Dishwasher

To start, remove any dishes and the utensil rack. While most dishwashers are pretty good at keeping themselves clean, take a moment to examine the inside. Wipe down the sides, top and bottom if you notice any splashes or stains. Leave the door open and let the interior air dry for at least 24 hours to prevent mold and mildew.

Before you remove the unit, you’ll need to disconnect the power and water supply. Unless you have direct access to the power cord, you can switch off the electrical circuit. Once the power and water have been turned off, disconnect the water supply hose, let it drain, and dry it off with a towel.

Prepping Your Washer and Dryer

Washers and dryers tend to be extremely sensitive. Before you start tinkering with either machine, contact the manufacturer or the user’s manual for detailed moving instructions. You’ll need to disconnect the hoses and pack them in a separate container. The most vulnerable part of the machine is the drum, which is usually located at the back of the washer. Make sure that you’ve secured the drum before you begin handling the machine.

Final Preparations

For all appliances, make sure that all the doors have been tapped shut. Any loose items need to be packed separately or physically tapped to the inside of the machine. Secure all power cords with a zip tie or some tape. If you have any questions along the way, contact the manufacturer or your local appliance home service company for assistance. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when dealing with such large, valuable pieces of equipment.

If you discover that some of your appliances have been damaged in the move, contact Absolute Appliance Repair for all your home and kitchen appliance repair needs!

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.

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!

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.

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.