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.

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!

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

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 Safety Tips

When installing electrical appliances, keep in mind that most standard home electrical circuits are on a 120-volt line. Conventional outlets have two places to plug in devices and are called duplex outlets. It’s also important to note the quality level of your appliance’s) because the labor cost for installing more expensive equipment will be higher than for less expensive appliance’s).

Appliance installation and safety tips:

Appliance Power Requirements

Check the power requirements of each appliance. To run major appliances and heavy electrical equipment, you need 220-volt current in the house. And unless your clothes dryer runs on gas, it will require a 220-volt outlet to operate, so it’s necessary to upgrade to 220 to handle these and other heavy equipment.

Appliance Installation

When having an appliance installed be sure it can be removed easily for service. Flexible hook-ups for dishwashers and gas ranges can make repair jobs less labor intensive. Also, leave extra electric cable when installing electric wall ovens and cooktops. This will minimize the time the technician spends on the job and reduce the cost to you.
Some other appliance installation tips to keep in mind:

  • Dishwashers
    If your kitchen floor is being tiled, make sure that it is tiled beneath the dishwasher or at least raise its flooring to the same height as the tiles. Once down, there may not be enough clearance to remove the dishwasher for servicing. The only alternative will be to lift the whole countertop off of the cupboards, a needless expense.
  • Wall Ovens
    If you are installing a wall oven below countertop level, be aware that small children could be exposed to a burn hazard. Wall ovens do not have to conform to the same temperature standards that regular ranges do. This is because they are designed to be installed above counter height.
  • Washing Machines
    When installing a washing machine, be sure water shut-offs can be reached easily. Also ensure the water hoses are long enough to remove the appliance when necessary. A floor drain may also be necessary should the water pump or motor fail.
    Washing machines are designed to be used on solid flooring, like concrete. If it is being installed on a wooden floor, extra joist bracing may be needed. The mounting of an additional plywood section can also strengthen an existing wooden floor. Severe internal suspension damage can occur if used on unstable flooring.
  • Refrigerators
    Refrigerators with forced air condensers are the only kind that can be built in. Models with regular static condensers will not be able to dissipate the heat if used in this application. This will result in poor cooling efficiency and damage to the compressor. You can tell forced air models by the fan, located in the compressor compartment, used to circulate air through the condense.
    While major appliances make our lives much easier, they also pose significant risks if not maintained properly.
    The average homeowner has several thousand dollars invested in major appliances. To protect your investment and ensure many years of reliable service out of each it’s important to properly maintain your appliances.

Appliance Safety Tips

  • Extension Cords
    Extension cords pose several risks. First, the extension cord connections may not be secure. Besides causing power fluctuations that may damage the equipment, poor connections can also result in sparks that could start a fire.
    Another problem with the appliance connections is that they are vulnerable to water penetration. This is especially true in damp areas such as laundry rooms, bathrooms, kitchens, garages and outdoors. Water and electricity are a dangerous combination responsible for many avoidable deaths each year.
    People often make the mistake of using extension cords that are too small. The wires on extension cords are rated according to size, with lower ratings corresponding to larger sizes. A simple household extension cord for a lamp might have 16-gauge wire. An outdoor cord may have 14-gauge wire. Heavy-duty cords are usually 12-gauge.
    In general, in those circumstances where use of an extension cord is unavoidable, employ one that is heavier than the wires already attached to the appliance.
    Also, whenever using power tools or similar equipment on long extension cords, be aware that the longer the cord the more power that is lost en route. This phenomenon, called voltage drop, is much less pronounced in heavier wires. Whenever you use an inadequate cord, you run the risk of damaging the appliance or causing the wires to overheat and become a fire hazard.
    When extension cords, appliance wires and outlets are incompatible, people often use adapters to make things fit. Most commonly, people have a three-prong plug and a two-prong outlet. The third prong is the ground, and it offers important safety advantages. A much better long-run solution is to have an electrician replace your 2-prong outlets with properly grounded three-prong outlets.
    Heavy-duty appliances have plug configurations that are unique. Never use an adapter to fit these into more standard outlets.
  • Circuit Breakers and Fuses
    Older homes have fuse boxes while most new ones have circuit breakers. Both perform the same function. Whenever a short circuit or overload situation occurs, the device shuts off electricity to that circuit, preventing both shocks and fire hazards.
    Whenever an appliance stops working, first test the outlet with a lamp or radio. If the circuit is dead, turn off anything you know to be on the same circuit and go to your electrical box, usually located in the basement. If you have a circuit breaker, look for the one switch that is slightly out of alignment. Turn it off and turn it back on again. If you have a fuse box, replace the burnt-out fuse.
    If you try the appliance again and the circuit cuts off a second time, you may be overloading that circuit. Try the appliance in another part of the house. If it keeps causing circuits to cut off, something is wrong with the appliance. It may, for instance, have a short.
  • Pilot Lights
    Many older gas appliances (ranges, dryers, water heaters, furnaces, etc.) have pilot lights that run continuously. Newer models have electronic ignition instead.
    When an older appliance stops working, check to see if the pilot light has gone out. If it has, re-light it according to the instructions in the manual, which came with the unit or are printed on the appliance itself. In many cases, this will save you the cost of a repair call.
    Because pilot lights maintain a flame at all times, they are always ready to ignite any flammable gases that might be present. This is why you should never store paints, solvents and other chemicals anywhere near an appliance with a pilot light.

COUNT ON Absolute Appliance Repair TO SOLVE ANY APPLIANCE ISSUES

We provide San Francisco’s best appliance repair services, quickly and at a fair price. We stay up-to-date with the newest appliance technologies, and our expert service technicians can repair all major brands and models of household appliances.

We guarantee our work.

Absolute Appliances Repair is locally owned and operated.

We specialize in fixing refrigerators and freezers, washers and dryers, stoves, dishwashers, and any other type of electric appliance in your home.

When you depend on an appliance and it stops working, a fast repair is critically important. Using high-tech testing methods, we’ll quickly identify the root of the problem and advise you about the available repair options. That way, you can make the best choices.

Energy Star’s 2015 Top 10 List of Energy Efficient Refrigerators

“ENERGY STAR is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) voluntary program that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency.”

Listed #7 on Energy Star’s list is one of two of the lowest priced refrigerators on the list. The Samsung RF26HFPNB is listed as using 578 kilowatts/hour a year of electricity. It is a 25.5 cubic foot refrigerator with a cost of $2,199. If you don’t have a need for a large refrigerator, it might be worth it to look at number #1 on their list.

Sitting at the top of their list is the a slim 11.4 cubic inch Bosch B10CB80NVW/01. Energy Star listed this energy efficient refrigerator as using only 314 kilowatts hour of energy a year. They list the MSRP at $2,499 but when we searched online we couldn’t find anything for this particular listed model of refrigerator. Google returned only 6 results, none of them (besides the #1 manufacturer’s website) was a place where you could order this energy efficient refrigerator today.

ENERGY STAR’s Most Energy Efficient Refrigerators of 2015

Click the link below to see the full list of the most Energy Star’s Most Energy Efficient Refrigerators of 2015.

Energy Star Most Efficient 2015 — Medium, Large, and X-Large Refrigerators

Smart Refrigerators Next To Be Exploited By Hackers

New “Smart” Refrigerators have an always-on internet connection that enables consumers to stream videos, check emails from the kitchen, and keep track of the amount of items inside your refrigerator.

Hackers have now targeted smart devices such as Smart Refrigerators and Smart TVs. Your smart appliance, if compromised by hackers, could be used in activities such as sending Spam Emails and contributing to DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks against websites.

In a time when most of us have enough to worry about with the security of our computers and phones, we will now have to make sure that our refrigerators and TVs always have the latest software updates applied.

Could you imagine calling the local computer repair shop to ask if they work on refrigerators?

Please don’t let this all dissuade you from purchasing a new “Smart Refrigerator”.

At Absolute Appliances Repair we repair all refrigerators, regardless of their intelligence level.

Refrigerator Maintenance

1. Check the door seals of your refrigerator.

A loose seal allows cool air to seep out, wasting energy and causing your refrigerator to work harder than it needs to. First make sure the seals are free of food residue. (Clean them about twice a year, using a toothbrush and a solution of baking soda and water.) Then try the dollar-bill test: Close the bill in the door so that half is in and half is out. If it slips out easily, you may need to have the door seals checked by a pro.

2. Keep the coils clean.

When the condenser coils (see following page for more on parts) are covered with dust, the refrigerator can’t run efficiently. Twice a year, pull the machine from the wall to reveal the coils in back (or snap off the grille, if the coils are on the bottom front), unplug the refrigerator, and vacuum with the brush attachment.

3. Set the right temperature.

Keep the refrigerator between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer at 0 degrees.

4. Fill it up (even if you never cook and only have takeout).

Refrigerators need “thermal mass” (a.k.a. lots of stuff) to maintain low temperatures. Cool foods and drinks help absorb warm air that streams in when you open the door. If you’re the eat-out type or your fridge is too big for your needs, store a few jugs of water in there.

5. Be prepared.

If the power goes out, keep the doors closed and use foods from the pantry. An unopened refrigerator will keep food safe for four hours; a freezer will maintain its temperature for 48 hours if full and 24 hours if half-full.

Buying a new refrigerator

With so many styles, options, and prices available, buying a new refrigerator is no easy decision. Here’s what you need to know to make the right choice.

Today’s refrigerators are the most energy efficient ever, and they’re loaded with cool technologies that can extend the shelf life of fresh foods. We’ll tell what you need to know so you can pick the best refrigerator for your home and budget.

First Things First: Refrigerator Types and Costs

The best refrigerator for your home is right-sized to your household’s needs. Here’s a breakdown of the standard refrigerator types, capacities, and price ranges.

Top freezer: This classic style offers homeowners the most bang for their buck. The freezer compartment is at the top of the unit, with the refrigerator below.

  • These unfrilly fridges pack lots of useable storage space for their size, especially compared with refrigerators with features, such as beverage dispensers and ice-makers, that eat up inside space. Average capacity is 20 cubic feet.
  • They’re some of the slimmest; typical widths range from 30 to 33 inches.
  • They’re the most efficient, and use 10% to 25% less energy than bottom-freezer and side-by-side door models.
  • They’re the least expensive. Prices start at about $500.

Bottom freezer: They’re convenient because they keep the refrigerator compartment at eye-level and contents within easy reach.

  • A double-door model has a single refrigerator door on top, and a large freezer door on the bottom. Their average capacity is 22 cubic feet, and widths range from 30 to 33 inches.
  • A French-door model has two side-by-side doors on top, and a single door freezer on the bottom. They’re generally wider than double-door fridges. Average capacity is 24 cubic feet, and widths range from 33 to 36 inches.
  • Prices start at about $700.

Tip: A fridge with 19 to 22 cubic feet of storage space is a good choice for a family of four.

Side-by-side refrigerator: These are ideal for households that don’t mind sacrificing some fridge space for a lot more freezer space.

  • They’re split in two vertically; one side of the appliance is a freezer and the opposite side is the refrigerator.
  • Typical widths range from 32 to 36 inches.
  • Although average capacity is about 24 cubic feet, they may be short on utility when equipped with a beverage dispenser and ice maker that eat up interior space. The center divider between freezer and refrigerator also takes away storage space from the middle of the unit.
  • Prices start at about $900.

Four-door refrigerators: These are ideal for large families.

  • They’re loaded with compartments that can keep groceries fresher longer. Average capacity is 28 cubic feet.
  • They’re equipped with a French-door-style fridge on top, a middle door that conceals a drawer for the items you reach for most, and a bottom freezer.
  • They’re equipped with temperatures controls and beverage dispensers.
  • Prices start at about $2,000.

Tip: Homeowners can expect about 80% of a four-door fridge’s total cubic square footage to be functional storage space.

Cabinet-depth and counter-depth refrigerators: These have a shallow profile (depth front to back) so they won’t stick out beyond standard cabinets and counters.

  • They come in two styles: bottom freezer with French doors and side-by-side.
  • Both styles offer about 28 cubic feet of storage.
  • Many models include features like compartment temperature controls, and water and ice dispensers.
  • To create a built-in seamless look for the fraction of the price, theses fridges can be customized with an overlay cabinetry panel.
  • Prices start at about $2,000.

Tip: Not sure which way your refrigerator door should open? A unit with a reversible door will allow you to change the swing direction.

Tip: If your refrigerator is being squeezed into a predetermined spot, here’s how to get a perfect fit:

  • Measure the height, width, and depth of the area. Plan a clearance of at least 1 inch at the sides, back, and top. If it’s being placed next to a wall, the two sides will need at least 2 inches of clearance so the door can fully open.
  • Keep door clearance in mind. An obstruction like a sidewall or counter may determine if your new fridge’s door should swing left or right.

The Facts About Energy Efficiency

As of Sept. 15, 2014, both Energy Star and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) upped the ante on energy-efficiency requirements for refrigerators (standards set by the DOE are mandatory; Energy Star is a voluntary program).

DOE’s new minimum standards require top-freezer, bottom-freezer, and side-by-side refrigerators to be 20% to 30% more efficient than previous generations. The Appliance Standards Awareness Project, which champions improved standards for appliances and lighting, estimates the energy savings between 1990 and 2014 models this way:

•    Top Freezer: $80 per year

•    Bottom Freezer: $100 per year

•    Side-by-side refrigerator: $130 per year

New refrigerators that meet the current standards set by Energy Star are 10% more efficient than their earlier counterparts. They also must be at least 9% more efficient than DOE standards.

FYI: The bigger the fridge, the more energy it may consume. The most energy-efficient models you can buy have 16 to 20 cubic feet of capacity, according to Energy Star. Compare that with the size recommended for a four-person household: 19 to 22 cubic feet.

Tip: Got a second fridge in your basement or garage? If it’s more than 10 years old, it could add as much as $100 to your yearly utility bill. You could cut that cost by 40% with a new Energy Star-certified model.

Want to Color Your World?

Refrigerators sold in big-box stores are available in staid shades like white, black, gray, and stainless. You’ll have to compromise on fridge type to get one in an eye-popping color like red, orange, or green. Jazzy units like these are typically available only in retro styles that mimic refrigerators from the 1950s and 1960s; you’ll find them through specialty retailers or appliance dealers.

A colorful 9.2-cubic-foot, single-door retro-style refrigerator costs about $2,000, while a 20.6-cubic-foot, two-door fridge can cost $3,000 and more.

Features and Functions You Should Have

Lots of storage compartments and flexible storage options. You can’t go wrong with storage features like gallon door bins that free up interior shelf space, split shelves that create room for tall bottles, adjustable shelves that make room for oversized things, and flexible bin dividers that make it easier to group items.

Humidity-controlled compartments. Leafy greens typically require a much higher humidity level than apples or figs. This feature allows you to store produce at the appropriate humidity levels so they stay fresh longer. A refrigerator with humidity-controlled compartments starts at about $1,200.

Enhanced lighting. Energy-efficient LED lights placed in corners and over bins make it easier to find what you need.

Door alarms. It’ll beep or chime when the fridge door isn’t fully shut, helping to prevent energy and food waste.

Tip: Once you’ve found the perfect fridge, don’t be afraid to haggle over the price. Doing so can save you up to $100.

Features and Functions You Shouldn’t Pay More For

Automatic water, beverage, and ice dispensers. Although features like these boost convenience, they increase yearly maintenance costs. On an annual basis, expect to pay about $20 or more for electricity and up to $100 for water filter replacements. Dispensers also raise the purchase price for a new refrigerator by as much as $250 while reducing storage space.

Fast-cooling compartments like a blast chiller. When activated, the feature chills lukewarm beverages. It takes about eight minutes to get two cans of soda or a single bottle of wine icy cold. Because using a fridge’s automatic ice dispenser can boost energy costs by up to 20%, we suspect that a feature like this can also increase electricity use especially if used on a daily or weekly basis.

Wi-Fi enabled. Although a touchscreen with apps or a TV sounds nice, the technology won’t enhance performance. They’re usually found on models that cost more than $3,000.