Energy-Saving Tips for Large Home Appliances

Simple Ways to Use Less Energy in the Kitchen

The kitchen tends to be a hotbed of energy consumption. Large appliances such as your automatic dishwasher, refrigerator, and oven are some of the biggest energy hogs in your home, right after your air conditioner. If you’re looking to cut down on consumption, use these tips from the U.S. Department of Energy to reduce the amount of energy your home uses in the first place.

Shopping for Savings

Buying energy-efficient appliances is one of the best ways to reduce consumption in the long-term. Instead of adjusting your behavior on a day-by-day basis, energy-efficient appliances do most of the work for you. When shopping for appliances, look for the EnergyStar label. These products are designed to use a fraction of the energy that some older models require. When shopping for a refrigerator, look for models with a top-mounted freezer. They use anywhere from 10 – 25% less energy than side-by-side models and those with bottom-mounted freezers.

Reducing Energy Consumption by Changing Your Behavior

Let’s face it: most people don’t have the money to buy new energy-efficient appliances. Instead of spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars at your local appliance store, you can reduce consumption by being mindful of how you use your existing appliances.

Stove and Oven

The best thing that you can do for your stove is to keep it clean. Messy burners and stovetops become barriers for heat, boosting the amount of energy needed to heat up a cup of soup or boil some water. Make sure that you use pans that match the size of the burner. Using a small pan on a large burner is a massive waste of heat. Using lids and kettles instead of open pots also helps to lock in the heat.

Dishwasher

Most of the energy used to power your automatic dishwasher comes from your home’s hot water heater. Check your user manual to see if you can lower the water temperature. Try to scrape off your dishes as much as possible instead of rinsing them before you load them into your dishwasher. Make sure that your dishwasher is full and not overloaded. And, lastly, try air drying your dishes by laying them out on the counter instead of using the dry cycle.

Refrigerator

Operating 24/7, the refrigerator is a major energy hog, generally the second biggest consumer in your home. Keep an eye on the internal temperature of your unit. You should be able to control the temperature using a knob in the back. Your refrigerator should be set at around 36°F and your freezer should be at, you guessed it, 0°F. If you suspect that your internal temperature monitor is not accurate, which is often the case, fill a small glass with water and a thermometer and let it sit overnight. Compare the readings with what’s on the internal monitor. If the readings are off, the doors on your fridge might not be sealing properly. If that’s the case, it might be time to replace your fridge.

You can also reduce consumption by covering liquids and wrapping foods. You should also clear away spills, crumbs and any built-up frost that might be collecting in your fridge or freezer. All that extra gunk is just one more thing that your refrigerator needs to keep cool.

If you’ve noticed a major uptick in your utility bill, some of your appliances might be the culprit. Make sure that your large household appliances are working properly by calling Absolute Appliances Repair, your number-one choice for San Francisco Bay Area appliance repair.

What to Do When Your Refrigerator Dies

The refrigerator is one of those appliances that’s pretty hard to live without—even if it’s for few hours. So when you’re refrigerator suddenly dies, or is in the process of dying, it can be really nerve-wracking. Fortunately, there are signs that tell you when your refrigerator is dying so you can address the problems before it completely gives out. Read on for more information.

Signs your refrigerator is dying

Your food keeps expiring before it’s supposed to

A faulty fridge can cause food to go bad before its expiration date. This could mean that the thermostat isn’t working properly, the condenser coils are covered in dust, or the motor is working overtime because condenser coils are too hot.

Your energy bills are increasing

If your energy bills are going up, it may be a sign that your kitchen appliances are using too much energy. And because your refrigerator and freezer are on all the time, they may be to blame. The thermostat, motor, or compressor may be on its way out.

The interior feels relatively warm

Ideally, the interior of your refrigerator should be 35˚F at all times, with the freezer being at 0˚. If your refrigerator isn’t staying at the correct temperature, it may be dying. Check the door seal to make sure it’s not loose and make sure the condenser coils are clean.

The compressor or motor is constantly running

Your refrigerator will always emit a soft humming sound; however, when the internal temperature rises above its set level, the compressor and the motor will turn on to lower the temperature. This increases the noise level for a short time. If the sound doesn’t decrease, though, this may be a sign that something is wrong with the refrigerator.

There’s a puddle of water around the fridge

This could mean that the door isn’t closing all the way, the drip pan is broken, the fridge is filled with frost, or hoses from the fridge to the drip pan might be loose.

If your refrigerator is showing signs of imminent death, don’t panic. Help is usually just a phone call away. If you live in the San Francisco area and you’re in need of refrigerator repair or freezer repair, contact Absolute Appliances Repair for professional, reliable service.

Keeping Food Safe When the Fridge Dies

How to Avoid Food Contamination without a Fridge

Keeping food safe during a power outage is about being prepared. If there’s a major storm headed to your neighborhood, you need to take certain precautions to avoid getting stuck with a fridge full of rotten food. Losing all that food isn’t just about wasting money; it’s about protecting your family from harmful bacteria and pathogens. Prevent a worst-case scenario and use these tips to keep your family’s food as fresh as possible.

Prepare for a Major Power Outage

Sometimes it’s impossible to predict the weather or when your fridge is going to fail. But if you have a warning such as a major storm, you can make a few preparations ahead of time. Start by making sure that you have a working, accurate thermostat in your refrigerator and freezer. If you’re not sure if your thermostat is accurate, leave a new one in the fridge and then compare the readings. Your goal is to keep the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer at 0 degrees or below. The next step is to fill plastic bags with water and keep them on hand in case you need to keep certain foods cold while the power is out. If you have ice packs or freezer packs, keep those cold as well. You should also have a store in mind that’s nearby in case you need to run out and buy ice.

What to Do When You Lose the Fridge

Whether you’re facing a power outage from a storm or your fridge bites the dust, you need to act fast if your fridge is no longer working correctly. Keep the doors on the fridge and freezer closed as much as possible. If you need to reach in and grab something, think carefully about what you need and where to find it. Your fridge will maintain its current temperature for about 4 hours. Your freezer should stay frozen for about 48 hours if it’s full of food. It will only last for about 24 hours if it’s half-full. If the temperature starts to drop, you can add bags of ice from a local store. Stuff the ice around sensitive items like meat and produce. You can also bundle items around or on top of each other to help them maintain their current temperature.

To prevent cross-contamination, place any meat in separate plastic bags and place them on one side of the fridge or freezer. If any juices from the meat start to leak out, you’re better off throwing the meat out rather than exposing your sanitary food to harmful contaminants.

When you finally get the fridge working again, be cautious when deciding which foods to keep and which to throw out. If you’re not sure, don’t take a risk. Be safe and toss it in the trash.

If your family’s fridge or freezer is on its last leg, contact Absolute Appliances Repair for appliance repair in San Francisco, San Rafael, Mill Valley or Marin County.

Common Freezer Issues & How to Diagnose Them

Whether you’ve just purchased a new freezer or are using one that’s a few years old, it’s no secret that something can go wrong. Just like every other household appliance, your freezer can experience performance issues from time to time. When it comes to freezer repair, Absolute Appliances Repair offers quality repair services in San Francisco, San Rafael, Mill Valley and other locations in the Bay Area.

Before focusing on freezer repair, it’s important to understand what may or may not be wrong with your freezer. A number of common problems exist in this realm, and they include the following, according to the APWagner Appliance Parts Blog:

  • The freezer has a large amount of frost built up inside it
  • The freezer isn’t keeping anything frozen
  • Food kept in the freezer looks iced or burned (known as freezer burn)
  • The freezer isn’t working at all
  • The freezer runs constantly

Now that you’re aware of the issues that can affect the performance of your freezer, how do you diagnose them? While diagnosing some issues may be better left to the professionals at Absolute Appliances Repair, there are some simple things you can do to diagnose the more basic issues that may be plaguing your freezer.

Some of the simpler ways to diagnose problems include the following:

  • Check the power cord or extension cord (if you’re using one) for any damage, and make sure it’s plugged in
  • Test the temperature control mechanism and ensure it’s set to your desired temperature
  • Make sure there is enough room in your freezer for a proper amount of airflow
  • Test your freezers defrost timer and other defrosting components

For other diagnosing tips and ideas, go here.

Understanding the common issues that can affect the performance of your freezer is important, but if you’re still unsure, contact a professional. Absolute Appliance Repair services San Francisco and the surrounding area.

Troubleshooting a Malfunctioning Ice Maker

An ice maker is one of those luxuries we take for granted so much that we usually only ever think about it when it stops working. But when that day eventually comes, it can be extremely frustrating. There are many different things that can go wrong with an ice maker, but the good news is that most common ice maker issues are pretty easy to fix. So, before you shell out your hard-earned cash to a technician or handyman, take a look at this quick and easy ice maker troubleshooting guide.

Safety First: When working with the electrical components of any major appliance, disconnect the appliance from its power source. If you run into a problem that you do not feel comfortable fixing yourself, call an appliance repair professional to avoid risking physical harm, or damaging your appliance further. Call Absolute Appliances Repair for appliance repair in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Not Producing Ice

Problem: If your ice maker isn’t producing ice, the first thing you should do is check the shutoff arm. The shutoff arm is a bar that extends away from the ice maker over the ice cube bin. When ice piles up in your ice maker, it raises the bar up, automatically stopping the ice production process when the bin is full. However, it is quite common for people to accidentally nudge the shutoff arm into the off position when moving things around in the freezer.

Fix: This is a simple fix. Just locate the shutoff arm and move it into the on, or down position and you should be good to go.

Problem: If your shutoff arm is in the on/down position, but your ice maker still isn’t producing ice, you might have an issue with your water supply line.

Fix: The water supply line connects to a valve that’s usually located behind the freezer, or under the kitchen sink. If the supply line is pinched, or dented, or the valve is not opened wide enough to allow for the proper pressure, the water may not fill the ice mold. If you don’t see any kinks or dents in the line, try to open the valve a little more and see if that solves your problem. But, if the supply line or valve does appear to be damaged, it is best to replace it.

Problem: If the ice cube bin is filled with ice, but the shutoff arm is in the down/on position, the problem is most likely with the motor, gearbox or electrical connection.

Fix: Slide the refrigerator out from the wall, unplug it, and turn off the water supply valve. Find the quick release plug located on the rear wall of the inside of the freezer. Unplug the connection it and reconnect it to make sure it is fully connected. Remove any ice from the mold. Plug the refrigerator back in and lift the shutoff arm to the off position. Then lower the arm back down and wait 10 seconds or so for the mold to begin filling with water. Wait a few hours for the ice to freeze and then test the ice maker. If ice still won’t eject, you most likely need to replace the motor or gearbox.

Frozen Fill Tube or Mechanism

Problem: If your ice maker stops working, and you’ve noticed that the cubes have been getting smaller and smaller, that could indicate that your fill tube is frozen. Sometimes ice can get backed up around the mechanism, causing the fill tube to freeze, which will slow down and eventually stop ice production.

Fix: Unplug the refrigerator and remove the ice bin and any loose ice from the ice maker. Locate the fill tube. This should look like a white rubber hose that delivers water to the ice maker. Some ice makers have a small metal clip which holds the fill tube, if yours is one of those models, pull the clip off the housing that holds the fill tube. Warm the hose and surrounding mechanism with a hair dryer to melt any ice blocking the mechanism. It is best to keep the hair dryer on the low setting to avoid melting the plastic. Be very careful to collect the ice melt to avoid any potential risk of electrical shock.

Producing Too Much Ice

Problem: If your ice maker keeps making ice even when it’s full, this could be another problem with the shutoff arm.

Fix: Make sure that the arm is firmly in place and that nothing is impeding its movement. Then test it by raising it into the off position and leaving it there. Check back later to confirm that no ice has been made. If it still continues to produce ice, you might need to replace the control module.

Final note: Whenever you are working with the electronic components of your appliance, be sure that your appliance is disconnected from its power source. And if you run into a problem that you do not feel comfortable fixing yourself, it is always best to call an appliance repair professional to avoid risking physical harm, or damaging your appliance further. Call Absolute Appliances Repair for appliance repair in San Francisco Bay Area, and the surrounding areas. We serve customers in places from San Rafael, Novato and Larkspur to Marin County, Mill Valley, and more.

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!

Home Appliances Tips

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

Keep your fridge and freezer clean

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

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

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

Defrost your freezer

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

Scrub your oven and range, too

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

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

Don’t foil your oven

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

Replace filters

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

Don’t use dish soap in the dishwasher

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

Scrape off plates

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

Don’t overload your clothes washing machine

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

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

Improve your dryer’s circulation

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

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

Watch where you apply stain removers

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

Best Refrigerator Temperature to Keep Food Fresh

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

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

 

Read More here

Consumer Reports

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.