5 Tips for Buying Appliances:

1. Set your budget:


What you thought this wouldn’t be first? Know your top dollar budget number for this purchase. That way if you can save on your purchase you may choose to spend a bit more on a model with more features, or bank the rest for another future purchase.

2. Know your Market

It may seem counter-intuitive to ‘keep up with the Joneses,’ but knowing your housing market is key. Even if you don’t plan to sell soon, it’s a good idea to keep in mind what homebuyers are looking for in your area. For instance, if you live in a modest suburban neighborhood adding a Viking range to the tune of $10,000 would be overkill. When possible consider stainless steel appliances (especially ones with a no-smudge finish) since they are popular and great for resale.

3. Do your homework:

It should go without saying, but do not go into the appliance store without a little research under your belt.

Key items to research are:

  • brand reliability
  • features/colors
  • warranties
  • prices
  • sales or upcoming promotion

Tip: Consumer Reports offers monthly signups and can be a great resource for detailed product info.

4. Take a test run:

Before you buy head to several stores and talk to the sale associates in the appliance department. Yes they are trying to make a sale (they typically work on commission after all), but they may share information you hadn’t considered like the case with our backwards laundry room setup. This will also give you the chance to get a ‘vibe’ for the salespeople in the store. In some cases that may determine where you spend your money (especially if the pricepoints are identical).

Tip: Leave the kids at home if you can. Bring a pad and paper, tape measure, and a camera or your smartphone to take photos, notes, and even measurements.

5. Go back to the drawing board:

Now that you have your choices narrowed down based on price range, features, your market, and other factors– go back to the drawing board. Take a final look at the options that are available to you, and double-check all your ‘homework’ before you go to make your purchase.

Now that you’re ready to purchase consider these tips to help you stretch your dollar even further.

5 Tips to Stretch your Appliance Dollar

Translucent CBA MasterCard Debit

1. Store credit cards: I know they seem like a bad idea, but for responsible credit users they can be a boon.  Many offer 10% off and other perks that make it worth using a store card.

2. Buy on credit: Again it may seem irresponsible, but using your credit card can afford you an extended warranty without having to pay for one. Call your credit card company for details on how the protect your purchases.

3. Warranties: Speaking of extended warranties, just don’t do it. For the most part extended warranties cover very little for the cost, and often aren’t worth the cost.

4. Know the return policy: If you have an issue with your purchase you want to be sure you can return it. If you buy a floor sample, or scratch and dent appliance be prepared that it’s likely a ‘final sale,’ meaning no returns.

5. Register: Finally, make sure you register your new purchases with the brand. Yes it’s a means of tracking what you buy, but it’s helpful if you ever have an issue down the road.



How to Choose an Oven

Appliances are the workhorses of your kitchen. Together, they will add up to about nine percent of your kitchen budget. This figure is surprisingly low, considering the technological advances and energy efficiencies today’s appliances offer. While features and performance are obviously the most important considerations in choosing appliances, how they’ll look in your kitchen probably matters to you, too.

How to Choose an Oven

The traditional range or stove, a single unit with cooktop above and oven below, is an affordable, space-conserving solution still chosen by most homeowners. But it’s just one of the cooking options offered today.

Some serious home cooks choose commercial-style stoves with six or eight burners instead of four, basting and grilling functions, and built-in warming ovens. (Real commercial stoves pose special challenges, such as special ventilation systems and noncombustible walls and floors, when used in the home, so commercial-style may be easier to live with.) Other people love the new modular cooktops that let you add burners, downdrafts, griddles, deep-fry and steamer units, woks, rotisseries, and grills. And these are just a few examples of what’s available!

A modular approach to overall kitchen design is a pronounced trend. Wall ovens separate from cooktops let you create several cooking work stations instead of just one. A double wall oven stacks two ovens to save space and deliver twice the baking/roasting capacity, which many people find useful for special occasions. And you can still get two-oven stoves, with one oven below the cooking surface and the other well above, at cabinet height.

The first decision in range shopping has always been gas versus electric. Many serious cooks prefer gas for its instant response, precise controllability, and lower operating cost over time. Others praise the evenness of electric heat and the lower initial cost of the appliance.

Today, you can get the best of both heating methods with “dual fuel” ranges that let you mix gas and electric heat sources; for example, gas cooktop burners and an electric convection oven/broiler. Convection ovens, most often electric, use heated air to cook up to twice as fast as conventional ovens that rely on radiant heating action. You can even get a combination microwave/convection oven.

Electric coils are the most popular kind of electric burners, and the least costly. Smooth-top surfaces are offered with one of three heat source types: radiating electric coils beneath the glass surface, halogen burners, or magnetic-induction elements. All require thick, flat-bottom cookware. If gas is your choice, sealed burners are easiest to clean, and a pilotless ignition system means no hot spot when burners are off. Commercial-style glass stoves offer high BTUs (British thermal units, the measure of cooking heat) and high style. They require heavy-duty ventilation systems.

What about controls? Controls that are located on the front or on the side of the appliance are most common and convenient, but universal access means just that: While someone in a wheelchair can reach front-situated controls easily, unfortunately, so can a curious toddler. People with young children may prefer controls located on the backsplash, out of reach of exploring fingers. Wherever they’re located, controls should be easy to understand and operate. Top-of-the-line ovens may include electronic temperature readouts and touch-pad, rather than knob or dial, controls.

While many people like to blend refrigerators and dishwashers into the cabinetry with matching fronts, the latest trend is to keep ranges visible. However, if you do want to de-emphasize your oven, the easiest way is with an under-counter model. (Make sure the oven you choose is designed for under-counter use, because not all are.) You may install a cooktop directly above the oven or locate it elsewhere in the kitchen. A cooktop directly over an under-counter oven functions much the same as a conventional range, but, with no range backsplash and with the control knobs located on the countertop, the result is a more integrated look.

Cleaning baked-on spills from the cooktop has always been a challenge, but several options make short work of them. For easiest cooktop cleaning, consider ranges with ceramic glass cooktops housing electric or halogen burners; simpler knobs and handles; and a top and backsplash constructed from a single piece of metal, so there’s no seam to collect spills. Self-cleaning ovens come in two varieties: one that uses a high-heat cycle that turns cooked-on spills into ash you can wipe away, another that offers a continuous-clean function.

Range Hoods

If you don’t have a ventilation fan above your cooktop that vents to the attic or outside, you’ll want a range hood with ventilation fan built in. Why? Even if you don’t find some cooking odors objectionable, vaporized grease can dull beautiful new kitchen surfaces, and moisture can compromise the efficiency of home insulation. The solution is an updraft range hood that funnels cooking grease and smoke into one area so that the fan can draw it through a duct to the outside.

Filters capture additional grease and odors. Look for range hoods that come in copper, stainless steel, and other good-looking, easy-care materials, or customize a standard hood with ceramic tile to create a major focal point, furthering your decorating scheme. As an alternative, down-draft ventilation, usually part of a cooktop or grill, also employs a fan and duct arrangement. Units that rise above cooktop level provide the most effective venting.

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

(415) 831-1259


Kitchen Appliances Tips

ENERGY STAR® Refrigerators Are Cool! ENERGY STAR-qualified refrigerators use 15% less energy than non-qualified models. Models with top-mounted freezers use 10%-25% less energy than side-by-side or bottom-mount units.

You can save energy in your kitchen through more efficient use of your dishwasher, refrigerator and freezer, and other common appliances.


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.

  • 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.

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.


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.

  • 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.

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.


  • Place the faucet lever on the kitchen sink in the cold position when using small amounts of water; placing the lever in the hot position draws hot water even though it may never reach the faucet.
  • Look for a natural gas oven or range with an automatic, electric ignition system, which saves gas since a pilot light is not burning continuously.
  • Look for blue flames in natural gas appliances; yellow flames indicate the gas is burning inefficiently and an adjustment may be needed. If you see yellow flames, consult the manufacturer or your local utility.
  • Keep range-top burners and reflectors clean; they will reflect the heat better, and you will save energy.
  • Use a covered kettle or pan or electric kettle to boil water; it’s faster and uses less energy.
  • Match the size of the pan to the heating element.
  • Use small electric pans, toaster ovens, or convection ovens for small meals rather than your large stove or oven. A toaster or convection oven uses one-third to one-half as much energy as a full-sized oven.


The kitchen in my previous home resembled a time capsule of 1950’s appliance splendor.  The yellow enamel wall oven with its round glass window was state of the art in 1953, but had become a vintage curiosity by the time I lived there.  The matching yellow cook top still worked fine, but looked rather dated, although it did go well with the yellow boomerang pattern laminate countertops.   While they may not be technological wonders by today’s standards, mid-twentieth century appliances had simple controls and were built to last for decades.

Kitchen appliances today are not just functional machines, they’re high tech works of art.  The stainless steel, colored glass and bronze finishes seen in contemporary showrooms make the appliances of decades past seem rather dowdy. Modern appliances can be concealed to near invisibility or be the stand out stars in the kitchen.  Even small appliances now have plenty of style.  They often resemble sculptures sitting on kitchen countertops.   It’s easy to forget about safety when confronted with all the dazzling appliance surfaces.

Whether your appliances are gleaming new marvels of technology or have seen better days, there are some basic safety tips to keep in mind for using and maintaining the appliances in your kitchen.

  1. Read the instruction manuals.  Modern appliances are complicated and using them safely often requires more than just flipping an on-off switch.  The manufacturer’s recommendations for safe use can be found in appliance manuals, but many people never take the time to read them.
  2. When you buy a new appliance, fill out the registration card.  Manufacturers then have a way to contact you in the event of a product recall.
  3. All appliances should have a UL seal of approval, indicating they have been tested and are safe to use.
  4. Do not use extension cords with appliances.  Check the cords on small appliances periodically to be sure they’re not frayed, burned or otherwise unfit for use.
  5. Vintage appliances, both large and small, are a hot design trend.  Vintage appliances should be professionally inspected and rewired if you plan to use them for more than display purposes.  Better yet, buy new appliances that look vintage.
  6. If you have electrical appliances with removable cords, connect the cord to the appliance first, then plug it into the wall outlet.  Unplug the cord from the wall outlet first, too, and then disconnect it from the appliance.

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

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(650) 525-0512 South SF / Daly City / Pacifica




  • Clean the condenser coil with a vacuum cleaner or brush several times a year, unless otherwise directed by the manufacturer (some new models have coils that don’t need to be cleaned). The refrigerator will operate more efficiently, cutting your electric bill.
  • Regularly clean beneath the appliance — accumulated dirt and dust can interfere with air circulation.
  • Wipe down inside shelves, drawers, and racks weekly. Throw out all outdated food to prevent odors. Keep an open box of baking soda on a shelf to absorb smells. Remember that food will not be maintained at a proper temperature if the refrigerator is crammed to the gills or the door is constantly being opened.

Freezer, non-self-defrosting (chest and upright)

  • Defrost when frost buildup is around a quarter inch thick. (If frost continues to build, the motor has to run more often, burning more energy.)
  • Clean and deodorize the inside regularly with a mixture of four tablespoons baking soda and one quart warm water. Wash, rinse, and wipe dry. If there’s a stain, sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge and scrub. Do not use abrasive cleaners.
  • Do not keep in a garage or on a porch — the cooling system will not operate properly.

Oven, non-self-cleaning

  • Clean regularly with a commercial oven cleaner. This is important because baked-on grease can catch fire and may cause the thermostat to malfunction. Turn on a vent or open a window to get rid of cleaning fumes. Never spray cleaning compounds near heating elements, electronic connections, or a hot, unprotected oven light (it may shatter).

Oven, self-cleaning

  • Self-clean the oven before it becomes heavily soiled. (Heavy soil requires longer cleaning cycles and produces more smoke.) Before self-cleaning, clean the oven window and areas around the door seal (but not the gasket) with a damp nonabrasive plastic scrubbing pad.

Glass ceramic electric cooktop

  • Wipe with a clean damp sponge after each use to prevent food residue from building up. To keep the surface looking new, scrub with a blue nonscratch pad once a week even if you don’t see any spills. Follow with an application of cooktop cleaning cream.

Gas cooktop

  • Clean all the grates, drip pans, and burner caps with warm soapy water and a nonabrasive plastic scrubbing pad.


  • Check the filter regularly and clean, if necessary, following the method recommended in the owner’s manual. The filter is usually located underneath the lower spray arm.
  • Make sure the water is hot enough to clean the dishes properly; the water heater should be set to at least 120°F.

Food-waste disposer

  • Run lots of cold water whenever you use it to thoroughly flush away food waste and to prevent backup or clogging of the plumbing.
  • Grind citrus-fruit rinds to freshen and deodorize. Then run lots of cold water.
  • Occasionally scrub the rubber splash guard with a long brush and hot soapy water.
  • Never pour grease directly into the disposer; it could solidify and block the plumbing.


  • Clean after each use. Leftover food spills can affect an oven’s cooking time. Wipe with a clean soapy sponge, rinse, and dry. Remember to wipe the door seal and frame.
  • Remove odors with a solution of several teaspoons of baking soda and one cup of water, placed in a one-quart microwave-safe measuring cup. Turn microwave on High for five minutes. Caution: Let stand until cool before removing the cup.
  • Clean the control panel with a damp sponge. Never spray any cleaning solution directly on the panel — it could seep underneath and cause a malfunction.

Have a Kitchen Appliance Problem?
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Kenmore freezers have a flash defrost feature that allows you to quickly thaw out the ice inside the unit. Cleaning the interior of the unit can then be quickly accomplished provided you take the necessary steps.

Here are the steps for using the flash defrost on a Kenmore freezer.

  • Remove all the contents inside the freezer. Keep the contents in basins or place them on towels or several sheets of newspaper to control melting liquids. Keep a dishrag nearby to wipe away the excess melt-water. You should also spread newspapers around the freezer to catch the melt-off. If an item needs to be kept cold, keep it in an ice-box or cooler.
  • Turn on the flash defrost button.This button will activate the heating coil that will thoroughly melt all the ice at a much faster rate than simply exposing it to room temperature. The accompanying user’s manual should indicate how long it will take for your freezer model to finish defrosting. Keep the freezer door open during the defrosting cycle and clean-up, as closing it will halt the flash defrost cycle.
  • Turn off the flash defrost before cleaning the interior. Once all the ice has melted, switch off the flash defrost plunger and remove the plug from outlet to prevent any chance of an electrical accident. Use a washrag to wipe the interior of dirt and liquid; you can also use baking soda to remove bad odors. You may use a bit of liquid soap or detergent to remove stains and odors. Make sure to remove excess moisture before re-plugging the unit. Avoid using toxic cleaning supplies that may contaminate the freezer contents. Make sure the power cord is not exposed to moisture when cleaning the unit.
  • Re-plug the freezer. Switch the freezer on and return all the contents back in place. You can add activated carbon to prevent odors from building up. Clean the work area and properly dispose of the wet newspapers.
  • Troubleshoot a faulty flash defrost. If the freezer isn’t defrosting quickly when you set the flash defrost on, check if the unit is plugged in the socket. The freezer should also be open during this cycle. Do not expose any wires while the unit is plugged in or the interior is still moist. If the flash defrost still won’t operate, contact the Kenmore service center to ask for help or schedule for repairs. You may still defrost the freezer manually by exposing the interior to room temperature, but keep the contents in ice boxes or store them temporarily in your neighbor’s freezer until you can clean and power up your freezer again. Make similar arrangements with the contents while the freezer is being examined and repaired.

Do not operate your freezer under direct sunlight or expose it to the elements to prevent it from being damaged prematurely. Read the user manual thoroughly and operate the freezer within stated parameters, and do not store any item that will prevent the freezer door from closing properly.