Keep your refrigerator condenser clean.

The condenser is what keeps your compressor from overheating. Most refrigerators have a fan motor which moves air across the condenser which cools your compressor. Lint and pet hair gets sucked into the condenser. When it builds up and restricts the air flow, your compressor overheats. Compressor replacement is the most expensive repair on a refrigerator. Clean your condenser regularly to help prolong the life of your compressor.


Never overload your washing machine.

If you want your washing machine to last, don’t try to get your laundry done so quickly. Heavy loads and off-balanced loads put a strain on the moving parts of your machine and wear them out prematurely. It’s better to do smaller, evenly balanced loads.


Keep your dryer and vent line free of lint.

Cleaning the lint screen on your dryer before every load should be a habit but that’s not enough. Lint builds up in your dryer vent line over time. When your vent line starts to get restricted, more lint backs up into your dryer which creates a possible dryer fire. The inside of your dryer and vent line need to be vacuumed out periodically. You can prevent dryer fires with regular cleaning.


Rinse the excess food off of your dishes before placing them in the dishwasher.

Even though you may have seen commercials that say you can be lazy and leave the food on your dishes, there are still risks to your appliance. The food has to go somewhere and it commonly gets clogged up in the pump and spray arms, necessitating a call your appliance technician.


Avoid using the “self clean” feature on your oven.

The oven reaches such high temperatures during the self-clean cycle that the extreme heat causes parts to fail. A large percentage of oven repair calls occur right after someone has used the self-clean feature. If you just keep your spills wiped up when they happen, you won’t need to use the self-clean feature and risk health issues and repair costs.

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

Phone lines

(415) 831-1259 San Francisco
(415) 388-0690 Marin County
(650) 525-0512 South SF / Daly City / Pacifica



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.


how to buy a dishwasher, dishwasher buying guideDishwashers rule for more reasons than getting rid of dishpan hands.

They slash hours off your weekly chores, literally hide your dirty dishes, and, best of all, use less water than hand-washing – 9 gallons versus 20.But should you go for a high-end European unit that will run you $700 or pick up a basic model for under $200? Here’s what to consider:

Is it the right size?

The standard width of a dishwasher is 24 inches, but 18-inch models are also available. If you usually make reservations for dinner, a smaller unit might work for you. Go for a larger washer if you like to cook at home or have big dinner parties.

Can it get into hot water?

The water heaters in most homes are set to 110 degrees. But to get your dishes sparkling clean, a dishwasher needs water heated to 140 degrees. Make sure the unit you buy has a water-heating feature.

Is it eco-friendly?

Approximately 25 percent of dishwashers meet green guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program. So be sure to check for the yellow Energy Guide label on machines. The lower the Energy Star number, the more efficient the washer is. This will also translate into a lower overall utility bill!

Does it have all the cycles?

Almost all brands come with the standard light, normal, heavy, and pots/pans settings. But the rinse-and-hold feature is a bonus that removes food from dishes that are going to sit before a full cycle runs — a big plus if you tend to use every last dish in the cabinet before turning on the dishwasher.

Is there already enough noise in the house?

Consider how important a quiet wash cycle is before you commit to a unit. If you usually run your dishwasher at night, look for machines with added insulation and smaller motors.

Are you a control freak?

Smart controls are available on state-of-the-art dishwashers. These use sensors to monitor cleaning during wash cycles and tailor the machine’s effort to meet the load’s requirement.

Plan on moving?

A good dishwasher will last about nine years. So if you’re planning on sticking around your current nest, spend a little more now and spare yourself from prematurely having to buy another dishwasher!

Article by Margaret Winslow

Is Your Dishwasher Quiet Enough?

Ten to 15 years ago, dishwashers whooshed and washed and clunked and clanged with the vigor of a pile driver. It was annoying, but most people didn’t know it was possible to wash any other way. Dishwashers were loud, a Bush or Clinton was running for president, and everyone was excited for the new James Bond and Star Wars films.

Over the past decade or so, things have changed—at least when it comes to dishwashers. While there are certainly some stragglers, most name-brand dishwashers on the market today are quiet enough to run in a library. Typically, they range from 45 to 50 decibels—roughly the noise level of typing on a keyboard, and just below the threshold needed to wake someone up.

Now compare that to dishwashers from the mid-2000s. Those machines averaged about 60 decibels—just below the sound level of a vacuum. So today’s machines are much quieter, but the trend has had an interesting effect on consumers: Shoppers tend to overvalue the significance of the industry standard noise rating—the decibel A-weighting, or dBA.

The dBA rating is complicated, but it basically boils down to this: Compared to straight-up decibels (dB), dBA puts emphasis on noises that we hear most clearly and de-emphasizes sounds that are harder to hear. The result is a rating that should, in theory, give shoppers a better idea of how much their dishwasher will annoy them.

But how did a quiet dishwasher become the envy of homeowners everywhere, and just how quiet is quiet enough?


A Quieter Kitchen

It was actually a German brand, Bosch, that first got Americans thinking about sound back in the early 2000s. The manufacturer already had a line of quiet dishwashers in the European market, so it had a leg up when it came to developing new models for quiet-hungry American buyers.

In short, Bosch anticipated a need that customers didn’t know they had. Americans were starting to spend a lot more time in their kitchens, thanks the rediscovery of cooking via foodie culture and the growth of the “open kitchen” concept. Suddenly, a demand for quieter dishwashers was born.

The German giant met that need by fundamentally redesigning the dishwasher. Bosch engineers first incorporated a solid base made of heavy-duty plastic—the same material used in football helmets. They also installed a sensor-based drain pump that only ran when it detected the presence of water, eliminating much of the loud sucking noise heard during draining. Bosch also redesigned the hydraulic system, introduced a new filtration system to replace the hard waste disposer, and began using two motors instead of one to spread the work load.

(Not long after Bosch revolutionized the industry, a few retailers partnered with a sound lab to develop a standard measurement of dishwasher noise output. That’s the reason for the ubiquitous dBA ratings you’ll see in stores, in ads, and online—we’ll explain those later.)

Dishwashers have gotten so quiet that the differences among them are hardly noticeable.

The result was a line of “SuperSilence” dishwashers that, today, operate in the range of 38-46 dBA. It also led to a race for the lowest possible sound rating. That’s why Bosch’s primary competitor, Miele, pushed hard to hit an impressive 37 dBA with its Futura Diamond model. Using a specific “Extra Quiet” mode, it limits mechanical action and prolongs the length of its wash cycles. In other words, it’ll wash your dishes silently while you sleep, but it may take all night.

“Although there are peaks and valleys in measuring the sound levels during a wash cycle, we have managed to suppress even the portions of the cycle where the pump and drain noises are at their highest, turning them into a low-pitched hum,” said Hiroko Kawaguchi, a product development manager at Miele.

Read more here




Cleaning your machine about once a month will remove any grease and lime scale deposits which can build up on the inside of the machine. Special dishwasher cleaners are available which are used when the machine is empty. These cleaners will often leave a fresh smell in the dishwasher too. If you want to have that fresh smell all the time, use a dishwasher freshener. These are usually supplied as hanging tags, which should be carefully positioned away from any moving arms. A freshener is essential if you load during the day and then run the machine at night.


Put simply, the dishwasher takes in cold water and heats it to a temperature far higher than possible for hand washing – usually above 130ºF. The dishwasher does not use a great deal of water, as it does not actually fill up. The water enters through a resin-based water softener, usually in the base of the machine. The water softener uses granular salt to maintain its efficiency and will require topping up regularly. Pumps force the water at high temperature into rotating arms containing spray jets. It is the force of the water that rotates the arms and enables the water and detergent to reach all parts of the load. After the programmed cycle of washing and rinsing is complete, heating elements dry the dishes, or they are left to drain dry, dependent on the programme you’ve chosen.


crape off as much surface food as possible and place larger and dirtier items on the bottom rack with cups, glasses and less soiled items on the top rack. Load plates and glasses so they aren’t touching and put cutlery in the special basket, handles facing downwards.

These items can be washed in a dishwasher, with the following guidelines:

Glassware – Any ordinary glassware and ovenware such as Pyrex. Do not wash lead crystal glasses unless they carry a “dishwasher safe” label.
Tableware – Most everyday crockery is safe. Bone china usually has under-glaze decoration and should be safe. Avoid antique or hand-painted and over-glaze decorated items. If in doubt, check with the manufacturer.
Cutlery – Stainless steel and silver cutlery are normally suitable for machine washing, but it pays to rinse off any acidic food before loading to prevent any corrosion and, if possible remove the cutlery immediately after the cycle, to avoid prolonged exposure in a humid atmosphere. Do not mix steel and silver cutlery in the same basket and wash bone or wooden-handled items by hand.
Plastics – Check whether they are dishwasher safe and do not place in the lower rack, where the heating element may affect the plastic during drying.
Pans – Stainless steel is ideal for dishwashers. Aluminium can be washed in the machine, but may discolour during the rinsing. If in doubt, remove aluminium pans before the rinse cycle.

Always wash cast iron and wooden handled items by hand.


If the water is soft (i.e. does not contain calcium particles), the detergent will work more effectively and there will be less streaking on dishes. Hard water can also block the washer jets with lime scale and cause deposits on heating elements, which will reduce the cleaning efficiency, increase electricity costs and shorten the life of the machine. All dishwasher manufacturers and detergent suppliers want you to get the best results from the machine – and soft water is one of the most important factors in achieving this. The way to ensure water remains soft is to regularly top up the reservoir with granular salt.


No. Table, cooking, rock and sea salts may contain additives that can actually increase water hardness. Also, the fine consistency of some of these salts mean they are likely to clog when wet. Always use granular dishwasher salt because it is very pure and is the right consistency for use in your machine.

Granular salt is the ONLY type of salt that should be used to regenerate the softener. Be aware that some varieties of ‘dishwasher salt’ use Dead Sea salt. This variety may contain minute insoluble organic matter that may adversely affect the resin within your softener over time. If you are in doubt about the origins of the salt, ask the retailer or manufacturer.


You can determine the cause of cloudy glassware by soaking a glass in vinegar for 5 minutes. If the cloudiness is removed it is due to hard water deposits; make sure the salt reservoir is topped up. Do not worry about over-filling it.

If the cloudiness is not removed, it is a permanent condition known as etching. In this situation, use less detergent and stop pre-washing. Dishwashing detergent needs a bit of soil to work on, otherwise it will tend to foam up.


All modern dishwasher detergents are formulated to work specifically in dishwashers. On no occasion should ordinary washing up liquid be used, as it will cause excess foam, which can result in a leak. If it is accidentally used, sprinkle ordinary salt into the chamber to disperse the resulting suds. Then rinse away the excess salt before using.

There are 3 main types of dishwasher detergent – Powder, liquid or gel and tablets. Which one you choose will be down to personal preference, but most people find tablets very convenient, although using powder is usually more economical and liquids are less abrasive on more delicate items.


Rinse Aid is added to a special compartment in the machine and a very small amount is released during the final hot rinse cycle, to reduce the formation of water droplets on crockery etc and so ensures that the water dries away properly and evenly to avoid leaving smears.

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

Phone lines

(415) 831-1259 San Francisco
(415) 388-0690 Marin County
(650) 525-0512 South SF / Daly City / Pacifica


Dishes Done Right

How to properly load the dishwasher has long been a matter of discord in many a household. Cutlery handle-up or down? Cram the dishwasher full or let each plate and bowl have its space? These questions and more are answered in our definitive dishwasher guide!

After you learn the basics of using a dishwasher, such as not putting regular dish detergent in the dispenser, it is time to move on to the more nuanced techniques of loading up. Make sure to angle your cups and mugs so that water doesn’t pool on top of them, and place large items like plates and cutting boards on the bottom rack, away from the spray arm so that it has room to rotate. Consider which items do and don’t belong in the dishwasher. Stainless steel, non-stick bakeware, and wooden items are all best washed by hand.

A dishwasher may seem like a luxurious indulgence, particularly if you have access to one for the first time. But improvements to the efficiency of this appliance have made it so that using a dishwasher is actually more energy efficient than washing dishes by hand! Dishwashers with an Energy Star rating use a maximum of 5.8 gallons of water per cycle.

Not many people know this, but dishwasher detergent actually has a fairly short shelf-life. Resist the temptation to buy more than you can use in two months. Also, check out our life hacks to see which foods and household items can be cleaned in there. After reading this guide, you’ll be a full-fledged advanced dishwasher. Have fun lording your new-found knowledge over family members!

Appliance Science: Dishwashers

dishwasher-1We tend to take things in our home for granted, casually accepting the miracles of chemistry, physics and biology that our appliances involve. Take your dishwasher, for instance: a device which cleans all manner of foods from a huge pile of dishes, quickly and efficiently. When you actually stop and think about it, the amount of work this involves is impressive, and the physics of this process are more complex than you might first think.

So how does a dishwasher use the power of water to wash dishes? Let’s take a look at the physics of water and how dishwashers use these forces to scrub your dishes.

Although the specifics differ, all dishwashers have the same fundamental design: a sink at the bottom that fills with water, a pump that moves this water and spray arms, sprayers and other devices that squirt this water onto the dishes.

When you look inside any dishwasher, one of the most obvious things you’ll see is a wash or spray arm, a rotating bar that sprays water onto the dishes, helping to dislodge the food. The dishwasher pumps water through this, but there is no motor to rotate the arm. Instead, the dishwasher uses the pressure of the water to spin it around.

The water jets on the spray arm are angled, so the water sprays out at an angle, usually about 45 degrees off the vertical. The force of this water pushes the arm, and it rotates. This shows the third of Newton’s laws of motion. As the man himself said in Latin in his 1687 bestseller, “Actioni contrariam semper et aequalem esse reactionem.” To translate: “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

So, as the water sprays out of the spray arm, it pushes the spray arm back again, sending it spinning. It’s the same principle that rockets use: hot gas gets pushed out of the bottom, forcing the rocket up, up and away.

To save water, all dishwashers recycle water. After it has been sprayed over the dishes, it collects in the sink at the bottom of the dishwasher, where it is then pumped it back up to wash the dishes again. A filter catches most of the large waste, but the smaller waste particles remain suspended in the water. So, how does the dishwasher know when the dishes are clean?

Older dishwashers ran for a set amount of time, depending on the program you chose. You would set them to a shorter wash for lightly soiled dishes and longer for pots and pans. Most modern dishwashers have an automatic mode, where they can tell when the dishes are clean, thanks to a device called a turbidity sensor.

This neat device allows the dishwasher to see how clean the water is by measuring how much grunge is in the water as it is pumped out of the sink: if the water is dirty, grunge is still washing off the dishes. If the water is clean, all the dirt has been washed off the dishes, and the wash is done. It works by shining a light (usually an infrared, or IR, light) through the water onto a sensor that measures how much light reaches it. As the water passes through, the grunge dissolved in the water and larger particles reflect it away. So, if the water is clean, most of the light passes through. If the water is dirty, less light passes through and is detected by the sensor.

Call Absolute Appliance Repair NOW if you have any problems with your dishwasher!
Phone lines
(415) 831-1259 San Francisco
(415) 388-0690 Marin County
(650) 525-0512 South SF / Daly City / Pacifica

10 tips to extend the life of appliances

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 pointers:

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, says Bud Eader, manager at Bettar Appliance in Kensington, Md. 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 by creating 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,” Eader says. 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.

Care and Maintenance Tips to Make Appliances Last

Clean Refrigerator Coils


If your refrigerator stops working on a hot day, suspect the coils. Service pros find this problem on half of their refrigerator calls. On many fridges, you get to the coils by removing the front grille. Then push a coil cleaning brush (sold at home centers) into the coils, pull it back and vacuum it clean. If the coils are located on the back, pull out your fridge to clean them. Bonus: The clean coils will cool more efficiently and save you money on your utility bill!


Avoid Overloads


You may think you’re saving time, water or energy by cramming more clothes into your washer and dryer. But overloading any washer or dryer causes damage to motors, belts and other moving parts. Some of the repairs are so expensive that you’re better off buying a new machine.

Recalibrate Your Oven Temperature Setting


If the temperature in your oven seems off, or if your new oven just doesn’t heat like your old one, you can recalibrate the temperature setting. Use the instructions in your manual or go online and search for a downloadable version using your oven’s model number. Place a good-quality oven thermometer on the center shelf and wait for the oven to maintain a constant temperature. Then follow the procedure outlined in your manual to match the temperature setting to the thermometer reading.

Keep It Quiet


Washers and dryers transfer vibrations to floors and telegraph noise throughout the house. The solution is to set their feet on rubber anti-vibration pads (available at some home centers and online).


Keep the Dishwasher Clean


When your dishwasher no longer gets your dishes clean, a food-filled filter is most often to blame. If it’s clogged, water can’t make it to the spray arms to clean the dishes in the top rack. The fix takes two minutes. Simply pull out the lower rack and remove the filter cover inside the dishwasher. (Check your owner’s manual if you can’t spot the filter.) Then use a wet/dry vacuum to clean off the screen. While you’re there, slide the nearby float switch up and down. If the cover sticks, jiggle it up and down and clean it with water.

Don’t Slam the Doors!


If you continually drop or slam the lid to your washer or dryer (top or front load), you’re going to break the lid/ door switch. That’ll cost you at least $100. Avoid this repair by lowering the lid and gently closing the door.

Clean Window Air Conditioners in Spring


A window air conditioner can hold some nasty surprises after winter storage. Aside from harmless stuff like dust and dead bugs, it might contain health threats like mold or mouse droppings. So before you lug it to a window, vacuum all the surfaces, especially the fins on the exterior face of the unit (that’s good for efficiency and performance, too). Also pull off the cover panel, and vacuum and clean the foam filter. Finally, plug it in and fire it up. Better to blow dust around the garage than your bedroom.

Remember the Magic Button


All disposers have an overload feature that automatically shuts off the power when the motor becomes overloaded and gets too hot. Once the motor cools, simply push the reset button on the side of or under the unit.

Clean Up Stove Spills


If a stove burner won’t come on, the likely culprit is spilled food. Use a toothbrush to clean off food spills from the igniter. On an electronic ignition stove, it’s a little ceramic nub located either on the stovetop or under the ceramic seal strike plate. Also make sure that the round ceramic seal strike plate is properly seated on the burner.

Fight Stinky Fridge Syndrome


If your power goes out and the food in your fridge and freezer goes bad, you’ve got a really stinky mess on your hands. Here’s what to do to get rid of the smell:

  1. Remove the food and wipe everything down with a disinfecting cleaning spray.
  2. Clean all the nooks and crannies inside the freezer, especially the shelf supports.
  3. Smash about 12 charcoal briquettes and spread the chunks on two trays. One goes in the fridge, the other in the freezer.
  4. Crunch up newspaper and fill the shelves with it.
  5. Close the doors and walk away, giving the charcoal and newspaper time to absorb odors.
  6. Replace the old newspaper and charcoal with fresh stuff every day for about a week or until the smell is gone.

Electric Stove Burners Need Good Contact


If a burner on your electric stove isn’t working properly, turn the burner off and pull it out of its socket. Then plug it in again and wiggle it around. If it feels loose, remove the burner again and gently bend the burner prongs slightly outward for a tighter connection.

Clean Fridge Gaskets


If you keep your refrigerator door gaskets clean, they’ll seal properly and last the life of the fridge. But if you let sticky foods like syrup and jam build up on the door gasket, they’ll glue the gasket to the frame. Pulling harder on a stuck door eventually tears the gasket, and that’ll cost you $100 or more to fix. Plus, if the door doesn’t seal properly, the fridge has to run longer, and that’ll boost your electric bill. Clean the door gasket with warm water and a sponge. Don’t use detergents; they can damage the gasket.

Clean Out Disposer Crud


Your disposer will smell better if you clean the splash guard. Lift the flaps and scrub them (especially the under side) with a toothbrush and grease-cutting cleaner.

Heat Up a Lukewarm Dryer


If your clothes dryer isn’t heating properly, first make sure the machine isn’t set to “fluff air”—a nonheat setting. If that’s not it, the lint filter may be clogged. Even if the filter looks clean, it may be covered by a nearly invisible film caused by dryer sheets. Test your filter by pouring water into it. If the filter holds water, it’s past time to clean it. This film reduces airflow and forces the thermostat to shut off the heat before the clothes are dry. Pull out the filter and scrub it in hot water with a little laundry detergent and a stiff kitchen brush. Also check the outside dryer vent for any lint that may have built up there.


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

Phone lines

(415) 831-1259 San Francisco
(415) 388-0690 Marin County
(650) 525-0512 South SF / Daly City / Pacifica











Tips for your dishwasher performance

Here are a few tips that helped us with our dishwasher’s efficiency

  • Use a granular dishwasher soap instead of gel
  • Clean sprayer arms with picture hanging wire and a white vinegar bath
  • Remove grit and reside from fine and coarse filters
  • Check underneath the coarse filter for grime
  • Eliminate hard water scale buildup with Lemi Shine

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

Phone lines

(415) 831-1259 San Francisco
(415) 388-0690 Marin County
(650) 525-0512 South SF / Daly City / Pacifica