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Freezer Maintenance Pro Tips

Is your freezer is running constantly or isn’t getting cold enough? We can help put your freezer back in shape for the San Francisco summer!

Freezer tips:

  • Using a baking soda/vinegar solution to clean your freezer will help eliminate any unwelcome smells.
  • Storing a box of baking soda in your freezer can be a smell magnet that removes foul odors.
  • Cleaning and inspecting freezer door seals regularly will help your freezer to maintain a proper temperature use electricity efficiently.

Give us a call at (415) 831-1259 for more information or to schedule an appointment. You can also use our online form to start the scheduling process.

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.

DISHWASHERS

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.

DISHWASHER WATER-SAVING TIPS
  • 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.
LONG-TERM SAVINGS TIP

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.

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.

OTHER ENERGY-SAVING KITCHEN TIPS

  • 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.

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.

Refrigerator and Freezer Maintenance

refrigeratorAn easy DIY home maintenance task is cleaning the refrigerator, or freezer. Keeping it clean and cared for will not only improve energy efficiency but also prolong the life of the unit. Many refrigerators are replaced early because of difficulty with keeping cool. This is often the result of neglect.

Door Gasket

The rubber seal along the perimeter of the door is the gasket. It is very effective at keeping cool air in and warm air out, but debris and dust make it harder for it to maintain a good seal. Use warm soapy water to clean the surface and dry after.

Heat Exchanger Coils

The cooling system relies on heat exchanger coils to expel energy (i.e. heat) from the inside of the refrigerator. Heat transfer is much better when there is little to no dust on the surface. A layer of dust will create extra insulation and inhibit energy transfer. This is probably the biggest reason good refrigerators get replaced early.

Start this step by unplugging the unit. If the coils are on the bottom you may need to remove an access panel. Otherwise, they are most likely mounted on the backside. Be careful if you need to move the unit for access. Preferably a brush designed for the delicate fins on the heat exchanger will be used to clean the surface. Otherwise, a regular duster can be used. Take caution not to bend any of the fins on the coils.

Next, use a duster or vacuum to clean off the blower and the exterior surfaces of the refrigerator. This should help keep the heat exhanger clean longer. Put everything back in place and restore power.

Defrosting and Cleaning Smells

Periodically the freezer should be defrosted. The buildup of ice can restrict cooling and reduce the usable space. This ice is usually the result of too much moisture. Check the gasket around the freezer for leaks and replace, if necessary. Otherwise, it may be that the freezer door is being left open too much. Try to be quick when removing items.

While the freezer is being defrosted, it is a good time to clean the internal surfaces. A homemade cleaning solution of vinegar, warm water, and lemon (for smell) is very effective at removing spills and stains. Place a small box of baking soda on a shelf after cleaning is finished to prevent future odors.

Filter Replacement

If your refrigerator has an ice maker or drinking water spout, there is most likely a water filter. Remove the cover, take out the old filter, and toss it is the garbage. Insert the new filter and put the cover back in place. That’s all there is to it.

 

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

Phone lines

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

 

 

 

HOW TO USE A FREEZER

To successfully freeze foods, there are some simple rules you need to follow. The two most important bits of advice are to make sure you wrap the foods very well, and that you keep careful track of what is in your freezer. Freezer burn is dehydration of the food caused by improper packing, and wastes food. And if you don’t label the foods in your freezer and have a frequently updated chart of what’s in there, your freezer will be impenetrable in a very short time – which also wastes food.

The chart below will help with special instructions and the length of time foods can be safely frozen.

 

FOOD STORAGE TIME SPECIAL TIPS
BREADS, MUFFINS Up to 1 month
Cool completely before freezing. Do not frost. To thaw, loosen wrap and let sit at room temp 2-3 hours. To heat, wrap in foil, reheat 350 degrees 15-20 minutes. Heat frozen waffles without thawing first.
SANDWICHES Up to 2 weeks
Don’t make sandwiches with jelly, mayonnaise, cooked egg whites or raw veggies (especially lettuce). Choose peanut butter, cream cheese, meats, shredded cheeses, grilled and cooked veggies. Spread bread with a very thin layer of butter before layering.
FROSTED CAKES Up to 3 months
Buttercream frosting freezes well. Custards and egg white frostings do not. Cool completely. Place unwrapped cake in freezer to harden frosting before wrapping. Thaw loosely covered overnight in fridge.
UNFROSTED CAKES Up to 6 months
Cool completely before freezing. Place cakes, especially angel and chiffon, in cake container to avoid crushing. Thaw, wrapped, at room temperature 2-3 hours.
CUSTARD PIES, CREAM PIES, MERINGUES Do not freeze well
Not recommended
UNBAKED FRUIT PIES Up to 3 months
Before filling, brush bottom crust with egg white to prevent sogginess. Add extra tablespoon of flour to filling. Don’t cut vent holes in pastry. Cover with inverted pie plate until firm. To bake, unwrap, cut vent holes, bake at 425 degrees 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees, bake according to recipe until center bubbles and crust is brown.
BAKED FRUIT PIES, NUT PIES Up to 4 months
Cool completely before freezing. Cover with inverted pie plate until firm. Wrap well. To heat, unwrap, bake at 325 degrees for 30-45 minutes until warm.
COOKIE DOUGH Up to 3 months
Wrap well. Let thaw in refrigerator overnight before baking unless the recipe states the frozen dough can be baked. Shape into cookies before freezing for fastest baking.
BAKED UNFROSTED COOKIES Up to 1 year
Cool completely, wrap well in layers in freezer container and freeze. Thaw, wrapped, at room temperature. For crisp cookies, thaw unwrapped at room temperature.
BAKED FROSTED COOKIES Up to 2 months
Freeze uncovered on cookie sheets until cookies and frosting are firm. Then stack in layers in freezer container, wrap well and freee. Thaw, wrapped, at room temperature.
BUTTER Up to 9 months
Freeze in original packaging, placed into heavy duty freezer bags. Thaw in refrigerator or in microwave.
MILK, CREAM Difficult to freeze unless whipped
Milk, cream and light cream will separate
Whipped heavy cream will freeze well. Place dollops on cookie sheet, freeze until firm, then place in bags and freeze. Let thaw in refrigerator.
UNCOOKED EGGS, EGG SUBSTITUTES Up to 6 months
If freezing yolks separately, add 1 tsp. sugar or salt per egg yolk, depending on end use. Make sure to mark what you added!
COOKED EGGS, MAYONNAISE Do not freeze well
Not recommended
VEGETABLES Up to 6 months
Blanch before freezing. Remove as much air as possible from package before freezing. Vegetables with lots of water like salad greens and tomatoes do not freeze well. Do not freeze deep fried vegetables.
FRUITS Up to 6 months
Up to 1 year
Freeze loose small fruits in single layer on cookie sheet until firm; then package in airtight freezer bag or container and freeze. Thaw in refrigerator.
SAUCES Up to 3 months
Most sauces will separate after being frozen. If mixed with other ingredients, freezing quality will increase. Sauces with cornstarch and cheese lose quality fastest. Leave some head space for expansion when freezing in plastic containers.
CASSEROLES Up to 3 months
Cornstarch sauces can be frozen when mixed with other ingredients in a casserole. Slightly undercook casseroles, as they will finish cooking during reheating.
SOUPS Up to 6 months
Cool completely, skim off fat. Place in rigid plastic containers, leaving 1/2″ head space for expansion.
MEATS Fresh: 1 year
Cured: 1 month
Do NOT refreeze thawed meats. If you thaw frozen meat, cook it in some form, then it can be refrozen. Cured meats should be frozen for just one month. Do NOT freeze stuffed chicken or turkey. Make sure to reform ground beef into thin patties before freezing for quick thawing.
FISH Up to 3 months
Wrap tightly in heavy duty freezer wrap or plastic bags. Thaw overnight in refrigerator before cooking.
COOKED PASTAS Up to 2 months
Cooked pastas lose quality when frozen. Undercook and freeze in a sauce for best results. Thaw overnight in refrigerator before reheating.

 

Tips:

  • Your freezer temperature should be below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a thermometer to check the temperature.
  • Use microwave safe plastic wrap if you plan to thaw or cook the frozen food in the microwave.
  • Freeze in smaller portions so the food cools faster and thaws faster for best quality.
  • Freeze in thin portions.
  • You can freeze ingredients for a casserole in individual packets (chicken, vegetables, cheese), then place the smaller packets into one large bag. Label well, including thawing and baking instructions, then freeze.
  • Line casserole dishes with heavy duty foil before assembling. Fill casserole, freeze, then remove foil wrapped food and seal in ziplock heavy duty freezer bag. Place in original container to thaw and bake.
  • Remember that freezing will not improve foods, it will just keep them at their original freshness and quality. Freeze only top quality foods.

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

Phone lines

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

 

HOW TO USE FLASH DEFROST ON A KENMORE FREEZER

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.