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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!

APPLIANCES RECENT NEWS

Samsung adds a Sodastream dispenser to its new refrigerator

 

If you like sparkling water or homemade soft drinks flavored with syrup, the Samsung RF31FMESBSR four-door refrigerator might deserve a spot in your kitchen. Samsung partnered with Sodastream, manufacturer of the countertop soda makers that have become popular in recent years. The refrigerator’s dispenser uses the same CO2 cylinders as the countertop devices. The cost of the sparkling water works out to about 25 cents per liter, if you get 60 liters to the cylinder, according to Sodastream. Syrups, available in more than 60 regular and diet flavors, are an additional cost. The cylinders and syrups are available online and at 10,000 locations, so you shouldn’t have to travel far for replacements.

KitchenAid dishwasher recycles water as it washes

Twenty years ago, it wasn’t unusual for a dishwasher tested by Consumer Reports to use 10 gallons of water or more for a normal cycle. Today, because of tighter federal efficiency standards, half that amount is common. And this week, Whirlpool introduced a KitchenAid dishwasher that’s even more of a water miser, using up to a third less water with a water-recycling system made available two years ago in Europe.

The AquaSense Recycling system, which will appear first in Whirlpool’s KitchenAid, filters the water from the last rinse of one load of dishes and uses it to prerinse the next load. It stores the extra water in a slim tank on the side of the dishwasher (at right in photo), which holds a little more than three quarts of water, without the need to enlarge the dishwasher cavity. The rinse water is mostly clean, company representatives said, but contains a residual amount of detergent that makes the water slightly alkaline and discourages mold growth.

And AquaSense has other ways to keep the system clean. If you don’t use your dishwasher again within three days, or if you lose power for a period, the dishwasher drains the holding tank. And every 30 days (or 30 cycles), the unit adds an extra 30 minutes to a cycle to flush out the tank and lines with hot water.

MAJOR APPLIANCES REPAIR

Appliances are built to perform.

They work hard, year after year, usually without too many problems. They’re easy to take for granted. The result is that when an appliance breaks down, you may be completely at a loss — you don’t know how it works, you have no idea why it stopped working, and you certainly don’t know how to fix it.

Absolute Appliances Repair is specializing in major appliances repair.

What can you do? You can pay a professional to fix it, or you can fix it yourself and save money.

major-appliances-repairMost appliances operate on your home’s electrical system: They use AC current from the circuit wiring in your home. Small appliances work on 110-120-volt circuits, and the plugs on their cords have two blades. Large or major appliances, such as air conditioners, dryers, and ranges, usually require 220-240-volt wiring and cannot be operated on 110-120-volt circuits. Large appliances are wired with a grounding wire; their plugs have two blades and a prong. This type of appliance must be plugged into a grounded outlet — one with openings to accept both blades and grounding prong — or grounded with a special adapter plug. All appliances are labeled — either on a metal plate or on the appliance casing — with their power requirements in watts and volts, and sometimes in amps.

Small appliances are usually fairly simple machines. They may consist of a simple heating element, a fan, a set of blades, or rotating beaters attached to a drive shaft; or they may have two or three simple mechanical linkages. Repairs to these appliances are usually correspondingly simple. Large appliances are more complex — one major appliance, such as a washing machine, may have a motor, a timer, and a pump, as well as various valves, switches, and solenoids. With this type of appliance, problems can occur in either the control devices or the mechanical/power components. Failure of a control device may affect one operation or the entire appliance; failure of a mechanical/power device usually affects only the functions that depend on that device. When a major appliance breaks down, knowing how to diagnose the problem is as important as knowing how to fix it.

Because major appliances are so complex, it usually isn’t obvious where a malfunction is.

(Many newer appliances include electronic diagnostics that can be interpreted from the owner’s manual.) The first step is to decide whether the problem is in a control device or a mechanical device. In a dryer, for example, the control devices govern the heat, and the mechanical components turn the drum. Which system is affected? If the drum turns, but the dryer doesn’t heat, the problem is in the control system. If the dryer heats, but the drum doesn’t turn, the problem is mechanical. This kind of analysis can be used to pinpoint the type of failure — control system or mechanical system — in all large appliances.

 

Appliance Problem?
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STAINLESS STEEL APPLIANCES

The problem with any remodel is that within a few years it may have already gone out of style. This is especially true in kitchens, where the newest fashion trends seem to come and go on a whim. One minute wood paneling is the hottest stuff on the market and then a few years later it looks dated and out of place. But in many kitchens, it’s actually the household appliances that age quickest. Remember when pea-green and avocado were hip and chic. Remember when the biggest refrigerator or microwave meant the best quality of product. Trends always change over time, so when remodeling a kitchen the best design philosophy is to stay as neutral as possible. And installing state-of-the-art stainless steel appliances is the smartest way to stay stylish and to keep it that way.

The Stainless Steel Solution
In today’s modern kitchen, stainless steel appliances are treasured investments. If you own them, you’re proud of them. If you don’t have them, you want them. Why? Well, they’re sleek and simple, yet still look tough and durable. Also, their elegance can come in any shape or size. From can openers to stoves, microwaves to refrigerators, this material can be found on any kitchen utensil. Plus, just turn on the TV and you’ll see a million shows where professional cooks attempt to turn everybody into a gourmet chef. Therefore, many homeowners want to imitate the look of these shows as well. Stainless steel appliances help to replicate the look of real restaurant kitchens, giving an authority to any amateur cook by making the room itself feel luxurious and special. And unlike other trends, this is doesn’t look to be a fad. Since they’ve always been considered high-end products, they’ve always been in style and this fact won’t change anytime soon.

The New Neutral
Though stainless steel appliances add a more contemporary, industrial appearance to a home, they can also blend in with any pre-existing décor. White surfaces were once thought to be the ultimate neutralizer: since it’s actually the absence of color, everything else can match it. However, the same can be said for metal: its naturally reflective material allows it to echo the look of any surrounding material. It’s the best of both worlds. Due to their shine, they can really pop; but they can also fade into the background. Even if you don’t like the “industrial” look and prefer wooden cabinets, linoleum floors, and Formica countertops, metallic veneers can still fit in with any personal design choice.

Metallic Maladies
But like any other design choice, these products aren’t perfect. Here are some things to consider while making your decision.
Excessive Expense: They’re popular but not cheap, sometimes costing up to twice as much as standard models.
More Matching: Yes, they can fit it to any pre-existing décor, but they can’t stand alone. It looks strange to have a metal stove next to a black, plastic dishwasher. It’s always a good idea to match your machines. So when you buy one, you may have to buy more.
Tough but Tender: Though durable, they can be damaged. Scratches are always a problem but can be eventually be filled in with special products. Dents can also occur, though sometimes this can add to their authenticity.
Maintenance: They can easily smudge and fingerprint. So you’ll need to constantly clean them with hot, soapy water and occasionally apply a special polish to keep them shiny and looking new.

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

 

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

 

WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT SMART APPLIANCES

Some manufacturers are now offering “smart” appliances — appliances that can be connected to smart electric meters or home energy management systems to help you shift your electricity use to off-peak hours. Air conditioners, refrigerators, dishwashers, and other appliances may be available as smart appliances.

Smart appliances don’t just turn off during times of peak electricity demand — instead, they use subtle ways to shift energy use. You might not even be aware of it. For example, your air conditioner may run slightly less often. Or your refrigerator might delay it’s defrost cycle until the middle of the night. If your utility charges lower rates for electricity at night, also called time-based rates, you could save on your utility bill.

Such changes may be unnoticeable to you, but could add up to significant savings for your utility — savings that can be shared with you. Your utility provider can tell you more about the availability of smart grid technologies and time-based electricity rates in your area and how they can benefit you.

 

HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR KITCHEN APPLIANCES

When updating a kitchen or laundry room, you’ll need to make important decisions about household appliances. Below are some factors that you should use to evaluate and compare different household appliances.

Appliance Energy Efficiency

It makes a great deal of sense to evaluate carefully your appliance choices according to energy efficiency.

For some appliances, you have a choice between natural gas or electricity as a power source. In general, gas is a less expensive source for any activity involving heating such as dryers, hot water heaters and furnaces. Even if your home is not currently hooked up to a gas line, check with the gas company before ruling out gas appliances. The utility company may be able to connect your home.

Energy efficiencies are also based upon the materials the appliance is made from. Different materials heat and cool at different rates. The amount and type of insulation used in the appliance is another important factor. The appliance labels should detail this information.

Appliance Size

Choosing an appliance that is the right size is important. In general, if energy is expended to accommodate a small, specific space, rather than a large one, energy savings will accrue. Most appliances come with energy labels. These are bright yellow labels that indicate the average total cost of energy the appliance consumes per year.

Finally, there is the issue of speed, the faster the machine completes its task the less time it consumes energy. This is one of the reasons that microwaves are so energy efficient.

 

HOW MUCH ENERGY APPLIANCES USE

Appliances account for about 13% of your household’s energy costs, with refrigeration, cooking, and laundry at the top of the list.

When you use electricity to cook a pot of rice for 1 hour, you use 1,000 watt-hours (1,000 Wh) of electricity! One thousand watt-hours equals 1 kWh. Your utility bill usually shows what you are charged for the kilowatt-hours you use. The average residential rate is 11.04 cents/kWh. A typical U.S. household consumes about 11,800 kWh per year, costing an average of $1,297 annually.

appliance-energyThis chart shows how much energy a typical appliance uses per year and its corresponding cost based on national averages. For example, a refrigerator uses almost five times the electricity the average television uses. Appliances account for about 13% of your household’s energy costs, with refrigeration, cooking, and laundry at the top of the list.

MAKE KITCHEN APPLIANCES LAST LONGER

Refrigerator

  • 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.

Dishwasher

  • 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.

Microwave

  • 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?
Call Absolute Appliance Repair!

Call us to set your appointment now

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

 

 

HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR MAJOR KITCHEN APPLIANCES

Appliances are part of our daily modern lives. Appliances, alone, do not make a kitchen. But, they just might be the most important aspect of your space. After all, the kitchen’s primary function is for preparing and cooking meals.

How high-end do you want to go? Chefs and bakers who plan to use the restaurant-quality features on professional models can justify hefty price tags that can consume their kitchen budget.

Cooktops. Gas, electric or induction? The choice is personal, though you don’t often hear of people who go from gas to electric. When choosing a cooktop for performance, consider efficiency: how much heat do you lose from burner to pan? With gas, you lose about 40 percent, says Nancy Divita, showroom manager at Trevarrow Inc. On the other hand, with induction heat—a flat cookstop like electric that performs like fast-heating gas stoves—you lose the least amount of heat. Induction isn’t mainstream, but it’s making a return in the American market now, Divita says. “Induction is certainly a time-saver because you can bring a pan of water to boiling faster than you can on a high-performing BTU (gas) range top,” Divita says.

When shopping for gas cooktops, ask about BTU, which stands for british thermal units, a measurement of energy content. Serious ranges are 9,200 BTU and up. Ask about variable control, meaning how long can you maintain “simmer” without the flame going out. Look for burner grates made of cast iron or a metal that conducts heat for better heat transfer from the burner to the pan.

Ovens. A high-performing convection oven, which circulates heat with a fan to cook food faster and more evenly, will help you get dinner on the table faster than a traditional oven. Bakers, on the other hand, will want the traditional bake/roast/broil. In a perfect kitchen world, you can have both with a stacked or side-by-side oven station.

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