Appliance User Manuals

A lot of us have heard that old saying, “If all else fails, read the instructions!” Well, we all have a ton of things to do and aren’t those expensive new appliances supposed to be easier to use and trouble-free? Maybe someday, but we aren’t there yet!instruction-manual

Reading the user manuals for your household appliances, and referring to them is one of the simplest ways you can enjoy better, more efficient, and longer lasting performance from these important and helpful appliances. I’ve seen many appliances over the years which have had extended life because homeowners applied this knowledge wisely.

Avoiding problems caused by accidental misuse can also mean avoiding the loss of warranty for some repairs. This is another good reason for spending a few moments to read your manual when first purchasing a new appliance. While you may have read the instructions carefully when you first made those purchases, it is always good to refresh your memory from time to time. Sometimes when we do that, we’ll discover something we missed the first time around. Also, because others in your household may not have read the instructions, it’s always a good idea to fill them in on important details they need to know. In the next paragraph, I’ve listed one common and important detail as an example. Your appliance instruction manuals and warranties are likely to provide additional information which can be quite valuable.

Front loading washers have become very popular, and they work quite well as long as the door seal doesn’t leak. Modern materials and manufacturing practices have produced washer door seals which can last for many years without leaking, with minimal maintenance. However, the seal should be cleaned on a regular basis, to prevent soapy buildup which can compromise the seal’s watertight fit. Second, because scouring pads and other abrasive cleaning materials leave scratches which cause leaks, the use of these will often void the door seal’s warranty. So, always use non-abrasive cleaning materials which dissolve deposits without damaging the seal. If you own a front-loading washer, check with your owner’s manual or with the manufacturer for their recommendations about recommended door seal cleaners.

To learn more and avoid unnecessary problems with your appliances, take a moment to read or re-read your instruction manuals. By doing so, you may save unnecessary problems and expense, and well-informed operation and timely maintenance is likely to extend the useful service life for your appliances. In terms of practical investment strategies, long-term convenience, and realized economic returns, a little review time with your appliance instruction manuals is one of the best investments you can make!

Oven Temperature Test

As we enter the Fall season, we generally find ourselves grilling fewer meals outdoors and preparing more meals indoors. With major holidays approaching, now is a good time to use the self-clean mode to clean your oven to prepare for those large important meals. When using your oven’s self-clean mode, always follow the user manual’s instructions, and do this weeks before you need the oven for holiday cooking.

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If you suspect your oven’s actual temperatures don’t match the temperatures you are setting, you can have a professional test your oven’s controls for accuracy. If necessary, a professional appliance technician can re-calibrate your oven so that its temperature settings closely match its actual temperatures.

It is important to know that no oven is ready for cooking until it is properly preheated. While most ovens have audible and visual indicators which tell you when oven air temperature reaches the set-point, this is only an indicator of air temperatures, which are heated quite rapidly. For the best results, it is always best to wait until an oven’s interior becomes fully saturated with heat, before using it for baking. Complete thermal saturation requires an average of 20 to 30 minutes. At this point, the oven’s interior walls will reach the same temperature as its interior air.

When anything is placed into an oven before full temperature saturation, the bottom of those items, a pan of cookies for instance, is likely to be burned. Some manufacturers recommend waiting another 10 to 15 minutes after the control provides an audible or visual signal, for optimal results and more even baking. If you have noticed the second batch of cookies is better than the first, you’ve seen why waiting those extra minutes is so important, for proper preheating or “conditioning”, as one manufacturer refers to this. If you would like your oven professionally calibrated before your next big holiday meal, call us now to schedule an appointment. There’s no reason to wait for a major repair to enjoy the best possible performance from your kitchen’s oven.

 

 

Dishwasher Maintenance Tip: Dishwasher Cleaning

steam-dishwasher-1To get the best cleaning performance from your dishwasher, you should use a good dishwasher cleaner on a regular basis. Without cleaning, mineral deposits can form inside your dishwasher’s pump and water passages, as well as leaving stains on the interior surface, that take away that “New Look”. Without regular cleaning, your dishwasher’s water jets can become clogged and unwelcome odors can develop. Clogged water jets and mineral deposits in your dishwasher’s water passages will restrict water flow, reducing your dishwasher’s cleaning effectiveness and its energy efficiency, and can damage the heating/drying element. Restricted water flow will also add unnecessary stress to your dishwasher’s water pump, reducing its working life. However, regular use of a good dishwasher cleaner will dissolve and rinse away deposits and prevent more deposits from forming. As a result, your dishwasher will perform better, smell fresher, and last longer.

To find the best cleaner for your dishwasher, consult with your dishwasher’s owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer and ask about their recommendations. I like the Citric based cleaners, the type that can also be used to wash dishes that have a film on them.  Typically, a once-a-month cleaning is sufficient to maintain a fresh smelling, full-powered, healthy dishwasher. In some hard water areas where water-borne minerals are especially heavy, more frequent cleanings may be necessary.

Laundry Room Fire Prevention

Dryer vent hose smashedLaundry equipment and in particular clothes dryers, remain one of the most preventable causes for house fires and their related injuries and deaths in this country. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, nearly 17,000 house fires reported in 2010 were attributed to clothes dryers and washing machines. 51 people died as a result from laundry room fires which caused 236 million dollars in property damage. Numbers like this are not uncommon for any year in the U.S., yet many people are unaware of the hazards or the simple steps which can prevent them.

 

Possible Fire Hazards:

Visible Lint buildup in the dryer’s lint trap

Unseen Lint buildup inside the dryer, from lint which gets past the trap

Unseen Lint which collects inside the dryer hose

Dryer hoses which are crushed or kinked by cramped dryer-to-wall spaces

Outside vents blocked with lint buildup, rodent nests, bird’s nests, objects or materials placed too close to the vents, and other obstructions

Flammable Items inside laundry appliances, including plastic or rubber items like bath mats, diaper pants, clothing items padded with foam rubber, or items with flammable chemicals like rags soaked with oil or gasoline

Friction from slipping power belts caused by worn belts or excessive loads

Flammable materials or debris allowed under or too close to laundry appliances.

 

Dryer with excess lint 2Prevention:

Always clean out the lint trap between every dryer load

Keep the areas under and behind your washer and dryer clean and uncluttered

Keep the area near the outside dryer vent clear of stored materials or objects which could impede or block the dryer’s exhaust

Remove the outside dryer vent cover on a regular basis and inspect the space behind it for obvious debris. However, obstructions in these wall spaces are not always visible. So, you should have a professional check and clean these on a regular basis.

Have a professional inspect the dryer and clean out any invisible lint buildup on a regular basis.

Have a professional clear the dryer hose of lint on a regular basis

Clues:

Dryers which don’t dry clothes normally, requiring excessive amounts of drying time

Smoke coming from the washer or dryer or clothes which smell like smoke

Warning:

If you’re unsure of the safety of your washer or dryer, never leave the house or go to bed after starting a load of clothes.

Appliance Master Service

If you would like us to inspect your laundry room appliances for fire hazards, please feel free to call us at 1(214) 280-8966 or fill out and send our contact form with a description of your concerns.

 

 

 

 

 

The History of Washing Machines and Clothes Dryers

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For thousands of years, the task of washing all clothing, towels and bedding was an everyday fact of life. The first step in this process was collecting the water from streams, rivers, cisterns, springs, or wells. Commonly transported by hand in buckets, the water was heated on stoves or over fires. Fabrics were then soaked, hand scrubbed, and carefully rinsed. After this, the fabrics were wrung out by twisting and squeezing them to remove water. Finally, the damp materials were hung up to dry. In many homes, the soap itself was a product of household labor. Needless to say, this was difficult and time consuming work.

In the late 1700’s, the first washing aid was invented – the washboard. Constructed with a rectangular frame, its row of wooden ridges greatly improved the hand washing process. Washboards are still used in many parts of the world, and its wooden ridges have since been replaced by corrugated metal, and sometimes by glass.

During the middle of the 1800’s, steam-powered machinery emerged for use in commercial laundries. Smaller machines for home use followed. Many of these were hand powered and later, some used small gasoline engines. Hand cranked rollers for wringing out the water were another popular invention, and these were soon incorporated into early washing machines. Some machines began to use powered rollers. However, these caused many serious hand injuries and were eventually outlawed.

Electric washing machines became popular as electricity became more common in homes during the late 1920’s and early thirties. Electric machines introduced the spin dry cycle which replaced rollers for water removal, and the spinning drum suggested another companion machine, the clothes dryer. In some cases, both washing and drying were combined in one machine. This concept is still used for small washer/dryer combo machines popular in RV’s, where space saving is always important.

Most people today can’t imagine life without washing machines and clothes dryers. However, when you consider all the hours of work saved by running water, washing machines and clothes dryers, the cost of these modern conveniences represent one of the best values we’ll ever have.

Refrigerator Condenser Maintenance

All too often, I go out on refrigerator calls and discover condenser coils clogged with dust and pet hair. Coil cleaning is often the only service a refrigerator needs to restore its cooling function.

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In one of the worst cases I’ve seen, a customer with two refrigerators called to say both were running warm, and food was spoiling. In both cases, I discovered condenser coils choked with thick layers of dust and pet hair. These accumulations were so dense, it was actually difficult to see the coils. These blankets of debris were preventing proper airflow, and the debris had actually begun functioning as insulation, preventing the coils from cooling. As a result, both compressors were overheated and although they were still running, they had lost their ability to cool these refrigerators. I used a vacuum with a coil-cleaning brush to clean the coils, and both refrigerators began cooling immediately. The next day, the customer called to thank me and express their happiness with such an inexpensive repair.

Clogged Condenser Coils

Your refrigerator can defrost itself, but it cannot clean its condenser coils. It will need a little help with this on a regular basis. If your refrigerator is not cooling well, its compressor is running longer than usual, and it’s been over a year since its condenser coils were cleaned, check those coils. If you have pets, I recommend cleaning condenser coils every three to six months. This problem is very common, and I find dirty coils on nearly every refrigerator I repair. Because coils are located below or behind the refrigerator where they are not easily seen, many people aren’t aware of a problem until their refrigerator stops cooling.

It’s not uncommon to receive calls from people saying, “I just bought groceries and loaded the fridge, but it’s not cooling and everything is ruined!” More than once, besides dust, I’ve discovered a child’s “crayon art” blocking the cooling fan’s intake grill. As parents and grandparents, we love to stick these on our refrigerators. But few of us notice when these “works of art” fall and disappear. Condenser coils are designed to dissipate the heat being pumped out of the refrigerator by the compressor. Airborne dust and pet hair collects on these coils, because it is drawn to the air intake by the condenser fan. As this debris accumulates, your refrigerator will lose efficiency, your electric bills will increase, the refrigerator’s compressor will overheat, and its life will be shortened. In extreme cases, a refrigerator will stop cooling and cause food spoilage. A visual inspection of the coils will quickly tell you if they need cleaning.

Before attempting to inspect or clean your refrigerator’s coils, it’s always best to read about this first in the manufacturer’s manual. You should also allow yourself ample room to work by pulling your fridge out from the wall. Always unplug the refrigerator before touching anything below or behind it. Compressor coils are best cleaned by vacuuming with a coil cleaning brush, and care must be taken to clean the coils on both sides. This may mean lifting and blocking the fridge up on one side so you can reach behind its coils. Be careful when doing this, to avoid knocking over anything inside the fridge, or dropping the refrigerator on its side. Coil cleaning is not always easy, but its rewards can be immediate, with your refrigerator running cooler, more efficiently, more dependably, and with years added to its life.