5 Energy Hacks To Cut Your Laundry Costs

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According to the Department of Energy (DOE), the average American family washes and dryers about 400 loads of laundry per year. While manufacturers have adapted new energy-efficient technologies, washing machines and clothes dryers use more energy than any other major household appliance, with the exception of the refrigerator.

 

#1) Wash on Cold Water Setting

 

Some people automatically choose the hot water setting on their washing machine, regardless of what garments they are washing. According to ENERGY STAR, however, 90% of the energy used by a washing machine is to heat the water. Each time you wash laundry on the hot water setting, the water heater must also draw energy. A smarter and more efficient method for doing laundry is to use the cold water setting.

 

#2) Line-Dry During The Summer

 

There’s no better or more Eco-friendly way to dry your laundry than by hanging it outside on a sunny summer day. Sunshine will naturally kill bacteria and other bad germs while subsequently drying your clothes.

 

It’s clear that concern over energy bills still isn’t necessarily translating into action in the home. This is best illustrated by people continuing to use their tumble dryers during the warm summer months,” said David Weatherall of the Energy Saving Trust

 

#3) Wash Full Loads

 

Try to get into the habit of waiting until you have a full of load of laundry before washing them. Placing just a couple garments inside the washing machine is a huge waste energy. As a side benefit, a fully loaded washing machine will require less water to fill.

 

#4) Upgrade Your Washer and Dryer

 

When was the last time you purchased a new washer and dryer set? If you’ve been using the same appliances for the past 10-20 years, then perhaps it’s time for an upgrade. Newer models featuring the ENERGY STAR logo use 35% less water and 20% less energy than standard units. This federally sponsored program recently added clothes dryers to its line of available products.

 

#5) Clean The Dryer Lint

 

Lint is the number one cause of dryer-related house fires. Buildups of lint can also reduce the energy-efficiency of a clothes dryer, which is another reason why you should clean it after each load. Remove any lint you see on the filter and inside the exhaust vent. If you are unable to access the exhaust vent, hire a professional heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) technician to service your home.

Oven Appliance Repair: Is Keeping Your Oven Clean Really That Important?

When it comes to taking care of a new oven, it is sometimes all too easy to overlook the one action that could be the most important–keeping it clean.  We all know that keeping an oven clean is vital for health and sanitary reasons.  After all, who wants to eat food prepared in a dirty oven?  Not only is there the risk of contaminating food with old, baked on grime, but an oven with a lot of food debris and char can cause smoke, which will give the dishes cooked inside an unpleasant flavor.

A clean oven is also important for basic safety reasons.  Grease spills left to sit can ignite if not taken care of promptly, causing dangerous grease fires and oven damage.  Some spills can smolder in an oven making fumes and smoke that can cause eye and lung irritation for those cooking, or in the vicinity of the kitchen.  Keeping an oven clean can not only keep a kitchen, and the food prepared in the kitchen sanitary, but can help keep cooks safer in the kitchen as well.

All of these are excellent reasons to routinely clean a new oven, but did you know that a regular, proper cleaning can also increase the longevity and accuracy of an oven?  Just like keeping a car engine clean and in good working shape, how clean an oven is can effect everything from how even the internal temperature of an oven remains during cooking, to how long it takes to pre-heat.  An oven coated in char and grime from previous meals will have to work harder to both achieve and maintain the correct temperature while cooking dishes, causing more wear and tear than would normally occur in a cleaner appliance.  All of this leads to a significantly decreased lifespan of a new appliance.

In order to keep an oven working at peak performance for longer, make sure to clean the appliance at least once every two to twelve weeks.  In between cleanings, wipe down big spills each time they occur (once the oven is completely cooled).  Of course, how to clean an oven really depends on personal preferences.  Most ovens come with a self-cleaning feature that cooks food and residue off at a very high temp leaving a char that can be vacuumed, or swept out after the long, intense cleaning period.  This method is popular because it allows an oven to do most of the dirty work on its own and doesn’t use harsh smelling, or dangerous chemicals in the process.  However, self cleaning features on an oven are often more damaging that helpful and can lead to burned out fuses and/or control panels due to the intense heat that is employed during cleaning.  For most lower to mid-end models, the heat of a self-clean cycle might be more trouble than it is worth.

Cleaning with standard chemical cleaners sold in stores will achieve a clean oven with a little time and elbow grease.  Unfortunately, the harsh chemicals and noxious fumes can create irritation and breathing concerns for many.

For a clean oven the safe, and natural way–without nasty fumes, or the damage caused with the heat of the self cleaning feature, try using more nature and people friendly ingredients for “DIY” cleaning compounds.  A baking soda and water paste spread in a thin layer inside your entire oven and left overnight will work wonders on spills and caked on food.  Just scrape the grime away the next day with a rubber spatula and final wipe with a damp sponge.  Liberally spraying an oven heated to around 130 degrees with vinegar and then sprinkling salt, or baking soda on spills is another natural cleaning alternative.  Just wipe mess and grime away once the oven is completely cooled.

No matter how you choose to keep your oven clean and working at its peak performance, know that Fred’s Appliance and our oven appliance repair service will always be there for any oven repairs you may need during your oven’s lifetime.  Contact us today to hear more about how our factory trained technicians can get your appliances running like new and keep them that way!

Learn Green Skills at Fred’s Appliance Repair School

Most folks are familiar with the sustainability mantra “Reduce, reuse, recycle.” We’d like to add one more “R” word to that concise philosophy: Repair.

In almost all situations, it makes more sense to repair and reuse an appliance than to throw it away. Someone who knows how to repair refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, and microwave ovens can provide a ‘green’ service that is necessary in every community in America. That eco-friendly repair person could be you, if you attend and pass a three-week repair course at Fred’s Appliance Repair School.

The average class size is around 18 students. Men and women who complete the three-week course at Fred’s Appliance Academy come away with a thorough working knowledge that includes:

  • Electrical and Plumbing Requirements of Washers, Ranges, and Refrigerators
  • Refrigerator Defrost Systems and Ice Makers
  • Infinite Switches and Electronic Oven and Range Controls
  • Pumps, Dispensers, and Dishwasher Controls
  • Electronic and Manual Timers
  • Diagnosis and Repair of Sealed Systems
  • Basic Microwave Theory

At the time of this writing, Fred’s Appliance School only offers classes at 1949 Hubbard Road (State Route 528) in Madison, Ohio. We understand that appliance repair technicians are needed everywhere, so we are pleased to provide affordable accommodation for academy students who come from out of town to learn appliance repair. Fred’s Flats at 1875 Hubbard Road is an easy three-minute walk from the academy.

If you think appliance repair is something you’d like to know more about, please peruse the pdf version of our course brochure here. When you’re ready to enroll, contact us by email or give Fred’s Appliance Academy a call at 1.888.45.FREDS

Why You Shouldn’t Tilt Your Refrigerator

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Most people rarely move their refrigerator. Once it’s set up inside the kitchen, it remains here until the family chooses to relocate to a new home. But when you do get ready to move your refrigerator, you should use caution to ensure it remains upright the entire time. Failing to keep your refrigerator upright may cause serious damage to your unit.

 

Avoid The Temptation of Tilting Your Refrigerator

 

Your natural instinct when moving a refrigerator will likely be to tilt it on its side. This will allow you to carry one end while a friend or family member carries the other end. Regardless of how “natural” it feels, though, you must avoid the temptation of tilting your refrigerator, because even small shifts may damage it.

 

Tilting May Shift Fluids

 

So, how can tilting can damage to a refrigerator? Modern-day refrigerators contain a number of different chemicals, including oil, refrigerant, lubricants, and more. When tilted, these fluids may shift and move around to areas where they shouldn’t be. For instance, the oil inside the compressor may drain and travel into the refrigerant lines. Since oil is not compressible, the compressor would lock up when the unit is plugged back in.

 

The good news is that you can usually prevent damage such as this caused by tilting by standing your refrigerator upright for a minimum of 24 hours after you’ve tilted it. So if you or a group of movers accidentally tilts your refrigerator, let it stand for a day or so before plugging it back in. This will allow the oil to settle back into its original location.

 

Tilting May Disrupt Shelves

 

Another potential problem caused by tilting a refrigerator is shelves sliding around. Depending on the particular model, some units are designed with shelves that sit into place thanks to gravity. When the refrigerator is tilted, however, these shelves may become dislodged, knocking and bouncing around inside the unit. Of course, this is a minor problem when compared to the possibility of oil seeping into the refrigerant lines.

 

When you need to a move a refrigerator, try using a hand cart. It’s faster, easier, and it will allow you to keep your unit upright the entire time. Most moving companies offer hand cart rentals for as little as $10 bucks, making it a smart investment. And if your refrigerant is accidentally tilted during the move, remember to let it sit for 24 hours before plugging it into the wall.

Uncovering The Mechanics Behind a Garbage Disposal Unit

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Originally invented in 1927 by architect John W. Hammes of Wisconsin, the garbage disposal is a convenient, Eco-friendly tool that grinds up leftover food scraps, turning it into small pieces (usually less than .079”) so it can pass through the home’s plumbing.

 

While most people have a general understanding of the garbage disposal’s purpose/utility, few people know how it works. They simply know that any food placed inside the unit is quickly chopped up and flushed through the plumbing. However, understanding the mechanics of a garbage disposal will make diagnosing and fixing problems easier.

 

Modern-day garbage disposals are typically powered by electric motors (250 to 750 watts) which rest at the bottom of the unit. Universal motors are a popular choice due to their exceptionally fast speeds (2,000-2,800 rpm), lightweight design, and stronger starting torque. The downside to induction garbage disposal motors, though, is their loud noise, which may deter families with small children from purchasing them.

 

Directly inside the garbage disposal’s mouth is a set of the turning impellers (usually made of stainless steel). Contrary to what some people may believe, garbage disposals do not use sharp blades to chop up food. Instead, they have metal impellers that break down food waste into fine particles before forcing it down the drain.

 

The mouth is partially covered by a small rubber flap, which prevents food waste from shooting up from the impellers. This otherwise simple rubber flap serves another purpose, however: to reduce noise levels. Garbage disposals produce a moderate amount of noise during use, but this noise can be dampened by ensuring the rubber flap is covering the sink.

 

There are two primary design styles of garbage disposals: continuous feed and batch feed. Continuous feed models are the most popular and widely used. The food is placed directly inside the sink and the switch is turned  on, at which point the impellers chop and flush it. Batch feeds, on the other hand, only work when a magnetic cover is placed over the unit. Batch feeds are quieter and safer, but they require an extra step to use.

 

Whether it’s a continuous feed or batch feed model, garbage disposals use a simple yet effective design in which an electric motor powers swiveling impellers. These impellers grind food into small pieces before flushing them through the drainage pipe. Garbage disposals are known to reduce to landfill waste and promote the natural breakdown process in septic tanks and sewer systems.