ESSENTIAL TIPS TO KNOW WHEN YOU NEED APPLIANCE REPAIR

REFRIGERATOR REPAIR

One of the first signs that your refrigerator is wearing down is when you can hear it running, especially if you hear loud rumbling sounds. Excess condensation or puddles in the fridge may indicate a sealing problem, a blocked drain tube, or a problem with temperature maintenance. Condensation or puddles under the fridge may point to a leak. If your refrigerator won’t cool, any number of problems could be causing the issue.

DISHWASHER REPAIR
One of the clearest signs that your dishwasher needs repair is if it’s not cleaning your dishes properly. If you always have to rewash or hand wash dishes after they’ve gone through the dishwasher, it needs to be repaired. Another sign is that it’s not using hot enough water to sanitize the dishes. If your dishes aren’t piping hot immediately after the wash cycle has ended, it’s not doing its job. A poor dishwasher seal could lead to a kitchen flood, and pooling water at the bottom means that it is not draining properly and could rust.

WASHING MACHINE REPAIR AND CLOTHES DRYER
A washer that shakes a lot could need repair. Unusual sounds from the washer usually indicate a strained motor due to overloading or improperly balanced wash loads. Water fill problems, including a clogged filter, twisted hose, and failure to agitate, should also be repaired. If the dryer does not get hot enough to dry the clothing within one cycle and you have not overloaded it, it may need repairs. Unusual belt noises or a failure to turn also indicate a problem.

OTHER HOME APPLIANCES
Other home appliances will also show signs of wear and tear due to regular use. Any appliance that makes unusual noises or fails to function efficiently or as designed will need repairs. Similarly, if it is past the service period, if you haven’t used it in a while, or if you purchased a used appliance, you may need to get it repaired.

A broken and unusable appliance reminds you how much you depend on it and just how expensive it was. If you get it repaired right away, you may be able to extend its life so that you don’t have to replace it right away. Inspect your appliances regularly and call on professionals for assistance with repairs. A professional technician can inspect and repair any issues long before they become a serious and costly problem.

How to Organize Your Refrigerator

A well-organized refrigerator keeps food fresh longer and lets you grab and go faster. Before you unpack groceries, spend a second thinking about the right place for everything.

Here are common sense ways to declutter and organize your fridge:

1. The front of the middle rack, near eye-level, is prime refrigerator real estate. Put priority items there, like leftovers you want eaten soon and healthy snacks. The back of the fridge is the coldest part. Store milk there, and it will stay fresh longer.

2. Don’t waste fridge space on food that doesn’t need to be chilled. Examples: fresh eggs from backyard chickens (though store-bought eggs do need refrigerating), ketchup, vinegar, jam, mayonnaise, and butter. Put those items in the pantry. You can store fresh eggs in a bowl on the counter for eight weeks.

3. Never put tomatoes in fridge, or they’ll get mushy; onions will soften; honey will thicken; potatoes will turn too starchy. Keep onions and potatoes in separate paper bags and store in a cool, dark place (a lower cabinet drawer is great).

4. Rectangular or square bins are your friends (round ones waste space, so don’t use them). Designate one for healthy snacks and another for breakfast foods like bagels and cream cheese. In the freezer, use one big bin for frozen veggies, rather than stuff individual bags into the freezer.

5. Use plastic placemats as shelf liners, which makes cleanup easier.

6. Place drippy food, like red meat and seafood, on the bottom shelf. That way it won’t drip too far.

How to Buy a Range

First Things First: Gas or Electric?

If you don’t have a gas supply to your house, the answer is easy. But if you can go with either gas or electric, budget and cooking preferences play a significant role in deciding. Also, some people prefer electric ranges because of safety issues — there’s no chance of a gas leak. Here’s food for thought:

Popularity: Electric smooth-top ranges are the best sellers because of price and performance. They account for more than 60% of all ranges sold.
Budget: Electric ranges are typically less expensive than their gas counterparts. However, gas ranges are usually cheaper to operate, depending on whether your natural gas rates are lower than your electricity costs.
Cooking preferences: Listen to your inner chef. Many cooks prefer gas ranges because the burner flame works as a visual temperature gauge and can heat things up quickly. Most bakers prefer electric ovens because of the consistent and even heat they generate.
Here’s a surprising fact: There are no federal energy regulations for consumer ranges, so you won’t find a model that’s Energy Star certified.

Types of Ranges and Costs

There are three standard freestanding range types: electric, gas, and dual-fuel (a gas stovetop with an electric-powered oven). Each type includes:

A stovetop (with a minimum of four burners — many premium models have five)
An oven (usually two racks and one oven — many premium ranges will have a larger oven with three racks or two ovens)
If you want your range to look like it’s built into your cabinetry, there are two additional options. Both are somewhat rare and may require special ordering through an appliance dealer:

Slide-in ranges. The range fits between two cabinets and the edges of the cooktop rest on top of the counters, eliminating gaps. They’re available in gas, electric, and dual-fuel range styles.
Drop-in ranges. They‘re fitted into a pre-built cabinet opening with a cabinet panel across the bottom. The panel eliminates the bottom storage drawer typical of most ranges. They’re available in electric power only.

1. Electric ranges

Electric ranges feature three options for cooktop heating elements.

Coil-top models have exposed heating elements. Cookware goes directly on the elements. They’re the least expensive ranges you can buy ($389 to $650) and typically are available in only two colors: black or white. Features include:

Porcelain-enamel cooktop finish
Indicator lights that let you know when the burner’s coil heating element is on
Dials and knobs for oven and burner control
Coil-top ranges at the top end of the price range usually include:

Digital displays for heating temperatures and cooking times
Single storage drawers for cookware
Large oven windows
Drawbacks:

Coil heating elements are slow to heat up and cool.
Heating elements must be removed for thorough cleaning.
Indicator lights only go on when the cooktop’s coils are switched on, but not when the coils are off but still hot (and cooling down).
Coil cooktops tend to distribute heat unevenly.
Smooth-top models have solid disk or radiant heating elements beneath a one-piece ceramic glass cooktop that makes cleanup easy. Smooth tops are the best-selling ranges because of their performance, price, and good looks.

Mid-range models start at $550. Standard features typically include:

Standard electric ovens
Electronic oven controls with preset cooking options and digital displays
Indicator lights that let you know when the heating elements are on and when the surface area is hot and cooling down
Self-cleaning functions
Premium smooth-top ranges include fast-cooking convection ovens that use fans to circulate heat so foods bake or roast more quickly and evenly; they can slash cooking times by up to 30%. Premium models start at around $900 and typically include:

Hidden heating elements (rather than an exposed wire element sitting on the bottom of the oven’s interior) for easier oven cleaning
Warming centers that keep prepared foods warm
A fifth stovetop heating element
Smooth-top models with two ovens start at around $1,300.

Drawbacks:

Glass ceramic surfaces are a cinch to clean but prone to scratching.
You can’t use cast-iron, stoneware, or glass cookware on the cooktop because they can scratch. Also, glass and stoneware are poor heat conductors, which increases cooking time. The intense heat that cast iron creates can actually shut down the range. Stainless steel and copper are best.
Overheated metal cookware may bond with the cooktop’s glass ceramic surface.
Induction-top models are known for speedy stovetop cooking. Their burners don’t generate heat like other stovetops. Instead, they use magnetic technologies to turn compatible cookware into a heat source. If you can stick a magnet to your cookware, you can use it. As a result, the induction top’s glass ceramic surface remains cool to the touch.

Induction stovetops can boil water about 50% faster than other stoves. They’re also energy-efficient; 90% of the energy they generate is used to cook food (a standard electric stovetop uses about 65% and a gas stovetop uses 50%).

They’re typically equipped with convection ovens which speed cooking time by using fans to circulate and boost heat transfer.  Induction ranges include:

Control lockouts that prevent the range from being accidentally turned on
Touch screens instead of knobs and dials
Hidden baking elements for easier cleaning
Warming drawers
Drawbacks:

Not all your pots and pans will be compatible with the induction stovetop. Aluminum, copper, glass, and some types of stainless cookware won’t work.
They’re expensive.
2. Gas ranges

Besides the visual control of the flame and quick, uniform heating, benefits include:

Compatibility with all cooktop and oven cookware
Surface burners and ovens that still work when the power goes out (but not a fan-driven convection feature)
Lower operating costs than electric ranges — depending on your local utility rates
Heat output for gas range burners is described in Btu (British thermal units). Burners range from 5,000 to 20,000 Btu. Ranges with high-heat burners usually cost more.

General retail price range: Standard models are the least expensive gas ranges you can buy and typically are available in two basic colors: black or white.

Porcelain-enamel cooktops
Burners that don’t burn as hot as more expensive ranges (average 9,500 Btu)
Storage drawers
Cast-iron grates over the burners
Dials and knobs for oven and burner control
Oven windows that are typically much smaller than those on more expensive models
Mid-range models start. Features typically include:

High-performance burners (up to 12,500 Btu)
Digital settings for cooking times and temperatures
Storage drawers for pots and pans
Oven control lockouts that stop unintended changes to oven settings
A self-cleaning oven
Easy-to-clean steel grates over the burners
White, black, and stainless steel color options
Premium models start at around $1,000; double-oven-type gas ranges start at around $1,600. Features typically include:

High-performance burners (up to 17,000 Btu)
A bonus fifth burner
A removable stovetop griddle
Electronic control panels for programmed cooking times
Convection ovens
Hidden baking elements for easier cleaning
. They’re wider than standard ranges and have large oven capacities of 5.8 cubic feet and more. Additional features typically include:

A bonus fifth burner, with one being a super-hot burner of up to 20,000 Btu
Two convection ovens
Heavy-duty rollout cooking racks
Multiple color and metal options
Drawbacks:

Gas ranges tend to be more expensive then their electric range counterparts.
You need a natural gas line hooked up to your kitchen.
3. Dual-fuel ranges

These ranges combine the best of both worlds: a gas stovetop that chefs love with an electric-powered oven that provides even heat for baking. They come with a premium price tag of $2,000 to $7,500.

Features include:

Gas stovetops with five burners
One or two electric convection ovens
Glass touch screens for burner and oven controls
Wi-Fi-enabled programming so you can control oven features with your personal device
Size Does Matter

Freestanding ranges typically fall into two conventional widths: Standard ranges are approximately 30 inches wide; dual-fuel and pro-style gas ranges are 36 to 48 inches wide.

You’ll need to make sure your range’s oven cavity size is large enough to accommodate your cooking needs:

2 to 3 cubic feet will accommodate households with one or two people.
3 to 4 cubic feet will accommodate households with three or four people.
4 cubic feet and up will accommodate households of four or more.
Want to Color Your World?

Unlike refrigerators and clothes washers that are available in fashion-forward shades like ruby red or apple green, mid-range and premium ranges are typically available in shades of black, white, and stainless steel. You’ll have to look at pro-style ranges to get custom colors such as red, blue, and green.

Features and Functions You Should Have

We think the features that pack the most value for homeowners are the ones that boost convenience. Here’s a list of best bets:

Lots of rack positions so you can create room in your oven for additional or tall items when needed. Most ranges have five (yea!) but some lower-price ranges will not (boo!).

Hot surface lights on electric stovetops will let you know if the burner area is too hot to touch. You won’t find this feature on most coil-top electric ranges.

Double ovens will allow you to cook multiple items at different temperatures. Keep in mind you’ll sacrifice the convenient storage drawer for the extra oven.

A high heat burner is desirable for quickly heating up large quantities and for searing foods.

Warming drawers keep cooked foods warm prior to serving.

A self-cleaning cycle makes cleaning your oven less of a chore.

Sabbath mode settings allow observant Jews to preprogram oven settings so cooked foods remain warm during the Sabbath when cooking is forbidden.

Features You Shouldn’t Pay More For

You shouldn’t buy a range just because it has some of the following features. (Some features are standard on ranges with electronic screens.)

The delayed-start feature allows you to program your oven when to turn on, and Wi-Fi-enabled features allow you to control your oven when you’re not home. The National Fire Protection Association says you should never operate your oven when you’re not home to check on it regularly.

Low-powered burners with extra-low settings aren’t necessary because burner output can be easily adjusted.

Kitchen Remodeling Tips

A functional kitchen can include old appliances, but this does not mean that they make for the most enjoyable experience in the kitchen. For families that love to cook and eat together, the kitchen naturally becomes one of the most important room in the entire house. While the living room might be the traditional place to spend time with family and friends, it is not impossible for this to be the kitchen.

Following a few kitchen remodeling tips on installing new appliances can help you turn your old and outdated kitchen into one that provides you with modern features and an incredible experience.

Refrigerator

Modern refrigerators range from models that meet your basic needs to ones that have a Wi-Fi connection and can tell you the weather for the day. Also, as refrigerators take advantage of new technology, they become more capable of storing food in an ideal manner to prolong freshness, which is ideal for leftovers.

Analyzing your wants, needs, and budget before investing in a new refrigerator will ensure that you are able to find a model that comes with all of the features that make your family happy.

Dishwasher

Hand washing dishes is inevitable, mainly because you are bound to have dishes that are not dishwasher-safe. However, it is still nice to have a dishwasher that you can use for the majority of your dishes. All it takes is just a couple of minutes to fill an empty dishwasher and turn it on.

Microwave

Although a built-in microwave is not a necessity, you will find that it is an excellent addition to your home. Even if you have a kitchen with plenty of counter space, you can almost never have enough. While a built-in microwave might take up an area where a cabinet or two could be, it is still a better trade-off.

Range

Ranges come in a variety of types and styles, including gas and electric. Switching from gas to electric or electric to gas is generally not worth the expense, so it is the styles and features that you should focus on. For instance, you might want a double oven, dual heating elements, or a self-cleaning option.