Monthly Archives: May 2014

Maintain your home appliances with these tips

Cleaning and caring for your appliances not only helps them look and smell nice, it allows them to run more efficiently, use less energy and save you money. Follow these maintenance and cleaning  tips to help keep your appliances running smoothly.

Refrigerator

Clean the condenser coils and fan on the rear or bottom of your refrigerator. You can use a vacuum cleaner or a condenser coil cleaning brush.

Check and clean the gasket of your refrigerator using warm soapy water. Make sure the seal is free from cracks and is tight fitting. A loose or cracking gasket allows cold air to escape from your fridge and costs you money. If the gasket seal on your fridge is sagging, replace it with a new refrigerator gasket.

Appliance care tips

Check and clean the gasket of your refrigerator using warm soapy water.

If your freezer door is no longer closing on its own, replace the hinge’s cam riser.
Oven and stove top

Clean your oven by placing a bowl of non-sudsy ammonia on a cookie sheet and leaving it in a cold oven overnight. The fumes from the ammonia will help soften up any baked-on gunk or spills. Be sure to open a window and step back while opening your oven door to avoid the fumes from the ammonia. Use a non-abrasive damp sponge to clean the inside of your oven.

Mix up and spray on a mixture or water and vinegar to clean your oven’s door. A crumpled up newspaper makes for a streak-free shine when drying.

Check the seal of your oven door and replace the gasket if it’s broken, torn or otherwise deformed. A tight seal keeps heat inside your oven and allows food to cook quickly and evenly.

Remove and clean stove-top drip pans with warm soapy water, or replace them if damaged.

Clothes Dryer

Remove and clean the clothes dryer lint filter before or after each load of laundry. Unplug the appliance and detach the exhaust venting from the back of the clothes dryer (usually it is attached by a clamp) and clean out any lint inside the duct work and in the machine. You can use your vacuum attachments to do this, or use a clothes dryer lint brush.

Clogged ducts and vents not only make your dryer work harder to clean your clothes, it can lead to a fire.  Dirty, clogged ducts are the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

Washing Machine

Regularly clean your washing machine. High efficiency front-loading washers are especially prone to mold and mildew smells due to being tightly sealed and just their design in general. Using a specialized HE cleaner, like Affresh Washer Cleaner can help eliminate odors.

Check your washer hoses for any cracks or leakage. Even if you do not see any external leaks or cracks, you could have an internal clog. Replace appliance hoses every five years for optimal performance and to avoid problems.

Dishwasher

Clean the dishwasher trap located below the bottom spray arm. Lots of food and debris (and sometimes broken glass, so be careful!) accumulate here. If removable, remove the trap and rinse out in the sink before replacing it.

Remove the utensil basket and wipe down with a cloth to remove any debris that might get stuck to it.

Remove and clean the spray arms to make sure that the holes are not plugged up with debris.

Use a cleaner like Affresh Dishwasher cleaner to remove odors and mineral deposits in your appliance.

Cut your AC usage and energy bills this summer with these tips

woman-sitting-under-air-conditionerSummer is right around the corner and according to the Farmers’ Almanac, this summer is supposed to be a scorcher with intense heat and oppressive humidity. Along with hot, humid weather come hefty utility bills.  Electricity and energy prices are projected to rise by 4% this year. Here are some tips on how to cut your energy usage, save money and remain cool this summer.

Get the most out of your air conditioning this summer

Make sure you have the properly-sized air conditioner unit for your room. Most people buy large air conditioners thinking that larger and more powerful is better, but they end up with a room that is cold and clammy. Buying the proper air conditioner for your room’s size will not only save your money, but will remove humidity effectively as it cools. To figure out what size A.C. unit is best for your cooling needs, consult the “Properly Sized Room Air Conditioners” page from energystar.gov.

Change or clean the air conditioner filter once a month. Dirty filters use up to 10% more energy.

Utilize any of your air conditioner’s technology such as timers, temperature sensors and programmable thermostats. These features can save you money through better temperature control and by running only when programmed.

Don’t put things like lamps, computers or TVs near your A.C. thermostat.  The air conditioner will run longer due to the heat given off

Ceiling fans are a great way to make sure cool air is circulating around your home.  Make sure the “summer” setting is on: flip the switch down and the fan should rotate counterclockwise

Tips for keeping your home cool

Keep your windows, curtains and blinds closed during the day.  This will keep direct sunlight and outside heat from entering the house.

Landscaping not only can add curb appeal to your home, but it also can help save energy.  Trees provide shading which can help keep your house cooler and therefore, require less energy to cool down when it comes to turning on the A.C.

Use a programmable thermostat that automatically adjusts cooling settings when you are away from home. A programmable thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs according to energystar.gov.

Save up to $100 per year by switching your incandescent light bulbs to CFLs or LEDs.  They use as little as one eighth of the energy as older incandescent light bulbs.

Avoid using big appliances during the day.  Your washer, dryer, oven and dishwasher create heat while in use.  This heat circulates throughout the house and therefore requires you air conditioner to work harder than is has to in order to keep the house cool.  Cut energy costs down by using these appliances only early in the morning or at night, when outside temperatures cool down.

Avoid using the dryer by hanging your clothes up to air dry outside.

Make cold meals during the day that do not require the oven.

Use the crockpot outside! Crockpots are an easy-to-use alternative to the oven.

Use the microwave instead of an electric range or conventional oven.

Hand wash and air dry dishes instead of running a load in the dishwasher as much as possible. Or, if your dishwasher allows, use the energy saver feature or the dry without heat feature to keep the process at a minimal.

Also, don’t wait till the hot weather arrives to break out your air conditioner. You might find out it does not work, or you need a part or accessory for it in order to install or run it. Test out your air conditioner now to make sure it works and it is ready to go before the hot weather arrives.

Visit Every Appliance Part  for any air conditioner replacement parts  and accessories.

Towel tips: cleaning, shopping and donating

Sunday is Towel Day, a tribute to the late author Douglas Adams.  Here are some towel cleaning and shopping tips, along with what to do with old towels (hint: don’t throw them out!) Don’t panic and read on.

Washing and drying towels

First, always read and follow the directions on the care tag. If the tag says, “no chlorine,” don’t use it as it may weaken the fibers of the towel.

Wicker laundry basket with two folded towels

Don’t panic! Grab a towel.

Remove musty odors from your towels by washing them in very hot water with one-to-two cups of vinegar. The water must by very hot in order to kill the bacteria causing the smell. Wash them again using one cup of baking soda. Immediately hang them up to dry or dry them in your clothes dryer.

If your washing machine is the source of musty smells, use a cleaner like Affresh, which is designed for HE washers.

Add the proper amount of detergent to your wash. Too much detergent traps odors and dirt and can fade colors.

Skip liquid fabric softener as it will interfere with the towel’s absorbency. Instead, opt for a single scent-free dryer sheet to soften your towels.

Wash new towels separately to avoid lint from transferring onto other items inside the wash.

Mix in some vinegar with your detergent in order to keep new towels looking bright and colorful.

Shopping for new towels

Are you shopping for new towels? Check the label or tag and look for 100% combed cotton, suggests GoodHousekeeing.com. 100% combed cotton towels naturally attracts water and can hold almost 25 times its weight in the liquid. They are also stronger and prevent pilling.

Don’t be deceived by the feel of the towel in-store, most manufacturers add softeners to the finish of a towel, so they feel softer.

What to do with your old towels

If you have kids, spread an old towel underneath your child’s car seat to catch juice spills and crumbs.

Cut them up and use them for cleaning rags and for washing your car.

Make a beach towel tote bag.

Turn them into a bathroom rug mat.

Donate them! Many animal shelters accept clean towels (along with hand towels and wash clothes) for animal bedding, bathing and general clean up. Contact your local animal shelter to find out what donations they accept.

Homeless and women’s shelters also accept used towels. Find a shelter near you.

Who invented your favorite household appliance?

May is National Inventors Month founded in 1998 by United Inventors Association of the USA (UIA-USA), the Academy of Applied Science, and Inventors’ Digest Magazine. Do you know who invented your favorite household appliance? Read on to find out.

Who invented your favorite household appliance?

Who invented your favorite household appliance?

The Washing Machine

Alva J. Fisher is credited with creating the first commercially-sold electric powered washing machine in 1908. The machine was called “The Thor” and was produced by the Hurley Machine Company of Chicago, Illinois. It featured a galvanized tub, blades which lifted the clothes as the cylinder rotated and the ability for the drum to change rotation direction in order to prevent the laundry from becoming bunched up into a ball. An electric motor turned the drum.

The Refrigerator

Although refrigeration technology was already being used for industry, especially in food and drink-related industries, Fred W. Wolf of Fort Wayne, Indiana, is credited with inventing the first electrical refrigerator for home use in 1913. The appliance was called the “Domelre,” standing for Domestic Electric Refrigerator and sold for $900.

Wolf used an old fashioned ice box with a mounted refrigeration unit on top which required external plumbing connections. His invention also used a closed system of circulating refrigerant driven by a compressor to cool the hot humid, air.

In 1918, General Motors’ President William Durant bought the Guardian Refrigerator Company and renamed it Frigidaire. It purchased the patent for the Domelre and through its own engineering and manufacturing, introduced improvements to the refrigerator and began mass producing it.

The Oven

British inventor, James Sharp patented a gas oven in 1826 and began to commercially produce gas ovens after installing one in his own house.

Gas cookers became more popular after the invention of the oven thermostat in 1923 which allowed the temperature in the oven to be controlled precisely.

William Hadaway was issued the first patent for an electric oven on June 30, 1896.

The Air Conditioner

Willis Haviland Carrier of Buffalo, N.Y. is credited with creating the first modern air conditioning system and such systems were used in factories, department stores, theaters and in the homes of wealthy people. It wasn’t until 1931 when the first individual in-window air conditioning unit was created by H.H. Schultz and J.Q. Sherman. The units were not wide-spread due to their exorbitant costs between $10,000

%d bloggers like this: