Three Critical Measurements to Take Before Buying Appliances

Folding yard stick from East Coast Appliance

Three Critical Measurements to Take Before Buying Appliances

If there is one type of purchasing approach that results in more appliance returns than any other, spontaneous shopping has to be at or near the top of the list. While the return of appliances after this type of shopping spree can be motivated by a number of factors, the leading cause is that the newly purchased products are of a size that makes their installation impossible, expensive, or ill advised. If you are in the decision stage of the appliance purchasing process, the first thing to remember is that buying on impulse can be a hit or miss drill with the misses unnecessarily consuming time, effort, and money.

To avoid these issues, be sure to include these three critical measurements on each appliance before making your final decision:

  • The space where each appliance will be installed – Trying to “eyeball” or guesstimate the dimensions of the locations for each appliance may work, but it probably won’t. Even the smallest miss can either make the installation more expensive due to modifications of surrounding counters and cabinets or make the appliance look like a poor fit for the space.
  • The appliances under consideration – Getting precise measurements on the appliances you want to buy is as important as measurements of the space they will occupy. When measuring both the space and the products, don’t forget to measure depth, as an appliance that extends beyond or is recessed back from surrounding counters/cabinets will look misplaced.
  • Any tight areas on the path from the curb to the kitchen, laundry room, etc. – The fastest way to find out that an appliance isn’t going to fit is if the product can’t be delivered due to obstacles on the path, whether they are on the interior or exterior of the home. Obstacles that can prevent delivery include narrow walkways, doorways, and staircases, especially those with tight turns. Measuring these areas in advance can ensure that your new appliances can get where they are supposed to go while also speeding the installation if, for example, doors need to be taken off of their hinges to allow passage.

Spontaneous shopping can be full of temptations, so be sure to check your measurements before you head to the store and after you get the cut sheets from your salesperson.

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Three Common and Costly Kitchen Remodeling Mistakes to Avoid

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Remodeling a kitchen can add to the value of your home and make it easier to sell, especially if the space is populated with aging appliances and old counter-tops. That being said, if you are contemplating a kitchen remodeling project as part of the plan to sell your home, there are also several commonly made mistakes that can turn costly and potentially make your home harder to sell.

These mistakes include:

• Doing an “Architectural Digest” remodel – The value of your home and the return on investment for a high-end remodeling project will be limited by the comparable prices of homes in your neighborhood, also known as “comps”. Before starting a remodeling project, find out where your home currently stands in value versus other comps in the area. The discrepancy in prices can reveal a lot about how much your home will appreciate in value after a remodel; an older home that is deeply discounted from other comps might benefit from the addition of new appliances and other upgrades while one that is priced close to other comps probably won’t appreciate as much from a kitchen project.
• Trend-following – The nature of most trends is that they will be replaced by newer trends after a relatively short period of time. While kitchen trends can cover numerous design aspects, they are most commonly related to the selection of specific colors for cabinetry and appliances. Trying to sell a home with a kitchen style that has gone out of fashion can actually make for a tougher sale as the new buyers negotiate with an eye on getting rid of “old” appliances.
• Personalizing the kitchen – While you may love a kitchen that looks and feels like diner, not all of your prospective buyers will. Much like going with trendy appliance colors, a “themed” kitchen may not add a lot of value, unless you find home buyers that truly appreciate your vision.

The process of planning a kitchen remodeling project for a home sale is a different than one where owners plan on staying for the long term. For the most cost-efficient remodeling project, new appliances as well as the overall design should stay fairly basic to afford maximal appreciation while appealing to as wide an audience as possible.

How to Save Energy with Appliances

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How to Save Energy with Appliances from East Coast Appliance.

Major appliances, even when a household has installed ENERGY STAR rated products, can account for 20 to 30 percent of a household’s energy bills. In temperate climates where heating and cooling are not required on a regular basis, major appliances typically consume an even greater percentage of total energy usage.

By looking at just a few of our household appliances and changing our habits, we can reduce our energy consumption even further.

• The refrigerator – Keeping temperatures too low in the refrigerator and the freezer can result in a motor that consumes far more energy than is necessary. The optimal temperature for the refrigerator compartment is 38 degrees while the temperature level in freezer should be maintained at 4 degrees. These temperatures can maintain freshness while consuming energy efficiently.
• The dishwasher – The heated drying cycle of a dishwasher consumes energy unnecessarily, especially if there isn’t a need to pull dry dishes out of the machine at a specific time. Instead, use the air dry option which uses air blown by fans to dry the wash load.
• The washing machine – Opt for cold water washes whenever possible with your washing machine. In a hot water wash 90 percent of the energy consumed goes to heating water. Defaulting to hot cycles has become unnecessary as advancements in cold water washing detergents can now yield the same results as those of energy consuming hot water cycles. The advanced cleaning capabilities using cold water and cold water detergents now mean that hot water cycles need to only be used when greasy or oily stains need to be removed.

Each of these actions can capitalize on improved efficiencies of today’s appliances. By turning them into habits, you’ll be able to optimize your savings on a monthly basis.

Washing Machine Tips to Save Money

Electrolux Laundry From East Coast Appliance

Washing Machine Tips to Save Money

Getting the laundry done is often considered as the type of task that is performed in the same way every time with a primary goal of getting the chore done as quickly as possible. Contrary to this common theme, the shortcuts and habits that are frequently part of hustling through the job can actually require more time, use more energy, and treat apparel more harshly than taking a more methodical approach.

These mistakes include:

• Trying to do 1 ½ loads (or more) with one wash cycle – When the basin of the washer is overloaded in an attempt to run one less wash cycle, a variety of things can go wrong including items that don’t get cleaned properly as well as extra stress on the washer’s motor. The result of trying to wash more clothes than the machine can handle the first time often results in the need to run two additional cycles with reduced loads.
• Using the same amount of detergent every time – Wash loads can vary widely in the amount of soil content that has to be cleaned. Using the same amount of detergent on each load can result in an unnecessarily harsh washing environment for light loads and diminished cleaning power on heavy loads. Taking a minute or two to determine the recommended amounts of detergent for specific types of wash loads can save money and prevent you from having to re-do wash loads that didn’t start out with enough detergent.
• Using the same wash cycles and temperature settings every time – Wash loads that are made up of t-shirts generally require far less water and lower temperatures than those full of heavier fabrics and oil-based stains. Adjusting cycles and settings to match the wash load typically results in efficient washes that also save time and money.
• Neglecting the dispensers – Detergent and fabric softener residues tend to thicken and clog dispensers over time, resulting in a steady decline of washing efficiency. Rinsing these dispensers out with hot water every other month can keep them flowing free and deliver great wash results every time.

Rushing through the weekly laundry cycles can actually waste time and money. By running appropriately sized wash loads, making adjustments for different types of loads, and doing some minimal maintenance you’ll be able to maximize cleaning and minimize your laundry time.

How to Care for your Oven Stove Range

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Earlier we covered How to Clean a Smooth Top Range so this is a more comprehensive look at how to care for your oven stove range.

If you have a self-cleaning oven you’ll want to consult the owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer for proper use of that feature. Self-cleaning ovens use high heat to burn off the residue inside the oven’s cavity for easy wipe up. If your oven racks are chrome you should not have them in the oven when using the self-clean feature as this can cause the chrome to pop off and will lead to premature failure of the parts. Likewise, drip pans are usually too thin to use in the self-clean mode and can warp under the heat. If in doubt, always consult the owner’s manual or the manufacturer.

Stained drip pans and bowls usually can’t be cleaned and will need to be replaced typically every 3 years or so.

Light bulbs can and will burn out. The most popular wattage is 40 and they are easy to change. Check with your owner’s manual for the proper bulb’s part number. If you can’t locate it please call our Parts Department at 757-437-1100 and they can help you out.

When it comes to cleaning knobs you’ll want to use a mild, non-abrasive cleaner and a soft rag or sponge. The numbers and letter can rub off over time so be sure to be gentle. If you have one or two knobs you just can’t get clean then put them in a basket on the top shelf of your dishwasher when you run a load dishes. If you need to replace a knob you can contact our Parts Department.

We occasionally hear from customers who have a hard time cleaning the glass in the door of their range. Any glass cleaner should work, but for especially hard to clean spots you can use a citrus based cleaner first followed by glass cleaner to remove the streaks.

Whenever you clean the control panel you should first spray your cleaning rag and use that to apply the cleaner to the panel. Do not spray cleaner directly onto the panel as the sensitive electronics could get damaged.

When doing this standard maintenance on your oven stove range and you come across any parts that should be replaced, just call our Parts Department at 757-437-1100 and have your manufacturer and model number handy. These can usually be found on the frame when the bottom drawer is open.

All the cleaning products needed can be found at all of our Super Store locations in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Newport News.

How CEE Tier Information on Appliances can Help you Save on Water and Energy Consumption

The Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) is somewhat similar to the ENERGY STAR program in that its primary objective is to highlight and promote energy efficient appliances. This agency differs from ENERGY STAR in that it rates appliances that have already earned ENERGY STAR certifications with Tiers that define the most efficient appliances in each category. This intelligence can then be used by consumers to compare relative energy and water usage between appliances during the decision making process.

CEE Tiers are defined as follows:

* Tier I – This tier approximates the base level necessary to be ENERGY STAR certified, representing that the specific appliance is ranked in the top 25 percent of its category for energy efficiency and that it exceeds mandated standards by 20 percent. Much like ENERGY STAR rated products, these appliances are deemed to be cost effective due to accumulated energy and water savings and are widely available for purchase.
* Tier II – Appliances can earn CEE Tier II rankings by testing out with energy efficiencies that surpass benchmarks by 25%. While the CEE does not provide direct rebates, an increasing number of entities are making rebates available to consumers to ensure that the purchase of these appliances remains cost effective.
* Tier III – These appliances are considered to be the most energy efficient in each category. The purchase price of these appliances is typically at the high end of the range, and rebates are considered as a primary factor in making them cost effective. When available, rebates on Tier III appliances can be almost twice as much as those awarded for Tier II appliances.

CEE Tier information can reveal significant differences in the energy usage of appliances that have already earned ENERGY STAR certification. These energy savings, when combined with available rebates, can turn relatively expensive appliance purchases into cost effective investments that save money each month.

How to Prevent Bad Tasting Ice Cubes

 

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Did you notice bad tasting ice cubes over the holidays? Did a friend, neighbor or relative mention your ice didn’t taste right?

Our service department gets phone calls weekly from customers complaining about bad tasting ice and water, but this is rarely a service issue.

Water filters need to be replaced every six months depending on usage and the cleanliness of your water supply. The more water and ice you use, and the harder your water, the more often you need to change the filter.

Water filters should be changed at least every six months so we recommend having a spare filter on hand at all times.

The icemaker water supply goes through the refrigerator before entering the freezer so food spills, unsealed food, and bacteria growth in the refrigerator can cause bad tasting ice as well. The best way to handle these situations is to regularly and thoroughly clean your refrigerator with a baking soda and water mixture. Do not use bleach or ammonia inside a refrigerator. Your owner’s manual will also have manufacturer’s recommended cleaning practices in the use and care section.

If you’ve completed these recommendations and still have bad tasting ice, please call our service department at 757-437-1100 for more recommendations or a service appointment.

Your Major Appliances: One Energy Saving on Habit on Each One that can Lower Utility Bills

Major appliances, even when a household has installed ENERGY STAR rated products, can account for 20 to 30 percent of a household’s energy bills. In temperate climates where heating and cooling are not required on a regular basis, major appliances typically consume an even greater percentage of total energy usage. Fortunately, there are energy savings habits related to each major appliance in the typical household that can reduce energy consumption even further.

* The refrigerator – Keeping temperatures too low in the refrigerator and the freezer can result in a motor that consumes far more energy than is necessary. The optimal temperature for the refrigerator compartment is 38 degrees while the temperature level in freezer should be maintained at 4 degrees. These temperatures can maintain freshness while consuming energy efficiently.
* The dishwasher – The heated drying cycle consumes energy unnecessarily, especially if there isn’t a need to pull dry dishes out of the machine at a specific time. Instead, use the air dry option which uses air blown by fans to dry the wash load.
* The washing machine – Opt for cold water washes whenever possible. In a hot water wash 90 percent of the energy consumed goes to heating water. Defaulting to hot cycles has become unnecessary as advancements in cold water washing detergents can now yield the same results as those of energy consuming hot water cycles. The advanced cleaning capabilities using cold water and cold water detergents now mean that hot water cycles need to only be used when greasy or oily stains need to be removed.

Each of these actions can capitalize on improved efficiencies of today’s appliances. By turning them into habits, you’ll be able to optimize your savings on a monthly basis.

Blu-ray 101

Blu-ray is the name of the optical disc platform that has been designed with the intention of replacing the widely used format of digital video discs (DVDs). The technology gets its name from the blue laser that reads the information on the disc, at a rate which occurs at a higher storage speed than DVDs that are read by red lasers.

The advantages of Blu-ray include:

* Better picture qualityBlu-ray’s better picture quality starts with its increased resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 versus the standard DVD resolution of 720 x 480. The higher number of pixels available in the Blu-ray format results in far greater detail and picture clarity. The Blu-ray format also has deeper colors and enhanced contrasts.

* Better sound quality – Higher resolution audio formats deliver a richer sound experience that can rival movie theater audio.

* The Blu-ray format optimizes HDTV – Owners of HDTV screens can only optimize the picture from discs with the Blu-ray format due to the fact that DVDs are not designed with enough pixels for the display screen. Trying to integrate a DVD with a high resolution screen can result in a lower picture quality than that of a screen that doesn’t have HD technology.

* DVDs work in Blu-ray players – This avoids the situation where a new technology renders the one being replaced as unusable (VHS tapes versus DVD’s, for example). Being able to play DVDs means that a new Blu-ray owner doesn’t have to start from scratch in terms of a movie collection and can continue to play DVDs while adding Blu-ray movies.

As a relatively new technology, buying a Blu-ray player will still cost more than the DVD version. That being said, enhanced viewing experience is the name of the game for virtually all new technology in this category, which places Blu-ray in the middle of the next generation of video-related electronics.

The Reasons some Appliance Dealers Want to Keep Scratch and Dent Appliances a Secret

Scratch and dent appliances have been, as their name suggests, damaged to a minor extent while in storage at the warehouse, being shipped, or on display on the floor of a showroom. Damage to these appliances is cosmetic in nature, meaning that their functionality has not been impaired by any measure and they will run with the same efficiency as the same models that are fresh out of the box.

For consumers, scratch and dent appliances offer a long list of advantages, which is why many appliance dealers would prefer to keep this category a secret. These advantages include:

* Aggressive discounts from full retail prices – For many consumers, a scratch or dent is a deal breaker and retail appliance sellers know that they can’t sell even slightly flawed products at the same prices as those in pristine condition. Savvy shoppers, on the other hand, can buy these appliances at prices that are less than half the price of the same models at full retail.
* You might be able to negotiate an even lower price – As opposed to the regularly priced appliances on the showroom floor, you may be able to negotiate a deeper discount under circumstances that include flaws on the front of the appliance, an item that has been in stock for an extended period, or if the dealer is trying to clear space for newer models.
* The discounts on scratch and dent appliances often don’t preclude warranties – While the perception may be that a flawed appliance would not come with a warranty, scratch and dent pieces can be covered by the same warranty protection as the unblemished models.
* You may not even know it’s a scratch and dent piece once it has been installed – The scratch and dent moniker refers to a blemish on any surface of the appliance, meaning that a flaw on any surface besides the front or the top may be covered up, depending on how the piece is installed.
* Scratches and dents can happen to the best and newest models available – You can add even more value to your scratch and dent appliance purchase with blemished products from name brands.

The discounts available on scratch and dent appliances can either enable the purchase of models that might not otherwise fit into a family’s budget or make the purchase of a second appliance possible. In fact, with discounts of over 50%, it’s almost like having your own “Buy one, get one free” sale every day of the week.