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.


Tips to Help Your Dishwasher Function Its Best


Every now and then you may find yourself having to run your dishwasher a second time or having to hand wash dishes that have already been run through the dishwasher. Here are some tips to help you avoid this and make your dishwasher run the best it can.

The easiest thing to check on your dishwasher is water temperature. To do this simply turn the water on at the faucet and see how long it takes for hot water to reach the sink. The longer it takes to reach the sink, the less efficient your dishwasher is during that same amount of time. Use your dishwasher when there’s already hot water at the sink and there’s no other hot water being diverted for showers or baths.

Dirty dishes may also be caused by a blocked or slow drain. Since the sink and dishwasher use the same drain you can run the garbage disposal before using the dishwasher to clear any debris.

Putting too much detergent in your dishwasher is another main cause of dishes coming out dirty. Too much detergent will leave a sticky film behind that can cause water stains and will require you to wash the dishes again. Too little detergent and your dishes won’t come clean. When it comes to detergents it’s best to consult your owner’s manual before use.

Something we often miss when loading our dishes are utensils that are too tall. The sprayer arm can hit the tall utensil and stop rotating. The holes in the sprayer arm can also become clogged with calcium buildup. Use a strong brush to remove the calcium buildup and wash tall utensils by hand or lay them across the top rack so they don’t interfere with the spray arm.

The last thing for a homeowner to check on their dishwasher is the condition of the dishwasher’s interior. Every 6 months you should run a cycle with no dishes and no detergent. Calcium, grease, soap and food particles can build up inside the dishwasher and dislodge during cycles to soil dishes. When running the cleaning cycle you should let the bottom fill with water and then add two cups of white vinegar, then continue the wash cycle. This will help loosen up and remove all the damaging particles.

For more information please consult your owner’s manual or give our service department a call to schedule a technician to visit your home.

Washer Water Supply Line Maintenance


When our East Coast Appliance Service technicians visit homes for laundry maintenance checks one of the first things they check is the washer fill hoses. When these hoses are rubber we’ll often find bubbles in the hoses. Over time these bubbles will burst and flood your laundry area. If you’re not home or don’t notice the flowing water then the damage could be catastrophic.

We recommend checking your rubber hoses every 6 months and to immediately replace them if you notice bubbles. We also recommend stainless hoses with the purchase of every washing machine because stainless water supply lines won’t develop bubbles.

You can purchase stainless steel water lines and any of our East Coast Appliance Super Stores.

How to Clean a Smooth Top Range

This time of year, after the holidays, East Coast Appliance gets many calls asking how to clean a smooth top range. In this video, produced by GE, you’ll see the proper way to clean your range top with the help of Cerama Bryte cooktop cleaner.

Cerama Bryte is the number one recommended cooktop cleaner and is available at all East Coast Appliance locations.

How to Clean a Dryer


Keeping your dryer lint free is not just a dryer maintenance issue, it’s a safety issue.

The easiest part of the dryer to check is the lint filter and chute. This should be cleaned after each and every drying cycle. The area around and behind the lint filter should also be looked at after each drying cycle and any lint accumulation around those areas should be cleaned as well.

If you can’t reach or pick the lint with your fingers then use a vacuum with a long handle attachment and/or a soft bristle brush. Be sure to thoroughly vacuum the area after using a brush.

If it’s been a long time since you’ve moved your dryer, now would be a good time to do that. Pull the dryer out and look behind it. Clean and vacuum any lint on the floor and around the dryer vent hose and connections.

While the dryer is out from the wall you can take a look underneath the dryer. Have a friend or helper lend a hand by leaning the dryer back so you can vacuum underneath the dryer. Be sure to look up into the dryer cabinet and vacuum out any lint accumulation you see.

If lint in the dryer cabinet is exceptionally bad or difficult to remove, you can call our service department to schedule a technician to visit your home and take apart your dryer to clean it properly.

One area of dryer maintenance that often gets over looked by the homeowner is the dryer vent pipes. In most cases there are two pipes, or hoses. A hose usually goes from the dryer itself, to the wall or floor. After that point there is a pipe that runs out of the house.

Make sure the hose leading from the dryer to the wall is aluminum. White vinyl hoses no longer meet building codes and represent a fire hazard. If needed, you can stop by any of our super stores and purchase a new hose.

The long vent pipe that exits the house needs to be checked at least every 9-12 months. I’ve seen these cleaned with compressed air, brushes and very long handled vacuums. If you don’t have the right equipment, don’t risk packing the lint together, call a vent pipe cleaner specialist to do it for you.

Cleaning the vent pipe when replacing an old dryer with a new dryer is a very important step. New dryers don’t run the way old, inefficient dryers did. In order for new dryers to work properly, the vents must be clean.

If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to call our service department at 757-437-1100.

Why Your Detergents Don’t Work


Every couple of weeks we get a service call or two from customers whose dishwashers or washing machines aren’t cleaning the way they used to. In some cases the dishwasher is at fault because the drain may be partially clogged and your rinse cycle is throwing dirty water around or maybe a washer arm is broken and not spinning. However, there are times when a new product is functioning the way it’s supposed to, but the soap isn’t.

By early 2010 seventeen states had banned detergents with trisodium phosphates (TSP) claiming they pollute our water systems, create algae blooms and starve fish of oxygen. In response to the bans, the detergent makers removed phosphates from all their products because it was cheaper than leaving phosphates in certain lines for the non-regulated states.

We’re not going to delve into the chemical properties of TSP, just understand that TSP, a natural element, helps the rinse cycle by lowering the surface tension of water so it can bind to dirt, grease, oil, stains and even leftover detergent during the rinse cycle.

“You know, this isn’t really a huge environmental win”, says Susan Baba with Proctor & Gamble, the maker of Cascade. P&G’s reasoning is simple, people are sometimes forced to wash dishes by hand before using their dishwasher or they run their washer twice to accomplish what they used to do in one wash. Both methods waste water and energy.

In 2009, Clive Davies, an engineer with the Environmental Protection Agency, was asked during an interview with The New York Times if we should “avoid detergents altogether”. His response was “Homemade alternatives and elbow grease will really do the job.”

In most instances, new washers and dishwashers are working exactly as the manufacturer has specified. Your detergent, on the other hand, is not.

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.

Should You Buy an Extended Warranty on Your New Appliances?

Whether buying an extended warranty on a new appliance makes sense or not depends on a variety of considerations, due in part to the fact that the coverage and protection afforded by these warranties has changed dramatically over the last decade.

Here are some of the considerations that should be assessed to determine the value of an extended warranty:

  • Cost versus potential savings and/or replacement – An extended warranty will add to the purchase price of an appliance but the value is a function of the percentage of that increase. The extended warranties on smaller appliances can raise the purchase price by 35% or more, which decreases their value substantially. On the other hand, a warranty on a major appliance will likely be a much smaller percentage of the purchase price.
  • The coverage provided by the extended warranty versus the manufacturer’s warranty – While the warranty from the manufacturer will be relatively comprehensive, an extended warranty may have a level of coverage that is much less robust. Be sure to read the fine print to see how you’ll be protected.
  • The complexity of repairs – Many major appliances are fully integrated with computerized features that will likely be beyond the skill set of a local handyman to repair. If you’re purchasing an appliance that is loaded with computerized features, an extended warranty can save a lot of money in repairs.

When purchased under the right circumstances, an extended warranty can be a great investment. By avoiding warranties on lower cost items while purchasing protection on your major appliances, you’ll be in a position to replace and repair appliances in the most cost-effective manner possible.

Are You Grilling or Barbequing?

While the terms “grilling” and “barbequing” are often used on an interchangeable basis, about the only similarities between the two cooking styles is that they both involve the cooking of meat in the outdoors. The determination of whether you will be grilling or barbequing starts by defining the cooking style.

Grilling, in terms of sheer numbers, is the more popular and simpler cooking style between the two, being a common sight at beach cookouts, parties, and other events. Grilling recipes are as varied as the people that prepare meat in this fashion with an almost limitless number of rubs, sauces, marinades, and spices that combine with the carmelization of naturally-occurring sugars in the meat to provide a wide range of tastes.    

If you are grilling:

  • You are cooking with high heat temperatures that run in the vicinity of 500 to 600 degrees.
  • The meat you are cooking is being directly heated by burning coals or a gas flame.
  • Your cooking time is relatively short.
  • You are probably cooking higher quality steaks, hamburgers, chicken or hot dogs

Barbequing is completely different from grilling in that the process takes longer and requires some expertise to deliver a successful meal. Most of the meat’s flavor is derived from the smoke that emanates from the embers of selected types of wood.

If you are barbequing:

  • You are cooking with lower temperatures ranging from 180 to 250 degrees
  • Your meat is not in direct contact with the heating source
  • You are cooking cuts of meat that benefit from longer cooking times such as ribs, shoulders, etc.

While the terms are often interchanged, grilling and barbequing are completely different styles of cooking. If you happen to be a person who enjoys cooking with both styles, the Primo ceramic grill is designed to allow grilling on one half while meats placed on the other side of a divider receive the indirect heat of the barbequing process. The grill can also be converted to a full grill or barbeque, depending on the size of the meal and the method of preparation.

Turning the Replacement of Appliances into an Investment with ENERGY STAR Products

Replacing appliances can be one of the larger expenditures you will make in your home, the planning of which can prove to be a daunting task simply due to challenges of setting a budget and deciding on whether the project is the best use of your family’s hard earned money. What if, instead of being an expenditure, the replacement of these appliances actually turned into an investment that allowed you to save money on a monthly basis? Better yet, what if the level of savings was enough to eventually cover a substantial percentage of the cost of purchasing the appliances that were a part of that project?

While it may sound too good to be true, buying ENERGY STAR rated appliances can do just that. Here’s how:

  • According to ENERGY STAR, a household would save approximately $148 per year by replacing a standard sized refrigerator manufactured in 1990 with an ENERGY STAR rated refrigerator. The savings jump to $200 per year if a refrigerator from the 80’s is replaced.
  • Replacing a dishwasher that was manufactured before 1994 can save about $40 per year, which covers saving in water and electricity usage. Replacing older models pushes savings toward $50 per year.
  • According to the Department of Energy the cost of running an old furnace, especially in the colder areas of the country, can amount to about to about $1,000 per year, or about half of a household’s total expenditures on utility bills. An ENERGY STAR rated replacement furnace can cut the yearly energy bill by half, or about $500 per year.

With yearly savings of approximately $700 on just replacing these three types of appliances, a planned expenditure can start to look like an investment. Better still, households can achieve even more savings with the replacement of old clothes washers, air conditioners, and other dated appliances.