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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Four Important Things to Consider When Buying Appliances

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Major appliances are becoming increasingly computerized, a trend that is sure to continue as sensors and other devices facilitate both wireless and hard line connectivity with the web. While the trend toward increasing computerization and connectivity will deliver a number of conveniences, such as checking the inventory of a refrigerator and the remote operation of other appliances, technological capabilities will also add so many options that making a purchasing decision will become far more difficult. To help sift through the myriad of choices that now accompany major appliances, here are the four most important factors to consider before making a purchase.

1)      The base function plus features – Every appliance has a base function whether it’s a refrigerator’s job to keep food cold or a dishwasher’s job to clean dishes. If there are features and capabilities beyond the base function of the appliance that you know will come in handy, add them.

2)      Operational simplicity – The definition of simple operation may differ substantially between users, meaning that a computer programmer may find long protocols of commands to activate features a breeze while someone else may need to consult the owner’s manual to perform basic tasks. The important thing here is that you buy appliances that you can easily operate at their highest level of performance.    

3)      How each appliance will be used on a regular basis – If you are constantly cooking for an army, a larger refrigerator, dishwasher, and/or range may be in order as long as your kitchen has enough space. On the other hand, if you are usually cooking for smaller numbers, standard-sized appliances will likely suffice.

4)      Energy efficiency – If all other things are equal between appliances that you are considering for purchase, buy the most energy efficient model. This choice will result in monthly savings for a decade and maybe two, which can add up to a lot of money.        

Despite the growing number of things that appliances can do, each product still has one primary function. Starting there and then considering the other factors listed above will put you in a position to buy the right product every time.

Tips for Purchasing the Right Appliances for a Kitchen Remodeling Project

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Here are a few tips to help you choose the right appliances for a kitchen remodeling project while battling money versus love, or needs versus wants.

Generally speaking, selecting the right criteria for the purchase of new appliances for a kitchen remodeling project depends on whether the end objective is to personalize and customize the space for the household (love) or increase the resale value of the home (money).

Here are the criteria when remodeling for money:

  • The project’s budget should be based on two parameters; the appraised value of the home and the selling prices for similar homes in the neighborhood – The rule of thumb for setting your remodeling budget is that it should run between 5 and 10 percent of the home’s value. If your home’s value is approximately equal to other homes in the area, keep the budget closer to 5 percent. If its value is significantly less than other homes, the budget can be pushed toward 10 percent.
  • Appliances should be purchased with ruthless efficiency – While you definitely want to present an upgraded look, buying high-end appliances in this type of remodeling project will result in a lower return than going with base models.
  • Remodel for a broad market – To give your home the best chance of selling, you’ll want to go with neutral (white or stainless steel) appliances and basic cabinetry to appeal to a broader audience.

…and remodeling for love:

  • If the long term plan is to stay in your home, return on investment becomes a non-issue – While you don’t want be wasteful, the budget for new appliances and other features in the kitchen can be expanded to what you can afford.
  • Appliances can be purchased to deliver an optimal user experience – Again, you’ll want stay within your budget and buy only features that have utility in your kitchen. That being said, if you’re committed to cooking like a pro, for example, buy the appliances that will allow you to do what you want to do toward that end.
  • It’s your kitchen; show some personality – Designing the kitchen as an extension of your household’s collective personality can turn it into an exciting gathering area that also encourages culinary creativity.

While remodeling for money requires a more pragmatic approach to upgrades and buying appliances, a project that isn’t based on the sale of the home can be executed with creativity and flair. The key is to decide whether fiscal responsibility or wild creativity is in order before starting the project.

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.

Tips for Cleaning a Microwave

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These are some nice tips regarding the use and care of your microwave.

Microwaves have become an integral part of many families’ cooking habits so proper care is needed in order to get the most out of your microwave. The first step to proper microwave care is cleaning the inside. Cleaning a warm microwave is an easy way to get all the food spatter up. The best way to do this is to heat a bowl filled with water and some dish detergent, or white vinegar. The steam from the mixture softens the build-up and makes clean-up a breeze. You can also heat paper towels that have the same mixture on them.

Make sure when wiping out the microwave you remove the plate and any accessories such as shelves so you have an unobstructed area to clean. You’ll also want to take your time and clean the inside top, door, door frame and the seal if your microwave has one.

Always remember to remove and not use aluminum foil, metal containers, metal utensils and products with metal trim in your microwave. Metal can cause arcing and will damage the oven, possibly causing a fire.

When using your microwave always make sure any container is open and not sealed shut. Pressure can build inside the sealed container and cause it to explode. Baking potatoes should have the skin pierced to relieve pressure and eggs should never be cooked in the shell.

Lastly, if your microwave has a bad, musty smell, you can heat a 2 to 1 mixture of water to lemon juice in your microwave and let it sit 5-10 minutes. This will serve two purposes; 1) it will give your microwave a fresh, clean smell and 2) you can clean the inside of the microwave because the steam from the mixture makes a great cleaner.

Top ensure your microwave operates at its optimum, follow these simple guidelines from East Coast Appliance.

How to get the Best Drying Results From Your Dishwasher

 

Bosch Dish

Our friends at Bosch sent out this great bit on how to get the best drying results from your Bosch dishwasher. If you follow these instructions and still have an issue with your dishwasher you can contact our service department by clicking this link for the numbers and locations.

Rinse Aid

To achieve proper drying, always use a liquid rinse aid, even if your detergent contains a rinse aid or drying additive.

Note: The dishwasher indicates low rinse aid by turning on the “Add Rinse Aid” indicator light. If this light is on, you need to refill the rinse aid dispenser by following the directions below.

Adding Rinse Aid

1- Add liquid rinse aid to the dispenser until it is full.

2 – Close the lid. Lid must be fully closed until it clicks in order to seal.

3 – Wipe up any excess rinse aid that may have puddled when the dispenser reservoir is full. The indicator light will go out a few moments after the dishwasher door is shut.

Setting the amount of rinse aid used

The amount of rinse aid dispensed can be set from “r:00” to “r:06”.

1 Press the [On/Off] button.

2 Hold down the “A” button (This will be the “Auto” button or “Normal” button depending on your model. See your Use & Care manual) and press [Start] until the display indicates “d:00”. Release both buttons.

3 Press the “A” button until the display shows “r:05”.

4 Press the “C” button to select the desired setting.

“r:00” = dispenser is OFF “r:04” = medium/high setting

“r:01” = lowest setting “r:05” = high setting

“r:02” = low setting “r:06” = highest setting

“r:03” = medium setting

5 Press [Start] to save the setting.

Note: Using rinse aid and setting the dispenser to “r:00” may result in longer cycle times.

Intensive Drying

The final rinse uses a higher temperature which improves the drying results. The running time may increase slightly.

To turn intensive drying on:

1 Press the [On/Off] button.

2 Hold down the “A” button (This will be the “Auto” button or “Normal” button depending on your model. See your Use & Care manual) and press [Start] until the display indicates “d:00”. Release both buttons

3 Press the “A” button until the display shows “d:00”.

4 Press the “C” button to turn intensive drying on or off. “d:01” = ON and “d:00” = OFF and press [Start] to save setting.

ExtraShine™

Used in combination with a wash cycle (except Rinse), the Extra Shine option raises the temperature and extends the drying time to further enhance drying results and provide a brilliant shine.

Sanitize

The Sanitize feature is available only in the Heavy, Auto and Normal cycles. Select one of these cycles, press the “Sanitize Option” button and then press Start to activate the Sanitation features. The sanitize LED will light when sanitation requirements are met. The technical sanitation measures may also improve the drying results.

Note: The dishwasher automatically defaults to Auto Wash when turned off and back on. If you used the sanitize option in your last cycle, the dishwasher will default to Auto Wash with the Sanitize option selected when you turn it on.

Loading the Top Rack

Ensure items do not protrude through the bottom of the racks and block the spray arms.

Note: When pushing the top rack into the dishwasher, push it until it stops against the back of the tub so the top rack spray arm connects to the water supply at the back of the tub. Do not push racks in using the door.

Loading the Bottom Rack

Place large items in the bottom rack. Load pots, pans and bowls upside down. Do not block vent with tall baking sheets. Load these items on the left side of the dishwasher.

Unloading the Dishwasher

When unloading the dishwasher it is best to unload the bottom rack first. Next, unload the silverware basket followed by the top rack.

Tip For When To Replace Your Mattress

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Mattresses can be rather expensive to replace and because of that too many of us hold on to them for far too long. By not replacing a worn mattress you sacrifice a good night’s sleep that can leave you tired, stiff and often in pain. Eight hours of sleep per night over 8-10 years is 23,360-29,200 hours of use. Consider what would happen to a chair if it was put through that type of use!

Here are some tips to help you determine whether or not you should consider replacing your mattress.

The first thing to consider is the age of the mattress and foundation. The mattress industry recommends replacing them every 8-10 years regardless of the condition of the mattress itself. The reasons for this is because over time mattresses become filled with allergens and dust mites that can lead to health issues and poor sleeping conditions. If you don’t use a mattress often, possibly because it’s in a guest room, then you can consider going longer than 10 years.

Even if a mattress is less than 8 years old it can stop offering the needed support for a good night’s rest. You should remove all linens from the mattress and give it a good look over. Inspect the mattress for damage like rips, sagging, drooping, bunching and protruding springs.

Sagging and drooping mean the mattress has lost its ability to support you so your sleep will suffer and you may have pain when you wake in the morning. Bunching usually happens only with pillow top mattresses and will create a pile of the pillow material in one area. This is uncomfortable to sleep against and will cause you to move around to avoid that area. Protruding spring can be a hazard as they can cut or scratch you. If any of these are present in your current mattress you should consider replacing it.

Another consideration is how comfortable you are on the mattress. If you find yourself moving around trying to get comfortable, if your arms or legs fall asleep while you’re lying on it, then you should also consider replacing your mattress.

Something many couples don’t consider when they come together is the size of the mattress. Many new couples will use a bed from one partner or the other, but a full size bed is probably not large enough for two adults to sleep comfortably on. Another factor for couples to consider is weight gain and loss. If one, or both, of you have put on or taken off a lot of weight the bed may not be right for you anymore. This can make it very difficult to get a good night’s sleep.

The last, but most important, factor to consider is your quality of sleep. Your mattress may look great, no rips, no sagging, and no protruding springs, but if you aren’t sleeping well then it’s time to go mattress shopping. The technology that’s goes into creating mattresses today is light-years ahead of just 10 years ago so you should give yourself plenty of time to educate yourself before shopping for a new mattress and then plan enough shopping time so you’re not rushed and can evaluate the different styles by actually laying on the mattresses for 15-20 minutes each.

The fact is, we spend too many hours on our mattresses to skimp on a good night’s sleep.

Tips to Help Your Dishwasher Function Its Best

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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.

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.