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.

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 Clean a Dryer

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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.