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.

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.

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.

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.

Washer Water Supply Line Maintenance

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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 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.

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.