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Washer Tip

Written  01.16.11

Many people ask me how to increase longevity of their appliances. A few simple tips for laundry equipment are;

For washing machines;

Minimize the use of detergent. I normally recommend one tablespoon of detergent for a full size load on a top load washer, or a teaspoon of detergent for a front load (or top load low water consumption washer). Detergent residue builds up in washing machines where you cannot see it. This buildup can clog various components of the washing machine and can even corrode some parts. Also, modern detergents are far more powerful than you may realize. If too much detergent is used (more than I mentioned), colors will be dingy and skin irritation can occur. Minimizing detergent, therefore, increases machine longevity, saves money, is better for your fabric, is better for you skin, and reduces chemicals in our waste water!

Dryer tip

Written  02.12.11

Many people ask me how to increase longevity of their appliances. Here are a few simple laundry equipent tips related to your dryer.

For dryers, I recommend a few things;

First, make sure you clean your lint filter with each load. This cannot be stressed enough. A clean filter reduces drying time, saves money, and reduces stress on the dryer.

Second, let the dryer sit and rest at least 15 minutes between loads (or 30 minutes after two consecutive loads). This gives the motor a chance to cool down. I have found many motors go bad because of overheating. This overheating is caused, primarily, by running too many loads back to back without giving the motor a chance to cool. Allowing the motor to cool reduces stress on the motor and increases energy efficiency. A cool motor is an efficient motor!

Lastly, make sure your exhaust vent is clean and flows air freely. This is absolutely necessary to keep the dryer in top condition as well as reducing drying time. I have done hundreds of service calls for dryers that will not heat. Many of those heat problems were caused by a vent restriction. A restricted vent is very hard on a dryer heat system and drastically reduces efficiency.

Gas smell?

Written  02.19.11

I get many calls from customers with concerns regarding a gas odor coming form their gas oven or gas dryer. It is true a gas leak will give a gas odor. However, that is not as common as one other “Gas Smell” issue. —-   Natural gas has additives which give it the tell-tale sulfur odor. These additives normally burn away in the combustion process. However, impurities (especially chemical impurities) can impede the natural combustion process and allow the additives to be released without burning away. This “Emission Odor” gives a false “Gas Leak” assumption.

One way to differentiate between the two types of odors is;  a gas leak is normally present when the appliance is dormant (not in use). An emission odor is present only when the appliance is in use.

The most common causes of Emission Odor is from paint or varnish fumes in the home (though it can be caused by any number of sources). If you have one appliance that smells of a gas leak, consider if you have recently (within the last few months) done any painting or varnishing in your home. If so, you may not have a gas leak, but an Emission Odor. If it is caused by chemical fumes in your home, you can go to other gas appliances and they should be emitting the same smell because the chemical fumes would be present within the entire home. If the odor is localized with one appliance only, you may indeed have a gas leak.

Remember, it is always best to call the gas company, or a qualified service tech to assess your situation if you have a gas smell in your home. However, as I mentioned, many (if not most) gas odors I have encountered in a customer’s home have not been gas leaks, but Emission Odors.

Gas smell?

Written  02.19.11

I get many calls from customers with concerns regarding a gas odor coming form their gas oven or gas dryer. It is true a gas leak will give a gas odor. However, that is not as common as one other “Gas Smell” issue. —-   Natural gas has additives which give it the tell-tale sulfur odor. These additives normally burn away in the combustion process. However, impurities (especially chemical impurities) can impede the natural combustion process and allow the additives to be released without burning away. This “Emission Odor” gives a false “Gas Leak” assumption.

One way to differentiate between the two types of odors is;  a gas leak is normally present when the appliance is dormant (not in use). An emission odor is present only when the appliance is in use.

The most common causes of Emission Odor is from paint or varnish fumes in the home (though it can be caused by any number of sources). If you have one appliance that smells of a gas leak, consider if you have recently (within the last few months) done any painting or varnishing in your home. If so, you may not have a gas leak, but an Emission Odor. If it is caused by chemical fumes in your home, you can go to other gas appliances and they should be emitting the same smell because the chemical fumes would be present within the entire home. If the odor is localized with one appliance only, you may indeed have a gas leak.

Remember, it is always best to call the gas company, or a qualified service tech to assess your situation if you have a gas smell in your home. However, as I mentioned, many (if not most) gas odors I have encountered in a customer’s home have not been gas leaks, but Emission Odors.

Kitchen Tip

Written  01.16.11

Dishwashers are similar to washing machines. They only require a very small amount of detergent to operate well. I recommend Cascade powder detergent. Gels tend to build up residue in the dishwasher and suds up, possibly making the dishwasher leak. Also, I recommend only a teaspoon of detergent. Any more is too much! Lastly, some people have found that adding a dash of baking soda to the detergent adds a degree of shine to the glasses. We do this with our own dishwasher!

Less detergent saves money, reduces residue buildup on the dishes and the liner of the dishwasher, reduces service calls, and increases the ability of the dishwasher to dry all dishes with a clear shine!