Posts Tagged ‘Maintenance’

AS SEEN ON TV: Appliance tips to maximize your kitchen

July 3, 2012

Rena Sarigianopoulos of KARE and Carla Warner of Warner Stellian chat about how to help your appliances help you.

Carla Warner visited KARE 11 News@4 on Monday to share some tips for making the most of your most-used kitchen appliances.

In case you missed us, here are those tips:

Microwave

1. To get rid of that popcorn smell or other odors, squeeze a lemon into a bowl of water and boil it in the microwave it for several minutes. Allow the bowl to cool before opening the microwave door and then wipe down the interior with a soft cloth.

2. Take advantage of different power levels. Most people only cook using 100% of the microwave’s power and just nuke everything. But you can effectively use your microwave to soften and melt gently, too. To quickly soften butter, cook 1 stick for 1 minute on 10% power level.

Refrigerator

1. A small amount of condensation on the fridge or freezer is normal, especially during humid weather and summer vacation, if you see more condensation than normal, check the seal (or gasket) for any obstructions and clear them. If there aren’t any, try moistening the gasket with Vaseline by rubbing a thin layer on the seal where it meets the cabinet of the fridge. This should create a stronger, air-tight seal.

2. Brands might create the perfect space for gallon-jug storage on your refrigerator door, but consider how quickly you will use highly perishable foods (like milk) before storing them here. Why? Consider the temperature fluctuations of this region of the refrigerator. Accordingly, produce like broccoli, asparagus and apples benefit from colder temperatures located near the rear, while corn and berries — for example — benefit from the warmest spot in the refrigerator, so choose those for the front. (Alternatively, fresh herbs like basil thrive in slightly warmer-than-fridge temperatures, so I keep mine in the door!)

3. Use your crisper. Those clear drawers in your fridge aren’t just for convenience. Many models allow you adjust the humidity of your crisper drawers to suit their contents. Consult your use & care manual for specifics on your model, but in general, separate your fruits from vegetables and set humidity to high for green, leafy vegetables and low for fruits and vegetables with skins. Meats should be colder – often just above freezing – so keep them in your deli drawer, which is usually designed to stay colder.

Range

1. Keep your burner caps and drip pans clean. Maintaining a tidy cook surface isn’t just about impressing company. Dirty surfaces don’t reflect heat as well as polished surfaces, thus wasting energy and potentially your time. We sell range top cleaner made specifically for cooking surfaces that will help you keep your range or cooktop looking — and cooking — well.

2. Match pots and pans to the size of your burners
Unless you’re using an induction cooktop or range, you’re heating a lot of air while you try to heat your food. For instance, induction cooking – which only heats the cooking vessel and not the air — is 20% more efficient than electric and 70% more efficient than gas. To lessen energy loss, choose the appropriate-sized pot or pan for the size of burner you’re cooking on (i.e. don’t put a 1-qt saucepan on a ginormous “power burner”).

3. Cover your pots while boiling water
When you think about it, it makes no sense to boil water in an uncovered pot. Using a cover helps water boil faster while creating pressure and preventing evaporation. Saving lots of time and energy.

 

HOW TO: clean grill and get it ready after winter

March 29, 2012

If you haven’t noticed, along with shorts and mosquitoes, grilling season got an early start this year. Follow these tune-up tips to make sure your gas grill or charcoal grill is BBQ ready.

Clean the interior using a putty knife to scrape off burnt-on food particles inside your grill. This isn’t just aesthetic. Build-up prevents your grill from heating correctly.

To clean your grates, Weber Grill suggests putting them in a dark-colored plastic bag with a cup of ammonia into the bag. After a day in the sun, residue should easily hose off (hat tip Shelterpop).

If you have a grease drain, make sure it’s unclogged by running a coat hanger down it. Just keep your hands away from the grease bucket, because the grease will drain out fast and could burn you.

Season the grill. Use nonstick cooking spray to oil the grates, drip pans and inside of the grill. This helps keep food from sticking to the surfaces and speeds cleaning. Light the grill and let it burn empty with the lid closed for 30 minutes to burn off the preservatives.

Level the grill. If one side of your grill burns burgers while the other leaves them raw, it’s probably not level. Check both side-to-side and front-to-back to ensure even heating.

Check for leaks by inspecting connections for tightness and hoses for cracks. Another good way to scope out leaks is by brushing non-ammonia soapy water around the fitting with an old toothbrush. Turn the gas on and watch for bubbles.

 

Before you get dryer repair…

October 20, 2011

If you’re dryer’s not drying, troubleshoot your vent before calling for dryer service. Especially if you’re running your dryer twice to get clothes dry.

If your dryer’s vent system is clogged, moist air won’t exhaust as well and it will take longer for your clothes to dry.

Here’s how to test your vent to see if it’s clogged:

  1. Run your dryer for at least 5 minutes
  2. Find your exhaust hood on the exterior of your home. It will look like one of these


Use your hand to feel for air movement. If it’s less than a hair dryer on high speed, clean the lint from the entire length of the system and exhaust hood. (This should be done about every two years, anyway).

Have you hung up your grilling tools yet?

October 6, 2011

My favorite 2011 grilling momentwas doughnuts with my aunt Carla Warner for "Twin Cities Live" reporter Emily Engberg.

Right now in Minnesota, we’re experiencing quite the Indian summer — which is awesome considering 2011 cheated us on spring.

So maybe you’re still grilling.

(Select hardy Minnesotans enjoy firing up their Big Green Eggs in the winter, God bless them.)

Or maybe the beautiful weather simply makes your fall chores more enjoyable.

One of my fall chores this weekend is retiring my gas grill.

Our King of the BBQ Stu Glock helped me out last fall with proper storage tips, including NOT storing the LP tank in the garage.

>> You can see all of Stu’s winter grill storage tips here

How to clean stainless appliances without a stainless steel cleaner

September 29, 2011

(Disclaimer: Just because I know how to clean stainless steel appliances, doesn’t mean I actually do it.)

If you have stainless steel refrigerator like I do (and especially if you have kids), chances are, that refrigerator looks like this:

Cleaning stainless steel appliances is not like cleaning other surfaces, because it’s easy to leave behind streaks from the actual cleaning process itself.

We sell a really good cleaner for stainless steel appliances called Citrushine. I used to use it all the time when I worked at the stores (if you think your kitchen is bad, imagine how much our appliances get touched!).

But sometimes company is coming over — which is about the only time I’ll polish my stainless steel — and you don’t have time to run to the store.

Try baby oil.
Apply with an old towel or rag in small doses so you don’t end up with a greasy refrigerator and wipe with the grain for the shiniest finish.

HOW TO: defrost a freezer in 10 easy steps

July 29, 2011

I think it might be time to defrost...

Most refrigerator-freezers and many standalone freezers feature automatic defrost, but for long-term food storage, manual defrost freezers can be the best option.

So when the ice crystals lining the walls of your manual defrost freezer stacks ¼- to ½- inch, it’s time to defrost.

Don’t lose your cool. It’s easier than you think, using these 10 steps adapted from Frigidaire:

1. Unplug your freezer. This keeps you from being electrocuted.

2. Open the freezer door and keep it open throughout the process.

3. Remove food into a cooler

4. On upright freezers with a defrost drain, remove the drain plug on the inside floor
of the freezer by pulling straight out. To access external drain tube on models with a
base panel, first remove the two screws from the base panel. Locate the drain tube
near the left center under the freezer. Place a shallow pan under the drain tube. Defrost
water will drain out. Check pan occasionally so water does not overflow. A ½ inch
garden hose adapter can be used to drain the freezer directly into a floor drain. If your
model is not equipped with an adapter, one can be purchased at most hardware
stores. Replace the drain plug when defrosting and cleaning are completed. If the
drain is left open, warm air may enter freezer.

5. On chest freezers with a defrost drain, place a shallow pan or the Divider/Drain Pan
(some models) beneath the drain outlet (Figure 2). A ½ inch garden hose adapter can
be used to drain the freezer directly into a floor drain (Figure 3). If your model is not
equipped with an adapter, one can be purchased at most hardware stores. Pull out
the drain plug inside the freezer, and pull off the outside defrost drain plug (Figure 4).
Defrost water will drain out. Check pan occasionally so water does not overflow.
Replace the drain plugs when defrosting is completed.

***If you don’t have a defrost drain, line the freezer bottom with towels to catch
the frost. The frost will loosen and fall. Remove towels and/or newspapers.

6. If the frost is soft, remove it by using a plastic scraper (or if you’re a cheap & hardy Minnesotan like me, an old CD).
7. If the frost is hard, fill deep pans with hot water and place them on the freezer bottom. Close the freezer door. Frost should soften in about 15 minutes, after which you can refer to No. 6. Repeat if necessary.

8. After defrosting, wash inside surfaces and removable parts of the freezer with a solution of two tablespoons of baking soda in one quart warm water. Rinse and dry. Wring excess water
out of the sponge or cloth when cleaning in the area of the controls, or any electrical parts.
Never use metallic scouring pads, brushes, abrasive cleaners, nor alkaline solutions on any surface.

9. Replace drain plug and food.

10. Close freezer door.

Save your fridge from the heat – clean your coils

July 1, 2011

Last summer when the fan motor on my air conditioning unit kicked the bucket, I didn’t notice anything was wrong until I opened my freezer and realized my food was thawing. The kitchen was really hot, and my poor refrigerator was working overtime.

And you could hear it.

Coincidentally, my dad (and appliance savant) swung by my house to check up on the first-time homebuyer.

Upon hearing my potential food waste disaster, he asked, “Have you ever cleaned your coils?” without skipping a beat.

Blogged about it? Yes. Actually did the work myself? No.

You’d think he was shearing a lamb with the amount of thick, linty material he undearthed from my fridge’s nether regions.

But you know what? My refrigerator breathed an audible sigh of relief before quieting itself and resuming cooling. Because my condenser coils were so clogged with dust and debris, my refrigerator wasn’t able to properly cool itself down. This problem certainly was exacerbated by my broken AC, but I’m confident I would’ve been fridgeless in a matter of hours without help from my dad.

>>Read this a post for info on how to clean your refrigerator coils

Window AC shortage means you better keep yours working

June 20, 2011

I’ve blogged previously about this summer’s air conditioning unit shortage, which will likely not be noticed until more retailers sell out (we still have stock; we were shipped 100% of our order.).

This weekend, my brother Joe Warner shared tips on what to know when buying a window AC, and more importantly, how to keep it working for summers to come.

>>Watch video here: How to maintain your window air conditioner

Really, maintenance becomes most relevant during a manufacturing shortage. If you don’t have a window air conditioner, you probably bought one or are buying one this week.

But what if you already have one, and it breaks down in the middle of July? You probably will be out of luck when trying to replace it. So stay cool and listen to my brother’s wisdom!

As always, professional installation and maintenance is a good investment to consider, and we offer easy (no-sweat, ha!) plans for you.

Washing machine smells? Stop shutting the door

June 10, 2011

Eww, your washing machine is stinky.

If you’re suffering from clothes washer odor, the solution could be as simple as leaving the front door open.

Front load washers clean better, use less water and energy and treat clothes more gently, but they’ve earned a smelly reputation. A frontload washer necessitates an airtight seal on the washer door to prevent water from leaking all over your floor. But the lack of airflow breeds that mildew-y odor in a washing machine.

Simple solution? Leave the door open after wash cycles, and teach your family to do the same. Then,  water remaining in a front loading washer following a cycle can dry out and you’ll go back to having the best washer ever.

To eliminate existing washing machine smells, try cleaning the washing machine with Affresh or run a vinegar cycle on the hottest setting.

Don’t know how to install your air conditioner?

June 1, 2011

Letting someone else do the (really) heavy lifting leaves you more time to sip lemon iced tea in your accent chair.

For many living in older homes, townhouses and condos, window air conditioners are a must. But at 45-75 pounds on the low end, a window air conditioning unit could put some major heat on your back — that’s IF you can lift it.

Some of us are good enough at cooking to accrue favors from stronger people who will install our AC unit, though perhaps not as professionally as we would like.

But the real pain comes in when you need to take the window air conditioning unit out.

And we should know. Each fall for years we’ve had customers request a seasonal window air conditioner service plan, so we came up with our No-Sweat Service Plan.

For $89.95, we’ll professionally handle your window air conditioner installation (must be purchased from us).

–OR–

In the fall, for $89.95 our professional crew will uninstall your window AC, perform a maintenance cleaning on it, move it to wherever you want to store it on your property and reinstall your basic storm windows.

You don’t have to do a darn thing. And that’s cool.

 

 

 


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 87 other followers