It is time to dust off that furnace, and our HVAC team is here to help. To kick off the season here is a checklist to get your furnace ready for the cold season ahead.
1. Change the Filter
The number one cause of a failed furnace is a cracked heat exchanger. The simplest way to extend the life of the heat exchanger is to routinely replace the furnace filter. Generally, furnace filters need to be replaced every 30 days, including 1” wide premium filters. High efficiency 4”+ wide filters can last from 90 days to 1 year, depending on the specific home.
2. Adjust the Thermostat
Most modern thermostats have batteries that need to be replaced annually. If you have a programmable thermostat, check the schedule and temperature settings to provide the greatest comfort and energy savings. If you have a non-programmable thermostat, set the fan operation to “auto” and set the temperature to your comfort. The exception here, would be if you have a high-efficiency air cleaner and a low-energy use blower motor, then set the fan operation to “on”.
3. Test Run Your Furnace
Turn your furnace on in early September, well before you need it. Avoid waiting until a cold fall October morning to turn your furnace on to ensure it works properly. October tends to be one of the busiest months out of the year for Minnesota heating companies, so avoid the rush and potential delay in service by testing the operation early.
4. Schedule a Tune-Up
All furnace manufacturers recommend annual maintenance by a qualified heating technician. At a minimum, the tune-up should include the following:
Inspect and test all safety controls
Check and/or replace the filter
Check thermostat settings and replace the battery
Clean and test the ignition system
Clean and test burners
Clean condensate drain if equipped
Test carbon monoxide level
Inspect heat exchanger
A furnace tune-up can be performed at any time of the year, but many customers prefer the fall, which typically results in paying full price and not getting the most convenient appointment schedule. Savvy homeowners will have the annual tune-up performed in the off-cycle time of the year to get reduced pricing and appointment times of their choice. Once you establish a time of year that works for you, simply stick to that cycle. Another advantage to having annual tune-ups is that you establish a relationship with a heating company resulting in priority scheduling if a repair or replacement is needed.
5. Consider Replacement
The Minnesota Commerce Department states that the typical life of a properly maintained furnace is 15 to 20 years. Do not wait for your furnace to fail, consider replacing it as it reaches 15 years old. Not only will you have a more reliable furnace, but new furnaces offer more safety features, higher efficiency, multi-heating stages, and variable speed blower motors resulting in safer operations, lower heating costs, and a higher level of comfort and reliability.
If your furnace is equipped with a central humidifier, replace the water panel, open the bypass damper (winter position) and set the humidistat to your comfort level.
Whether you need to change your filter or replace your furnace our HVAC specialists are here to help. For more home and appliance tips, explore more on our blog.
This month we’re meeting Rebecca Uhrig from our Merchandising Team at HQ!
What is your role at Warners’ Stellian? Pricing and Promotions Assistant.
Tell us more about your role. A lot of my work is behind the scenes. I assist in promotional pricing, keeping digital tags working, but most people know me through my work with our rebates.
What do you like most about your job? Definitely the people I work with. Who surrounds you makes things better and you actually look forward to coming to work!
Tell us about your family. Most of my family still lives in Kansas, but my mom lives in Mankato. I have a younger brother currently in Des Moines going to Drake. I have two cats, Macintosh and Crookshanks. They were both adopted in Kansas, but like living here especially when it snows.
What was your first job? My first job was in high school, a seasonal position at JoAnn Fabrics. Most of my paycheck when back into JoAnn buying art supplies!
What do you like to do on your days off? Some days I’ll hit up a brewery with friends, otherwise working on some project around the house or hanging out with my cats. They love weekends when I’m home.
What three words would you use to describe Warners’ Stellian? Close-knit, challenging, and fun.
What’s your favorite appliance, and why? Probably the refrigerator. Aside from my love of food, they’re the star of the kitchen.
Tell us something about you that would surprise us or that most people don’t know. I can’t read my original birth certificate, since it’s in German! My dad was in the military. I wasn’t born on the base, but in a German hospital.
What is the one thing you cannot live without? I’m torn on this, there’s so many things I want to list. But in day-to-day life, I definitely need my coffee. Close second would be my phone.
If you had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? I’d have to pick pizza. You can change the toppings to make entirely new flavors. I’m also a firm believer that fruit has its place on pizza.
What is your favorite thing to do? Something creative: art, quilting, baking, reading. I like creating things and making something out of nothing. My most recent project was a quilt for my cousin in celebration of her wedding!
With every good meal comes the inevitable cleanup. Luckily, appliance manufacturers design top-notch dishwashers to take the chore out of cleaning pots and pans. Now, let’s dive into our dishwasher buying guide!
If your dishwasher is in need of replacement, rest easy knowing that new dishwashers clean better and run quieter than those of the past. Ready to buy a new dishwasher? Roll up your sleeves and dive into our buying guide to determine the right dishwasher for your lifestyle.
In this dishwasher buying guide we will go over:
How to measure for a new refrigerator.
Dishwasher Finishes & Options
How Dishwashers Work
What is a dBA?
Features within a Dishwasher
How To Measure for a New Dishwasher
Take the following measurements when determining the size of dishwasher you need:
Height of space under the counter
Depth of space
Width of space between cabinets
Distance to nearest obstacle (to ensure space for opening the dishwasher fully and loading/unloading dishes)
Space under counter to floor
In general, dishwashers come in two width options: standard (24 inches) and compact (18 inches). Compact machines fit up to eight place settings and six serving pieces, whereas standard dishwashers clean 10 to 12 place settings and six serving pieces.
Dishwasher drawers can be purchased as single drawers, and installed individually or side-by-side. Single drawers can be particularly useful for kitchens with limited space or in those that require handicap accessibility. Double dishwasher drawers can usually be installed into a standard 24-inch dishwasher opening without any plumbing, electrical or cabinet modifications. This configuration can be especially useful when a traditional dishwasher door interferes with a walkway or extends into a kitchen island when open.
When a consumer wants a dishwasher but does not have the facilities for a built-in model, some manufacturers offer portable dishwasher models. Portable dishwashers plug into a standard 110-volt electric outlet and include a built-in fill hose connection that adapts to most kitchen faucets.
Dishwasher prices range from under $550 for a basic model to roughly $1,700 for a model with all of the latest features, including a built-in water softener. Expect to pay more for dishwasher drawers or dishwashers with custom panels to make them blend in with the existing cabinetry.
Dishwasher Finish Options & Styles
Dishwasher Exterior Finishes
The most popular exterior finishes for dishwashers are black, white, stainless steel and black stainless steel. However, some manufacturers create more unique finish options. To learn more about finish options and choose the right one for your dishwasher, check out our Appliance Finishes Guide.
Dishwasher Interior Finishes
Most high-end dishwashers feature a stainless steel tub (interior), while many of the basic models feature a plastic tub. Stainless steel is less porous than plastic, and therefore less likely to absorb odors or stains. A stainless steel tub also helps dishes dry faster since it retains heat longer.
Many dishwashers feature electronic control panels on the front of the dishwasher door. However, an increasing number of dishwashers now offer hidden controls for a more seamless appearance. These controls are located on the top edge of the door, so you can’t see them when the door is closed. Some hidden control dishwashers offer small indicator lights on the front of the door to display how much time is remaining in a cycle. Other models shine small infrared beams on the floor or chime when the cycle is fully completed.
Dishwashers come with myriad handle options. While recessed and pocket handles offer convenience when it comes to cleaning, some consumers like bar handles, so they can hang a towel onto the dishwasher. Some panel-ready dishwashers come without a handle and include the option of push or knock to open. It ultimately comes down to the aesthetic and functionality you need in your kitchen. Take a look at the available handle options and talk to your salesperson about which is right for you.
How Dishwashers Work
The most common dishwasher cleaning configuration includes three separate spray arms, located at the bottom, middle and top of the machine. Some entry level models only have one or two spray arms.
Most dishwashers need a mechanism to dispose of any food that passes through the system. A few basic models feature soft-food disposers to eliminate small particles, but the majority of dishwashers utilize a hard food disposer. Typically, this disposer system features a blade that spins at several thousand RPM, pulverizing any food particles into easily disposable particulates. These particulates are then flushed out by a burst of hot, soapy water to prevent them from being re-deposited onto the dishes.
European-style models, such as Bosch, Miele and Electrolux, employ a slightly different approach to cleaning. These models use high wash temperatures (30-40 degrees more than comparable models) and increased water pressure. The increased water temperature and pressure offers a more effective wash cycle, able to cut through even the toughest baked-on grease. Due to the added heat and pressure of the European wash cycle, a hard food disposer is not required as food waste is emulsified into small particulates and washed away at the end of the cycle.
Most dishwashers include a few standard wash cycles: normal, heavy and rinse & hold. Normal is the default cycle for everyday dish-washing needs. Heavy offers a longer wash time with higher temperatures – ideal for removing hard-soiled pans. Rinse & Hold is simply a short rinse designed for dirty dishes that will likely sit in the dishwasher a while prior to the wash cycle.
Aside from the standard wash options, models offer several specialty cycles to enhance the performance and energy efficiency of the dishwasher, including the following:
Quick Wash: Handles lightly-soiled dishes at lower temperatures conserving time, water and electricity.
Half Load: Uses a fraction of the water and energy resources to efficiently clean a small load.
Auto Wash: Utilizes either a turbidity or pressure sensor to determine how dirty the wash water is throughout the wash cycle, then automatically shortens or lengthens the wash time accordingly for maximum cleaning results.
China/Crystal Care: Lowers water pressure and uses cooler temperatures for delicate cycles.
Sanitize Rinse: Based on NSF certification, the water reaches 160 degrees or higher for several minutes, providing a truly sanitizing environment for the dishes.
Steam Clean: Incorporates steam into the cycle for more cleaning power. Steam cycles can also be used for fragile loads.
What is dBA?
Depending on your home’s floor plan, you may be concerned with the noise level of your dishwasher. Dishwasher manufacturers use A-weighted decibels (dBA) ratings to measure how quiet (or not) a dishwasher is. DBA is an expression of the loudness of sounds as perceived by the human ear.
Dishwasher dBA ratings range from approximately 37 to 64. Here is a decibel scale for common sounds to help you interpret the noise level of a dishwasher.
As technology changes, appliance manufacturers continue to find ways to streamline the cleaning and drying processes within dishwashers. The following features are just some examples of what today’s dishwashers can do.
With a smart dishwasher, you can monitor cycles, use remote smart or even set notifications for when you need to buy or fill detergent and rinse aid. Many dishwasher manufacturers have phone apps, which connect to the appliance.
Anti-Leak Safety Feature
An important feature to look for when shopping for a new dishwasher is a safety drip pan. In case of an internal leak, water will be contained within the pan, shielding hardwood floors from damage. Many models feature sensors within the safety pan that, when activated, shut down the wash cycle of the dishwasher to prevent further damage.
Internal Water Softener
An internal water softener reduces fogging and etching to glassware. It also makes dish soap substantially more potent, resulting in better cleaning results.
Automatic Detergent Dispenser
Load and go! Some dishwashers allow you to fill a reservoir with detergent, which is dispensed automatically depending on load size. Never guess how much detergent is needed again!
Many models include a heating element for drying, while others use a fan-assisted dry or simply air dry. Bosch dishwashers use a new solution to ensure perfectly dry dishes – a mineral called zeolite, which naturally absorbs moisture and emits heat.
The majority of dishwasher racks are now constructed of metal and coated with nylon. The nylon-coated design is most durable against chipping, scratching and peeling. In some upgraded models, an extra coat of nylon is applied to the rack tine tips to minimize wear and tear. Vinyl-coated racks, though commonly used in the past, are now found only in the most basic of dishwasher models
Consider the types of dishes you use most. Do you need tines that fold down to fit pots and pans? Or bottle jets? Dishwashers come with adjustable rack configurations, and many manufacturers now include third racks in their dishwashers, which are great for silverware, cooking utensils, measuring spoons and other small items that don’t quite fit in the regular racks.
When dishwasher shopping, talk to your appliance specialist to figure out what dishwasher features are right for your household.
We hope you have found this dishwasher buying guide to be useful and informative, and we appreciate the time you took to read through it. If you have questions that were not answered by this guide, please feel free to contact us.
What is your role at Warners’ Stellian? I’m in charge of the transfers, I’m in charge of bulk in the morning (like water lines, inlets, etc). I unload the trucks, and I stay busy. Sometimes I help with custom installs.
Tell us more about your role. I really like working. I really like to stay busy. I really like the company.
What do you like most about your job? Everything. I like learning. Every day is a new day. Why not be open to learning something new?
Tell us about your family. It’s me and my wife and we have grandkids. I moved from the East Coast. I used to live in Massachusetts and New York.
What was your first job? My first job was at the company that I worked at before I came here, doing something similar to what I’m doing now.
What do you like to do on your days off? I take care of the house, spend time with my family, the grandkids. They’re 8 and 3 years old.
What three words would you use to describe Warners’ Stellian? I only have one word. Awesome. This place is awesome.
What’s your favorite appliance, and why? My favorite appliance is my fridge/freezer, because I can put ice cream in it!
Tell us something about you that would surprise us or that most people don’t know. I’m half Puerto Rican, half Arabic. My Dad is from Saudi Arabia and my mom is from Puerto Rico. I was born in Chicago and moved to Puerto Rico when I was 2 or 3, and from there I’ve been to a lot of places, especially on the East Coast. I like traveling.
What is the one thing you cannot live without? Family. Definitely my family.
If you had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? Pizza. In New York, especially in Little Italy, the pizza is so good.