Appliance Design · customer service · Energy Efficiency · FAQ · Refrigerator

Loud refrigerator? We hear ya

Image: maxabout.com

If you’ve replaced your refrigerator within the last several years, your shiny new model might be making its presence known in noisier way.

Why?

For one, foam insulation — often used to make these appliances more energy-efficient — lacks the sound-baffling capabilities of fiberglass insulation incorporated into previous energy hogs.

Here’s some other “normal” sounds to expect, along with their abnormal counterparts:

Evaporator coil

A boiling, surging or gurgling sound as the compressor starts and stops. Also, a pop as the evaporator expands and contracts after defrosting.

Evaporator fan

The sound of air being forced through the unit is normal, but a continuous ticking or even intermittent squealing is abnormal.

Defrost heater

Sizzling or hissing sound from water dropping onto the heater during defrost cycle

Compressor

Newer fridges’ compressors are much more efficient and run much faster, giving off a high-pitched hum, whine or pulse. But watch out for clicking during start up (especially if the lights dim), banging or knocking during start or stop, a ping or snap followed by the compressor stopping.

Cold control and defrost timer

A snapping or ticking sound as the refrigerator turns on and off

Plastic liner

Cracking or popping as the temperatures change

Drain pan

Running water during or after the defrost cycle

Water valve

Buzzing, clicking or running water as the icemaker fills or water is dispensed

Icemaker

Cracking of ice and cubes dropping into the bin

Condenser fan

Air being forced over the condenser is normal, but squealing from the motor is abnormal.

Condenser

You should hear a surging or gurgling sound from the flow of refrigerant when the compressor runs, but an improperly placed drain pan could cause rattling.

If the normal sounds bother you, consider a piece of rubber-backed carpet for underneath the fridge. You could even put sound absorbing materials inside the cabinet if the refrigerator sits in an enclosure.

customer service · FAQ · Uncategorized

Cleaning oven glass

Noticed some streaks and stains on the inner oven glass that weren’t there before?

(fig. 1)

Hold up! Step back from your Jump To Conclusions mat — it’s not a bad seal.

Several vents (highlighted in fig. 1) open directly into the inner door to vent the hot air away from the glass. And because of their proximity to the stove top and its mess, people often spray cleaner near the vents that sneaks inside the door and drips down, causing streaks and stains.

What to do?

Our smart and helpful customer service rep Amy cautions you against pulling the door apart yourself.

Officially, if it bothers you enough, pay a service company to clean it — otherwise you’ll void the warranty, she said. Unfortunately, this aesthetic nuisance falls outside of warranty coverage because the customer did it herself.

Anatomy of an oven door

But if your range is older than 10 years — and in some cases, five years — warranty is no longer a concern.

So, unofficially, you can check out this HOW TOs on espares.com and find more on fixya.com — at your own risk.

Don’t get all “Red Green” inspired and duct tape the vents, like one customer informed Amy he’d being doing. That hot air needs to go somewhere.

A better way to prevent stains between the glass is to not spray near the vents. Better yet, spray cleaners directly onto the rag, rather than the range.

Appliance Design · customer service · FAQ · HOW TO

Dishwasher troubleshooting: Dishes not clean

Thanksgiving means two things: lots of food and lots of dirty dishes. And more dirt requires more soap, right?

WRONG.

Despite what you might think, too much soap can actually prevent your dishes from getting clean — especially on the top rack.

You should only use about half the amount of detergent recommended on the package. And if you have a water softener, you need only 1-2 teaspoons of powder — even less if you use liquid.

I think these people may have used too much detergent.

Too much soap can cause over-sudsing. Our customer service representative Maghan explained to me that the dishwasher tries to drain as much of the soap suds and food residue as it can. But when too much soap is used and it produces  so many suds, the dishwasher can’t drain it all in the time allowed.

So instead of draining, the soap bubbles pop inside, redepositing tiny food particles back onto the dishes, which show up most on glassware and silverware.

How do you know if you’re over-sudsing? Run a cycle without any soap. If suds are left at the bottom of the tub, you’re over-sudsing.

To remedy, we suggest a “vinegar cycle”:

  • Empty any dishes and shut soap door, without adding any detergent
  • Run dishwasher until it gets to the wash cycle
  • Open the door and check if the dispenser flap has opened
    • If it hasn’t, run for another minute or so until the flap opens
    • If the flap has opened, add the 1 cup vinegar and run through the full cycle.

You might have to repeat the process two or three times to ensure you’ve eliminated the build up of soap. Maghan also suggests trying a dishwasher cleaner like Glisten or Dishwasher Magic.

And I’ve said it again but I will continue to harp on about using rinse aid. It’s not just for looks, people! Maghan reminds us dishwashers today come designed to use rinse aid to help dry, as they lack a built-in fan.

So remember: gorge on turkey, just go easy on the soap, OK?

Photo credit:

customer service · Kitchen Design

Why it pays to shop independent

specsPardon the cliche, but when it comes to kitchen appliances, the devil’s in the details.

Measurements matter — a lot. Just ask kitchen, bath and residential designer/blogger Paul Anater.

Having exact specifications on appliances is so crucial, he wrote, because an error could cost several thousand dollars. So that’s an error he only makes once, of course.

We take great pride in our our ability to offer a higher level of service than our competitors can often achieve, because we are an independent retailer and we specialize in appliances. It’s all we do.

But Paul said it better than I can:

Appliances are a very specialized product and they need to be sold by highly trained salespeople. No one would ever think to buy a car at Wal-Mart (I hope), but for some ungodly reason, a lot of people have no problem going to a big box for an appliance. Such purchases have an unacceptably high rate of bad endings if you ask me, and so long as I have breath to speak, I will never send someone into a big box for an appliance.

We usually deliver the specs to the “intermediaries,” as Paul dubs those that work between the retailer and the client-homeowner, rather than forcing them to go hunting on their own. And it doesn’ t cost a cent extra.

Shopping independent doesn’t just deliver a higher level of service to the customer, it puts more of your dollar back into the community. Warners’ Stellian is a loud and proud member of MetroIBA, which is an advocacy group for local, independently owned businesses in the Twin Cities area.

According to the website, an average of 68 cents from $1 spent at a local independent, goes back into the local economy versus only about 43 cents of $1 spent at a national chain. And if Twin Cities consumers shifted just 10% of their spending from chains to local businesses for one day, our local economy would gain $2 million. That’s a real stimulus for you.