Do-It-Yourself Appliance Repair Is Sometimes Feasible

If all of the do-it-yourself videos and articles on the Internet are any indication, there are a lot of people who attempt to fix their own home appliances before calling a qualified repair service. In some cases, such as minor garbage disposal jams, the repair may be relatively simple. However, if a part needs to be replaced or an obstruction is wedged tightly between moving parts, then a call to an appliance repair professional will eventually be necessary.

Calling a reasonably priced appliance repair technician is usually advisable because the risks of adopting a DIY approach may outweigh the potential advantages. In addition to the safety considerations of attempting your own oven repair or garbage disposal repair, there’s always the possibility of exacerbating the problem instead of fixing it. The advantage of calling a qualified appliance repair technician at the first sign of trouble is that they can usually save you the additional money of having to buy a completely new appliance. However, if you attempt dishwasher repair or dryer repair on your own, there’s the ever-present risk of creating new mechanical or electrical problems that weren’t there to begin with, problems so major that you’ll have no choice but to buy a new appliance kenmore appliance repair los angeles.

Before even considering trying an appliance repair project on your own, the first question to ask yourself is whether you have any experience in disassembling a home appliance and troubleshooting a malfunction. A second question that needs to be answered in the affirmative is whether you own the correct tools for specialized jobs such as refrigerator repair or washer and dryer repair. If you have to go out and buy special tools, watch Internet videos about dishwasher repair, run back and forth to the hardware or plumbing supply store, and then struggle to figure out how to replace the broken part-sometimes it’s just not worth it. Most homeowners, when it comes right down to it, don’t have the time or energy to attempt their own appliance repair. Weekends go pretty fast, and there are very few people who want to waste a Saturday afternoon trying to learn all about dishwasher repairs. If you’re not mechanically inclined, home appliance repairs are usually better left to the professionals.

Refrigerator repair may be close to the top of the list of projects to avoid because of the risk of food spoilage. Once a refrigerator stops working, the issues of spoiled food and food safety become growing concerns. To prevent frozen food from melting and perishable food from going bad, it’s often essential to have that refrigerator repair done correctly and within a few hours. The only way to ensure that it’s done properly and fast is to call a professional technician. The amount of money you thought you could save by repairing your own refrigerator could easily be lost if you have to replace a week’s worth of spoiled groceries, so your perceived savings is just a fond memory.

Could Your Appliances Catch Fire?

Could your home appliances catch on fire? Do you know if any of your appliances are under a recall notice?

Most of us answer, “I don’t have a clue about whether any of my appliances have a recall on them. How would I find out, anyway?”

In past columns I’ve talked about fire safety related mostly to clothes dryers Maytag Appliance Repair Los Angeles. This is the first appliance most people think about, since safety instructions, home inspectors, contractors, and service people remind us constantly that excess lint in our dryer line can catch fire. What you might not know is that clothes dryers are actually in second place – and a distant second place – when it comes to the numbers of fires caused in the home and the number under recall by manufacturers.

Clothes dryers caused about 13,800 fires in homes over the last 10 years with over 8,000 recalls on units, but RANGES caused over 44,000 fires and had nearly 17,000 recalls! Many other appliances, from toaster ovens to dishwashers to microwave ovens catch fire as well, and are under a variety of recall notices from manufacturers. According to Consumer Reports, more than 15 million appliances have been recalled in the past five years for defects that could cause a fire in your home.

Here’s what you can do to check out your current appliances and protect yourself when you buy new ones.

Go to www.recalls.gov and www.saferproducts.gov to see if any of your appliances are listed in the databases. If they are, you will see manufacturer information which you can use to decide what to do.

Did you get a home inspection before you bought your current home? Your home inspector may have checked the appliances against the recall lists. If so, it would be listed in the report you received.

When you purchase new appliances, register ownership by filling out the card that came with it. Are you one of those people who throw all this stuff away in the trash after you unpack the appliance? Think again next time – if this appliance that you just plugged in is under a recall due to a defect that could cause your home to catch fire – wouldn’t you want to know about it? You don’t have to fill out those little postcards either – you can go to the manufacturer’s web site to register, or call them. When we buy a new car, we expect to be notified quickly if there is a potential problem with our vehicle – consider doing the same thing with your appliances.

Consider keeping a fire extinguisher handy in your kitchen, in your laundry room, and in your garage. Sure, you might not be home when the fire starts, but why not have this extra insurance? The second part of this strategy is making sure your smoke alarms are all working and that you have them in the right places. No smoke alarms? Two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in homes without them. Smoke alarms are inexpensive insurance for you and your loved ones.

Home appliances are getting more complex as electronic ignitions are added to gas appliances, touch pads are replacing push buttons, and “intelligent” circuit boards are built into refrigerators, ranges, and dishwashers. More complexity means more opportunity for error. Checking for recalls and registering your appliances will go a long way in keeping you and your family safe.

Save the Environment With Your Appliances

Many of us are looking for ways to “go green” or to help the environment with the things we do or the things we use within our home. Did you know that your appliances have a large impact on the amount of electricity you use within your home? When you purchase energy efficient appliances, not only are you saving yourself costs on the expenses of your energy bill, but you are also doing your part to help the environment for everyone.

When choosing appliances based on energy efficiency Whirlpool Appliance Repair Los Angeles, one way to do this is to look at the Energy star rating that the appliance has received. The higher the star, the more energy efficient the appliance will be. However, you do not only want to focus on the energy efficiency of your large white goods. There are also ways to help save the environment with smaller appliance such as toasters, coffee pots and more. You probably never knew there were so many ways to go green right in your own kitchen.

First, you should choose carefully when buying your appliance. Try to purchase an appliance that is constructed well and will last longer. You will probably want to stick with well known brands that have proven themselves well over time.

Next, you should always perform the proper maintenance on your appliance. Be sure you clean it regularly and keep any vents or other areas free of dirt and dust. Do not put anything in your appliance or use it in an unintended manner. This will prevent damage that can reduce the efficiency of your appliance.

Lisa Mason is a freelance writer with a specialty in Internet content and SEO articles. She has written thousands of articles, hundreds of ebooks and thousands of website pages and related content. She has also authored her own books and works as a consultant to other writers, Internet marketers and Internet businesses.

Chemistry of Refrigeration

The environmental pressures of global warming have put increased emphasis on the need for alternative types of chemical refrigerants. The trend began in 1996, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Air Act banned the manufacture of the most common refrigerants, because they contributed to the depletion of the ozone layer in our upper atmosphere that protects earth from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. These refrigerants were known by the trademark name of their manufacturer, DuPont, as Freon 12 and Freon 22, although we will refer to them here by their generic names, CFC-12 and HCFC-22. CFC-12 is a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), a chemical combination of carbon, chlorine, and fluorine.

Chlorine is the culprit that zaps ozone. Under the EPA guidelines, CFC-12 was supposed to be phased completely out of use by the year 2000. In its place, related chemical compounds include hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). However, HCFCs (HCFC-22) are also slated for extinction by the EPA somewhere between 2015 and 2030. HFCs, without chlorine, have skirted the ban so far; in fact, the most widely used alternative refrigerant is now HFC-134a. All refrigerants are hazardous when exposed to an open flame. Some of them contain butane or propane mixes blended into their formulas. If large quantities of refrigerant are released in a confined area, suffocation is a danger because refrigerant actually displaces oxygen Refrigerator Repair Los Angeles.

Breathing refrigerant can cause nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, and even death. Thus, any type of refrigerant gas should be handled by a professionally trained technician. Environmental risks and health warnings aside, the cooling power of the modern refrigerator comes from the repeated compression and expansion of a gas. As the gas expands, it cools and is cycled around an insulated compartment, chilling the contents inside. Ammonia, new chemical blends, and even space-age technology using sound waves to cool foods are other options that have been introduced recently with some success. In 2004 the ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s installed the first thermoacoustic freezer in a retail location, developed by Penn State University researchers.

Thermoacoustics is the premise that, as sound travels through air, it alters the temperature of the air. A loudspeaker is used to create 170 to 195 decibels of sound (and yes, that’s very loud) in a tube that contains inert, compressed gases (helium or argon), which are environmentally safer than CFCs. The sound causes the gas molecules to vibrate, expand, and contract. When they contract, they heat up; when they expand, they cool down. In refrigeration, the goal is to exhaust the heat generated as the soundwave is compressed and capture the chill as the soundwave expands. The loud screech emitted within the unit is muffled so it is heard as a quiet hum from the outside. Thermoacoustics cools using a type of sealed motor developed in the 1800s by Robert Stirling of Scotland.

You may hear the term “Stirling cycle technology” associated with CFCfree coolant ideas. A Stirling motor can be solar-powered, which is one of its potential “green” advantages. Another promising cooling technology is electromagnetism. A “magnetic” refrigerator can cool by repeatedly switching a magnetic field on and off. The current prototype is made with gadolinium, a metal used in the recording heads of video recorders. Gadolinium and magnets are not cheap, but the technology shows great potential for two reasons: Electromagnetism is environmentally safe (no CFCs), and does not require a compressor (no mechanical humming noise as the refrigerator cycles on and off).

At this writing, Astronautics Corporation of America in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is at the forefront of this field. Expect more technological breakthroughs as global warming headlines become more ominous. A group called Refrigerants, Naturally! formed early in this century by McDonald’s, and Unilever to develop and test HFC-free refrigeration technologies, making commitments to eliminate HFCs in their point-of-sale cooling applications. In 2007 Carlsberg, IKEA, and PepsiCo joined the group. How does the foodservice operator cope with the changes and the prospect of expensive new replacements for old workhorse refrigerators? Well, if your equipment is in good repair, you probably should do nothing as long as it lasts except keep it properly maintained.

This especially means cleaning the unit’s condensing coil once a month to prevent grease and dirt collection that block air circulation. If your refrigerator needs repair, you have two choices: Voluntarily retrofit it to use an alternative refrigerant, or purchase a new unit that is already equipped to use the newer refrigerants. Retrofitting almost always requires more than one service call and includes these steps: Recovering the outdated refrigerant, changing the coil in the compressor, replacing the filter or dryer, if necessary, recharging with the new refrigerant, checking performance for the first few weeks.

The EPA now has a sophisticated set of rules for refrigerator repair. The EPA certifies repair technicians and their equipment, and requires that they recycle or safely dispose of refrigerant by sending it to a licensed reclaimer. The rules also state that “substantial leaks…in equipment with a charge greater than 50 pounds” be repaired. This means if the unit leaks 35 percent or more of its pressure per year, it needs fixing. As the owner of commercial refrigeration equipment, you are also required to keep records of the quantity of refrigerant added during any servicing or maintenance procedure.

The EPA Web site contains summaries of the rules as well as lists of acceptable alternative refrigerants that don’t contain the ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons. They’re identified with abbreviations and numbers, such as MP-39, HP-80, R-406a, and GHG-X4, which probably don’t mean much to you as a foodservice employee. However, the important points to remember are: use an EPA-certified technician, with certified equipment, to do your refrigeration repair work. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is now authorized to test and approve alternative refrigerants, so look for the UL label on products. Keep your maintenance records updated. Violations of the Clean Air Act can result in fines of up to $25,000 per day.

If you have more than one piece of older equipment, plan a gradual phase-out or retrofit program. Don’t break your budget by trying to do it all at once. This information should also serve as a caution when you are looking at purchasing used equipment. Is the owner getting rid of it because it no longer meets the environmental rules? With that, we’ve discussed the first major process going on inside the refrigerator: temperature reduction.