Right to Dry

Right to Dry – Doing Laundry Au Naturel – Part 2

As was discussed in Part 1 of this series, “Doing Laundry Au Naturel”, there is a movement afoot aggressively promoting the use of clotheslines instead of dryers. The iStock_000014163540XSmall“Right to Dry” campaign does have its hands full in some jurisdictions in Canada because there are city bylaws in place prohibiting the use of clotheslines. While there are no such bylaws against hanging clothes and linens out to dry in the City of Calgary, some developments in the city ban the practice. (However, the only way such a rule could actually be enforced would be for a neighbour to take the clothesline violator to court.) Part 1 looked at energy consumption of dryers and the possible degrading effect dryers might have on garments. Now let’s examine the germ-killing ability of a dryer.

Dryers & Hygiene

Just which is more hygienic, your clothes dryer or hanging your clothes outside in the sun? According to research done by the University of Kentucky, “more bacteria are killed by drying clothes in an automatic clothes dryer than by line drying. Both
methods, however, will reduce the number of bacteria.” (“Cleaning Flood-Soiled Clothing”) Since it is the sun’s ultraviolet light that kills bacteria, using a clothesline to dry your clothes on a sunny day is effective just not to the same degree as the high heat of a dryer.

Fresh Smell & Stress Relief

The pleasant odour and stress relieving properties reportedly associated with drying linens and garments on outside clotheslines are definitely subjective experiences which can’t be measured. If someone derives a positive benefit from his or her clothesline, more power to them. However, common sense would dictate that under certain circumstances it would be far preferable or necessary to dry everything in a dryer. Suppose, for example, that you happen to live beside a large hog operation.

Dryer or Clothesline?

At the end of the day we are all governed by self-interest and necessity. Notwithstanding rules prohibiting the use of clotheslines within certain developments in the Calgary area, generally speaking, we are all free to make up our own minds. If your particular circumstances don’t dictate the method you need to use to dry your laundry, who’s to say a choice need be made? Instead of an either-or approach, weigh the pros and cons and use a combination of dryer and clothesline and get the best of both worlds.

Water Damage and AppliancesGord Haines is a journeyman appliance technician with over 25 years of experience. Contact Gord’s Appliance for repair and servicing of all your residential appliances.

(Alas, Gord’s Appliance does not install clotheslines; you’ll need to find a Martha Stewart or a Handy Manny to help with that. 🙂 )

Doing Laundry Au Naturel

Doing Laundry Au Naturel – Part 1

The Demise of the Dryer

They are militant and they may be waging war in your quiet suburban neighbourhood. Government executives, federal legislators and housing developers are starting to sit up and take notice. Who are these freedom fighters and just what is their cause? They are the champions of the humble clothesline and they are fighting for the “Right to Dry”.

Maybe you are asking yourself why anyone would want to dry their clothing outside if iStock_000004197008XSmallthey have access to a perfectly good dryer. When it comes to convenience, there is no contest. You simply can’t beat the convenience and time savings of a dryer. The most commonly cited reasons for using an outside clothesline as opposed to a dryer include lower energy consumption and reduction of one’s carbon footprint, hygiene, garment longevity, preference, a pleasant odour, as well as stress-relief. In parts 1 & 2 of this series entitled, “Doing Laundry Au Naturel”, we will examine the pros and cons of both a clothesline and a dryer.

How Practical is a Dryer?

Many anti-dryer arguments may be completely valid, but as can often be the case with all-or-nothing thinking, we risk throwing the baby out with the bathwater so to speak. Let’s face it; trekking out to a clothesline through 3 feet of snow in -15º C is not only uncomfortable but impractical, trying to do so in -40º C is downright hazardous to the health (not to mention the utter futility of trying to hang “sheet-cicles” out to dry). While increasing the humidity in your home by hanging laundry in your house during winter is a good idea, some people have space constraints that make this an unreasonable practice as well.

Dryers & Energy Consumption

Climate considerations aside, what about environmental responsibility? Who wouldn’t want to reduce their energy consumption and pay less for their gas or electricity? While not everyone may care about those things, they are very important to many people. Project Laundry List has estimated that in the United States it costs between 30 and 40 cents to dry a load of laundry in an electric dryer and approximately 15 – 40 cents per load in a gas dryer. So, unless you are married to MacGyver, you accept that you will have to pay for the privilege of operating a dryer.

Garment Longevity & Dryers

Is garment longevity really affected by using a dryer instead of hanging your clothing out to dry on a clothesline? A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Southern Regional Research Center in New Orleans concluded that repeatedly drying cotton garments in a dryer at high heat resulted in damage to cotton fibres and caused at least a “25% reduction in fabric strength”. (Science Daily) The mechanical tumbling action of the dryer further compromised the integrity of cotton fabric. While the study did not include cotton blends, the study’s lead author, Young-Sook Lee Buisson, Ph.D, surmised that cottons “blended with polyester would suffer less damage in a dryer” because of the more robust nature of polyester fibres. (Science Daily)

To learn about the germicidal effects of hanging your laundry outside versus using a dryer, stay tuned for part 2 of “Doing Laundry Au Naturel”.

Water Damage and AppliancesGord Haines is a journeyman appliance technician with over 25 years of experience. Contact Gord’s Appliance for repair and servicing of all your residential appliances.

(Alas, Gord’s Appliance does not install clotheslines; you’ll need to find a Martha Stewart or a Handy Manny to help with that.:) )
References:
Science Daily
Project Laundry List

Floods and Household Appliances

Floods and Household Appliances

What to do with household appliances in the event of a flood?

There really is no safe way to rehabilitate a dishwasher, range/stove/oven, fridge, freezer, dishwasher or washer and dryer that has been completely submerged under dirty flood waters. While it is obvious that a house that needs to be replaced will also Flooded Homeneed new appliances, the subject gets less black and white when it comes to minor flooding. There are several factors to take into consideration when you are trying to decide if you can salvage your household appliances or if you must replace them. For example, the length of time the appliance was exposed to water, the extent of the flooding, as well as insurance coverage and provincial or federal relief programs.

Freezer

If your freezer has been submerged, even briefly, to the point that the insulation has gotten wet, the freezer is not salvageable. Wet insulation is ruined insulation. A freezer exposed to a couple of inches of water may be fine, but if there is any doubt it is best to call in a licensed appliance technician.

Refrigerator

Much like a freezer, a fridge can tolerate a bit of flood water, but a compressor exposed to water will need to be replaced. If the insulation has gotten wet the fridge is ruined. If you are not sure whether or not your fridge is salvageable it is best to call a licensed appliance technician to look at it.

Range/Oven/Stove

A range/oven/stove may be salvageable after flooding but any controls that have gotten wet need to be replaced. In gas stoves the pilot orifice and any valves in contact with water will need to be replaced. Again, wet insulation is ruined insulation. Electrical systems (also used in gas ranges) when exposed to water can result in electrical shock or fire. Even if your range/stove/oven is completely dry and appears to be in good working order it is best to have it checked out by a licensed appliance technician.

Washer & Dryer

As is the case with other household appliances, a washer or dryer that has been exposed to flood water can cause electrical shock or fire. If electrical contacts and connections have gotten wet they need to be replaced by a licensed appliance technician.

Dishwasher

A dishwasher that has been exposed to flood water can also cause electrical shock or fire. Electrical components will need to be replaced by a licensed appliance technician.

The Bottom Line

While theoretically it is possible for almost any appliance to be repaired after a minor flood, it is very often an impractical undertaking after any substantial flooding. Replacement is usually the least expensive and safest option. Once appliances have been exposed to water, working parts are more prone to corrosion and the life span of the appliance is greatly reduced.

Please note, when it comes to flooding, it is important to contact your appliance manufacturer and proceed as they advise, particularly if your appliance is under warranty.

Should you find yourself having any concerns about the state of your appliances after a flood, Gord’s Appliance is available to assess and service almost all makes and models of ranges, dishwashers, fridges, stoves, washers and dryers.

Water Damage and Appliances

 

Gord Haines is a journeyman appliance technician with over 25 years of experience. Contact Gord’s Appliance for repair and servicing of all your residential appliances.

Are Your Refrigerator and Freezer Cooking Too

Are your Refrigerator & Freezer Cooking Too?

Mercifully the rainy season has come to an end and summer has arrived in the Calgary area. While all of us are breathing a sigh of relief that warmer weather is finally here, your refrigerator and freezer are not. In fact, summer is “high season” for refrigerator repairs. But with a little bit of extra care, you can keep your refrigerator and freezer from “cooking” this summer.

Helping Your Fridge & Freezer Beat the Heat

> Check for cracks or breaks in the seals around the doors of your fridge and freezer that can be allowing cold air to escape.
> Every time you open your fridge door cold air escapes. Your unit has to work extra hard to cool the air down again. Keep the fridge door closed as much as possible.
> Allow hot foods to cool down before storing them in your fridge or freezer.
> Cover food before storing it in your fridge or freezer. (Apart from causing odour, uncovered food also creates a phenomenon known as “food dust”. This food dust can make its way to the freezer and has the potential to clog the defrost drain.
> Maintain a good distance between the back of your refrigerator and the wall. There Refrigerator and Freezermust be some air circulation around condenser coils so that heat can dissipate. It is also important to vacuum off lint build-up from around the coils. (You can purchase a refrigerator and freezer condenser coil cleaning brush from appliance repair shops to help clean them as well.)
> If your kitchen is configured to allow it, position your refrigerator away from your
range/oven/stove as much as possible.
> If your unit has a water filter, the filter will need to be replaced every 6 to 12 months depending on usage. Old or plugged filters limit water flow and have the potential to cause a build-up in pressure rupturing your water line. (I think you’d agree we have had more than enough flooding in the Calgary area!)
> Remove the base covering and clean it. Vacuum off the compressor area with the crevice tool/brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner. (A compressor is usually the most expensive repair on a refrigerator so be kind to your refrigerator’s compressor.)
> Freezers are most efficient and maintain their temperature best when full but not so full that items are packed together really tightly.

Don’t be caught in a heat wave with your refrigerator or freezer out of commission. If you aren’t able to take care of summer maintenance yourself, Gord’s Appliance is available to provide this service at a reasonable price.

Maybe you have some additional beat-the-heat summer maintenance tips for fridges and freezers. Your input is always welcome here.

Packing and Moving Tips Gords Appliance

 

Gord Haines is a journeyman appliance technician with over 25 years of experience. Contact Gord’s Appliance for repair and servicing of all your residential appliances.

Packing & Moving Part 4 Washer and Dryer

Packing & Moving Part 4 Washer and Dryer

As was discussed in Parts 2 and 3 of this “Packing & Moving” series, even if you are hiring a professional to do your packing and moving, these tips for preparing your household appliances for a move will still be relevant. Again, your particular moving company will inform you of your specific responsibilities regarding your washer and dryer. As always, it is important to consult your owner’s manual/manufacturer as they serve as the ultimate authority. The tips below are meant to serve only as guidelines to help you.

Please note: moving companies do not disconnect or service household appliances, it is the home owner’s responsibility to be sure this is done. However, many moving companies will contract someone for you if you request it, but it is a third-party service that will be charged to your bill of lading (usually with some mark up). You are welcome to contact Gord’s Appliance directly to service your household appliances pre/post move as we do provide this service at a reasonable price.

Washer

Several days before moving, unplug your washing machine and open the door to let it air out. Disconnect your water supply to the washing machine and pull it from the wall. Remove the drain lines from the back with a wrench. Look at each corner of the back panel, there should be a hole for a bolt – sometimes they are labelled “shipping bolts”. The shipping bolts came with your washing machine and were removed from these 4 Washer and Dryerholes when your machine was installed. (Hopefully they will be found in an envelope or baggie kept with your owner’s manual or taped to the back panel of your washer.) If not, you can get replacement bolts from an appliance repair shop. The drum of a washing machine must be secured with the shipping bolts for a move otherwise the drum can become misaligned. A washing machine drum out of alignment won’t work properly and will definitely need to be serviced.

If you have a top-loading machine, tilt it over on an angle so that any standing water can flow out of the drainage opening. Secure a towel around your water supply hose ending with an elastic band. Place the covered end of the hose inside the washing machine. You can also put in some pillows to add stuffing and keep those hoses from banging around. And remember the trick from Parts 3 and 4 of using the dry coffee grounds in the stapled shut paper bag to absorb latent moisture and odour? You can do this with your washer too while it is in transit and storage. Keep your electrical cord, door and knobs taped securely for transport.

Dryer

A couple of days prior to your move, pull your dryer away from the wall if need be in order to unplug the power cord (and access the gas line if applicable). The following procedure applies to both a gas dryer and an electric dryer with one exception. The gas dryer must have the gas to the appliance shut off and the gas line capped off. Once the dryer is disconnected from electricity (and gas when applicable) as well as the vent duct, pull the dryer well away from the wall. I recommend giving your dryer a thorough cleaning because it just makes sense to do it while everything is disconnected so that it will be operating at peak efficiency in your new place. Remove the lint trap and vacuum around inside with the crevice tool of your vacuum cleaner. If you are in the practice of using dryer sheets regularly, wash your lint screen with boiling water and ammonia or a multi-purpose cleaner and be sure that it is completely dry before putting it back. (Dryer sheets leave a build-up of tallow on the lint screen which will impede the flow of air.)

Remove the back panel and vacuum off lint debris with the brush/crevice attachment of your vacuum cleaner and then fasten the panel back into place. If your dryer has knobs rather than a touch panel, you can pull off the knobs and vacuum the cavity from which the posts protrude. Replace the knobs, tape them in place, as well as the door and power cord.

Avoid Unnecessary Service Calls

Again, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The little bit of time required to properly prepare your washer and dryer for a move could forestall the need for a service technician later. Follow the instructions of your moving company/owner’s manual or manufacturer as applicable.

If you have some unique moving tips to share here about preparing your washer and dryer for moving, your input is always welcome.
Packing and Moving Tips Gords Appliance

Gord Haines is a journeyman appliance technician with over 25 years of experience. Contact Gord’s Appliance for repair and servicing of all your residential appliances.