Water Hardness and Your Home Appliance

Differing Water Hardness and Its Impact on Home Appliances – Section 2

The type of water that you have in your home can have an impact on those big ticket items that you rely on to make your household run smoothly. Once you understand the type of water you have in your home, you can take steps to make sure everything is at its most tip-top shape.

Hard Water. How many phrases with the word “hard” in them that create a positive image in your mind? Hard-headed is used as a negative connotation; if you think of a hard-headed person, you probably think of someone that’s stubborn and difficult to deal with. When we talk about hard water, we’re talking about the same idea.

Hard water tends to offer negative effects to the people and appliances for which it’s hard water - ice cubesresponsible. If you’ve noticed that your soap doesn’t work very well or you feel like your shampoo doesn’t ever feel like it’s rinsed out, you may have hard water. Hard water contains high concentrations of minerals and sulfates which build up very easily and wash away with much difficulty. Your appliances’ pipes and internal workings are likely suffering the same build-up as are your hair and skin. Basically, the mineral and sulfate build-up can make your machines need to work harder, particularly if the pipes and lines are starting to clog from the excess of materials found in the water.Your appliances may also begin to suffer the effects of corrosion from the presence of these minerals.

Soft Water. Keep in mind that Goldilocks never once tried out the water when she was talking about things being too hard, too soft, or just right. If she had, she probably would have stopped when she tried the soft water. You see, soft water is much kinder to its appliance friends than its hard water counterpart. Soft water contains significantly fewer elements than hard water (if any at all), and it’s much less likely to cause corrosive problems to your dishwasher, washing machine, and other household appliances. Although soft water can be naturally occurring, it may not be readily available to you. As such, there’s no shortage of options to help you soften your water to increase the life and longevity of your home’s machines.

Distilled Water. When you think of your household appliances that need water, you probably immediately think of your dishwasher and washing machine, right? What about all of those appliances that you use daily, like your coffee maker, iron, or espresso maker? Although smaller, these appliances are often used much more frequently than your big appliances, and as such, can suffer the effects of water contaminants much more quickly. Have you ever noticed that your iron is rusting? That rust then transfers from your iron to your clothes, and now the domino effect is in full force. Distilled water is, in effect, a water that’s gone through a boiling process to remove as many non-water substances as possible, thus producing the purest possible liquid, which is perfect for your small appliances.

Analyzing the type of water you have in your home isn’t nearly as daunting of a task as you may think. Environment Canada and The Environmental Protection Agency in the USA has gone to great lengths to help take the mystery out of water. You can find laboratories and offices by their websites. There are also tons of online companies that offer water testing services, but, like always, you’ll want to be sure that you’ve done as much research on those companies as you’re doing on your water to be sure that you purchase a high-quality and legitimate company’s services.

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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.

Refrigerator Ice and Water Dispensers – Part 1

Refrigerator Ice and Water Dispensers – Part 1

Advantages of In-Door Ice & Water Dispensers

In the midst of our hectic schedules and fast-paced lifestyles, conveniences wind up becoming an indispensable part of our lives.  In-door water and ice dispensers on refrigerators have become very popular in recent years.  Not only are they convenient, these models also have other really compelling advantages.

Convenience, Filtration, Environment, Hydration & The Palate

Most of these in-the-door ice and water fridges send water through a filter which is helpfulrefrigerator ice and water at trapping toxins.  Not only is the ice and water tastier, it is healthier. The environmental benefits are great too.  A household could essentially eliminate the need for a separate water cooler and plastic bottles.  Some in-the-door models even dispense hot water or sparkling water.  Manufacturers have responded to consumer demand and have made the dispensing area large enough to accommodate a jug.  They have also added locking features to guard against victimization by toddler.  Health, hydration and convenience at your fingertips; the advantages of in-the-door ice and water dispensers are obvious and compelling.   But are there any disadvantages?

Disadvantages of In-Door Ice & Water Dispensers

The Costs, The Capacity, The Filter

While refrigerators with in-the-door ice and water dispensers have increased in popularity, they are still more costly.  If you have priced one out, you know that they are more expensive to purchase.  They are also more expensive to repair should they breakdown.  (They may tend to do so a bit more, just because there are more parts to break.)  There is also the filtration feature we discussed above.  In order to enjoy the benefits of that filter, it must be changed regularly.  Failure to do so can result in mold and bacteria buildup.  If the filter isn’t replaced with a fresh one it can’t do its job.  You don’t get the health benefits, and the taste of your ice and water will be tainted.  Food storage capacity will be reduced in order to house the mechanics needed for the dispenser.

Without delving into specific models, we’ve tried to bring awareness about in-door ice and water dispensers on refrigerators. The decision to purchase a fridge with an in-door ice and water dispenser is very individual.  Some people can’t imagine a kitchen without this convenience.  For other people, the added cost may factor in heavily.  If you live in an area with “questionable” water, having the filtration feature may be non-negotiable.  If you live in an area with very hard water, you may have additional repairs.  If you are purchasing appliances for rental properties, you may only be interested in the bottom line.

Check out Part 2 of Refrigerator Ice and Water Dispensers, if you are interested in more tips.  We will look at possible reasons for poor tasting ice or water and what you can do about it.

Have you experienced the pros and cons first hand?  Are you for the in-the-door ice and water dispenser on a refrigerator?  Why or why not?  We invite your comments.

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

Second Hand Appliances?

Second Hand Appliances.  Curse or Blessing?

Scattered across this great nation of ours are myriads of small community centres, bingo halls, churches and small social clubs. While we may think that community halls or other centres are outfitted with commercial kitchens, this is not always the case. Even within a city the size of Calgary, many small churches and community halls cannot justify having a commercial kitchen, yet they still have a fairly busy social calendar. And many of them have kitchens with hand-me-down kitchen appliances. Second hand refrigerators, ranges, ovens, freezers and dishwashers can be an excellent choice for some of these small halls, but several factors need to be observed.

No community hall wants someone else’s problem. If you are involved in the maintenance second hand appliancesor running of a small community hall or church building, be sure you know and trust the source of that used dishwasher, refrigerator or stove being donated. However sad it may be to contemplate, many an organization has been saddled with a used refrigerator, oven, or dishwasher that didn’t work or only partly worked because someone thought it would be “good enough” for the hall. Pawning off such a “treasure” in lieu of paying to have an old kitchen appliance disposed of properly may seem like a low blow, but it does happen.

On the positive side, there are some authentic treasures to be found in small community halls or social clubs. Many of the older models of kitchen appliances may be simple and plain, but what a benefit they can be if they are an appliance of quality. While it is true that an older refrigerator or freezer may not have an ENERGY guide sticker, the fridge or freezer in question may be very well constructed, with good insulation. In the cool basement of a church for example, the compressor may not have to run as frequently as a newer model refrigerator or freezer. By the same token, one can’t expect the bells and whistles associated with a newer model. For example, ice and water dispensers didn’t used to be nearly as common on refrigerators. However, if this feature isn’t a necessity in a small community hall or church, then a good older model refrigerator may be very adequate – especially if it has been a free gift to the building.

What about ranges, ovens, stoves? Again, some of the older models may be simple and plain (or an unsightly colour), but they could be of a very good quality and still quite serviceable. Think practically and bear in mind how often the oven is going to be used. A potluck every 3 months puts a very different strain on an oven than daily usage. Many older ovens still function very well and were constructed with high quality parts and excellent insulation, but are without self-cleaning features. Is this going to be a necessity for your hall or church? Are there enough volunteers to keep that good ol’ oven clean when the need arises? If there aren’t, then it would be better to forego the free, hand-me-down range and set money aside in the budget to invest in something else with a self-cleaning function.

Dishwashers can be notorious. Hard water can cause various parts to clog, rendering the dishwasher ineffective. If your organization decides to take on a second hand dishwasher be very sure you can ascertain the appliance’s history. How long has it been sitting? How long was it used? Where? Get the whole story and make an informed decision. There is no point in paying to install a dishwasher that is not going to get dishes clean and then have to pay to dispose of the appliance anyway.

Even the highest quality hand-me-down kitchen appliance has a limited lifespan. Nothing lasts forever, parts become obsolete, but there are circumstances when the right used appliance can fit the need very well. Maybe someone’s home renovation could result in the perfect refrigerator or stove for the community hall and the donation would be very beneficial. Isn’t it better to give a good quality refrigerator, freezer or range a new home and help the social club or community hall rather than sending a quality appliance to landfill before its time?

Maybe you have a win-win story about a hand-me-down kitchen appliance which has benefited a small hall, social club or church?

Gords ApplianceGord 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

The Alternative Lifestyles of Small Appliances Part 2

In part one of our other uses for small appliances blog we looked at alternative uses for common household small appliances. We went over ways to get creative with the coffee maker, the waffle iron, and the toaster oven. In today’s blog Gord’s Appliance would like to visit a few more small appliances and explore alternative uses for them. We would like to acknowledge that we do not repair small appliances and if you try these “creative ideas”, warranties may be voided.

The blender:

While we all know you can make delicious smoothies and milkshakes in the blender, here is a list of some of the lesser known things you can make in the blender:

Salsa:

Fresh salsa is the best salsa. If you’re looking for a fast way to make salsa, you can throw all your ingredients in the blender. This method will create a smooth, less chunky salsa, but will keep all the flavour there.  Here’s a good recipe for a large batch of salsa:

8 tomatoes

3 red peppers

3 green peppers

1 large purple onion

1 can of tomato juice

Hot sauce, salt and pepper, and cilantro to taste. Blend.

Ice Cream:

In today’s stores ice cream makers can be very expensive and sometimes they take a long time to work. When you need a quick fix, you can blend a frozen banana with some chocolate and milk to have a smooth and creamy ice cream treat. I haven’t tried this with other fruit but if you have let me know your results in the comments below!

 

Electric Kettle:

The electric kettle has making tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and instant noodles a breeze. Let’s look at what else can you make with it?

Hard boiled eggs:

Though hard boiling an egg in a pot isn’t necessarily difficult, it is easy to forget about it and hard to know when to take out the eggs. The handy thing about some electric kettles is that once they come to a boil, they will shut themselves off.  Simply place the desired 6236914_mamount of eggs in the bottom of the kettle (use extra caution as it will be a pain to clean out broken eggs) and cover eggs with water. Once the kettle is boiled and turns itself off, leave the eggs for 20 minutes before eating and then place in cold water. The amount of time needed for the eggs to sit could change depending on the kettle.

Vegetables:

In a jam for cooked vegetables? They can be chopped into small pieces and added to the kettle. Pour water over top and turn the kettle on. Once the kettle shuts off, leave the veggies in the water for an extra 5-10 minutes. Add these vegetables to any meal or leave as a side dish.

Rice Cooker:

While the rice cooker has improved our rice cooking experiences, this small appliance has many other great uses- here are just a few of them:

Mac and Cheese:

If you’re opposed to the store bought kind, homemade mac and cheese can end up being a lengthy process for those parents on the rush to make something delicious and nutritious for the family. With the rice cooker you can add all your favorite ingredients and have healthy, homemade mac and cheese.

Bread and Cakes:

As the rice cooker is just an enclosed device used to heat up food, many things that can be cooked in the oven can also be cooked in a rice cooker. This includes bread and cake.  The internet is full of recipes that can be used for this. Find cheesy jalapeno bread here and apple upside down cake here.

Finally, I want to reiterate that Gord’s Appliance does not repair small appliances. If you try using any appliance for a purpose outside of your manufacturer’s guidelines, warranties may be voided, as well as your homeowner’s insurance in the event of a fire.  The need for caution cannot be overstated.

What creative alternative uses for a small appliance have you tried? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Gords ApplianceGord 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.

 

 

 

The Alternative Lifestyle of a Small Appliance

These days DIY projects are taking over the internet. Everywhere there seems to be new and interesting DIY ideas and these often include different ways to use everyday objects. Examples of this are turning a t-shirt into a dress or using a brown paper bag to make popcorn. Today I thought I would join into this trend by showing different ways small appliances can be used. I want to acknowledge that I do not repair small appliances and if you try these “creative ideas”, warranties may be voided.

The Coffee Maker:

While some of us may have changed over to a one-cup style coffee maker, the original multi-cup kind can be used to serve many other uses apart from making coffee due to its speedy delivery of heated water. Here are just a few of the ways a coffee maker can be used:

With small frying pans an egg can easily be fried on the coffee pot burner. Many small frying pans come in shapes like hearts or maple leafs making an especially festive breakfast.  The burner can also be used to make grilled cheese sandwiches just like using the stove.

With water in the coffee pot you can re-heat veggies such as broccoli, asparagus, and 4689915_mcarrots. While I am not positive if this is quicker than the stove, this can be especially handy on holidays when there is so much to cook! Be sure when you are done to turn everything off.

A one-cup coffee maker can also be a wonderful way to make your favourite cup of noodles. If you’re in the need for a quick fix for some ramen noodles, this is a handy way to get them ready very quickly.

Waffle Iron:

You can cook your bacon nice and crispy by cutting four pieces in half and laying them length wise on the waffle iron.  For this use, be sure to wait for the iron to cool down to drain the bacon and wash well to avoid having bacon-y waffles next time.  (Please note, never pour grease down the kitchen drain or garbage disposal.  Pour it into used can or container, wait for it to congeal, and discard in the household garbage.)

Quesadillas almost seem like they were made for waffle irons. The tortillas fit onto the iron perfectly. Place one tortilla onto the iron followed by cheese and any of the toppings you like with another tortilla on top.

You can heat store-bought cinnamon rolls in the waffle iron and have waffle-pressed, delicious cinnamon buns for breakfast or coffee break. The same can be done with cookie dough.

Make your own personalized pizzas with the waffle iron by first making your own dough, then pressing it, adding pizza sauce, cheese, and all your favourite pizza toppings.

Toaster Oven:

Fruit can be dehydrated in the oven slowly and carefully and with a watchful eye. While a larger batch of fruit can also be dehydrated in the range, the toaster oven can be handy for smaller amounts.

Another way to cook bacon is in the toaster oven. Considered to be clean and tidy way to bake it, bacon on top of aluminum foil in the toaster oven is a great way to cook bacon with easy clean up. Be sure to fold up the sides of the aluminum foil to make a lip and avoid the bacon grease from escaping into the oven.  Grease is highly flammable and should not come into direct contact with the element or flame of your range.

 

Those are just a few of the alternative uses for a coffee maker, waffle iron, and toaster oven. Do you have an alternate use for a small appliance? Let me know in the comments below!

Finally, I want to reiterate that I do not repair small appliances and if you try using any appliance for a purpose outside of your manufacturer’s guidelines, warranties may be voided, as well as your homeowner’s insurance in the event of a fire.  The need for caution cannot be overstated.

 

Gords ApplianceGord 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.