Laundry Appliance Trends

Laundry Appliance Trends

Home design trends are constantly changing. The massive shift in the color of appliances over the decades is the most glaring example. If you’re planning on replacing your washer and dryer anytime soon, you should know about these three emerging laundry appliance trends.

Style Without Boundaries

laundry appliance

light blue laundry room with modern steel appliances and white cabinets

A quick glance at older appliances reveals the evolution of trends over the years. Today’s appliances combine top performance with sleek designs, which means you don’t have to sacrifice either.

laundry appliance

laundry room with modern appliances and light tone cabinets

New features in your laundry appliance include greater capacity, reduced cycle time and time- and water-saving features. Some washers feature built-in soaking tubs or hotter water temperatures for added stain-removing power. If you prefer high-tech features, there are appliances that can connect to your smartphone. If you’re constantly busy, a moisture-sensing dryer can save you time spent checking on wet clothes and running multiple dryer cycles.

Laundry Appliance – Change of Location

It used to be that laundry was only done in the laundry room, but this is no longer the case. Newer washers and dryers can be conveniently tucked into other rooms, giving you easy access where you need it most. Gone are the days of stopping what you’re doing to trek to an inconvenient location and check on your laundry.

If space is a concern, laundry appliances can be purchased in stacking combinations or other space-saving designs or built into cabinets to remain out of sight.

Water and Energy Conservation

Two of the biggest environmental concerns today are the use of water and energy. To accommodate these concerns, washers and dryers have been built to conserve these resources as much as possible. More efficient machines use about half the water to wash the same or a larger amount of clothes.

Perhaps the best part about switching to appliances that more efficiently use energy and water is that it also saves you money on your utility bills, especially if you have a large family. According to ENERGY STAR, switching to a more efficient washer can save as much as 10 gallons of water per wash cycle and $40 on your electric bill yearly, and that’s without the savings of an energy-efficient dryer.

If you’re ready for new laundry appliances, consider looking into some of the newer washer and dryer trends. While some features may be of little or no use to you, it’s best to stay on top of emerging trends in both style and performance.

Gords Appliance

 

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

Four Reasons We Will All Own a Smart Refrigerator One Day

Smart Refrigerators

Did you know that the first Internet-connected “smart” refrigerator was plugged in more than 17 years ago, in 1998? It still runs today and serves a single purpose: to record when it is opened and closed. As of lunchtime this afternoon, this smart refrigerator has been opened more than 73,000 times and counting.

As technology has progressed, the variety of ways that owning a smart refrigerator can improve our lives has grown exponentially. One day, every home will have a refrigerator that is plugged into the Internet. When we look into the near future, we see a variety of reasons that owning a smart refrigerator will become a way of life:

Energy savings.

Refrigerators are the second largest energy consumers in a home (right after the air Smart Refrigeratorconditioner). Smart refrigerators will be able to develop algorithms based on owners’ habits and adjust the internal temperature during low-peak times to conserve energy, which helps save a lot of money.

Reduced waste.

How often do you buy produce, forget about it, and throw it away a week later after it has gone bad? By keeping track of the items that it is holding, a smart refrigerator will be able to suggest recipes that efficiently use all of your ingredients, so nothing goes bad. Also, it reduces the time you stand with the door open while searching for something to eat, which lowers your energy usage.

Increased convenience.

Imagine never returning from the grocery store to realize you’ve forgotten one essential ingredient again. Your smart refrigerator will be able to keep track of your regular food stock, create a shopping list as things get low, and send it straight to your smartphone while you’re at the supermarket.

Better health management.

Owning a smart refrigerator will make being on a specific diet more convenient than ever. Whether you are counting calories, avoiding carbs or tracking specific ingredients due to food allergies, your smart refrigerator will be able to manage the ingredients in your food and track what you’re eating, so that maintaining a healthy diet will never be a hassle again.

The refrigerator described above might sound like it belongs in a Sci-Fi movie, but the technology already exists for all of these functions. One day in the near future, this refrigerator will be in many of our homes, making our lives easier.

Gords Appliance

 

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

Smart Appliances For Your Home

Smart Appliances & Home Technology

In recent years, technology has had a major trend in its innovation — making things “smart.” Smart appliances are different than regular appliances because they have the ability to connect to your smartphone, giving you the control and awareness of the appliances in your home no matter where you are. Though, sometimes these appliances break which is why it’s so important to involve a professional when repairing these appliances. Continue reading to find out more about smart appliances and why it’s better to involve a professional with repairs. The Good and the Bad of Smart Appliances

If you’re replacing an appliance in your home, you may be considering switching to a smart appliancessmart appliance. As with anything, there are pros and cons to purchasing smart appliances for your home. Whether or not it’s a good choice for you will depend on your circumstances.

Pros: Say goodbye to accidentally leaving your oven on or attempting to diagnose a problem with an appliance by yourself! Smart appliances will provide you with a myriad of features using your smartphone, including diagnostics, turning the appliance on and off, or even monitoring the temperature of your oven or refrigerator. If being able to monitor and control your appliances from your smartphone is a feature you’re willing to pay for, a smart appliance is just what you’re looking for.

Cons: Smart appliances are, however, more expensive, so if you’re shopping on a budget and need to replace your appliance immediately (as is often the case), smart appliances probably aren’t going to fit your needs. It’s important to consider how much the additional features are going to benefit you and if those benefits outweigh the benefit of saving money on your next appliance purchase.Long-Desired Trend in Technology

One thing, however, is clear: smartphone connection to appliances is one trend in technology that’s been long-desired and it isn’t disappearing anytime soon! Not only is it more efficient, but it will also save you money in the long run. With smartphones improving and so many companies working to advance “smart” technology, there’s no telling what kinds of advancements the world of smart appliances will see over the next decade.

As this “smart” technology advances, so do the needs of technology repairs which is why repairs should never be attempted by yourself! Contact us to get your appliances repaired today!

Gords Appliance

 

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

Hard Water and Its Impact on Home Appliances – 3

HARD WATER

Once you’ve learned a little bit about the different types of water that can be coming into your home, you may still be surprised to learn that these various water types can have dramatically different effects on your appliances.  While some of the effects may seem scary at first, don’t worry!  We’re here to help you understand the impacts of the different water and help you find solutions to minimize any negative outcomes.

  • Hard WaterSince hard water is made up of many minerals and elements that like to build up, the calcium, magnesium, and other minerals that are contained in this type of water can easily cause your home appliances difficulty or even long-term damage.  Basically, these elements become such good friends with each other in your pipes and inside the appliances themselves that they just don’t want to separate from each other.  The longer that these minerals hang out inside your appliances untreated, the bigger their family reunion gets.  And the bigger the family reunion gets, the more havoc is sure to be wreaked on your expensive home devices.

Because the elements found in hard water are part of a very tightly-knit family, each time you use your dishwasher, washing machine, refrigerator, or anything else that utilizes hard waterwater to function, a new layer of the minerals is deposited on top of the prior layer(s).  Eventually, these layers become so pronounced that your appliances can start suffering debilitating illnesses.  If the build-up is in the pipes, corrosion becomes a likely result, if left unnoticed for an extended period of time.

If you have hard water, you’re not alone.  The Water Quality Association estimates that around 85% of the United States has hard water.  What does this mean for you?  Well, fortunately, it means that many others have come before you, so options have been created in the industry, depending on your needs, budget, and other factors.  There are a few main types of water softeners: ion-exchange, salt-free, reverse osmosis.

Ion-exchange softeners are the most common household units.  The ion-exchange units use varying types of salt (sodium, potassium, or hydrogen).  In short, the negative ions that are contained in the hard water such as those contained in magnesium and calcium undergo a process whereby they’re drawn out of the water in exchange for the sodium, potassium, or hydrogen ions that are found within the salt that is used in the softening unit.  In addition to the different types of ion-exchange softeners, there are different types of regeneration that these softeners can use.  Again, depending on your specific situation and home use, you have the option of metered regeneration, regeneration using a timer, or manual regeneration.  Sound overwhelming?  Don’t worry!  Understanding this stuff is what the professionals are there for!

Salt-free technologies are still relatively young in the industry.  Although one form of salt-free technology, the magnetic softener, has been around for quite a while, it seems that experts are still on either side of the fence regarding whether or not this type of unit actually produces tangible results.  One things that does seem to be agreed upon is that magnetic softeners aren’t actually softening anything (as in, they’re not really removing the ions and minerals that cause hard water to be hard).  Rather, the process involves a rearrangement of the molecules that exist in the hard water to prevent the scaling that would otherwise occur as a result of the calcium and magnesium.  The magnetic units may also use anti-scaling chemicals during the process, depending on the design, so that’s something to keep in mind when you’re shopping around.  Another salt-free form is the catalytic water softener.  This one is still definitely new and in the development and testing phases, but it seems that one element cannot be present in the hard water in order for any positive affects to be seen: iron.  It is likely that if any iron is present in the water being used with a catalytic device, no positive outcome can be achieved with the process.

The process of reverse osmosis involves the installation of a water purification and filtration system within your home.  Although it seems very complicated at first thought, the entire system is pretty easy to understand with a few visual aids.  The long and short of this process takes incoming tap water through the filtration system and removes the impurities and unwanted elements from the liquid.  The water then finds its way through a filtering membrane, then goes on to your facets and home appliances.  The reverse osmosis systems tend to rank very high in terms of the purity of the final product, and they’re said to be very easy on a person’s monthly energy bill.

  • Soft Water.  If the process of softening your water sounds like a pricey investment, consider the cost of replacing your expensive appliances every few years.  If you’re regularly using hard water with all of your daily use, you’re likely putting your big ticket items at a big ticket risk.  Soft water actually contains minerals that can be useful in your soil, on your lawn, and in your garden.  That said, you may benefit (both monetarily and otherwise), but hooking your water softener up only to the hot water in your home.  In doing so, you will have less worry over the harmful mineral buildup in your dishwasher, washing machine, and other appliances, but you’ll still have cold water available for garden uses, washing the car, and other tasks that don’t completely necessitate hot water.
  • Other Water. You may be surprised to learn that there are tons of other types of water out there.  As we discussed earlier, if you’re looking for a way to keep those little guys in your home working properly and avoid the risks that come with impurities in water, you may want to consider distilled water for your iron, coffee maker, and other small household appliances.  While not likely found as the type of water naturally running through your household plumbing lines, there are other options available to keep your appliances, particularly the smaller ones, running in tip-top shape.  Natural mineral water and spring water are generally much purer than regular tap water (be it hard or soft) and are available for purchase.  If you need to make sure that you don’t get those nasty rust rings on your nice work clothes when you’re doing the ironing, it’s a good idea to consider one of these types of water that’s available for purchase to maintain as much of the life of these small appliances as possible.

Although the different types of water and their effects on your appliances can seem completely overwhelming, the important thing for you, as a consumer, to know is just the general overview. Be sure to find a great professional that’s happy to help you with the details, and you’ll be in good shape and on your way to happier appliances!

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

Effects of Water on Appliances

Effects of Water on Appliances

Once you’ve learned a little bit about the different types of water that can be coming into your home, you may still be surprised to learn that these various water types can have dramatically different effects on your appliances. While some of the effects may seem scary at first, don’t worry! We’re here to help you understand the impacts of the different water and help you find solutions to minimize any negative outcomes.

Hard Water. Since hard water is made up of many minerals and elements that like to build up, the calcium, magnesium, and other minerals that are contained in this type of water can easily cause your home appliances difficulty or even long-term damage. Basically,water filtration these elements become such good friends with each other in your pipes and inside the appliances themselves that they just don’t want to separate from each other. The longer that these minerals hang out inside your appliances untreated, the bigger their family reunion gets. And the bigger the family reunion gets, the more havoc is sure to be wreaked on your expensive home devices.Because the elements found in hard water are part of a very tightly-knit family, each time you use your dishwasher, washing machine, refrigerator, or anything else that utilizes water to function, a new layer of the minerals is deposited on top of the prior layer(s). Eventually, these layers become so pronounced that your appliances can start suffering debilitating illnesses. If the build-up is in the pipes, corrosion becomes a likely result, if left unnoticed for an extended period of time.

If you have hard water, you’re not alone. The Water Quality Association estimates that around 85% of the United States has hard water. What does this mean for you? Well, fortunately, it means that many others have come before you, so options have been created in the industry, depending on your needs, budget, and other factors. There are a few main types of water softeners: ion-exchange, salt-free, reverse osmosis. Ion-exchange softeners are the most common household units. The ion-exchange units use varying types of salt (sodium, potassium, or hydrogen). In short, the negative ions that are contained in the hard water such as those contained in magnesium and calcium undergo a process whereby they’re drawn out of the water in exchange for the sodium, potassium, or hydrogen ions that are found within the salt that is used in the softening unit. In addition to the different types of ion-exchange softeners, there are different types of regeneration that these softeners can use. Again, depending on your specific situation and home use, you have the option of metered regeneration, regeneration using a timer, or manual regeneration. Sound overwhelming? Don’t worry! Understanding this stuff is what the professionals are there for!

Salt-free technologies are still relatively young in the industry. Although one form of salt-free technology, the magnetic softener, has been around for quite a while, it seems that experts are still on either side of the fence regarding whether or not this type of unit actually produces tangible results. One things that does seem to be agreed upon is that magnetic softeners aren’t actually softening anything (as in, they’re not really removing the ions and minerals that cause hard water to be hard). Rather, the process involves a rearrangement of the molecules that exist in the hard water to prevent the scaling that would otherwise occur as a result of the calcium and magnesium. The magnetic units may also use anti-scaling chemicals during the process, depending on the design, so that’s something to keep in mind when you’re shopping around.

Another salt-free form is the catalytic water softener. This one is still definitely new and in the development and testing phases, but it seems that one element cannot be present in the hard water in order for any positive affects to be seen: iron. It is likely that if any iron is present in the water being used with a catalytic device, no positive outcome can be achieved with the process.

The process of reverse osmosis involves the installation of a water purification and reverse osmosisfiltration system within your home. Although it seems very complicated at first thought, the entire system is pretty easy to understand with a few visual aids. The long and short of this process takes incoming tap water through the filtration system and removes the impurities and unwanted elements from the liquid. The water then finds its way through a filtering membrane, then goes on to your faucets and home appliances. The reverse osmosis systems tend to rank very high in terms of the purity of the final product, and they’re said to be very easy on a person’s monthly energy bill.

Soft Water. If the process of softening your water sounds like a pricey investment, consider the cost of replacing your expensive appliances every few years. If you’re regularly using hard water with all of your daily use, you’re likely putting your big ticket items at a big ticket risk. Soft water actually contains minerals that can be useful in your soil, on your lawn, and in your garden. That said, you may benefit (both monetarily and otherwise), but hooking your water softener up only to the hot water in your home. In doing so, you will have less worry over the harmful mineral buildup in your dishwasher, washing machine, and other appliances, but you’ll still have cold water available for garden uses, washing the car, and other tasks that don’t completely necessitate hot water.

Other Water. You may be surprised to learn that there are tons of other types of water out there. As we discussed earlier, if you’re looking for a way to keep those little guys in your home working properly and avoid the risks that come with impurities in water, you may want to consider distilled water for your iron, coffee maker, and other small household appliances. While not likely found as the type of water naturally running through your household plumbing lines, there are other options available to keep your appliances, particularly the smaller ones, running in tip-top shape. Natural mineral water and spring water are generally much purer than regular tap water (be it hard or soft) and are available for purchase. If you need to make sure that you don’t get those nasty rust rings on your nice work clothes when you’re doing the ironing, it’s a good idea to consider one of these types of water that’s available for purchase to maintain as much of the life of these small appliances as possible.

Although the different types of water and their effects on your appliances can seem completely overwhelming, the important thing for you, as a consumer, to know is just the general overview. Be sure to find a great professional that’s happy to help you with the details, and you’ll be in good shape and on your way to happier appliances!

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

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.

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.

Creative Appliance Recycling Part 2

Creative Appliance Recycling Part 2

At the risk of generalizing to the point of ridiculousness, I think it is safe to say that we humans tend to fall into 1 of 2 categories, or at least possess a bent in that direction – the “messy” and the “neat”.  I am willing to bet that no one with even the slightest neat tendency is reading this, as the thought of keeping “junk” around to make something out of is not remotely appealing.   However, if you can handle the idea of keeping “junk” around long enough to make something out of it, you might be interested in learning more about creative appliance recycling.

Creative Recycling of Washers & Dryers

Before I started to do some research for this series, my understanding of creative Recycling Appliancesappliance recycling was very limited to a few farm uses and some red neck concoctions.   I was impressed to learn that there is actually a segment of the design world that focuses on using recycled materials.  One design company I found in Sweden, Recreate Design Company, (thank you “Uncle Google”), runs public workshops in their studio so that people can work on DIY home décor projects out of reclaimed items. They have scores of blogs which display a diverse range of recycled designed.  Their blog entitled “15 Ways to Recycle a Washing Machine Drum” features some wonderfully creative ideas for shelves, tables, and lamps made from washing machine drums.

Fire Pits & Incinerators

If the tumbling drum inside your dryer is metallic and not plastic it can make a good burning bin or fire pit.  The holes in stainless steel washing machine drums allow for excellent air circulation and fast burning with minimal smoke for incineration purposes.  Some people put these up on stands, but I like the idea of setting them on a group of flag stones or bricks, because I think they might be less apt to tip over or ignite dry grass.

Planters

As always, anything that holds dirt can be turned into a planter.  Holes are already in place for drainage and you can creatively recycle Styrofoam peanuts or chunks by filling the bottom half of the planter so it weighs less and can be moved around more easily.

Garden Composter

If you haven’t yet checked out Part 1 of this series, there is a fabulous article by Jenny Humphrey from the Cranbrook Guardian about Rick and Brenda Metheral and their raised garden beds made from old fridges and freezers. (Meet the Metherals, Masters of Recycled Container Gardening, July 9, 2013) They have also made a composter out of their old washing machine.  The photo I have used to accompany this blog is of Brenda Metheral posing with that very top loading composter. (The photo is courtesy of Jenny Humphrey.)   If you look closely, you will notice that the front panel of the washing machine has been cut away and a plywood door is in its place for easy access.

Lamps

Earlier I referred to Recreate Design Company.  There are some great photos of lamps in their blog entitled “15 Ways to Recycle a Washing Machine Drum”.  Apart from the drum, the agitator can also be used to make a very funky looking lamp.

Bowls

I read about someone that used the glass doors of front load washers as salad bowls and large fruit bowls.  (Please note that some glass does contain lead which can leach into food.  The more acidic the food and the longer the food’s exposure to the glass, the more leaching will occur.  Unless you are able to confirm that the glass is lead free, using fruit that must be peeled, or using the bowls to serve dry food such as chips or peanuts may be a better idea.  If in doubt, stick to using the bowls for decorative purposes.)

Playhouses & Tree Houses

Those very same glass doors on front loading washers can make very cool looking portholes or skylights in a playhouse or tree house.

Kid’s Repair Shop

There are some kids that have an innate curiosity about how things work.  They want to works with tools and their hands.  If you have a child like that you can keep him or her busy for hours disassembling a washing machine or a dryer.  Have them sort the bolts and screws into different bins and see if there is anything there that is reusable or salvageable.  Let their imaginations run wild and free and then scrap the rest.  Who knows?  You could be planting seeds that will one day lead to a career at NASA or even the appliance repair industry!

Because you appreciate premium information such as this, become a member of our Newsletter Insiders … up-to-date information on appliances that you can use!


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.

Creative Appliance Recycling

Creative Appliance Recycling – Part 1

We all know them. Maybe you are even one of them. And hey, no judgments if you are. After all, you help keep our economy ticking along. Who am I referring to? I’m talking aboutcreative appliance recycling those people that get rid of good stuff that is a bit out dated or that has simply lost its appeal. The attraction of something new and exciting is overwhelming so others get the benefit of gently used wares often found online, at Good Will, or even on the curbside with a “free” sign attached.

If you aren’t part of this segment of the population and you hang onto your stuff until it dies, then you need to dispose of it. The municipal landfill is one option for your old dishwasher, washer or dryer, refrigerator or freezer. However, there may be other options besides taking your old appliance to the dump. This series is dedicated to creative ways to recycle common household appliances. To kick things off, let’s talk about that old chest freezer, upright freezer/refrigerator.

Get Practical

Before we begin to get creative, let’s start with practical. Refrigerators and freezers contain refrigerants. One needs legal certification and the proper collection equipment for the disposal of these gases. The landfill contracts with a company that extracts the hazardous materials from fridges and freezers and then recycles the rest. The DIY old fashioned way with an axe and a breeze is environmentally irresponsible and defeats the purpose of creative recycling. More importantly, it is illegal and Environment Canada takes a dim view of the practice. That said, some companies that install and service commercial refrigeration units will extract and recycle refrigerants for a small fee if you bring your appliance to their shop. They will send you on your way with paperwork verifying that your appliance has been decommissioned.

Creative Re-uses for Chest Freezers & Fridges

Raised Garden Beds

Remove the doors and shelving from the chest freezer, (refrigerators or upright freezersfridge and freezer garden must be laid on their backs of course). Make drainage holes in the bottom of your unit, put a layer of gravel in the bottom and fill the rest with soil and compost/aged manure. The appliance’s insulation helps maintain the soil temperature overnight and can even extend your growing season. The height is easier on your back than the traditional ground bed and ideal for those who are wheelchair bound or need to sit to garden. (Check out this interesting story in the Cranbrook Guardian to learn more about these raised garden beds.)

Worm Composting

Worm castings make excellent fertilizer, so if you are into organic gardening, a worm farm might be ideal for you. Used chest freezers can make excellent worm farms. (Check out www.wormfarmingsecrets.com for some great information) A worm farm can also be a great idea if you are a fan of fresh worms for fishing. Instead of buying bait, you can keep a ready supply in your own yard. (Be sure to research the bylaws in your area first.)

Dry Erase/White Boards

If you know someone who owns a deli or food kiosk, a large chest freezer lid can make a creative white board for menu postings. The idea of a communication board also applies for residential applications. You can make a large calendar, customize a daily- weekly-monthly chore list for the kids… you get the idea.

Meat Smoker & Home Brew Fermenter

Plans to make smokers for fish and game, as well as fermenters for home brewing can be found on the internet or researched at your local library. Again, unless you reside in the country with no neighbours to disturb, municipal ordinances need to be checked. It would be a shame to go to all that work only to have to tear it all down and get a fine to boot.

Rodent-proof Container or Watering Trough

If you have spent any time in farm country, no doubt you are already familiar with the sight of a chest freezer or two, along an out-building, in a barn or the mudroom of a farm house. Chest freezers make great rodent-proof storage containers for grain and other pet foods. The contents remains fresh and dry and you can lock the lid.

The chest freezer can also make an excellent drinking trough for horses and cattle. It is easy to clean on the inside and the insulation factor makes the trough heater’s job easier in the winter too.

I know that we have covered this point, but it bears repeating: please don’t attempt to creatively recycle your used fridge or freezer without first having your appliance decommissioned so that it is rendered free of hazardous materials. This little blog covers just a few possibilities for creatively reusing an old refrigerator or freezer. No doubt many of you know someone or have come up with some really creative uses yourself for recycling old fridges or freezers and we would like to learn about them. Please contact us with your ideas and send us your photos.

Because you appreciate premium information such as this, become a member of our Newsletter Insiders … up-to-date information on appliances that you can use!


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.

Laundry Au Naturel Bleaches

Doing Laundry Au Naturel Bleaches – Part 6b

Natural Bleaches

If you would like to keep your laundry room as free as possible from chemicals, there are several natural alternatives you can try.

Lemon Juice in the Washer

laundry au naturel bleach - lemonsLemon juice can be one of your best allies!  You can try partially filling your washer with hot water and soaking your whites overnight with the juice of a couple lemons.  The next day run your washer through the spin cycle and then wash per normal.  Alternatively, just add lemon juice to your rinse cycle.  You can use lemon juice and salt like you would use a spot remover as well.

Vinegar

Vinegar is another ingredient found in your kitchen that can do wonders for whitening clothes.  People shy away from the idea thinking that the residual odour left in the washer remains in clothing as well, but it doesn’t.  Try adding a half to ¾ of a cup per load (top loader washers) to your wash water. It is inexpensive and effective with no chemical residue.

Baking Soda

Another panacea from your pantry is baking soda. Add half a cup of baking soda to your washing machine’s wash water to whiten and brighten your clothes.  Baking soda is non-toxic and used in many whitening toothpastes as well as other environmentally friendly household cleaners.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Safe to use with your laundry detergent, hydrogen peroxide is a natural alternative to bleach.  Try adding a half a cup to your washing machine’s regular wash cycle.

Borax

A naturally occurring alkaline mineral salt, borax has been used for centuries.  You can presoak your clothes in your washing machine overnight or add some borax to your wash water. It has excellent whitening abilities; in fact some commercial laundry preparations include borax in the compound.  You can find borax in the laundry aisle of your grocery store.

Sunshine

Whether it’s combined with another method or on its own, sunlight can always be relied upon for brightening up your laundry. And best of all it’s completely friendly to the environment and free.

While there are many inexpensive natural alternatives to commercially available laundry additives and brighteners, many of these natural options are more time consuming to use, and not necessarily recommended for front loading washers.  Always check with your washing machine manufacturer for a list of recommended products.

If you have other natural brightening ideas for the laundry, or experience using such methods with front loading washers, we are interested in hearing from you.

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.

 

References:

SmartKlean: “How to Whiten Clothes with no Bleach or Optical Brighteners

Wikipedia, “Borax

Doing Laundry Au Naturel

Doing Laundry Au Naturel – Part 6a

Whiter than White

Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb. Mary had a little lamb whose fleece was white because she bathed him in optical brighteners, optical brightening agents (OBAs), fluorescent brightening agents (FBAs), fluorescent whitening agents (FWAs) and chlorine bleach.

In our quest for whiter whites we could be exposing ourselves to some elements that may not be good for the environment, our washing machines, Mary, or her little lamb.  There Spring Lambis a classification of chemicals which some manufacturers of laundry products add to their wares known as optical brighteners.  Years ago blue dye was used in laundry to cause garments to reflect more blue light giving the appearance of brightness.  Nowadays, optical brighteners are chemicals which are added to detergent to give the illusion of super-clean in a similar way.

Optical brighteners work by dying fabric so that it will absorb certain types of light which makes garments appear whiter and brighter.  Clothes aren’t any cleaner, but they appear that way to our eye.  While some people do react to the chemical residue of optical brighteners, and they can build up in your washing machine, the jury is still out about their hazardousness to the environment.  A 2008 report authored by Greenpeace entitled “An Overview of Textiles Processing and Related Environmental Concerns” concluded that “low or no toxicitity is associated with these substances”, but Greenpeace also referenced the BGVV (the Belgium Association for Gerontology and Geriatrics) which stated that there is a “a general lack of information on toxicity and a need for studies into dermal absorption and the release of these substances from clothes.”

What About Chlorine Bleach?

If you have ever inadvertently spilled chlorine bleach on your favourite pair of jeans, you have already learned that chlorine bleach does its job very well.  Aside from having the potential to ruin your favourite article of clothing, chlorine bleach also has other inherent problems.  Chlorine gas was used as an agent of chemical warfare in WW1.  It is a very caustic substance and harmful to the environment. Mixing chlorine bleach with other common household substances can result in the formation of dioxins and dangerous gases.  Some of these dioxins (chemical compounds) have been known to cause kidney damage, certain cancers and respiratory problems.  But the fact that chlorine bleach is an excellent germicide, as well as a whitener is undisputed.

If you are interested in learning about some washing machine-safe, natural alternatives to optical brighteners and chlorine bleach, check out part b of “Doing Laundry Au Natural – Part 6”.

As always, Gord’s Appliance is interested in hearing from you.  If you have pertinent information on the subject of optical brighteners, send us your comments.

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.

 

References:

SmartKlean Blog:  http://smartklean.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/how-to-whiten-clothes-with-no-bleach-or-optical-brighteners/

An Overview of Textiles Processing and Related Environmental Concerns: http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/th/global/seasia/report/2008/5/textile-processing.pdf