Garburators – Convenience in Tiny Bits

Garburators

A garburator is an electrical garbage disposal appliance that fits between the U-shaped garburatorbend in your kitchen sink and its drain. It shreds food waste into tiny bits that are washed right down your drain.If your family eats at home (generating food waste), you will use this handy appliance several times each day!

There are advantages (things to consider),and possible disadvantages (things to ponder) before committing to an appliance purchase.

THINGS TO CONSIDER:

Convenience, Convenience, Convenience!
Put your family’s food waste in your garburator and you’re done! Breakfast, lunch, or dinner – a properly used garburator frees up time with a simple solution to food waste without the worry of major appliance repairs.

Be Kind to Your Dishwasher!

A garburator takes strain off your dishwasher by decreasing waste accumulation inside the dishwasher from food left on dishes – strain that can lead to major appliance repair.And just think how clean your dishwasher will be without all those food bits in it!

THINGS TO PONDER:

Water Usage:

An efficient garburator uses steadily running cold water.Depending on your situation, this could slightly increase your household water usage. If this concerns you, weigh the advantages against disadvantages before making your final decision.

Environment:

Because a garburator flushes tiny bits of organic matter (food waste)down your drain, a little more oxygen is needed to treat your drain water at your local waste treatment plant.

Electricity:

A garburator requires an electric connection. Depending on how often you use your appliance, it’s possible your electricity bill could slightly rise.

NOTE: There are garburator models requiring less water and electricity. These tend to be the higher-end models.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Sinks:

A garburator works best with a double sink – one sink for the appliance and one sink without it.

Septic Fields:

People who use septic fields sometime avoid installing a garburator because they worry about damage to their septic field, septic tank or a major appliance repair. Good news! The Federal Housing Authority and other groups like the Small Flows Clearing House assure us garbage disposals (garburators)work well with properly-sized and maintained septic tanks.

HOW TO USE:

1. Fill the sink without a garburator with cold water.

2. Scrape your food waste into the garburator sink.

3.Unplug the sink filled with cold water and allow the water to drain. (This helps wash waste down the drain).

4. Turn on the garburator and run water from your faucet”full blast” over it.

NOTE:

Although your food waste is immediately flushed out of sight, it’s probably still in your drain. That’s why it’s so important to run water into your garburator the entire time it’sin use. If you don’t, food residue can generate a sludge that could cause your drain line to clog.No one wants to make an emergency call to a major appliance repair company in the middle of meal clean up!

BOTTOM LINE:

Purchasing a garburator is a matter of personal preference. Many homeowners love the convenience and reduction in “cleaning up time” after a meal and find major appliance repairs are few with a garburator that is used properly.

Before you purchase your garburator, we recommend you read an owner’s manual to see if the food scraps your family generates can safely and easily be put into the appliance. This will avoid purchasing an appliance that might not fit your family’s needs – and as we mentioned earlier, no one wants to make that emergency major appliance repair call in the middle of cleaning up your meal!

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

 

Water and Your Home – 4

WATER and YOUR HOME

Varying types of water aren’t the only considerations when you’re examining the performance of your appliances.  Although the different variables in water can most certainly have an impact on the way your machines operate, another major consideration is how the appliances use the water that they’ve been given.  In 2013, green is everybody’s favorite color, and the appliance and water conservation industries have teamed up to make some considerable initiatives in the way that your household units use their water.

  • In the Bathroom.  While you may not necessarily think of your toilet, shower, and bathroom facets as appliances, if you overlook them, you’re overlooking a part of your home that uses a significant amount of water to function properly.  The pipes that supply water to your bathroom are just as important (if not more so) than the pipes that give water to the rest of your house, so taking care to minimize corrosion and water usage in general is a great way to save money now and down the pipeline, so to speak.Low-flow toilets have come a long way in the last few years.  What was once an inefficient fixture in the home that was known to work minimally, if at all, at performing its ever-important function, has now taken the household water and your homeappliance industry by storm.  Manufacturers have become sensitive to the desires of the green consumer, and they’ve stepped up to improve the look, feel, and overall function of low-flow toilets.  These days, those porcelain thrones are as green as they can be.  Don’t worry, a functioning green toilet still comes in white, so you don’t have to worry about decorating around the 1970s Avocado version of a green bathroom!Inefficiencies in the bathroom are capable of occurring anywhere that makes water happen.  Faucets can be a large source of water and monetary waste if they’re not functioning to their optimal potential.  If you’re looking for a way to go a little greener in the bathroom, think about looking for faucets and aerators with the WaterSense Savings label.  You’ll not only reduce the amount of water and money flowing out of your home, but you’ll also reduce the demands on your water heater, which saves you money all the way through your house, from top to bottom.And, of course, there’s the shower.  If you haven’t considered a low-flow shower head, we’re guessing it’s because of either one of two reasons: you didn’t know they existed or your shower is the one space that you’re not willing to compromise on the wills and ways of your water usage.  Don’t worry; we understand.  We love our showers, too, but as a green consumer (or someone thinking about going greener), it’s important that you realize all of the strides that the appliance and water industries have made in all places of your home to increase efficiencies without reducing comfort.  This effort has also gone into that sacred shower stall.  You can purchase energy-efficient shower heads for very reasonable prices and install them without the worry of taking a waterless shower.  In fact, the idea in your head of low-flow faucets is likely just an idea that you’ve allowed your imagination to create because these creations allow a reduction in overall energy consumption and water usage without compromising everyday comforts.
  • In the Kitchen.  Just as we’ve discussed the ways of the world where the white throne dwells, you can make similar adjustments to the way your faucets function in the kitchen.  Creators of fashionable faucets have recognized the trend toward the greener color of the spectrum, and they’ve responded.  You can find beautiful fixtures for your sink that will speak volumes about your style and your need to be green.  Kitchen sinks are a place that’s gotten the full attention of companies that need to be stylish and top-of-the-line to keep their top spots in the market place, and as a green consumer, you get to reap the rewards.You may not want to spend a ton of money updating the water filtration features in your home if you aren’t going to eventually have appliances that know how to use that water, and other energy sources, as efficiently as possible.  In many homes, the kitchen is the most important and most popular room in the house, so taking care to shop smart can make a big impact on this vital space.Appliances with that renowned Energy Star label are a great place to start shopping.  According to the EPA, Energy Star qualified dishwashers use approximately one-third less water than non-qualified dishwashers.  What does this mean for you?  Well, not only are you going to be keeping a little more money in your pocket when the electric bill rolls around, but you’re using less money, too, so you’ll save on your water bill and you’ll keep that new water filtration system happy, too.  The Energy Star name also exists on refrigerators and freezers and stoves, so any of your big ticket items can take a big chunk off of your monthly and annual energy and water expenditures if you do your research and shop a little smarter.
  • In the Laundry Room. If there’s one place that can suck your wallet dry, it’s the room that holds your dryer.  Taking care to shop a little greener for the appliances in your laundry room can make the chore of cleaning clothes a lot less stressful.  With the right washer and dryer, you might even enjoy the task!  Although there was a time when buying a high-efficiency washer may have been a dream, these days, you don’t have to pinch yourself to find great appliances and the products that keep them working at their best.  Energy Star washers and dryers are a great way to put this label to use in your laundry room, too.  They’ll make the most of that precious water source and be as efficient as possible with your electric bill, too.  You can help take a bigger chunk out of your bills by washing your clothes in cold water.  You should also consider a front-loading washer if you’re replacing your current machine, since they’re known to be much friendlier on your wallet.

Every space in your place has room for energy improvements.  With a combination of efficient appliances, improved water quality, and the know-how to make the most of your dollars, you may find yourself seeing a little greener when you look around your home!

When it comes to differing water and its effects on your household appliances, there is a lot more going on than many people may think.  Once you understand the type of water you have and how it plays with your appliances, you can take measures to ensure more longevity and a happier life for your big ticket items.  Have water analysis done on your home water so you know what you’re working with, then take the applicable steps to take care of your pipes and appliances as best you can.  Keep in mind that the appliance and water industries have teamed up to do amazing things in recent years, and with the right combination of research and smart shopping, you’ll be well on your way to making your home a little bit greener from the rooms in your home to the folds of your wallet.  After all, green is everybody’s favorite color these days.

Once you have understood your water and taken steps to make it as great as it can be, you may be surprised that, when it’s all said and done, it won’t even taste like water anymore.  It’s more likely to contain the sweet taste of success in every glass you drink, basket of laundry you fold, and tray of dishes that you empty.

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

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

Water Impact on Home Appliances – 2

Water Impact and Your Home

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 responsible. 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 Watertalking 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.  The Environmental Protection Agency as gone to great lengths to help take the mystery out of water.  You can find laboratories and offices by state using the EPA’s website.  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

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

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

Faster Than a Speeding Bullet!

Microwave Safe – Part 1: What You Need to Know About the Microwave

I want to start off by saying that I do not repair microwaves. However, I do think the subject of microwaves is an interesting one that needs to be reviewed and explored. In this 3-part series, I will cover:  the benefits of the microwave, the disadvantages of the microwave, and safe cooking practices we should all follow. Though I do not repair microwaves, I do use one and found researching this topic to be very interesting.

History of the Microwave:

The 1940’s were an interesting and exciting time in our history. Not only did the Second World War end, the bikini was introduced, and in 1947 the first microwave appeared on the scene.  It was developed by accident by an engineer named Dr. Percy Spencer, who was working on the development of radar in World War 2. Dr. Spencer discovered that radar waves used to detect planes could also heat food. The story goes that the doctor had brought a chocolate bar to work in his pocket and found that it had melted. He deduced that the microwaves he was working with had caused it to melt and after some experimentation he realized that microwaves cooked food quickly.

The first commercial microwave oven was produced in 1954 and was called the 1125917939_s61 Radarange. It was very large, very expensive and had 1600 watts of power. In 1967 the first domestic microwave was introduced. The microwave was very expensive and therefore sales were very slow.  Soon the demand became so great that the price dropped which made it more affordable. [1]

How it works:

Microwave ovens take their name from the use of microwaves to heat food. These waves work by getting absorbed by water, fats, and sugars which are then turned into atomic motion producing heat. Microwaves have a very neat property in the fact that
they are not absorbed by plastics, glass, or ceramics.  Metal reflects microwaves which is why you aren’t supposed to put metallic containers, gold or silver plating or paint in the microwave.

The microwaves excite the water molecules in food and as they get excited it causes friction and that friction is what heats up the food. [2]

On the Run:

The first major benefit is how fast the microwave is. Nowadays, everything is go, go, go! Sometimes the best way to have a hot meal is to heat it up in the microwave. There’s no way to get around the fast pace that life can take, but having a microwave oven to heat up leftovers, or cook a meal can go a long way in helping you out on those days when you just don’t have time to cook. You can easily make eggs for breakfast, soups and chili for lunch, and rice and pasta for supper. The amount of food and meals you can cook is practically endless. For me, this is the major benefit of using a microwave.

 

Ouch! :

Another benefit to the microwave is that the amount of burns received from using the microwave versus the stove or the oven is substantially lower. Since the heating element is inside the microwave the outside doesn’t get hot and as soon as the machine shuts off the heating element cools.  From time to time I have needed to use oven mitts to take out a hot plate or bowl because the food itself has caused the container it is in to get hot.   Caution is needed when taking out dishes, but burns from the microwave itself are unlikely as once the door opens the heating element stops and cools.

Heats so Good:

A substantial benefit to using the microwave is in the way that it heats up food. Because food is heated by exciting water, fat, and sugar molecules, frying or searing doesn’t occur. The food should heat up from the inside out giving it all-over heat within the food.

Those are some of the many benefits of having a microwave. Did I miss something that you enjoy about your microwave? Comment below to let me know! In part 2 we will be exploring some of the popular controversies of the microwave.

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.

 

 

References:

[1] http://www.smecc.org/microwave_oven.htm

[2] http://home.howstuffworks.com/microwave1.htm

Help! I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up! Part 2

(Common Kitchen Injuries and How to Avoid Them)

 Slips, Trips & Falls

                                    Spills:

We all know that a slippery kitchen floor can be a recipe for disaster.  While banana peels on the floor may make for good slap stick comedy, slips are no laughing matter.  To avoid injury to yourself and others, take the time to clean up as you go. Keep paper towels andBanana Skin dry kitchen towels on hand to clean up wet spills.  Use your broom and dust pan, Dustbuster® or vacuum cleaner for dry spills.

                                            Trips:

Unfortunately we aren’t talking about the kind of trip you pack your suitcase for.  We have probably all experienced stubbing our toe or tripping on uneven ground as we are walking somewhere.  Usually our natural sense of balance kicks in and we are able to right our course.  It is a different matter to stumble while your hands are full or you’re rushing to tend to a dancing pot lid before the contents boils over.  This can lead to a serious fall.  In the long run it saves a lot more time if we all avoid letting clutter accumulate on the kitchen floor. And yes, “don’t run in the kitchen”.

                                     Falls:

The same way we avoid slips and trips, we avoid falls.  We know better, but we think, “I just need to change this one light bulb”, or, “I can’t remember if such-and-such is still in that little cupboard above the fridge – I’ll just hop up and check”. A good rule of thumb is: if it isn’t designed to be stood upon, don’t risk it.  Falls from rolling desk chairs or cardboard boxes are more common than you would think.

                               Chemicals:

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the US, over 41,000 people died as a result of poisoning in 2008. [1] In 2013, the National Poison Center for the Washington, DC Metro area, (which has a population 5 times that of the Calgary CMA), received 38,197 calls from people exposed to a poison.  1,566 calls involved pet poisonings, and 44% of poison exposure involved children under the age of 6. [2] While Canadian statistics are more difficult to come by, these American stats may help us be more aware of the need for care and control of household chemicals, as well as our medications.  Maybe a frantic call to the ER can be avoided – at least when it comes to accidental poisonings – by using child-safe locks on cupboard doors, or keeping medications and kitchen chemicals out of the reach of children and pets.  While it may not be as convenient to get to, that pesky little cupboard over your refrigerator can be really useful for stowing things you don’t want your kids to get at.  (Some refrigerators can generate a lot of heat up top.  Be sure that cupboard isn’t too warm to house the chemicals or medications you are storing there.)

             Contamination/Cross Contamination:

Dirty sponges, cloths and cutting boards can be culprits in spreading salmonella, e-coli and lots of other “bugs”. Be sure to properly wash/sanitize kitchen supplies.  If you aren’t sure about proper food safety protocols, Alberta Health Services offers a Safe Food Handling course online, or you can sign up to attend a course.  You don’t have to work in the restaurant industry to take it.

In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it is easy to take short cuts that might not be in the best interest of kitchen safety.  Many injuries in life can be just plain fluky.  Let’s take care to avoid some common kitchen injuries that we can easily prevent.

 

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.

 

 

 

References:

[1]Poisonings: The National Picture (National Capital Poison Center)

[2]  Poisonings: The Local Picture (2013) (Washington, DC metro area) (National Capital Poison Center)