Life Expectancy of Major Appliances

Life Expectancy of Major Appliances

If you are like most homeowners, you may be looking for ways to save money when it comes to keeping the major appliances in your home in working order. In the past when you have replaced one of your appliances, have you wondered if you had gotten your money’s worth out of it or if there was something that you could have done differently to prolong its useful life?

Refrigerator

Depending upon the type of model you own, its average lifespan may vary between 13 to life expectancy of major appliances19 years. The most common models, the side-by-side and the freezer-on-top will usually last about 14 and 17 years, respectively. Common small repairs such as replacing door gaskets, fans or broken icemakers may occur, but they usually do not warrant replacing the refrigerator. However, if its compressor breaks down, you are often better off purchasing a new refrigerator. You can help prolong the life of your refrigerator by making sure to vacuum around its coils at least once a year to prevent overheating.

Dishwasher

Out of all the major appliances in your home, your dishwasher can really take a beating, especially if you have a large family. Most dishwashers will have a lifespan of 9 years if properly maintained. One thing to keep in mind when purchasing this appliance is that the more features it has, the more things there are to break on it. You can help prolong its life by regularly cleaning its filter, replacing water hoses every five years, and having it serviced when small repairs are needed.

Oven/Stove

Most oven/stoves will last between 13 and 15 years. Those that use natural gas will often last longer than electric models. A typical repair that does not warrant purchasing a new appliance is having the oven’s igniter replaced. However, if the oven is leaking gas or requires the replacement of an electronic control board, it may be time to consider replacing instead of repairing. You can help prolong the life of your oven/stove by cleaning it often and not putting off small repairs when needed.

Washer/Dryer

Like your dishwasher, your washer and dryer is likely to take a beating if you have a large family or do many loads of laundry a week. In many cases, a washer can last between 10 – 14 years, while a dryer may last between 10 – 13 years. It is important to clean the filters on both often and have repairs made as needed to get the longest life out of these appliances. Common repairs for these major appliances include replacing gaskets, hoses, belts, and pilot lights for gas dryers.

When you purchase a new appliance, you are making an investment in your home, and like any investment, you will want to know how long you can expect it to last. Regular maintenance of the major appliances in your home can help prolong their lives and help to continue a return on your investment.

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.

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.

 

 

 

Convection Affection!

I have heard many conversations about convection ovens and I am always asked what the difference is between a convection oven and a traditional radiant oven. Is one better than the other? Are there any negative side effects? In this week’s blog we will dive into the world of the convection oven.

How they Work:

Convection ovens work differently than the radiant or thermal ovens by their use of a fan that continuously circulates air throughout the oven. With the radiant oven, the hot air is merely surrounding the food, where as in a convection oven the fan is blowing hot air uninterruptedly onto the food providing more even heating. Scientifically speaking, moving air speeds up the rate of heat transference that naturally occurs when two different temperatures converge. [1]

All Over Heat:

While in a conventional oven the heating element is most often placed at the bottom of the oven, food placed on the bottom rack will cook faster than food on the top racks, however in a convection oven the steady rhythm of the fan blowing hot air throughout the oven supplies the same amount of heat to all the racks. Convection cooking eliminates hot and cool spots in the oven providing all over heat.

“But I’ve used a Convection Oven and Saw no Difference!”

Many ovens now-a-days give you the option to use a convection function.  Many people may choose not to use convection after not experiencing much of a difference between the two. This is a common problem as many ovens are not “true convection,” especially countertop convection ovens. The most efficient convection ovens have a third heating element located near or around the fan located in the back of the oven. The third heating element is often covered by a panel which moves air sucked in by the fan past the heating element and back into the oven. These ovens are considered “true convection” or “third-element convection” which are the terms to look for when shopping for a convection oven.

When ovens do not have this third element they will provide less even cooking. A terrible example of a poor convection oven actually has the fan mounted on the outside and will blow unheated, outside air into the oven mixing unheated, cool air with the heated air of  inside of the oven.    

5030472_mTrue convection ovens are often built-in wall ovens and are not often found in the counter top variety. If true convection is what you seek, I would highly recommend a built-in oven.

Are there any Cons?

One big con of changing over to a convection oven is the amount of time required to cook food. Many old family recipes will need to be experimented with in the convection and watched a bit closer as convection ovens do cook faster than radiant ovens. When transitioning, some dishes may turn out undercooked or overcooked; there can be a bit of learning curve.

Another con can be the cost. While there are some cheaper models on the market, they often do not contain the third element and are therefore not true convection ovens. True convections can often reach into the $2000-$3000 range making them more expensive than conventional radiant ovens.

You may also find your cookware will need to be upgraded. It is suggested, for example, that cookie sheets have no sides, and you replace your deep roasting pans with shallow ones.  This is additional cost to the cost of buying a convection oven.

Are you cooking with convection? What do you like or  dislike about it? Let me know in the comments below!

Is there something specific you would like to learn about in our blogs? Let me know!

 

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.

 

 

 

[1] http://www.finecooking.com/articles/convection-ovens.aspx?pg=1

 

 

 

 

A Stove is a Stove…Right? Part 2

In part 1 of the stovetop series we looked at the different heating techniques and ways to clean the electric coil stovetop, the electric smooth top, and the induction stove top. In the second part of this 2- part series we will finish by looking at gas cooktops and modular cooktops.

Gas cooktops:

Gas cooktops will have 4 or more burner with a visible flame as the heat source which brings fast, precise cooking. These types of cooktops are often preferred by cooks for their fast heat up and quick cool downs. These cooktops use a natural gas or a propane source. They need a 120 volt household circuit as well.

How they heat:

Gas stoves when run by natural gas are connected to a gas line that runs underground and is pressurized. As the stove turns on, the gas line becomes unblocked and the fuel can then flow through the stove’s pipes and then to the burner. In the pipes the gas is then mixed with air which produces a blue, easily controlled flame.

In the stove pipes, a small pipe branches off to the ignition source of the stove. In an older gas stove this would be the pilot light- a small gas fueled flame that is lit at all times. In a newer gas stove the ignition source is an electric spark igniter. This electric spark igniter makes the “clicking” sound heard when the burner is turned on.

The ignition source lights the main pipe igniting the gas there. The flame then travels to the burner where it comes through holes at the base of the burner. The height and strength of the flame is determined by the burner dial which allows the amount of gas in the main pipe to change. [1]

Cleaning:

Always make sure the stove top surface is completely cooled before cleaning. The first16065565_m step is to remove the burners and if food is stuck on, allow them to soak in either the sink or a basin full of warm, soapy water. Use a rag to wipe off the surface.  Where the actual flame is emitted it is a good idea to take something small such as a pin to remove any muck or build up from inside the holes. Rinse the burners thoroughly to ensure there is no soap or residue left on them. Leave these upside down on a clean, dry towel to air dry.

The same method can be used for the burner rings.

For the stovetop surface, start by removing any large food particles you can see and easily pick up such as burnt veggies, or grains of rice. Then using soap and water or baking soda and water mixed together, clean the surface and wipe with a cloth or sponge. Use a clean, dry cloth to wipe down the surface and ensure there is no more soap or baking soda left on the surface.

Induction Cooktops:

Induction cooktops are often cooler than other cooktops because only the cookware and the food inside it are heated. They are often more energy efficient as they don’t use traditional radiant heat and they heat food up at a more rapid pace than other cooktops. Induction cooktops are usually heated with electricity.

How it Heats:

Induction cooking is very interesting and quite different than the other ways that stove tops heat up and cook food. Induction stoves make the heating unit (the pot or pan) the generator of the cooking heat.  The element’s electronics power a coil that produces a high-frequency electromagnetic field. This electromagnetic field hits the metal of the pot or pan and starts a circulating electronic current which produces heat. The heat produced in the pot or pan is then transferred directly to the food or water inside, which means that nothing outside of the pot or pan gets affected by the heat.  The unfortunate part of induction is that it requires that all heating units be made of a “ferrous” metal.  Which means aluminum, copper, and pyrex will not be useable on this type of cooktop. However, iron and steel pots and pans should still work fine. [2]

Cleaning:

As the induction stovetop is glass you can follow the cleaning instructions of the electric smooth top stovetop. Theoretically these stovetops stay cleaner as the pot or pan is what becomes hot so caked on food is typically not a problem.

Modular Cooktops:

Modular cooktops are perfect for the person who wants flexibility in their stove top.  While they have the typical round heating element, it can be replaced with either a grill or griddle.  This makes for easy use of pots and pans, and the ability to grill a steak or use the griddle to make perfect pancakes. These are available in both gas or electric.

How it works:

The electric variety of the modular stovetops work in a similar way to the electric smooth top where only the burner puts out heat while the rest of the stovetop can stay cool. This is especially useful if you wish to use the grill and the burner to prevent heat from the burner to be transferred to the grill.

The gas variety provides heat in a way similar to the gas cooktop where it can be run on natural gas and the gas travels through the pipes to bring the flame to the base of the burner.

Cleaning:

Cleaning will depend on whether the cooktop is gas or electric. If electric follow the cleaning guide for the electric smooth top and if gas follow the cleaning guide to the gas stove top.

Electric coil, electric smooth top, induction, gas, and modular cook tops all have their individual pros and cons. Next time you need to buy a new stove or range keep these cleaning tips and a basic understanding of how they heat in mind. Are you looking for something easy to clean? Maybe something with more diversity? Maybe a mix of both! Let me know in the comments below if this basic guideline to stovetops helped you and let me know which kind you find best for cooking food and easiest to maintain.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

[1] http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4927054_gas-stoves-work.html

[2] http://theinductionsite.com/how-induction-works.shtml

 

 

 

 

 

A Stove is a Stove…Right?

The current wave of new technology has brought on a corresponding new era in stove top cooking. There are many different stove top cooking options that produce the same end result. In part 1 of this 2- part stove top series, we are going to look at some of the different types of stove tops, how they work, and the best practices to clean them.

Electric Coil:

Electric coil cooktops are the type many of us still envision when we think of a stove top. These have the red hot coils we always fear kids burning their hands on. For some reason these fiery red coils are very tempting for tots. The average electric coil cooktop will have 4 to 5 burners with a drip bowl underneath each one to grab the spills and crumbs from the food. Electric coil cooktops provide a nice, even heat and are compatible with many forms of cookware. Compared to other types of stove tops electric coil cooktops are relatively inexpensive.

How it Heats:

Electric coil cooktops work by converting electricity into heat. The burners are connected to the main part of the stove where the electricity is controlled by the burner dials. The burner dial controls how much electricity runs through the coils and thus how hot the stove top becomes. The higher8235053_m the setting on the dial, the hotter the coils become.  [1]

Cleaning:

Start your cleaning by removing the coils. If you have recently used your stove top, make sure the coils have completely cooled. Most burners simply unplug from the stove, but if your coils are giving you trouble coming off, refer to your manufacturer’s instructions to ensure best removal practices.

Next, use a clean cloth and a mild soap to lightly wash off the top. As most food is burnt off of the burners when in use, the burners themselves shouldn’t be too dirty. Never fully submerge coils in water and keep special care to keep the electrical portion away from water.  If there is hard-to-remove, stuck-on food, try using a scrub of baking soda and water mixed together and scrubbing at the problem area. If scrubbing is still not cutting it, try wrapping the problem area in a damp rag for a while and then try wiping or scrubbing.  Again, be sure to keep the electrical component clear of the damp cloth.

Next, clean the drip pans. Sometimes this will be as easy as dumping any leftover charred bits into the garbage, but it is a good idea to give drip pans a rinse with water and soap as well.

Electric Smooth top:

The electric smooth top stove has a solid ceramic glass cooking surface with typically 4 or 5 heating elements built underneath. This stovetop is particularly popular as the glass top makes cleaning up a mess a breeze. It is also very quick to heat up and quick to cool down. One of the disadvantages however is the lack of drip bowls.  If you are someone who tends to let things boil over on the stove, you won’t have any kind of “containment system” to prevent spills from going down the side and onto the floor.

How it Heats:

The glass stovetops only put out heat directly on the burner allowing surrounding areas of the stovetop stay cool to the touch. Glass stovetops use 1 of 3 heating methods:  radiant ribbon, quartz halogen, or magnetic induction. The radiant ribbon resembles the heating techniques provided by the electric coil tops. It can be used on its own or combined to heat using the quartz halogen or the magnetic induction method.  Quartz halogen is the quickest way to heat up food and the quickest to cool down. Magnetic Induction is highly energy efficient as it uses high frequency technology to heat up the cookware and not necessarily the glass top. [2]

Cleaning:

While some spills are very easy to clean off of a glass top stove, some can be hard and take some elbow grease. Always wait till the stove top is completely cooled before proceeding to clean. Once the top is cooled down, start by using a rag and water to remove any surface grim. There are specialty glass top cleaners you can purchase to help clean your stove. Simply spread some the cleaner on the top and either use a specialty glass top sponge or a cloth to wipe down the top. With particular messes some scrubbing may be required. If you don’t have the made-for-glass-top cleaner some household products might work just as well.  You could try using baking soda or lemon juice as cleaners. The baking soda can be spread directly over the stovetop and then wiped down with a cloth. With the lemon juice, add some into a spray bottle with warm water and spray onto the surface and wipe with a cloth. With all methods wipe down with a clean cloth afterwards to ensure no cleaning products are left on the stovetop.

A controversial method of cleaning the glass stove tops is to use a razor or sharp object to scrape the dried food off.  Many people claim the razor is a life saver in cleaning off those hard-to-remove stains, while others claim it’s an unnecessary risk to your appliance. Just like there is a specialty cleaner for glass top stoves, there are also specialty razors made by appliance manufactures. The trick to using these blades is to keep them in an upright position and move in an up and down motion. Never use the corners as this could scratch and damage the surface.

It is always in your best interest to check with your manufacturer about recommended cleaning procedures and products.

What type of stove do you prefer to use and why? In part 2 of this series, “A Stove is a Stove… Right?”, we will look at gas, induction, and modular stove tops.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

[1] http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4927 715_electric-stove-work.html

[2] http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4606017_glass-top-stove-work.html