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

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

 

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

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!

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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.

Replace or Not

Replace or Not to Replace? – That is the Question.

Whether tis nobler to repair what may have cost you an outrageous fortune or to take arms against compressor troubles and by calling the Junk Guys end them.

As Easter is upon us you may be thinking about purchasing a couple of turkeys on sale to have on hand for later.  Easter, turkey, freezer, is that aging fridge or freezer going to make it until next Easter?  Is it better to replace it now than have it die during a heat wave this August?   If you have been considering replacing an aging appliance, now may be as good a time as any. Previous year’s models that didn’t get sold during either black Friday or Boxing Week sales are taking up space in warehouses and show rooms.  So if you don’t have to have matching appliances, or the very latest style, you are in a position to save money on a new appliance.

Before you get your heart set on a new appliance however, consider whether you areKitchen Appliance Garbage better off repairing or replacing.  Repairs can be rather expensive, especially when you’re dealing with a large appliance like a washer, dryer, dishwasher, or refrigerator. It is important to carefully compare and contrast the cost of purchasing a new appliance versus having it repaired – maybe more than once.

If you have an appliance repair technician you trust, it is particularly helpful if you can provide the make and model as well as a brief history of the appliance.  An ethical and experienced technician can weigh the pros and cons for you and help guide you in your decision making. There are also online forums that can be excellent sources of information.  If you educate yourself a little bit, you can avoid breaking your wallet on a repair or replacement that is overpriced or non-essential.

When to Repair an Appliance

If you have recently invested a great deal of money in a new appliance, and it begins to act up, a repair may be the best option. Old appliances in need of repair may require specialized parts, and in many cases, it may be better to purchase a new dishwasher or refrigerator rather than getting your old one repaired. If you receive a price quote for a repair, compare it to the price of replacement options to see what’s right for you. Also, don’t hesitate to get a second opinion on a repair to ensure you’re getting the best price possible.  Most reputable appliance repair technicians use the National Major Appliance Price Guide and repairs are done on a flat-rate basis rather than by the hour.

When to Buy New

When the price of replacement parts and labour seems too high or your appliance is reaching the end of its life, it’s probably best to purchase a new one.  You get up-to-date technology as well as the manufacturer’s warranty.  If your appliance has broken down or had repeat problems in the past, it may indicate that it is reaching the end of its lifespan. Replacing your old refrigerator or dishwasher with an Energy Star alternative is a great option. In general, Energy Star appliances are more efficient and can save you money on utility costs in the long run, which further compensates you for the investment. But this isn’t always the case.  Sometimes for example, an older freezer can be more energy efficient than a new one.  Older freezers, while having larger compressors requiring more electricity to run, are very well insulated and may run less frequently than newer, lighter models. However, no appliance is designed to operate forever and eventually all of them need to be replaced.

Ask a Professional

If you are uncertain about appliance repair or getting it replaced, contact one or more local professionals for advice. Receiving several quotes on repair or new installations is also a very good idea. If you end up requiring a repair or new installation, an expert will be able to ensure everything is working properly, so it is important to communicate with an experienced technician you know and trust.

Appliance repair or replacement can both be expensive investments. By knowing when to repair an appliance, purchase a new one or defer to expert advice, it becomes much easier to avoid wasting money on unnecessary repairs or replacements.

Because you appreciate premium information such as this, join now and 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

Water is Just Water

Water is just Water

Part 1 of a 5 part series of water in your home.

Water is just water, right?  Not true!  You may be surprised to learn that water is not just water, after all.  There are actually many different types of water.  Although you have likely never thought about it, that wonderful liquid that you have come to know and trust has unique characteristics depending on where you’re at, where it’s coming from, and how it’s ultimately getting to you in your home.

You can’t fix a problem until you know about the problem, so we’re here to tell you a littlewater bit more about water and its effects on you and your home.  Don’t worry; although there are many types of water, you have come to the right place to learn more about them without getting overwhelmed.  Here, you will learn a little bit more about some various types of water, and we’ll help you understand how to analyse your own water so that you know what you’re dealing with.  It’s not as scary or time consuming as it may seem, and we’re here to help!

Why would you care what kind of water you have in the first place?  Well, besides different health effects that varying minerals, contaminants, hardness or softness of water, and other potential ingredients that can be present in your liquid friend, your appliances are also affected.  Just as humans are affected by how much or how little hydration and lubrication they have, machines and appliances are equally affected.  Think about it this way:  Most of the liquid that you consume likely has some amount of water in it, but the difference in purity will affect your performance.  An athlete isn’t likely to perform at his or her best after a few beers that contain some amount of water.  Just the same, your home appliances aren’t going to perform to their optimal levels if they’re using a ton of contaminants mixed with a little bit of pure water.  It may seem like a stretch, but it’s actually a pretty accurate analogy, and once you understand the different types of water and how they’re affecting your appliances, you can take the appropriate steps to get those household helpers up and running at Gold Medal winning levels.

Speaking of appliances, are there some appliances that are better for your home than others?  Of course there are!  In fact, in this age of “green is everybody’s favorite color” there are tons of options to help you make the best use of your water usage, no matter what kind of water you have.  Looking for the best ways to make your household appliances keep your dishes and clothes happy while doing the same favor for your wallet?  We’ll explore the steps that the industry has taken to change the word “green” from a color to a way of life.  Just as the idea of many different types of water can seem a little overwhelming at first, we understand that the choice of too many appliances can be equally as overwhelming.  Rest assured, that it’s not as scary as it sounds, and with our professional hands here to guide you along the way, you’ll come out of the process with a better understanding of the green machines that can make your home happy and keep a little bit more green paper in your pocket, as well!

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.