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What brand of appliance can you buy today that will give 10 to 15 years of trouble-free operation?

Many appliance owners are frustrated today because they don't realize that the days of buying an appliance and having it work trouble-free for 10 to 15 years are long gone.

The good news is that you can buy an appliance today for about what you would have paid 15-20 years ago.

The bad news is that there's an on-going cost of appliance ownership in doing repairs-- industry average is every 2 to 4 years.

What varies among brands and models is how big will that repair need to be, not whether or not it'll need one-- I guarantee you it will!

Short answer to the question asked in the title of this post: NONE! That brand doesn't exist anymore. 

As for brand recommendations, I have a complete report that I update periodically and give away for free when people subscribe to our free newsletter, Appliantology: The Oracle of Appliance Enlightenment


An Easy Fix for a Frosty Freezer

In this journey into Total Appliance Awareness™, The Appliance Guru reveals the mysterious and elusive cause for excessive rime ice (frost) formation inside the freezer compartment of a GE Profile French Door refrigerator.  


Beware the Temptation to run the Self-Clean cycle on your oven

This is the time of year, the countdown to Thanksgiving, that we professional Appliantologists lovingly refer to as “Cooking Season.” 


I love cooking season. It marks the next season in my local appliance service bidness from the warm refrigerator fire drills all summer long, through the inevitable slowdown after Labor Day, to cooking season when families get together to break bread and turkey legs, crack a few cold ones, catch up on each other’s lives and generally get on each other’s nerves. Through it all, The Appliance Guru is right there with you, helping, listening, seeing things we shouldn’t see… oh, wait, that’s the NSA. 


Many of my local service customers, aware that they’re coming up on Thanksgiving, figure they better go ahead and run a self-clean cycle on their range or oven in case that nosey mother-in-law decides to inspect the inside of the oven. 


Problem is that this is about the only time during the whole year they run the self-clean cycle. More often than not, what ends up happening is that all the grease accumulated on the door latch motor gets hardened into a crusty, burnt cement that prevents the door latch from unlocking at the end of the cycle. 


Result: door stuck closed at the end of the clean cycle and no access to the oven. I get dozens of these calls in the run up to Thanksgiving. It’s nice, profitable work for me so it’s definitely not in my self-interest to give away these closely-guarded trade secrets. But you’ve just reaped the bountiful benefit of reading my blog here at Appliantology! 


I’ll let you in an another secret: Our range at home has the self-clean feature, like most medium to upper-end ranges do. We have never used it, not even once. I don’t generally get away with telling Mrs. Guru what to do— she doesn’t take kindly to that and can get downright ornery. But when I explain to her that using the self-clean feature can break her oven and it might take me months to get it fixed (because no one pays me to fix my own broken stuff), she sees the light. And now you do, too. 


Learn how to Stop the Stink in Your Front-Load Washer

One of the most common complaints I hear people make about front-load washers is about odor: stinky basket, stinky door gasket, stinky towels, stinky underwear... okay, I'll stop there.

In almost every case, when I see (smell) this problem on service calls, they all invariably have the same cause: incorrect detergent usage, either too much or the wrong kind.

For front-load washers (and HE top-loaders), you should only be using HE detergent.

And, no, using less of the regular stuff is not the same thing because washing clothes in a low water environment requires a special chemistry, which is what the HE detergents are engineered to do. I don't understand why someone would spend over $1,000 for a front-load washer and then try to shave shekels buying cheap detergent. That's what we call penny-wise and dollar-dumb.

I'll hear some techs say that you should only use powdered detergent, sometimes they'll even recommend a specific brand, like Tide. This is well-meaning but misguided misinformation. Using powdered or liquid HE detergent is not the issue because the chemistry is the same. What does matter is using the correct amount of HE detergent for your water hardness quality. The general guidelines are:

HE detergent: 2 tablespoons

HEx2 (double concentrated): 1 tablespoon

HEx3: 1 teaspoon

Unless you know for a fact that you have very hard water where you live (defined as > 10.5 gpg, more details here), then the most HE detergent you should ever use, powder or liquid, is 2 tablespoons.

The number one problem that people don't seem to get is that they are using too much detergent, whether powdered or liquid. Even if it is HE, too much will cause odor problems.

FWIW, we've been using liquid HE detergent in our front loaders for the past 15 years and never had even a whiff of an odor or mildew issue. But we have always implemented the 9 odor-beating techniques AND always remove the clothes from the washer as soon as they're done.

It's also important that your detergent is fresh, and if you use powdered, it must be kept completely dry. If the powder gets damp while in storage, it loses most of its punch.

Pop quiz:

Q. What's the biggest single difference between HE and non-HE detergents? Give up?

A. HE detergent has additives specifically designed to suppress sudsing because sudsing interferes with the mechanical action of removing soils from fabrics.

Okay, here's another one:

Q. What do most people like to see when they do laundry?

A. SUDS! Lots and lots of suds. They open the lid or look through the glass and don't see suds, what do they do? Yep: add more detergent until they see suds. Then they wonder why their clothes stink.

Fun Fact to Know and Tell (FFTKAT): Detergent contains most of the necessary ingredients to support microbial life. In other words, it's bug food. What do bacteria do as they grow? Like all life forms, they produce waste products. Sometimes, this is a good thing, like in the case of making beer. But other times, it's a bad thing, like in the case of making stinky laundry.

The detergent manufacturers are partly to blame here, too. They put idiot directions on the label instructing the customer to use too much. Supposedly, the usage instructions are based on a North American average of water hardness. I'm not sure I believe that. The amount they say to use would be appropriate for areas with extreme hard water. For most areas, the amount on the label is three to four times too much and causes all kinds of problems, including odors and the infamous F35/sud error code in Whirlpool steam washers…


© The Appliance Guru 2013
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