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Troubleshooting Garbage Disposal Problems

December 1st, 2020

It’s probably not necessary to remind you not to put your fingers down a garbage disposal unit, but here’s a friendly reminder anyway. It’s not going to remove your fingers or make hamburger of your hands, but it can bruise you up pretty well if you switch it on when you’re reaching in there, or if you dislodge something that’s impeding the impeller. The impeller forces materials against the sides of the cylinder, which are designed to present cutting surfaces to reduce what’s put inside into drain-friendly bits that pass through the perforations and down the drain.

1) No Power

If you activate the disposal and don’t hear any hum from the motor, chances are there’s an issue with power getting to the unit. Some of us don’t use the disposal very often, so, taking care to run some water, make sure that you’re hitting the right switch.

If you are certain that you’re hitting the right switch, but still getting no power, make sure that the unit is plugged in. It sounds pretty basic, but appliance servicemen report that this is the most common problem that they encounter.

If it’s properly plugged in, and there’s no power, the next thing will be to see whether the reset has tripped. Generally, this will mean that a small red button on the bottom of the disposal has popped out a small distance. Press it back in to re-engage the mechanism.

If that doesn’t fix the problem, check to see whether the circuit breaker serving the disposal has itself tripped, and reset it if necessary.

If you’ve eliminated those causes, it’s possible that there’s a problem in the switch itself. Make sure that you have switched off the proper circuit breaker before you pull the switch, generally on the wall or under the sink.

Pull the switch out and inspect the wires. It may be that one of them has detached, in which case the fix is simply to reattach it. Or it may be that the contacts have become oxidized, in which case some contact cleaner and a scrub with steel wool should set things right.

Make sure to switch on at the main service panel before testing. If your disposal still doesn’t work, a new switch may fix the problem inexpensively. It’s worth a shot trying.

If your disposal still doesn’t work, it may just be time to get a new one. Naturally, if you are uncomfortable with any of the above steps, it’s best to call in the guys from Dave’s appliance to check things out for you.

2) You Hear the Motor Hum, But the Disposal Doesn’t Grind

Probably the flywheel is jammed, though usually this trips the reset button pretty quickly. You don’t want to have the motor trying to move a stationary flywheel for long, because this can quickly damage the motor.

Almost always, there’s some object stuck in the unit that’s preventing its operation.

For starters, shut off both the wall switch and the circuit breaker. You don’t want to accidentally bump the switch and have it start up when you’re trying to remove something from the grinding chamber.

You should have received a special offset wrench with your unit. If you’ve misplaced it, a large hex wrench may suffice. Insert the wrench and turn it clockwise to release the flywheel/impeller assembly. You should feel it begin to turn freely. If you don’t have a wrench that will work, a local seller of your brand of disposal may be able to get one for you.

You can also try your luck with the wooden handle to one of your kitchen implements. Again, you should feel the flywheel unstick and begin to move freely if you can move the impellers clockwise.

Get a flashlight and get a good look into the chamber, if you can. Remove any foreign objects or debris with a needle nose pliers or similar implement.

Switch power back on at the mains, hit the reset button, run some water and hit the wall or under-sink switch. Anything left should be easily disposed of by the unit.

If it’s still not working, it’s time to call Dave’s appliance.

Leaks

Leakage at the Flange

The most common leak issue develops at the flange, because the vibration of the disposal motor loosens the seal.

Turn off the power at the mains before anything else.

You should see a mounting ring. Turn the disposal counter-clockwise from the bottom to loosen it and detach it from the ring.

This should expose 3 bolts that secure the flange to the sink. Tighten them.

If the bolts don’t seem loose, it could be that the plumbers putty that helps make the seal has deteriorated or come loose. Loosen the bolts and push the flange a little ways above the sink to provide room to bead on some new putty (it’s best to remove what you can of the old). Retighten the bolts and wipe away any excess with a rag.

Reinstall the disposal unit on the mounting ring, switch on at the service panel.

Run some water and check for any leaks.

Leakage at the Dishwasher Connection

Often dishwasher wastewater is discharged into the garbage disposal. Check to see whether the clamp has loosened up and tighten it down. If it’s not the clamp, it’s probably time to replace the hose.

Leakage at the Discharge Drainpipe

A rigid plastic pipe discharges water from the disposal to the sink drain trap. The issue may be with the gasket, and the treatment is the same as with the flange. Attempt to tighten the bolts, and if that doesn’t suffice to replace the plumber’s putty in the same way.

If the Disposal Drains Slowly

There’s probably some clogging. Disassemble the drain pipe and the trap, and remove any materials that may be impeding the flow of water and disposal debris. If you can’t find any, the problem is likely further along and needs snaking out with an auger.

A handy guide to what not to put down your disposal:

Bones are not generally a good idea.
Potato peels, pasta, or other starchy foods.
Grease.
Fruit pits.
Celery or other very fibrous materials.
Coffee grounds.
Egg shells.

As always, if you have any questions or need help, the friendly and knowledgeable folks at Dave’s Appliance are happy to help!

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How To Deal With the Most Common Dishwasher Problems

December 1st, 2020

There are lots of helpful videos out on the internet that can help with specific issues for specific models of appliances. Generally speaking, you should be able to get 10 years of use or so out of a good dishwasher before it’s time to replace it. That said, here are some of the most common easy-to-fix issues.

My Dishwasher Stinks!

It’s probably the filter. The filter sits at the base of the inside of the dishwasher, and traps large food particles that might otherwise get into the mechanisms and gum up the works. It’s designed to be easily clipped in and out, and who among us (ahem) actually read the manual and kept to the suggestion of washing the filter out on a weekly basis?

If this little item of maintenance has somehow slipped your mind, scrubbing it up and replacing it will probably remove the odor. If it’s been damaged, it’s probably replaceable.

Not Cleaning So Well

Might be time to unclog the spray arms! These are the longish, flattish plastic arms that spray and rinse the dishes and other items you put in the dishwasher as they spin about. They are designed to be unclipped, cleaned, and reinstalled. Don’t forget to clean the mounting while you’re at it.

Occasionally cleaning the spray arms can significantly improve the performance of your dishwasher.

Wobbly Rolling Basket at the Bottom

Replace the wheels. They are designed to snap on and off, and it’s certainly worth avoiding the hair-pulling frustration of trying to coax the thing in and out if it’s bothering you.

Detergent Dispenser Broken

Another item that’s generally easily replaced, if your unit isn’t too old, is the detergent dispenser. This is going to be a more involved fix, because the front panel of your dishwasher is going to have to be unmounted, electrical connections undone, and everything replaced. This is one of those situations where you may want to view an online video, especially if it treats your specific model, and to have all the tools you need immediately on hand. Naturally, if you have qualms, it may be best to call the experts at Dave’s.

Replace the Hoses

The fill hose brings water into your dishwasher, and the drain hose removes the wastewater. In time, these can corrode, degrade, or get clogged, reducing the performance of your dishwasher. It’s usually possible to get replacements and not hard to install them yourself.

Dang Thing Leaks

Likely this is due either to faulty door hinges or door seals. Or it may have to do with the hoses, which we mentioned above.

If the door seems to drop heavily or seems misaligned, it could well be a hinge. You’ll need to remove the side panels to get a good look, and it’s a good idea to watch a video on replacing the mechanism. Also, it’s probably a good idea to replace both at the same time.

If you’re not that handy, it may be time to call in the skilled repairs folks at Dave’s Appliance.

Check the upper door seal, which goes from one side, around the top, and down the other side of the door. Usually a new seal costs $30 or so, and it’s not a hard job to replace it. The lower seals is another matter, since it involves disassembling the entire door, and is best left to the professionals.

Again, that would be one you’d want to call Dave’s Appliance about.

The Dishwasher Isn’t Draining Well

It’s probably the drain pump, located at the bottom of the appliance, that pushes wastewater out of the dishwasher and into the adjacent sink drain. Bits of food, chips of dishes, slivers of glass, and other material can get caught in the pump and prevent it from working efficiently. It’s not a hard job to disassemble and clean the pump, but it does involve tilting the dishwasher on its back and removing the baseplate.

The biggest challenge here may be in reversing the process of disassembly while reassembling the dishwasher. Documenting the process with cell phone pictures might help. Or, if it seems not in your wheelhouse, the experts at Dave’s will be happy to help.

More Advanced Problems

Water’s Not Heating Up

Could be the heating element has burned out. You’re going to need a multimeter for this one.

Lay the unit on its back. Remove the baseplate and anything else that might be blocking the element. Remove the wires to isolate it. Check it with your multimeter by touching to the terminals.

If a fault is indicated, replacing the heating element ought to do the trick.

Dang Thing’s Not Filling Up

Pretty much the same as above for the heating element, but this time you’re checking the water valve, located behind the back plate, near to the fill hose. Remove the wires, check with a multimeter, and replace if faulty.

Bleeping Thing Won’t Start

Disqualify the obvious first. Check to make sure it’s properly plugged in and that the circuit breaker isn’t tripped.

If you know your way around a multimeter, you may be able to track down the problem on your own and fix it. There are some useful videos available online that bring you through the troubleshooting process in a reasonable sequence. Otherwise, it’s time to call Dave’s Appliance.

And remember, a dishwasher that’s served you for 10 years has lasted pretty well. It may just be time to get a new one. The experts at Dave’s will advise you well.

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How To Test Microwave Ovens

October 5th, 2020

Microwave ovens are like any other electrical appliance, in that it will gradually wear out. This is due principally to gradual degradation of the magnetron tube that generates the energy that heats the materials that you put into it. If you’re interested in how a magnetron tube converts high-voltage electricity into microwaves, there’s a Wikipedia entry here. For most of us, though, it’s enough to know that over time, the tube will wear down and produce less microwave energy, requiring more time to bring things to the desired heat. In higher power-rated microwaves, the degradation may be less noticeable for a time, but for lower powered units, a fall-off may mean that the device is no longer very useful.

If you’ve thought that your microwave no longer cooks as quickly or as thoroughly as it used to, you may be correct. One common sign is that you hit a preset power and time setting, such as to pop microwave popcorn or heat a coffee mug of water, and it doesn’t quite do the job. Of course, the speed at which it cooks when it is new depends on the power rating. Higher powered microwaves are often rated at around 1200 Watts, and some even higher. Low power models are typically 700 Watts rated. Anything under 700 Watts is probably not very good for cooking food. You can see how to convert power ratings and times required here.

Down and Dirty Test #1
So, how can you test? Well, the most obvious way is to find out what your microwave’s power rating is (often noted on the back of the appliance, and certainly in the owner’s manual), and use the time for specified power instructions on some microwave friendly food’s preparation instructions. If you don’t want to waste food, a packet of microwave popcorn might be a good place to start. Presumably, if your microwave isn’t heating to what the power rating and time of preparation expectations are, it isn’t performing to specifications, although this assumes that the preparation instructions are accurate.

Down and Dirty Test #2
Another down-and-dirty way of testing is to fill a coffee mug with water and boil it on high (the microwave’s default setting) for 1 minute. The water should in most cases have begun to boil by then. Again, though, this is just presumptive proof that it’s not operating to specification. What it means, more than anything, is that our expectations have been raised to the point where we think that is a reasonable time in which water ought to boil in a microwave.

More Scientific Test: The JIS Microwave Power Method

You can find this method outlined at Celtek Electronics. You need:℃

2 identical 500 mL beakers (or other microwavable containers)
An accurate thermometer
A stirrer (wooden is good, like a popsicle stick/tongue depressor/coffee stirrer)

1) Stir and divide 1000 mL of water that’s 20℃ plus or minus 5℃ into the two containers, to ensure that they are both of the same temperature.
2) Measure the temperatures of both, add those temperatures and divide by two to average the results.
3) Position both containers near the center of the microwave’s turntable. At full power, switch the microwave on for 60 seconds.
4) Remove both containers immediately, stir, and measure the temperatures the same way: note each and add together, then divide by two to average.
5) Now subtract the starting temperature average from the ending temperature average (for example, 40 minus 20 equals 20). Now take that number, and multiply by 70 to give the estimated wattage. In this case, 20 times 70 equals approximately 1400 Watts.

Compare that to the manufacturer’s specified power. If it’s not near the mark, it may be time to get a new microwave oven. Even if it’s close, it may be that your life circumstances have changed, and you find you need a larger capacity or a higher power rating for a growing family, or maybe you’re doing more food preparation than you used to, or you just want a change.

Whatever is causing your dissatisfaction with your microwave, Dave’s Appliance has the experience and the selection to get you the unit that will suit you best. They are happy to put their experience at your service. Give them a call.

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How To Fix a Microwave That Won’t Turn On

October 5th, 2020

It could be a simple fix, or not. If it is, you are going to have to be a little handy, and it helps to have a multimeter and to know how to use one. When in doubt, call a professional or replace the unit.

The first thing is to check that it is properly plugged in, and to check the circuit breaker. You might want to try testing the outlet with another appliance before making a trip to the circuit box.

If all of that seems fine, the first thing to check will be the door latch. Has it been sticky? Has it been loose or not closing properly the first time? If the safety interlock on the door isn’t making proper contact, this will prevent the microwave from turning on. The reason is that the door must be properly closed in order to prevent stray microwaves from endangering your health. It is a safety feature.

Testing the Interlock Switch

1) Unplug the microwave.
2) Check the hooks that are on the door to make sure that they are not deformed. If they are, this can prevent the interlock switch from permitting the microwave to be turned on. You can think of the door hooks as being a kind of key that activates the interlock switch.
3) If the door hooks seem to be fine, and lining up properly with the interlock switch, you can remove the interlock switch by unscrewing it from the microwave.
4) Now set your multimeter to Rx1, turn it on, and touch the probes to the terminals. You should see a reading of “0” [zero], indicating that the circuit is continuous.
5) If your switch is not continuous, you can try spraying it with contact cleaner, thought that is likely a temporary solution. If it is not, you will want to get a replacement switch.

If you feel uncomfortable with any of these steps, you are probably best off contacting Dave’s Appliance instead of fixing it yourself.

Checking the Ceramic Fuse

If your microwave won’t start, and you can’t get a reading on the display, it could be that the ceramic fuse has blown. This fuse is there to protect the electrical components of your microwave from damage in case of power fluctuations. If the fuse is blown, nothing on your microwave will work until it is replaced.

1) Unplug the microwave.
2) Locate the fuse near the power cord. This may entail removing the microwave from its cabinet. Remove it.
3) As with testing the interlock switch, set your multimeter to Rx1, activate it, press the probes to both ends of the fuse. It should read “0” [zero]. If you don’t have a multimeter, and you happen to have a replacement fuse, though that is unlikely, you can try replacing it, but be very careful to make sure you have the proper replacement. You can also bring your fuse to a local electrical supply shop, and have them test it for you and get a replacement, if that is the problem.

Again, if any of the above makes you uncomfortable, it is best to seek professional help. The folks at Dave’s Appliance have seen these problems thousands of times, and can give you the advice you need.

For all other potential problems involving microwaves, you are best leaving things to the pros, unless you really have some good electrical problem-solving chops. Check to see whether your unit is still under warranty. Or maybe it’s just time to replace your microwave, although in many cases owners have become so accustomed to how a particular microwave works that they are reluctant to part with it. Or perhaps the microwave you have is part of a kitchen appliance ensemble that matches, and you don’t want to disrupt the way it hangs together.

At any rate, the helpful professionals at Dave’s Appliance are happy to advise you in the way that best suits your needs. Give them a call.

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Does Room Temperature Affect My Refrigerator?

August 4th, 2020

You may be considering putting a second refrigerator out in your unheated garage. Or you might worry about your refrigerator’s efficiency in the hot, humid Wisconsin summers. Whatever your situation, it’s important to know whether room temperature affects your refrigerator.

Extreme Temperatures Can Damage Fridge

The temperature of the room that a refrigerator is in should be between 60ºF and 95ºF. That’s a really wide range, and you might think there’s no way your refrigerator could be in a situation where the ambient temperature is either that high or that low. But you live in Wisconsin. Extreme temperatures can damage the compressor or sealed system. Below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the oil could become thick and not circulate properly. Above 110 degrees Fahrenheit, the oil could overheat and break down.

Refrigerator Function in Cold Temperatures

Having a refrigerator in a partially heated space might seem like a good compromise. While the unit may not actually break down, you might reconsider that choice. Refrigeration systems rely on the boiling of refrigerant under pressure and heat. When the ambient temperature is below 60ºF, it takes more energy to make the refrigerant boil and change into a vapor. And the energy consumption increases with the decreasing temperature until at 32ºF, there’s no cooling capacity at all.

Refrigerator Function in Hot Temperatures

If the refrigerator is located in a room where the temperature is over 90ºF and it is opened frequently, then the efficiency will decrease significantly. When the outside temperature is so warm, it can cause other problems, too. The consistency of the cooled temperature inside the unit may vary widely and your food may spoil more quickly.

Other Considerations

Remember that the room temperature can be quite different from the outside temperature. Your well insulated garage can be 10 – 20 degrees colder or hotter than outdoors. If you do decide to have your refrigerator in a place that isn’t ideal, take steps to mitigate the loss of efficiency. Your refrigerator placement can help with that. Your fridge shouldn’t be pushed against the wall. It needs a little space behind it so that air can circulate freely and the heat from the condenser can dissipate. Keeping the grill clean and the door seals tight ensures that it’s working at peak efficiency too.

If you’re wondering whether room temperature affects your refrigerator, the answer is yes. You probably don’t have it in a space where the extreme temperatures will cause a breakdown, but you should be aware that its efficiency will be affected by the ambient temperature. If you have any continuing concerns, call the experts at Dave’s Appliance; we’ll be glad to help.

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Freezer Not Working, But Fridge is Fine?

August 4th, 2020

When you have a refrigerator/freezer unit and the freezer doesn’t seem to be working right, but the fridge is fine, it can be more than a little annoying. There are a number of issues that could be causing this problem. Some of them you can deal with yourself; for the others, you can call in the experts at Dave’s Appliance. For some of them, you must call in the experts due to federal regulations.

Invisible Ice

You’re probably aware that your fridge can’t be pushed right up against a wall, because there needs to be space around the condenser. What many people don’t know is that there also needs to be space in your refrigerator between the refrigeration and freezing sections to allow air to circulate. Sometimes ice can accumulate in places between the two, and it doesn’t get noticed until it’s really created a problem. This is especially true if the door hasn’t been shut properly and humidity causes an ice build up. To fix this problem, search for the hidden ice and remove. Alternatively, you can defrost the whole fridge.

Ice Maker Issue

If your freezer has an ice maker installed and you’re not using it, it needs to be disconnected. If it’s not turned off, the icemaker will continue to run through its cycles even though there’s no water. Problems arise because it goes through its cycles really quickly and every time it does, the heater under the ice maker tray is activated. So anything that is close to the ice maker will thaw. This also causes a buzzing sound, when it’s trying to get water. This is water valve noise, not to be confused with the buzzing from the compressor. If this is your issue, the solution is simple: disconnect the ice maker, and make sure it stays switched off.

Compressor Problem

Your compressor should hum along happily, but sometimes it goes in fits and starts. When your compressor doesn’t run long enough, it can mean that the freezer never gets cold enough. Some reasons for intermittent compressor function include: overheating, bad relays, or broken motor. You can determine whether the issue is the compressor by feel. If it’s really hot or makes an odd noise (like clicking or buzzing), then it’s probably the culprit. Knowing that doesn’t get to the fix the problem, though. This would be the time to call in the experts at Dave’s Appliance. We can figure out the cause and fix it.

Low Freon

A low freon charge can cause the evaporator to be cool but not cold enough to freeze. That would lead to the evaporator inside the freezer not frosting over completely. You can check if this might be the issue by removing the back panel inside your freezer to see what the coils look like. If only a portion of the coils are frosted, or if you see a large clump of ice in one of the corners, then you have a freon problem. You could have a leak, or may simply need a recharge. In any event, this isn’t a repair you can do. You need to call the professionals at Dave’s Appliance. We have the EPA licensing required to deal with the issue.

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Refrigerator Maintenance: 5 Ways to Avoid Fridge Repair Costs

July 9th, 2020

Keeping your refrigerator in good working order prevents many issues from developing. It also maintains your family’s health by properly cooling your food. If you’re worried that you can’t possibly perform maintenance on your refrigerator, that’s understandable. After all, it’s a major appliance with different mechanical parts, including refrigerant fluid that can be toxic. However, there are simple tasks you can do with confidence. Here are 5 ways to avoid fridge repair costs:

1. Keep the Drain Clear

Every refrigerator has a small drain hole to allow water that condenses on the inside of the fridge to drain out into a drain pan underneath it. That drain hole can easily become clogged if any food particles get stuck in it. Clearing the drain hole may be as simple as removing obvious food particles. Or you may need to use a thin snake followed by baking soda and hot water. If that’s necessary, you should unplug the refrigerator and take the vegetable drawer out for easier access. Then use the snake, and finally, sprinkle 2 teaspoons of baking soda down the hole, followed by 2 cups of hot water. You might need to use a turkey baster to direct the hot water properly. Always finish by emptying the drain pan.

2. Check the Temperature

The interior of your refrigerator should be about 40ºF and the temperature gauge should be set at medium or 5 to achieve that temperature. That gauge can easily get knocked out of position, so periodic checks are a good idea. It’s also wise to have an independent internal refrigerator thermometer in your fridge. That way, you can monitor that the temperature gauge is working properly. Just put it on the bottom shelf (not in the crisper) toward the back where it won’t get in the way.

3. Inspect the Door Seals

Check the rubber door seals on your fridge to make sure you’re getting a proper seal. Look for any cracks or pitting. The door seals should be flexible. If you find a problem, wash the seals with warm water and soap and apply a thin film of petroleum jelly. When your fridge doesn’t seal properly, it runs constantly causing excessive condensation on the coils, and water overflows the drain pan. Remember the freezer door seals too.

4. Check the Drain Pan

The drain pan is underneath your refrigerator and allows the water that condenses inside the fridge and drain out to evaporate. If your drain pain becomes cracked or damaged, then instead of evaporating, that water will simply pool under your fridge, and eventually leak out. Remove the drain pain and look at it carefully to see if there are any obvious problems. You might even run water into it and watch whether any escapes. If the drain pan is damaged, just call Dave’s Appliance, and we can get you a new one quickly.

5. Clean the Coils

If the coils on your fridge are dirty or dusty, then the compressor needs to work harder and longer to keep the freezer temperature constant. When this happens, the refrigerator can overcool and freeze food and drinks. This task is a little more complicated because you need to turn off your refrigerator and remove a panel to expose the condenser coils; but the good news is that you shouldn’t need to clean the coils more than twice a year. Once the coils are exposed, simply use a soft-bristled brush to get as much dirt off as possible, then vacuum it up. With a narrow nozzle attached to your vacuum, you can do a pretty thorough job of it.

Simple refrigerator maintenance is key to prolonging the life of your fridge and ensuring that the food your family eats is properly cooled. Maintenance also prevents problems and potentially costly repairs.

At Dave’s Appliance, we want to partner with our customers to keep the appliances in your home running smoothly.

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Oven Maintenance: 5 Ways to Avoid Repair Costs

July 9th, 2020

If you’re like most people, you use your oven every day, often multiple times a day. Keeping your oven in good working order is key. Regular oven maintenance isn’t difficult and can prevent problems from arising. Here are five simple things to maintain your stove and avoid repair costs.

1. Avoid Cleaning

That sounds counter-intuitive, but stay with me here. The best way to clean your stove top is to avoid having to do so. Use deep saucepans so that things won’t boil over. And use a saucepan larger than absolutely necessary. If you need to cover the saucepan, make sure it has a vent, or leave it partially off so steam can escape. Honestly, the choices you make about what pans to cook in make a real difference. In the oven, it’s wise to put a cookie sheet covered in foil on the bottom of the oven so that anything that bubbles over falls on that rather than the oven itself.

2. Clean Spills Right Away

No matter what, there will be some spills and oil from frying can go everywhere. If you wipe them off immediately with warm soapy water and a cloth, they don’t become encrusted obstacles that require intense scrubbing. Spills in the oven can be more problematic. You can’t clean them when the oven is still hot, and it’s easy to forget to do it after the oven cools. If you can remember to clean off any spills before you use the oven again, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier and it will also increase the amount of time between full oven cleanings. And most people forget that the oven racks need to be cleaned too. Doing that frequently makes a big difference.

3. Clean Stove Parts

Occasionally, it’s a good idea to clean the burner drip pans and knobs. If the owner’s manual says that they are dishwasher safe, use that. Otherwise, hot soapy water works just fine. If the drip pans become dingy, just replace them. You can get them in any hardware store and they’re cheap. If you have a ceramic stove top, make it a habit to clean it with the right cleaner. There are special ceramic cleansers out there, but dishwashing liquid and hot water, or a 50/50 solution of vinegar and hot water work great. Don’t use abrasives! They make tiny scratches on the surface and the next spill will cling to them. If your stove doesn’t have a sealed cooktop, lift it up and clean underneath. Food and grease tend to gather there and a 50/50 vinegar water solution can clean it easily.

4. Clean Your Oven

You should clean your oven at least twice a year, and if you use it a lot, you should clean it every couple of months. There’s a lot of debate about whether to use the self-cleaning setting on your oven. Self-cleaning ovens are designed to incinerate food debris by increasing the temperatures in the oven to 900º to 1000º. This takes a long time (from 2 to 4½ hours), and it creates a nasty odor and fumes that can be toxic. If you choose to use it, be sure to keep a window open, and don’t leave the house while the cleaning cycle is on. Alternatively, you could use hot, soapy water and a plastic scrub pad to clean your oven. Clean the window with a damp cloth dipped in baking soda. If it is really dingy, wipe the window with ammonia and let it stand for 30 minutes. Then scrape it off with a plastic tool. If you’re cleaning it frequently, it should never become a dreaded chore.

5. Avoid Electrical Issues

Never wash the burner element itself. That can cause a short and you could find yourself with a nonfunctional range. Also, don’t spray around the knobs; they lead to electrical controls and a squirt could cause a short. Instead, squirt a rag or paper towel and use that to wipe them down. If you have a traditional electric range, don’t wrap the drip pans in

aluminum foil. While that may make them easier to clean, the foil could cause the heating element to short circuit.

As you may have guessed, the key to maintaining your oven is keeping it clean. Make it part of your routine and you’ll avoid unnecessary repairs. The best kept oven can malfunction though, and when that happens, the experts at Dave’s Appliance are here to help.

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Does Cooking Food Kill Coronavirus?

June 24th, 2020

The short answer is: yes. The longer answer is: it really shouldn’t be a concern.

Biology Matters

There have been no cases of COVID-19 associated with food ingestion. And while doctors and scientists continue to learn about this disease, it is highly unlikely that we will discover that you can contract it from the food you eat. Whatever you put in your mouth is immediately subjected to the digestive process designed to convert it into usable nutrients and waste. If the coronavirus were present on the surface of your food, it would almost certainly be killed by your stomach acids. In the unlikely event that it survives that onslaught, it would then enter into your intestines, and then out of your body. There is no pathway from your stomach to your lungs. Theoretically, there is the possibility that it could move from the mouth to the larynx and thereby into the lungs, but there has never been a case where that happened. COVID-19 needs to enter the respiratory system in order to produce the disease, and given the nature of human biology, the food you eat cannot cause the illness.

Cooking Helps Too

Because COVID-19 is so new, there is no settled science about the heat needed to kill it. However, the SARS virus (a close relative to COVID-19), is inactivated at 133ºF to 149ºF. Given that nearly all cooking is done at temperatures above 300ºF, it is reasonable to assume that COVID-19 would be killed in the cooking process as well. Again, though, it ought not to matter since your body would deal with the virus in the course of normal digestion.

Kitchen Hygiene – Fresh Produce

Just as you should have been doing before the COVID-19 outbreak, you should wash your fresh produce before using it. It is sufficient to use clean running water; you don’t need to (and shouldn’t) use any kind of cleaner on the produce. Leafy greens can be submerged in cool water then run through a salad spinner or dried with paper towels. Sturdy vegetables (like root vegetables) can be scrubbed with a vegetable brush under running water. Delicate produce (like raspberries) can be cleaned by hand under gently running water.

Kitchen Hygiene – Clean Surfaces

More important than the food you consume is the environment in which that food exists and is prepared. Now more than ever, it is essential to keep your kitchen clean. Use any standard surface sanitiser to clean your counters, and do so frequently. Be mindful of where you’re putting your grocery bags when you return from shopping, and clean those surfaces thoroughly before using them in food preparation. The risk of transmission from packaging is very low, but again, it’s an easy thing to wipe the counter after taking the pizza out of the box.

Kitchen Hygiene – Washing Hands

Washing your hands before you begin cooking should be part of your usual kitchen routine. Now, it may be wise to wash your hands more frequently while you prepare food. After washing the vegetables, wash your hands. After wiping the counter, wash your hands. It can’t hurt, and we know that hand washing is the most effective weapon in the prevention of COVID-19.

COVID-19 is very frightening, but it’s good to know you don’t need to worry about preparing, cooking, and eating your food.

Posted in covid-19 | Comments Off on Does Cooking Food Kill Coronavirus?

Appliance Repair During Quarantine: Safety Precautions to Take

June 24th, 2020

You don’t really understand how vital your appliances are to your quality of life until one breaks down. And during the recent lockdown, people have been using their stoves, dishwashers, washing machines, etc. even more than usual. If something goes wrong, you want it fixed right away. At Dave’s Appliance, we have been open throughout the lockdown as an essential business, and we have made safety precautions part of our repair routine. In this post, we’ll share what we do, and what you can do, to keep yourself and your family safe during an appliance repair in your home.

What We Do – No Exposed Employees

If any of our employees have any symptoms of COVID-19, we encourage them to get tested immediately. They also stay home for 14 days. If any of our employees are informed that they have been exposed to COVID-19, they stay home for 14 days whether or not they have any symptoms.

What We Do – Masks

Whenever we come into a home to do a repair, we wear masks. Masks are designed to protect those encountered more than those wearing them. So wearing a mask is a mark of our respect for our customers. We don’t want to introduce disease into your home.

What We Do – Hand Sanitizer

We have hand sanitizers in our vans; we have hand sanitizer on our persons. We use hand sanitizer before entering your home, and we use it again if the repair takes a while. Hand sanitizer has been demonstrated to kill the COVID-19 virus effectively.

What We Don’t Do – Gloves

At Dave’s Appliance we have chosen not to wear gloves. If they aren’t immediately taken off after every encounter, they can become a source of transmission, and “[g]loves can be a source of contamination if they are not removed properly” (Wisconsin Economic Development Corp). Also, repairing appliances requires a lot of fine manipulation of various mechanical parts. Wearing gloves inhibits our ability to actually do our job quickly and well.

What We Do – Social Distancing

Everybody at Dave’s Appliance is fully committed to social distancing. We will do our best to enter and leave your house without coming within six feet of anyone in your family. When following you to the appliance, we will stay well behind you. When we are working on the appliance, we will announce it if we are going to move out of the vicinity for any reason, giving you notice so social distancing can be maintained.

What You Can Do – Social Distancing

When someone from Dave’s Appliance appears at your door, you can open the door and then move far enough away so that social distancing is maintained. If you can direct us verbally to the room where the appliance is, please do so. If you need to show us, remember that we won’t be right on your heels. It’s best if you and any other members of your family can stay out of the room where we’re working on your appliance. If that’s not possible, do your best to stay six feet away from our repairman.

What You Can Do – Clean Surfaces

It shouldn’t be necessary, but if you are concerned, you could wipe down any surfaces that our repairman has come in contact with after we leave. That would mean any door handles that we may have touched, and of course, the appliance itself. Again, because of our precautions, this step isn’t strictly needed, but you’re certainly welcome to do it if you’re worried.

You shouldn’t struggle along without a functioning stove or washing machine because of fear of COVID-19. With reasonable precautions, Dave’s Appliance has been fixing appliances throughout this time. We can fix yours too.

Posted in covid-19 | Comments Off on Appliance Repair During Quarantine: Safety Precautions to Take

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“We offer fast, friendly and very affordable appliance repair service.”

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Specials

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Helpful Hints

Things to check before you call:

  • CHECK for a blown fuse
  • CHECK that the appliance is plugged in
  • CHECK that the dryer vent is clean
  • CHECK that refrigerator controls are at the proper setting