Beginning January 13th, GE is running an eight week sweepstakes, with weekly $250 VISA card giveaways and a grand prize of $20,000. You can enter each day for a chance to win. Here’s the link to get you there: GE Sweepstakes
Appliance repair is something people generally like to avoid. Break downs never occur at a convenient time. Appliances fail when they are being used or are needed. In addition to not being able to use the appliance, people now have to find an appliance repair service and schedule an appointment. Continental Appliance, a San Francisco appliance repair and sales store, offers advice for working with an appliance repair service.
Below are some guidelines for working with an appliance repair service:
1. Gather necessary information before calling the appliance repair service, including availability, warranty information, brand name, model, and serial number of the appliance.
2. Be home when the appliance repairman shows up. Though it can be frustrating to be given a two to four hour time window, this is often the best they can do. The appliance repairman cannot always be expected to know exactly how long each job is going to take.
3. Don’t put off appliance repair when something is going wrong. If the appliance is making a grinding noise but still seems to work ok, chances are the repair will be relatively inexpensive if addressed right away. Ignoring the problem could lead to a more expensive problem.
4. Owners often like to watch the technician at work, but be considerate. Keep pets and children out of the way. The repairman doesn’t need a dog licking his face or children playing with his tools.
5. Payment is expected at the time of service. Do not wait until the job is complete then tell the appliance repairman to send a bill.
As expensive as it seems, appliance repair fees are generally reasonable when considering the time and money it takes to travel around fixing appliances, to keep up with advancing technologies and new products, and the convenience afforded. Imagine if the appliance has to be taken to the shop.
GE Appliances & Lighting created the Home Energy Management (HEM) business, intending to be the first major appliance company to provide a whole-home solution for energy management.
When synchronized with the local utility company’s home smart-meter, coming into popular use, the HEM acts as the “central nervous system” for monitoring resource usage and controlling energy consumption within the home. The HEM, with the ability to collect data on multiple appliances, provides both real-time and long-term trend information on power and resource consumption and solar generation to the homeowners.
GE’s new Home Energy Manager (HEM) monitors all networked appliances which can include the refrigerator, range, dishwasher, washer and dryer, water heater, and will track all other home energy consumption including microwaves and televisions.
One of the primary goals of U.S. smart grid initiatives is to better use the energy production capacity the country already has. Home energy consumption efficiency can increase significantly when homeowners the option to participate in time-of-use pricing programs, which reward homeowners for lowering their consumption during periods of peak energy demand (usually 2-7 PM).
Simply providing consumers with energy consumption information motivates energy savings. A U.S. Department of Energy study showed that providing real-time pricing information to consumers via a smart meter helped reduce electricity costs 10% on average and 15% during peak periods.
“Knowing what is consuming electricity, and how much electricity that appliances are consuming, can be very empowering,” states Dave McCalpin, general manager of the new HEM business. “People will be able to make smarter choices if they have information. The once-a-month electrical bill provides no insight into your usage habits. We intend to change that.”
HEM’s design is targeted to include:
* Demand Response Integration, supporting communication standards Zigbee SEP 1.0, to enable demand response communication between a utilityâ€™s home smart meter and appliances on the home network, enabling real-time load shedding of networked appliances;
* Five-Day Weather Forecasts on Internet-enabled installations (communications supporting Ethernet, Wifi, and Zigbee SEP 1.0 standards);
* Electricity Usage Data Monitoring for the whole home for both short and long terms;
* Power Sub Metering for each GE demand response-enabled appliance;
* Solar Generation Monitoring of inverter output, including short- and long-term data where available;
* Water Usage Monitoring via household-wide data monitoring at 1-gallon resolution;
* Smart Thermostat Interface with full-featured seven-day programmable communicating thermostats that accepts demand response temperature offsets.
We rely on our dishwashers to provide us with sparkling clean dishes, but if the inside is lined with hard water deposits and detergent residue, we are making its job more difficult.
Use this simple method from Heloise to get your dishwasher in shape:
Turn on the dishwasher when it is empty; don’t use any dishwasher detergent.
Let the bottom of the washer fill with water, stop the cycle, then pour in 2 to 3 cups of plain white or apple-cider vinegar. Let the dishwasher finish the cycle. You might need to repeat if you have extremely stubborn hard-water stains inside.
Do this periodically to keep the dishwasher clean and fresh.
Washing baseball caps in the dishwasher is old news; I’m quite familiar with the idea of sanitizing kitchen sponges there too, and we’ve written here before about cooking lasagna in the dishwasher, but washing your underwear?
Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz of the Chicago Tribune writes of her adventures with her dishwasher:
One recent evening, I ran a variety of non-kitchen items through a dishwasher cycle, including flip-flops, baseball caps, hairbrushes, makeup brushes, dish sponges and, the test of honor, underwear. The computer keyboard was a risk I was unwilling to take.
I also, separately, made dinner in the dishwasher, the goal being a simple meal of poached salmon, steamed asparagus and baked potato. I avoided the dishwasher lasagna Florentine, for which there is a recipe online, and which sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.
The results, although not tragic, were unremarkable.
The baseball caps, two of which I placed on the bottom rack and two on the top, emerged after a normal wash cycle smelling far better than they had going in (thanks to the lemon-scented detergent), with no damage to fabric or shape. Some stains appeared to have faded, but were they immaculate? No. And they were soaking wet.
The plastic flip-flops, long smudged with dirt, still looked filthy when the cycle was over but were undamaged. The plastic hairbrush (hair removed) and an eyeshadow brush caked in Halloween makeup definitely looked cleaner, but not thoroughly. Perhaps the best outcome was for the dish sponges, which went in disgusting and came out looking and smelling almost new.
The two pairs of cotton underwear I draped over the prongs on the top rack had seen better days, poor things. My sopping wet skivvies, which had drooped down through the rack’s cracks like Dali’s melting clocks, were cleaner, but not perfectly, and the fabric looked as if it had been stretched out.
Perhaps the meal would be more triumphant.
Following a recipe for dishwasher salmon from Bob Blumer, author of “The Surreal Gourmet,” I greased the shiny side of a 12-inch square of heavy-duty aluminum foil with olive oil and placed two salmon fillets on top. I drizzled the salmon with freshly squeezed lime juice, added salt and pepper, then wrapped the aluminum foil tightly around the fillets, and wrapped another layer of foil around that. I prepared the asparagus the same way.
I had already run the potatoes through the dishwasher to clean them (a good time-saving trick). I wrapped them in aluminum foil, as well, hoping another cycle would soften them more. With everything on the top rack, I ran a normal cycle, high heat, no soap.
Dinner was meh. The salmon, while cooked, was a little rubbery and not flavorful. The potatoes weren’t cooked nearly enough. The asparagus, however, was steamed perfectly, to a crisp al dente, far better than the mushy spears I often end up with when I throw them in a pot.
Still, the meal was a colossal waste of water. Unless every other appliance in your kitchen has failed, leave your cooking to the stove.
Dish sponges, baseball caps, gardening tools and hard plastic toys are probably the best candidates for a dishwasher cleaning — the high heat sanitizes the items.
As for underwear, when times are desperate or it’s just too cold outside, I’d rather just hand-wash in Woolite — as my mom used to do.
The appliance business in Washington state did not see the benefits some might have expected from the government’s appliance rebate program. The Tri-City Herald reports:
About 38,000 people around the state got checks from $75 to $750 for buying Energy Star-rated appliances and properly recycling the old ones said Rebecca Stillings with the state Department of Commerce.
But all the money had been applied for by Friday, November fifth she said.
The owner of one Tri-City business was glad to hear that.
“That’s good news for us,” said Steve O’Neill, owner of Master’s Appliance & Refrigeration in Pasco. “We saw a lot less used appliances coming through our shop.”
O’Neill’s store sells new and used appliances, and the rebate program meant fewer used appliances available for resale or to salvage for parts. (The rebate program requires the older be recycled.)
“It really only helped the people who could afford the newer, high-end ones,” O’Neill said. “If you had to buy used, it just drove up the price.”
O’Neill said he used to bring in a truckload of used appliances a day to refurbish or use as parts to rebuild other machines for resell in the store he’s owned for 10 years.
Now, it’s down to two or three truckloads a week.
Because the store sells new and used appliances, O’Neill saw both sides of the program.
“What we lost on the used stuff, we didn’t make up on the new ones we sold,” he said.
At Garrison’s Home Appliance Center in Kennewick, owner Henry Garrison said some customers obviously knew about the rebate program.
“I had some people and they only wanted the ones they can get some money back on,” he said.
The program wasn’t much of a hit at Bunch-Finnigan Appliances in Kennewick. Dan Bunch said most customers weren’t aware of the program, and weren’t interested when they heard about it.
“The requirements and regulations are too strict, and it’s complex,” Bunch said.
Bunch said he didn’t notice an increase in business during the rebate program.