Totem Appliance Service Blog - Vancouver, Calgary, Fraser Valley

Author: Created: 3/21/2012 6:35 AM RssIcon
Stay tuned for appliance repair information and interesting appliance topics
By Laura on 5/29/2012 11:28 AM
We have all seen several trends come and go, sometimes without realizing it. So many juicers and various small-scale cooking devices have flooded the markets and left almost as quickly. Some stuck around long enough to be useful but eventually lost popularity… i.e. foreman grill… Anyways, the same is true of full scale appliances. Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether you’re paying for an increase in quality for a product or just a premium for its popularity. I’m going to do my best to break down a few past and current trends to help you figure out what is worth spending your money on. First off, stainless steel is a touchy subject but it seems to finally be just about preference more than about its popularity as a trend. Some people still swear by it despite its cold feel and the hassle of trying to keep fingerprints off it… It has a very classy look but beware that when there are too many appliances and large-scale appliances, a kitchen with too much steel can quickly look more like an operating room if you’re...
By Laura on 5/21/2012 11:25 AM
Fear not! These may just be normal operating sounds. Your refrigerator has an evaporator, located in your freezer section (hidden away from view) that accumulates frost during the cooling process. When the refrigerator goes into a defrost cycle, a heater element switches on to help melt this frost off the evaporator. On occasion, the melting frost will come in contact with the element causing a hissing sound. Some refrigerator models will have vent slits on the back panel and this element may be visible when it’s on, glowing red. Don’t be alarmed, it’s doing its job. A cracking noise may also be heard during this defrost cycle. It will sound like snow crunching under your foot. As the frost is melting off the evaporator the change in state will cause that crunching/cracking sound. This is also another normal sound of your refrigerator during this cycle. These sounds will only be heard during this defrost cycle. If you hear more rhythmic or pronounced sounds don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be happy...
By Laura on 5/10/2012 5:21 AM
You may be thinking about buying a huge refrigerator just to accommodate the few times that it gets “stuffed” (i.e. Thanksgiving!). This may seem like good reasoning but you may want to reconsider. Try to plan out the refrigerator size you purchase based on regular use. Odds are that you wouldn’t be able to keep all the food that you put in there at the times that you stuff it anyways. When you consider the wasted energy of cooling a larger unit than you need year-round, it may actually cost less to invest in a compact fridge or freezer to use briefly on those rare occasions. This way you wouldn’t be cooling a larger space than you need to all year!
By Laura on 5/8/2012 10:02 AM
Clothes are woven from soft fabrics to provide flexibility, breathability and comfort. Over time, the fabric begins to deteriorate even if it is not washed and dried. The agitator of a washing machine will loosen these fibers from the cloth in the form of lint. We can certainly see the result when the clothes are placed in a clothes dryer. Placed in a dryer and spun around while hot air blows onto them creates a static friction that compounds the process. Dryers need to dispense their hot air exhaust and a lint trap or screen helps to block most of the loose fabric from entering the exhaust vent. If not properly cleaned, the lint trap or lint screen will trap the gathered loose fabric and choke the exhaust of the dryer. This means it takes longer to dry the clothes. It also creates a fire hazard. Many clothes and cloth material are not flame retardant. Placed inside the drum of a dryer with hot air created by a heating element or open flame, dryer lint can easily catch on fire. To make sure your dryer is running...
By Laura on 4/30/2012 11:01 AM
A lot of people get to the point where they want a nicer, more efficient refrigerator. What do you do with the old one? It’s still working and you could have to pay to get rid of it. It would be nice to have the extra refrigerating space. Keeping the old one around may be more expensive of an idea than you think. Newer refrigerators are far more efficient than older models. You would probably use far less energy if you got a larger refrigerator instead of holding on to two. Even if you did have a second refrigerator, depending on how much energy your old one uses, a smaller new second refrigerator may pay for itself in a year or two just in energy savings. You’d be surprised!   Here’s a helpful little chart to illustrate this point. Year Manufactured Estimated Annual Energy Cost* 1972 $302.01 1990 $135.45 2003 (Energy Star) $65.62 * Based on 2010 average Kilowatt cost

Hint: Ask before you purchase an appliance if they offer free removal of your old appliance in case you do want to get rid...
By Laura on 4/23/2012 5:57 AM

Are you getting what you pay for? A premium price tag doesn’t always mean a premium product.  A good example is a basic top-bottom refrigerator at a reasonably low price – many manufactures have multiple brand names but the reality is the appliance is exactly the same under the hood.  They put a different face and logo on it and sell it for a premium price. It may not be a higher quality you’re paying for, instead it may be a popular style and you could be buying a lesser quality product for a higher price tag!  The best thing to do is look under the hood.  Check out the reviews online and best option yet, talk to your appliance repair professionals.  They see these products day in and day out and can tell you which ones they do the most repairs on.  Ultimately it is up to you – what you like, what will fit into the designated appliance space and what you can afford to spend.

By Laura on 4/19/2012 12:52 PM
DIYers aren’t just one category of people. There are people like our technicians who are highly trained in what they do before they take on a task. The opposite end of this are the people that either never get to the task… or start it and never finish it… ever. Some appliance work is certainly easy enough for someone untrained to take on. For example, if your light comes on in your refrigerator to replace the water filter, most anyone can get this taken care of on their own. First off, find your owner’s manual. Success? Secondly, locate the water filter. If you can do both of these steps, give us a call at 1-877-472-4574 (toll free) with the part number (located in that manual you didn’t lose). There are a few other tasks as easy as this that we suggest to the “DIY” crowd. However, if your refrigerator has stopped keeping your food cold or sprung a leak, we would advise that you NOT try to redo the plumbing on your refrigerator or try to fix the refrigeration! Either of these tasks is far better left up to a highly...
By Laura on 4/9/2012 5:13 AM
Dishwasher smells like a dumpster? The first thing to look at if the dishwasher smells is the bottom of the basin. Pull the bottom rack out and take a look around. Sometimes the filters get clogged up or just have something floating around that didn’t make it through and started rotting. Clear those things out and wipe the bottom down with some dish detergent or baking soda and water and see if that clears things up. If that wasn’t it, check the gaskets around the edges of the washer for mold or any other buildup. Wipe them down with a cleaning agent and maybe even diluted bleach solution. Many people recommend running the wash with a cup of vinegar through an empty cycle to kill off any bacteria in places you can’t get to for cleaning. Another tip I’ve come across is running baking soda through an empty cycle to kill off odors. There are also additives that you can get from local stores made by familiar cleaning agent companies that help kill off odors. If this is a recurring issue then it’s also possible that...
By Laura on 4/2/2012 8:33 AM
Garbage disposal smells more like a sewage truck? The most common issue with garbage disposals is a buildup within the unit itself. Most people run their food waste through it with the water running but immediately shut the unit off. The blades chop up what you put in there but it slings the debris onto the outside walls of the unit which needs to be washed off. The general rule of thumb is to run at least a gallon of water through with the disposal still running after it’s done chopping (it’s a good idea to pour a little dish detergent in there too to add a cleaning agent). Unfortunately, you’re already past this stage if it smells foul. You most likely have a caked up garbage disposal and it needs more than just some water and detergent. The good news is that the best solutions I’ve come across are easy and inexpensive.

Lemons! Chop up some lemons into quarters and run those through the garbage disposal with lots of water. Leave the water and the disposal running for about 30-40 seconds. If you have a...
By Laura on 3/26/2012 8:31 AM
Your refrigerator smells? That stinks! The first step in dealing with a smelly refrigerator takes a little bit of time since the first step is cleaning it. The tricky part is getting it done before your food spoils since you really need to take everything out to be thorough. Freezer packs and coolers would come in handy if you have access to some to keep your food cold while you’re cleaning. If you don’t have enough coolers, your kitchen sink actually makes a decent cooler in a pinch. Wipe down the whole inside of the refrigerator with an all-purpose cleaner. Get every surface and especially every crack and crevice. Remove the drawers and clean every surface of those as well. Clean out the drain pan below the refrigerator (which will require you to remove the bottom panel). Be careful as you remove this pan in case it has water and/or debris in it. It’s possible you’ll need to clean the drain lines running down to the drain pan as well. Pay close attention to the seals on the doors as they can build up moisture...
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