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 7/30/2012 11:24 AM
Front load washers have made a huge impact in the washing machine industry primarily because of their efficiency both in water and energy savings. They also hold the standard in space efficiency since they are front loading and can be stacked. They are gentler with clothes since they let gravity do most of the work instead of a central agitator tugging on the clothes. That being said, they have their drawbacks as well. One of the most discussed is the higher price tag. It is argued that in most circumstances the energy savings pays for the higher price tag in a relatively short time period. Another drawback is the build-up of mold in the air tight cylinders. This can be dealt with fairly easily but it’s maintenance that isn’t required on the top load machines. While some of them have been designed to allow the door to be opened to add clothes after the wash has begun up until the last cycle, many of them still can’t. Top-load machines generally offer a higher capacity. This is at the cost of a less efficienct...
By Laura on 7/23/2012 8:50 AM
Plug it in! This may sound ridiculous but you’d be amazed how often this is the first and only step in fixing an appliance. We don’t always know how it happens but somehow cords come loose or get disconnected. We love helping our customers but unfortunately we can’t send out technicians for free to plug appliances back in.

If there was any one tip I could give customers before they call us, it is to please check to make sure your appliance is tightly plugged in! Sometimes it is just vibration from the appliance such as a washing or drying machine that dislodges its own cord. Sometimes it happens when moving something for cleaning or spillage reasons. The rest of the time it’s usually a mystery but trust us, it makes for an awkward visit if the technician just has to plug your microwave back in for you! Take a look at our Checklist for a few other things to check before calling us.
By Laura on 7/17/2012 11:15 AM
Is a small refrigerator more efficient? Simple answer: Yes. Generally if it’s the same make and style, the smaller unit is going to be more efficient since it has less space to keep cool. There are exceptions to this rule. When comparing a smaller cheap unit against a really well engineered somewhat larger unit, the larger unit could have several advantages. First off, the seals will likely be thick, airtight, and well placed to ensure the least amount of temperature could be lost through them. It could have better insulation. It may also have a more efficient cooling system and more intuitive system to keep the compressor running for a minimal amount of time to maintain temperature. Believe it or not, a new large unit can also be far more efficient than a much smaller older refrigerator. With the integration of lower energy standards, compressors have gotten more efficient allowing them to do more off of less power. This makes it possible for significantly...
By Laura on 7/9/2012 12:30 PM
If you’re looking to buy a freezer to increase the room you have for frozen goods, there are many factors you need to consider. You need to know what you’re most concerned about; efficiency or access. Upright freezers provide far better access and ease of use in adding and removing things from the freezer. It’s easy to see what you have in there. This style has shelves and often has an illuminated interior. The major downfall to uprights is that they aren’t very efficient. They are draining the cold air every time you open the door and lose a significant amount of energy while you’re loading or unloading it. Chest freezers are extremely efficient and retain the temperature better than upright freezers. They are generally less expensive and serve well as back-up freezers. The dilemma with chest freezers is that they are basically a freezing pit. Unless you’re only putting a handful of things in there, whatever isn’t on top may as well have disappeared. Short of creating...
By Laura on 7/2/2012 11:08 AM
When a package gets opened, everything gets tossed aside as the goods get yanked out. Of course it’s the goods you’re after, not all the paperwork designed to hinder your excitement about the new purchase. Most people end up pulling out what they purchased and throwing out everything except the hardware that came with the package. The downside to this comes when you can’t figure out how to do something on the product or worse… something goes wrong with it!  With a cheap product, this may just be a minor mistake, but trying to find the correct numbers on a major appliance while running back and forth to your computer can be a pain! Try to find a central location where you keep all your major appliance manuals. There are generally lots of quick troubleshooting guides in your manuals that could help you avoid costly fixes or replacements as well. If you can’t find the correct information on your appliance, try looking at our manufacturer’s links page to connect with the manufacturer's...
By Laura on 6/25/2012 12:07 PM
Many people consider trash compactors to be an upscale appliance. What people don’t take into consideration is how much better these appliances are for the environment. They can compress trash to 20% of the space it would normally take up. This means 80% less landfill space will be consumed by your trash. Not to mention, that much less space will be taken up on the trash truck saving in gas and emissions on the garbage disposal end. There’s also the fringe benefit that you don’t have to take out the garbage as much! Trash compactors come in both under-counter and stand-alone models. Stand-alone models don’t require fabrication of your kitchen and come in many different styles. Some of them just look like a regular trash can… with a cord.

Please remember to also recycle cans, bottles and cardboard wherever you can – this helps our landfills even more!

By Laura on 6/18/2012 10:13 AM
If your water has a strange taste or smell it’s probably because your water filter is overdue for a replacement. The problem is that there is no exact time for when you should replace your water filter so it can be difficult to determine when it should be replaced. Manufacturers try to set a specific quantity of water that the filter can handle before it needs to be replaced, usually set in gallons. The number that the manufacturer throws out isn’t that easy to calculate. The manufacturers take figures from outside filter manufacturers or sometimes run their own private tests. Either way, they’re not using your water. They are using a control water group, which means their test results are highly unlikely to match the exact life expectancy of a filter using your water. Your water quality makes a huge difference in the life of your filter. There are many variables that effect water, such as water table, septic waste or seepage, soil absorption, chemicals treating the water. Any variance in these can make a drastic...
By Laura on 6/11/2012 10:48 AM
Even though you have four elements on your stove (or more), having one out of commission can be a hassle. There is something you can try before having a technician out. Try replacing the element first. If you tend to go through elements more often than you think is normal, consider your cooking habits. Regular coil elements are meant for cooking a meal for one family, and if you find yourself cooking for long periods of time or at high heats you may want to consider replacing your regular coil elements with canning elements. Available at any parts supplier, canning elements are meant for just that – canning. They are designed to withstand higher temperatures for longer periods of time. They might just be your element solution! If a replacement element, canning or regular, doesn't solve your problem feel free to give us a call and we will be able to help you! Go to our PARTS page if you need help finding the correct part for your stove,...
By Laura on 6/4/2012 5:44 AM
Many trends have come and gone sometimes without ever leaving an impression. Others have made big waves but washed away just as quickly. Here are a few more trends that are hitting the markets: Outdoor kitchens are becoming a popular trend, believe it or not. This trend is generally catered to those that have “extra money to spend” but more simple designs can be incorporated relatively inexpensively. They generally consist of some central outdoor grill, but here’s where it gets interesting… There are often cooling or heating units integrated into the mix. Some people go to the extreme of adding sinks, refrigerators, griddles, storage, roasting pits, you name it! Some of the most lavish We’ve seen have all of these built into stone counters around patios with bar height seating and countertops as well as designer roofing to make sure the party can’t get rained out. Oh and don’t forget the custom stereo integrated into the structure. The last major trend change in clothes washing appliances came with the...
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...
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