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 8/27/2012 11:26 AM
Studies show that the average home uses $1,300 to $1,900 in energy costs every year. Energy Star rated appliances can cut $400 - $600 off that figure. Energy Star is a standard generated by the U.S. government back in 1992 with the intentions of reducing power consumption and greenhouse emissions generated by power plants.   In order to qualify for Energy Star ratings, a product has to deliver features and performance that are demanded by consumers plus they have to deliver certain standards of efficiency. If the product costs more than an appliance in the same category, it needs to make up for the added cost by recovering the investment through savings within a reasonable amount of time. Energy savings must be able to be measured and verified through testing. Labeling of Energy Star rated appliances also make the standards visible for consumers. Energy Star appliances use up to %50 less water than standard models making water savings a huge incentive. The less water that gets used; the less water is polluted...
By Laura on 8/20/2012 6:01 AM
We’ve all seen the remakes of old movies with everything styled in beautiful, soft-edge styles and bright colors. Many appliance manufacturers have caught on to what the film, fashion, and automobile industry manufacturers realized a long time. Fashions come back around. Many companies are now making appliances with a retro look to them. Ranges, refrigerators, washers and dryers and many others can be found with that early era feel.  Refrigerators seem to be the most common to be seen resembling older style ice boxes from an era long forgotten with the implementation of electricity and refrigerant. They often have rounded off edges and a much softer look as well as large metallic handles and hardware. Sometimes you’ll even see them adorn vibrant colors or pastels from earlier eras. Don’t be fooled by the appearance though, these cooling appliances are packed with all the technology for efficient, low-maintenance cooling unlike the models they’re designed to look like. Washers and dryers have obviously come...
By Laura on 8/15/2012 6:20 AM
Hard water is caused by the presence of calcium and magnesium sulphates and/or chlorides which causes a lot of interesting problems for appliances. Hard water affects an estimated 85% of North American households. Dishwashers can make quite the display of hard water problems. They will leave spots and a hazy film on your dishes. The minerals that make water hard are released faster when they come into contact with heat which exaggerates the problem. 

This is not a health risk but it can be embarrassing and a royal pain if you take the time to clean the film off your dishes after already washing them! Hard water can change your laundry as well. The minerals combined with soils can team up and leave your clothes feeling stiff and scratchy as well as break down the materials of the clothes sometimes cutting their life almost in half.
By Laura on 8/6/2012 10:48 AM
There are many things that cause a refrigerator to break down but some of them can easily be avoided. A refrigerator runs off a liquid based cooling system. This system has an intricate network of parts on the exterior of the unit that all have to stay clean and free of debris. If any part of this system gets covered or stuffed with dust, the whole system will be working harder to make up for the obstruction and can eventually fail. The efficiency loss aside, this can be a costly replacement or repair when you consider that all you need is a brush and a few minutes twice a year to clean your refrigerator.  Take a look at your owner’s manual to see how to take the front plate and back plate off your refrigerator and gently pull out all the junk that has accumulated on your appliance. Keep in mind that you will need a strong back to pull the refrigerator out, and a strong stomach to deal with what you may find in and around it.  Failure to keep your condenser coils clean is the number 1 cause of condenser failure...
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!

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