Totem Appliance Service Blog - Vancouver, Calgary, Fraser Valley

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Stay tuned for appliance repair information and interesting appliance topics
By Laura on 6/24/2013 5:40 AM
It’s been a while since we did a trends update so I thought we’d do the first of the year now that we’re a little ways into it and see what’s making headlines (and magazines covers). Many trends are carry-overs from last year that are still gaining popularity. Gray color schemes in the kitchen are up 55% since 2010. This is a difficult look to pull off correctly but with some well-coordinated contrast, gray themes can look stunning and memorable.Transitional kitchen styles are on the rise making it possible to blend traditional kitchens with contemporary warmth.Quartz is close second to granite in the kitchen. Quartz products are known for having the best of granite and the best of “man-made” products. They are stone based so they are extremely hard and durable. They both have pros and cons but many people are starting to lean towards quartz these days.According to Retail Observer “The total cost of the average kitchen” is down nearly $4,000. The present economy is making a lot of changes to consumer buying but...
By Laura on 6/17/2013 6:21 AM
Whirlpool Corporation recently accused foreign manufacturers such as Samsung and LG of selling washing machines in North America below fair market value. This is known as “dumping” where a company takes a deliberate loss in sales profits typically to try and over-ride their competition to push them out of the market. Whirlpool just won this case which the Department of Commerce has proposed preventing this dumping by forcing tariffs on imports from South Korean and Mexican manufactured appliances made by companies such as LG, Samsung, Daewoo, and Electrolux in the range of 11 to 151 percent. It has been discovered that Korean government has been subsidizing companies such as Samsung and LG.Manufacturers such as Samsung have voiced their disappointment in the decision saying it will likely reduce washer choices for North American buyers. Other manufacturers are yet to comment on the decision.The goal is to keep Whirlpool from having to drop more employees and lose more shares. Even Sears Holding Corp. has been...
By Laura on 6/10/2013 6:35 AM
There’s a concept in engineering known as “ecodesign” that has been around for a while. There are lots of tools they’ve developed to measure how much the appliances manufacturers change the environment throughout the future use of the appliances. There are three main things that motivate manufacturers: regulations, market factors, and competitors. There are a lot of organizations that specify minimum requirements for energy levels and water usage on different appliances especially in North America. These regulations have certainly raised standards and come a long way in improving energy consumption in a wide range of appliances.Comptetition factors in where a manufacturer has to either lead the industry or keep up. Since it’s rare that a manufacturer develops a new appliance that they can trademark and lead the industry in, they have to be at the forefront of developing new features and exceeding standards to remain competitive.Market factors are about affecting a manufacturer’s view in the market both positive...
By Laura on 6/3/2013 6:27 AM
Washers have been getting more and more efficient and quieter. Ever wonder how? The motors are getting smaller! They have also been incorporating a lot of less energy hungry electronics but for the most part, the quieter operation is a result of insulation and smaller quieter motors. In order for these little motors to crank a drum around at the impressive 1,500+ rpm that most front load washers spin at, these motors have to be impressive to endure years of use.

A lot of engineering goes into finding motors that drive these drums to the speeds required to wring as much water out of the clothes as possible before throwing them into the dryer. There’s even a whole science behind the technology they use to slow the drum back down after spinning!

The best part of all this is that the more research manufactures do to cut down on noise and electricity usage, the more money the end user saves as well!
By Laura on 5/28/2013 6:17 AM
Bosch is introducing a new line of dishwashers that features a third rack in its’ 500 and 800 models. Bosch’s new line of dishwashers utilizes a stainless steel platform and a system engineered to run as quietly as possible to meet their reputation in North America.The tub is a “full-size” design which allows for larger racks but still has a flush mount under the counter. The models with the third rack allow 30% more loading area and provide more ways of loading the dishes. The third rack has a v-shaped style allowing room for long-stemmed wine glasses and other tall items that need to be washed. Bosch wanted their 800 Plus series to be the quietest dishwasher in America and they succeeded with an unprecedented 38dBa sound performance rating! Noise was rated as the number one factor that consumers consider when purchasing a new dishwasher so Bosch took it to heart and incorporated 18 sound-reduction technologies making it so quiet that they introduced a light indicator system to let users know that it’s even...
By Laura on 5/20/2013 6:46 AM
The global economy hasn’t exactly been inspiring confidence for quite some time but there might be a glimmer of hope says Asian financial workers. They believe that in the coming years there is a lot of potential in emerging nations.

Asia’s consumer class has been growing exponentially lately. Rising nations create wealth which allows a growing number of consumers to buy products that were out of their price range before. Appliances are a common luxury that become a commodity during an increase in wealth. Asia has about 60% of the world’s population but accounts from only 20% of the world’s consumption. That’s a large margin of buying power if this trend of rising wealth increases.

If speculators are right about this new buying class in the economy then manufacturing could be working overtime soon enough.
By Laura on 5/13/2013 6:47 AM
Several major manufacturers have conducted studies asking consumers about their perception of smart appliances throughout Germany, China, and North America. The categories they polled for were home building materials, foods, high tech electronics, and smart appliances. The discovery was that consumers do not believe there has been a strong improvement in smart appliance quality despite the ever increasing number of features available. In fact, consumers indicated that they don’t feel there has been much of an improvement in appliance quality over the last five years.

Let’s hope manufacturers take this to heart and start making appliances that are noticeably better quality! What are your thoughts on smart appliances and their quality over the last five years?
By Laura on 5/6/2013 7:28 AM
There are many places where it isn’t possible to vent a dryer such as an apartment or certain home applications where you would still want a dryer versus the alternatives. A “non-vented” dryer is a viable option if that’s all you have the choice of but they are arguably not as effective as a vented dryer. Non-vented dryers use what is called a heat exchanger to cool the air and drain off the moisture as the air condenses. This moisture runs off into a reservoir that has to be emptied or drains through a hose that drains into the septic or outside. Safety is not much more of a concern than a standard dryer as long as you follow the instruction manual for cleaning and safety concerns. All non-vented dryers are electric so there isn’t the added complication of running gas into a room with no venting. One additional complication to keep in mind with non-vented dryers is that they need to have the condensers cleaned on a regular basis as some lint can build up in them.
By Laura on 4/29/2013 5:22 AM
With the warmer weather on its way, it would be a good idea to be ready before it hits. Our refrigeration systems have to work much harder in the warmer weather in order to keep things cool.Refrigerators and freezers have a device on them that is called the condenser. This part of the appliance is similar to the radiator in a car in that it takes the heat away. This unit is only as effective as it is clean. Over time the unit can become clogged with animal hair and dust making it harder for it to dissipate the heat it pulls from the appliance. This makes the unit work harder making it less efficient and more prone to failure due to the higher temperatures the unit will reach.Take a look at your owner’s manual to find the recommended cleaning method for your particular appliance. Please note that this is considered routine maintenance so it is not covered under manufacturer’s warranty. If you want to make sure the cleaning is done properly or you don’t feel like being covered in dust and animal hair, give us a...
By Laura on 4/22/2013 6:16 AM
Laundry is a common household task that most of us do quite frequently out of necessity. The worst thing most of us can imagine happening in the laundry room is a stain not coming out or a possible tear. The truth is that many serious injuries can happen with your laundry room and around the washer especially.This is an appliance that floods with a significant amount of water and detergent. The combination of these two fluids can make for a very slippery accident if either or both get on the floor. And since they use electricity, there is also the risk of shock, which can be increasingly dangerous if there is also a leak or spill. Statistics show that 4% of all house fires in North America in 2010 were caused by clothes washing machines and another 4% by washer/dryer combination appliances.The main cause of these fires was failure to properly clean the appliances and associated hardware. Mechanical failures were also listed as a cause for some of them.The first step in preventing electrocution in the laundry room...
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