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The Ultimate Guide to Laundry

The Must-Have Guide to Mastering Laundry

On the surface, your washing machine may seem pretty simple. You put dirty clothes in and get clean clothes out. However, if you’re just throwing your clothes in and using the same setting for every wash, you may be ruining your clothes and shortening the life of your washer. When it comes to laundry, a “one size fits all” approach doesn’t work. Follow these tips to get the lean and mean back into your cleaning machine.


Choose The Right Detergent

If you don’t have a high-efficiency (HE) washer, it’s ok to use HE detergent. Your clothes will still get clean.

If you use non-HE detergent in a high-efficiency washer, you will want to grab a mop.

Regular detergent produces heavy soap suds. Since HE washers spin and agitate faster than a regular washer, the suds produced during a wash cycle can quickly overflow the wash tub causing the washing machine to leak.

If the suds seep into the machine’s electronics it may cause the equipment to stop working.

It is very important to use the correct detergent for your machine.

Once you’ve chosen the right formulation, you still have several options.


Powder Detergent

Powder detergent has a few advantages.

First, it’s cheaper. If you’re on a budget, powder is the way to go. Second, its cardboard packaging is more environmentally friendly than the plastic containers used for liquid detergent.

Some studies have shown that it may be more effective at getting out everyday dirt than liquids.

Powdered detergent has a few disadvantages as well. If it doesn’t dissolve all the way it can leave a residue on your clothes. Powdered detergent can also cause problems with your septic system.


Liquid Detergent

Liquid detergent can be an attractive alternative to powder.

Since the detergent is pre-dissolved, residue on clothes is not a problem with liquid detergents. Unlike powdered detergent, you can pour liquid detergent on color-fast clothes to use as a pre-treatment for stains.

However, it is generally more expensive than the powdered version. Also, it can be difficult, if not impossible to recycle used laundry bottles.


Laundry Pods

Laundry pods are a popular choice for a reason.

The ability to separate liquids allows manufacturers to pack more cleaning power into their detergents. It’s easy to always use the right amount of detergent when you use a pre-packaged pod. Also, using refill packs uses less plastic and generates less waste than buying a new detergent bottle.


Laundry pods tend to be more expensive than liquid or powder detergents though. Also, apparently eating the brightly colored pods is now a thing. If you have young children at home, you may want to avoid using pods or at least keep them locked up.


Put Detergent In First

We don’t mean put detergent first in your life. We’re pretty sure everything laundry-related should take a backseat to things like friends and family. However, when you need clean clothes for associating with other people, or your favorite lounge-around-the-house outfit has taken on a life of its own, we recommend putting detergent first — in the washing machine, that is.


Clothes have a residue when they come out of the wash?  – Powdered detergent may not dissolve if it is not added to the wash first.

Clothes coming out with strange stains? – Liquid detergent may stain or lighten certain materials if poured on the cloth. Diluting the detergent in the wash water before adding clothes prevents staining.

Clothes not getting clean? – If you’ve eliminated other causes, the trouble may be your laundry pods. Laundry pods may not open and release their detergent in time if they don’t have time to soak in the water before the clothes are added.


Use Less Detergent, Not More

This tip can save you money but it is also the one most likely to be ignored.

It’s a common misconception that you should use more detergent if your clothes are really dirty. The detergent companies certainly want you to believe that “heavily soiled” clothes need more product to get clean.

If your workout clothes are extra smelly, it can be tempting to tip in a little more detergent to knock out the gym funk. However, if you use too much detergent, you may actually be making the problem worse.

Detergent works by attracting dirt. As your washing machine agitates, the movement of the clothes breaks down the dirt and oils, which then attaches to the soap molecules. The dirt is washed away with the soap when the machine rinses your clothes.

Your washer uses a very precise amount of water – just enough to get everything clean. If there is detergent in the water, the soap won’t wash away. Instead, it will become dirty film on your clothes.  

You can see this in action with a little experiment. Drop a tiny dab of dish soap on your hand and hold your hand under running water for a few seconds. Next, put a teaspoonful of liquid dish soap on your hand and hold your hand under running water for the same amount of time.

Your hand will most likely still have traces of soap on it. If you don’t rinse it off, your hand will get sticky and end up dirtier than the hand that doesn’t have soap.

The same concept applies to using too much detergent in your wash.

Using too much detergent may also cause your machine to produce too many suds. Some models of washers can sense the suds and stop the wash cycle before it becomes a problem. Other models may leak or stop functioning altogether.

You can prevent an expensive repair and clean your clothes more effectively by using the minimum amount of detergent required for your load size.


Wash in Cold for Most Loads

Washing your clothes in cold water can help preserve your clothes, reduce your energy bill, and spare your washer.  

The conventional wisdom has always been to wash your clothes in warm or hot water, and with good reason. The surfactants in older formulations of laundry detergent did not perform well at colder temperatures. Modern detergents are formulated with energy efficiency in mind. They’re designed so they can clean your clothes as effectively at any temperature.

There are good reasons to use cold water.

Hot water will break down the fibers and leech color from your clothes faster than cold water.  Consumer Reports research shows that using cold water can save you up to $60 a year on your energy bill. Also, it is a little easier on your washing machine if it doesn’t have to heat the water every cycle.

There are a few circumstances where you should still use warm or hot water.


  • Washing diapers – cold water cannot sanitize a soiled diaper, and hot water should always be used.
  • Washing towels – Towels are often a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Hot water will kill the spores and keep your towels fresh.
  • When the weather outside is below freezing. – There is a lower limit on water temperature where detergent stops being effective. If the water coming into your home is below 40℉ (4°C), your detergent may not dissolve fully, and it may not get your clothes clean. When the weather is very cold, it is best to wash in warm water.


Follow the Directions

Whenever you wash your clothes, it is important to follow the directions on the tag to make sure you don’t accidentally damage the garment. Not everything can be washed in a regular cycle. Some clothes need a delicate cycle, others can’t be washed at all.

Following the tag isn’t always enough to protect your favorite clothes. Not every item of clothing needs to be washed every time it’s worn. The Ultimate Guide to Washing Jeans recommends only washing your jeans when they start to smell.

Bras are another item that doesn’t need to be washed after every wear, but there is debate on how often they should be cleaned. Some sources say every third wear, others suggest it is fine to go a month between cycles.

As long as your clothes don’t smell and aren’t visibly soiled, it is generally ok to wear them more than once before you wash them. Socks and underwear are the exceptions.

There’s a saying that you should always wear clean underwear in case you’re in an accident. While preventing embarrassment is important, it’s also important for preventing fungal and other infections that thrive in warm, moist environments.


Sort by Color and Material

Woman frustrated that her clothes aren't getting clean- washer repair

Most of us know that we should separate light colored clothing from darker colors. A stray red sock in a load of white clothes can turn an entire basket of laundry into a bunch of outfits that would be at home in a breast cancer awareness rally.

It’s important to sort by material as well.

A large part of the cleaning action of your washing machine is in the friction of the clothes as they move against each other. The coarse denim of jeans can shred the thin fabric of a pair of leggings. Softer fabrics like t-shirts and tights should be washed together, while denim and corduroy materials should be washed separately.

Fuzzy items may need their own wash cycle as well. If you wash towels with socks, you may find your footwear covered in tiny white pills. Unless you’re going for the polka dot look, towels should be washed in their own load.


Button, Zip, Hook, and Turn

All the bits that help keep your clothes together when you’re wearing them can rip your other clothes during a vigorous wash cycle and destroy your washing machine.

A stray hook can snag a hole in your knits, and zippers are basically little saws ready to shred your best band shirt.

Prevent destructive wear by putting your clothes together as if they’re being worn and then turning them inside out.

Turning your clothes inside out helps preserve the look of the visible part of the garment while making sure the side with all the oils and dirt from your skin gets a thorough wash.


Use Full Loads But Don’t Overload

Your clothes need other garments in the load to help break up dirt and stains. A wash load with only one item of clothing will be less effective at getting the item clean than if there were other clothes in the wash cycle.  Also, using a full load helps ensure you always have the ideal water to detergent ratio needed.

If saving money is your goal, fewer loads with the maximum amount of clothes per cycle can help save both water and electricity. However, there is a limit.

An average washing machine spins 600 – 1400 rotations per minute. If you stuff too many clothes in the washer drum, your machine may do the shimmy shake during the spin cycle. You probably don’t need us to tell you that this is not good for your washer.

Load your washer, but don’t stuff the machine. Follow the guidelines laid out in your washer manual for the ideal load size.


Wash Your Washer

You may think your washing machine shouldn’t get dirty when all it does it wash things all day. Every washer needs a little love to prevent buildup, mold, smells, and damage to all the moving parts.  Check out our washing machine maintenance guide for a full overview of how to keep your washer happy and shiny.

The better you take care of your machine, the longer it will last. With an average cost of $600 – $1300 for a new machine, the investment of time is well worth the cost.

Do you have any “Must-Have” laundry tips? Comment with them below, and we may add them to our guide!


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6 Tips to Save Money On Appliance Repair in Atlanta

6 Tips to Save Money on Appliance Repair

One of the best ways to save money is to repair a broken appliance rather than replacing it. You can save hundreds, sometimes even thousands of dollars.  Of course, no one looks forward to the expense of a major appliance repair, even if it’s cheaper than buying new. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to save money on appliance repair as well.


Make a Note of The Symptoms

Some appliance issues may seem straightforward. For example, it’s obviously a problem if your washing machine is leaking. However, if the technician knows in advance where in the wash cycle the leak occurs, the technician can use this information to help accurately diagnose and fix the issue.

It can be easy to forget the details of an appliance issue when you’re on the spot, so write down anything you notice at the time the issue occurs and try to answer these questions:

  • What is your appliance doing that is not a part of its usual function?
  • Is the appliance usable?
  • If you can use the appliance, how long has the issue been happening?
  • Does it happen every time you use the appliance?
  • Has anything changed related to the appliance recently? For example, was it moved to a new location or exposed to extreme temperatures?


Write Down The Appliance Brand, Model, and Model Number

Knowing the brand, model, and model number in advance can help ensure the technician has the right tools and parts available at the time of the initial service call.  Most appliances have a label, icon, or ornamentation listing the brand of the device. The model number can be a bit trickier. Depending on the appliance, there might be a panel on the back of the unit with this information or an information label inside the door. Others can have a bottom panel that is removable, with a model/unit number printed inside. 

Alternatively, if you have your user manual, it should include the make and model of your appliance. If you do not have your user manual, and you cannot locate the model number on the appliance, write down the brand and a brief description of the appliance. How old is it? Does it have any unique features beyond standard settings, such as an extended soak cycle?


Hold Onto Your Warranty Information

Depending on your brand and model, your appliance may still be under warranty. If so, the parts needed for the repair may be covered. Some warranties also cover labor costs, but not all do so it is important to make sure you know in advance what is covered.


Prep for the Tech

Many appliance repair services charge by the hour for work, so one of the best ways to save money is to make sure the technician isn’t spending those precious billable hours working to get access to your appliance.

If your washer is full of water, go ahead and drain it as much as possible and remove the clothes.  The same goes for your dryer.  If your dryer won’t spin or is making loud noises, the technician will need to take out the clothes before diagnosing the issue. Taking care of that beforehand saves time.

Clear the area around the appliance as well, and shift it away from the wall so the technician can access the back. This will allow the technician to start work right away.

The technician may need to turn the power off to a specific outlet for safety purposes. While you’re prepping, it’s a good idea to also ensure you have a clear path to your breaker box and know which switch is connected to your appliance.


Look for a Repair Service That Doesn’t Charge for “Extras”

Some companies offer “flat” rates or low fees, but they will tack on a lot of extra fees to raise your bill. When evaluating companies, it is a good idea to ask the following questions:

  • Do you charge extra for appointments that fall after normal business hours?
  • Do you charge extra for mileage or travel time?
  • Do you charge a service fee on top of the repair charge?

An honest company will give you an estimate after diagnosing your appliance so you know what you’ll have to pay and aren’t stuck with any surprise charges.


Maintain Your Appliance

The best way to save money on appliance repairs is to prevent them altogether.  We have some articles that will help you keep your appliances up and running smoothly.


Do you have any tips for saving money on appliance repair? Let us know in the comments!

Or contact us today if you need appliance repair services in Atlanta or the Metro Atlanta area. We work seven days a week and are here when you need us most.

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How to Find the Best Appliance Repair Service

How to Find the Best Appliance Repair Service

How to Choose the Best Appliance Repair Service

Finding a trustworthy, reliable, and affordable appliance repair service in the Atlanta area can seem like an impossible task. There are lots of options and it can be hard to choose which one is right for you. Fortunately, there are a few things that can help you find the best appliance repair specialists for your needs.


First, Don’t Rush the Process

It can feel like an emergency any time one of your major appliances stops working, especially if the broken device is your refrigerator or freezer.

A full freezer can keep your food safe for up to 48 hours after losing power, so if your freezer stops working, you have a little time. While a full refrigerator can only maintain food-safe temperatures for four hours, the risk on ineffective or overpriced repairs may make it worth taking the time to find the right servicer.


Ask People You Know for Referrals

Friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers can be a goldmine when it comes to finding a good local home appliance repair technician. They can share their experience with the companies they used, and give their honest, unbiased opinion. When asking for referrals, it’s a good idea to have some questions prepared:

  • How long did it take to get a technician out for service?
  • Did the technician give an estimate before starting service?
  • Was the technician clean and professional?
  • Were they happy with the repair?
  • Did they feel the cost was fair and affordable?
  • Would they call the same provider again for service if needed?


Call the Experts

By experts, we mean local realtors and people that work in the realty industry. Many realtors have appliance repair companies on retainer to help get houses ready for sale. A local realtor should know the most affordable and reliable repair service providers.


Check Online for Reviews

Reviews are a powerful indicator of what you can expect when you hire an appliance repair company. Every company makes promises on their website. The experiences of other customers can help you determine if the company keeps those promises. A company with a lot of bad reviews is usually not a good investment.


But, Keep in Mind That Not All Review Listings Are Created Equal

When checking a site where users can post reviews, the top results aren’t always the best companies. Sites like Yellow Pages and Yelp present paid advertisers at the top even if they don’t have the best reviews. Fortunately, these sites must notify the user if a listing is a paid ad.

This doesn’t mean you should avoid companies that have paid ads on directory sites like Yelp and YP. Companies often have to advertise to let people know their services exist. However, it is important to look for the ad symbol and evaluate companies based on their reviews, not their rank on the site.

Google and Angie’s List are also great sources for customer reviews.


Also, Look at How the Company Responds to Bad Reviews

Everyone has an off day sometimes. That’s true for companies too. It is impossible to please everyone all the time. If a company has a few bad reviews mixed in with a lot of good reviews, they may still be a good choice. The most important factor is how the company responds to the poor review.

Even if it’s sometimes funny, when a company leaves a rude response to a bad review, it gives clues that the organization cares more about getting the last word than taking care of their customers. If the company apologizes and offers to rectify the issue, it shows a willingness to work with their clients, even in tense situations.


Be Wary of Flat Rate Appliance Repair Companies

Almost every company that offers “flat rate” repairs puts an asterisk by “flat rate.” That’s because it’s not possible to estimate the cost of repairs without first evaluating the issue. The fine print on these deals is that you may be charged more for service depending on the issue this can give you an unrealistic expectation of what you’ll have to pay, making it difficult to budget appropriately.

Some of these companies charge you their “flat rate,” even if they couldn’t complete the repair. A better choice is a company that offers a solid estimate after diagnosing the problem with your appliance. This will give you a fair expectation of what you’ll have to pay.


Consider Using a Local Service Versus a Large Chain

When you want fast, personal service, it is often easier to get from a small or local appliance repair company instead of a large chain. Research from Consumer Reports showed that customers that chose independent providers were happier and more satisfied than those that went with the manufacturer or retail servicers. Data from consumer reports also shows that independent shops do a better job of repairing appliances correctly the first time.

Several factors contribute to these statistics.

  • Local companies tend to employ local technicians who live in the communities where they work. Their personal and professional reputation is on the line when they do their job, so they’re more likely to be fully committed.
  • Independent appliance repair companies are usually privately owned. This gives them the flexibility to do whatever they can to help their customer where the big chains may be forced to follow corporate guidelines when completing service.
  • Large companies rely on volume and brand recognition to make money. Smaller companies depend entirely on their reputation, so they will be much more motivated to go the extra mile to please their customer.


Shop Around

The treatment you get when you call a company will give you a good indication of what kind of service you can expect when they’re in your home. Do they answer the phone right away without leaving you on hold? Do they answer all of your questions patiently? Are they understanding if you say you’ll call back? All of these are indicators of a company that takes customer service seriously.


Questions to Ask When Calling for Appliance Repair

Most repair services will have questions for you regarding the issue with your appliance, but it is essential to ask a few key questions of your own.

  • Do you take (preferred form of payment)?
    • Most companies won’t ask you to pay until they have completed service. It can be awkward if you don’t have the form of payment they accept.
    • It is also a good idea to ask if the company takes credit cards even if you plan on paying with cash. If a company only accepts cash, it may indicate a company that is not legitimate because credit card payments can be tracked.
  • Are your technicians licensed and insured?
    • This is important because insurance is important if something goes wrong or the technician gets hurt while in your home.
  • Is your work guaranteed?
    • Make sure there is a warranty on both the parts and labor. If your appliance breaks a few days after the repair, it’s important to know you can count on the company to fix the issue again without any additional charges.
  • How long will it take to get an appointment?
    • It’s true that sometimes you have to wait for good service, but you shouldn’t have to wait a week. If the company can’t send a tech out within a day or so of your request, consider moving on. Many companies offer same day appointments.
  • Do you charge extra for after hour appointments?
    • It would be nice if appliances only broke down during standard business hours, but in reality, they’re far more likely to malfunction when they’re being used. Some companies in the business of appliance repair know this and take advantage of customers by over-charging for appointments that aren’t during regular business hours. It’s better to choose a company that charges reasonable prices regardless of the appointment time.
  • How long are your service windows?
    • If you’re given a four, six, or eight-hour service window, consider calling a different repair company. It is unreasonable to have to wait at home for hours for someone to repair your appliance.


Don’t be afraid to ask for more information or time to make your decision

Finding an appliance repair company that you trust and feel comfortable with can take some time. The best choice will always be the company that makes you feel as though you are valued as a customer.


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How to Protect Your Appliances in Extreme Cold

How to Protect Your Appliances in Extreme Cold

Appliances aren’t that different from people. They function well in a wide range of temperatures, but if it gets too hot or too cold, they start to break down.

Although it’s well known that refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners tend to malfunction more in the summer, extremely cold temperatures can cause costly damages to your appliances as well.


The Risk

The pipes and tubes in your refrigerator, freezer, or washing machine may burst.

If your appliance has a digital display, the LCD screen may freeze and crack.

Condensation can form inside sensitive electronic components causing them to short out.

The heavy-duty lubricants used to protect the moving components inside appliances like washers and dryers can freeze and cause the unit to overheat or stop working altogether.

Even if your appliances are inside, they may not be safe. Check out our tips on how to protect your appliances in cold weather.


Keep the Heat On

It can be tempting to turn off the heat when you’re not at home to save money on energy costs. The cost of replacing your appliances (and other electronics) far outweighs any potential savings.

Instead of turning the head off, lower the thermostat by 10 degrees. Even this small shift can save 10-15% on your energy bill.

The thermostat should be set to at least 60°F or 15°C.


Use a Space Heater In Unheated Areas

If you have appliances in your garage or an uninsulated basement, use a space heater to keep the temperature in the room above freezing. Buy a heater that is appropriate for the size of the area. A big room will need a larger space heater.

If safety is a concern, following the U.S. Department of Energy’s guidelines for space heater safety should help protect your appliances and your home.  


Other Tips:

  • Keep your garage door closed as much as possible to keep the heat inside.
  • Keep foundation vents closed or covered.
  • Cover basement windows with blankets to keep out drafts.


Protect the Water Supply

When water freezes it expands. If water freezes inside the pipes of one of your appliances, it can cause a lot of damage, not only to the appliance but your home as well. There are a few things you can to do prevent this from happening.


Use braided metal hoses.

Metal hoses are almost twice as strong as the standard rubber hose and are far less likely to burst under pressure even if water does freeze inside them.


Insulate water pipes in unheated areas.

Insulation designed for water pipes is fairly inexpensive and available at most hardware stores. It is a good investment, especially if you live in an area where freezing temperatures are typical.


Use pipe heating cable or heat tape.

This is only recommended for metal pipes, and it requires the use of an electrical outlet. However, it can help your pipes flowing even down to -40°F or -40°C.


Keep a little water flowing.

If your refrigerator has an ice maker, turn it on so that the water continues to move through the pipes. Set your faucets to a slow drip. This will discourage freezing.

Remove the water.

If frozen pipes are still a risk, it is best to minimize the potential damage. Turn off the water supply to the appliances and completely drain the water from the appliance and hoses. Clean and dry areas where water may be collected, such as the refrigerator drain pan, or washing machine tub. Do not reconnect the water supply until the appliance and any remaining water inside the appliance has thawed.


Survive the Cold

Regardless of your cold-weather preparations, you may still have trouble with your appliances. Here are a few tips that may help.


If your washing machine is exposed to prolonged freezing temperatures:  

Leave the machine empty and run a cycle at the smallest load setting. Place dry newspaper around the bottom of the washer and check for signs of water during the fill and drain cycles. This will help you locate leaks before they become floods.


If your washer is working but your clothes aren’t getting clean:

Use the warm cycle. Cold water is effective at getting clothes clean, but if the temperature of the temperature of the water too cold (below 60°F or 15°C), the soaps will not be as effective. Powdered laundry detergent will not dissolve completely and even liquid detergents will underperform. When the outside temperature is very low, it is best to use a warm cycle.


If your refrigerator stops working:

In extremely cold temperatures, your refrigerator may stop running, but it this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s broken. If the cold outside the refrigerator is severe enough, the refrigerator’s thermostat will detect the temperature and turn off the compressor. The refrigerator may start working again when the outside temperature is warmer.

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What does the Sears Whirlpool breakup mean for appliance consumers

What Does the Sears Whirlpool Breakup Mean for You?

For more than a century, Sears has been selling Whirlpool appliances in their stores. A recent dispute over prices resulted in Sears pulling the plug on their Whirlpool partnership. In a media leaked memo to employees, Sears issued the following statement:

“Whirlpool has sought to use its dominant position in the marketplace to make demands that would have prohibited us from offering Whirlpool products to our members at a reasonable price,”

This isn’t the first time Sears has complained about vendor prices recently. In May of this year, Sears CEO Eddie Lampert publicly blasted another vendor in the Sears Holdings blog, claiming that they were charging too much for their products.

“We will not simply roll over and be taken advantage of,” said Lampert.  “We will do what’s right to protect the interests of our company and the millions of stakeholders we serve,” Lampert claimed these vendors were attempting to leverage rumors that Sears may be sinking under the pressure of a shifting market to demand a more lucrative relationship. 

Rumors of financial trouble for Sears do not appear unfounded. For the past three years, Sears stock has dropped steadily.

What Sears Stocks Might Mean for Consumers and Appliance Repair

In January, Sears attempted to stave off the decline by selling its iconic Craftsman tool brand for $900 million. As a result of the sale, Sears rival Lowe’s will now carry Craftsman tools. Unfortunately, the revenue generating move did not prevent significant store closings. On October 10th the retailer announced they are closing all of their stores in Canada. More store closings may follow as the company tries to improve its financial standings. 

Whirlpool is facing its own troubles. The company’s stock took a major dive after news of the Sears split. Sales have been weak as consumers flock to less expensive brands, and their raised prices may not entice new buyers.

So what does this mean for consumers?

In the short term, it may mean sales as stores clear their Whirlpool supply. Sears stated they would only sell Whirlpool appliances that are currently in stock. It could mean getting quality appliances at steep discounts. 

Will the discounts be worthwhile? It depends on your needs. The savvy shopper should take into consideration what these shifts may mean during the life of their appliance. Most appliances have a lifespan of 8-15 years. What happens if the store where you buy your refrigerator stops servicing the brand after you’ve bought it? Will it be possible to get replacement parts if repairs are needed? Fortunately, consumers can rely on local independent appliance repair shops like It Is Fixed Appliance Repair to service their machines, regardless of brand or original purchase location, so if the Sears/Whirlpool breakup results in sweet sales, it could be a good time to cash in.

Appliance buyers who only want the newest models with the latest features will need to shop elsewhere for Whirlpool appliances. This includes its popular subsidiaries like Maytag, Jenn-Air, and Kitchenaid. Loyal Sears shoppers will still be able to find Frigidaire, GE, LG, Samsung, Electrolux and Bosch appliances in stores.



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Disaster Proof Your Appliances

Disaster Proof Your Appliances

If you’ve been putting off preparing your home for harsh weather and flooding, now is a good time to get started. Although it is impossible to plan for every contingency, there are a lot of things you can do to protect your possessions during storms and other natural disasters. The following guide will teach you how to disaster proof your appliances, helping to prevent costly repairs and lengthy insurance claims.


Protect Your Appliances From Power Surges and Lightning

The only fail-proof way to protect your devices from lightning is to disconnect them from the electrical outlet. Surge protectors are designed to protect electronics from the power surges that are common after an outage. They can’t absorb enough current to prevent lightning damage. Even a system that physically disconnects the power when it detects a surge can’t offer reliable protection.  Lightning protection systems provide more protection than point-of-use devices like surge protectors, but nothing offers total protection.

If you’re leaving your home to escape dangerous weather, disconnect your appliances from their electrical outlets. In some circumstances, you may want to leave your refrigerator plugged in. Continue reading for more information.


Protect Your Appliances From Flooding

Some appliances can be safely moved to higher ground or elevated on bricks. For safety, some machines should be left in place, even if they might be damaged.

Washing Machine and Dryers – Safe to move

Electric Ovens – Safe to move if they have been disconnected from the power and are completely cool.

Protip: Many ovens have a door lock to make moving easier. If your oven does not have a door lock, use duct tape to hold the door closed while you are moving the appliance.

Gas stoves and ovens – should not be moved, even if the pilot lights and gas are off. To move a gas stove requires disconnecting the gas line. Connecting and disconnecting the gas line of a stove should only be handled by a trained professional.

If you have a gas oven:

  • Turn off the pilot lights.
  • Turn off the gas at the source.
  • Disconnect the oven from the electrical outlet.
  • Leave the gas line connected

Refrigerators – Move with caution. If you have an older model refrigerator that uses Freon, it should not be moved. If the compressor seal is compromised while the refrigerator is being moved, you could be exposed to a hazardous gas that can cause respiratory difficulty, burns, brain damage, or even death.


What to Do With Your Refrigerator If You Have To Leave Your Home

A refrigerator compartment is a sealed environment that moisture cannot easily escape. Unless the compartment is clean and dry, it may develop mold or mildew. Since mold is difficult and often dangerous to clean, prevention is the best option.

To protect your refrigerator:

  • Turn off the ice maker.
  • Turn off the water supply to the refrigerator.
  • Turn off the refrigerator.
  • Unplug the refrigerator from the power.
  • Remove all food.
  • Clean the inside compartments with vinegar and baking soda and wipe it dry with paper towels.
  • Place an open box of baking soda inside the unit. Alternately, you can use dry, unused coffee grounds inside a paper bag. This will help absorb moisture and odors


Note: It can take up to 24 hours for a refrigerator to reach optimal food-safe temperature when it is first turned on. When you return to your home, make sure to allow your refrigerator to cool completely before using it to store food.

If you want to leave your refrigerator on:

  • Turn off the ice maker.
  • Turn off the water supply to the refrigerator.
  • Remove food that will spoil while you are gone.
  • Fill empty jugs with water and leave them in the refrigerator. This will help the unit stay cool while using less energy.


Protip: Fill a cup halfway with water and allow it to freeze, unsealed, for 24 hours. When the water is frozen solid, put a quarter on top of the ice and return the cup to the refrigerator. When you return home, check the ice. If the quarter is halfway through the ice, the refrigerator was off long enough for the ice to melt, but the food may still be safe to eat. If the quarter is at the bottom of the cup, the ice thawed completely, and the food in your freezer should be discarded.


If Your Appliances Have Been Exposed to Water

Do not use your appliances if they have been exposed to water. Using a water-logged appliance could result in electrical shock and fire. However, your appliance may still be salvageable. An appliance repair service like It Is Fixed can help safely inspect your appliances, determine if it can be saved, and repair it if necessary.

Do you have any disaster-preparedness tips? Share them below!