How much is your washing machine/ freezer/fridge worth? If you bought it off Gumtree and paid $100 it may be worth nothing (buyer beware – you can’t pick guarantees on that tree), or like my customer Aileen today, it may be worth whatever it costs to replace it if you don’t want to fix it. Sometimes its a gem, and for $100 it continues to provide good solid service as a freezer or washer, for sometime, but suddenly there is a problem.
Because you only paid $100 for it, you think its not worth fixing for more than $100 because you didn’t pay much for it. But wait, what was it worth to you? Not ‘how much did you pay for it?’ Last week when it was working, it was worth the price of a new freezer, because you have to look at its replacement value. Having been a great appliance, you need to think of it as something you paid full price for. Will you value it more highly if you do?
We tend to think because something is cheap or free, that it is not worth anything, but remove it and you will have to replace it. This means an appliance store, or..
no no NO…..try not to buy electrical goods on Gumtree, unless you can get some kind of warranty if it breaks down in 2 weeks’ time. We get lots of calls from people who bought a great bargain there only to find the fridge tripping the power or not keeping the milk cold once they get it home.
Sometimes we are asked to source new machines with high eco ratings. For dishwashers and washers, that often refers to the amount of waster used, and for dishwashers especially, to the drying part of the cycle.
Sometimes, though, eco just doesn’t stack up… I know, so sad! But think about it: the manufacturers want to sell their product in a market that has become increasingly concerned about the damage we do to the environment. They comply with requirements to show their product’s eco ratings, but they need to keep those ratings as positive as possible. So when you see they have a high star rating, think about how they get there. For power use, the rating will be based on usage on the ‘Eco’ cycle on your dishwasher. Hmm.. that means no drying cycle , ok? Was that a consideration when you bought? And for a washer, it may be based on using cold water… in fine print, because of course, you need warm water to get your clothes clean.
In a top load washer the water usage will be based on you washing two pairs of socks and a couple of pairs of knickers at low water level. There are plenty of sites and blogs encouraging users to keep their water low in their top loader, but this will put pressure on the agitator and the motor. We see plenty of broken agitators. So it isn’t worth the saving in water if you have to replace your agitator. Have a look at our blog on miso soup for more info about how much water to use.
If you want to save water, steer clear of the top load washers as they use way more water than front loaders . The down side is the time they take to get through using 2.5 teaspoons of water for a load.
If you want to save energy in a dishwasher, run the normal wash, but make sure it is full. Run the eco cycle if you can handle wiping up all the crockery and glasses, but not every time.
A mangle or wringer is a mechanical laundry aid consisting of two rollers in a sturdy frame, connected by cogs and, in its home version, powered by a hand crank or electricity. The appliance was originally used to wring water from wet laundry and in 1967 it was a fixed attachment at the top of Granny’s washer and I loved feeding the clothes through when we visited her in the wilds of coastal NSW.
The vintage model we have here at Albion Appliance Service, may be a couple of years less old than 1967, but it does incorporate a safety feature not fully thought out by the manufacturers. Not a day goes by where someone comes in exclaiming’ I remember Nan/ Mum/ Gran had one of these. Weren’t they marvellous/ fun/ dangerous things?’. The clothes washed in the washer, then they were fed through the mangle a the top and any water squeezed out drained straight back into the wash water. Then they all got a rinse and the whole system went through again. The clothes were basically dry once they had been through, but they did need to be put through tidily so they didn’t crease in unwanted ways. (We won’t mention her iron, she had to heat that up on the wood stove)
Earlier models did not have the top roller with a sprung safety release, and many a customer of ours will tell of someone they know whose fingers ended up a bloody mess from being caught in the mangle. So, enter the spring release. Unfortunately it was not designed with the eager 7 year old in mind, and standing beside the machine when the spring did release would have been a tooth losing experience had I been a few centimetres shorter. Instead it gave me a bruising boot to the sternum.
But what a water saver! One load of water could see you through loads and loads of washing. Sure it was black by then , but water was very scarce that first year she lived there.
I’m old enough to remember my old granny taking the wheel barrow around to the ice house to pick up a massive block of ice to put in her ice box to keep her (sadly), rather meagre supplies cool.
So it seems pretty fabulous that it is possible on the hottest of days, to keep food and drinks cold in a big plastic and metal box using only electricity and magic.
But what I didn’t know was how important it is to look after that plastic and metal box. Your dad used to tell you to turn off all the lights as you went out of the room and to close the doors after you in winter, and your mum would rouse on you for opening the fridge door and letting all the cold air out while you pondered why she would not keep all the immediately ready to eat snacks you wanted and instead chose to keep boring things like uncooked liver or vegetables in there.
Not only was the warm and humid air you were letting in waking up all the bacteria on any of the fresh and cooked foods in that fridge, making them feel like cell division was suddenly a very attractive pastime, but once the thermostat of the fridge recognised the temperature had risen, the compressor would kick in and start to cool the inside of the fridge down again . A good thing? Yes, good for the unattended liver and vegetables; not so good for the compressor.
Overworking the compressor will wear it out. It will kick in and be fridgily noisy. Overworking the compressor constantly will cause the windings of the motor to all eventually fuse together and then the compressor will be quiet for ever more and your fridge and freezer will become warm and cozy bacteria nurseries.
There are so many more exciting things to impart about fridge care.. so stay tuned.
Granny did buy a fridge eventually, in 1967, but it was only a tiny bar fridge. It was usually pretty empty. It was another generation back then. Heaven help us if we opened it up and stared inside!
If you gotta move it, your fridge, that is, it is best if it is moved upright. That is the best way to move it, but sometimes you just don’t have any easy way to do that.
So if it needs to be laid down, what will happen is the oil in the compressor will move up into the refrigeration system. If the oil stays in the system, it will block the refrigerant gas from moving within the system and once that happens it won’t move as the refrigerant tries to move upwards and the oil needs to find its way downwards to the compressor. So the oil must be given time to drain into the compressor. To give it time to drain, leave it AT LEAST 24 hours.
If moving it lying down, put it on its side, with the door slightly open. But remember, if you need to give your friends or family some cold beverages at the end of the day, keep those liquids in the esky (or the chillibun if you are from across the ditch)…just don’t start the fridge up yet.
A dishwashing machine is a complex unit. With flow meters, inlet valves, two pumps, a control panel and an electronic brain to mention only a few of the parts which can fail, it is a little surprising that at least half of our call outs are to dishwashers that are not draining. This is usually because tiny or large food scraps have caught in the very last part of the drainage chain of the unit, the spigot, under the sink where it joins the main drainage beneath the sink. We also see glass, bone and other food scraps blocking up the pump, and occasionally thick fat build up in the drainage.
Avoid this issue by cleaning off and rinsing the dishes before they go into the dishwasher, and keeping the filters in the bottom of the unit emptied and washed. Use a supermarket de-scaler regularly to prevent lime scale build up, and keep the seals clean by wiping them down. This will also help keep the spray arms clear, which is good, because they are really difficult to clean out once clogged up.
If its only a blockage, you will only be up for a service call and labour if we come out to clear it out, but don’t keep trying to make it work, or you will put extra pressure on the pump, which will only hasten its demise, so give us a call if you have a blockage, but avoid blockages with regular maintenance and rinsed dishes and the dish and the spoon will want to stay home with the cat and the fiddle.
Many of us like to limit our water usage now that we live in more water conscious times. But keeping the water level low in your top loading washer is not the place to make those savings as you are likely to have to buy a new agitator.
One of the commonest parts we replace in washing machines is the agitator. This is because the fins break. They are not made very robustly, but that may be to protect the motor of the machine; after all if the fins are robust and the motor has to work very hard, it will fail faster than if it has an easy life. So instead, the fins break and we see many people come in a buy a nice shiny new agitator. Our advice always to them, is keep the washer on a high water level unless there are only a very few pieces of clothing in there to wash, because a load of washing in a full washer is much lighter than a load of washing in a half full washer.
Think of it like a bowl of soup. Stirring a thick minestrone will meet resistance, because it is full of vegetables and pasta. Keep your washing machine water at a miso soup consistency though and you will probably never have the pleasure or the pain of having to buy a new agitator.
Sometimes we get calls from customers looking for second hand spare parts, which they are not likely to be able to source anywhere. Acrylic shelves in fridges are damaged very easily, and they are difficult to store, so usually, if we are able to take any spare parts out of machines they will be the ones which haven’t already broken. Parts which are easily broken are less likely to be available second hand. Dishwasher baskets on the other hand, dryer doors, timers, pumps, and a wide range of other second hand parts, we will often have.
We have secured a number of top quality bar fridges second hand. They are $100 each and you really cant do better than these. Don’t be fooled by the prices of the cheap ones at Aldi et al. These National Bar fridges are the best.
We have a good range of second hand dryers available for purchase in store now to take care of your drying needs, in a range of sizes.
If you are replacing a dryer more than 12 months old, remember all new dryers on the market will require new wall mounts if you are planning on placing it on a laundry wall. We may be able to help out with a second hand dryer which will fit your current wall mounts. We will need the make of your current dryer, and if possible, the model.
Give us a call or come and see us at 108 Nudgee Rd Hamilton. (parking is in Lancaster Road)