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Thursday, December 31, 2015

A couple helpful tips!

Your appliance is on the fritz. Its making a "THUD, CLUNK, THUD, CLUNK" noise, and you're just not sure what to do. Before you buy a new one or have someone come out to fix it, find out the make and model of the appliance. When you know the make and model of the appliance you are needing repaired, it will help us pre-diagnose the problem.

Some sort of hose broke on your appliance, and it just stopped working. If you happen to know the part number of the part that needs replacing, we'll be able to get a new part ordered super fast for you!

Call us at Express Appliance at 208-344-6700 or stop by at
609 N. Orchard, Boise for more help or information!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

I bet you've never been wished a Merry Christmas
by an appliance store before huh?

When the Holidays are over, call us at (208) 371-8676

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Signs of When to Get a New Oven

The most holiday that puts the most strain on ovens is over, but it's not out of the woods yet! Christmas is only 8 days away, and the time to make sure yours works is NOW!

The most holiday that puts the most strain on ovens is over, but it's not out of the woods yet! Christmas is only 8 days away, and the time to make sure yours works is NOW!

There are some classic signs that your oven may need a tune up, or be put out to pasture. They include:

  1. Not holding the correct temperature.
  2. Not heating evenly.
  3. Long preheat times.
  4. Not turning on.
  5. Its falling apart or noticeable wear.
  6. Timers is broken.
  7. You can see a spike in your power bill when you use your oven.
  8. You've had trouble with it in the past
  9. It would make more financial sense to get a new one.

If you're not sure about what to do, or have questions, call us at Express Appliance at (208) 371-8676.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

12 Hints for Buying Large Appliances (part 2)

Last week we gave you several tips on how to buy appliances, as it can be a scary purchase. We try our best to provide our customers with a welcoming atmosphere, are comfortable asking questions, and are informed. Lets go over a couple more hints to help you when buying appliances!

7. Get the right gear

If you're constantly cooking, having the right pans, dishes, and silverware could extend the life of your appliance, as well as accent your food's taste.

8. Test drive

Everybody has those pet peeves that drive us crazy, and appliances aren't immune to being their target. Try thinking of what may bother you when buying an appliance. Some fridge doors close if not opened properly, others have an extra tight seal, a couple may open from the wrong side for your house, and some may have too dim of a light. You may be living with this choice for a while, so make sure you get the right one!

9. Any perks?

We don't want to brag, but we like to believe that we give every customer a steal of a deal. Our prices are the best you'll find, and on top of that, we finance, give every customer a 90 day warranty, a lifetime service agreement, and a delivery option.

We finance, 90 days same as cash. That's one heck of a deal :)

If the appliance needs any repair within the 90 day warranty, we'll pick up the tab. To quote The Rembrandts, "I'll be there for you".

After the warranty runs out, washers, dryers, and stoves have the low copay of $49.95, and fridges and freezers have the great copay of $69.95.

Not everybody has a truck they can just toss a fridge in. We will hook you up with delivery, anywhere from Boise all the way to Nampa, for only $49.95.

10. Know when its time

I admit, I have let the "check engine" light blink on for far longer than I should have. I came to realize, it was my car telling me it was time to put it out to pasture er... junkyard.

Your appliances will let you know when their time has come as well. They'll be much louder, not work as well, accidentally ruin clothes/food, or cost too much to fix.

Come talk to us if you need a 2nd opinion, or someone to haul it away.

11. Get the good stuff

Some people just are better at certain things than others. Their work stands out and it shows. Picking an appliance brand is no different. Before you sign on the dotted line, know what you're getting into. Does a brand have reliable parts that require little or no maintenance? Or does a brand have more fragile parts, like seals, motors, or knobs that require a bit more upkeep?

Don't get information from one source, but from several places. Read both positive and negative reviews. Our professional staff are also very knowledgeable about brands, and can help you weigh pros and cons.

12. Think ahead

When I was a teenager, I was given a motor cycle from a family friend. Being 14 and the owner of a motorcycle was VERY exciting, despite the fact it was (in retrospect) just a pile of junk. I was optimistic, and thought I could buy parts and get it cruising in no time. After a little bit of research, I found that my bike was a very old Japanese model. Any parts I bought would rather have to be shipped from overseas or be custom made in America. Either way, it instantly turned into an unrealistically expensive repair.

Some brands may have the same curse. Where one model's parts could be growing on trees, another model's parts could be as rare as a unicorn.

This information may be tricky to search for online if you don't know what you're looking for. Our staff know our products, their models, and their parts inside and out. They can help you decide if a model's potential repairs are the difference between feast or famine.

Keep an eye on our blog for more hints, tips, tricks, and stories!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

12 Hints for Buying Large Appliances (part 1)

Buying appliances can be a worrisome ordeal, and we've been there. We pride ourselves in taking good care of our customers. We make sure they're informed, delighted with their purchase, and leave satisfied enough to come back for future needs!

1. So many options!

There's a couple of options you may not have thought of unless you came into the shop. In attempt to better prepare you for the range of purchase options, lets determine what you want.

Do you want a gas, coil, or glass stove top? What about induction vs electric?

A conventional or convection oven? Double or single?

A top-down or side-by-side refrigerator? Stainless steal? Filtered water and ice? A special drawer for vegetables?

What's your price range? Do you have a lot, or just a little? New or old?

If you feel a bit overwhelmed, we got your back. Call us at 208-344-6700 or stop by at 609 Orchard st, Boise ID.

2. Don't be a diamond

Being under pressure makes diamonds, but it also leads to impulse buys. Don't feel pressured to buy something you don't want or can't afford. We want to find the right fit for you.

3. Keep in mind what you're using it for

If you live solely on frozen pizzas, you're most likely going to want a freezer with a lot of space. If you're needing space for food with ingredients, you'll probably going to want more fridge space. Different styles of fridges have different proportions of their freezers and fridges.

But these style differences aren't just for freezers and fridges. There are different sizes of ovens, washer/dryer capacities, and numbers of stove heads. Keep in mind what you'd need your new appliance for.

4. Know how to care for your purchase

In college, we weren't always the smartest with laundry. Having no washer/dryer of my own, I had to use my grandma's. Desperate to get all my laundry done in a single visit, I stuffed the washer past the brim. 15 minutes later, the washer was moaning under the strain of my mountain of clothes. Luckily, grandma stopped it before the washer gave out, and gave me a short lesson.

The same applies for all other appliances. It may seem silly, but look up the proper use for any appliance you just bought. Some things you may never have thought of, like cleaning dryer vents, sweeping under ovens, and battling a washer's mildew.

Even a simple mistake could end up being costly in you're not careful. Ask us at All Brands Appliance if you have any question, we're professionals!

5. Measure, Measure, Measure!

If you have narrow hallways, or have some tricky corners, make sure your new purchase fits! It would be incredibly frustrating going through the process of buying an appliance, having it delivered, only to find out that you're just inches away from the finish line. To prevent this "close, but no cigar" situation, know the dimensions needed in order to properly install it.

6. Corvette of appliances?

Everybody likes the fanciest, newest, and coolest stuff. From phones, to cars, and yes, even to washers. However, you don't always need to go out to the car dealership and spend an arm and a leg when the cars at the used car lot works just as well (and doesn't hit your wallet like a ton of bricks).

Our used appliances are in EXCELLENT condition, and all come with a free lifetime service agreement! Best of all, we're the best bang for your buck in the whole valley!
Tune in next week for part 2!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Thanksgiving is just 3 DAYS AWAY!! THIS IS NOT A DRILL!!

You don't want to be stuck unable to eat the staple of the holidays just because your old oven finally keeled over! If you need a new oven, TODAY is the day to come get it!! 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

5 Things You Should Never Do With Your Oven

1. Don't use the self-cleaning feature before preparing a holiday meal.

The self-cleaning feature on an oven makes the oven heat up to 800-1,000 degrees - much hotter than normal. If an oven were to "pull a muscle", it would be during that sprint.

2. Don't go overboard with tin foil.

Foil reflects heat, which may unevenly cook food. Give your turkey an even tan by directing the heat in the proper way.

3. Don't forget the vents!

Vents in the oven allow good heat circulation, and thus proper cooking. Unlike the Death Star, we don't want to cover those vents.

4. Be careful where you aim!

Spraying cleaning products on control knobs may spark an electrical fire. Our object is to cook in the kitchen, not cook the whole kitchen!

5. Use the oven the right way.

Many use their ovens to heat their homes. Ovens are designed to keep heat focused on the food inside, and using it in this wrong way would just put it through unnecessary strain. This would be an especially risky move so close to the holidays.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

To Replace, or Not to Replace?

To replace, or not to replace? That is the question. Whether its more cost effective to repair, or simply spring for a new model.

When it comes to appliances like ovens and fridges, Angie's List recommends using a "cost+age" formula to determine whether to replace or repair.  If the repair of an appliance will cost more than half the price of buying a new one, and if it's nearing the end of its useful life, replace it. 

"If the consumer made an initial investment in that that was pretty large and they can get it fixed for a couple hundred dollars, they may opt to repair," says Ryan Wagner, an appliance store manager.

Angie's List research shows that there are still plenty of repair people in the industry for when you need them, and we're one of them! Call us at 208-344-6700 anytime!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Freezer Prep

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Here's 3 hints to prep your freezer for all those left overs!

1. Clean it out

Take all the food out, throw the expired stuff away, and wipe everything down. Put a box of baking soda if its particularly fragrant.

2. Vacuum the back

Vacuum all the dust out of the condenser coils at least once a year. This allows the freezer to continue work at peak performance.

3. Maintain proper temperatures

Monitor the temperatures of the freezer. Ideally, it would be around 0 degrees. If the temperature is too high, the seal likely isn't tight enough.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Tips to Help the Dishwasher Run Better (part 2)

If you're lucky enough to have some mechanical help with your dishes, how's your helper doing these days? Cooking can be tough on the dishwasher. All those goopy soups, milk-crusted mugs, and baked-on casseroles can overload it; perhaps you're feeling like things aren't running so smoothly or smelling as good as they ought to in there.

Well, we're here to help, with 5 more tips for making your dishwasher run its best.

Are these tips familiar to you? I was already doing several of them, but a few were new, so I thought they might be to you as well.

6. Run an empty dishwasher with vinegar

It’s the same concept as running a vinegar load in your washing machine. You simply toss a cup of white vinegar into the bottom of an empty dishwasher and run a normal cycle. It cleans out old food particles to keep your dishwasher smelling fresh.

7. Clean the dishwasher trap

Down in no-man's land, under the lower sprayer, there's usually a piece that is removable. Under it you'll usually find bits of food that didn't make it out the drain or even pet hair (eww) if you have a fur-ball of any kind running around your home. Sometimes the tray comes out fully so it can be rinsed in the sink; sometimes a towel is needed to remove the gunk buildup.

8. Clean the dishwasher seals

After a few months of use, your dishwasher accumulates a little bit of ick and stick around the rubber gasket in the door and often around the soap door as well. Make sure to give them a once-over with a damp towel to keep the grime down.

9. Check your water heater's temperature

There's a joke about where to put the thermometer, but we'll pass this time around. Make sure your water heater is set between 120 and 125 degrees. Many units are shipped new set to a much lower heat. This is the ideal temperature for washing dishes; don't be tempted to turn it higher or else it will cause water to flash dry and not roll off your dishes, taking the ends of the dirty bits with it.

10. Test your water

Hard water is killer on dishes and your ability to really get things clean. Make sure to have things tested and soften accordingly.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tips to Help the Dishwasher Run Better (part 1)

If you're lucky enough to have some mechanical help with your dishes, how's your helper doing these days? Cooking can be tough on the dishwasher. All those goopy soups, milk-crusted mugs, and baked-on casseroles can overload it; perhaps you're feeling like things aren't running so smoothly or smelling as good as they ought to in there.

Well, we're here to help, with 5 tips for making your dishwasher run its best.

Are these tips familiar to you? I was already doing several of them, but a few were new, so I thought they might be to you as well.

1. Don't confuse scraping with washing

No one wants to wash their dishes before they wash their dishes; it's just silly. But you wouldn't want to eat a Thanksgiving dinner and then go run a marathon right after. Well, neither does your dishwasher. Scrape food bits off before loading up to help reduce particles stuck on dishes once the cycle is over.

2. Don't overcrowd the dishwasher

It's something that's easier said than done. It's quite tempting to layer in one more bowl or plate to avoid hand washing. Just remember, it's better to wash a few pieces by hand than it is to rerun an entire load because things were too tightly packed.

3. Run hot water before starting the dishwasher

Before starting the cycle, turn on the faucet and run until the water is hot to the touch. This means your first dishwasher fill cycle will be hot, instead of cold, until it finally makes its way over from the hot water heater. This is an especially important tip in winter time, as it takes longer for the water to heat up.

4. Use the correct cycle

It can be tempting to use a shorter, lighter setting to save on time and water bills, but make sure you're washing all your super dirty dishes by hand if that's the case. Just like doing your laundry, keep soil levels together when washing to end up with the best performance.

5. Don't double up on rinse aid

When looking to purchase a new soap for your dishwasher, make note if it includes a rinse aid. If it does, then there's no need to add any extra. If it doesn't, skip the extra purchase and just fill the reservoir with white vinegar. It'll do the trick every time!

Monday, October 19, 2015

How to Clean and Maintain a Dishwasher (part 2)

Inspect the bottom of your dishwasher around the drain. There will be a grate or grill around it, under the arm. This is where wastewater goes. Look for debris clogging up this area. Remove any solid matter that builds up, especially bits of paper, shards of broken dishes, gravel, etc. If you think stuff has gotten down inside, you'll have to do some simple disassembly to get at it.

1. To remove accumulated debris, unplug the dishwasher.

Look for a plug under your sink. Make sure to unplug the dishwasher and not the garbage disposal! Follow the cord back to your dishwasher to make sure.

  • If your dishwasher is at all mobile, move it around to see the proper cord move.

2. Carefully remove the screws at the bottom.

Take care not to drop them! The cover of the filter will lift off, leaving the area exposed.
  • As you disassemble this section, take care to notice what you take off and where. Take photos along the way and set the pieces someplace safe, in the order they came off. When you start reassembly, there will be no question of what you should do.

    3. Place a piece of tape on the opening of the filter.

      This is to prevent debris from getting in it as you clean it. You want the debris out of the dishwasher completely -- not clogging up the pipes even further.

      4. Use a cloth to remove solid debris and then scrub down the base as necessary.

      Be careful of handling broken glass if that is part of what you find here. Rubber gloves are a good idea, too.
      • Use a brush or a cloth to loosen and remove deposits. For dishwashers that have not been properly cleaned recently, you'll need a strong cleaning agent to get at the years of buildup.

      5. Screw everything back together and plug it back in.

        It'll be easiest to do the reverse of what you did to get it apart. Don't over-tighten the screws, especially if they are going into soft plastic.
        • You may want to give it a quick run to see if everything works like it should.

        Wednesday, October 14, 2015

        3 Reasons To Run Your Dishwasher At Night

        Dishwashers are a love hate relationship for some and straight up mandatory for busy households on the go. What time do you run yours? Here's a few tips on why starting it before bed is the most beneficial for your family!

        Even though many don't own a dishwasher, others do and there's a bit of know how that goes along with it. They're an appliance like everything else, but the times in which we run it can impact our home, bills and peace and quiet. Here's a few things to keep in mind:

        1. Humidity versus Air Conditioner:

        Your dishwasher adds humidity back into your kitchen air and even though it's much needed to get the dishes dry, it means your air conditioner has to work a little bit harder. Even though some might live where air conditioning isn't needed, it's still pushing triple digits in many places. At night, when your house is more calm, that need won't be as great.

        2. Sound Reduction

        Although some have new quiet dishwashers, many of us have older units that hum, buzz or just make what could be considered the loudest white noise you've ever heard. Although it doesn't make you go crazy, it will make you turn the tv up or talk louder in your own home. Run it at night and let that noise soothe you to sleep instead!

        3. Avoid Higher Energy Costs

        After lunch and dinner is when many cities are using the highest amounts of energy and thus, the charges for such use is higher. If you can delay your dishwasher, set it to go off after midnight, helping your pocket book by a few pennies. It all adds up at the end of the month!

        Monday, October 12, 2015

        How to Clean and Maintain a Dishwasher (part 1)

        1. Fill the sink half full of water and add 2 cups of vinegar.

        This is going to be where your dishwasher bits are soaking while you clean up around the walls and base. If you don't have vinegar, consider the following:

        • Lemonade drink mix or lemon-flavored Kool-Aid mix. (Don't use strong colors that might stain. There is no need to add the sugar.)
        • Lemon juice
        • A dishwasher cleaning product

        2. Remove the holders and racks

        The two "shelves" of the dishwasher should be removed, along with the utensil holder and any other pieces that aren't a part of the racks. If they're small, place them into your vinegar-water sink for cleaning. If they don't fit, wipe them down with a rag damp with the same vinegar solution.
        • Check for food bits! If any are stuck on, use a toothpick or similar small, sharp tool to pry away at what's been caked on.

        3. Clear any debris out of the holes in spinning arms.

        Look to make sure all the holes are open so that water can run through them freely. If you have this problem, those holes will need to cleaned in order for your dishwasher to run efficiently. Use fine pointed or needle-nose pliers if you have some; otherwise, try a toothpick or something similar. Take care not to scratch anything if you're using a tool with a metal point. Remember to take your time and be careful.
        • If these holes are very small, bend a fine wire with a tiny hook on one end. Thread the wire through the opening most distal from the center of the arm. Each time you do this a small amount of debris will come out.
        • Another option is to drill a much larger hole at the end of the arm. Run the washer to eject the matter, then plug the bigger hole with a stainless steel screw.

        4. Wipe around the edges of the door and around the gasket

        This space doesn't get washed during the dishwasher cycle. Use a damp cloth and the vinegar solution (or, if you like, a bit of mild spray cleaner). An old toothbrush or other soft, household brush can help get into corners and up under the gasket, too.
        • Don't forget under the bottom of the door! In some dishwashers, this is a dead spot where water doesn't go, so it can accumulate debris. Wipe this off with your vinegar rag. If anything is caked on, bust out your scrub brush as necessary.

        5. Remove mildew or mold with bleach

        Run a separate cycle from any acid cleaners you have used and never mix bleach with other cleaners or with dishwasher detergent. Bleach is a very strong chemical, both on you and on your dishwasher, so use it sparingly and only when necessary.
        • If mold and mildew is a problem, leave the dishwasher loosely open for a while after each cycle to allow it to dry out.
        • Avoid using bleach and detergents containing bleach if your dishwasher has a stainless steel interior or door.

        6. Tackle rust stains

        If your water has a lot of iron or rust in it, rust may be beyond your control. If possible, address the problem at its source. If the problem isn't rusty pipes, water softeners can remove a limited amount of iron from water but they mostly work by exchanging minerals that are hard to clean off surfaces for salts that are relatively easy to clean. Filters do exist to remove iron from water and might be worth looking into if your water is extremely high in iron.
        • Use a dishwasher-safe rust remover for the stains themselves, but seek out a professional to ask how they got there in the first place.
        • If the finish is chipping or flaking off the wire baskets in your dishwasher, try a paint-on sealant made just for dishwasher racks. Pull out the racks and check the bottoms, too. If the damage is severe or widespread (not just a few tines but all of them), see if you can replace the entire rack. Online stores sell a wide variety of appliance parts, so your replacement part may be very easy to find.

        7. Replace all parts back into your dishwasher.

          Once the grate, filter, arms, and all the insides have been given their thorough cleaning and the smaller parts have had a chance to soak, place them back in as normal. Or proceed to the next section -- if your dishwasher is really bad, you can take apart the bottom and really get down to business.

          Wednesday, October 7, 2015

          Easy Fridge Trick That Saves You a Ton on Your Grocery Bills

          It’s a statistic that can’t be repeated often enough: Americans end up throwing away nearly half of our food, translating to $165 billion in groceries and farmers market haul at the bottom of the garbage can. That food waste is also the largest component of solid waste in U.S. municipal dumps.

          Shopping habits can impact this rampant waste, but there’s plenty you can do once you bring your groceries home too. Remember how promising those wild blueberries looked, and your grand plans for that organic chicken? You don’t want them to go bad on you. Reorganizing the fridge in the most effective way possible could mean fewer tossed containers of Greek yogurt, which means saved money (and better breakfasts).
          Here’s how restaurants do it: Place food in the fridge based on how thoroughly it needs to be cooked before it’s consumed. Foods that require no cooking can go on the top shelves, where it’s warmest. Then work your way down, with foods that need to be cooked to the highest temperature at the cold bottom (we’re looking at you, free-range bird).

          It couldn’t hurt to keep a thermometer in your fridge to maintain an ideal temperature of about 37 degrees F, and to make sure the mercury doesn’t climb above 40 degrees F, at which point bacteria can grow like crazy. Space items out, too, so the cold air can circulate and do its job of keeping food fresh and ready for feasting.

          Now, on to the specifics, area by area:


          This is the warmest part of the fridge, where the temperature can be a degree or two balmier than the main compartment, so it’s not a good home for anything highly perishable. (Ignore those adorable little egg cups, for starters.) Use the door’s shelves for the collection of condiments you’ve amassed while perfecting your pad thai and tikka masala. Pasteurized orange juice can go here too. Butter doesn’t need to be kept super-cold and can go right where your fridge wants you to put it—in the covered dairy compartment. (You can also keep soft cheeses, such as brie, in there.)

          Top Shelf

          This is the second-warmest area of the fridge. Put soft drinks, yogurt, leftovers, and anything ready-to-eat—such as deli meats and cheese—up here.

          Cheese Drawer

          If you have one, this can be the designated home for your aged Gouda, where it’s relatively warm. (Cheese, incidentally, can find many happy homes in the fridge. You can also keep it in the drawers at the bottom, if you tend to eat more Great Hill Blue than broccoli.)

          Middle Shelf
          Things are starting to get colder. Because we Americans need to refrigerate our eggs, this is where they should go, where the temperature is most consistent. The milk also goes here.

          Bottom Shelf

          Keep raw meat and seafood here, in their original packaging, and toward the back, where it’s coldest. If you buy a lot of meat and are concerned about drippy raw chicken juices contaminating fruits and vegetables in the drawers below (a valid worry), keep a separate plastic bin on this shelf devoted to uncooked meat. Bonus: easier cleanup if things do get messy.


          Here’s where things get a little bit complicated. Fruits and vegetables belong here, where refrigerator humidity levels are highest. But different produce requires different levels of moisture, and certain fruits emit ethylene, a gas that accelerates rotting in vegetables.

          Your best bet is to make like the Offspring and keep ’em separated. Keep fruit in the lowest-humidity drawer, often marked “Crisper,” with the vent open, which allows more air to come in. Vegetables can tolerate more humidity. Keep the vent on this drawer closed, which keeps air from circulating and holds moisture in.

          Monday, October 5, 2015

          5 things to check on your appliances (part 2)

          6. Fix rusty dish rack tines
          Rust on the tines of your dishwasher racks can adhere to and ruin your dishes and silverware. To solve this issue, purchase a tine repair kit, and use a sealant to adhere the replacement tips over any rusty or chipped tines. Let dry for at least 24 hours before running the dishwasher.

          7. Clean and deodorize your garbage disposalTurn the disposal off and look down the drain for any large, stuck items. Use tongs or another tool--not your hands--to remove blockages. Pour a mixture of ice cubes and salt, or vinegar down the drain. Run cold water over it for 10 seconds, and turn on the unit. To remove odors, place a handful of citrus peels in the disposal, run cold water, and turn it on.

          8. Clean your dryer exhaust
          Lint in the dryer exhaust not only reduces appliance efficiency, it is a fire hazard. To clean, loosen the clamp and pull the exhaust off the back of the dryer. Remove large clumps of lint from the tubing and the hole in the back with your hands, or if you can't reach, gently scrape with a straightened coat hanger. Vacuum and reattach.

          9. Inspect washing machine hoses
          Most washing machine floods are caused by leaks in the hose. Check the hoses that connect to the back panel on your washing machine for any cracks, leaks, or weak spots on the hoses. If you find any deformities, replace the hose. And at minimum, replace the hoses every five years.

          10. Clean your air conditioner filter
          Clogged or dirty filters restrict air flow, reducing energy efficiency as well as the appliance's lifespan. As a result, filters should be cleaned every two to four weeks. To clean the filter, remove the front panel of the unit. If a reusable filter is in place, vacuum it to remove as much dirt as possible. Disposable filters can simply be replaced

          Wednesday, September 30, 2015

          5 Tips to Make Your Refrigerator More Efficient

          Today, we're looking at ways to make your refrigerator run a little more effectively in order to keep those bills down. These are simple tips that should help any home!

          1. Vacuum the Back

          The idea of pulling your refrigerator away from the wall isn't exactly at the top of anyone's to do list, but it can help so much. So much dust and dirt gets trapped behind your refrigerator (especially if you have pets) and this collects on the condenser coils. Once you've cleaned them off, the heat from your refrigerator will be able to be carried away without as much resistance, making your cycles run for a shorter period of time.

          2. Check the Door Seal

          Use a thin piece of paper or dollar bill to check whether your seal is losing air. Hold it up next to the closed refrigerator door and see if it flutters at all. The rubber or plastic door seal on your refrigerator can be easily replaced and although it might seem like a pain, we promise it's not. No one wants to pay to refrigerate their entire kitchen, especially when it's only a few bucks for a new gasket!

          3. Cover Everything

          Unless you're keeping crackers in your fridge, most foods in there contain moisture. When left uncovered, foods will leach this moisture into the air and the compressor in your refrigerator will have to work twice as hard to remove it. (Plus, most foods will suck up smells of other foods and that just gets weird.)

          4. Let Your Food Cool Before Putting it Away

          So you made a big batch of soup and you're really tired. Sleep needs to happen ASAP, and you just don't want to wait up any longer. Sure, you can toss it in the fridge, but your refrigerator will have to pull double duty to cool it down. Try to let foods sit as long as possible (without bacteria cooties growing) before putting them in the chill chest. 

          5. Fill Empty Space with Water

          Using empty soda bottles, juice containers, or even store bought water jugs can help keep your fridge full when you aren't packing it to the gills. It helps keep things cold so your refrigerator doesn't have to work as hard. As an added bonus you will always have water for the zombie apocalypse.

          Have you found any other ways to keep your fridge running efficiently?

          Monday, September 28, 2015

          5 things to check on your appliances (part 1)

          1. Verify your oven door has a tight seal
          Without a proper seal, your oven can lose more than 20 percent of its heat. The result is that food takes longer to cook or cooks unevenly. To check the seal's condition, open the oven door and locate the rubber or fiberglass gasket around the perimeter of the door. Feel for any broken, torn, or deformed areas, and close the door to see if you can find any leaks. If you do, replace the seal.

          2. Clean or replace dirty range hood or downdraft vent filters
          Wash metal-mesh grease filters by hand in soapy water, or run them through the dishwasher. Charcoal or paper filters should not be washed. Replace them instead.

          3. Clean stovetop drip bowls
          Remove drip bowls from underneath your burner elements and presoak them in a cleaning solution for five minutes. Then hand wash and replace. Remember to clean drip bowls immediately after spills. If spills burn into the bowls, you might need to replace them.

          4. Clean coils in your refrigerator
          Dirt, dust, and pet hair can clog up refrigerator coils, restricting air flow and causing the refrigerator to work harder to keep cool. Once or twice a year, use a handheld vacuum to clean the coils and suck up any loose particles. The location of refrigerator coils varies by model, but most can be found either behind the kick plate (the front panel near the floor) or at the rear of the fridge.

          5. Change your refrigerator water filter
          Filters that don't efficiently remove contaminants and impurities could expose you to harmful water. Instructions for changing the filter vary by model, but most are as easy as turning the filter a quarter inch and popping it out or locking it in place. Perform this simple task every three to six months, depending on water usage.

          Wednesday, September 23, 2015

          Wrap your meat for an efficient freezing

          This is an illustrated guide to wrapping meat in freezer paper for an airtight seal. It's not hard to learn, as the major trick is folding and re-folding the creases to push out the air, along with keeping the fold tight while you tape it off. Once you've mastered the "drugstore wrap," you'll get better-quality reheats, frostless meat, and a lot less guilt at freezer-cleaning time (as you end up tossing fewer arctic-frosted cuts).

          Foods of highest quality, properly prepared for freezing, can lose color, flavor, texture and nutritive value if packaged improperly.
          Proper packaging methods mean:
          Using moisture-vapor-proof paper or containers
          Removing as much air as possible from package
          Carefully sealing tightly wrapped package
          Labeling package for usage within recommended storage time.

          1. Place meat on paper.

          Tear off enough paper to go about one and a half times around meat, put shiny side next to meat (if using wax coated paper). Lay meat on center of paper and allow ample paper at sides.

          2. Bring ends together.

          Start folding ends of paper together over center of meat. Turn edges over to make a fold about an inch deep. Run your fingers along fold to make a good crease.

          3. Fold to meat.

          Keep turning paper over and crease each fold. The last fold should pull paper tight around meat. You want to get all the air out of package to prevent “freezer burn”.

          4. Fold ends.

          Press paper down close to sides of meat. Press out all the air you can to make a tight package. Fold in each of the four corners of paper. This will make a point at each end.

          5. Turn under ends.

          Turn pointed ends of paper under package. Then fold under about an inch at each end of package. You have made a tight package that will keep air out and moisture in.

          6. Seal and label.

          Seal with tape (you can use masking tape or freezer tape). Label each package with kind and amount of meat and date you put into your freezer. Now it’s ready to go into freezer.

          This method of meat wrapping is also known as “The Drug Store Wrap“.

          Tip: Store wrapped items seam side down to protect seal. You can double wrap meat if the freezer paper you’re using isn’t the best quality (or use one layer aluminum foil or plastic wrap then cover with freezer paper).

          Wednesday, September 16, 2015

          Convert a Chest Freezer into a Super-Efficient Refrigerator

          Refrigerators are, despite advances in their design, terribly inefficient. Every time you open the door, the cold air comes cascading right out onto the floor. Chest freezers don't suffer from this draft effect, and can be converted into super-efficient refrigerators.

          How super-efficient? Energy usage with a chest-freezer-turned-fridge is barely 0.1kWh a day. Modern stand-up refrigerators use around 1kWh a day.

          Tom Chalko, an extremely energy-conscious Australian, modified a chest freezer into a refrigerator to cut down on the pull a standard refrigerator would place on the solar/wind system that runs his home. He started off with a simple thermostat to control the on/off cycle of his chest refrigerator, but after becoming dissatisfied with the cheap—and sometimes dangerous—quality of the products, he built his own thermostat timer.

          For more information about his journey towards an ultra-efficient, off-the-grid refrigerator, check out his website here.

          Wednesday, September 9, 2015

          10 Simple Freezer Tricks to Save You Time and Money (part 2)

          It's that time of year again, when our freezers are filled with the summer's bounty in preparation for the long winter months ahead. Get the most out of your freezer, and learn a few of its other uses, with these great tricks.

          Freezers are hard working appliances that can do more than just keep your bagged veggies chilled. Try on one of these 10 ideas below and see if you can make it pull double duty, or at least keep it running a little more efficiently:

          6. Save Your Hard Drive in the Freezer

          A hard drive that is left in the freezer for 24 hours and then quickly inserted back into your machine can make a recovery. Or at least long enough to back things up before it says adios forever. 

          7. Tame Freezer Burn to Keep Food Tasty

          Freezer burn can get the best of everything in your freezer. To make sure it doesn't happen as frequently, try keeping your freezer at a more steady temperature and keeping out as much air as possible.

          8. Make Freezer Jam as an Easy Alternative to Canning

          Freezer Jam is an easy way to use up remaindered fruits and doesn't even require a waterbath or any other canning know-how. Just a little pectin. 

          9. Convert a Chest Freezer into a Super-Efficient Refrigerator

          Chest freezers use 1/10th of the energy that an upright refrigerator does. With the addition of a thermostat, a chest freezer can end up being the ideal place to keep things cool, without freezing them.

          10. Frost-Proof Meat with "Drugstore Wrap"

          Zip top bags and Seal-a-Meal systems can be time consuming and inefficient. Try kicking it old school and wrap your meats in freezer paper for a frost free freezer experience. 

          Wednesday, September 2, 2015

          10 Simple Freezer Tricks to Save You Time and Money (part 1)

          It's that time of year again, when our freezers are filled with the summer's bounty in preparation for the long winter months ahead. Get the most out of your freezer, and learn a few of its other uses, with these great tricks.

          Freezers are hard working appliances that can do more than just keep your bagged veggies chilled. Try on one of these 10 ideas below and see if you can make it pull double duty, or at least keep it running a little more efficiently:

          1. Can I freeze that?

          More often than not things can be saved from expiration date, mold or for a later use, by freezing them. But how do you know what can be frozen and how long it keeps? The National Center for Home Food Preservation has done the dirty work for you and made a list!

          2. Unstick Plastic Wrap in the Freezer

          Plastic Wrap loses it's static cling when placed in the freezer. It will attach to any bowl or plate that needs covering, but eliminates it sticking back on itself.

          3. Freeze Ground Meat in Small Portions with a Chopstick

          The extra 10 minutes it takes to thaw ground meat in the microwave is time you could have spent doing something else. Eliminate it by pressing a chopstick into the meat on the outside of a zip top bag. It will allow you to break off as much as you need without thawing the entire amount.

          4. Preserve Surplus Summer Herbs for Winter Use
          Fresh herbs bought from your local grocer can cost more than buying an entire plant. Try chopping and covering them with water, stock or oil before freezing. They'll be ready for any dish, all winter long.

          5. Make Your Freezer More Efficient
          Freezing used plastic bottles or jugs (milk and orange juice work great) full of water will help keep your freezer at a level temperature and use less energy to maintain it.

          Tuesday, August 18, 2015

          Clean your Dryer Duct

          While its warm now, its gonna start getting cold soon! Make sure you clean out your dryer duct before it gets too chilly!

          Call us at 208-371-8676 and we'll help you do it!

          Tuesday, August 4, 2015

          Cleaning your Stove top the Natural way

          How often do you clean your stovetop? Do you wipe up spills and splatters right away? Or do you, ahem, let it build up? And after you've got a crust of burnt gunk, how do you clean it up? Here's a tip for those of us who, again, ahem, procrastinate on cleaning the stove. There's a secret weapon we've found for getting it clean with no harsh chemicals and with a minimum of elbow grease.

          The secret weapon is simple: Your hot water kettle!
          This is what I do when my stove gets a little crusty and thick with burnt-on stuff. I boil water in the kettle, then dribble just a little water over the entire stovetop. I let it sit for about five minutes to do its work and to cool off a bit. Then I go at the stove with a soft scrub pad or steel wool if necessary. The crusty stuff comes right off, and I finish up with just a bit of soap and a final rinse. Result: Sparkling clean stovetop!
          Now, this method may not work for all stoves; if you have a ceramic or induction cooktop, check your instructions and documentation. But overall, what's simpler and more kitchen-friendly than hot water? It soaks stuff right off, and is completely natural and chemical-free. The power of boiling water — never underestimate it!

          Tuesday, July 28, 2015

          Air Conditioner

          Its been a hot year, and air conditioners have been working hard! Here are a couple of tips to make sure it keeps running smoothly!

          1. Change the filter.
          Central air systems should have their filters changed at least every few months. But if you've let the chore slide to the back of your mind, now's as good a time as any to replace the filter.

          2. Clean the vents.
          Again, a regular dusting several times a year is a must. But if you've been slacking, do it now. You could also consider having a professional give your air ducts and vents a thorough cleaning.

          3. Check to see if you're blocking the condensing unit.
          The part of your air conditioner that draws air into the system obviously needs to be uncovered. That means any fold-able patio chairs you've conveniently stored in your A/C closet for the winter need to come out. Also take the time to clean obvious obstructions like leaves from around the unit.

          4. Check your freon levels.
          Your air conditioner isn't consuming freon coolant, so under ideal conditions, the freon would never need to be filled or changed. But you could have an HVAC tech check for a leak (especially with older models) or another irregularity as part of your annual A/C maintenance plan.

          5. Check everything else.
          If you're going to have a pro come in to check the freon, also have them check that the electrical controls and coils are in top shape. A professional HVAC tech can also calibrate your thermostat.

          Tuesday, July 14, 2015

          Fix it or Replace it?

          This is a good video that goes over some of the main points to consider when dealing with an appliance issue.

          You can also come into Express Appliance and we can help answer your questions, repairs on your current appliance, or show you options for a new appliance for your home. 

          Tuesday, July 7, 2015

          Laundry Mistakes to Avoid

          Nobody wants to do a chore twice. Here are twelve common laundry mistakes to avoid to help your laundry day go more smoothly.

          Mistake 1: Rubbing Stains Furiously
          This can make the stain worse and possibly wear away the fabric. Instead, be gentle and methodical. Treat the stain as soon as you can; the less time that elapses, the more success you’ll have. And always use a white cloth so that colors can’t transfer. Dab, rather than rub, working from the outside in to keep the stain contained.

          Mistake 2: Using Too Much Detergent
          Excess suds can hold dirt pulled from clothes and get caught in areas that won’t always rinse clean, like under a collar, leading to bacteria buildup. The remedy: Use only half the amount of detergent that you normally do, then gradually increase that amount if your clothes are not coming out as clean as you would like. An exception: If you have hard water, you may actually need more soap than you are using. Check the recommendation for hard water on your detergent bottle.

          Mistake 3: Filling the Washing Machine Incorrectly
          When washing in a top-loader with liquid detergent, you should first fill with water, then add soap, then add clothes, right? Well, no. This protocol from the past was meant to prevent residue on the fabric and the machine. But modern detergents are phosphate-free and not harmful to clothes the way old formulas were. As long as you’re not using bleach, don’t add clothing after the water (a pain, because clothes can float). Instead, use this order to distribute detergent best: clothes, then water, then soap.

          Mistake 4: Washing an Item That Has a “Dry-Clean” Label
          This isn’t necessarily a blunder. Most items that say “dry-clean” can be hand washed and air-dried. This includes natural fibers, such as linen and most silks. First check for colorfastness; moisten a cotton swab with mild detergent and dab it on a hidden seam to see if any dye comes off. If not, go ahead and dunk the garment in soapy water just once or twice, then rinse and immediately roll it in a towel to extract moisture. However, you should stick with dry-cleaning for certain categories: leather, suede, silk dupioni, anything with embellishments, and structured pieces (like blazers).

          Mistake 5: Not Zipping Zippers All the Way to the Top
          Metal teeth can snag delicate and woven clothing that’s being washed in the same load.

          Mistake 6: Washing Shirts All Buttoned Up
          This seems like a good idea, but it can stress buttons and buttonholes and lead to premature poppage. Take the time to unbutton before tossing clothes in the washer (or the hamper).

          Mistake 7: Overusing Bleach
          Think twice before you reach for the bleach: You actually don’t need it to get rid of protein stains, like blood, sweat, and tears. (Okay, maybe tears are not a big laundry issue.) One natural option: Toss stained socks, tees, and undies into a big pot of water with a few lemon slices and bring to a boil for a few minutes.

          Mistake 8: Not Leveling Your Washing Machine
          If your washer is not level, vibrations can damage your floor and prematurely wear out key components, like the shock absorbers and the tub bearings. (Plus, there’s that terrible noise.) Place a level on top of the machine and adjust the feet, which typically screw up and down, accordingly. If this doesn’t help, beef up the floor with a ¾-inch-thick piece of plywood that’s a little larger than the machine’s base. It will help absorb vibrations.

          Mistake 9: Letting the Dryer “Rest” Between Loads
          Some folks like to wait an hour after one cycle concludes before putting in a new load. But in fact, running back-to-back dryer loads is smart and efficient. It lets you take advantage of retained heat from the previous cycle, cutting down on energy usage.

          Mistake 10: Ignoring the Permanent Press Setting on Your Dryer
          This medium-heat cycle with a cool-down period at the end is a proven crease curber. More tips: Don’t pack clothes in; they need to float freely or they’ll wrinkle. (Note: Ditto for the washer. Stuffing it can create wrinkles and prevent your clothes from getting clean. On top of that, it can put pressure on the machine’s bearings and shock absorbers, causing them to wear down prematurely.) And procrastinators, take note: It really does eliminate creases if you fold clothes when they’re still hot, right out of the dryer (or, if you prefer, right out of the pile that you dumped onto your bed). Give each item a quick shake so wrinkles don’t set in. If you don’t have time to fold a load immediately, shake out the pieces and lay them flat in the laundry basket, one on top of another, while they await further attention.

          Mistake 11: Tossing Socks in Willy-Nilly
          Here’s a sock-saving tip: Place socks in the washer tub first, so they’re less likely to attach themselves to other garments and then go missing.

          Mistake 12: Not Cleaning Your Dryer
          Even though you empty the lint filter after each use (right?), lint buildup can clog the duct over time and become a fire hazard. A sure sign that your dryer is clogged? It takes more than an hour to dry a load. Once a year, detach the hose from the back of the dryer and snake a long brush through to push out lint (20-foot dryer vent brush, $35, gbindustrialdirect.com). Also scrub the lint filter once a year with a small toothbrush and a bit of detergent. Rinse, then air-dry completely.

          Tuesday, June 30, 2015

          How to Snake Clean Dryer Vents

          A dryer vent snake is commonly called a rotary vent auger. A brush is mounted onto flexible rods, and just like a motorized plumbing snake, it is attached to a drill and sent into the dryer vent duct. The turning action of the brush works just like a plumbing snake to remove any clogs in a dryer vent, like lint and other clothes debris, and they will even remove blockages from birds or other animal nests, squirrel caches and any other types of animal infestation. Plugged dryer vents can ignite under the right circumstances, so keeping a vent clear is a must.

          1.      Remove the dryer vent cover outside your home with a screwdriver, if applicable. Some vent covers just slide on and off the dryer duct and some are screwed on. Look for screws on the direct front of the vent at the corners. If you do not find any screws, pull the dryer vent cover off the duct by turning it side to side as you pull.

          2.      Measure the length of your duct with a tape measure. This will give you a general idea of how long the snake needs to be to reach from end to end.

          3.      Assemble the auger snake. Screw a flexible rod onto the auger brush and hand-tighten it. Screw the next rod onto the back of the attached rod, and continue doing this until all of the rods are attached or you have determined how long the snake must be to reach from end to end.

          4.      Attach the rod end into the drill chuck. Tighten the rod into the chuck securely.

          5.      Insert the brush end of the snake into the dryer duct and turn the drill on. Begin rotating the brush on the lowest speed possible and slowly feed the brush into the dryer vent. The rotating action will clean and break through any debris that may be clogging the dryer duct, and the flexible rods will bend at sharp angles and follow the duct work all the way to the dryer. Push the brush all the way in, then slowly pull it out, rotating the entire time.

          6.      Flush the duct by either turning on the dryer and allowing the air to blow it out or place a wet/dry vacuum at the vent mouth and suck the lint and other debris out. Replace the vent cover when finished and break down the snake back into its original state until next time.

          Things You Will Need
          • Screwdriver
          • Tape measure
          • Dryer vent snake auger
          • Variable speed drill
          • Wet/dry vacuum, if applicable
          • Snake your dryer vent yearly as a maintenance task. If your dryer suddenly begins to take a longer drying time than normal, or if there is suddenly a buildup of humidity inside the room where the dryer resides, snake the vent and clean it out.

          • Always unplug the dryer before beginning to snake the vent.
          • A variable speed drill is a must for this application. A drill with only one speed will rotate the snake too fast and may cause irreparable damage to the dryer duct system.