Wednesday, February 11, 2015

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Most people depend on their kitchen appliances for daily use and occasionally for a cooking marathon before a holiday feast. They’re staples of the kitchen, and expected to work. But as soon as the refrigerator stops cooling or the oven won’t warm, panic sets in.
Appliance repair pros say regular, routine maintenance and care can prolong the life of kitchen appliances and prevent untimely repairs.
Check out these tips to keep your appliances in tiptop shape.
1. Refrigerator maintenance
“The most important maintenance you can do on your refrigerator is to clean the condenser coils regularly because the coils are covered with dirt, grime, debris, pet hair and all that kind of stuff and it overheats the refrigerator,” said Bill Krier, president and CEO of Broad Ripple Appliance in Indianapolis. He said the debris puts added stress on the refrigerator’s components, including the compressor. “The parts have to work harder and don’t last as long,” he said.
To access the coils, remove the grill at the bottom or back of the fridge and use a broom or vacuum to clear debris. For sub-zero refrigerators, the coils are usually located on the top of the unit.
2. Dishwasher maintenance
“The biggest thing you can do to keep your dishwasher running well is to clean food off your dishes before you put them in,” Krier said. Food bits get stuck in crevices, gum up moving parts and cause bacteria to form.
Krier recommends using a dishwasher cleaning product every three to six months to remove calcium buildup. Calcium deposits can clog the dishwasher’s sprayer arm and impact cleaning efficiency. He said cleaning products containing citric acid effectively remove calcium buildup.
For another trick to remove calcium buildup, place a cup of white vinegar on the top shelf of an empty dishwasher and run a load with hot water.
3. Microwave maintenance
Krier recommends cleaning your microwave regularly to remove food particles. “Even though it’s stuck on there, the microwave is going to keep heating the food pieces,” he said. “After time it’s going to get hard as a rock.” Krier said microwaves heat food particles at high temperatures, which can then burn the top and sides of the microwave. He recommends cleaning the inside of the microwave with glass cleaner.
To remove stubborn food bits, boil a cup of water or white vinegar in the microwave to loosen the food particles, which you can then easily wipe off with a sponge.
4. Stove and oven maintenance
Have you ever placed aluminum foil on the bottom of your oven to catch food spills? Although it seems like an easy way to keep your oven clean, Krier said aluminum foil blocks airflow and can interfere with the heating element, causing it to fail or require recalibration.
To keep a smooth-top stove looking new, Krier recommends scraping off burned food bits with a razor blade and cleaning the surface with glass cleaner


When your washing machine breaks and dirty laundry piles up, you have to hope that the manufacturer or retailer quickly fixes the problem. But one glimpse at Consumer Reports’ user reviews tells you otherwise: “Poor customer service and unwillingness to fix what is not a minor problem, but a major defect, speaks volumes." "Customer service is horribly bad, no service at all." "Worst consumer service ever. I’m so done!” were some of the comments from our readers. So who has the best support and service when it comes to getting an appliance fixed? The worst?
The user reviews of any washer we’ve tested represent a tiny portion of the number sold. But when it’s your washing machine that’s broken, it’s a big deal. It was for Lewis Fevola when his LG high-efficiency top-loader repeatedly took four hours to finish a load and he tried to get the washer fixed. Mr. Fevola ranted on Twitter and emailed LG’s CEO. Then he wrote to us. Result: Problem solved.
Appliances do break and terrific customer service is the solution. We surveyed subscribers about their experiences with more than 21,000 appliances. The appliances serviced were overwhelmingly ones that were bought by readers and not appliances that had been left behind by a previous owner. Washing machines and refrigerators accounted for about half of all those serviced. The survey was done in spring 2012 and subscribers told us about appliances serviced over a year or more before.
The iconic Maytag repairman retired

Best and worst appliance repair services

“Subscribers who called an independent repair shop expressed higher satisfaction with their experiences than those who called other types of repair services, such as the ones provided by manufacturers or retail chains,” says Karen Jaffe, a manager in Consumer Reports’ survey research.
That said, most manufacturers and retailers got average scores for actually solving the problem. Lowe’s, Sears, Kenmore, GE, and Samsung were among the better appliance services and got average scores for resolving issues. But LG was below average and Frigidaire, Maytag, and Whirlpool seemed to have even more trouble getting problems fixed.
Reaching a reliable appliance repair service is just one factor to consider when buying a new appliance. There's also the matter of brand reliability, something we take into account when making selections for our lists of recommended models. (You can find the reliability information on our Ratings charts.) Take washing machines, for example. LG front-loaders are less repair-prone than Frigidaire and GE but then the LG repair service left something to be desired.
Of course, the most important thing to consider is performance. In our washing machine tests, our top-scoring front-loader is the Samsung WF56H9110CW, $1,600. Samsung is one of the least repair-prone front-loader brands and Samsung was middle of the pack in our appliance repair service survey. Our top-rated HE top-loader is the LG WT5680HVA, $1,200. We don't have reliablity data on LG top-loaders and LG was lackluster on the repair survey. So if you buy an LG washer and it breaks, consider calling your local repair shop first.
Kimberly Janeway