Next to a home or a car, appliances are the next largest expense a homeowner faces. Make an informed purchase decision with the help of this segment.


When to Replace?

Before giving up on your current appliance, you should at least have it inspected and get a written estimate on repairs. Some appliance retailers will offer to pay part of an inspection charge if you purchase a replacement unit from them. If possible, try to get an opinion from an independent service depot not directly affiliated with the retailer.

If you plan to replace it with a used one, consider that you don't know the previous service history and might be buying someone else's lemon. It might be better to fix the one you have.

Another consideration is, on some appliances such as microwave ovens, self-cleaning and electronic ranges, you will have to learn how to program them, all over again.


Time and Money Saving Appliance Installation Tips

When building in an appliance, make sure it can be removed easily for service. Flexible hookups for dishwashers and gas ranges can make repair jobs less labor intensive. Also, leave extra electric cable when installing electric wall ovens and cook tops. This will minimize the time the technician spends on the job when repair time comes and reduce the cost to you.

If you will be tiling your kitchen floor, make sure you tile beneath the dishwasher or at least raise its flooring to the same height as the tiles. Once down, there may not be enough clearance to remove the dishwasher for servicing. The only alternative will be to lift the whole counter top off of the cupboards.

The dishwasher's drain hose also needs special attention. The hose should first be routed up to the under side of the countertop before looping down to the drain connection. If this loop is removed, a siphoning effect will occur removing the water from the washer prematurely.

Refrigerators with forced air condensers are the only kind that can be built in. Models with regular static condensers will not be able to dissipate the heat if used in this application. This will result in poor cooling efficiency and damage to the compressor. You can tell forced air models by the fan, located in the compressor compartment, that is used to circulate air through the condenser.

When connecting an icemaker to the water line, leave extra tubing coiled behind the fridge to allow the appliance to be pulled forward for service and maintenance. Copper tubing is recommended for this application because it is the most durable. Plastic tubing in this application can become brittle over time, when exposed to the heat of the compressor and condenser, and fracture causing water damage to the floor.

When installing laundry equipment into closets, make sure water shut-offs can be reached easily. Also ensure the water hoses are long enough to remove the appliance when necessary. A floor drain may also be necessary should the water pump or motor fail.

Most washing machines are designed to be used only on solid flooring, like concrete. If installing on a wooden floor, extra joist bracing for that floor may be needed. The mounting of an additional 3/4" plywood section with construction adhesive and/or screws under both the washer and dryer can help to strengthen an existing wooden floor and also to distribute the washer's weight over a larger floor area. Severe internal suspension damage to the washer can occur if used on unstable flooring.

It is also important that the laundry area be well ventilated. Dryers exhaust a great deal of air when running which will need to be replenished by the room air. If installing a dryer into a closet or very enclosed area, a louvered door may reduce the necessity of having to have the door remain open during use. Operating a gas dryer without proper ventilation can cause toxic carbon monoxide (C0) to be produced by the burner flame.


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