Refrigerator Organization Tips

Home Appliances: Refrigerator Organization

If you live with children in the house, you know the frustration. Children are notorious for putting things “away” by putting the item in the first place they see and then quickly closing the door. Maybe you’re guilty of it, too?

While this method works for some things, it almost always spells disaster when it comes to organizing your refrigerator. With the cost of food waste at an estimated $640 per year, per household, it may be time to re-evaluate how you organize your refrigerator. Organizing your refrigerator can make sure that your food ends up in the right places, rather than the trash. It also means less wasted money on food you’re not eating. 

Refrigerator organization is also a big part of preventing food waste. Food should be stored where it makes sense, not just where it fits. Keeping reading for some great tips on organizing your refrigerator. 

WHERE YOU STORE

Where you store your food in the fridge is more important than how.

The most common mistake people make in refrigerator organization is putting food where it fits rather than a space that makes sense. For example, milk should never be stored in the door of the fridge. Refrigerator temperatures fluctuate repeatedly in the door because it is opened and closed. To keep items like milk, sour cream, yogurt, eggs and cottage cheese from spoiling faster than they should, it is important to store them on the bottom shelf, all the way in the back, where it’s coldest.

Vegetables stay fresh longer with a bit of humidity. Fruit, on the other hand, belongs in the low humidity (or crisper) drawer. Store items in the original packaging or in a plastic bag, loosely tied. Leave vegetables and fruits unwashed until you use them as water can promote mold and cause bacteria to grow. 

Butter and soft cheeses don’t need to be super cold so they can live in the door of the fridge. Same goes for condiments, ketchup, mayonnaise and salad dressing. Because these items are generally high in vinegar and salt which are natural preservatives. 

Another recommendation is keep food that is already opened at the front of the refrigerator. When you buy something new rotate the older items to the front so that they can be used before the expiration date. Not only does this make sure that you’re using the oldest food first, but it prevents waste from not being able to use opened food quick enough. 

HOW YOU STORE

There are a number of options for storing food in the refrigerator. Whatever method you choose, make sure to clearly label what you’re putting in there. We prefer glass or plastic containers for storing leftovers. You can use washi tape and permanent marker to label the dish and date you put them into the refrigerator or freezer. Also, make sure that the container you’re using isn’t too big or too small for the item(s) your storing. Using the right size container makes sure you’re using your space wisely, and helps to keep your refrigerator running efficiently. 

Use washi tape or dry erase markers to label your containers. Make sure to include the date it was stored.

MEAL PLANNING

Want to take things a step further? Making a weekly meal plan and shopping on the same day of the week can help you prevent food waste as well. Shop only according to what you have planned. Don’t shop on an empty stomach. And prepare what you can in advance. That includes cleaning and straightening up the refrigerator before you go to the store. That way, when you get home, putting away your food is easier and more convenient. 

Lastly, keeping your refrigerator organized helps you find what you’re looking for quicker. Thus avoiding the pitfalls of frustrated take-out ordering, wasted time and money. 

How do you keep your refrigerator organized? Share your tips in the comments. 

Of course, all the best back to school refrigerator organization hacks in the world won’t hold up to a refrigerator not running properly. If your refrigerator has not been running like it should, we can help with that, too! Our licensed technicians at PDQ Repair Services will make sure your refrigerator is at peak performance so your back to school time is worry-free.

Signs You May Need a New Fridge

When it comes to your frequently used appliances, your refrigerator is one you don’t really have to think much about. It keeps your food and drinks cool, makes ice and does it all without much thought from you. Which is great for our busy lives, but not so great for knowing when it might be time to call a repair technician. While most refrigerators with regular maintenance can last many years, even the most reliable fridges need to be replaced eventually.

How do you know if you really need to replace your fridge or if it just needs a little TLC?

Before you give up on your fridge completely, consider a few tell-tale signs of fridge problems. Let’s take a look at six of the most obvious signs that you may need to call for service (or, gulp, a new fridge). 

1. There’s excessive condensation

If your refrigerator is looking like it’s just run a marathon in the Arizona desert, i.e. it’s sweating, this could be a clear indication that it’s not cooling properly. While all refrigerators have to work to maintain a balance between hot and cold, they shouldn’t be working so hard (or little) that water droplets form on the exterior of the refrigerator. The same goes for condensation inside the refrigerator or even frost in the freezer. 

If you notice this, the first thing you should do is analyze the rubber seal around the door. Look for any signs of mildew or mold and perform the following test: Close the fridge door on a dollar bill. Then, pull the bill out slowly. If it slips out easily, you could try replacing the gasket yourself with a kit from the hardware store. If that doesn’t fix the condensation or the bill has drag when you pull it, then it’s time to call the experts to come and take a look. 

2. It’s hot to the touch

The way a refrigerator works is very simple: it involves the removal of heat from one region a to another. So, yes, you should always feel some heat coming from the back of your fridge – that means your refrigerators ventilation system is working properly. 

However, feeling excessive amounts of heat is an obvious sign that something is not right with your refrigerator. Because the coils on your refrigerator are insulated, an excessive amount of heat is unusual and you should call for service to inspect the coils. Depending on the situation, you may just need new coils or there could be a bigger issue involved. Either way, a professional can help you decide if a repair is cost effective. 

3. Your food is rapidly spoiling

The single most important job of your refrigerator is too keep your food from spoiling by keeping it cold. First thing to check is that your food is arranged properly in your refrigerator. Food that is tightly packed into your refrigerator doesn’t allow for cool air to circulate properly.

If you notice that your food is starting to spoil days before it normally would or that it’s taking longer to chill your beer, this is an indication that you may have problem.  A refrigerator that take is unable to maintain the temperatures it’s supposed to is using more energy than it should. This means that you’re not only spending more money on your energy bills, but you’re also, likely wasting money on food that you have to throw out. 

If you notice this in your fridge, it would be wise to call a repair technician to inspect your refrigerator. 

4. There’s frost

One of the most common signs of a problem with your refrigerator may be that your freezer has frozen over. Since many newer units have an automatic defrosting feature, it is not normal for you to have to chisel ice off so that you can reach your food and is a sign that you have a problem. 

If you find that your freezer has frozen over, the first step is to defrost the freezer. Once you have done this, plug it back in and monitor it. If the problem persists, it’s time to call a technician. 

5. It’s loud, too loud

here is no need for your fridge’s motor to be running at max speed all the time. Unless the door is being opened and closed a lot, your refrigerators motor doesn’t need to be constantly regulating and re-regulating temperatures. 

While refrigerators are not the quietest appliances, you shouldn’t really notice any noise while it’s running. An ongoing buzz or hum continues long after you’ve closed the doors, then it’s time to call out a technician to see what the issue may be. 

6. Your Fridge is Old and Inefficient

The lifespan of a refrigerator is anywhere from 10 to 20 years. If your fridge is over ten years old and in need of constant repairs, it might be time for you to make the switch to a newer and more efficient model. It might seem wasteful, but with many recycling programs and newer models with better efficiency, you could be saving money and helping the environment by switching out your old unit. 

If you need some help deciding if it’s time to repair or replace that old appliance, check out this helpful article here

Conclusion:

In the end, if you’re unable to decide whether you should keep repairing your refrigerator or go ahead and buy a new one, a reputable and trustworthy technician can help you decide. Most of us couldn’t imagine living without this valuable appliance in our lives. Our experts want to help you get your appliance back into working order as quickly as possible even if that means your unit is better served being replaced. 

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Appliance Repair: Why do I need my model number for service?

When you discover that your appliance is broken your probably not thinking about how you’re going to get it fixed, rather, who am I going to get to fix this? You do a quick Google search for appliance repair near you, or maybe you call the manufacturer, and you find us at PDQ Repair Services. What’s the first thing we ask for? Besides your name, address and phone number, we need to know the model and a serial number of your appliance.

Find out why these numbers are so important and discover common places they are to make your search easier and faster.

Why?

When a technician is called to diagnose the problem with your appliance, most of the time replacement parts will be needed for the repair. Our trained technicians can research and locate the correct parts needed for a repair ahead of the scheduled visit. They then order the parts prior to the first visit. This way we save you time and money by getting the job done the first time we visit.

As an authorized service center for almost all major brands, we have additional resources and tools available to our trained technicians. Using the information you give us for the model and serial number, we can look up recalls and service notices from the manufacturer that provide additional resources for our technicians.

In addition, the model and serial number tag is important when purchasing a appliance second-hand. If the tag is missing from an appliance there is a good chance that it was inspected at one point and determined to be unrepairable. In these cases, an authorized service center or warranty company will remove the model and serial tag to let others know that the unit is “totaled” or unrepairable. By removing the tag the unit then becomes void. The warranty and/or any warranty from an authorized service center is also void.

Locating the Model and Serial Tag

All appliances have the brand name on the front of the unit, and may contain a series of numbers—this is not the manufacturer’s model number. Most manufacturer model numbers contain a combination of letters, numbers, and dashes. The model/serial tag is usually found on the inside of the unit, or on the lip where the door rests against the body or frame. This is true for almost all appliances.

WARNING: The model number listed on sales receipts, shipping boxes, and energy guide stickers is usually only a partial model number. Do not use these sources to obtain your model number. Also, the Use and Care manual is not a good way to find your model number; these booklets cover multiple different models, so there is no way of identifying which model number is for your appliance.

Common Places to Look

Here are some common places to look for specific appliances:

Refrigerators / Freezers: Usually the model tag is located near the top shelf of the fresh food section on a tag on the side wall.

Samsung Parts

Top Load Washers: Model tag is most often inside the lid area where the lid shuts, though sometimes on top of the control panel area.

Front Load Washers: Usually the tag is inside the area where the door shuts

Dryers: Usually this tag is present where the door shuts

Dishwashers: Usually the model tag is either on the tub frame where the door shuts, or sometimes directly on the side of the inner door panel.

Cooktop: The model tag is inconveniently located on the underside of the cooktop, so it is most often accessed from the cabinet below the cooktop.

Microwave: The tag is usually where the door shuts, or sometimes on the left wall inside the microwave on over the range units. On countertop models, this tag may be on the back side of the microwave instead.

Wall Oven: The tag is often inside one of the doors, on the frame where the door closes.

Freestanding Range: Usually you have to remove or open the bottom drawer, and the tag is on one of the legs that are normally covered by the drawer. Exception: On Maytag Gemini Freestanding Double Ovens, there is a flag similar to on a mailbox located on the upper rear of the control panel that lifts up to give you the model and serial number.

Conclusion

At PDQ Appliance Repair our goal is to help you get your appliance back and working correctly as soon as possible. Providing the correct model number is important to prevent delayed service or delivery of the wrong appliance parts. Most manufacturer model numbers contain a combination of letters, numbers, and dashes. The model/serial tag is usually found on the inside of the unit, on the lip where the door rests against the body or frame. When providing the manufacturer’s model number, it is important to record the exact number from the Model Number Tag.

If you’re having trouble with your appliance and/or need help locating your model number, contact one of our friendly customer service professionals for assistance. 

Home Appliances: Spring Cleaning Checklist

April showers, bring May flowers and, after some serious pep-talking and motivation, a freshly cleaned home. That’s right, it’s spring cleaning season once again.

When the time comes to deep clean your house, you may think that all your appliances get a thorough clean. You clean up food splatter from the oven and microwave. You regularly remove spoiled food from your refrigerator and you wipes the shelves down on a regular basis.

But are there areas of your appliances that you’re missing?

The answer is most likely, “YES!”

The fact is that most people don’t realize the hidden areas that need to be cleaned.

Here’s a quick checklist of spring cleaning tasks that will help keep your appliances in tip top shape:

Microwave

Stubborn Messes: Place a bowl or mug filled with water and several freshly cut slices of lemon in the center of the microwave and turn the microwave on high for at least three minutes. Leave the door closed for several more minutes to let steam penetrate and soften food spills, as well as remove odors. Open door, remove mug or bowl and wipe interior clean with a paper towel or wash cloth.

Stove and Oven

Spills and built-up residue can hinder your oven’s performance and affect the flavor of the foods you cook. Always follow your manufacturers directions for what to use when cleaning your appliance.

Can’t find your manual? We can help! Check out our handy guide for locating your appliance manual here.

Cleaning this appliance: Remove oven racks and wash in warm soapy water. Spray oven cleaner on interior and let sit for a few minutes. Wipe away grimy residue.

For difficult baked-on spills, use a mixture of ½ cup baking soda with a few tablespoons of water to create a spreadable paste consistency. Wear gloves as you spread mixture all over oven interior, focusing on difficult spills. Let sit overnight. Wipe away mixture next day and spray vinegar wherever baking soda paste is still present. The residue will begin to foam, removing spill. Wipe away foamy mixture. Final wipe down with damp cloth.

Refrigerator & Freezer

Refrigerator coils: Over time, the coils collect dirt, hair, grease, grime, and other debris that reduces refrigeration efficiency and eventually causes the appliance to overheat and break down. A coil brush and vacuum will help you with the coil cleaning and removing other dirt that has accumulated behind or under your refrigerator.

To access the coils, remove the grill from the bottom or back of the fridge, depending on your appliance’s design. Then, vacuum the coils with the brush attachment to remove any buildup.

Clean the door seal: Gently pull back the seal and check for stains or dirt buildup. Clean dirt buildup with a solution made of bleach and water (¾ cup of bleach mixed with one-gallon of water) and a soft cloth. Make sure you remove any leftover bleach solution with a damp cloth.

Water filter: Replace your refrigerator water filter every six months, or on the schedule recommended by your refrigerator’s use and care manual. Daylight saving time is a great bi-yearly marker for keeping track of when to replace the filter if your unit doesn’t have a reminder alarm.

When the water filter fills up with contaminants it can actually make water dirtier than it was from the tap! It can also slow or stop ice production.

Read More: Tips for Organizing Your Refrigerator

Dishwasher

Dishwasher trap and filter: Clean the dishwasher trap and filter, if you have one, and remove any debris you find. Excessive water left behind after the load is done may indicate a problem. Note: Make sure the garbage disposal is always clean before running a dishwasher load.

Use a dishwasher cleaning product: Run an empty cycle with a dishwasher cleaner to remove calcium deposits. This prevents the sprayer arm from becoming clogged, so you don’t have to worry about repairing it prematurely. You can continue to do this every three to six months, or as recommended by your appliances manufacturer.

Washing Machine and Dryer

Clean the dryer vent: The piece of tubing that leads from your dryer to to the outside of the house should be cleaned once a year by a qualified service technician.

Check behind your dryer and remove any trapped lint and debris, and remove lint from in and around the drum.

Run a cleaning cycle: For front load washers, running the cleaning cycle (if you have that option) with a washing machine cleaner will help keep your washer smelling fresh and clean. Be sure to refer to the washing machine owner’s manual for additional cleaning and maintenance instructions.

Read More: Clothes Dryer Care and Maintenance

Yearly To-Do List

While your kitchen floors, dishes, and countertops may be at the top of your cleaning to-do list, it’s often easy to forget about cleaning the appliances that are always there for us when we need them. Some of your appliances are so essential that you should make it a goal to check and clean these items as part of your yearly maintenance. Not only will this help keep down energy costs (yeah, for saving money), but it will also keep your appliances running longer.

Take Notes: As you clean your appliances and perform regular maintenance of your much loved appliances, take notes. Write down anything you notice, such a broken seals, missing parts or damaged items. Have a professional replace or repair as necessary.

Feel free to give us a call at (360) 719-4810

Daylight Savings Time: Important Tasks Beyond Changing the Clock

Every year we switch our clocks forward or back for Daylight Savings Time. Do you know why? Perhaps you’re like many Americans who believe that daylight saving time was adopted to provide more time for farmers to work in the field. Would you be surprised to learn that this isn’t true?

The agriculture industry actually opposes daylight saving time as their schedule is dictated by the sun and not by the clock. The origins of daylight saving time goes back to over 100 years ago. It was first adopted by Germany in 1916 in order to conserve electricity during wartime. The US adopted daylight savings time in 1918 for similar reasons.

Today, the biggest proponents of daylight saving time have been urban retail business. According to Michael Downing, a lecturer at Tufts University and author of the book “Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time, “the principal supporter of daylight saving in the United States has been the Chamber of Commerce on behalf of small business and retailers. The Chamber understood that if you give workers more sunlight at the end of the day they’ll stop and shop on their way home.”

Make the Most out of Daylight Saving Time

While only 25% of the world actually uses daylight saving time, that doesn’t mean we still can’t make the most out of it. Periodic appliance cleaning is important to maintain your appliances, keep them running at their best performance and to ensure the safety of your home. Here are some ways you can use daylight saving time to your advantage:

  • Change Your Appliance Filters: Some filters need changing more often than others, but you’ll definitely want to check any appliances that filter air or water. Here are some systems to check: 
    • Furnace and air conditioning air filters 
    • Vacuum cleaners 
    • Refrigerator water filters 
    • Dishwasher filters 
    • Air purifiers and humidifiers
Fixing a kitchen extraction unit
  • Refrigerator coils/gaskets: Cleaning your refrigerator coils is one way to save some money. When the coils are dirty, they have to work hard which in turn makes your refrigerator less efficient. The same goes for cleaning and repairing the gaskets.
  • Deep Clean Washer and Dishwasher: If you’ve noticed a mildew smell in your appliances, using a cleaner tablet like Affresh for your dishwasher and washer not only kills bacteria but also removes residue that causes bacteria to grow. Make sure to check your manual to see what the manufacturer recommends.
  • Clean the dryer vents: We can’t stress this enough. It’s not just a matter of safety, but it also helps dry your clothes faster, keeps your dryer working efficiently and helps your dryer last longer.
  • Check the batteries: This is a great time to change the batteries in your smoke alarms and other devices. Make sure to test your smoke alarms once a year and replace them if they are over 10 years old, as recommended by The National Fire Protection Association.

Want to learn more about daylight saving time? Check out this link.  

PDQ Repair wants to hear from you. Let us know what you’ll be checking with the hashtag #PDQcares, or by leaving us a comment on Facebook.

Should You Repair or Replace an Old Appliance?

There are a lot of factors one must consider when it comes to repairing an old appliance, which can make it difficult to answer these questions simply. Still, if you’re looking for an expert opinion on whether to repair or replace your old appliance, you’ve come to the right place.

How Old Is Your Appliance?

First, consider the age of your broken home appliance. One can consult an infographic like the one below from www.choicewarranty.com to see how your appliance stacks up to the average.

A sometimes recommended rule of thumb to follow is to apply the 50 percent rule. If your appliance is both greater than 50 percent through its life expectancy and the expense of the repair is greater than 50 percent of the price of a new appliance, you should purchase a new one rather than fix your old one.

But don’t let that be the only deciding factor or you may be prematurely condemning your appliance. Consider that a well-built appliance with few fancy controls might last much longer than its less durable, more high-tech counterparts.

Can You Find a New Unit to Match Your Other Appliances?

Many owners replace old appliances with new units because they want different features, such as a new color, or another size. Maybe you don’t want to move it to a new house or want to get rid of the machine for reasons unrelated to durability. If you are happy with your appliance, you might want to repair your broken home appliance now rather than replace your entire set of appliances.

Is Your Appliance Still Under Warranty?

If your appliance is still under warranty, deciding what to do with your appliance might become easier. When a warranty exists, you may be able to have your unit repaired or replaced at no cost.

Is Your Appliance Energy Efficient?

Many new appliances are more energy efficient than older models, and some are designed to be as “green” as possible. But that doesn’t mean that you should automatically replace them with a more energy efficient model. Some appliances (especially dryers) aren’t much more efficient than they were years ago; and even clothes washers and dishwashers, which have made environmental strides, won’t make a big difference in energy use if you do only a handful of loads a week.

In short, the repair-or-replace decision is not always easy. In fact, it’s often a balancing act. If you’re experiencing issues with any of your home appliances, call the experts at PDQ Repair, an exclusive factory service provider for many appliance manufacturers. Family owned and operated, PDQ Repair is your best choice for appliance repair.

’How

Use an inforgraphic to help you decide if repair or replacement is your best otpion. Be aware that published lifespans can be misleading. Don’t let this be your only deciding factor.


Image Courtesty of www.ChoiceHomeWarranty.com