The Agreeable Appliance

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Here are some useful tips we've put together based on questions from visitors.


Usage: Powdered detergents seem to work better than gels, and the hotter the water, the cleaner the dishes. If your dishwasher has a "sani" or extra heat setting for the wash water, use it.

Maintenance: Dishwashers have seals that last much longer if they remain wet and are used regularly. Use your dishwasher at least once every two weeks - even if that means running it through its shortest cycle while empty.

Repair: If dishes aren't getting as clean as they used to, the most common problem is there may not be enough water getting into the machine. It's common for the water inlet valve to need replacing every few years, depending on water conditions. Anyone can make this repair with just a few basic tools.


Usage: Use the "timed bake" feature on your oven to simplify many cooking tasks. You can even use the feature to preheat the oven for you. Just set the timer to turn on the oven 15 minutes before you'll need it, and the oven will be hot and ready to go when you are.

Maintenance: It's not a good idea to line the bottom of your burner drip pans with aluminum foil. This can cause a short circuit at the burner or the foil could block airflow through the oven vent, which might cause discoloration of the control panel or premature failure of the door gaskets. Instead, replace the drip bowls with new ones. Your range will look new again, and the burners will work more efficiently by reflecting more heat toward the pan.

Repair: Stove burners fail over time. When GAS burners fail to light properly, cleaning and unclogging the burner assembly usually solves the problem. Use a toothpick to unclog the small holes around the perimeter of the burner. An intermittent ELECTRIC burner is usually the fault of a bad connection with the stove element socket, which is much like a socket in your home. Replace the socket and return your stove to full power.

QUICK RANGE TIP: During the canning season, try our heavy-duty electric range surface element, which is made especially for canning. It will help prevent damage to your stovetop caused by excessive heat.

Garbage disposer

Usage: Try not to put fibrous materials, such as cornhusks, celery stalks, onion peels or potato peels, down the disposer as they may clog and jam the disposer. Always run water full blast while using the disposer. Then, run the water for 30 seconds after putting food down it to help push food particles through the drain system. It's also a good idea to occasionally run very hot tap water through the unit to help clean out any accumulated grease.

Repair: Your disposer can jam if foreign objects get into it, such as coins, twist ties, plastic bread bag closures, shards of glass, soda can tabs, etc. Before attempting a repair, unplug and turn off the disposer. Then, with most disposers, you can insert a 1/4" allen wrench into a port on the bottom center of the disposer (under the sink). Turn the wrench back and forth so you can wiggle the masher plate inside the disposer. Then try to dislodge whatever has jammed the disposer. To make the job easier, you can order a special, long allen wrench. offers easy-to-understand advice via the Internet about how to make all kinds of home appliance repairs. The web site empowers do-it-yourself homeowners by helping them diagnose problems, find and order parts, and make repairs. This cost-effective and convenient service can be found at

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