Simple Tips for a Great Appliance

In this installment, I will be covering some basic tips to help appliance owners maintain their products for a long and trouble-free lifespan. These are simple tips that anyone, including you, can do!

Lets get started…

Unpacking

So, you just took delivery of your new appliance from Living Direct…and you’re so excited! It’s new, shiny, and just what you wanted! There you are, the product is unpacked, and ready to install, so…

STOP!!!

Folks, let’s grab a cup of coffee and sit back with that new owner’s manual. I know, it’s easy to say that you don’t need to, the product is so easy to use, so why do I need to waste time reading the manual?

Because it will help familiarize you with all of the controls, installation, maintenance, and perhaps just as important, it gives you the chance to read through the warranty, so if, in the unlikely event that you have a problem with the unit, you know who to call, what information to have ready when you call, and it gives you an understanding of what to expect when you speak with the service agent.

We really do value you as a customer and we want a good rapport with you.

Installation

Make sure that you follow all of the installation instructions provided with the unit. That is a vital step. Just like building a home, the foundation is the most important part. A good installation sets the stage for a long product life and a happy customer. If you have the right skills to install the product, go for it! If not, you’ll want to contact a qualified appliance tech to help you do it right.

Product Usage

Make sure you are familiar with the product controls, menu functions, and understand just exactly what the unit is designed to do. Again, the manual will come in handy. If you have further questions, contact us. We’ll have a friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful agent waiting for you!

Maintenance

Each and every unit, no matter how often it is used, will eventually need some sort of maintenance. It’s a fact. Air conditioners need regular filter cleaning, have the water accumulation drained from it’s storage tank, and set up correctly for maximum performance. Dishwashers need a good supply of hot water, good quality detergent, and the right voltage to do the job right. Wine coolers need regular cleaning to remove dust and debris from internal parts, and good airflow to keep that wine cool. Power surge protection is highly recommended!

Conclusion

So, as you can see, there are things that you can do to make your purchase a wise investment. I wanted to give you an overview first, and in my next blog post, we’ll start to focus on individual products, and we will get down to the nuts-and-bolts of each. I have lots of tips to help you “keep ‘er humming” day after day for years to come!

Dave’s Tip of the Week: “Safety First! Unplug that unit before doing any maintenance!”

Previous Post: Appliance Terminology Overview

Appliance Terminology Overview

I think a good way to start this blog post series will be to explain some appliance terminology and what it all means. A short encyclopedia, if you will. This is not necessarily all in alphabetical order.

I might get a little technical, but I’ll try to apply the K.I.S.S. rule (keep it simple, stupid) wherever I can.

Technology

Compressor-Based System: An appliance that uses a compressor, or pump, with a closed refrigeration system, and uses a refrigerant to cool a particular space.  This could be a refrigerator, wine cooler (some), kegerator or deep freezer. Common refrigerants include R134A and R410A, among others.

Thermoelectric / TE: An appliance that uses electronics/electricity to cool a small space without the use of refrigerants. These typically consist of a cooling node (Peltier effect) and fans to distribute the air inside the cabinet and dissipate the heat to the outside. They are, for the most part, efficient, although there are a few drawbacks, especially if you are trying to build it into a cabinet.  I’ll delve into that in a later post, along with what exactly a Peltier unit is in simple terms.

LED: Refers to a Light Emitting Diode, which is a commonly used electronic component. All diodes allow electricity to flow in one direction only. Think of it as a one way street, except this one glows when the electric flows. They are used for operation and mode indicators, and also for general lighting purposes. Sometimes they use different colors and are commonly used to highlight and display wines in wine coolers.

Cooling Fans: This will mostly apply to thermoelectric, or TE, wine coolers. They do different jobs: some distribute the cooled air inside the cabinet or at the evaporator coil on compressor-based units, and others get rid of the hot air at the back of the cabinet or from the condenser coils on compressor-based units. Most of them consist of the same small DC-powered fans you find in your desktop computer.

Product Descriptions

Countertop Dishwasher   Portable Air Conditioner   Portable Ice Maker   Kegerator   Portable Freezer Refrigerator   Wine Cooler

Portable Dishwasher: This isn’t the one your mom used to roll around the kitchen and store in a corner. These actually are small enough to sit on a countertop. These are really simple to install. Most come with two hoses, a drain and supply, and a quick connector to attach to a standard kitchen faucet, in place of the aerator. They are typically not meant for a permanent installation. They come in different sizes and capacities, also.

Portable Air Conditioner: An alternative to the typical, window-mounted A/C unit. These usually have one hose used to exhaust out the hot air produced during the cooling process, though some will also have an intake hose. They are mounted on casters, so they can be moved room to room. Most will evaporate the majority, if not all, of the water produced in the exhaust air, but if they don’t get rid of all of it, they will usually have a drain at the bottom of the unit to get rid of the collected water. Portable air conditioners usually will require a 15 amp circuit to run properly, although there are some that require 20 amps or more. Most will come with a window fitting kit that is easily assembled, as they have to be vented to the outside of the room being cooled in most cases.

Portable Ice Maker: An ice maker that is small enough to sit on a counter, produces 6-12 cubes at a time, uses a self-contained water supply and storage for the ice after the cycle is complete. These are not high volume units. Typically, they will not refrigerate the ice and it will melt back into the water tank to start the process over yet again. I recommend moving each batch of ice out of the ice maker and into your regular freezer.

Kegerator: A refrigerated appliance used to keep beer cold and dispense beer. Usually has a connected tower and faucet, with dispenser head to pour the beer and on board CO2 storage to pressurize the beer. They also usually have casters for portability and can be used with multiple beers of your choice, sometimes more than one keg can be used (called a dual tap kegerator). Some kegerators are much smaller and utilize a 5 liter mini keg. These are fairly new on the market. The larger kegerators fit a half shell sankey keg, or Cornelius keg. Some of the mini keg 5 liter units will run on 12V DC and are popular with tailgaters.

Portable Freezer / Refrigerator: These are unique, as they can be used in a vehicle, or boat, or while camping and for emergency uses. Some use compressor-based refrigeration, while others use TE technology. A TE unit typically will not be able to refrigerate to freezing or below, and they will usually be good for 40 degrees F below the ambient temperature around the unit. Think short term storage,  like trips to the grocery store. The compressor-based units are infinitely more flexible, allowing for -0 degrees F operation, up through 50+ degrees F, in most cases. Both can be operated from 12V DC and 120V AC, depending on the model. Each type has their pluses and minuses and I will cover those later. Personally, I like them both!

Wine Cooler: These come in a wide variety of sizes and capacities.  The same can be said for the refrigeration system used. While they have a large temperature range to work with, the TE models generally will hold wines from 45 degrees F-65 degrees F, depending on the ambient temperature of the room they are located in. A compressor-based unit will usually hold wines at 40 degrees F or less, and can be built into a cabinet, as the condenser coil and fan is at the bottom front of the unit. One thing to  remember with wine coolers in general:  They are designed for long term STORAGE, not drinkability, and that applies to TE units in particular. Again, that is a general guideline, so YMMV, or Your Mileage May Vary. (I love acronyms, don’t you?)

Til next time!

Dave

Previous Post: What is a small appliance, anyway?

What is a small appliance anyway?

Toasters     Mini Kegerator     Compact Refrigerator

Well, a small appliance could be just about anything… a toaster, for example, or a wine cooler, or a kegerator, or a portable air conditioner… ok, you get the idea. These are not major appliances, and only have lifespans ranging from 2-10 years, on average.

Primarily, I will be focusing on some of the more popular kitchen, garage and man-cave must-have appliances in my posts. My job is to help with set up of the appliance and care for it, so it lasts much longer than the warranty does. I will not have many pictures in my posts, due to the fact that there are so many different models on the market, and the instructions that come with your new unit will supersede anything here, so this is meant to be generic in nature.

I’m sure there will be questions, comments and advice from everyone. Great! I’ll answer some of them in my posts, and later, I’ll set up a Q & A to help answer some of the more common ones, if I can do that.

I should have a new post up every week. I look forward to posting and seeing what people have to say, along with the good, the bad and the ugly.

Stay tuned!

Dave

Editor’s Note: Dave S. is an EdgeStar Technician and product specialist with Living Direct. He will be writing a weekly column on this blog to explain technical terms used when dealing with appliances, product guides and general helpful information when it comes to purchasing and using appliances. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments and Dave will do his best to help you out.

Keeping Your Resolution to Get Fit in 2012

As the clock ticked to 2012, many of us pledged the same resolution we do each year and that’s to get in shape, lose the extra pounds from the holidays, and really, just lead an overall healthier lifestyle. With the help of a few key appliances, this year could be a lot easier to keep your resolution and stay motivated and all without even visiting a gym!

Check out these products that will aid in your transition to a healthier lifestyle in the New Year:

Kettler Exercise Bike1. Kettler Polo M Exercise Bike

By investing in a Kettler exercise bike, you’ll be able to work out on your own time and in the comfort of your own home. Exercising at home is great because it’s so much more convenient than driving to the gym and you can even catch a couple of episodes of your favorite TV show while burning a few hundred calories.

This model is perfect to track progress to your goal with the easy-to use display showing your calories burned, distance traveled and even your heart rate during the workout.

 

Deni Food Steamer2. Deni 3 Tier Digital Food Steamer – Stainless Steel

A food steamer is a great way to get started with a healthy cooking routine. Not only can steaming retain 50% more vitamins and nutrients than boiling, but another bonus is you can prepare your entire meal with just the use of this product.

The extra tiers on the Deni model allow you to steam everything from rice to seafood and, of course, vegetables all at the same time.

 

Cuisinart Electric Blender3. Cuisinart Smart Power 7-Speed Electric Blender

No kitchen would be complete without a multi-speed blender. The Cuisinart 7-speed electric blender is powerful enough to mix, chop, crush or pulse whatever healthy meal or snack you’re making.

Smoothies and protein shakes will be a beneficial addition to your new lifestyle and a breeze for this powerful blender.

 

I wish you the best of luck in staying motivated and reaching your goal this year — I know you can do it! Check out our full line of fitness equipment, steamers and blenders for additional options to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Appliance Maintenance Tips

                    refrigerators

To ensure that your favorite appliances last a long time and continue to work well, you want to make sure you take very good care of them. From big appliances like refrigerators and washing machines to small appliances like toasters and microwaves, caring for their overall function is a must. Without proper care, your appliances may become ineffective, resulting in a higher electricity bill or unfulfilled purpose, or even potentially start a house fire due to faulty wiring or mechanics.

Cleaning your appliances after you use them is an excellent way to keep hazards at bay. Small appliances such as waffle makers, sandwich presses, blenders and toasters should especially be cleaned after use to help keep crumbs or uncooked batter from burning and possibly catching on fire. Therefore, after cooking food with these appliances you should wipe or wash them down, but also be cautious of electrical cords and features that may be ruined by contact with water.

Inspecting your appliances’ electrical connections is extremely important. Appliances age with use and loose wires can be potentially very dangerous to you and your family. If wires seem taut, split or torn and exposing the actual electrical wires, your appliance may be at risk of sparking and starting a fire or electrical surge causing a power outage in the rest of your home. This can also lead to damaging your appliance completely.

Overheating is also a common deficiency in older appliances. Being aware of the age of your appliances and their normal function is important so that you can recognize when something is wrong, like overheating or strange noises.  This appliance reaction is usually caused due to a backup of dust and dirt blocking the appliance filter. In some vacuums and washer dryers, this is common when the lint filter is filled to capacity with lint or dirt.

Make sure to read the instructions on any new appliance you purchase so you know how to care for them and what to do if they need repair. Some appliances are self-explanatory and easy to use, but keeping the instructions handy will help you if you need to repair the appliance or need warranty information. If something goes wrong with any of your appliances, you’ll find comfort in knowing you are prepared.

Holiday Gift Ideas: Small Appliances

Small Appliances

Small kitchen appliances make great gifts for any occasion. They are affordable and usually appreciated for the purpose they serve. Finding the right appliance can be confusing and time consuming but with these tips we hope to make your next shopping trip a little bit easier! Do your research and make sure you compare reviews so the gift-receiver isn’t left with a useless appliance.   Here are the top three most common small appliances for gifts:

 

1. Coffee Makers

Kalorik Coffee Maker

One of the best and most popular appliance gifts for the holidays is coffee makers. These are excellent gift choices because they will provide the receiver with hot beverages, a great way to warm up during this cold weather period.

Coffee makers typically range in price. Choices vary based on your budget and the special add-ons you want to include that may or may not be necessary for its overall purpose. For the best decision consider the recipient’s taste. Do they enjoy bright colors? If so, the Kalorik 12 Cup Coffee Maker is a great choice, we love its bright cherry red color and it can make enough coffee for the recipient and their family. It also has great digital features for the high tech people in your life! We offer a variety of coffee makers available in different colors, serving sizes and features, so you’re sure to find the perfect one for the coffee lover on your list.

 

2. Mixers and Blenders

Tailgator Portable Blender          Oster 10-Speed Blender          Kalorik Stand Mixer

Mixers and blenders are the next most popular appliance gifts. They make the perfect gift for the baker in your life or your health-conscious friend who enjoys a morning smoothie.  Both are also usually inexpensive but again, the price varies depending on the features you want.

Does your brother love to tailgate?  Get the green Tailgator Gas Powered Portable Blender for him to enjoy frozen drinks at his favorite sporting event.  For the more traditional model, try the Oster 10-Speed Blender . Then we’ve got this amazing Kalorik Silver Stand Mixer, for the Betty Crocker in your life.  You can choose from any of our mixer and blender options that come with a variety of features.

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3. Toaster

Cuisinart Toaster                    Sunpentown Breakfast Maker

And finally, another common appliance gift is the toaster. Many families use toasters every single morning for breakfast. You can choose a regular toaster for the typical 2-4 slice appliance, or you can opt for a more multi-purpose toaster oven, which can toast your bread as well as cook frozen foods and bake small quantities of cookies and small entrees.

Our Cuisinart Classic 2-Slice Toaster is the perfect gift for your friend with a modern kitchen. Or you can combine the conveniences of coffee and breakfast by giving this Sunpentown Stainless Steel 3 in 1 Breakfast Maker as a present.

Finding the right small appliance for your gift giving needs can be easy if you consider the functions and preferences of the user.  Small appliances are excellent gifts for loved ones; they will keep on giving, providing the recipient with freshly made coffee or cooked food and drinks for many years to come!

Living Direct 12 Year Anniversary Giveaway


We’ve grown to be a top internet retailer specializing in compact appliances and home goods since our humble beginning in 1999. Now,  it’s our 12th anniversary this month (October), and we’re giving away a $1,200.00 shopping spree on our network of sites to celebrate!

We have been dedicated to the customer from day one, making sure to quickly provide you with quality products at a cost-efficient price. From looking at reviews, to creating our own high-quality brand of EdgeStar appliances, we have always been and will always be all about YOU, the consumer.

All you have to do to enter to win the  $1,200.00 12 year anniversary shopping spree sweepstakes is just place an order. And remember, more orders equals more entries! Good luck!