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Cracking open a cold one? Or storing a party platter for guests later? Chances are you’ll need your appliances for that party. Ice from the machine, over for cooking finger food, then the fridge for storing leftovers! That’s why, it’s vital to your home, but also to your party, to ensure the appliances are operating properly. They are not often given full attention. Getting that stain out of your favorite shirt is one reason to keep your washer and dryer maintained. But there are more appliances in your home than just a washer and dryer. Double ovens, dishwashers, trash compactors are some just to name a few. Get our expertise on appliances for your entire home.

Inspection

Ranges and Wall Ovens - Ranges and ovens normally last 15-20 years, however, some units may last 30 years or more.

  • Turn on all heating elements to see that they are functioning properly.
  • Check the "clean" cycle. The instructions for checking the "clean" cycle are usually printed on the oven door or in the vicinity of the control mechanism.
  • Ensure that a gas range has a pilot light, and that it does, in fact, light the burners.
  • If conditions are suspect, and an electric range is present, you may want to turn all the range and oven elements on at the same time. The circuit breaker may be undersized or defective and may trip.
  • Indicator lights, as well as interior lights often do not work.
  • Are the smooth surface type of electric ranges scratched, marred?
  • You should not be able to tip a range/oven forward more than 1 - 1.5 inches. If you can tip the range more than that, then the unit does not have anti-tip brackets installed. These brackets are installed on the wall behind the range/oven, usually engaging one of the ‘feet', to help prevent the range/oven from tipping over and possibly spilling boiling pots on the range.
  • If you can view behind the gas range/oven, check to see if a shut off valve is present on the gas line.
  • It is currently recommended all gas lines be either black pipe or flexible steel (or even stainless steel; CSST). If you see brass or copper, then the line will need to be replaced. These two materials (brass and copper) are no longer approved for use with natural gas. Note: copper is still acceptable for use with propane.

Refrigerators - The life expectancy of refrigerators is 15-20 years.

  • Check to see that they do, in fact, cool.
  • Check the bottom of the door gasket for condition. Look for signs of moisture, rust or condensation on metal surfaces near the seal.
  • Shelves in older refrigerators may be broken or the liner may be cracked.
  • Many refrigerators have reversible door hinges, which are very easy to change.
  • If the refrigerator is built in to the cabinets, take a look at the compressor and associated fan. These items will require periodic cleaning (more often with animals present) to help maintain the efficiency of the unit.
  • Remember, if a refrigerator has a built in filter for drinking water, it will require periodic changing.

Garbage Disposals - The life expectancy of garbage disposals is 5-10 years.

  • Water should be run through the disposal during operation.
  • The disposals that make a great deal of noise are very often failing or near the end of their life.
  • The dishwasher is allowed to discharge into the garbage disposal.
  • Check the wiring under the sink; no exposed wiring
  • Check the rubber splash guard. If this is damaged, then water could be thrown back up into the kitchen.

Dishwashers - The life expectancy is 7-12 years.

  • Let the dishwasher run through a light or full cycle.
  • Check the soap tray for proper operation after a cycle is complete.
  • Check the gasket around the door.
  • Run your hand under the front panel of the dishwasher after operation to check for leaks.
  • If the air gap at the top of the sink exhibits previous or current evidence of overflow, it indicates that the water is not being discharged properly.
  • Newer models have a water heating cycle allowing the occupant to limit the domestic hot water to 110° Fahrenheit.

Ventilator - The life expectancy of a ventilator is normally 20+ years.

  • Recirculating can either be free standing or can be incorporated into a microwave.
  • Exterior discharge: either through a side exterior wall or the roof, and ‘downdraft' which discharges the air down through a duct below the floor, then to the exterior.
  • Recirculating ventilators can sometimes be configured for either recirculating or exterior discharge. Turn the unit on and try to determine where the air vents to. If you don't feel it coming out of the top of the front of the unit, then check the cabinets above for a vent. If a vent is present, follow the vent to make sure the air is properly discharged to the exterior. Sometimes recirculating ventilators are improperly installed: they are configured for direct vent, yet no vent is available.
  • Check to ensure that the exterior discharge ventilators actually vent to the outside. This is easily done by turning it on and going outside to observe an air flow (the weather flap will move).
  • Check to ensure that the ventilator has a filter(s).

Trash Compactors - The life expectancy of a trash compactor is approximately 5-10 years.

  • The best way to check a trash compactor is to start it through a cycle, then stop it and attempt to open the door. If the plunger is in the “down” position, you should not be able to open it, and it is probably operating properly.
  • Trash compactors are not very popular. The reason for this is that the garbage bags are costly; they also have a tendency to produce odors and attract pests.

Inside Barbecue Grills

  • Interior barbecue grills normally are of a brick configuration. They are often poorly designed and may smoke. Carefully observe the surrounding surfaces for smoke stains.

Counter Built-In Food Processors

  • They are less popular in newer construction.
  • These are devices that have a variety of attachments for processing food. There are two round disks located in the top of the counter; one is a switch, the other is a drive shaft. Check the drive shaft to be sure it is operating (i.e. turning).

Electrical Outlets

  • Modern code requires one 20 amp electrical outlet for every 4 linear feet of counter space. In most jurisdictions, these outlets must be GFCI protected when located within 6 feet of the sink.
  • Shorter pieces of counter, about 2 feet long, require an additional outlet. Older homes frequently have an insufficient number of outlets for modern codes, however, they are not required in homes built before the respective codes.

Intercoms

  • The master station of intercoms is often located in the kitchen.
  • When you are at the master station, turn on the master and each of the stations. As you go through the various rooms, check to make sure the stations are working.

Microwave Ovens

  • Microwave ovens are checked using a glass of water and heating it for about one minute.
  • Surface lights (underside) should be checked for operability.

Instant Hot Appliances

  • Instant hot appliances provide hot water through the use of an electric element, and are normally located at the kitchen sink. They should provide water at approximately 190°F.

Sink

  • Check the "P" trap and associated piping beneath the sink to ensure that there are no leaks.
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