Choosing Between a Gas or Electric Range

blue flames of a gas stoveIf you are in the market for a new range, you will need to choose between a gas or electric stove. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types, so keep these considerations in mind as you prepare for your new range installation in Gaithersburg, MD.

When it comes to upfront costs, electric stoves tend to come with a slightly higher price tag than gas ones. However, it’s the operating costs that are typically the deciding factor. Because natural gas costs less than electricity, a gas stove can cost anywhere from 10% to 30% less to operate over time.

If you consider yourself a home chef, it is important to remember that gas stoves can do things that electric ones simply can’t; think charring, toasting, and flambéing. Gas stoves also respond quicker to temperature setting changes, allowing you the precise control you’ll need to be successful when preparing certain dishes. On the other hand, an electric stove can heat up faster, and its smooth surface is easier to clean.

When you are cooking with a gas stove, you are cooking over an open flame. Naturally, this makes gas ranges more dangerous than electric ones. Children and pets should be kept away from a gas stove while it is in use, as well as any items that may be flammable. Also to be considered is the risk of a gas leak, so it is essential to install a carbon monoxide detector.

Five Ways to Deodorize Your Refrigerator without Chemicals

interior of refrigerator with produce and dairyMany of us use baking soda to keep our refrigerator smelling fresh. Here are some additional ways you can clean or deodorize your refrigerator with items that you likely already have in your kitchen.

Coffee Grounds
Coffee is known to absorb smells. If baking soda isn’t working as well to deodorize your fridge as you had hoped, you can distribute freshly ground coffee evenly on a plate and place it inside for 24 hours.

You have likely already heard about the cleaning powers of vinegar. For a mixture that is ideal for cleaning the surfaces of a refrigerator, use three parts hot water to one part vinegar. The toughest stains will benefit most from straight, undiluted vinegar.

Simply squeeze some lemon juice into a towel, and then scrub the surfaces that need cleaning. To retrieve the most juice from the lemon, try microwaving it first for about ten seconds.

Salt is another handy cleaning tool for those who wish to avoid chemicals while cleaning. Dissolve a cup of salt into a gallon of hot water and saturate a cloth with the mixture. For a pleasant scent, add some lemon juice.

This is an excellent option as we head into the holidays! Just soak a cotton ball in peppermint oil using a shot glass. Just as you would use an open box of baking soda, place the glass in the back of your fridge. You can also use this method with vanilla extract.

Four Ways to Save Energy While Cooking

collection of stainless steel pots and pansIf you are looking for ways to start saving energy daily throughout your home, starting in the kitchen is a smart choice. By taking advantage of energy-saving techniques and appliances, cutting down on monthly bills may be easier than what you’d expect. Here are some ways to save energy while you cook and prepare meals.

Reduce Overall Cook Time
It’s simple: the less time you spend with the oven or stovetop on, the less energy you will use. Reduce cook time by defrosting frozen items in the microwave first, and use the preheat setting for no longer than what is necessary. To save more energy, turn your oven off about ten minutes early and leave your dish inside with the door closed. Your food will still cook through.

Clean Your Stovetop Regularly
Have the burner pans on your stovetop become darker in color due to heavy use? The build-up of grime could be preventing heat from reflecting up to the cookware, thus increasing the required cook time. For maximum efficiency, keep your stovetop as clean as possible.

Use the Right Cookware
When choosing a pot or pan to cook with, refrain from choosing whichever one is closest in reach. Instead, choose a pot that matches the size of the burner. For example, if your pan is only 6 inches and you are cooking on an 8-inch burner, much of the heat will be wasted.

Choose the Right Appliance
Today’s kitchen ranges offer more energy efficiency than older units. Self-cleaning ranges are especially efficient because they have more insulation, while the constant air circulation of convection ranges allows for reduced required temperatures and cooking times. If you have decided on a new appliance that will offer more energy efficiency for your home, turn to Quality Kitchens to complete your oven installation in Washington, DC.

How to Defrost Your Freezer

inside of freezer with frost buildupIf you have frost on the inside walls of your freezer, it will not run as efficiently, thus increasing your energy bill. Today, most freezers come equipped with a defrosting feature to help keep icy buildup under control. However, if you have an older appliance, you may need to defrost the inside of your freezer manually.

Start by removing the freezer’s contents. In the meantime, place frozen food into a cooler with ice packs. Then, turn the freezer off and take out the removable parts such as drawers and shelves.

Choose a defrosting method
You can allow the ice in your freezer to melt naturally, but this can be a slow process. To speed the process along, fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil. Along with a trivet or hot pad, place the pot in the freezer and leave it for 20-30 minutes. Depending on how much ice buildup you are dealing with, you may need to repeat this method a few times. Afterward, use a rag dipped in hot water to loosen whatever ice is left. Avoid using any tools that could damage the interior of the freezer, such as a metal utensil.

Clean the interior
After your freezer has been defrosted, use towels to soak up any remaining water. Clean the unit’s surfaces with a mild dish soap and let dry. When you are done, turn the freezer back on and wait about 30 minutes before placing your food back inside.

As mentioned, today’s refrigerator units include a defrost system. With a new appliance installation in Washington DC, you can save both time and money while the chore of defrosting is taken care of for you.

Four Tips to Increase the Efficiency of Your Dishwasher

close up of loaded rack in dishwasherThe chore of washing dishes uses water, chemicals, energy, as well as your valuable time. However, an efficient approach can help you save some of each. Here are some simple tips to ensure your dishwasher is being used efficiently.

Wait Until You Have a Full Load
Refrain from running a cycle until your dishwasher is at full capacity. Rather than washing only partial loads of dishes, waiting for a full load will ensure you the most cleaning power for every dollar you spend on water, energy, and dish soap.

Skip the Pre-Rinse
Most of today’s dishwashers are effective enough to clean dishes without them being pre-rinsed in the sink beforehand. Save water by scraping leftover food into the trash instead, and use a dry sponge to get rid of food particles that may clog the drain.

Turn Down the Thermostat
Most dishwashers are preset to heat water to about 140°F. By turning the water down to about 120°F, you can still get clean dishes while using less energy.

Consider an Upgrade
Thanks to new standards, newer dishwashers use just a fraction of the water that older models do. While dishwasher installation in Washington, DC, is an investment, money and resources will be saved in the long term when less water and energy is being used.

Reasons Why Your Dishwasher is Leaking or Overflowing

open dishwasher after a cycleFinding a puddle of water or suds on your kitchen floor is never ideal. Since clean-up is tedious and water damage to your floor can become expensive, it’s important to schedule a repair or dishwasher installation in Maryland as soon as possible. In the meantime, the following causes below can help you better understand why your dishwasher may be malfunctioning.

A Worn Door Gasket
The door of your dishwasher has a rubber seal around it that prevents water from escaping. If it is worn down or damaged, water can leak from the dishwasher. To prevent further leaks, you will need to replace the gasket.

Misuse of Detergent
If the mess on your floor includes suds, you may be using too much detergent or a soap that is incompatible with your dishwasher. The owner’s manual of your unit should state how much detergent should be used, as well as recommendations for compatible soaps.

Faulty Float Assembly or Switch
As the water level in your dishwasher increases, the float rises. When the float reaches a certain level, it signals the float switch to turn off the water flow. However, if the float becomes stuck, the switch will not be activated, causing your dishwasher to overflow. If the float is moving freely, but your appliance is still overflowing, the float switch may need replacing.

Defective Water Inlet Valve
The inlet valve is what delivers water to your dishwasher. If it is working properly, it will provide your appliance with the proper amount of water and then shut off. If it malfunctions, your dishwasher may overflow, and the inlet valve will need to be replaced.

Four Benefits of Self-Cleaning Ovens

close up of knobs on range ovenWhen it comes to saving time in the kitchen, automated appliances can make certain tasks quicker and easier. Such is the case with self-cleaning ovens. Here are just a few reasons why it pays to incorporate a self-cleaning oven with your appliance installation in Rockville, MD.

Convenience is the most obvious benefit to self-cleaning ovens. Long gone are the days of scrubbing away at spilled, baked-on food – Simply turn on the self-cleaning feature, and you’ll soon have a clean oven interior once again.

Energy efficiency
Because a self-cleaning oven must heat up to high temperatures during cleaning, they feature especially well-insulated doors and walls. This means the oven is especially energy-efficient compared to regular range oven units, thus saving you money on energy costs.

No chemicals
Cleaning an oven manually requires the use of oven cleaners. With a unit that self-cleans, you can avoid using toxic chemicals and solvents to do the job. In most cases, you will only need a damp cloth combined with baking soda or lemon juice. Otherwise, simply heat to clean!

While you may pay an additional $100 for the self-cleaning feature, you will be saving by not continuously purchasing oven cleaners and scouring pads.

Surprising Kitchen Items You Can Clean in the Dishwasher

The dishes, cups and utensils you place in your dishwasher are likely all made of glass, plastic or metal. If you look around, there are plenty of other things in your kitchen made of the same materials. For that reason, you can make the most of your new dishwasher installation in Maryland by cleaning more than just dinnerware!

Refrigerator Shelves, Bins
If you’d prefer not to hand-wash these while cleaning down the refrigerator, you can run them through a cycle in the dishwasher.

Kitchen Sponges, Brushes
These kitchen tools are notorious for collecting tons of bacteria, and should be cleaned regularly. Whenever you wash a load of dishes, place your sponges and brushes in the utensil holder.

Oven Mitts (Silicone)
To remove food residue, you can place oven mitts made of silicone on the top rack of the dishwasher.

Kitchen Hardware
While stove knobs and metal cabinet handles may be some of the last things you think of cleaning in your kitchen, their frequent use can make them dirty quickly. If they’re removable, you can put them in the utensil holder of your dishwasher.

Microwave Turntable
For easy cleaning, you can run the removable turntable in your microwave through a dishwasher cycle.

Range Hood Filters
A dirty stove hood filter can attract pests and decrease indoor air quality. A weekly cleaning in a dishwasher will help keep it clean so it doesn’t block the vent.

Electrical Circuits for Kitchens

A typical kitchen requires several electrical circuits. While bedrooms or family rooms are commonly served by a single, standard lighting circuit, a modern kitchen is likely to have about seven circuits due to its hardwired electrical appliances. Here is a list of the most commonly used circuits in a kitchen.

A modern refrigerator requires a dedicated 20-amp, 120/125-volt circuit. 12/2 NM wire with a ground is required for the wiring.

If you’ve sought an appliance contractor for oven installation in Washington, D.C., you likely know that an electric range will need a dedicated 240/250-volt, 50-amp circuit. This means you’ll need to install a 6/3 NM cable (or #6 THHN wire in a conduit) to feed the range. However, a gas range will only require a 120/125-volt receptacle to feed the range.

A dishwasher circuit should be a dedicated 120/125-volt, 15-amp circuit. It is fed with a 14/2 NM wire with a ground.

A microwave oven needs a dedicated 20-amp, 120/125-volt circuit to feed it. This will require 12/2 NM wire with a ground.

Small Appliances
Above your countertop, you will need two dedicated 20-amp, 120/125-volt circuits to run your small appliance loads (toasters, blenders, coffee pots, etc.).

Garbage Disposal
A dedicated 15-amp circuit is required for a garbage disposal. It is fed by a 14/2 NM cable with a ground.

Lighting Circuit
A 15-amp, 120/125-volt dedicated circuit is required to power the ceiling fixtures, under-cabinet  fixtures, and track lights (if you have them).

Spring Cleaning Your Refrigerator

For many of us, pleasant weather is a sign that it’s time to get started on our annual spring cleaning. This year, consider adding your refrigerator and freezer to your list of areas and items to be cleaned. Not only does a clean refrigerator mean a tidier kitchen, but getting rid of food that’s been kept too long or stored improperly can prevent illness. The following are the steps you’ll need to know to guarantee cleanliness after refrigerator installation in Gaithersburg, MD.

Throw Out Old Food
If food appears or smells strange, throw it away. Otherwise, check the labels for dates and toss out any items that have been expired for over a month.

Wash the Shelves and Drawers
Take out any removable shelves and drawers and wash them down with a microfiber cloth that’s been submerged in hot water and dish soap. To prevent cracking, any pieces made of glass or ceramic should warm up to room temperature first before coming into contact with hot water.

Wipe Down the Interior
From top to bottom, wipe down the empty interior of your fridge. Treat tough spills with a small amount of baking soda. Repeat the same process on the interior of the door.

Clean the Exterior
Dip a scrub brush in warm and soapy warmer and clean the gasket seal. Scrub the hinges as well, then wipe dry. Next, wipe down the exterior with all-purpose spray and clean from top to bottom. Be sure not to miss the underside of the door handles, as this is where our hands mostly come in contact.

Vacuum the Coils
The coils of your refrigerator can be found on the underside or back of the unit. Using the dust attachment of your vacuum, remove any dust that has built up among the coils.