2010-12-09 / Family

Getting Your Kitchen Ready For The Holidays

There’s hardly a home chef who hasn’t had a holiday horror story. From ice maker mishaps to oven meltdowns, kitchen appliances can get taxed or appear to go on strike right in the middle of preparing a holiday meal.

“Broken appliances can really ruin a holiday,” says Jamie Breneman, contributor to TheSavvyShopperBlog. com and spokesperson for N.E.W. Customer Service Companies. “But by following a few simple steps, you can prevent common failures and extend the life of your appliances.”

Self-cleaning options can be real time-savers, but they also stress your oven. During the holidays, wait to run the self-cleaning cycle until after the major meals are done.

Also, purchase an oven thermometer to make sure the oven is heating properly. If not, you may want to have a professional technician from a vetted service vendor come and check it before the holiday cooking begins.

When gearing up for the holidays, take an inventory of major appliances to see if anything needs repairs or replacing. Gas ranges usually last about 15 years, fridges for 13, while dishwashers and microwaves usually have a lifespan of nine years.

If any of your appliances need replacing, make sure to do your research so you buy the most energy-efficient model that fits in the space allocated for it.

Given the modest to heavy price tag on most appliances, you should be clear on what happens if the appliance breaks or needs repairs. Extended service plans, such as those offered by NEW, not only provide you with free technical support 24/7, they also provide access to fast, in-home service from professionals. A good service plan can even provide you with a sizeable food allowance should your fridge go kaput.

Moreover, service plans often only cost 10 to 20 percent of the retail cost of appliances, saving you money since spare parts can cost up to four times more than any plan.

Before you stock that fridge with holiday goodies, conduct a simple test to make sure it’s keeping food cold. Stick a dollar bill in the door with half of it sticking out. If you can pull it out, you have a leak, which can lead to increased energy bills.

If you have a leak, look for a repairman to fix it instead of buying a new one. It will save you money, and you’ll help the planet by reducing electronic waste.

Ice makers are often the most heavily used appliance during the holidays. To make sure you’ve got enough ice for your holiday gatherings, throw out any old ice and clean the bin. Also, make sure there’s room between your ice maker and the back of the unit, so as to avoid creating a kink in the water line, which can stop an icemaker — and party — cold.

For more tips on extending the life of your kitchen appliances, visit The- SavvyShopperBlog.com.

Then start cooking up a storm!

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