ABC Blog

10 Things You Should Never Put Down the Garbage Disposal

Save them for the trash bin—and save your garbage disposal’s motor

If you were fortunate enough to have a garbage disposal when you were growing up, you probably weren’t very careful about what you threw into it. After all, that scary motor seemed to take care of just about anything. Over time, though, you may have learned that garbage disposals are just as susceptible to clogs and breakdowns as other appliances. Now that you’re older and wiser, take care not to throw these 10 items down yours.

1. Non-Organic Trash

It might seem obvious, but plastic and metal can seriously damage your garbage disposal blades. Even smaller items like paper and cigarette butts can wreak havoc.

2. Grease and Animal Fat

Once it passes through the disposal, this stuff can congeal in your pipes. This often has devastating effects for your plumbing system.

3. Rice, Pasta and Other Starches

This stuff expands dramatically when soaked and is … Read Full Post »

Put Down the Bleach: How Cleaning Compounds Can Kill Your Dishwasher

You count on your dishwasher to cut down on your workload. If your dishwasher doesn’t seem to be providing the same level of service as it did before, it’s time to evaluate the products you’ve been using. After all, some dishwasher problems are caused by using the wrong types of detergent or cleaner. Thankfully, avoiding these issues is as simple as making sure that you’re selecting the right products to care for your dishwasher.

Are You Using the Right Cleaners in Your Dishwasher?

No matter how new or old your dishwasher is, using the right types of detergents and cleaning products is key to ensuring its efficiency, performance and longevity. When choosing a detergent, you should always look for a product that’s clearly labeled for use in dishwashers. These may take the forms of liquids, gels, powders or self-contained packs. All of these types of detergent are completely safe for use in … Read Full Post »

How Many Years Do Your Household Appliances Have Left?

We’ll help you make an educated guess

Major appliances aren’t cheap, and some units take considerable effort to install. It makes sense to keep them running as long as possible. You can accomplish this by reading the manual and taking various steps to boost the longevity of your equipment. Nonetheless, it’s a good idea to estimate how many years each appliance will survive because it may help you save the right amount of money for replacements.


Medium and large refrigerators typically last between 10 and 18 years. Small models conserve space and electricity, but they remain less reliable. These units often fail after about eight years. Refrigerators will last longer if you keep your kitchen below 70 degrees and clean any exposed condenser coils. When you unplug it, prop the doors open to prevent mold.

Ovens, Ranges

Most cooking appliances have very few moving parts, so they usually perform well for 11 to 21 … Read Full Post »

Don’t Let Dishwasher Problems Get the Best of You

Dishwashers take the hard work out of cleaning up after dinner and keeping your kitchen tidy. These convenient appliances are so common that most homeowners take them for granted, but you could be in for a big surprise if your dishwasher stops working and you’re stuck washing everything by hand. While you can’t stop all appliance breakdowns from happening, knowing the signs that your dishwasher is wearing out will help you make the right repair and replacement decisions.

Is Your Dishwasher Wearing Out?

Like most Austin homeowners, you rely on your dishwasher to help you tackle kitchen cleanup tasks. Keeping up on maintenance and monitoring your dishwasher for any signs of trouble will help to ensure that you’re not stuck scrubbing pots by hand. Remember that most dishwashers are designed to last for about 10 years, so you’ll need to take your washer’s age into account as you evaluate its condition.

It’s important … Read Full Post »

Signs Gas Oven Not Heating Properly and What To Do About It

Gas oven not heating properly

Few things are more frustrating for the home cook than having food turn out unexpectedly bad. Burnt edges, raw centers, undercooked meats and uneven browning can ruin a meal that took precious time to prepare.

Signs Your Gas Oven is Not Heating Properly 

Anyone can have an off day, but if these problems are consistent, they can leave you wondering if there is a bigger problem. If you’ve been using the same gas oven successfully for months or years and suddenly experience cooking difficulties, your oven’s failing heating element, digital controls or other components could be to blame. Here are five signs that can help you recognize uneven or inconsistent heating.

One or Both Elements Don’t Produce Heat

It seems like an obvious problem, but anyone can get in a hurry and not realize that one of the heating elements in your oven is not igniting. If your food isn’t turning out as expected, … Read Full Post »

Appliance 101: What Do Your Clothes Say About Your Washer & Dryer?

For modern homeowners, washers and dryers are more than just a convenience; they’re integral appliances that can throw a household into a tizzy when they break down. After all, you don’t have the time to wash your clothes by hand and hang them to dry. Fortunately, there are ways to detect a washer or dryer meltdown before it happens.

Is Your Washer or Dryer on the Fritz?

Most American families wash about 400 loads of clothes per year, making your washer and dryer some of the most frequently used appliances in your home. Be on the lookout for the following signs, which can indicate that problems are on their way:

• Your clothes aren’t completely dry after a regular drying cycle.
• Your clothes are very wrinkled when they come out of the dryer, even when you dry a small load.
• Clothes have rips, tears or holes that were not present before washing or … Read Full Post »

Replace or Repair Your Appliances: How You Can Decide What’s Best

Every homeowner knows the feeling of trying to coax service out of an appliance that doesn’t quite work. Maybe your air conditioner is kicking out lukewarm air or your stovetop can’t maintain even heat. When it comes time to decide what to do with problem appliances, you may be unsure if you should replace them or have them repaired. Instead of stressing over the decision, use our simple guidelines to determine if it’s time to call in the handyman or make a trip to the appliance store.

Should You Choose Appliance Repair or Replacement?

It’s important to take several factors into consideration when deciding to repair or replace an appliance. First and foremost, you’ll need to look at the service life expectancy for the appliance. For example, most dishwashers are expected to provide about 10 years of service. If you’re at or past that mark, it’s probably a good time to replace … Read Full Post »