Showing posts with label appliances. Show all posts
Showing posts with label appliances. Show all posts

It's Freezing Outside, but Not in My Freezer


This morning in the car on the way to work, it was 32F. Brr. Now it's in the 60's like it should be. Tonight, we came home from the #Publix with a few boxes of frozen fish fillets that needed to fit in the freezer. Our two full size refrigerator/freezers were full so DH went to see if our little freezer had any room. But it was full. And melty. Apparently, in the recent past the little freezer decided to quit working. The majority of the frozen stuff was soft and had to be tossed - a dozen pints of Hagen Daz ice cream, a dozen bags of Ore-Ida potato Grillers, over a dozen Buitoni pastas, Sea Pak breaded shrimp, Marie Callendars Chicken Alfredo, and Rudi's Gluten Free Bread. But we did manage to save the boneless chicken breasts, frozen veggies and Egg Beaters. We ate the thawed TGIF chicken wings and Sea Pack Shrimp snacks for dinner along with some Grillers.
 
It's really a drag to throw out two garbage bags of food. Food that I like and wanted to eat some day. Especially the ice cream. Pistachio is really good, so is Strawberry. And Rocky Road. All of it melted.
 
I think the problem is we didn't defrost when we should have. It's defrosted now, but it doesn't work. The overload protection probably blew a fuse. So now we have to trouble shoot and see if we can repair it, otherwise we're out a little freezer. Which won't be the end of the world, but I do have 40 lbs of boneless chicken breasts coming at the end of March from Zaycon. We'll need to find room, so that means lots of fish fillets and steamfresh veggies in our dinner plans for the next month. And ice cream bars - we managed to save the Magnum bars.
 
Goodbye diet. For a month anyway.

Ice Ice Baby

Finally, this morning we got the final upgrade to our kitchen. Previously, I wrote about how the ice maker quit working on our refrigerator, and we had a few choices to make about how to live with no ice. Here's what went down. Of course, we all know that Black Friday sales are taking place this week and it's a great time to buy something you've been shopping for and finally the price comes down. Well, we knew back in October that we finally needed to get a fridge because the icemaker died. We decided against craigslist because of the uncertainty of the the remaining life of the appliance, so that left buying it new. We researched the features we wanted - my sister made me swear to get black handles on the stainless finish because they get fingerprints if you don't. We also have our fridge tucked into a corner so the only visible side is the front, so we opted for the frugal option to just get stainless steel doors, with black metal sides.
 
To complement the rest of our appliances we stuck with Kenmore by Sears, and ended up getting this model for $749 during the past Friends & Family sale. It is regularly priced at $1249. Currently its going for $1062, but on Black Friday it will be $699. We decided to go ahead and pay the $50 more to get it delivered when we'll be home this week, rather than have to try to arrange delivery around work. The real factor in pushing us to get the fridge now was the fact that we're home for delivery this week, and we want to start cranking out ice for our next vacation in early December at the condo in Naples.
 
So, I know you're wondering what we're going to do with the old white fridge. If you're a couponer, you know how wonderful it would be to have a stockpile fridge for all those milk, cheese and creamer deals. Well, you guessed it, the old fridge is going to be my stockpile fridge. I convinced DH to get rid of our small college dorm size beverage fridge, and we'll unplug the small extra freezer too, so really I'm unplugging two small appliances to keep the big one. Hope it works out like that. If I fill both full size refrigerators, then I'm in trouble.

An Icy Decision

Earlier this year we remodeled our kitchen by gutting it and getting new cabinets, counter tops and appliances. Except for the refrigerator. Being the frugal type, we decided to wait until the 2003 Kenmore side by side broke down before replacing it. Well, decision time is upon us, as the ice maker quit working this past weekend. We were being frugal in our decision to avoid replacing the water filter cartridge just because it was 6 months, so we usually wait until the water dispenser quits working or we notice less than fresh tasting water to replace the filter. Once it happened that the ice maker stopped working, and when we replaced the water filter it started working again. It was our hope that this was the case this time.
 
So we purchased a new filter from Amazon with some Swagbucks gift cards, and it arrived the next day. When we replaced it nothing happened. We waited 24 hours like it says in the owners manual, and still nothing happened. It looks like the ice maker problem is not due to the water filter - we've got bigger problems than that. As I was looking through the refrigerator documents, I found a receipt from 2004 where we had Sears come out and fix the ice maker under warranty. The labor and parts for the sensor module service visit were $235.
 
So now we have a few choices to get our ice now.
  • We can do nothing and just make ice using old fashioned ice trays. (NOT! I might do this for a temporary while but geez there is technology out there now!)
  • Attempt to research the problem using Google, buy the parts online and fix it ourselves. This is a fairly likely scenario from what little checking I've done and the cost of the parts should be about $60.
  • Call Sears to fix the problem with a service call. Not likely - means time off work and paying probably at least $300 toward an old fridge.
  • Get a new stainless steel fridge to match all the other new appliances. This may be a premature choice since refrigerators should last about 10 years. Ours is only 7 years old, there should be plenty of life left in it. However, the old one could become our stockpile and soda fridge, allowing us to get rid of the two other dorm size fridge and freezer we have.
  • Get a used stainless steel fridge from craigslist. I've seen used but practically new ss fridges for as little as $500 on craigslist. However, DH is still injured from the motorcycle collision, and can not possibly assist in moving an appliance. This choice would have to wait.
 Oh, the joys of living. If any of you have any ideas, I'd love to know how you'd handle this dilemma.
 

Pooped Pool Pump

So, its another rainy day - which actually is really great for our newly seeded front yard - it is a carpet of green grass now. But not so good for getting in a walk after work. Well, then its onto other chores like checking on the pool. All the rain filled it up pretty high and it could use a back flush to bring it back to normal levels for good skimming action. So, I go out to the power switch to discover it wouldn't go on. The breaker switch had tripped so I flipped it back to on. We must have had a power outage from all the storms. Anyway, I turned on the pump and in a couple seconds it started smoking and smelling like burnt up motor before it popped the breaker again. Uh Oh. Not good. The old cooter was toasted. So, I got DH and we checked it out some more and decided we needed to get a new one. We disconnected the wiring and brought it to pinch a penny and they switched it out in a few minutes. We brought it home and connected it back up to the power, with just a few minutes to spare before another rainy downpour.
 
So we are the proud owners of a new $220 pool pump. We kind of knew we needed to keep an eye on the old one and it needed some new cones or something, But we waited too long and then it was toast. The new one is smooth and quiet though. Definitely worth it.
 
The point is, if you have home equipment that needs attention or maintenance to prolong its life, don't put it off. Emergency repairs have a way of popping up at at the most inconvenient time. Like Monday on our day off after our trip, we had planned to mow and trim the lawn. The problem was the fuel line on the weed wacker had disintegrated and the new one we replaced it with leaked gas, and it wouldn't start. So we called a small engine repair shop and they wanted $35 bucks to "look at it", and it would take a week. Instead we just searched for "fuel line weed wacker" on www.youtube.com and found a couple home videos that outlined exactly how to replace the fuel line. We fixed ours like it said, and it works just great now. Free and instant.
 
If you don't know how to fix something, but you think you have the aptitude or parts and just need a little guidance, youtube.com is definitely a resource that you should check out. There a tons of tips on how to fix and repair stuff, which can save you from an expensive repair.

Frugal Vacuum

I have this Hoover-U5180-900-Cyclonic-Bagless-Upright Vacuum Cleaner that I purchased over two years ago for forty bucks on Amazon. It has worked pretty good and I'm always amazed at how much dog hair it picks up from just one room. I empty the bagless canister a couple times whenever I vacuum because it just seems gross to have all that dust and hair whirling around. Anyway, its been a pretty good vacuum, but the front wheel carriage broke a short while ago, and its a hassle to have to push the thing around, instead of wheel it around.
 
So I was watching www.slickdeals.net for a deal on vacuum cleaners, but I missed out on a good deal a week ago. So, now I'm going to do the frugal thing. I'm going to just repair the thing by purchasing a wheel carriage part for $3.49 and fix it myself.
 
A lot of times it is really easy to fix things rather than replace them. Google is your friend. Just google your item and part needed and see what comes up. Usually, for a fraction of the cost of the item it can be repaired. 

Florida Appliance Rebates

The State of Florida will implement a mail-in rebate program to help residents replace older, inefficient appliances with ENERGY STAR® qualified appliances. The program is scheduled to begin April 16, 2010 and is scheduled to last ten days. The program is timed to coincide with Florida's Earth Day Activities.

Eligible products include
  • Refrigerators
  • Freezers
  • Clothes washers
  • Dishwashers
  • Room air conditioners
  • Gas tankless water heaters
Florida will offer residents a 20% rebate off the price of a new ENERGY STAR qualified appliance. Consumers may also receive an additional rebate with proof of having recycled the old appliance.
Contact: Florida Energy & Climate Commission
Total Funding: $17,585,000
Program information subject to change. Rebates may be offered for a limited time only. Before purchasing a product, check with your program sponsor to ensure rebates are available, and to confirm product eligibility and program requirements. Products purchased must meet efficiency criteria as established by the state.

It's Winter in My Refrigerator

I opened the refrigerator this weekend after shopping for salad stuff only to find that the fresh leafy greens frozen. It's among the more unpleasant of kitchen surprises. I tried to thaw it in the bathtub (we have no sink in the remodel progress) with a vegetable strainer but it was difficult to get the center thawed. Those of you who have had frozen heads of lettuce know that the results are typically soggy and limp.
 
Many factors can lead to frozen vegetables, from setting the refrigerator's temperature too low to storing the produce in the wrong place. This is a relatively new development which has occurred for the second time since we moved out our refrigerator to tile the floor. Ever since we moved it back, our lettuce, cucumber, cabbage, tomatoes and carrots have froze in the vegetable crisper.
 
The first thing we did was check the temperature setting. We dropped it to the center of the range of temps. We've kept our produce in the crisp drawer all the time but now it freezes. If we take it out and place it on the bottom shelf above the crisper its okay. Manufacturers
recommend keeping produce in the crisper drawer, away from the circulating air. You don't want the moisture to transpire out of the product and make it limp, which can happen with produce on a shelf.
If the crisper is full and some produce has to sit on a shelf, it's better to keep it at the front of the refrigerator, because cold air falls down along the back wall. Along with the area directly beneath the outlet, the back and bottom of the refrigerator tend to be the coldest spots.
So we have some limp soggy lettuce in our salads. Luckily the red leaf didn't freeze, so they are salvageable. But more investigation is needed this week.

More Curb Alerts

Well since today is a holiday for government employees we have another day for demolition before the new American Woodmark Cabinets arrive tomorrow. Did I ever mention how impressed I am with Lowe's and American Woodmark? No? Well I am.


So we're planning on removing everything except the sink. Earlier this week we put out the washer and dryer for curb alert and it was gone within minutes on craigslist. Then on Saturday, we put out the dishwasher and it was gone within a day. And then today we got rid of the stovetop and oven to one of the guys from earlier who emailed. All our appliances are gone now and it was so easy.

 
Now we have to continue to burn the old cabinets in fires, and chop them up for the trash man. Here's what's left of the old kitchen, just the sink. We cut the wall out between the dining room and the kitchen and it opens up the area and makes it seem really big.

Probably the Largest Spending Day of 2010

 
As you know we are embarking on a kitchen remodel, now that the bathrooms are done. Last week we had the handiman tile the hallway connecting the hall bath to the kitchen. But the big expenses happened yesterday. On New Years Day, we went to Sears and purchased our first set of appliances the stainless steel range and the microwave hood. Then on the evening of New Years, we discovered our dryer wasn't working. Since the thing is at least twenty years old, we decided to get a new set. So, in addition to the stainless steel dishwasher we purchased on Saturday, we also bought a washer and dryer. Nothing fancy, no computers - just regular old white simple Kenmore stuff.
 
After getting 5 appliances for over $2700, we drove over to Lowes to get our cabinets. The Shanendoah American Woodmark cabinets (Cherry all wood construction) had two overlapping promotions so with our 10 cabinets we got the sink base free, plus free glazing and cushion close drawers and doors. I'm so excited to actually have more than one drawer in the kitchen. All you people out there who have more than one drawer, just imagine the pain the ass it would be to just have one. Go ahead laugh. Now at least we're going to have 6 drawers, plus the stainless steel tilt out tray on the sink base. Cool ha. Anyway, the damage on all this was $4100. Adding the appliances and the cabinets makes it $6800 so far, which leaves us a little over three grand for labor and lights, countertop and misc stuff. I'm pretty sure we won't be able to do this in our hoped for $10000 budget, since the countertop (with free undermount stainless sink promo) is going to cost $2100.
 
So yesterday was a big day where we spent an incredible amount of money. The weird thing is not one picture of George ever changed hands, its all that virtual money called credit. All our purchases are on delayed 0% interest for 6 months on the cabinets, and 12 months for the appliances. But still when we get the countertop, it will be over $1000 a month due to pay these bills.
 
So the clock is ticking, we need to prep the kitchen - empty out cupboards and tear up the old wood floor (I will never get a wood floor again if its within ten feet of a water source), and take down the cabinets.  We've got three weeks to do this. Get movin!