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Friday, January 31, 2003

Appliance Tip of the Day Encore: Genuine Appliance Manufacturer's Repair Manuals

appliance tip of the day archiveYes, Grasshopper, your journey into appliance repair excellence begins with good technical information. While it's true that is the Muthah of all appliance repair websites and offers an extensive online library of information, a do-it-yourself repair forum, and live help, there's just no way we can reproduce all the esoteric information contained in genuine manufacturer's repair manuals. Something about copyright laws, I dunno. Anyway, a good repair manual can be a valuable adjunct to the vast repository of appliance wisdom here at Come git you some.

Whirlpool / Kenmore Repair Manuals GE / Hotpoint Repair Manuals
Washing Machine (Direct-Drive) Repair Manual Washing Machine Step-by-Step Repair Manual
Washing Machine (Belt-Driven) Step-by-Step Repair Manual Dryer Step-by-Step Repair Manual
Dryer Step-by-Step Repair Manual Refrigerator / Freezer Step-by-Step Repair Manual
Dishwasher Step-by-Step Repair Manual Dishwasher Step-by-Step Repair Manual
Ice Maker Do-It-Yourself Repair Manual Electric Range Step-by-Step Repair Manual
Trash Compactor Manual (this space intentionally left blank)
Refrigerator / Freezer Do-It-Yourself Manual (same here, move along)

Maycor Repair Manuals Speed Queen & Amana Manuals
Maytag, Jenn-Air, Magic Chef & Admiral Top-Freezer Refrigerator Amana Washer Repair Manual (newer one-belt style)
Maytag, Jenn-Air, Magic Chef & Admiral Side-by-Side Refrigerator Speed Queen Dryer Repair Manual
Maytag SE100 Stacked Washer and Dryer Sub-Zero Technical Service Mini-Manuals
Maytag Neptune Front-Load Washer Repair Manual Series 500 Models
Maytag Performa Washer Repair Manual Series 600 Models
Maytag Atlantis Washer Repair Manual Series 700 Models
Frigidaire Repair Manuals (this space intentionally left blank)
Next Generation Side-by-Side Refrigerator Repair Manual Microwave Ovens and Ranges
Front Load Washer Manual Repair-master Microwave Oven and Ranges Repair Manual (covers most American built models)

grasshoppers thumbing through genuine manufacturer's repair manuals with the master

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 15:05 ET.  [permalink]
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Appliance Usage Handbook

Ahh, yes, the Appliance Usage Handbook: the bible of optimal appliance usage. This fine comprehensive reference was compiled by Maytag and is invaluable for answering questions on using your washer and dryer, dishwasher, stove and refrigerator.

Additionally, this valuable handbook contains information on the basic operation of all household major appliances, regardless of brand. I refer to it all the time when answering appliance questions. It's a two-inch thick, three-ring binder crammed full of arcane and exceedingly useful appliance information such as:

  • answers to common appliance usage questions,
  • solutions to common problems,
  • energy conservation ideas,
  • stain removal for washers and dryers,
  • cooking basics for stoves,
  • what not to wash in your dishwasher and why,
  • and tons of other stuff too detailed to get into here.

Oh, I know what you're saying. You're saying, "Ok, Samurai Cyclops, how do I get one?" Great question! I will send this cornucopia of appliance wisdom as a gift to the first five grasshoppers who contribute $25 or more to the United Samurai Beer Fund. That's right, I only have five copies left. If you've been thinking about making a contribution to the Beer Fund but have been putting it off because you had to pull hair outta the drain or something, then this little pearl should be enough to nudge you into going ahead and doing it. Go ahead, all your other friends are doing it.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 02:31 ET.  [permalink]
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Appliance Tip of the Day: Troubleshooting and Repairing Major Appliances

appliance tip of the day archive you need this book!Troubleshooting and Repairing Major Appliances. If you need to learn the fundamentals of appliance repair, like how to make basic electrical tests, how to read a schematic diagram, testing a refrigerator defrost timer, how to read a washer timing chart, and lots and lots of other cool fundamental stuff then buy this book. Don't tell anyone, but I still look stuff up in this book when I need to freshen up on the fundamentals. And if you're just getting started in professional appliance repair, this book is a must-have.

grasshoppers sitting with the master thumbing through their copies of Troubleshooting and Repairing Major Appliances

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Thursday, January 30, 2003

Live Help Update

I'll be online for live help tonight from about 9:00pm (New Hampster time) 'till whenever right here at Talk to you then.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 18:51 ET.  [permalink]
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Wednesday, January 29, 2003

From the Factory

If your Whirlpool Microwave Combination Built-In oven is giving you the error code "door" in the display and you can't restart the unit, then the door-monitoring portion of the microcomputer board is fried. The only cure is to replace the microcomputer board. Whirlpool just started making more of these boards in July 2002 so there could be some delays in getting a new one but you can special order it here.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 17:09 ET.  [permalink]
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Appliance Tip of the Day: No Ice in Your Whirlpool or KitchenAid Side-by-Side Fridge with In-Door Ice

appliance tip of the day archive So your fancy Whirlpool or KitchenAid Side-by-Side with the in-door icemaker quit making ice for your margaritas? And it's one of those space-age looking icemakers with the red LED and infrared ice level sensor? Well, Grasshopper, go pour yourself a tall cold one, and get me one while you're at it, because the Samurai is gonna 'splain to you how to fix the two most common reasons these suckers stop making ice.

Reason Numero Uno: Frozen Fill Tube

These units have the fill tube in the freezer ceiling that can keep freezing up. The cure is to replace the existing fill tube with a new kit from Whirlpool, consisting of a modified fill tube and a fill tube heater. You can buy it here. This, of course, assumes the icemaker and level sensing circuitry are attempting to function normally. You can test the icemaker by manually initiating a harvest cycle. Do this by pulling the front cover off the icemaker and jumpering out test points T and H with an insulated wire. The other most common problem is bad optics circuit boards. Keep reading.

Reason Numero Duo: Bad Optics Circuit Boards

If the red status LED is not lit on your ice level sensor receiver (it's the only LED in there, Hoss, so don't go gettin' all cross-eyed on me 'cause I'm using fancy words), then you may have bad optics circuits. Close the freezer door and wait five minutes, then open it back up. If still no status light, then you need to replace the optics boards, emitter and receiver. You can buy them here.

Ok, go fix your icemaker and buy me a margarita. I like 'em smooth and made with Jose Cuervo Tradicional.

grasshoppers happily munching ice from their newly-repair in-door icemaker with the master

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 12:54 ET.  [permalink]
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Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Samurai Web Cam

Samurai Web Cam--click for the latest shotI just got one of those cool web cams, you know, those X-10's that you see in popup ads everywhere you go on the web? Yeah, one o' those. Well, I finally broke down and bought one. It was easy to set up and seems to work pretty well. I have it set up here on top of my monitor, taking pictures while I'm working. Here, check out the latest shot from the live Samurai Web Cam.

See you later.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 01:59 ET.  [permalink]
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Saturday, January 25, 2003

Network Update

Looks like Microslop provided more fertile ground for yet another internet worm attack. Maybe this is what's behind the .NET passport outage.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 15:29 ET.  [permalink]
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All Systems are GO (if you don't count Microslop)

Looks like MSN .NET passport servers are having another bad hair day. I can't sign in to .NET passport to check email or answer questions at the Appliantology Group. Anyone else having this problem? Seems like the .NET passport servers go down about once a week. I'm just glad Microslop didn't surprise me by going and getting all reliable on me.

The Samurai School of Appliantology is still functioning within design parameters so you can post your questions there and the resident uber-guru, Moostafa, will be happy to hurt you, I meant, help you. Tell me I did.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 15:06 ET.  [permalink]
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Thursday, January 23, 2003

A Higher Source

So, Grasshopper, you've carefully studied the vast repository of appliance diagnostic and repair information in the Appliantology Files but you are still confoosed. In this case, you must seek wisdom from a Higher Source. Two founts of divine appliance wisdom are available to you:

What's the difference? Read and learn.

The Appliantology Group

The Appliantology Group is an MSN group hosted by Samurai Appliance Repair Man. It has a variety of features, such as a message board, photo album, chat room, links, etc., making it a good venue for disseminating appliance repair wisdom. Group members can post their appliance woes in the message board, seeking appliance wisdom from the Samurai. A copy of each new post to the Samurai's homepage is also sent to the group's message board, so you can keep up with the latest rants, er, I mean, tips.

The Samurai School of Appliantology

The Samurai School of Appliantology is a venerable institution of higher appliance learning. The School is hosted on our own servers so we don't have all the bloat and spyware that accompanies all Microslop products. You don't even need to register at the School forum to post a question.

Which One?

You don't need to choose one or the other. You are welcome, even encouraged, to participate in both of these fine institutions of higher appliance learning.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 23:42 ET.  [permalink]
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Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Appliance Tip of the Day: Hooking Up a Gas Dryer

appliance tip of the day archive Here are some fundamental guidelines that you shall obey when installing a gas dryer:

The flex gas line diameter shall be 3/8" and the length shall not less then 6 feet. The 6 ft. length is so the dryer can be slid forward to clean and work behind it without having to remove the gas line flex.

The gas supply pipe extending out of the wall should be 1/2". This means you'll need a 1/2 by 3/8 shut-off valve for that pipe. The shut-off's female end attaches to the pipe while the flex line attaches to the male end of the shut-off valve.

This diagram from the People's Republik of Vermont Extension Service might help, too.

Happy Piping!

grasshoppers comparing pipe fittings with the master in preparation for their gas dryer installation exam.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 23:31 ET.  [permalink]
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Kid's Letters to God

Dear God,
Please put another holiday between Christmas and Easter. There is nothing good in there now.

Dear God,
Thank you for the baby brother but what I asked for was a puppy. I never asked for anything before. You can look it up.

Dear Mr. God,
I wish you would not make it so easy for people to come apart. I had to have 3 stitches and a shot.

Dear God,
If we come back as something, please don't let me be Jennifer Horton - because I hate her.

Dear God,
It rained for our whole vacation and is my father mad! He said some things about you that people are not supposed to say, but I hope you will not hurt him anyway.
Your friend (I am not going to tell you who I am).

Dear God,
I read the bible. What does begat mean? Nobody will tell me.
Love, Alison

Dear God,
How did you know you were God?

Dear God,
Is it true my dad won't get in Heaven if he uses his bowling words in the house?

Dear God,
I bet it's very hard for you to love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only 4 people in our family and I can never do it.

Dear God:
Did you really mean Do Unto Others As They Do Unto You, because if you did then I'm going to fix my brother.

Dear God,
I like the story about Chanukah the best of all of them. You really made up some good ones.

Dear God,
My Grandpa says you were around when he was a little boy. How far back do you go?
Love, Dennis

Dear God,
Who draws the lines around the countries?

Dear God,
It's o.k. that you made different religions, but don't you get mixed up sometimes?

Dear God,
Did you mean for giraffes to look like that or was it an accident?

Dear God,
In bible times did they really talk that fancy?

Dear God,
What does it mean you are a jealous God? I thought you had everything.

Dear God,
How come you did all those miracles in the old days and don't do any now?

Dear God,
Please send Dennis Clark to a different camp this year.

Dear God,
Maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much if they had their own rooms. It works with my brother.

Dear God,
I keep waiting for spring but it never did come yet. Don't forget.

Dear God,
You don't have to worry about me. I always look both ways.

Dear God,
My brother told me about being born but it doesn't sound right.

Dear God,
If you watch in Church on Sunday I will show you my new shoes.
Mickey D.

Dear God,
Is Reverend Coe a friend of yours, or do you just know him through business?

Dear God,
In Sunday School they told us what you do. Who does it when you are on Vacation?

Dear God,
We read Thomas Edison made light. But in Sunday School, they said you did it. So I bet he stoled your Idea.
Sincerely, Donna

Dear God,
I do not think anybody could be a better God. Well, I just want you to know but I am not just saying that because you are God.

Dear God,
It is great the way you always get the Stars in the right places.

Dear God,
I am doing the best I can.

Dear God,
I didn't think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset you made on Tuesday. That was Cool.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 12:21 ET.  [permalink]
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Sunday, January 19, 2003

IM Madness

The IM world used to drive me nuts. Some of my friends are on Yahoo Messenger, some on MSN Messenger, others on AOL Instant Messenger. I got so fed up with all the fragmentation in the IM world that I just punted IMing altogether. But I just discovered a very cool service that changed all that: Trillian. Using Trillian, you don't need to install three or more different IM services so you can talk to all your online friends because Trillian talks to everyone! You still have to sign up for user accounts in each of the IM services you want to communicate with but you can do all that through Trillian, just takes a second and it's free. Trillian itself is free, too, although they do have a Trillian Pro version with more features for a mere $25/year. I'm currently registered with three IM services. On Yahoo Messenger and AOL Instant Messenger, my handle is Zenzoidman; on MSN Messenger my handle is Zenzoid. OK, talk to you later.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 23:52 ET.  [permalink]
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Saturday, January 18, 2003

Return from the Dark Side

I'm back from my brief foray into the Dark Side of the Web: MSN 8. I jumped over to the Dark Side a couple of months ago after I downloaded Intellisync from Yahoo and it crashed my computer. In a fit of rage, I deleted the Appliantology group at Yahoo Groups and reincarnated it at MSN Groups. I even went so far as to subscribe to the new MSN 8 software. I just cancelled my subscription to MSN 8 and am easing back into Yahoo-based services.

Bottom line: MSN 8 looks reeeal purdy with the pastel colors and that damn butterfly everywhere you go but, like all Microslop products, it's ate up with bugs (in addition to the ubiquitous butterfly) and has some annoying design flaws, too. It's a product well-suited to users who are comforted by a highly controlled internet environment, such as AOL users. Power users and anyone who's outgrown AOL will quickly become frustrated with MSN 8.

The Gory Details

If you subscribe to the software only, it's $9.95 per month. For that, you get access to the MSN Money Plus (not to be confused with MSN MoneyCentral or Microsoft Money), 10mb of storage in your email account, 30mb of storage for MSN Groups, and lots of purdy icons in the MSN browser to feast your bleary consumer squinties on. Or, for only $19.95 per year, you can buy an extra storage subscription and get 10mb of mail storage and 30 mb of storage in MSN Groups. You don't get access to MSN Money Plus, but you can still use the billpay portion of MSN MoneyCentral.

Frankly, all the different MSN-this and MSN-that are so similarly named that they're pretty damn confusing. And not just to me, either. When you call in for technical support, which you'll do a lot, with a question about a specific MSN something-or-other product, many times even the "technical support specialist" would get confused about which product you're taking about. If the distinction among features is so subtle that even their own tech support people don't get it, it's time to re-think the structure of the whole MSN thang.

It's ironic that MSN chose a bug, the butterfly, as it's symbol because, as you'd expect with any Microslop product, MSN 8 has an entomological catalog of bugs built into it. You'll spend lots of time talking to tech support, accounts and billing, customer service, the janitor...and whoever else you think can solve one of your many problems with the service.

Speaking of tech support, I hope you like waiting a long time on the phone so you can talk to someone who has no idea how to resolve your problem. After logging over 13 hours on the phone with various MSN support entities and a couple dozen service tickets, I got to know the MSN support system pretty well. The main number is 1-800-386-5550. You'll get a recorded menu accompanied by the warning that waits may be longer than normal because they're "experiencing higher than normal call volume." Since this message plays each time you call, it begs the question of what is considered normal call volume.

Once you get through to someone at tech support, the fun really begins! You'll patiently explain your problem and the rep will explain that you need to talk to accounts and billing. They'll even transfer your call for you so you won't have to re-dial...except the phone will usually get disconnected and you'll have to re-dial anyway. Once you get through to accounts and billing and explain your problem to the rep, they'll tell you that this issue is a tech support problem and that you'll need to call them. Ever read The Trial by Franz Kafka? How about Joseph Heller's Catch 22? To preserve your sanity, these are required reading before dealing with MSN support.

But what about the much-ballyhooed email environment in MSN 8? Yes, it has built-in spell checking IF you have MS Word installed on your computer, which I don't--I use the more powerful and streamlined Star Office. But one thing really bugged me about the MSN 8 email client: no link button. So there was no way to embed a long, hairy URL into text like this. Instead, you had to cut and paste the entire ugly URL into your email. Bearable if you have a nice, tidy little URL like But what if you had a URL to your online photo album, like this:

Who but the most pale of computer geeks would want to see all that crap in their email? Worse yet, MSN 8 email completely chokes on this type of URL--it wraps the URL creating the dreaded "page not found" error when clicked by the recipient. And, no, there's no option allowing you to code in the HTML directly. The MSN 8 email client is like a beach babe in a thong: fun to look at but, damn, is anyone in there?

The thing that finally broke it for me was when I tried to create an MSN 8 account for my son. You're supposed to be able to add nine other users to your account. Well, I couldn't. Even after more than three hours on the phone with a Tier 3 tech. One of my maxims in life is "Go with the flow." This wasn't flowing. The butterfly is dead, plastered on Yahoo's windshield.

Samurai's Recommendations

So, just because MSN 8 has bugs, does that mean that MSN as a whole is trash? No. There are still some good features in MSN, but use them with your conventional browser, forget about MSN Explorer. Here are the services from various portals that I use and can recommend :

  • Email: Yahoo Mail Plus. Hands down, this is the killer web-based email app available.
  • Online Billpay Service: MSN Billpay. Easy to use and reliable. It costs $2.95 per month. Paypal offers a billpay service that seems to cover as many payees and it's free, but I haven't tried it yet. As soon as MSN Billpay pisses me off, I'll switch to Paypal billpay.
  • Homepage Portal: My Yahoo. Again, Yahoo gets this one because it's so customizable, variety of content to choose from, and it links to your photo albums, so you can display a new picture from your albums each time you load the page. Lots of other cool features make this the best homepage portal.
  • Groups: Tough call. I can't decide which I like better: Yahoo Groups or MSN Groups. I've used both (the Appliantology group is currently hosted at MSN Groups) and there are things I love and hate about each. I could write a whole 'nother post about Groups services, but I don't feel like it. Check 'em out yourself.
  • Search: Google. Is there anyone else that even comes close? I use Google for lots of stuff besides searching. For example, it's also my online spell checker. And now it offers news, too.
  • Web Publishing: Blogger Pro. 'Nuff said.
Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 16:08 ET.  [permalink]
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Thursday, January 09, 2003

Stop the Madness!

I hate junk faxes. People that send 'em are nothing more than sleazy little thieves. They're even a notch below email spammers because they steal my paper and toner to get their stupid message to me. And what kind of half-wit responds to scam offers in unsolicited faxes? There must be enough mental midgets out there to make it worthwhile for junk faxers to continue their evil trade.

Did you know that junk faxes are illegal? Oh yeah, big time. It's a Federal crime under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA). Most states have laws forbidding junk faxes, too.

Here's what I do each and every time I get a junk fax:

  • Send the junk fax with a cover memo to:

    Consumer Information Bureau
    Federal Communications Commission
    445 Twelfth St. SW
    Washington, DC 20554

  • In the subject of your memo, at the top, write in bold print:

  • Here's the text of what I write, you can copy it and use it yourself:

    I received this unsolicited fax. I did not invite this fax, nor did I give permission for it to be sent. I request that the Commission take appropriate action against the sender.

    Fax received [date received] at phone number [your fax number].

    [You must sign the memo]

  • Then mail it off and crack a cold Bud Light knowing that some scumbag is facing a $1500 fine. BOOYAH! claims you can win money by prosecuting or even threatening to prosecute these thieves. There's even a junk fax attorney who will take your case on retainer! I'm telling you, junk faxes are a big hairy deal. So stop throwing away your junk faxes in disgust. Be part of the solution, stop the madness!

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 17:55 ET.  [permalink]
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School's Out

The Samurai School of Appliantology was one of those bold, foolish experiments on the web that was supposed to be a user-supported resource. The School has 1121 registered students and it costs $100/year to open the School without those hideous popup ads--that's less than 10 cents per student! If only 20 students had contributed $5, that would have paid the bills. But less than a handful of students contributed. So, the Samurai School is now closed to new students. It is being left open for the time being so grasshoppers can browse it.

You can still seek the Samurai's wisdom in the Appliantology group. The group has a message board, chat room, photo albums, and other features that make it a good venue for conveying appliance repair help.

Right now, it doesn't cost anything to join the Appliantology group and membership is open to all. But the one-way gimmie ride is grinding to a halt. Soon, would-be members to the group will have to contribute something to join: beer money, technical information, appliance repair photos...something that contributes in some way to the group or its maintenance.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 10:00 ET.  [permalink]
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Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Soul Food

My cousins in Michigan emailed me this. I like it. Enjoy.

I asked God to take away my habit.
God said, No.
It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
God said, No.
His spirit is whole, his body is only temporary

I asked God to grant me patience.
God said, No.
Patience is a byproduct of tribulations;
it isn't granted, it is learned.

I asked God to give me happiness.
God said, No.
I give you blessings; Happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain.
God said, No.
Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares
and brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow.
God said, No.
You must grow on your own!
But I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life.
God said, No.
I will give you life, so that you may enjoy all things.

I ask God to help me love others, as much as He loves me.
God said...Ahhhh, finally you have the idea.


Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 12:54 ET.  [permalink]
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Hillstomping Update: Kinsman Pond

Had a great snowshoe hike up North Kinsman the Friday after Christmas. On Christmas Day, Wednesday, we got a thick blanket of snow and Friday was a perfect day for snowshoeing: the snow had settled for two days, clear blue skies and chilly, about 20°F at the base, maybe 10°F at Kinsman Pond. Total mileage about 7½. You can check out all the pictures from this hike here.

snow path--click for larger viewGoing up the Lonesome Lake trail, the snow was well packed from all the hikers going to the Lonesome Lake hut and you hardly needed snowshoes. At Lonesome Lake, I had spectacular views of the south side of Cannon Mountain and the ever-majestic Franconia Ridge.

But going up the Fishin' Jimmy trail to Kinsman Pond was a whole different deal. A few intrepid souls had ventured about a third of the way up and packed the trail a little bit but turned back when the trail began its steep ascent to the pond. From that point on I was bustin' powder. A couple of times, I had to claw my way up sheer rock faces. I almost turned back more than once but caught my breath long enough to keep going. As I ascended, the temperature kept dropping and it got so cold that the water in my hydration tube froze solid. It would've been funny if I weren't so damn thirsty. I could have removed the hydration bladder from my pack and drank directly from it but the problem is when it's that cold outside, you start to chill as soon as you stop moving. The thought of standing still for several minutes, fumbling around with my water bladder with numb fingers didn't appeal to me much so I just sucked on some snow and kept going.

North Kinsman from Kinsman Pond--click for larger viewAfter more than an hour of busting through three feet of fresh powder and scrambling over vertical, snow-covered boulders, I saw the Cascade Brook trail junction sign. By then, even Ouzo was feeling it. A little further beyond that was Kinsman Pond, from which I had a spectacular view of North Kinsman. There were two guys camping out at the Kinsman Pond campsite. They'd come up the Cascade Brook trail the day before, breaking snow the whole way. That's hard core!

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 01:10 ET.  [permalink]
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Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Appliance Tip of the Day: Money Saving Tips for Commercial Kitchens

appliance tip of the day archiveHere are some cool tips from The Gasket Guru for your restaurant or commerical kitchen that'll save you $$.

Your restaurant's profit is typically only 3 to 9 percent of total revenue! Money you save on operating costs adds to what you keep. Saving 20 percent on energy operating costs can increase your profit as much as one-third. Wouldn't savings like that be worth a second look?

Fun Facts to Know and Tell

  • An average restaurateur spends 2-4% of every dollar on utilities.
  • Electricity is typically a restaurant operator’s greatest utility expense.
  • A typical restaurant divvies up its energy dollars to: cooking (23%), space heating (19%), water heating (19%), lighting (11%), and other needs.
  • Compared to a sit-down restaurant, a quick-service restaurant uses about 8% more of each energy dollar for cooling and refrigeration.
  • One broiler can use more energy than six fryers.
  • Saving 20% on energy can boost a restaurant’s profits by up to 33%.

Getting a Grip

  • Make a list of all equipment to be included in the program.
  • Develop data on each piece of equipment. Include energy source, input, purchase date and warranties. Record this in a book, on cards, or in your computer. List maintenance tasks that can be done by regular staff and those that should be referred to a qualified agency.
  • Determine exactly what maintenance needs to be done on each piece and the frequency with which it needs to be done. Certain functions such as “check for loose parts, grease or oil leaks and malfunctions” should be carried out each time the equipment is used. Others need to be done daily, weekly, or even once a year. Equipment checks performed each day should be incorporated into cleaning instructions and mounted beside or close to each piece.
  • The various maintenance tasks to be performed should be placed on a master monthly or yearly schedule and indicate how and by whom each function should be done. The master schedule should be referred to regularly.
  • Always list repairs, costs and dates completed on the records. As equipment ages, keep close check on repair costs. Although the replacement point will vary somewhat between types of equipment, a good rule of thumb is to replace when costs in one year total one half the original purchase price.
  • From time to time analyze the nature of repairs to determine if procedures should be changed. Frequency of parts failure indicates that they should be replaced before malfunction. An example of this is putting new door gaskets on refrigeration as soon as signs of wear are noticed.


  • Tears or gaps in the door gaskets let all that expensive cold air escape into the kitchen. Call Mr. Appliance ASAP to replace the gaskets.
  • Keep the door gaskets clean and clear of unsanitary mold buildup. In addition to being a health code violation, molds produce acids that make the gasket brittle and subject to premature cracking and tearing.
  • Brush and clean the condenser once a month. A dirty condenser causes the compressor to run longer.

Solid-Top Ranges

  • Solid-top gas ranges will reach the proper cooking temperature after 10 to 20 minutes preheating. Additional preheating wastes energy.
  • Cooking utensils should make flush contact with the cooking surface. Dented pot bottoms increase operating costs.
  • Grouping cooking utensils will require fewer burners and uses less energy. Always turn down the flame when proper cooking temperature has been reached. The heat may be varied for different sections of the unit, thus eliminating the need for maintaining the entire cooking surface at peak heat.
  • While the surface is still slightly warm, clean the range with a heavy burlap cloth or steel wool. Remove grease or dirt lodged under flanges, lids, rings or plates. Never pour water directly on the range.

Open-top Ranges

  • Open-top ranges do not require preheating. To save energy, turn burners off when not in use.
  • Any type of cooking utensil may be used because the flame tailors itself to the shape of the utensil. For maximum efficiency and heat, regulate burners so the flame tips barely touch the bottoms of the cooking utensils.
  • Power burners should be considered for additional energy savings and efficiency. Maintain according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • After the range has cooled, wash grates, burner bowls and spillover trays. Use hot water and grease solvent if necessary. Clean food spillage from burner ports with a stiff wire. Clean entire range top with a solution of grease solvent when required. If the range has painted surface DO NOT use oven cleaner, or other harsh chemicals, wire brushes, or metal scrubbers, as these can damage the paint.
  • Use sealer strips on range batteries. These snap-on channels create a seal between adjoining ranges and help keep the spaces between equipment free of spilled food and grease.

Gas Griddles

  • Avoid unnecessarily long preheat times or overheating the griddle prior to or during use. Many new gas griddles preheat in 15 minutes or less.
  • A low or medium flame is adequate for light frying. During slack periods, turn down the burner or thermostat to conserve energy.
  • Cleaning is easier when the griddle is slightly warm. Consult manufacturer’s instructions. Some griddle plates are most easily cleaned with an abrasive griddle brick or screen. Some of the newer griddle surfaces should be cleaned with a brush, recommended griddle cleaner or water, to avoid scratching. After cleaning, wipe dry with an absorbent cloth.

Gas Broiling

  • Because gas broilers heat quickly, the flame can be turned low between operations. During slack periods, the broiler may be turned off completely. The super-fast, infrared broilers that require no preheating may be turned off after each use.
  • To save gas during slack periods, turn off the unused portions of a multiple-burner broiler.
  • An oven over a heavy-duty broiler should not be used for roasting or baking because it lacks thermostatic controls. It is a finish oven only for casseroles, au gratin dishes, meringues, etc.
  • Regular cleaning increases the efficiency of gas broilers and reduces operating costs. Empty the grease container at regular intervals. Wash and dry thoroughly. Scrape the upper and lower sides of the grids and clean with an oiled cloth. Scrub the broiler chamber. Wash and rinse the outside of the broiler, then wipe dry with an oiled cloth. Unclog burner ports with a stiff wire. Be careful with ceramic reflector units when cleaning.

Gas Ovens

  • Slow roasting – roasting at lower temperatures – reduces meat shrinkage, produces a juicier, tastier product and saves gas.
  • Know how long it takes your oven to preheat and schedule preheating according to the oven’s first use of the day. Many new gas convention ovens, for example, only take 10 minutes or less to preheat.
  • Because the oven will not preheat any faster, nothing is gained and gas is wasted by setting the thermostat higher than baking temperature.
  • Energy usage may be reduced by loading the oven to capacity and scheduling baking and roasting to take full advantage of “receding” heat. With large ovens, plan baking and roasting so the oven will not have to be brought up to full heat more than once or twice a day.
  • Gas convection ovens maintain a uniform temperature throughout, permitting use of multiple cooking racks, which increase production and save on kitchen space. When preheating and baking in these ovens use the fan at all times. Remember that cooking time is reduced and lower temperatures are necessary in the convection oven. With convention ovens, remember to include the fan in routine cleaning procedures.
  • A clean oven operates at maximum efficiency. Remove spills before the residue has carbonized. When the oven is cool, wipe the bottom. Scrub shelves frequently and clean the exterior when dirt and grease accumulate.

Gas Fryers

  • Fill kettle to capacity with high quality frying compound specifically designed for deep-frying, (Look for oil level mark stamped on the kettle.) If solid or semi-solid shortening is used, melt before adding to kettle, or use the fryers melt cycle.
  • Set thermostat for desired temperature. (Usually 325-350 degrees.) Never use temperatures higher than 375 degrees.
  • Limit preheat time to 10-12 minutes.
  • Regular care keeps the gas fryer in good working order. Shut down the fryer completely when draining. Filter the fat and wipe the kettle clean daily. Once a week, fill the kettle with warm water to a level above the grease ring. Bring to a rolling boil and add manufacturer’s recommended cleaning compound. (Never us a caustic or lye solution.) Boil 30 minutes and shut off. Drain and refill the kettle with warm water. Boil and drain. Rinse kettle until it is free entirely of residue.

Gas Braising Pan

  • The gas-fired tilted braising pan, when used for grilling or sauté work, is operated in a manner similar to that of a gas griddle, thus the energy saving tops for griddles apply to braising pans.
  • Because braising pans are thermostatically controlled, preheating at a temperature higher than needed for cooking wastes gas and does not speed the preheating process. Also, preheating is not necessary for boiling or steaming.
  • Braising pans usually are equipped with lids so that heat and moisture can be retained, making this appliance a versatile cooking device for pot-roasting, steaming vegetables, defrosting frozen food, stewing, or holding foods for servicing. Using the lid whenever possible saves gas, while lifting the lid unnecessarily wastes energy.
  • Like a griddle, the pan’s surface can be damaged by the sharp edges of spatulas or other utensils.
  • Take care to avoid scratching or nicking the pan’s finish. Likewise, avoid heavy metal scrubbers or a wire brush when cleaning.
  • Other than for normal cleaning and an occasional greasing of the tilting mechanism, braising pans are relatively maintenance free. After food is removed, clean the pan while it is still warm. Soak if needed, and then flush with water to remove food particles completely. Scrub with a fiber brush and recommended cleaner. Rinse with clear water and dry.

Steam Equipment

  • Steam boilers, on self-contained units, require up to 20 minutes to reach operating pressure. Energy usage will be reduced by eliminating unnecessary preheating time and planning steam cooking to utilize the steamer’s full capacity. A variety of foods may be prepared at the same time if thought is given to their placement in the steamer compartment.
  • Compartment doors must be sealed tightly so energy is not wasted and cooking times unnecessarily lengthened. Steam escaping around the door’s sealing gasket indicates an incomplete seal caused either by insufficient pressure applied to the door handle or wheel when closing, or a worn gasket.
  • Should a pressure steamer compartment start taking longer than usual to come to pressure or become slower than other compartments on a multi-compartment unit, the automatic steam temperature actuated value, located at the real or side outside the compartment, may be defective. A faulty valve, which not only slows cooking times but wastes steam, should be replaced with one of the same type.
  • Because steam cooking is fast compared to other cooking methods, a timer should be used to prevent over-cooking and wasted energy.
  • Leave doors slightly ajar when the steamer is not in use. Daily, wipe the compartment with detergent and water, rinsing well. Keep door gaskets and area around opening free of grease. Use a soapy steel wool pad if necessary. Lubricate the door wheel (on outside) monthly. Remove the interior racks and run through the dishwasher.
  • Cleaning and maintenance of the broiler are vital to steamer performance and energy conservation. If the steam broiler is making steam for 8 hours or more, it should be drained or blown down twice daily, or about every four hours. When blowing down the boiler, full pressure should be used. Annually, schedule a complete boiler clean and descaling.

Water Heaters

  • Gas water heaters require ample combustion air to operate at full efficiency, so do not store items in positions that block equipment room air openings.
  • Water heater thermostats usually can be turned down to the lowest temperature setting overnight and on days the unit is not in use; however, the unit’s heat recovery capability first must be determined to establish the feasibility of such a practice.
  • Exposed hot water pipes should be insulated to improve the unit’s operating efficiency and thus save energy.

The Gasket Guru
American Gas Association
Environmental Protection Agency

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Friday, January 03, 2003

Order Your Custom-made Commercial Gaskets Online

You need gaskets for your commercial kitchen but you don't live near New London, New Hampshire? No problem! Just use this chart to identify which gasket profile you need and then email or call me with the profile and exact dimensions. I can then give you a quote for the gasket.

For more information on my custom-made commercial gasket services, click here.

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