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Tips to Save Money and the Environment

We’d like to share some environmental tips that will save you money and keep your appliances working longer.

Washing Machines

Today’s high efficiency (aka H.E.) washing machines are amazing – Cleaner clothes, less electricity, and major water savings. The only downside is the longer wash cycle, but what a reward.

Traditional washers use about 40 gallons of water per fill, which is 80 gallons per wash. Add the extra rinse option, and you are using 120 gallons per wash.

High efficiency machines use about 4 gallons per fill, which is equivalent to filling an average kitchen sink. That’s 8 gallons per wash and 12 gallons with an extra rinse.

Comparing an H.E. and a Traditional washer, the average machine uses around 108 less gallons of water per load. If you are using a water meter, the machine could pay for itself in 3 to 5 years.

Soap, Bleach, and Softener

We’ve covered water savings, now, let’s talk soap, bleach, and softener, and learn how too much soap will cost you big bucks.

The more soap you add to a load, the cleaner the clothes, right?

The truth is exactly the opposite. Remember the comparison to filling a kitchen sink? The average kitchen sink is around 4 gallons. if you were to hand wash a garment in your sink, how much soap would you use? The correct answer is about a table spoon. If you need to add bleach to that garment, you wouldn’t dump in a 1/2 cup of bleach, would you? Let’s hope not. Read on for the correct usage for an H.E. washing machine.

Soap Usage for An H.E. Machine

Soap: 1 1/2- 2 table spoons. Regardless of the load size, If you are using the soak cycle, use a 1/2 table spoon more  because the machine adds more water and pumps out a portion before washing.

Bleach: 1 capful, and then fill to the dispenser line with warm water so it will siphon.

Softener: 1 tea spoon, and then fill to the dispenser line with warm water to avoid coagulation.

It is also required to use five or more of the same fabric in each wash to achieve a balanced load and max spin speed. Each item should be rolled into a loose ball. Dumping your hamper into the machine causes everything to twist up into a knot. This will effect washability your clothes Will not get clean they will just get wet. It also causes the machine to go out of balance. Following the steps will reduce your dry time as well.

Once you start using the correct amount of soap, it will take 7 to 10 loads to get the residual soap buildup out. Using the incorrect amount of soap will cause many problems and it really doesn’t clean your cloths. The water turns into a glue-like substance, your clothes stick together, not allowing them to wash away dirt and grime. With sticky clothes, the machine has trouble balancing the load during the spin cycle, resulting in low spin speeds, and affecting your dryer time.

The gluey soap causes soap build up throughout the inner tub. The soap buildup or soap scum can become rancid, causing that lovely odor you smell. Regular use of the cleaning cycle will help, but using less soap will make a big difference. Liquid soap also intensifies this affect. Use powder soap.

Some problems that may occur by using too much soap:

  • Poor cleaning
  • Out of balance and walking
  • Low spin speeds or no spin
  • Long drain or the pump out process takes a long time
  • The door or lid will not open
  • The unit stops mid cycle
  • Heavy or wet clothes at the end of the cycle.


Dryers are more efficient now because of the extreme high spin speeds produced by  H.E. washers. The spin is so efficient and clothes come out of the washer nearly dry. To achieve energy efficient and faster dry times, always clear your lint trap, and have your vent inspected and cleaned every year. Regular vent cleaning is very important. It saves money and may also save your home. Fine lint that escapes the lint trap builds up within your dryer exhaust. The restriction immediately extends dry time, increasing your power bill, and, in a worse case, it can cause damage to the machine by raising internal temperatures to dangerous levels. Dryer vent restrictions can cause fires that damage your dryer and put your home at risk.

Dish Washers

Modern dishwashers use less electricity and water than older models, but there are a few tricks to achieving a good wash. Most units no longer heat the water. They only maintain temperature. Getting a hot fill of 120 to 140 degrees is required by most brands. This information is found in your owner’s manual. If the unit is filled with cool or warm water, the unit’s computer will adjust for the best performance, resulting in less efficiency and improper cleaning. To achieve a hot fill, run the hot water in your kitchen sink before starting your machine. This will allow for a proper wash cycle. Most units only use a few gallons of water. Without priming the hot water line, they will fill with cold water and the machine may run hours longer than needed.

Your dishwasher also requires a rinse agent, like “Jet Dry.” Rinse agents help remove any remaining soap that hasn’t rinsed away, and the soap will bake on dishes and glasses in the final drying cycle.

Soap is important, but too much the wrong soap can cause problems. Depending upon your water hardness, you may need to use more soap. For example, Bay Area water is primarily soft, and filling half of the main dispenser is all that is usually needed. If you have a prewash dispenser, you would also fill it half way. We found that powder soaps perform better and cause less problems. Are you using convenient blister packs of all-in-one soap? Switch today, they can cause a variety of problems.


Major changes to the efficiency of home refrigerators have occurred during the last decade. If your refrigerator is a stand alone unit, and it is older that 15 years, you are using around $350 to $500 per year in electricity. A new unit will cost around a $40 to $75 per year. That old avocado green fridge in the garage is the most expensive appliance in your home to operate. Contact your local recycler for proper disposal. 

To maximize your refrigerator’s operational efficiency, always keep your condenser free from restrictions, such as pet hair and dust. Regular cleaning will save you operating costs and prevent a potential cooling failure.

If you are a Sub-Zero owner, you are already aware of your unit’s efficiency. Regular maintenance is required every 6 to 8 months to achieve the efficiency and longevity from your unit. Scheduled maintenance is available. Call us at (510) 301-0223 for rates.


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