Dishwasher food disposal tips

Dishwashers save you the hassle of having to wash your dishes by hand. But, should you be rinsing off your dishes before placing them in the dishwasher? Find out more about dishwasher food disposal to make sure you’re getting the most use out of your appliance.

Scraping and Rinsing Dishes

Scraping food off dishes is a good habit to get into. This habit will help you avoid putting larger pieces of food in the dishwasher. These food items can cause damage to dishwasher parts, resulting in the need for repairs. Simply scraping food off with a fork or napkin is enough to remove most food particles from dishes.

When it comes to rinsing, there’s more debate over whether or not to do it and how much might be needed. A quick or light rinse is often all that’s needed before loading your dishwasher. However, some have features that make this step unnecessary, such as food sensors and built-in garbage disposals.

Keep in mind that skipping heavy rinsing saves on water usage in your home. Giving dishes a light rinse can make it easier for your dishwasher to clean your dishes without having to work as hard. This could help your dishwasher last longer without needing repairs or a replacement.

Food Sensors

Some modern dishwashers have features that eliminate the need for spending a lot of time and water rinsing dishes off before loading. Food sensors have special equipment that detects how much food is in your dishes. When dishes are heavily soiled, the dishwasher runs a heavier and longer cycle to ensure that they’re completely clean.

When you rinse your dishes off but leave small particles of food stuck to them, the food sensor might cause the dishwasher to only run a shorter and lighter cycle. This can leave you with dishes that still have those food particles stuck to them. In order to make sure that you have clean dishes, you should only remove leftover food or large pieces of food from your plates before loading them. The food sensor should cause the dishwasher to thoroughly clear off any food that’s left.

Built-in Garbage Disposals

A built-in garbage disposal makes dishwasher food disposal even easier. When you have a dishwasher with this feature, which is found in some modern types, the disposal takes care of any food that is left on your dishes. However, it’s important to note that these disposals usually don’t operate as effectively as traditional garbage disposals. This means that your drain can become clogged with food particles or grease.

When you have a dishwasher with a built-in garbage disposal, you should remove larger food items from your dishes prior to loading. This helps lower the risk of having bits of food cause clogs in your drain and pipes. You should also avoid placing dishes with oil or grease on them in your dishwasher since these substances can also clog up your drain.

If your dishwasher isn’t draining correctly, please contact Forrest Anderson. We provide reliable help for drainage issues, as well as moving or installing water lines.

Child safety outdoors

Young children between two and four years old tend to begin showing more and more independence. While this growing independence is good overall for their development, it can be a problem at times. Children in this age group don’t always know what might be dangerous for them. This is why it’s so important to keep tips on child safety outdoors in mind.

Outdoor Hazards to Watch For

While you know that pools can be an outdoor safety hazard for children, are you aware that your garden hose is another one? High temperatures or heat waves in the Phoenix area can cause water that’s lying in hoses to become dangerously hot. If children turn the water on by themselves and play with the hose, they could end up with serious burns.

This is also something to keep in mind when filling up kiddie pools in summer. You’ll want to make sure that your kids aren’t near the hose when you first turn the water on. Otherwise, any hot water that’s in there could scald them. If possible drain the hose before shutting it off. This helps prevent water from building up and heating up inside it until you’re ready to use it again.

Kids are also known for drinking from garden hoses when it’s hot out. One way to ensure child safety outdoors is by making sure that your kids can’t turn the water on. While the water itself might be safe to drink, it can cause severe mouth and throat burns if it’s too hot. You can prevent these garden hose problems from occurring by watching your kids when they play outside.

Preventing Injuries from Outdoor Hazards

What are the best ways to protect your children when they play outdoors this summer? In addition to not leaving them unattended, consider installing hose bib locks on any garden hoses you have. These locks prevent kids from being able to turn the water on by themselves.

Hose bib locks are devices that allow you to keep your hose secure. These typically come with keys that you use to lock and unlock them. As long as you keep the keys out of your kids’ reach, they won’t be able to turn the hose on. This helps lower the risk of scalding or burns if the water is too hot.

These locks are available in a wide range of sizes to fit most garden hoses. You can install them easily on your garden hose, and keep the hose locked up until it’s time to water the garden or fill up the kiddie pool. They have the added advantage of preventing water from dripping from the hose when it’s locked, which helps conserve water at your home.

Look for hose bib locks that are made to be rust-resistant. This helps ensure that your lock will last for many years without giving you any problems. Having one that won’t rust also means you don’t have to worry about it failing to work.

High water pressure from garden hoses is another problem to be aware of when it comes to child safety outdoors. You can lower the risk of injuries to children caused by high water pressure with a house pressure regulator.

Contact Forrest Anderson for more information about our plumbing services for your home or if you are in need of a pressure regulator for your Phoenix home.

Does the air conditioner dry out the air in my home?

The two things that Phoenix residents keep close at hand year-round are bottled water and hand lotion. This climate is one of the driest in the country and in the summer, air conditioner use makes humidity fall even lower. Although dry air feels cooler, anytime the indoor humidity drops below 30 percent, people and structures suffer.

As the temperature climbs, the humidity drops in the deserts, causing static electricity and dry skin. Static electricity isn’t harmless. It can burn out low voltage components in appliances and electronics and cause annoying sparks whenever you or your pet touches something. Anything made from wood starts to dry out and eventually crack.

Overly dry skin causes chapping, itching and skin cracks. Sinus problems and sore throats aren’t uncommon when nearly constant air conditioner use makes humidity levels fall.

Problems associated with frequent air conditioner use and low humidity aren’t limited to summertime. During the fall and winter cold and flu season, medical researchers have discovered that overly dry air enhances the ability of viruses and bacteria to infect your body.

How HVAC Systems Dry the Air

Air conditioners remove humidity, also called water vapor, from the air as a natural byproduct of cooling. When the air hits the cold evaporator coil inside the air handler, the air conditioner makes the humidity condense on the coil and drain into the pipe that exits outdoors. There is nothing you can do to prevent this condensation except to turn the A/C off or turn the temperature up.

Forced-air heating systems dry the air in the winter by heating it. Warmer air holds more humidity and unless you add it to your home by bathing and cooking, the level will continue to drop as long as your furnace runs.

Increasing Seasonal Furnace and Air Conditioner Humidity Levels

Forgo using the kitchen and bathroom fans whenever you can. This is an effective strategy if you live in a small home and cook on a routine basis. However, it may not work well in larger homes or those with small household sizes.

Add a humidifier. You can use portable humidifiers throughout your home to increase the humidity. Choose cool-mist humidifiers if you plan to use them with the air conditioner to make humidity levels higher in summer. While portable humidifiers will increase indoor humidity, they’re a high maintenance appliance:

  • They need weekly cleaning.
  • You have to add water frequently.
  • They use electricity and cords may be a tripping hazard.
  • They’re noisy.

A whole-house humidifier solves all the problems associated with portable units. It attaches to your air handler for the HVAC system and blows moistened air through the ductwork to each room. The amount in the air is controlled by a humidistat, similar to a thermostat, and you can set the air conditioner humidity level most comfortable for your summer, as well as the heating humidity level in the winter.

A typical whole-house humidifier works like an evaporative cooler. It has an absorbent pad over which water trickles and when the air from the blower fan goes through it, some of the water evaporates. A whole-house system fills automatically from a water line that connects to your home’s plumbing. The unit uses little electricity and there are no dangling cords. The unit needs cleaning once or twice a year.

If you’ve noticed that the air in your home is uncomfortably dry, call Forrest Anderson to discuss system humidifiers or other AC air quality concerns.

Is it bad to leave windows open while the AC is on?

Unless you want sky-high cooling bills, it is a bad idea to leave windows open during the summer in Phoenix. Air conditioners work best by cooling air in confined spaces, and open windows either let cool, conditioned air drift outside or bring in hot air from the outdoors.

The only exception to the practice of opening a window with the A/C running is when it’s considerably cooler outside than in, as long as the air isn’t overly humid.

Leaving the air conditioner on while the windows are open just after a monsoon storm may seem like a good idea. In reality, though, it will increase the amount of work your A/C has to do. The extra humidity the fresh air brings in will eventually make your air conditioner work harder once your home warms up again.

Temperature Isn’t Everything

One of the reasons a Phoenix summer is tolerable is that it’s mostly a dry heat. You may have seen homes or businesses with evaporative coolers that use flowing water and large fans to cool the interiors. They must leave windows open for the incoming air to exit. The coolers work well until the humidity increases, at which time they become ineffective. The humidity during the monsoon is why so many homes in the valley use central air conditioners instead.

When you leave windows open during the monsoon, you’re pulling in humid air that the A/C will have to remove. It’s impossible to stop the dehumidification process that occurs with air conditioners. When air hits the evaporator coil inside the air handler, the moisture in it condenses on the coil and drains away. When the air is dry, the cold refrigerant in the coil absorbs interior heat faster. It’s this loss of heat in the air that cools your home.

Other Unwanted Side Effects

When you leave windows open, more dust enters. Your air filter may not be capable of trapping the smallest dust particles that will enter the air handler. Dust will coat its exposed parts, like the evaporator coil, electronic components, the fan motor and the ductwork.

Dust acts as insulation in the air handler and too much can cause premature breakdowns and higher energy bills. When it covers the evaporator coil, it slows the cooling process. Dirty filters reduce the airflow through the air handler, which forces the air conditioner to run longer. Couple a dusty evaporator coil with a clogged air filter, and there’s a possibility the coil will freeze over, which has the potential to burn out the compressor.

Alternatives to Open Windows

The HVAC industry has developed an energy efficient solution for people who like to leave windows open in the summer. Energy or heat recovery ventilators (ERVs or HRVs) provide balanced ventilation by pulling out as much stale indoor air as they pull in fresh. Each HRV or ERV uses heat exchange technology that removes the energy from the outgoing air and puts it into the incoming air. While they do use some electricity, it’s far less than when you leave windows open to improve air quality.

It’s also helpful to have Forrest Anderson inspect your cooling system at least once during the summer. As hard as heat pumps and air conditioners work in Phoenix, they need annual attention. The technicians will clean and adjust all the components and check the refrigerant level. A clean and adjusted air conditioner uses much less electricity and lasts longer.

If you’d like to learn more about an ERV or HRV and getting the most from your cooling system, call Forrest Anderson for all maintenance or repair needs.