What are the most dependable appliances?

What are the most dependable appliances?

What are the most dependable appliances?

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When you're shopping for an appliance, there are a lot of things to consider. From price to how an appliance will look in your home, manufacturers and products vary substantially. One of your top priorities should be considering the dependability of your appliance – after all, the high cost of an appliance will be an even bigger hit if you have to repair or replace it within just a few years. The dependability of a manufacturer depends on the appliance, but we've put together a list to help you get started in your research.

Refrigerators
Whirlpool makes the most reliable top-freezer, bottom-freezer and side-by-side refrigerators, according to a 2012 Consumer Reports study. This is even true for refrigerators that include an ice-maker, which tend to break down a little bit more frequently because of the complexity of their design. If you have an ice-maker refrigerator, its important to remember to empty it and turn off the function if you go away for a while.

Washing Machines
According to Appliance Assistant, the most dependable washing machines were made by LG, with only about 5 percent needing serious repairs soon after purchase. Samsung did almost as well, although neither produced a top-loading washer. 

Cooking Appliances
Consumer Reports found that General Electric made some of the most reliable stoves, ranges and wall ovens. The next runner-up was Frigidaire, who in addition to scoring well for the aforementioned appliances did well for microwaves.

Dishwashers
The top three Consumer Reports surveyed manufacturers for dishwashers were Bosch, Whirlpool and Kenmore. A rinse-aid is recommended for extending the life of your dishwasher, as is installing a water softener to prevent sediment from building up in your appliances.

Dependability is important when it comes to appliances. That's why TotalProtect® Home Warranty is the only home warranty company that provides a 180-day repair guarantee. Investing in a home warranty will reduce your liability into a low, monthly payment.


The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.

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Tips for an eco-friendly move

Tips for an eco-friendly move

Tips for an eco-friendly move

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Americans move a lot – more than folks in most other countries worldwide, according to The Washington Post. Most people move during the warmer months, when it isn't so unpleasant to be doing the heavy, outside labor that moving requires. If you are planning a move in the near future, you may already be working through the long to-do list that moving requires. 

We don't want to add work onto that list for you, but you may want to consider the impact that moving has on the environment. The boxes alone involved in the average family's move can represent a significant environmental impact. Add to that the energy cost of moving all of your stuff across the town – or even the country – and the wasted stuff that inevitably gets thrown away in any move, and we see that there are clearly things that can be done to make moving a little more green.

Shed the junk
If you're like the average American family, chances are you have a lot of junk tucked away that you haven't taken out in years. It's all well and good to tell yourself that you'll go through that stuff later when you're staying put, but when you start thinking about moving all of that, it may be a different story. Not only will moving a lot of extra stuff add to your carbon footprint, the price you will pay to move it could be through the roof.

Instead, take some time to sort through all of the stuff and get rid of anything that you don't need or love. Put everything else out on the lawn on a bright sunny day and have a yard sale. You might take in a little extra cash to help with your move this way, and it's a great way to say goodbye to your neighbors.

Pick green packing materials
Usually, we would tell you to pick "green" materials, but most of the eco-friendly packing products are actually green! One of the primary materials wasted during the moving process is Styrofoam from packing peanuts, so make sure to get green peanuts to cut your environmental impact.

Boxes can also be bad for the environment, considering how much paper goes into making them. There are two approaches to "greening" your boxes. One is to hunt around for boxes and large containers from local stores and any products that are shipped to you. By using these materials for your own move, you are removing the need to produce even more. Another approach is to buy or rent plastic containers that can be reused over and over again. 

Recycle your electronics
If you plan on dumping that old TV or computer and getting a new one when you arrive at your new home, spend just a little bit of time figuring out how to recycle it. Greenpeace estimated that 20 to 50 million tons of electronic waste ends up in landfills every year. Instead of adding to that figure, call a local computer store or your city council and find out where you can take your old electronics to be recycled. Often, a lot of this stuff can be reused for a good purpose, and they'll take it at no cost to you.

Choose a greener moving company
Choose a green moving company to really reduce your environmental impact. A number of moving companies have been jumping on the eco-friendly bandwagon recently. Many of these companies use green moving materials, bio-fuels and put three or four families' stuff together in one truck, cutting fuel consumption for long trips. By using one of these companies for your move, not only are you reducing the carbon footprint left by your move, you are also showing your support for a more sustainable way of living.

Remember, amidst all the chaos that the most important thing is to plan ahead so that you have an easy, comfortable move. One way to ensure that your move goes off well is to purchase a home warranty for your new home. A lot can go wrong in a new home, and that includes the possibility for expensive repairs or replacement for a large appliance or home system. A home warranty will replace this risk with an affordable, monthly payment, keeping your budget safe after a move. A TotalProtect® Home Warranty is the only home warranty that comes with a 180-day guarantee, making it the most dependable product on the market.


The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.

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Tips for an egg-excellent Easter hunt

Tips for an egg-excellent Easter hunt

Tips for an egg-excellent Easter hunt

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Planning an Easter party this year? Even if you are just hosting a small Easter egg hunt for your family, try out a few of these tips to spice up your tradition. Your children will love these fun twists, and with a little luck you may even find a moment to sit back and drink your morning coffee.

Safety first
If you're planning an outside hunt this year, make sure to set clear boundaries to keep everyone safe. Any experienced parent knows that shouting out boundaries up-front can just lead to rebellion, so instead, consider fixing signs from the bunny himself that let kids know that there are "no eggs here." Affixing the same signs to trees on your property can also help to keep more ambitious youngsters safe, according to Epicurious.

Treasure hunt
Here's a fun twist from She Knows Parenting: instead of hiding eggs in all the usual spots, bury them and hand out a treasure map. Eye patches and furry "clues" can help to get everyone into the mood, and with one map, everyone gets to work together.

Puzzling eggs
If you're looking to keep your children from going overboard on the sugar content this year, replace the candy that you usually use to fill those plastic eggs with paper puzzle pieces. Even after all the eggs have been found, the little ones will love putting together a puzzle that leads them to the ultimate prize: anything you choose!

One last tip: don't forget to keep a master list of where you hid your eggs – especially if they're hard boiled!


The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.

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Caring for your cookware

Caring for your cookware

Caring for your cookware

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Cookware comes in all different shapes, sizes and varieties, so it can be difficult to know how to clean and care for different kinds of pots and pans without damaging them. Some pieces are tough enough to handle just about whatever you can throw at them, while others may become scratched, dented or discolored if you aren't careful. In particular, if you have invested in some nice (read: expensive) cookware, it is worth taking a moment to make sure that you are caring for it in a way that will help it last for years to come. 

Cast Iron
Cast iron cookware can be difficult to work with, but it is coming back into style recently because of the great flavor it can bring to a dish and its even distribution of heat. In general, it is best to avoid cleaning a cast iron piece with soap, as soap will rub off the patina. A patina is a layer of oil that serves to protect the pan and helps to keep food from sticking. Instead, get stuck food off of a cast iron pan by boiling a small amount of water in the pan for a few minutes and scrubbing with a stiff brush. For particularly tricky messes, adding some vinegar to the water may help.

Once you have cleaned the pan, dry it thoroughly to avoid rust and apply some cooking oil while it's still hot to preserve the patina. If rust does develop, you can use fine-grain sandpaper to remove it.

Copper
Copper cookware is highly conductive to heat, meaning that it will get hot almost immediately. For this reason, a lot of pieces have a copper bottom. Full copper cookware is somewhat rare these days, but it is around. Copper cookware can be cleaned with soap and water, like most other pieces of cookware. Never clean copper cookware in the dishwasher, as the high water temperatures and chemicals in the detergent will discolor your copper. In fact, it is never a good idea to clean cookware in the dishwasher.

If your copper is discolored, you can use vinegar and salt to clean it. Mix one part coarse salt with two parts white vinegar and scour the pan before rinsing it in cold water.

Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is a non-reactive metal, making it very easy to care for. Most copper-bottom pieces have stainless steel tops because the steel won't react with acidic foods or corrode as easily. You still shouldn't clean your stainless steel cookware in the dishwasher, but feel free to use soap and water as much as you want – your pieces won't rust!

If you want your stainless steel pieces to shine, you can buff them with cooking oil. Just pour a little bit of the oil onto the piece and rub it in with a soft cloth using a circular motion.

Non-stick
Non-stick cookware is very popular these days because of how easy it is to use. However, most non-stick cookware uses Teflon, which can break down at high temperatures. Use only low-to-medium heat with a non-stick pan, and don't use non-stick sprays, as these can buildup and actually make food more likely to stick to your cookware.

Remember not to use any kind of metal cooking utensil on a non-stick pan. The Teflon can easily tear, which is the easiest way to lose a new piece of cookware.

If you treat your cookware right, some pieces can literally last for generation. The same isn't necessarily true for large household appliances and home systems. Protect yourself from the high potential cost of repairs or replacement with a TotalProtect® Home Warranty.


The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.

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Earth Day tip: Turn your food containers into a garden

Earth Day Tip: Turn your food containers into a garden

Earth Day tip: Turn your food containers into a garden

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Recycling is great for the environment, and with advancing technology, we can reuse more materials all the time. What's better than using your recycling bin? Reusing it yourself, of course! If you're looking for a fun, easy project to do with your family – and get some free herbs in the process – look no further.

Start your seeds
Commercial seed starters cost between $5 and $10, but they are really not that complicated, according to Earth911. Get some high quality soil from a home goods store – or better yet, from your compost – and hold on to an empty egg carton. Simply cut the top off of the carton, poke a small hole in each egg holster and fit the top onto the bottom of the carton so that water can drain into it. Fill each holster three-fourths of the way with soil and plant your seeds.

Graduation
Once your seeds have grown enough to be moved to a proper pot, don't run out to the store and buy expensive pots. Instead, Earth911 suggests that you use leftover food containers, like yogurt cups and milk cartons. Remember to keep your plants near a window where they'll get plenty of light, and avoid root rot by filling the bottom part of the container with a few pebbles.

While you enjoy your new eco-friendly tabletop garden, consider the merits of a home warranty. A TotalProtect® Home Warranty will protect your appliances against the risk of repairs or replacement. TotalProtect is the only home warranty company that provides a 180-day repairs guarantee, so you know that your appliances are in safe hands.


The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.

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