Home & Garden

Holiday machinations

Call it Murphy’s Law or just plain bad luck, but Bob Selko, manager of Morro Bay Appliance, has observed that appliances usually go belly-up at the most inconvenient times.

“It’s uncanny how things break down on a weekend or right before a party,” he noted.

Morro Bay Appliance has been helping coastal residents with their appliance mishaps — and supplying them with new machines —since 1971. Originally started by the Desomer family, it was purchased by Jim and Sherry Mlnarik in 1990. Their son Mike took over the business this past May after working at the store for 19 years.

The shop sells new and refurbished appliances including refrigerators, washers, dryers, freezers, ovens, ranges and microwaves. They also service appliances from Los Osos to San Simeon, and by special arrangement in Atascadero and San Luis Obispo.

If poorly-timed appliance breakdowns are commonplace, they’re downright rampant as the holidays approach. Selko attributes this, in part, to the added workload we give to ovens, ranges, dishwashers, washers and dryers this time of year. Even the refrigerator gets an added workout as family and guests spend more time perusing its contents.

He recommends taking some time in early November to clean and inspect the appliances that you anticipate getting a heavier-than-usual workload. For instance, to avoid a Thanksgiving Day mishap, run the self-clean cycle on your oven and thoroughly scrub racks. Not only does food residue attract bacteria, said Selko, but over time, it may cause the heating element to burn out.

He also advises a good cleaning of the burner heads on your gas stove. Grime causes the flame to burn unevenly which affects cooking times.Washers and dryers get an extra workload this time of year with bed linens, towels, tablecloths and other guest necessities. In addition to cleaning your dryer lint trap after each load, Selko noted that you should occasionally detach the duct work behind the dryer and vacuum out lint from the inside the duct, as well as the dryer opening. Do this at least once a year to avoid a potential fire hazard and the increased chance of burning out the dryer’s thermal fuse.

A simple way to avoid a washing machine breakdown is to run a minimal warm water cycle with no laundry or soap. Performed at least once a year, it will rinse away calcium deposits that can wreak havoc on the pump.

Even with soft water, calcium deposits can also be a problem with dishwashers. If you rarely run your dishwasher, try to run a cycle — with or without dishes — at least once a month to avoid deposits that can cause blockages.

Dirty refrigerator coils make the compressor work harder and possibly fail. Make it a point to regularly pull out the refrigerator and check the coils. If they are dirty, unplug the refrigerator and clean them with a vacuum hose attachment. If you can access the compressor, give it a good cleaning with a vacuum or dry cloth. Do this at least once a year, or if you notice your refrigerator has been running more than usual.

When it’s time to replace an appliance, Morro Bay Appliance offers new items, as well as refurbished items that Selko said cost about 50 percent less than a new appliance. Each machine is cleaned and inspected. Worn or broken parts are replaced, then the machine is tested three times to ensure that it works well. And for extra peace of mind, each refurbished appliance comes with a 90-day parts and labor warranty.

Morro Bay Appliance is located at 935 Main St in Morro Bay, 772-2755.