Appliances make our lives much simpler. No matter the appliance, varieties of size, shape, function, and energy efficiency are available.
Refrigerators come in three styles: side by side, top freezer, and bottom freezer. Side by side refrigerators have the freezer and refrigerator portions running from top to bottom of the unit. Top freezer units have a smaller freezer unit over the refrigerator. Bottom freezer units have a freezer drawer that opens below the refrigerator unit. Specialty refrigerators, such as compact and beverage units, are also available. Refrigerator shelving varies from metal racks to glass trays. Glass trays have a major advantage with leaks, as they contain your leaking material from contaminating other items in the refrigerator. They are also quite easily cleaned with soap and water. Refrigerators offer movable shelves inside the unit and the door for additional flexibility.
Freezers are available in chest and upright styles. A chest freezer has the door on top of the unit allowing items to be stacked on the floor (some contain shelves). An upright freezer has a door and shelves like a refrigerator, allowing greater access to all items in the freezer. Personal preference and lifestyle are appropriate criteria for this decision.
Ovens & Ranges
Ovens and ranges are fueled by two sources: gas and electricity. This decision is a result of cost and personal preference, but gas provides instant heat to the cooking surface while electric elements require warming time. Conversely, an electric element requires longer cool down time, keeping items warmer longer than a gas element. A gas unit with an electric igniter typically has lower operating costs than an electric unit (this may fluctuate with petroleum costs). Convection ovens circulate air while cooking to evenly distribute heat and reduce cooking time and costs. Newer ovens are equipped with better insulation and tighter fitting doors to save energy.
Microwaves com in three styles: built in, over the oven and countertop. Built in microwaves are set into a wall or cabinet designed for the microwave. These units are larger because they are not suspended or resting on counter space. Over the oven microwaves are suspended over the oven. They are equipped with fans on the bottom side to accommodate stove top cooking. Counter microwaves set on the counter or table and come in a variety of sizes. All three microwaves are available with additional features, such as convection cooking, browning elements, and rotisseries.
Garbage disposers are installed at the drain below the sink and are used to process food wastes for disposal into the sewer system. They are electrically operated and require running water to pass through the unit to eliminate the chopped up waste. Units are selected by size to accommodate the amount of waste eliminated.
Trash compactors are used to compress trash and reduce the amount of space required to store trash prior to pick up. Trash compactors can be free standing units or installed under the counter for convenience. Caution must be taken to ensure personal safety when emptying a trash compactor, as the unit may hold up to 50 pounds of material. Dangerous chemical and aerosol cans should never be processed in a trash compactor; only common garbage should be compacted.
Dishwashers eliminate hand washing of every item used to cook and eat a meal. Dishwashers are either free standing units or installed under the counter. Both styles are manufactured with multiple cycles to properly wash a variety of items, including fine china and pots and pans coated with burned food. Wherever a dishwasher is installed, access to hot water and a drain is required for proper operation. Always use dishwasher soap; hand dish soap is not formulated to properly operate in a dishwasher.