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5 Tips to Keep Your Appliances Running This Winter!

As a Homeowner, you probably don’t spend too much time thinking about your appliances until there is a problem or one completely stops working. During these chilly upcoming months, it is important to give your home appliances more attention to ensure that they get through the winter in good working order.

Following these tips should keep your appliances in good condition, as well as help extend the life and improve the efficiency of your appliances. Here are some best practices to keep your appliances running this winter:

Safeguard Your Dryer

  • Always check your dryer vent screen for lint after every drying cycle. Dryer lint is the number one cause of dryer fires, especially in the cooler weather with the inside heat running.
  • Also, check your outdoor dryer vent cover to ensure it is not easily accessible to rodents. Critters love to chew, so you need to make sure that they do not have a point of entry into your appliance and your home.

Maintain Your Oven

  • Have your oven thermostat checked before the holiday cooking season. There is nothing worse than having a holiday dinner or family-treasured dessert ruined due to an off-kilter thermostat.

Refrigerator Tips

  • Do you have a fridge in your garage or back deck? When temperatures get cold, refrigerators kept outside that are not designed for outdoor use should be unplugged. If kept plugged in, the water and ice lines will likely freeze and the refrigerator itself will actually heat up.
  • This time of year is also a great time to get your indoor refrigerator serviced. Call us to come out and clean your refrigerator coils before it starts working hard during the spring/summer months. It is always better to catch a problem early through routine service than to be without a refrigerator and have your food spoil.

Westside Appliance Repair is here to help you with your appliance needs. If you have any questions about keeping your appliances running in the cold weather seasons, give us a call at 515-276-8899.

Westside Appliance Repair Win’s 2016’s Fewest Technician Trips per Job Award

Des Moines Appliance Repair Company Recognized as National Leader in Fast Repair Service

Westside Appliance Repair, a local Des Moines-area appliance repair company, was recognized by Rossware Computing as a national leader in efficient appliance repair service. Westside claimed the “2016 Fewest Technician Trips per Job” Award at the Appliance Serving Training Institute (ASTI)’s 2017 award banquet this spring.

Westside prides itself on having the most experienced techs in Des Moines, arriving at its customers’ residents prepared with the parts, equipment and knowledge to get the job done right the first time. Last year, the company completed 11,492 jobs with just 13,870 visits. Its average visit-per-job ration is 1.21.

Rossware Computing calculated their findings based on ServiceDesk users data nationwide and throughout Canada. Competing against 600 other appliance repair companies in North America, Westside excels not only as the best in Central Iowa, but as the best in the nation.

“We are proud to provide such high-quality service to our customers,” states Westside’s owner Joe Chmelka. “Our technicians are factory trained on a complete range of brands and appliances. In most cases, our technicians can diagnose the problem with our customers’ appliances within 15 minutes. They strive to have everything necessary for the repair with them.”

This is Westside Appliance Repair’s second consecutive award from the United Servicers Association’s ASTI convention. In 2016, Westside was voted runner up for the Most Professional Servicer Award, honoring the professionalism and integrity of the company. For more information about Westside Appliance Repair, visit westsideappliancerepair.com.


How to Prep for Your Appliance Repair Service

Save time – and money – with these simple tips to maximize your repair service appointment

Providing us with the necessary information up front allows us to service your appliance more efficiently. By taking a bit of time to properly prepare for your maintenance, you can help make your repair service appointment run as quickly and smoothly as possible. Read below to learn more about how to prep for your service call.


What information does Westside Appliance Repair need from me when I am making my service appointment?

When you make your service call, please be prepared to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the make, model number and serial number of your appliance needing maintenance or repair?
  2. What was the purchase date of the machine and where did you purchase it from?
  3. Is your machine under warranty or are you responsible for payment?
  4. Can you provide a thorough description of the problem to help with diagnostic?
  5. What days are you available to schedule your service appointment?

We ask that our customers provide this information to us upfront because it helps our techs identify the potential problem beforehand, and come to your home prepared with necessary replacement parts that work with your specific appliance. This can save you an additional service trip which will save you time and money.

Westside has the largest stock of parts in Central Iowa, however, for some appliances we may need to special order your part. By providing us with the information needed about your specific appliance upfront, we can order these parts in time for your appointment.


Make sure there is clear access to the appliance that needs repair.

Cleaning up around your appliance will make your technician’s job easier and faster. Remove anything or anyone (small children and pets included) from the room or area around your appliance. This will give the technician space to work, as well as prevent any safety hazards for kids or pets.


Shut down the appliance before your Technician arrives.

Discontinue use of any appliance needing service at least 3 hours before your appliance repair technician is scheduled to arrive. If your appliance is too hot, the technician may not be able to do his or her job.

For more information on how to prep for your appliance repair, feel free to call Westside at 515-276-8899.


5 Warning Signs That it’s Time to Clean Your Dryer Vent

Unfortunately, many times our dryers break because we haven’t properly maintained them. Sure, we swipe the thick layer of lint from the filter now and again, but there’s so much more that needs a little TLC.

Dryer fires are a leading cause of household fires and are on the increase. The main cause of these fires is the buildup of lint which causes the ignition. However, fires are not the only damage a dryer vent can cause to your home; water damage and appliance failure are two of the other common issues we see regularly.

Lint and other debris can build up in your dryer hose and vent duct, reducing air flow, backing up exhaust gases and eventually creating a fire. These hazards can be avoided by thoroughly inspecting and cleaning your dryer vent every year. (This is particularly true if your dryer vent duct was not designed or installed properly.) Not only are you reducing the risk of fire, you’re also putting money back into your wallet by improving the dryer’s efficiency.

So how do you know if your dryer vent system is a ticking “time bomb”? Check out our list below of 5 Warning Signs that it’s Time to Clean Your Clothes Dryer Vent.

1. Drying time for clothes takes longer and longer.

When a dryer vent is clogged, the drying cycle can double or triple in time.  You’ll notice that clothes are not completely dry at the end of a regular cycle. A dryer is designed to push out the hot moist air for clothing to dry. If your vent is blocked by lint, the air will stay in your dryer keeping your clothes hot and moist. And when it takes twice as long to dry clothes, your dryer runs longer, putting more wear and tear on it and therefore cutting the machine’s life in half.

2. Your clothing and the outside of the dryer are very hot.

Do you notice that your clothing is very hot at the end of a cycle or the dryer is hot to touch? This warning sign means the vent is not exhausting properly. If your system is clogged, it not only wastes energy, but can cause the heating element and blower in the dryer to wear out faster.

3. You notice a burning smell.

When you run your dryer do you smell a burning odor? Lint, which is very flammable, can build up in the exhaust tube, lint trap and even in the drum casing. If it gets too hot, it can catch on fire, causing a burning smell. (Remember to empty the lint trap often). Discontinue use of your dryer and have it inspected as soon as possible.

4. The vent hood flap doesn’t open properly.

Another visual red flag that you’re due for a cleaning: You can see lint or debris around the dryer hose or outside vent opening: or the duct hood flap does not open as it is designed to do. An outside vent that doesn’t open when the dryer is running means air flow has been restricted due to lint buildup.

5. It’s been longer than a year since your last inspection.

Dryer vent ducts should be inspected at least once a year to reduce the risk of fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Lint should not build up in your dryer if your duct system is properly designed and installed. If you haven’t had your system inspected and cleaned for several years, be proactive and get it done today! Did we miss any other signs that it’s time to clean your dryer vent? Or have you experienced any of the issues described above? Contact Westside Appliance Repair for all your dryer vent cleaning questions and schedule your appointment today.

Common Microwave Problems

Microwaves make thawing and reheating food easy! While they are a relatively low-maintenance appliance, a broken microwave can throw a wrench in your plan to make a quick meal. To ensure your microwave is safely heating your food, there are some common issues that require professional assistance to fix right away.

Inability to Heat

Your microwave is meant to do one thing: make the food hot by reacting to the moisture in your meal. If it is unable to do that, then one of its key components is likely broken. Some of the components that can be responsible for this include:

  • Magnetron
  • Transformer
  • Door switch
  • Capacitor
  • Diode

Sudden Stops

Sometimes you will set a microwave to run for a minute, and it suddenly stops 30 seconds in. This is not only an inconvenience if you have to continue reheating the meal, but your food could also not be safely cooked all the way through. If this is happening to you, it could be a sign that your microwave’s fan motor has become defective.
Broken Buttons

Microwaves have numerous buttons allowing you to control its essential functions. Your microwave may need to be serviced if you press on a certain button, and it does not perform the desired action.
Turntable Not Rotating

Part of the heating process involves the turntable rotating around to ensure the entire meal gets adequate heat. If the turntable inside your microwave isn’t rotating, the turntable motor has likely failed and requires replacement.

Depending on what is wrong, your microwave may be able to undergo repairs, or made need replaced. If your microwave is not working as it should call Westside Appliance Repair at 515-276-8899.


Your Gas Fireplace Demands Proper Maintenance


Gas fireplaces have grown in popularity over the years because of their ease of use! With the flip of a switch or a turn of a key, you can have a warm, toasty fire blazing at your convenience. With the same easy motion, you can turn it off without worrying about embers or adding more firewood to feed the flames. While there is significantly less maintenance and upkeep that is needed for gas fireplace compared to a wood-burning one, gas fireplaces still need to be properly maintained to work their best. With annual inspection and cleaning, your gas fireplace can continue to work at optimal performance levels for years to come.

Below, please find simple maintenance steps that can help extend the life of your gas fireplace, ensuring it continues to work safely and efficiently:

Annual Inspection

Similar to their wood-burning counterparts, gas fireplaces are recommended to have a professional inspection and cleaning annually. A professional inspection can check things that typical homeowners can’t, such as cleaning out the ODS valve, checking carbon monoxide levels, and making sure the venting is working properly.


Abrasive chemical cleaners, including normal glass cleaners, can damage the finish on your gas fireplace or accidentally ignite. While the exterior glass door and metal finish can be wiped with a damp cloth as often as needed, you may want to consider calling a professional to deep clean your gas fireplace.

Before any cleaning is done, ensure that the gas valve has been completely turned off and that none of the fireplace components are hot from recent use. This will prevent the gas from accidentally igniting during the cleaning process. Use a dry cloth or soft, clean paintbrush to remove the dust from the logs, burners, and control compartment. A vacuum can be used to clean hard to reach areas or to remove dust, if needed.

Replacing Glass or Logs

While the components of your gas fireplace are designed to withstand high temperatures and average wear and tear, they can become damaged from overuse or lack of maintenance. When replacing any part of your gas fireplace, be sure the parts you use are specifically designed for your particular fireplace model. Ill-fitting glass doors can result in loss of heat or glass entering the room. Similarly, improperly installed gas logs can cause the fireplace to lose performance and efficiency along with the buildup of carbon.

To ensure that the replacement parts you’ve selected are designed for use with your existing fireplace and are installed safely and correctly, work with the professionals and Westside Appliance Repair.

Westside Appliance Repair is your Des Moines-area source for gas fireplace cleaning. To schedule your appointment, contact us today!

Why Hire an Appliance Repair Technician?

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Cutting costs is always at the top of the list for any homeowner, but there are times when you really can’t afford overlooking the option of hiring professionals to get the work done. When your appliances break down, you truly realize what an integral part they play in making your daily life easier and how complex they can be when trying to fix them yourself.

Why do you need an appliance repair technician to get the work done?

Some Work Can Be Dangerous

As a novice fixer, there is nothing worse than underestimating the work at hand. Most appliances run on electricity or may even need to tap into gas lines. A wrong move could expose your family to toxic fumes or even worse, you may get electrocuted in the process of trial and error.

Illness or even death are all possibilities when an appliance malfunctions in the home. However, professionals have the experience, knowledge and the safety gear to perform the necessary work to repair your appliances.

Repairs That Need Professional Repairmen

Is your appliance experiencing any of the following problems? Below is a list of situations that you should not even attempt to DIY. Schedule a repair with a professional appliance repair technician if you need to:

  • rewire appliances
  • replace electrical cords
  • replace fuses in appliances
  • replace a compressor in your refrigerator
  • any repair on a microwave

Knowledge And Tools Are The Key To Success

No one can do a quality job repairing the appliances present in the home without having the tools necessary to perform the work at hand. With newer appliances, the technology used in making your machine function can be finicky and hard to understand. In fact, it is easy to make a problem worse when you attempt to take care of it yourself. An appliance repair technician will usually have knowledge regarding a certain manufacturer’s products to help address the problems and find a solution that is a reasonable fix.

Prolong The Life Of Your Appliances

It is inevitable that all appliances eventually reach a point where they’re easier to replace than to repair. However, most of us simply can’t afford to purchase a new dishwasher or washing machine every time it breaks. In these cases, a repairman can help improve the longevity of your appliance and allow it to service you for several more years.

Quality Repair Parts

Professionals have access to quality parts that are an integral part of ensuring that your appliances are ready to keep serving your needs. There is truly nothing worse than paying money out of pocket for repair, then realizing that your appliance is still not functioning. A good portion of success always depends on using quality tools and replacement parts in appliances. For this reason, you should always look to a professional repairman to help you get the work done.

Save Time And Money

Apart from the fact that attempting to fix electrical appliances on your own is dangerous, you also have to consider that it’s also very time-consuming. Professionals have the time necessary to do a good job repairing machinery, but you not only lack the knowledge, but the time as well. If you need your appliance to help you function throughout your daily life, it makes sense to pay for help.

Lastly, you may not think it, but you can save money when you hire a repairman. Not only can you avoid missing work to do the repair, but you will find that repairmen get good deals on replacement parts, and they already have the tools necessary to do the work.

If you are in need of an appliance repair, contact Westside at 515-276-8899.

Sorting Your Laundry Actually Helps Your Washing Machine


You may have learned the hard way what happens if you mix your reds and your whites… but on some lazy laundry days, you may have experienced the temptation to just mix all your clothes together and hope for the best while getting your clothes washed faster. Did you know that not sorting your clothes can actually lead to washing machine damage?

When loads contain mixed fabrics, using the right setting to prevent strain on the machine’s motor is important. Sorting also promotes more size-efficient washer loads. Sorting your laundry will help you achieve the main goal of properly cleaning your clothing without causing damage to your clothes or your washer.

Tips for sorting your laundry:

  1. Sort by color – Whites with whites, reds with reds, darks with darks. This is fundamental laundry etiquette since it prevents running colors from ruining lighter garments. Wash new garments that are most likely to bleed separately for the first time, and use cool or cold water whenever possible to reduce color bleeding.
  2. Sort by fabric – There are many different ways to sort by fabrics, based on your washer settings, fabric weight and whether the fabric leaves lint or not. Wash towels together to prevent them from leaving lint on your other clothing. Wash delicate items in one load and heavier items in another. Especially items should be washed in a garment bag with a normal load. Always wash things like blankets flannels and other heavy fabrics alone. When washing heavier fabrics, be careful not to overload the machine.
  3. Sort by Soil Type and Amount – Lastly, sort your clothing by how dirty they are or the type of dirt is on them. Typically, most clothing and household linens get dirty from normal wear and use. When clothing is especially dirty, or soiled with oil, gasoline, mud or something more than just dirt, care should be taken. Wash these items separately to keep them from spreading that soil to other garments when being washed.

By paying attention to aspects such as color, fabric weight, type of soil, you will be able to run your washing machine more efficiently, putting less wear and tear on it while limiting potential damage to your garments. If you washing machine is broken, do not hesitate to call Westside Appliance Repair!

5 Things to NEVER Put in the Microwave

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The microwave is the workhorse of the kitchen – whether at home or in the office’s break room. It has turned cooking and re-heating into an easy task, but don’t take it for granted! To keep your microwave working longer, NEVER try to heat up these items:

  1. Paper Bags. Not including popcorn bags, your standard paper lunch sack can catch fire in the microwave! Popcorn bags have special susceptors in it that keeps the bag from burning. Next time you pop a bag of popcorn, look inside and find the dark gray rectangle on the “this side down” half of the bag. That is a thin layer of plastic created to handle the radio waves produced by the microwave! Because regular paper bags do not have this layer, the fumes and toxins from the paper are released during the heating process, creating the potential to cause a fire.
  2. Aluminum Foil. We’re taught at a young age to never microwave metal (such as silverware). Yet when we use metal for food storage, it’s easy to forget and to simply keep the food covered in aluminum foil in the microwave. The metal interior of your microwave is made to reflect back radio waves that warm up the food. Aluminum foil and other metal reflects back the waves. This will result in sparks and potentially a fire.
  3. Plastic Travel Mugs. These handy cups are perfect taking your coffee on-the-go, yet they should not always be put in the microwave. Plastic mugs that are not specifically labeled Microwave-Safe may release carcinogenic molecules when heated in the microwave. These chemical could harm you in the long run.
  4. Eggs in its shell. Eggs can be cooked in the microwave – but always crack them out of their shell when doing so! When eggs heat to a certain temperature, they explode. It is a very messy consequence. There have also been cases where the egg will stay in tact until taken out of the microwave, exploding in a little girl’s face causing damage to her eye. While this case is extreme, always err on the side of caution and leave the shell outside of the microwave.
  5. Styrofoam. Styrofoam is great for storing restaurant leftovers and hot drinks, but do not reheat your food or drink using that container. Similar to Plastic Travel Mugs, styrofoam is a type of plastic that releases harmful toxins when microwaved. The material is also prone to melting onto your food when it reaching high microwave temperatures.

For more information on what you should or should not microwave, refer to your user manual before microwaving anything that is not specifically labeled “microwave-safe.” If your microwave is broken, call Westside today to schedule your repair at 515-276-8899.

Is Your Dishwasher Not Cleaning Well?


It is recommended to rinse off your dishes before placing them into the dishwasher. Failure to do so will eventually accumulate old food particles down below into the sump housing. Food will clog up the passage ways, preventing proper water pressure to spin the spray arms. When the spray arms don’t spin, the water will not properly to clean your dishes. Not only will this affect cleaning, but it will leave dry crusty spots on the glass. You may also notice that the dishwasher has a bad odor inside.

You may be surprised that there is a “right” and “wrong” way to load your dishwasher. When loading your dishes incorrectly, this will cause your dishes to come out dirty.

Load small dishes and cups on the top rack.  Position the bottom rack so the big dishes gradually get smaller as you work your way up to the front part of the rack. The reason it’s important to load bigger dishes in the rear is because it will allow the water to spray along the inside front panel where your dispenser flap with detergent is. If you load the bigger dishes in front, it will take most of the water spraying around the dispensor flap area preventing the detergent from mixing in well. It can also prevent the flap from opening causing no detergent to release.

Lastly, make sure you run the hot water from the sink before you run your dishwasher. This will allow your machine to inject hot water immediately into the dishwasher. Some houses take longer for the water to heat up, and if thats the case your dishwasher will not clean properly with luke warm water. The water temperature should be around 120 degrees farenheit and no more than 150 to wash normal. Ignore this if you have instant hot water feeding to your machine.

Your dishwasher DOES NOT have a grinder like a sink garbage disposal… So please don’t used it like one. Rinse off your dishes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean clean them.  Remove any chunky food particles when throwing left overs in the garbage and rinse off lightly any sauce or grease. Also check to make sure your glassware or tupperware are dishwasher safe. If the glass breaks or the plastic melts it can break the propeller inside.

Please read your user care manual for helpful tips you need to know about your machine. This blog is just basic tips on how you can get the most out of your dishwasher and make it last. Refer to your manual for more in-depth information.