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Common Holiday Kitchen Disasters and How to Avoid Them

These expert tips from an appliance expert might just save your Christmas.

November 30, 2018

By Daphne Dilworth

There’s a reason the holidays are called the most wonderful time of the year, it’s baking (and enjoying) shortbread cookies, turkey feasts and gingerbread with your dearest family and friends.

Yet with such high stakes (like say, the whole family is coming over at 4 p.m. for Christmas dinner), can come major disasters. “The holidays are when the phone lines start to light up,” explains Julie Hale, who is the general manager at Edmonds Appliances. After 21 years in the industry, she’s received more than her fair share of emergency calls about broken fridges and burnt turkeys. Read on for a few of the common kitchen appliance mistakes people make over the holidays and what you can do to avoid them—it just might save your Christmas!

Common Mistake #1

Baking Without Doing a Test Drive

Most of us have our favourite seasonal recipes that we make all the time, or that have been passed down for generations—we know them like the back of our hands! But when you get a new oven, Hale explains, it’s going to cook with more precision, has top-of-the-line temperature control, and the 12 minutes it used to take you to bake your go-to holiday cookies is going to be different. Compounding the issue, is the fact that people often get excited about their new, spacious ovens with room for four racks, and end up burning four dozen cookies at once. What you can do: Do a test run with three-to-five cookies on one pan and see how long they’re going to take you in your new oven.

Common Mistake #2

Changing the Fridge’s Water Filter at the Last Minute

Many new refrigerators have internal water and ice, with filters that need to be changed to keep things tasting fresh. It actually filters your fridge’s ice maker as well, so while you may not use your ice day in and day out, those cubes are needed for all those yummy Christmas cocktails.   With the holiday hubbub, this is an errand a lot of people forget to address until all the appliance stores have closed for Christmas. “You see the filter light is on, but during the holidays everyone is rushing around,” says Hale. “It’s an easy one to get lost in the mix.” What you can do: Take this warning now, and check to see if your water filter needs replacing. Pro tip: If you’re someone who doesn’t use your ice all the time, make sure you throw away your old ice. After a while ice starts to shrivel down and can take on a dry freezer taste if it’s been sitting in the freezer for a few months. And no one wants their G&T with a side of freezer burn.

Common Mistake #3

Cleaning the Oven

“Probably one of the most heartbreaking things we’ve had happen is the day before Christmas we’ll get a call and somebody’s old oven has decided to break down , and often it’s because a homeowner has gotten really zealous about preparing for Christmas and has put it through a thorough self-cleaning cycle ,” says Hale. If the oven is old and on its last legs, this harsh process can make it pack it in just when you need it most.  What you can do: If you have an old, temperamental oven, but you’re not ready to invest in a new one just yet, Hale’s advice is to refrain from running any self-cleaning cycles until after the holidays.  It’s a very long and aggressive cycle, especially for older ovens which use different cleaning technology. “We’ve actually delivered ranges the day of Christmas so they could cook a dinner for the holidays,” says Hale. “One year we actually had homeowners bring in a turkey, right into our showroom.”

Bonus After-the-Holidays Mistake #4

Not Reattaching Your Dishwasher Filter (Yes, It Has a Filter)

Over the holidays, a lot of people are off on vacation, and family members are around to help out with the cleaning who wouldn’t normally touch the dishwasher. To minimize the noise that dishwashers make, new dishwashers no longer have a built-in garburator, instead they have a filter in the bottom. So what happens is you take out a cherry pit or piece of corn from the filter and then users who aren’t used to the filter don’t turn the screw cap tight enough to lock the filter back in place, says Hale. Once you fire up the dishwasher, that cherry pit is now lodged in your dishwasher’s drain pump. What you can do: Make sure you check the filter is secured before running the dishwasher, and it might be a good idea to give all helpers a heads up on this too.

So, there you have it, Hale’s tips on common kitchen appliance mistakes people make over the holidays and how to avoid them. Hopefully this keeps you running without issue this Christmas, so that Hale (she’s like the Batman of kitchen appliance disasters!) has fewer holiday dinners to rescue this season.

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