When you make Aliyah, there are so many things you need to adjust to—the language, the weather, how to pay bills or find the products you need at the supermarket, and Israeli bureaucracy, to name a few. The last thing you need is to deal with a broken refrigerator or leaking washing machine! We had the good fortune to speak with Dovid Ellis of Efes Takalot about how to choose good appliances and keep them in good shape, and what to do when they malfunction.
Here’s what Dovid had to say about purchasing and maintaining appliances.
Does a higher price on an appliance guarantee better quality?
Higher prices can mean a couple of things: One, you’re getting a designer or brand name appliance, which may or may not be important to you. Two, it may be more versatile and provide more options. For example, an expensive washing machine may have more types of cycles. However, to be honest, most people have one or two favorite options and never use the rest, even on a simpler machine. So unless you’re an expert at baking or laundry, these options don’t add much practical value.
Some brands, however, really do provide better value. If you’re able to spend anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 NIS on a Sub-Zero appliance, it’s definitely going to be higher quality.
Your company sells the Thermobit hot water control system. What does it do and why do you recommend it?
Thermobit is an innovative device that can be installed on most water boilers. It saves energy, time, and costs by turning on the boiler only when needed and only for the amount of time needed to reach the desired temperature. Most Israelis use solar boilers that provide hot water in the summer, but need to be heated using electricity or gas in the winter. Thermobit lets you set a thermostat and a schedule for heating that ensures that you are using the minimal amount of energy to get hot water when you need it. It pays for itself in what you save on electricity within four months to a year (depending on what type of heater you have).
What is a home surge protection system?
The voltage of mains electricity in Israel is twice that in the USA—220 versus 110. When there are power outages as a result of storms or other technical issues, these can cause power surges that can permanently damage or destroy electrical devices and appliances, including refrigerators, ovens, and computers. Why risk losing a perfectly functioning, expensive appliance due to a power surge? Installing a surge protection system lets you rest easy, knowing that your appliances are protected.
Why does it seem that as technology advances, appliances have become less durable?
The more computerized a machine is, the more prone it will be to breakdowns, since it violates the 11th commandment: Thou shalt not mix moisture with electronics!
Any advice on how to keep a washing machine from malfunctioning?
Do not abuse or overload any machine! Keep it clean inside and out, and it will serve you well.
How often do filters need to be cleaned out?
Pump filters should be cleaned out once every two weeks, and filters on air conditioning— once a week.
Is it okay to hire a regular handyman to repair or maintain appliances?
There are some handymen with a general knowledge of appliances, but usually their expertise is limited to the simpler ones. When it comes to the newer, more complex machines, applying the same repair logic may not help, or may actually be detrimental. So if you want it done right, it’s best to have a pro look at it.
What should a customer know about an appliance technician before hiring one?
Customers should always know how much the technician will charge. Check Internet referrals and make sure you’re comfortable with the company you hire.
Other than your knowledge and expertise, what is the most important thing you offer your clients?
We pride ourselves on our customer service. We know what we’re doing and we do it in a timely, courteous manner— which is something that Anglos and olim really appreciate. We treat all our customers with utmost respect and do everything we can to meet their needs.
Do you offer anything else beyond the realm of air conditioners and appliances?
Efes Takalot has progressed into a renovation company as well as air conditioning and appliances in order to fully reach our potential in our main product, which is customer satisfaction. It pains us to hear stories from our customers about situations where they needed construction or renovations and didn’t receive what they had ordered or that a job was left unfinished or G-d forbid they lost large amounts of money on people who were less than honest.
At Efes Takalot, we do all standard renovations— including renovating bathrooms, closing in porches, adding rooms, opening challals, etc. Taking things to the next level, we have added innovative products to the industry, such as our customized staircases. We sell and install staircases to fit your needs, it comes pre-packaged according to your order and we simply assemble and install it, presto! Our main goal is to provide a one-stop service in air conditioning, appliances, renovations and electrical work — all you need is one number for all your technical needs.
Do you recommend that families making Aliya bring their appliances with them?
Unlike others, I do not recommend bringing your own appliances from the US. You’ll need to spend everything you think you’ll save on setting them up so they’ll function here.
Do you have any other advice for olim?
I made Aliyah after 20 years in the appliance industry in America and started my own business here. It’s not an easy transition, especially for an entrepreneur. Israel is not a vacation spot; don’t spend money on a higher standard of living than you can afford, and save as much as possible—get started right away! Make sure to research carefully what the requirements are in your field—what licensing, documentation, accounting, and legal issues may be involved.
Dovid Ellis is an appliance specialist and owner of Efes Takalot, a full service mechanical company for home and business solutions. They specialize in installation and repair of home and commercial appliances, including air conditioning installation and maintenance. They also sell innovative products such as home surge protection systems and Thermobit hot water control systems, and provide insurance policies for air conditioning and appliances. Dovid has been servicing clientele for more than thirty years in Israel and abroad. He has a graduate certificate in appliance repair and air conditioning mechanics. His company emphasizes excellent customer service, doing their best to meet every customer’s needs with the highest level of professionalism and courtesy.
Efes Takalot can be reached at www.efestakalot.com, *2184, 02-648-2340, firstname.lastname@example.org.