Honest opinions about how to buy Appliances and Lighting.

Monday, April 30, 2007

How to....Buy Track Lighting 2 (podcast)

These podcasts are making me lazy. Read the first post and understand that buying track is simple. A. Pick the length of track B. Pick the electrical connection C. Choose the head and bulbs. Unlike other lighting commodities, track, especially low voltage, is actually cheaper than years ago.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Great Green Place

I am in a good mood today. Last week, we won the first annual Green Awards from the City of Boston. It was for our education and product buyback programs for energy efficient appliances and lighting. This week, we won one of the best paces to work in New England by the Boston Business Journal. I am happy for the people. They are really a good group, who care.

So I will end this weeks posts with a riddle and a prize.....

Over 1 Billion KWH of electricity would be saved, if everyone in New England replaced this one small item....

Guess right, and I will send one free of charge to the first 50 people in the continental US....One per person and yes we will pay shipping costs....Respond on the blog or by email to Steve.sheinkopf@yaleappliance.com

Have a nice weekend

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


I went to Chicago for the GreenFest on Sunday. Chicago is one of my favorite American cities. I say that for a couple of reasons: It is the truth, and more importantly I cannot be totally objective about The Festival. After all, I did not see or listen to any of the speakers. It was 80 degrees and sunny, so my attention span was somewhat impaired.

First, the convention and the organizers were well intentioned. Unfortunately, there was a dearth of actual products. I went for the latest advances in LED, fluorescent and Estar appliances. Nothing. There was a ton of food, which is good(free lunch). The technology was definitely lacking.

There was one item worth mentioning. The attic fan has returned only solar powered, so it is now automatic. My family installed an attic fan where I was raised. Heat rises, and the attic fan just exhausts the hot air through the top of your house. It lowers the temperature considerably without the need for more air conditioning.

We should really sell these fans....

Also, The Mr Chipz snacks made with rice were awesome as well as the natural sunbutter spread....I probably consumed 3000 vegan calories

Using Convection

Podcasting is easier than writing a column four times a week. Seriously, convection is a better cooking mode as Kurt will explain. The price of a convection range has fallen under $700 for gas or electric, which is only $100-150 more than a regular radiant stove:

Monday, April 23, 2007

Front Load versus Top Load...Podcast

Being in front of the camera is difficult. I am not the spokesman for that very reason. Its also fun giving Dennis a hard time....

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Little Ahead of Myself

We seem to have placed our weeks emails in less than 2 days. Shawn attaches the podcasts and graphics to my stream of consciousness, and we did not communicate the spacing very well. This may be a good time to ask if you like the previous 63 posts.

We have tried to address the needs of the renovator and also discuss the benefits of energy efficiency. We have also added video and graphics for reference.

So has it worked...Comments and suggestions are always welcome..

BTW, we have not tried to promote Yale, because this blog becomes less than impartial and loses its integrity. However, since we are the marketing department(Shawn and I). We can help you navigate our system a little better. Yale does have special offers for repeat customers only. There is one Thursday the 26th. Email us if you are interested.

How to...Buy Recessed lighting (podcast)

How to...Buy a Shallow Refrigerator(podcasts)

Shallow refrigerators are popular, because they do not protrude into the kitchen. There are three types.

Integrated is totally built in, so the refrigerator and panel fit within a 24 depth:

Professional is 24 inch plus the door and handle and has the compressor on the top:

Then, the regular shallow depth is the most popular and is basically a regular refrigerator only not as deep:

Monday, April 16, 2007

How to.. Avoid Lighting Restocking Charges

If you want to save aggravation, check the companies restocking policies before you buy. For instance, Yale has a no restocking fee on any in stock merchandise as long as it has not been electrified and is resellable condition. Other reputable companies do as well.

However, most companies do not, and the charges are considerable. 25% restocking plus shipping fees are common. There is no appeal to the Better Business Bureau(which you should check before ordering) or the states Attorney Generals Office, if it is in the stores published policy.

For other tips, I have other posts about other hidden, but avoidable charges that are too common when buying products. You can prepare yourself and save time, money and aggravation by reading through store policies and checking the Better Business Bureau.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

How to...Buy a Downdraft

Downdrafts have become especially popular with island type of installations. Instead of an overhead hood, the downdraft will pop up behind a cooktop and evacuate the smoke and odors down and through ducting underneath the floor. It is retractable, so it disappears into the counter

A couple of misconceptions:

You can not place this behind a range, because a downdraft with either a remote or internal blower uses too much cabinet space.

A downdraft is not as efficient as an overhead hood. The key to optimum ventilation is CFM of the motor and capture area. Although a downdraft has plenty of CFM, it has no area for smoke to be channeled. An excess of smoke will bypass a downdraft, because it cannot be effectively captured.

Do not use a downdraft behind a Professional cooktop, because of the reasons outlined above.

There is a multitude of brand choices...Consider these two:

Broan 273003...Rises 7 inches over the cooktop and is inexpensive at about $500. Filters are hard to remove unfortuntely:

Broan Downdraft

Thermador Cvs236.. rises 10 inches over the cooktop with better CFM at 600 to 1000 and easily removable filters. Then again, it should at $1500:

Thermador Downdraft

Both are available in 30 and 36 inch sizes. Thermador is also available in 45 inch.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

How to...Buy an Electric Cooktop

Why do we have 20 or so electric cooktops on display? An electric cooktop is basically a sheet of glass. That sheet of glass until a few years ago emanated from one company, the venerable Schott Glass company. So the longevity and even the look is basically the same.

Until a few years ago....Now there is induction, which is basically a magnetic heat. Induction is faster than professional gas with better simmer capability. It is also 90% efficient versus 60% for gas and 55% for electric, so there is less residual heat in your kitchen. Induction is also much safer than either gas or electric as heat will only transfer to a magnetic surface.

Our chef explains some of the benefits of induction cooking:

A few products to consider:

The Electrolux E30I 30 inch or E36I in a 36 inch 5 burner model:

Icon Induction

Thermador has a super high burner at a higher price:

Thermador Induction

I realize that most consumers do not have $1800 to spend on a cooktop. If you are still looking for a convential electric cooktop, then there are a couple of considerations-

Frigidaire manufactures a very good quality, yet affordable cooktop:

Frigidaire cooktop

GE of all companies has a unit with a bridge element and an extra large burner:

GE cooktop

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

How to...Buy a Professional Gas Cooktop

On the surface, this is another purchase that seems to be an enigma to consumers. To simplify, the specs to any cooktop would be how fast is the unit to boil or the maximum BTU output and how low is the simmer or the low BTU output. That's all, except of course choosing style and manufacturer.

Happily there are only two styles: Professional and Regular. The professional has the burners on the face of the unit instead of the top for a commercial look. Typically, every burner is high output of 15,000 BTU or greater with varying capabilities on the simmer. They are also available in different sizes of 30, 36 and 48 inch as well as sundry grill and griddle options(with an occasional wok option)

A couple of suggestions:

For powerful burners, look at the DCS unit with a maximum rating of 17,500 BTU. For reference, the average stove burner from 5 years ago was 9-12,000 BTU.

DCS Rangetop

For simmering, look at the Thermador, which has a low of 200 BTU through an electronic intermittent simmer on two burners. Wolf is another consideration at 500 BTU continuous simmer on all burners.

Thermador Rangetop

Wolf Rangetop

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Free Whirlpool Duet

There will be a form on our website, just fill it out. No requirements. You should consider checking the box for future offers. The offers will be worth your consideration.

Basic Measurements for Appliances and Lighting

Just the basic rule of thumb in this post for new construction.

Refrigerators: Plan on fitting the width of the cabinet opening: 30,33, 36, 42 and 48 with 36 being the most common size. They have varying heights and depth, so be careful when replacing

Dishwasher: 24 inch width 98% of the time and 18 inch 2%. They are similar height and depth. Asko does have one that meets ADA

Stove: Plan on 20,24,30,36 and 48 inch width with 30 being the most common by far

Chandelier: Hang a fixture 30 inch from the table with12 inches less diameter as a general rule

Bathroom: Hang sconces 65" high on either side of the mirror. Raise a couple of inches if you are taller(so you do not look into the bulb)

Recessed: 12-24 inches from the cabinet and 3-4 feet apart as a guideline

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Odd Green facts

I met with some Bosch marketing people on Tuesday. Sat through roughly 100 slides of information. 4 were interesting. Then again, they were very interesting. Bosch is a great brand for energy efficiency, and this will be their big push in the future.

The slides summarize the environmental payback of buying Green. For the Boston market, the MWRA/ Boston clean up insures that we pay the highest water/sewarge rates in the country. The payback monetarily on a washer is probably $300 per year in water, electricity and reduced drying time at least.

Some other eyepopping facts:

Bosch Slide #1

Bosch Slide #2

Bosch Slide #3

Bosch Slide #4

How to....Buy a Single Wall Oven

Why separate single and double wall ovens, you ask? Simple. Two of the most elegant installations involve single wall ovens, so the topic is worth independent discussion. I still think that the best product to purchase for reselling homes is still a double oven. In certain applications such as space constraints, it may not be the most practical

Two great single wall oven ideas:

The first is the wall oven under a cooktop. This configuration allows for the granite and toekicks to run continuously. Big red flag: Try to stay within the same brand especially with gas cooktops. Mixing brands can cause installation issues. Here is an example a good combo:

Oven under <span class=Cooktop" src="http://yaleappliance.com/blog_pics/oven_under_cooktop.jpg">

The second idea is placing a microwave over a single wall oven with a warming drawer underneath. The double wall oven may be the most popular, but this combination is the most practical. All of the cooking products are in one area. Also, there are some great microwaves available, if you like speed/convection cooking. One small caution: A few microwaves are not recommended for that application:

Combo Oven

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

How to...Light up a bathroom

Bathroom used to be easy. The key to bathroom is and always will be cross illumination, or in other words to provide task task lighting to shave or put on makeup. This can be effected three ways in order of preference:

A. The best way is to place wall sconces on either side of the mirror at about 65-67 inches off the ground(a little more if you are taller so you do not look down into the light)

Side Sconces

B. Recessed Lighting on either side of the sink focused down on the sink

C. A light bar from the top

Now we need to light the bath/shower area. This too is fairly simply and can be effected by a couple of insulated recessed cans and damp location trims. Water tight sconces can also be used as well, and there are some interesting choices.

Do not forget the bath fan for steam and other odors.(See the bathroom lighting post for detailed info)

The basic lighting is done. However bathrooms have become real rooms, and now can be lighted as such. For this, you can draw other decorative and accent elements into the mix. As I have said in other posts, have fun with it, but check local codes especially if you are hanging a chandelier over a bath tub.