Honest opinions about how to buy Appliances and Lighting.

Friday, November 30, 2007

LED Versus Other Bulbs

For the last post on LED for now, we will compare the energy between incandescent, fluorescent and LED. The approximate difference is 85% more efficient than incandescent and 35% more than CFLS. The color rendering is better and the life lasts almost 30 times longer than incandescent and almost 3 times fluorescent.

BTW, the bulb in the picture is a recessed housing. Bulbs are usually not that size

So what do you think?

Next Week

For once, I am at a loss for subject matter. I will defintely cover HE detergents, because they are designed specifically for front load washers. I have also been remiss in providing energy tips

If anyone has a suggestion, then I will oblige next week.....

Until then....Have a nice holiday shopping weekend(although its been Christmas since Labor Day in most stores).


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sales Tax Rebate For Estar Appliances

From December 1 to December 15, Yale will be rebating the sales tax on all Estar washers, dishwashers and refrigerators from Miele, Whirlpool, Maytag, JennAir, Frigidaire, GE, Amana, Bosch and Electrolux.

You are probably thinking this is a gimmick. Appliance shopping, however, is pretty easy. Compare the model numbers with the prices and that constitutes your buying decision. Its a little different here, because we also do not charge for delivery, removal or even range and dryer cords. We also service what we sell, which is a rarity in this industry. So for the next 2 weeks, when you compare, Yale will be another 5% cheaper.

We actually do believe in Green and EnergyStar products in general. The Yale Green Project started in June of 2006, and we are one of the 12 Green award winners from the City of Boston. The reality is simple. In the age of rising fuel and water bills, energy saving appliances will save an average family significant amounts of money over the lifetime of the unit. Also, we can conserve resources at the same time.

BTW, this is the Yale Blog. Its a deliberately honest column about the pitfalls of buying appliances and lighting. You can search by date or product category and yes we do take requests.

Happy Holidays,



OEM is an industry term meaning one company manufacturing basically the same product for different companies under different labels. This philosphy has been around for years especially as we source more product from overseas. It is more efficient, but creating new products becomes more difficult with one source.

Most of the times it is fairly obvious, other times you do not really know like in this instance.....

Pictured below is the glass kitchen at Yale. As you may remember from earlier posts, we try to show direct comparisons between different fuel types such as electric, induction, gas,and pro gas.

Glass Kitchen

We also show the latest and greatest wall ovens. So my interest was piqued to see the new Viking professional 240 volt microwave and steamer. It certainly appears professional

Have a look:

Viking Steam/Microwave

The microwave, however, is the same as the Sharp, and the steamer is the same as a Miele....Logically, you do not want to pay a premium for the same equipment under a different name

Back to LED on Thursday

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

LED Retrofit

I concentrated on the coolness of the bulb. Incandescents heat to 300 degrees, and these mini heaters add to your HVAC costs, especially in the summer.

Also, LED is only 12 watts versus 75 watt, so you are saving a fortune in electrical costs as well

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Future Of Lighting

Would you buy a light bulb that uses 85% less energy than incandesecent, is dimmable, produces almost zero heat and has a life of 20 years.

The light bulb is LED or Light Emitting Diodes. This bulb is the future of residential lighting.

LED is now saleable, because they cast a 2750 Kelvin degree light, which is almost identical to halogen.

These lights can also be retrofitted to existing 6" recessed cans.

Have a look:

LED Recessed

LED Recessed

Sunday, November 25, 2007

LED Week

This week will be dedicated to LED. It is the future of lighting, and by far the most efficient product ever manufactured.

New posts will star Monday afternoon. It will be worth reading

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Appliance Friday?

Appliances probably do not make great stocking stuffers. Appliance manufacturers, however, do not seem to know this and have launched a few rebates for this weekend. The most notable is Frigidaires' $100 laundry rebate. Perhaps they forgot that there are already rebates on these machines

Now you can buy this pair(the Gltf2940/Gleq2152) for $899 after sundry rebates

GLTF2940 Pair

Or the Affinity pair(Atf6000/Aeq6000) at $999

ATF6000 Pair

Factory rebates are available not just at Yale, but they only last for three days...

Bathroom Lighting

This will be a simple yet highly effective post. Lighting a bath is simple if you remember one hyphenated word: Cross-illumination

Bathrooms like kitchens have a certain amount amount of task applications. It is important to have optimum lighting for make up and shaving. Its really not that hard in new construction. Place lights on either side of the mirror at about 65-67 inches off the ground for the best results.

The next best would be to recessed lighting on either side of the sink. As far as the rest of the bathroom, its your call...Maybe some water tight recessed or surface fixtures.

Bath Light

It really depends how large a bath. You can always layer the light like a kitchen depending on how many objects therein.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

New Wall Ovens...Finally

I am ending my Pre Thanksgiving posts with ovens. Lets set the Way Back machine(Liz) to the 1970s. Convection or fan forced heat was introduced into the marketplace. In the new milennium, convection is still the standard. Now some ovens have two fans in the same oven.

There are two new ovens worth noting:

KitchenAid now has steam in a regular size oven. Steam is a great way to cook as it locks in the nutrients for healthier cooking

KitchenAid Steam Assist

Shaun is pointing out the steam dispenser within the machine

KitchenAid Steam Assist

The other is the reintroduction of Turbo Chef, which is a speed cooker

Turbo Chef

Hopefully this may spark the change for general evolution of this segment of the market

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Personally, I love this holiday. In the morning I serve the homeless at the Pine Street Inn and end the day at my sisters in Medfield. We all used to work together, so no knives are allowed at the table. It is the last great family holiday except we will have to watch the Lions implode again.....


Happy Thanksgiving to yours from ours.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What Happened to Traditional Lighting?

If we were to walk into Yale 20 years ago, these fixtures are what you would see.


They are called Williamsburgs and are the most traditional of chandeliers and lighting in general. The most popular finish was polished(shiny) brass. Fast forward 20 years, and the Willimsburg in polished is not sold anywhere.

Traditional fixtures are now sold in darker finishes with more modern details.

Traditional Light

To understand how to buy a traditional fixture or any lighting for that matter, you have to realize the changes in lifestyle. In earlier posts, we talked about this new informality or the combination of the dining room and kitchen into one great room. This trend is only part of the answer.

Perhaps a better question to ask is: Are there any exclusively tradition or modern spaces being designed anymore? No would be my answer. Most spaces are eclectic or a combination of many different design elements. So truly traditional Williamsburg type lighting is no longer appropriate.

Lets look at the next generation of (somewhat) traditional lighting

Traditional Light

Traditional Light

Traditional Light

Monday, November 19, 2007

The 20 Minute Dishwasher

The cycle time on any dishwasher for a pots and pans or extended wash is 99 minutes for washing and drying. On the Miele professional, it is less than half the time...

How is the next question?

First, it is 220 voltage, not a 110 like other dishwashers, and as such has a more powerful motor and circulation pump. At that voltage, the dishwasher can also reach a higher temperature

Have a look

Fast Dishwasher

Fast Dishwasher

Energy Tip Of The Day

As I am writing this, I have not read the Globe article on Green as of yet. I realize the Tip Of The Day is more or less a misnomer at this point. However, next year will be better as the lighting industry will finally start manufacturing consistent LED lighting. That is, if the lighting industry, the ALA, doesn't lobby against LED as they have fluorescent. Stupid.

This year has been interesting observing the nations slow awareness to conservation. I have saved a small fortune myself, by switching to fluorescent in my halls(earlier posts...How to save watts) and by drinking my own filtered and not bottled water, (which is filtered water anyway). I probably saved $20 per week alone and thereby eliminated the generation, transportation and disposal of plastic bottles.

Most Green is just commonsense really. Here is an example. I walk to my local coffee shop to have their tuna pannini. It is a great sandwich(tuna, olive oil, capers and black olives on a spinach rollup), but the amount of packaging is unbelievable: There is the cardboard container, the paper around the sandwich, 10 napkins and a bag. The Egyptians buried their dead with less(get it?). All I really need is the cardboard box

So for the holidays please remember this: Less packaging means more trees and all the implied environmental ramifications of removing a forest for non essential packaging. Before you wrap gifts for the holidays, please consider what you actually need

Friday, November 16, 2007

An Antidote for a Small Kitchen

I wrote a bunch of posts in October on appliance options for smaller and galley style kitchens. Some of the selections were rather sparse to use an innocuous word.

Every kitchen has a sink. Now how about a dishwasher within the sink itself. The KitchenAid Bravia encompasses both.

Have a look

In-Sink Dishwasher

In-Sink Dishwasher

The Weekend Rant

I was in Las Vegas for a service convention. Appliance service is in peril, because the average service technician was 57 years old and retiring. That meeting was six years ago. Most of the major brands have either deemphasized service and a few companies like Whirlpool and LG have no service departments at all.

I am not being self serving, because we have the largest independent service department in New England. It should be part of your purchase decision. Because fixing problems in this industry is a 40% shot...at best

Next week: Bath lighting, New Wall ovens, traditional lighting and detergents in no specific order.

An early Happy Thanksgiving to the travellers.....

And a nice weekend to all,


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pro Wok VS Induction

I was helping a customer last week. They wanted a professional gas cooktop, but did not know whether it could be piped into their home. I then asked whether they would consider induction. They preferred gas, because they heard it was faster and easier to control.

Of course, the opposite is true, but to what extreme? What is faster a 24,000 BTU commercial wok or a high speed induction?



The answer is induction even against a commercial product. Induction is instant on and off, more child safe and much easier to control as well as being 90% efficient(60% gas, 55% electric). In addition, The Executive Chef at Taranta(great place) said that many European restaurants are using induction instead of gas due to superior performance.

It is certainly a more than a viable alternative to gas

Kurt shall explain:

How to Cook...Jody Adams

I never really knew that so much went into good pasta. Then again, I have not thought too much about it when eating in the North End. You will really love this segment as Jody Adams is a personal favorite of mine. She is the owner of Rialto in Cambridge(still does the meet and greet with customers) and a onetime spokesperson for KitchenAid....


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Crystal Lighting

I was never fond of crystal lighting until recently. My Grandparents had crystal in their home, and it looked too formal. Formality is no longer the rule, as we have stated in prior posts. Kitchens and dining areas have merged to form one great room, which has implications for appliances, furniture, cabinets and especially lighting. Today, lighting, especially crystal, has changed to reflect this shift in lifestyle.

First, lets look at the product. The best crystal has a better lead content, so it refracts light and sparkles brighter. Typically, it is termed Strauss. It will, however, cost 30-40% more than a lesser grade for the identical chandelier.

The styles now are almost endless. Now you can buy pendants and more contemporary pieces in a style that was exclusively traditional.




Tuesday, November 13, 2007

How to Cook...Jay Murray

We have a Home Show every year, and these chefs are nice enough to cook for a couple of hours. Ostensibly clients can see appliances working by true professionals.

However, when Jay Murray of Grill 23 cooks Thai Red Curry Tenderloin, it devolves into more of a food festival. Small plug for Grill 23, it is the best steakhouse in Boston, and the last independent as well.

Green Townhomes

Meet Jim. He is a developer and one of our favorite clients.

Jim and Dennis

He is also a forward thinker with different building techniques and new technologies. His latest project is in the South End and employs many Green attributes, so I thought it may be fun to look. I also love old buildings, and this one is no exception. It was an old womens dorm many years ago. Women, in the past were looked down on if they lived alone. Jim purchased it, and turned into 9 upscale condominiums


Many of the old architectural elements remain or were recreated like the crown mouldings and woodwork. I like the staircase.


What really interested me was the LED lighting. We have tried to procure LED recessed for over a year and felt it was not quite ready. LED is short for light emitting diode and lasts longer then fluorescent with even greater efficiency. LED is a brilliant light in all ways except for white. It is, however, also inconsistent in its renderings or the color of the light from lamp to lamp. Jim, to his credit, circumvented this by overbuying and matching colors himself.

LED Recessed

LED Recessed

Another cool feature is his hall lights are on a sensor, so the light is activated with motion only.

Hall Lights

So much of Green building is non appliance and lighting related. For example, Jim recycles 85% of his rubbish by placing them in separate bins. The building has a white roof to reflect light and solar panels to assist in heating the building, and the HVAC is, of course, EnergyStar rated.

Jim and his wife researched and in installed all this new technology on their own. Consider how much would be saved if all buildings were designed and constructed in the same way

How to Cook...Andy Husbands

I really like this guy and his restaurant, Tremont647. He is not afraid to mix ingredients and be unconventional. We have edited his demonstration to about 6 minutes.

Seared pork on a JohnnyCake...Pretty interesting. We will have two posts a day this week. One will be a cooking demonstration while the other will be regular posts

Monday, November 12, 2007

Water Filtration

I saw this demonstration and had to tape it. I love these visual comparasons, but this is pretty basic when you really think about it. The Everpure and WaterX filters are larger, three stage filters of carbon, ceramic and resin. Add water pressure and out pours clean water.

Now honestly, how many Brita owners just gagged?

Friday, November 09, 2007

The $6,000 Range

The Dacor range is the most expensive range on the market.

Lets have a look:

Dacor Range

It certainly has the features: An 18,000 and a 16,000 BTU burner(you are cooking on 10-12), decent simmer control and a unique broiling system. It also has the easiest interface(great word for clock and timer).

At one time, I used to question the validity of very upscale appliances. However, unlike other luxury items like cars and boats, branded appliances actually add value. A good/great kitchen is also very important for resales, which at the present time is no longer a lock.

So is it expensive or a shrewd purchase?

Next week, we will walk through a Green Building in the South End. I have some GREAT cooking demos from Andy Husbands of Tremont647, Jody Adams of Rialto fame and Jay Murray of Grill 23. They are about 10 minutes long each, so have popcorn at the ready.

Have nice weekend,


Fluoresecent FAQs

There are still many misconceptions with compact fluorescent bulbs. Let me see if I can address some concerns

1. They do not work well in the cold

A: True, they do take some time before warm up

2. They are not dimmable

A. Probably not, most CFLs are not dimmable. You can buy them with a integral dimmable ballast for $10-15 per bulb

3. They are dangerously poisonous

A. False, They do contain trace levels of mercury...A few months back, a blog reader sent a well balanced article on the subject


4. They cast a ghastly blue glow

A. Maybe, You need to buy 2800 Kelvin fluorescent bulbs for a better color of light...We have this comparason in Yale. Although it has its flaws, from an energy efficiency, longevity and cost savings perspective, fluorescent is far superior than an incandescent. Try a few and watch your electricity bills

Green Light Display

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Contemporary Final...

Lets look at this light, which is hand painted in Connecticut by Keeling. In October, we covered the four elements of lighting: Decorative, accent, ambient and task lighting.

This light is an example of 2 of these functions:

1. Ambient: uplighting to the ceiling

2. Decorative: Visual lighting

Keeling Light

It looks bright, doesn't it?....IT is only 39 watts, but it is 3 compact fluorescents or the lumen equivalent of 160 plus watts

Contemporary Part 2

This is the first of 2 posts on the same kitchen. Its just a minor detail, which you may have overlooked

The drawer is actually a dishwasher

KitchenAid DishDrawer Closed

KitchenAid DishDrawer Open

Seriously...Right now, Fisher-Paykel manufactures all the drawer type dishwashers for both their brand and the KitchenAid brand(sorry Dan)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Contemporary or Just Plain Ugly

KitchenAid has relaunched their successful Architect Line with the out of the box name Architect 2. Heady stuff. I like this over the range microwave and stove because it is different with a contemporary edge. Unfortunately, I seem to be in the minority.

Take a look:

New KitchenAid Kitchen

New KitchenAid Kitchen 2

BTW, this is a new kitchen on our display. We will be showing the sink/dishwasher combination and oven when KitchenAid decides to ship it. I blame our rep, Dan Barkley, primarily because he will be reading this

Anyone want to guess what is wrong with the lighting?

Monday, November 05, 2007

New Incorrect Kitchen Application

We have 11 kitchen displays at Yale. 8 out of the 11 are functional and working. Using basic math 3 are not working. This is one of said displays and is not what should be done for 2 reasons:

1 Placing a television behind a 90,000 BTU professional range is somewhat irresponsible to say the least.

2. I like the lighting. Tech bronze track with matching heads is well coordinated with the Hubbardton Forge trditional pendants. There is, however, something wrong.
If you read the decorative lighting post from 2 weeks ago, you will know that decorative lighting is not task lighting. The surface is somewhat dark.

The solution: Add a few recessed lights...

What do you think?

New Thermador Kitchen

New Thermador Kitchen 2

New Thermador Kitchen 3

Franke Hoods

There are three great hood lines from Italy: Best, Faber and Zephyr. They actually reside(or used to reside) in the same town of Fabriano. Best was purchased by Broan about 10 years ago, which has not been good for that company. Beautiful design emanates from Italy or Spain and cannot be dictated from our country or so it seems.

Faber was just purchased by Franke. Franke is a Swiss sink and faucet company. Perhaps they have learned this lesson, as these new hoods are really eye catching to say the least....

Have a look:

Franke Hood

Franke Hoods


Shawn is not around until 12, so the plan is to explain ventilation/ducting this morning and show a few new Franke hoods later. Hoods have become important especially with the BTU increases in cooktops. You do not want your house smelling like the last item you cooked.

Venting a hood is certainly preferable than a non vented application, because you now exhaust the heat to the exterior.

The best ways to vent to the outside are: vertical (or straight up) then horizontal or straight back. Venting becomes less effective when you bend it or you vent beyond 10-15 feet

Friday, November 02, 2007

Water, Water...Nowhere

I read USA Today. Cover story is about Georgia running out of water. Of course, New Mexico has almost run out of water as well. In the appliance industry there is a glaring statistic:

The average front loading machine is about 3.5 to 4.0 cubic feet and uses 10 to 15 gallons of wter per wash.

The average top loading machine is about 2.5 cubic foot and uses 42 gallons of water per wash. (I am rating the non Estar top loaders with the usable cubic footage without the agitator)

In other words, a front load machine can use 1/3 the water and can be 60% larger. There will be a day when we will be using our waste water to flush our toilets or water our lawns(as they do in Atlanta). Considering a front load machine seems easy. Even easier when you factor in the 50% reduction in electricity.

Next week we will be covering new appliance products and a few other topics. We also handle requests at the Yale Blog. Running into a building or renovation issue, then perhaps we can help.

Have a Nice Weekend....


Recessed Lighting Part 2

There are tons of options for recessed trims, which as we know from Wednesday is the decorative part of a housing. In theory, you can buy almost any style from crystal to gold.

Recessed Lights

I will discuss the 2 main trims. If you want further discussion on shower trims or any other specialty products, post a comment and we can cover it next week

80% of recessed applications will have this type of trim. Its a baffle trim, which eliminates glare. Buy it in white, so the trim will blend in with the ceiling

Baffle Trim

16% of you will want a directional trim to accent a wall. In the old days we sold eye ball trims, which extruded greatly from the ceiling and looked awful doing so. Try a REGRESSED(did I wake you?) eyeball like this one.

Eyeball Trim

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Kelvin Temperature

Tomorrow or later today, we will continue with recessed

But today I want you to look at 2 more pictures of the same setting. They are both shot during the day.

Showroom in Daylight

Showroom without Daylight

You probably like the shaded picture better. Sunlight(and fluorescent) washes out color. The color temperature is approximately 5000 degrees Kelvin. Shading it lowers the temperature to approximately 2700 degrees as we have a mix of halogen and incandescent in the picture.

Any Green lighting plan should absolutely take advantage of sunlight with skylights, etc, but not for more formal spaces or to highlighting objects of interest

What do you think?