Honest opinions about how to buy Appliances and Lighting.

Monday, December 31, 2007

The Year in Green

I read all types of energy awareness literature almost daily. It is encouraging to watch the country slowly becoming aware of conservation. The simple truth is by buying green from EnergyStar washers to compact fluorescent bulbs you will save money and help the environment at the same time.

Consider a couple of simple factoids:

Recycling 1 can will produce enough energy to light a bulb for 20 hours

Just 1 ton of recycled paper will save 17 trees and 7,000 gallons of water..

At Yale alone, we have sold 3,141 number of front load washers, instead of the more conventional washers in 2007

Assuming 7 loads a week, the environmental savings are:

25 gallons per wash x 7 x 3141 = 549,675 gallons saved per year

210 kilowatts saved per machine per year x 3141= 659,610 kilowatts saved

We could add another 40% savings because EnergyStar washers are much larger. Yale is just one store...Imagine how much we could all save by deciding in the new year to be more conservation minded?

Everyone wins....My final thought for 2007

Happy New Year

Friday, December 28, 2007

LG French Door

First a quick review: Refrigerators and appliances in general are manufactured to fit cabinet sizes. The most common cabinet sizes are 30, 33 and 36 inches. Refrigerators are typically 29.5, 32.5 and 35.75 inches to fit into the respective cabinets.

French doors, as we described in previous posts, have a side by side top and a bottom freezer. When the french door was first introduced, it was exclusively 33 and 36 inches, LG has started manufacturing a 30 inch...

Have a look:

LG French door

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Random Thoughts

The ball dropped on New Years eve in New York will be LED for the very first time. Just another sign of the times.

I am not an endorser of products by nature, but if you want to check an interesting blog...Look at Bostondesignblog.com, its an eclectic mix of stylish products.

I have to ask this question: What is the average life of a major appliance?

BTW, If anyone has a suggestion, I will be writing 2 weeks of blogs in the next 3 days

Bottom Freezer

Lets look at two popular refrigerators, Amana and Maytag...What are the differences?

Amana Maytag comparison

Amana Maytag comparison

Actually, it is the same refrigerator. Well almost the same, Maytag has a factory installed icemaker and is $150 higher. I could post 30 similar entries of the same product with different labels. A smart consumer can save some serious money by buying the less expensive label

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays from The Yale Blog Team

Nice Lights

The Two Best Gas Slide Ins

GE started manufacturing their Cafe line about 6 months ago. As I wrote a few months ago, Cafe is a premium line designed to compete with JennAir and Kitchen, but how competitive is is?

First, our most popular slidein The JennAir JGS8860:

16,000 BTU burner
Convection oven
Warming drawer


The Cafe actually has better specifications:

18,000 BTU burner
Griddle burner
Second oven

GE Cafe

Before you buy the GE Cafe, JennAir has a more competitive line of refrigeration and dishwashers.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Energy Tip of The Day

Hard to believe that the year is almost over. The ole Yale blog will be closing next week as I head to an island for a little R&R. 305 entries this year. Hard to believe.

Lets end the year strong with an energy tip so obvious, you can start today.

The majority of energy expended for a dishwasher is in heating the water and the element for the dry cycle.

A couple of simple tips to save energy:

A. Do not use a pot and pan cycle unless it is necessary. Cycles really control time and temperature. A normal wash cycle is usually sufficient with less energy consumed

B. Shut off the heated dry cycle and use a rinse aid like Jetdry or Miele(shown below)...(as a side note European dishwashers are more efficient because they have no heated dry cycle)

Miele Rinse Aid

Simple, easy tips guaranteed to save you money

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Your New Bulbs(In About 2-5 Years)

Have a peek at these flood bulbs....They fit a normal socket. Instead of 50-60 watt, these LED bulbs use only 2-3 watt for the same lumen equivalent. The light is still bluish and not ready for normal residential application.....Not yet.

LED Bulb

LED Bulb

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The New Energy Bill

Finally, a comprehensive bill was signed into legislation. The appliance and lighting industry will probably be the most affected. Light bulbs will have to be 70% more efficient according to the new laws, so incandescent bulbs will be ushered into retirement. Then again, the technology is over 200 years old.

By the year 2030, we will save 4 million barrels of oil per day or roughly twice our current consumption from the Middle East.

We can certainly improve, but it is a step in the right direction

Have a read:


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Foreign Laundry Invasion

On Mondays post about lighting, we discussed the Chinese outsourcing influence on the lighting industry. Chinese manufacturing probably accounts for 90% of the lighting products. Although low cost product has tamed inflation and cost of living to some degree, it is disconcerting not to control production.

But what about appliances? Which company outsources their laundry to China?

Is it the ever popular Whirlpool Duet

Nice Lights

The highly rated Bosch?

Nice Lights

Or the new feature packed GE?

Nice Lights

The answer is GE, which markets the first decent Chinese appliances. In the future as more product is sourced, consumers should see better quality and lower prices.

Interestingly enough, the German company, Bosch, manufactures in the US while the American company, Whirlpool, produces the Duet in Germany

Monday, December 17, 2007

Is Service Really Important?

I had to buy an ice scraper today, which is an overdue purchase on so many levels. Naturally, I could not help but walk into the appliance section of this store. The salesman sold the customer a $1100 refrigerator and a $69 service plan.

Personally, I find it awkward to sell service without an actual service department, but this was never mentioned during the sale. The customer never even inquired.

This begs the question and this weeks poll. Just how important is a service department in the appliance business? I do listen to comments and watch the polls.
FYI, the store offers in January will reflect your answers to last weeks question.

This should be interesting

Nice looking Lights?

I have never been a fan of "heavy looking" lighting. To me, it belongs in a Spanish monatery or in the Addams family(loved Fred Gwynn and Raul Julia as Gomez. Although I think outsourcing manufacturing will one day haunt this country, one benefit is low costs.

Lighting in general is less expensive than it was 20 years ago, because of Chinese manufacturing....Of course, you still have to like the products

What do you think?

Showroom Lights

Showroom Lights

Showroom Lights

LED Undercounter Lighting

Two ordinary pictures of some undercounter lighting. One is LED.

Can you guess which one

Undercounter #1

Undercounter #2

Unlike regular incandescent/ halogen lighting, LED emits zero heat and uses only .6 watts per socket for similar effects to a 10 watt halogen...

BTW, its the one on the left in the first picture. The system will be available January 1, 2008

Friday, December 14, 2007

More Detergents

I have been working full time at Yale for 22 years. Over the years products have certainly evolved: dishwashers are quieter, stove burners are hotter and refrigerators are 3 times more efficient than when I started.

However, The best changes are laundry. The new washers are almost twice bigger use less than 1/3 the water and 1/2 the water....You can do more laundry by doing less laundry with much less of everything else.

As we discussed last week, front loaders require high efficiency detergents(HE)...

Following are other products that may be of use:

Perwoll Black Magic: This is good for black and darker colors as it prohibits graying

Black Magic

Vernel Fabric softener: Front loaders spin at 1000-1600 RPM or 2 to 4 times of a conventional washer. Add a little of Vernel to prevent wrinkling. Available in peach&lemon or the much vaunted Day at The Sea


Perwoll: for wools and other heavier fabrics


Persil hypoallergetic: For sensitive skin


Send me an email and I would be happy to send a sample. Yes, you can buy this at fine retailers almost everywhere

Next Week

Hopefully everyones commute wasn't that bad. My travel time was 2 hours last night for a normal 7 minute commute. Most Bostonians will want to strangle me about my occasional global warming rants after yesterday....BUT

According to the Wall Street Journal, Carbon Dioxide levels are at the highest in 650,000 years. We will explore some more LED next week as this is the bulb of the near(energy efficient) future. In an earlier post, we looked at recessed housings. Next week, we will look at undercounter lighting, which will use about 1/20 of the power with the same lumen output.

We will look at lights, electric ranges, more LED, Sears and more LED.

Until then...Have a nice weekend,


Thursday, December 13, 2007

What NOT To Buy

It seems like I am endorsing everything lately except for bottled water.....Now we will talk about the netherworld of appliances aka...What not to buy

Silver mist, clean steel or any other stainless looking products....First it should be called grey and it is not that much cheaper than stainless. Truly aesthetically challenged product

Stainless Look

Any high end non energystar top loading washer: Imagine someone knocking on your door and asking you for $250 per year every year. Buying a top load instead of a front load is pretty much that simple.

Top Load

Any expensive non self cleaning product: Fine,maybe you don't use the self cleaning option, but the non self cleaning units have the broiler below instead of storage drawer

Manual Clean

These really bad products are advertised every week in circulars from some pretty well known companies.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

KitchenAid Vs Bosch

With all due respect to the folks at Miele who manufacture undeniably a superior product, most dishwasher purchases under $1,000 seem to be between KitchenAid and Bosch

BTW, I am no way supporting these brands or any other brands on this blog. Its a more than casual observation. Personally, more people should look at JennAir, Miele or Maytag as well

So lets deal with the current reality:

KitchenAid: Your folks probably owned one in their home, and your family couldn"t beat it to death. KitchenAid has a commercial pedigree as it once was owned by Hobart. Of course it was purchased by Whirlpool almost 20 years. It still is a great machine with an evisserator(you read that right) at the bottom, which will grind small bones etc left on plates and tons of options even on the basic models.

KitchenAid Dishwasher

Bosch: Bosch successfully rolled into the US about 15 years ago. They were the first with a stainless rather than a plastic tank and a heat boost for water to 161 degrees for cleanability. Consumers, however, purchased Bosch, because it was incredibly quiet.

Bosch Dishwasher

Now how do you compare? Kitchen has more features, the dreaded evisserator(Bosch uses a filter) and on their better models a very useful 16 position upper rack. Bosch is a bit quieter and heats the water 10 degrees hotter.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

New Website

Our website is pretty average at best. We are launching a new one next week with improved navigation as well as blog and podcast integration. If you want to look at the beta site, simply cut and paste the link below


Gas Ranges Again

I was once in Tulsa for the grand opening of the new Whirlpool range plant. Tulsa is perhaps the quietest city in America, but there is real value to not having rush hour traffic ever.

Anyhow, you watch the ranges being built on the line. Almost immediately you understand the laws of production, which is the standardization of almost everything. On a range the cabinets, oven elements and backguards are identical.

Hence the subject of this post...What are we buying with a more expensive product?

To simplify, lets look at a basic versus the very best Frigidaire range.

The Plgfmz98 (great range)

European Convection
Double oven
5 burner
16,ooo BTU power burner(standard burners are 10-12)

Gas Range

The Fgf368

4 burner
standard oven
14,000 btu burner

Gas Range

There is no difference in oven size or in the bake and broil elements themselves. Often times people mistake better for better built. When you are buying an appliance of any type, it is features not the product itself that delineates standard from good and good to great.

Monday, December 10, 2007

French Door Refrigeration

But what makes this refrigerator, French?

Perhaps because the doors "kiss" together? With all due respect to French culture, one may ask why that is French.

French Door Fridge

A french door refrigerator is essentially a bottom freezer with a side by side refrigerator top. Its an advantage in an kitchen with an island since the refrigerator door is cut in an half. Thus, you have more space without opening a big door(as shown above)

This type of refrigeration is amongst the most popular selling products in the industry

Here are the favs:

JennAir, KitchenAid, Amana and Whirlpool: The same refrigerator for 4 brands is a good choice for larger units and shallow depth.

French Door Fridge

LG: LG was an early adopter of french door refrigeration. They have a wide variety of products including the only unit designed for a 30 inch cabinet

French Door Fridge

GE: GE refrigerators were manufactured by LG until this year. GE actually invested in something other than a jet engine. Technologically, it is an interesting product with LED lighting on the inside and a very cool icemaker on the outside

French Door Fridge

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Next Week

Lets see....Because of the woeful availablity of detergents, there will be a post on that. We will also be comparing more ranges. Perhaps dishwashers as well...Throw in an energy tip and a video.

I probably overextended on paddle fans in December, but you will save money by hitting the reverse button.

But first, I need a little assistance. Its a simple question really. What do you want? Lets assume the prices are the same....What is most valuable?

A. Tax rebate or similar (financial incentive)

B. Free Installation of a built in product(labor incentive)

c. Zero per cent for 12 months(finacing incentive)

d. None of the above

Have a great(could have said FANtastic) weekend,


How To Buy....A Paddle Fan

A less graphic explanation of the last post

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Integrated Refrigerators

Take a look at this picture....How many refrigerators do you see?

Thermador Kitchen

While you are pondering what defintely is a trick question, this might be a good time to talk about integrated appliances. An integrated appliance fits inside the cabinet without seams. The door and handle typically will protrude even on a shallow depth product. Although stainless has been the trend for the last 10 years, more people are integrating appliances as an alternative. With new refrigeration from SubZero, Thermador and Bosch, employing this different style has become much easier.

It is impossible to locate an integrated product.....Give up?

The answer is 3. You are looking at the Bosch Columns.....

Thermador Kitchen

BTW, here is the second dishwasher

Thermador Kitchen

Check Before You Buy

How do you buy expensive products? Most of us will talk to a neighbor or a friend, but the best part of the internet is the ability to check social communities for tons of information about a store, product or service.

The following resources can help you find your final purchase destination. BTW, there is not a store with a perfect rating, Yale included. Look for patterns or trends, because stores and customer service are always evolving for better or worse.

My Favorites:

Angies List
Better Business Bureau(a tough measure because they lump everyone together regardless of volume)

For more national type of feedback, try Epinions or Bizrate

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

On The Radio

About 5 years ago, we decided to advertise on the radio. We also decided to write our own ads, which is risky. After all, you don't see copywriters selling appliances.

Usually we have a couple concepts, one wins and becomes the oppressing radio commercials. For December, we have our normal smart woman and clueless guy(Its really me in so many ways)

The other one...well...Its a little out there. Let me know which you think is better. Each ad is one minute

Pro Versus Regular

You want a new gas range and why not? It was three cars ago since you replaced the old one.The new ranges have at least 40-50% more BTUs(or heat) than the older ones, have a convection feature(fan forced heat, more even cooking) and a warming drawer or second oven option.

There are, however, more options to choose than ever. So lets look at 2 more popular styles.

The Wolf Pro. Perhaps one of the best ranges on the market with 3 15,000 BTU burners and a simmer rating of 500 BTU. It has clock and timer and two convection fans in an electric oven for improved circulation. At a price over $5000, it is on the high end.

Wolf Pro Range

The JennAir Pro. Jenn air has one burner at 16,000 BTU, another at 15,000 and a dedicated simmer burner as well. The JennAir is an all gas oven and also has a warming drawer, which maintains foods in a low temperature without dehydrating and refreshes leftovers as well...The JennAir has a price tag of just over $2100

Jenn-Air Pro-Style Range

The Wolf has the better burners and with convection fans will probably cook more evenly. However, JennAir, like most traditional manufacturers, are quietly catching up to the Pros

In other words, you do not have to spend a fortune to buy a very likeable product

In the next week, we will look at less expensive, yet decent products

Monday, December 03, 2007

Energy Tip Of the Day

I have an easy one. You probably have bought or are buying a Christmas tree. Adorn with LED lights and save a bunch of electricity. These lights do not emit heat, so they are safer. According to Florida Power and light, if everyone chage to LEDS over 400,000 tons of cabon dioxide would not be released into the atmosphere. Yow.

Instead of buying cards, send ecards to eliminate the need for paper...

Detergents and Other Cleaning Powders

Late start today: Our internet connection was down and Shawn is not here. We have 3 requests for discussion on cleaning agents for dishwashers and laundry. I went to Shaws yesterday and was astounded with the lack of suitable products for these new machines. We sell the Persil from Europe(which I love and use), but I realize that shopping at Yale for detergents is not top of the mind.

A few Pointers:

Washers: Has to be HE or high energy on the box. Only a few tablespoons is needed

Persil Laundry Detergent

Dishwashers: Water does not condensate on stainless steel interiors, so you need Jet-Dry or Sidol. Dishes will be drier and you can shut off the heated dry option on your dishwasher to save energy

Miele Rinse Aid

Fabric Softner: Most front loaders spin at 1000-1600 RPM. For comparason, top loaders spin at 400, so clothes can become wrinkled. Certain types of softners work act as wrinkle releasers. We sell Vernel from Europe, but others are available

Vernel Fabric Softener

If anyone would like sample of Vernel, Persil or Sidol, send me an email. We will have pictures tomorrow