Honest opinions about how to buy Appliances and Lighting.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Back Again

Enjoyed the trip. Hopefully Kurt entertained you while I was away. There is a ton of useful topics to write.

TaxDay: It looks like August 11-12. If this happens, I will show you how to save money without waiting 3 hours in a line somewhere(not just appliances and lighting either)

Green: It was 110 degrees in Budapest, which is the hottest temperature in 130 years. We have a few new ideas to significantly decrease energy consumption and save money at the same time. Small changes can yield big results

Style: I toured the Italian Alps, and there are some great ideas for home decorating

Podcasts: The latest series of short how tos on different products. Its pretty informative and fairly hilarious as these guys freeze in front of a camera

I will be answering your emails on Monday....Have a Nice Weekend

Friday, July 27, 2007

Warming Drawers

Hi Chef Kurt here. People often neglect the warming drawer in their kitchen plans…Most customers will say “But Kurt can’t I just keep my food warm in the oven?”.

Well the oven is a larger chamber in which allows the moisture in the food to evaporate and dry the food out. Most ovens do not go down to a low enough temperature and may continue to cook the food.

It is a great way to help the family on the go, keep items warm in the event that everyone cannot eat dinner at the same time. There are several brands offering them and they can be covered by a panel to blend into you kitchen cabinetry. The best location to install one is under the cook top. This is more convenient since you do not have to walk to another location.

Warming drawers can be found on most higher end ranges. Actually Frigidaire seems to be the cheapest at about a thousand or they can be purchased independently for starting $699

Frigidare PLEFZ398EC
Frigidaire Range w/ Warming Drawer

Thermador WD30BP
Thermador Warming Drawer

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Range: Gas or Dual Fuel?

Hi Kurt here, Yale resident Chef.

One of the top questions that people ask is if a gas oven is better than an electric oven?

When selecting a gas range, your options are: all gas or a combination electric oven with gas stove top (Duel Fuel).

To answer the question I may come across as a politician and put it back on the purchaser. The better option depends on your style of cooking. If you like the control of the stove top, the searing from the broiler and occasionally bake you may want to stick to all gas.

If you like to bake and are interested in True Convection in which allow cooking with several pans at the same time, Dual Fuel maybe the better way to go.
Dual fuel does not have to super expensive with a price point starting at $1500

I am at Yale full time to teach you about convection and cooking in general. Let me know if you have any questions.

Here are a couple examples:

Frigidare PLCS389EC
Frigidaire Dual-Fuel

Wolf DF484F
Wolf Dual-Fuel

Monday, July 23, 2007

The New Style

Its hard to believe that I have been working here since age 7. The old Yale used to be on Canal Street near the garden, and my father drove nt Back Bay. He always pointed out the buildings, the unusual styles and elements. He always used to say: "That was when artisans built buildings"...If only we purchased those buildings....

I am still intrigued by architecture, buildings and design, even as it relates to the appliance/lighting business. In the 80s, it was verde green and polished brass. In the 90s, it was(and still is to lesser extent) the antique bronzes, black and darker finishes. Of course the biggest trend has been stainless finishes in this milennium largely in appliances, but surprisingly in lighting as well.

The next big trend in my opinion is the French Neo Classic look, especially in lighting. I have been watching this for about 6 months. It can best be described as architectual white tile with optic glass lighting and/or whimsical crystal.

The hottest nightspot(curiously catering to geezers like myself), The Beehive, was styled after a 1920s French Bohemian nightclub, and the newest restaurant scheduled to open in August, The Gaslight, is French right down to the zinc bar.

Take a peek at some pictures of products available residentially:

Light Sample 1

Light Sample 2

Light Sample 3

Light Sample 4

Light Sample 5

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Steam Cooking

Hi this is Kurt, Resident Chef at Yale Appliance + Lighting and Guest Blogger.
My job is show consumers at Yale how to use their appliance to their fullest capabilities, before and after you buy them.

Steaming is tastier and healthier way to cook. There are Four steam oven manufacturers: Miele, Sharp, Wolf and Gaggenau.

These items can do more than steam veggies. Steam ovens can bake cakes and custards to professional perfection or braising ribs for the ultimate BBQ. They are very easy to operate. Drop me a line at (888) 827-9109 and I can explain the differences or help you select the appropriate build in for your kitchen.

Here are a few of the options:

Gaggenau Steam Oven

Miele Steam Oven

Sharp Steam Oven

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The 5 Best Appliance Values In July/Early August

They are in no particular order or price.

The SEC302BS/BP: Most decent or name ovens hover at $3,000. This is the best of the bunch

Thermador Wall Oven

The Electrolux Induction: OK, a cooktop at $1700+ is somewhat pricey, but consider most high end radiant cooktops were $2,000 just a couple years ago.

Icon induction

Siemens Sl34aa5: A close out that at $499 is identical to a $700 Bosch

Siemens Dishwasher

Frigidaire PLEFMZ99EC: The best electric range sold. Features include: Bridge element, super simmer controls, 2 ovens, warming burner and convection


Bosch Washer/Siemens dryer: You have seen this one before, but Siemens is identical to the best Bosch dryer for about $250 less

Laundry Pair

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Integrated Refrigerators

In a perfect world, everyone would have an integrated refrigerator appliance....It would be a perfectly expensive world. An integrated refrigerator is seamless and cannot be distinguished from the cabinets. We have a wall of these products in the store...and it looks like wall of cabinets(go figure)

SubZero was the first company to manufacture this type of product in the US, and Thermador has 8 different models. Check out the pictures below, and consider this product in high end construction

Sub-Zero 736

Freedom 1

Freedom 2

Monday, July 16, 2007

Not Exactly Away

I did sign off for a couple of weeks on Friday, but my ticket is actually 11 at night not in the morning. I feel like a guy who just said an emotional good-bye at a party, only to discover that he left his coat.

Anyway, I have some time. I have been looking at epinions for reviews on appliance stores, and have found a big recurring issue. Delivery misunderstandings seem like a big problem. Most of us have purchased books, music and clothes online without issues. But a book is not an appliance. Appliances require staging, warehousing and competent people consummating the delivery.

Here is the scenario: You buy an appliance and typically the trucker leaves it in the garage. You sign for it and to discover the damage later. The appliance company disavows the problem saying to file a freight claim. The delivery agent has the signed document, and you are out of luck completely. You have to read these stories to understand the depth of peoples anger and frustration

My piece of advice is simple. ALWAYS inspect any products before you sign....And check out epinions for some interesting stories.

I have also written a few other posts so you will be entertained while I am away

Friday, July 13, 2007

Away Today

I will be gone as soon as I finish this last sentence. There will be some pretty interesting posts while I am away. Kurt, our staff chef, will guest blog. It might be a different viewpoint from a person who uses this equipment 8 hours a day.

Lastly, to the 50 or 60 regulars, thank you for reading. Hopefully, we have helped with your project and product decisions. I realize that building/renovating can be stressful, but it can also be very rewarding.

Building/Renovating in a Rather Small Nutshell:

Agree on a plan or budget
Research on the internet
Decide what is realistic
Pick reputable contractors and suppliers
Check references online and with friends

Take your time and do not be pressured......

Steve Sheinkopf
Yale Appliance And Lighting

Consumer Reports(again)

As I said previously, Consumer Reports is a good guide. In this months edition, they discuss extended warranties. Two years ago, we did not sell extended warranties. At that time manufactuers had a five year limited warranty on parts, so a five year warranty was not a good value for the consumer.

Then Whirlpool bought Maytag, and dropped all the limited warranties. Frigidaire and GE followed, so now the average warranty is 1 year full. Now it is a legitimate consideration for products over $550.

The math is easy. The average completed service call is $129 plus $75 to 150 in parts versus a $99 five year warranty. For high brands, it is more expensive. Also, with gas and health insurance rising, these numbers are expected to increase substantially. The average service rate within the first year is 16-18%. We completed 15,000 service calls within the warranty period in 2006

A couple of pointers:

Do not buy a warranty from a company that cannot fix the problem. If we are to believe blogs, the Better Business Bureau and internet surveys, consumers are mad when discovering a product cannot be fixed due to an apparent lack of support. Be very wary of 1-800 numbers that are not company owned.

Do not overspend. (stop snickering), it is amazing to me when I see people spending $350 for a service plan on a basic product. The maximum should $150 for a regular product and $300 for an expensive professional

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Consumer Reports

I like Consumer Reports, and many consumers will refer to it when shopping for appliances. I will never understand how they rate the same item so differently. The Kenmore dishwasher is manufactured by either Whirlpool or Frigidaire. There are no Kenmore factories per se, yet the ratings are incredibly different.

They did have an interesting section how to save money on your kitchen. There were 10 points, 8 were related to our industry. Here is my take

1. Consumer Reports: Pro-style ranges perform similarly to regular ranges:
My Take: In many instances 2 out of the 4 burners will work identically to a pro range with similar performance in the range. This is a great place to save money, BUT only in a 30 inch space. Also, regular ranges do not have grill/griddle options or as valued when reselling high end homes/condos

2. Consumer Reports: Skip steam ovens
My Take: Its a pricey option, but steam leaves nutrients and is considered to be a healthier way of cooking than baking.

3. Consumer Reports: Skip Multimedia Refrigerators
My Take: Amen, buy a flat screen for $299 and a regular refrigerator.

4. Consumer Reports: Skip Turbocharged dishwashers.
My Take: There are no turbocharged dishwashers, since Frigidaire discontinued their version.

5. Consumer Reports: Speed Ovens are a waste.
My Take: There are no speed ovens worth noting, other than Miele. This may change when Turbochef reintroduces their oven. It is flat out fast...

6. Consumer Reports: Appliance drawers are too pricey.
My Take: Yes, they are pricey, but there is some cache to an integrated or seamless look.

7: Consumer Reports: Pricey Sinks and Faucets have similar performance to regular products
My Take: Not sure, I do think that there are significant aesthetic differences between products in the $200 to the $500 price point.

8: Consumer Reports: Different Stores have different capabilities.
My Take: No Question, I am biased perhaps, but different stores have different competencies.

Consumer Reports is a start. If you shop around, find reputable companies and are involved with the process, you will save money and have a good experience

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

New Products to Consider

I am actually headed out of town Monday, but will line up some guest bloggers to entertain you.

Its kind of a shame as there is a ton of new(to us) products arriving.

Here is a sample:

Laundrypure System: This machine attaches to your washer and inhibits oxidation in your clothes...Simply stated, you can clean without detergent. In test trials by Shawn, it was reviewed enthusiastically...We should be displaying by months end


Rohl faucets: Yale's' biggest mistake is allowing me to merchandise. People for some reason have different tastes than myself. I veer to the contemporary, but admittedly these faucets are elegant






Monday, July 09, 2007

The Real News on Bottled Water

I visited Toronto this weekend. When I travel, I like to read a few magazines. Fast Company is pretty interesting with Al Gore on the July issue(Ever wonder if 2000 went Democratic). Along with his environmental stance, his reemergence as a political force is noteworthy.

He wasn't, however, the best story. This months focus was bottled water entitled 15 Billion Down the Drain. Its timely since we just published a blog entry about residential water filtration last week

The following are the highlights:

24% of bottled water is tap water repackaged by Coke or Pepsi

We pitch 38 billion water bottles a year into landfills, an average of 1 billion per year

If the water we use at home cost what even cheap bottled water costs, our monthly water bills would run $9,000....You read that correctly 9,000 per month

As such, my days of drinking bottled water are over. We actually have filtered water in the store that is actually better than the water I have been drinking for 10 years

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

How To Buy An Appliance Part Three

Its a cool 66 degrees in Boston and raining. There will be no fireworks this year on The Charles. As it is unseasonably cool, my global warming rants are not nearly as effective as the 96 degree days of last week.

My fourth favorite blog topic is buying appliances and the many pitfalls thereof. Some of this is familiar. For the newer readers looking to buy products for their new kitchen, this post will be beneficial. It can also assist in other purchases such as bath plumbing and furniture shopping.

One assumption: You have already decided on the items(my second favorite blog topic)

Now the fun begins(again)

Delivery: We know to ask how much...But where is an even better question. Most internet based companies will drop products on the sidewalk. That's not terrible if you are buying a microwave, but how about a refrigerator. Next question is who...As in who are you letting in your house. If it is an independent operator, ask and run a quick check with The Better Business Bureau...Its easy.

Removal of Old Products: This must be negotiated BEFORE the sale is consummated. Letting the delivery guys handle the transaction is tantamount to adding $200 to your purchase.

Service: Or what happens when the product breaks down....About 16% of new products need service within the first year. You are entitled to a 1 year warranty, but who fixes the product is always a good question to ask. If it is the manufacturer(heaven forbid), ask for the phone number and call to see what experience can be expected for your future product problems

Extended Warranties: The how much is the easy part. Who underwrites and is responsible for the maintenance is an important question...For example, a leading warranty company teamed with an internet sales group has had 200 complaints lodged against them in a 36 month period...(Its hard to fix anything without service techs it seems.)

The small print....How much is a cord? What happens if a product does not fit or cannot be delivered(like in a brownstone in Boston)...Does delivery include hookup as well....

Am I paranoid, hardly...cynical maybe, but ask these questions before your purchase and have the commitments in writing. A drop of protection may save you a ton of hassle and expense in the future.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

New Lights

I am an awful photographer as you can see in this post. Following are pictures of new lighting now available. One quock note: I lean more to eclectic(a nice word foor strange) or modern stylizations

First picture...Retro modern flush pieces from CSL. A few of these lights are UL for damp location so they can be used in a bath application

Showroom Lights #1

LED lightrail....Great for commercial applications, but it is a little expensive.

Showroom Lights #2

Vibia...Stainless steel flush mounts.

Showroom Lights #3

This is a remote control fan. The blades expand when the fan is activated. Really cool

Showroom Lights #4

A very bad picture of some very versatile pendants....Wilmette can be used in modern or the
the new French Neo Classic type of look....

Showroom Lights #5

Very interesting flushmounts from Hudson Valley...Not expensive

Showroom Lights #6

A very clean chandelier from Sonneman

Showroom Lights #7

Showroom Lights #8

I like this chandelier. It is ebony bronze, and can be used in classic or contemporary adaptations

Showroom Lights #9

Semi-flush on the right and flush on the left. Once again, a little different look

Showroom Lights #10

The Comprehensive Guide to Energy Saving Appliances and Lighting

This is the sum total of 8 months work. I hope you like the new guide. It is unseasonably hot at 100 degrees in Boston. It may very well be the norm in the future.

Monday, July 02, 2007


The appliance industry is caught in the same vicious cycle as the car manufacturers. However, the domestic companies are in a stronger position than GM, Ford and Chrysler....

Anyway, like the car companies, The appliance industries have become reliant on rebates. Yale, like many other larger independent retailers belongs to a local buying group. This group is a subset of a National group, which in turn will buy from the manufacturer. Confused yet?

At any given point, they will have rebates. Over July 4th, these rebates converge into some really interesting prices, especially on packages. As a New Englander, this seems curious because everyone is on The Cape.....But, many readers of this blog are from out of town, and should consider a purchase before the seventh.