Honest opinions about how to buy Appliances and Lighting.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Appliances to Buy August 31- September 6

Only 7 days? Appliance manufacturers seem to celebrate Labor Day for some reason. Many of the rebates expire September 6.

Frigidaire: Double oven electric range, digital dishwasher, OTR and 21 cubic foot refrigerator...There are $540 in rebates.

Frigidaire Sep07 Package

JennAir : Slide in convection, shallow depth french door refrigerator, stainless tank dishwasher with every conceivable option and an OTR...There are $1445 in rebates.

Jenn-Air Sep07 Package

Bosch closeout: Stainless steel electric or gas range with a stainless top, stainless dishwasher and matching Siemens Over the range microwave $1999 and $200 rebate to a fourth piece

Bosch 0907 Package

There are also a dizzying amount of laundry rebates

LED Recessed Lighting

Finally, a new release of recess LED lighting. As you can see, the bulb outputs in the picture are identical. Yet the one on the right is 10 watt LED and the one on the left is a 65 watt incandescent reflector.

LED will also last 25 times longer and emit zero heat. An incandescent will heat to 300 degrees and add residual heat to the room.

Take a look

LED Recessed #1

LED Recessed #2

LED Recessed #3

LED Recessed #4

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

RIP Energystar

A truly great program will die a premature death on August 31. Energystar will no longer offer $75 dollars for people to buy essentally front loaders. Manufacturers are compensating to a point with their ubiquitous rebate programs, and price points have fallen dramatically over the last couple of years. The price difference between top and front loaders is negligible.

You have until August 31 for the rebate.....

Labor Day

Labor Day seems to be another good time to buy an appliance. So much of the industry has turned to rebates and other short term inducements. From August 30 to September 6, this has become magnified.

The rationale is as follows: The manufacturer, national buying group, local buying group, local rep groups have different rebates on the same items. Apparently, they do not speak to each other, so there could be 3 to 4 rebates on an item

A Frigidaire $2000 counter depth side by side is now $1614 and there are many other examples. Check out the rebate section on the front page of the website.

Energy Tip Of the Day

Two tips:

Stop bathing. Bathing uses about 70 gallons of water, which is more than double a shower

Fix that toilet: A leaky toilet can waste over 200 gallons per day or the equivalent of three baths(that was a trick as you no longer bathe)

Some of you are probably saying duh or other words that I cannot publish. However, if you read the various tips, you will save money without any compromise in lifestyle.

For example, I actually have change in my pocket, because I filter my own water instead of buying bottled. My energy bill has dropped $30 last month despite my transient roommate watching television 24/7...The reason? Energy saving bulbs and a 4 degree change in the thermostat.

You can save money, lesson your carbon footprint and help save the environment just by effecting small changes...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Ventilation is becoming increasingly important especially since the advent of professional style ranges. A couple considerations:

A. CFM or cubic feet per minute..essentially how fast the motor moves a cubic foot of air. 300 CFM is average, but a minimum of 600-1500 for a pro range depending on size

B. Capture area or depth of hood is important on more powerful ranges. Depth of 24 inches or greater is needed in order for smoke to be captured and then filtered. Smoke will not be exhausted properly with a shallower hood

C. Duct should be sized to accommodated the volume of smoke. 4' duct may be good for dryers which only exhaust at 160 CFM, but 6-10' duct may be required for a higher exhausting stove

D. The length of duct should be planned to a minimum. Ventilation decreases with every 45 and 90 degree turn. The most efficient ducting is straight up or back to the outside with no turns and a length under 10 feet(if possible)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Fluorescent Versus Incandescent Lighting(video)

This post is one of our best. We now graphically demonstrate the performance between these 2 bulbs. As I say in the video, the average household has 40 bulbs, so there is a huge impact on your energy costs.

BTW, they only show part of me in the video...Lets just say the picture is less than flattering....I kind of want to be like that next neighbor in "Home Improvement"....Just the hat showing

Anyway, watch the video...Then look at your bulbs

Friday, August 24, 2007

Energy Tip Of the Day

So I am in the grocery store and the cashier says paper or plastic. Unfortunately, either way I am doomed. Either I exarcerbate deforestation or create demand for petrochemical plants.....Unless

I bring my own bag. You are probably thinking that I am an anarchist or a communal type. I am neither.

Its simple. We can save money very easily by being more aware to the simplest of ideas. It starts a whole beneficial cycle of saving resources and the environment.

Have a nice weekend


PS: We threw 38 billion bottles in landfills last year. How about filtering your own water or drinking tap....Save yourself $750 per year

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Energy Tip Of the Day

The ETOD is becoming my least favorite post. Most of these tips are pretty easy and will save you money. I am just running out of ideas. Sure, I could say:

Check your insulation
Close your drapes
Buy programmable thermostats
Buy CFLS(again)

I just want it to be easy and relevant. Today, I will show you how desperate the situation has become......I am actively blogging against my very livelihood

Line dry your clothes. If everyone in the USA line dried their clothes, we would save 3.3% of our energy. Now I like supporting OPEC as much as the next American, but this requires technique and know how.

A. We assume a suitable climate
B. We assume a proper area

By line drying your clothes will have the softness relative to sandpaper, so finish in the dryer for 5-7 minutes

I will send a $20 gift card for a tip that I can use with full credit to the author. My next post could be use a horse and carriage instead of a car

Security Sensor Lights

I live in Bostons' South End. Its actually on the border of Back Bay near Copley. Have to admit, I love where I live. 10 Years ago, The Southwest Corridor(as its called) was a battleground between gangs from Roxbury and Tent street, which squeeze this area from both sides.

Evidentally, the area was secured by a potent combination of police, rising property values and rapid gentrification. The influx of Doctors and lawyers means less gang activity at least outside of court.

Anyway, I sat on my roof drinking some wine with a friend and saw all the security lights still on in the neighborhood. At up to 250 watts per light, this is an incredible waste of energy and not much security.

Consider a security light that is operated by motion sensor, so you do not pay for needless electricity. It is also more of a deterrent. An "evildoer" has a nice blast of light and will think somebody is actually there

The best products seem to be manufacturered by RAB...Take a peek

RAB Lighting

RAB Lighting #2

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Energy Tip Of the Day

I like this one. It is simple, saves time and energy.

If you are boiling water, do not overfill the kettle with water for just 1 or 2 cups.

Water Filtration(again)

Saturday, I stopped to fill the car and realized gas is now over $3. I live 2 miles from work so I do not have the raw excitement of visiting a gas station every couple of days. Fast forward to Monday and I am having a salad at Lambert's(a local place) and notice that bottled water is $1.29...for 20 ounces.

Lets calculate this to a gallon. There are 126 ounces to a gallon, so if we multiply just by 6, and we are almost at $8 a gallon. Unlike gas, there are alternatives that are way cheaper. First, I have to point out the new advertising campaign from a bottled water company.."We filter it, filter it and then filter it again"...I love this campaign, because it describes exactly the process of a home water purifying system. Typically water is filtered by carbon, ceramic and resin cartridges:

Lets look at a few:

WaterX Wx500: 5000 gallon filter can be installed under the sink without a separate water tap, and can be siphoned to other appliances. It costs around $400 for 5000 gallons or the equivalent of $40,000 worth of bottled water.

WX 500

Everpure: Easy snap in filter is the unique to this company. This does need another point of use faucet, but there seems to be a number of really nice looking options for this


Franke Tri Flow: Want a great looking faucet with an incorporated filter? The Franke Tri-flow is a good choice. The downside is the price tag, which is over $800

Franke TFC 400

Franke Dw100: Franke has also just the point of use water filtration. With the faucet, it is only $295 and up

Franke DW100

WaterX Whole House filtration: Finally, a product to filter everything from the shower to the bath and all water generating pieces therein. It is great for people with problem water as the filter is customized specifically your type of water such as hard water, well water, etc

WaterX Whole House

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Energy Tip Of the Day

In one of our last tips, we discussed leakage. Quite simply, lamps, chargers, PCs will use power even when shut off. There are two possible solutions:

A. Unplug everything that is not in use

B. Buy a power strip as pictured below, plug all your cords into the strip and then shut the power strip off.

Power Strip

Combo Washer and Dryer

I am completely torn about this appliance. On one hand, a washer and dryer in one machine seems like a good idea. It is only 24 inch wide requires no external venting and for people without 220 power it is the only option.

However, because it is only 110 volt, the cycle is twice as long to run at 3.5 -4 hours power cycle. The combo is relatively small at 2.0 cubic feet, expensive to buy and operate.

The saving grace is there seems to be general interest in the product by some of the readers and it is almost football season. Now you do not have to transfer your laundry from the washer to the dryer.

In a close game, it can be the difference between seeing it live or watching it on ESPN

Seriously, there is a motley mix of manufacturers who market the product, but there really is only one to consider.

LG Combo Unit

Monday, August 20, 2007


Most of the posts have featured washers. The difference between a top and front load washer has been well documented as top loads are truly a waste of your money, time, water, electricity and therefore deleterious to the environment.

But what about dryers? Actually the same is true on dryers as well. Dryers vary greatly in effectiveness. The descriptions of the major cycles are as follows:

Time Dry: Basically a cycle that will dry at the same temperature regardless of the load. This is a very popular option for reasons that I cannot fully comprehend. Basically, you waste a ton of energy and possible shrink and/or damage your clothes

Auto Dry: Not as bad as option number 1, but auto dry works as the clothes become lighter, the machine turns down the heat.

Electronic sensor: Maytag actually invented electronic sensor. In farming, when the soil dries a sensor activates the sprinkler. Maytag just reversed the process, as clothes dry, the machine shuts down. This activates the whole higher beneficial chain reaction: Clothes are better maintained, dryer does not work as much, less energy consumed, less power generation needed, less coal or electricity burned, better for the environment and you save money.

So ask for a dryer with an electronic sensor, it should cost about $75-150 more, but will save much more than this over the life of the machine.

Electronic Sensor:


Dryer Sensor

Titanium Appliances

Whatever happened to Titanium, which is appliance speak for stainless with white accents. This is in contrast to stainless, which is stainless with black appointments.

Frigidaire inexplicably discontinued the style 8 years again. Bosch picked up the baton 2 years with similar lack of success. For some reason, I think it is refreshing. Then again, I have stainless in my kitchen.

Take a look:

Bosch Titanium

Energy Tip Of the Day

I saw 60 Minutes last night for about 60 seconds before I became aggravated. Seems that a certain penguin is starving in droves, because their shrimp diet has been curtailed greatly. The shrimp live under the ice near the Antarctic. Unfortunately, there is no ice anymore, which means no shrimp, penguins, sharks and sooner or later we are sans fish at the local Whole Foods.

A couple more tips: Just as a FYI to new Yale Bloggers, our tips are easy and are designed to save energy, money and/ or time, the benefit to the environment is an added bonus

1. Fix the leaky faucet, even a drip per minute will waste 20 kilowatts per month

2. Turn up your refrigerator to 38-40 degrees. It will save a huge amount of energy and keep the food fresh

Friday, August 17, 2007

9-6 Rants?

9-6 rants over truly noteworthy topics like energy efficiency and consumer protection?

The next poll will be:

Am I a crazy, yet entertaining(kind of a bisection of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis)

Or am I the village idiot( the dope with the funny hat that tastes the poisoned food of the king)

Energy Fact and Tip of the Day

Its been a good week for the blog. In order to close the week strong, I will combine an energy tip and fact in the same post.

Americans will buy 8 million dishwashers this year. Dishwashers are not an energy hog as they use less energy than washing by hand. If everyone bought a super efficient dishwasher, it would be equivalent to not releasing 25 billion pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This is similar to saving 3.4 million acres of forest, which is twice the Sequoia National forest.

Energy Tip: I have a confession. I like sleeping in an ice cold room, like a tomb only with ventilation. This is not a real problem in the winter, because I open the window. In the summer, its an issue. Every degree raised in the summer saves 5-10% depending on the expert du jour. In order not to be a total hypocrite when writing this column, I have been raising the temperature about 1 degree a week. It now reads 74.

Just remember: There was a famous commander who prepared his men for desert warfare by overheating the barracks to 120. Guess what, they became acclimatimated and so will you at a higher temperature.

Only difference is you will save a ton of money.

Have a nice weekend

Thursday, August 16, 2007

New Sinks And Faucets

Appliances are amongst the most important products in your home from a resale perspective. But lets face it: 80% of the buying public is purchasing either stainless steel or integrated(panels) kitchens.

The real intriguing stuff to buy is lighting and plumbing. Lets look at some new products, so your house does not look like your neighbors.

Rohl Faucet reminds me of the retro Chicago faucets that are popular...Except Rohl can actually ship it. The sink is a KBX Franke. It is squared and cleaner than regular undermounts

New Rohl #1

Manor House faucet by Rohl has a nice traditional style to it

New Rohl #6

Franke stainless farm sink: Lets just pretend that farm sinks which are popular in traditional kitchens were never actually manufactured in stainless.

New Franke

99% of undermounts are stainless. Now you can try porcelain

New Sink #4

Farm sinks are a boomerang trend. They seem to be popular and then disappear for no conceivable reason. Then again, they do have to be planned in the kitchen much earlier

New Rohl #5

Nice faucet....You will be the envy of your basic pull out faucet buying neighbors

New Rohl #2

Energy Tip Of the Day

Use the microwave instead of the stove. The savings is about 15 cents per hour. But like there is bigger residual savings in HVAC costs when a door does not release 350 degree heat into the room.

Another way to save money without impacting lifestyle: Shut off the water when bushing your teeth or shaving.

Small changes will save money and lessen the impact on the environment...Now imagine if everyone did the same

BTW, Did you read JRs' Energy Clock

Induction Range

The wall oven post depressed me to be honest. I do not want to appear self righteous, but it was not exciting. Then again, it is wall ovens.

However, this product is worth a look. The Diva Induction range. The range top is 75,000 BTUs instead of 90K in a gas Pro. Induction, however, works on so many levels. It is child safe, not heat retentive and 90% efficient. As a reminder, gas is 60% efficient with electric at 55%

Efficiency means less heat to heat and less load on your air conditioner systems...And with better performance.

First quarter 2008, now hopefully it will work

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Consumer Protection Rant

There is a company that heavily advertises huge savings on home furnishings. Unfortunately, you have to plunk down a bunch of dough for upfront fees. On a consumer protection website, there is over 10 pages of complaints lodged against them, and to be fair three pages in their favor.(one page is 5-12 comments depending on the love or frustration)

Here is how it works: You are invited to a slick presentation followed by a high pressure sales pitch designed to get you to sign on the line that is dotted(name that movie). You are sold on a promise of a cost plus handling that is far cheaper than retail.

A couple of factoids:

You should never be pressured to do anything and should ask as many questions as possible

You have three days to cancel in most states by law

You should have a very specific idea of what you want before you go

You should realize that handling and service are not part of the plan

Is this a good deal? Maybe or maybe not. They are buying appliances through dealers. I know this, because they have tried to form an alliance with us. I question the deal if they do not have a national buying structure

New Wall Ovens

Thermador and KitchenAid have new wall ovens. They seemed to be similar to the old ones with new control panels. It reminds me of the old tune by The Who, Baba Oreilly..."Meet the New Boss Same as The Old Boss".

Thermador series: New clock, handle and rotisserie.

New Thermador Wall Oven

KitchenAid Kems308: Flatter control panel, bigger window and leather appointments

New KitchenAid Wall Oven

Kidding about the leather, but I was just wanted to make sure that you were still reading

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Energy Tip Of the Day

The old saying " they don't make them like they used to" does not always apply. Probably 1/5 of households have their old refrigerators in their basement. A refrigerator manufactured just 4 years ago consumes 40% more energy than the products produced last year.

The refrigerators today are 100% more energy efficient then similar products from just 15 years ago.

Have an old refrigerator/ freezer in the basement? Throw it out and save $100-200 dollars a year off your electric bill

JRs Energy Clock

I once was in a staff meeting, and we were talking about the long term. I had mentioned that humanity has 20-25 years left at its current pace. Depressing, but not if you hate long term planning as I do.

Anyway, our service manager JR, seemed to lead the rebellion of opinion against me. He is actually an unusual guy. He was trained to handle problem children, and left ostensibly because there was a better opportunity driving trucks at Yale. Seriously. Over the years, he has risen through the ranks to become one of the leaders of the company. Unfortunately, it also means that I have to listen to him.

JR, this post is for you.....BTW, thank you to my girl, Louise, for sending this to me


Monday, August 13, 2007

Energy Tip Of The Day

Unplug your phone charger when it is not in use.....Its called energy leakage, and it wastes money and energy. Although the total cost is minimal, if everyone decided to perform this simple task, the impact would be very real

I am done for the day....

Nonsensical Energy Efficiency Rant

By writing this post, I am effectively handling 2 subjects at once.

If you have been reading this blog regularly, the washer has been a frequent subject. It is unbelievable that top loading washers are still 60% of the market....

Following are some interesting stats on the dishwasher:

If everyone bought an Asko, Bosch, Miele or Frigidaire Energystar dishwasher just this year:

Energy Savings Equivalent:

To firing the space shuttle into orbit 5,300 times(leave it alone)
To lighting Las Vegas for 5 years

Water Savings:

To supply 2 million households
To fill 80,000 Olympic size pools(non heated of course)
To fill the US Capitol building 430 times

It would also prevent 25 billion pounds of Carbon Dioxide from releasing into the atmosphere

Cool New Stuff...Lighting

As I have said in previous posts, there is the beginning of a design trend, which is optic glass. This is the latest product offering from Wilmette.

Optic Glass- Off
Optic Glass- On

I love contemporary fans. Unfortunately, modern and flush or close to the ceiling seemed to be mutually exclusive, until Modern Fan company started manufacturing this new series

Modern Fan - Flush

Never had a fondness for crystal...until recently. Schonbek has broken out of the...this is a look only your grandmother could love and started marketing crystal with an edge

Black is Back

Traditional lighting is about well...tradition.... which is a polite word for never changing. The bell jar is a very traditional light, but note the finish....smoke. No kidding, this may be considered radical thinking for an entire industry that only stopped manufacturing just polished brass

Bell Smoke

What is it with retractable fans....Do people hate blades? Well here is a new one....

Retracted Fan

Cool New Stuff....Appliances

So now Tax Day is over. I will have plenty of time to actually blog. BTW, I met a few Yale blogees this weekend, and it was good to place a face with the analytics.

But anyway for those who are planning a few new considerations:

Miele has two new dishwashers with only 10 minute wash cycles. 10 minutes to complete a cycle versus 98 in a regular dishwasher. Before you buy this revolutionary product, it requires 250v as opposed to regular 120 and it is around $5,000 to buy.

Miele Pro Dishwasher

A couple of weeks ago, I was teaching my girlfriends niece to say the word blue..It looks like Dacor has taken blue a little more seriously. Still, you have to respect any manufacturer for thinking out of the (stainless steel) box.

Dacor Blue#1
Dacor Blue#2

AGA range is new....to us. This is a very interesting stove with a very unique cooking technology. Likeable yet expensive, it is another distinct product that you need Kurt to explain

AGA Range

Fisher Paykel has a brand new refrigerator with ice and water through the door. Ice and water is hardly novel, but this refrigerator is shallow depth and only 33 inches wide. All other shallow depth refrigerators fit a 36 inch opening

Fisher & Paykel

Sunday, August 12, 2007

135 posts and counting

Perhaps now would be a good time to ask what people actually enjoy reading. I have finally understood how to develop a survey on this program, so cast your vote and let me know

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Energy Tip Of The Day

Shut off the heated dry cycle on your dishwasher and use Somat or Miele liquid to aid condensation.....

Energy Efficiency Part 8(or So)

Wall Street Journal had an interesting article last week about EnergyStar appliances. They wrote a slightly cynical view about the expense of energy efficient appliances. In fact their one example was the first generation Maytag Neptune, which had mold problems. (Moldtag?)...Anyway that was almost 10 years ago

So lets flip through the Sunday Globe. There is an appliance chain offering a $100 gift card with any top loading machine. Not a bad deal, after all it is a super capacity machine for $299 after the card.

In fact, it is an awful deal, even if they sold it for nothing. The average consumer will save $150-250 per year with a front loading washer. Said consumer will also enjoy greater capacity up to 62%(less trips to the basement) and have a product that is gentler on the clothes(no agitator)

Here is the impact to the environment if everyone switched to a Whirlpool Duet, Maytag Epic, Bosch Nexxt or a Miele....Read this:

Enough water to:

Provide lifetime drinking for 67 million people
Fill all the water needs for California, New York and Texas for 1 year
Fill The Empire State 3,300 times(that's useful)

Energy Saved:

Prevent 45 Billion pounds of Carbon Dioxide from being released
Equal to what a power plant generates in 8 years

Perhaps, we should look at this as an annuity: Would you spend $200-500 in order to receive $200 per year for 15-20 years......Plenty of money for gift cards

Better Bathroom

This is better illumination, and it is different. As the bathroom(and kitchen) become larger, it enables different lighting elements to be introduced. In this case it is a flushmount crystal light. Also note better placement of the recessed lighting in the sink area.

If the picture was shot properly, you would noticed the lights off center or on the sides of the sink for cross illumination. Think cross illumination.....

Hotel Bath #3

I am not crazy about the track, but it works functionally

Steam Cooking(Podcast)

Consumer Reports panned steam cooking in their latest publication. I disagree. Steaming is the most healthy way to cook as nutrients are not cooked out of your food.

Kurt will explain the concept in more detail

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Bathroom Lighting(not)

As I published in a previous post, most design trends emanate from Italy. Unfortunately, sometime even the best have a bad day.

Lets look at this bathroom(in an otherwise beautiful hotel). The sconce is at the proper height, which is around 64-67" off the floor, but nothing on the other side. Well, not really, as they have mounted 35 watt low voltage recess on the opposite side.

Take a look.

Hotel Bath #1

Hotel Bath #2

The guide asked me if I liked my room. It was actually fine, but I had to say...There does not seem to be enough lighting in the bath....just to gauge the reply. She mentioned that it was a common complaint.

Now you know the reason

Tax Day Packages

The buzz in August is always Tax Day. Saving 5% is always a great deal when you are in the market. How about 15%? The appliance industry is trending downward. As such, the manufacturers are responding by rebating items.

Seems logical(and easy). Manufacturers sell to buying groups and buying groups have local chapters. Like an eclipse, they can all converge and rebate the same items. We are experiencing said convergence especially in the JennAir and Frigidaire lines.

Packages selling in July for $5700+ are now just about $4600+ in JennAir

JennAir Package

Frigidaire has packages selling for $1600 that were $700 more last month

Frigidaire Package

Tax Day is great. However, another key to saving money is watching for rebates. If you choose an item with multiple rebates the savings will be substantial.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


I am probably not the right guy to blog about style...Ok defintely not. However, most design trends emanate from Italy. Now most people have an issue at defining their own sense of style. Traditional? Contemporary? A mix?

The following pictures are from the Hotel Grief in Balzano, which in my opinion blends all different desihn elements in the same room: Contemporary lighting, traditional furniture, contemporary desk and bed...Very nice

Hotel Grief #1

Hotel Grief #2

JennAir Bronze

In the neverending attempt at finding a replacement for stainless, JennAir is marketing bronze. Its a nice change of pace, I guess....

What do you think?


The Chain Bridge in Budapest

Shawn is a little behind in the last 2 posts, so lets look at some bad vacation pictures. The Chain Bridge in Budapest is famous in Europe. It connects the Buda and Pest sections of the city and offers breathtaking view of Capitol Hill...Fantastic.

Chain Bridge

But what kind of bulb do they use? This next shot can only be from someone as truly as unbalanced as myself as it is a PL bulb. There has to be at least 500 of these on this bridge at a savings of 30,000 watts

Bridge Light