Honest opinions about how to buy Appliances and Lighting.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Land of 100 refrigerators

I do not merchandise Yale anymore. That job resides in the capable hands of Darren, Bobby and Dennis. So when I climb down the ole ivory tower, I question the reasons behind displaying over 100 refrigerators in a new room.

Then I am reminded of the many categories of refrigeration as defined below.

Top Mount: Refrigerator on the top freezer on the bottom

Bottom Mount: Guess

French door Bottom Mount: Side by side top with freezer below

Shallow depth Bottom Mount: Same as bottom mount only does not protrude from the cabinet

Shallow depth French door Bottom Mount: Same as above with side by side doors

Side by side: Refrigerator on the right, freezer on the left

Shallow depth Side by side: Same as above only does not protrude from cabinets

Professional: Compressor on the top..does not protrude from the cabinets: Can be side by side, french or bottom mount

Integrated: Fits seamlessly within the cabinets: Can be any of the above(except pro)

Confused? look again..

Top Mount: Price

Bottom: Ergometrics(you are in the refrigerator 82% of the time)

French Door: Similar to above with design appeal and the shorter doors are better for island applications

Side by side: More freezer space and more organized storage

Pro: Commercial look

Integrated: Never see the actual refrigerator

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Vineyard Part 2...The Bar

Our last post was about affordable luxury. This one is about luxury period.

Typically when you plan a bar refrigerator, the space is either 15 or 24 inches. Appliances follow cabinets, and this is the standard or almost universal size. In this space, the choices could be refrigerator, refrigerator and freezer, freezer alone, icemaker, wine cooler or refrigerator and wine cooler.

Buying a decent brand is my only guideline. The case is produced with metal instead of plastic. The compressor also breathes from the front instead of the back, so the product can be enclosed in cabinets.

There are plenty of decent brands: SubZero, Uline, Marvel, Viking, Scotsman and Monogram. Rick (from our last post) does not seem to be satisfied with one. He did create a magnificent bar and game room.

Have a look:



Monday, July 28, 2008

Marthas' Vineyard Part 1

I love The Vineyard (pronounced vinyid). The Vineyard is an island 40 minutes off Cape Cod. You travel by ferry, and disembark at one of three distinct areas Oak Bluffs(OB), Edgartown or Vineyard Haven.

We stayed in Vineyard Haven in the home of a friend and business associate, Rick Adams. Rick is in the granite business and renovates homes as a hobby. If you walk into Yale, the granite displays are his. We basically trade granite for appliances.

I helped him with the layout of his kitchen, and for this home he has actually three suites of appliances.

Lets look at the appliance on the roof deck first. One of the main goals of this blog is to inform people on how to renovate on a budget. The buzzwords are affordable luxury.

Have a look:



You are looking at an Electrolux Icon kitchen. A suite of appliances would be approximately $12,000 less than a traditional Viking, Wolf or SubZero kitchen. It is good looking, functional and a decent alternative.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks and Turbochef

I am a total vegetarian wannabe. My grazing diet is salad, fruit and repeat. To be truthful, I do not like meat, especially burgers and steak.

Ocassionally, I will eat fish or chicken. Recently, I have fallen in love with a breakfeast sandwich at Starbucks of all places. It consists of eggwhites, light cheesse and turkey bacon on a whole wheat english muffin. I was wondering how they are able to serve it so quickly....

Then we look at Dunkin Donuts advertising pizza and flatbread sandwiches, and you wonder how they are able to compose the said items

The answer is unlikely. They employ Turbochef technology or impingement convection with low power microwave. Its unlikely, because until 18 months ago the product had reliability issues....But it seems fixed, unless, of course they are logging thousands of service calls a day

Actually a pretty interesting piece with great technology, interface and of course incredible speed

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tax Days And You

As you are probably aware, Massachusetts has declared the weekend of August 17th to be Tax Days or no sales tax on items under $2500. You can buy as many items(with exceptions) under $2500 as your heart and pocketbook desire.

Now we all have the visceral thrill of disproving the adage "there is nothing certain in life but death and ..." . Is the 5%, however, worth the shopping aggravation?

In the appliance industry, the answer is unclear. As I have written in previous posts, appliance manufacturers are killing each other with rebates to increase business. Some of these rebates are as much as 30% of the total value of the products. 30% is way better than 5%.

More ominously, some of the rebates may be pulled in August. Tax weekend has people buying anyway is the rationale. My advice is to check the rebate expiration, so you can have both.

There will be other Tax Day posts on the Yale Blog, and I will teach you the finer points of surviving this weekend

Hold The Sides

Lets look at these seemingly identical refrigerators:

Although they have 2 different model numbers, these Frigidaire top mounts are almost identical. Look again

For $100, you have stainless looking sides and an icemaker. The appliance idustry is replete with different ways to save money

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

New Lighting

I may be completely biased, but lighting can change the environment of a room for less money than any other home improvement product. As I have said before, the advent of Chinese manufacturing has provided inexpensive yet surprisely decent quality residential lighting.

We are starting to see more sustainable products like bamboo and cork, which is a nice transitional look and good for the environment

Some new lighting pictures...Most of these pieces are under $300

Monday, July 21, 2008

United Colors of Laundry

90% of all laundry is purchased as white. But somehow, manufacturers have turned the most pedestrian of appliances into a design statement. Perhaps, the trend to second and third installations may be the reason.

It may be hard, however, to design a room around fire engine red or seafoam green:

Have a look:

Ironically, one of the best values for laundry currently is Frigidaires' best set ATF8000/AEQ8000, which is priced at $1199 after a ponderous amount of rebates

The other being the Maytag MFW9800 set at $1599 after rebate...ironic, because the price is for white only

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Future is in November

We have been posting about LED(light emitting diodes) for almost a year. LED is the greenest lighting available and is 7 to 10 times more efficient than incandescent. The bulb itself will last 30 times longer than an incandescent.

Because it is a new technology, LED has been scarce and expensive. One company, CREE, seems to be way ahead in color rendering and their chips seem to be in high demand.

Over the past year, more consumer products are becoming available. Tech Lighting, the best track and pendant manufacturer, will have LED pendants and track available in November...

A sample:



Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Viking Versus Wolf

Perhaps the two best name brands in our industry are Viking and Wolf. Both have good pedigrees with Wolf owned by SubZero and Viking almost creating the pro range back in 1990. I like brands, because they tend to be more reliable throughout the supply chain(acquistion, parts, technical support) and less service prone. We have to fix wayward products, so lack of product integrity is a deal breaker with us.

Which one is better depends on your taste, but lets compare 48 dual fuel stoves fairly

Viking: Good repair record, available in a myriad of colors and options.


Wolf: Better simmer capability at 500 BTU per burner(versus 900), clock and timer, two self cleaning ovens instead of one with 2 convection ovens in the master.


It seems Wolf wins this one...I will compare 30 inch stoves in the next few days.

As I look back on this post almost three years later, this comparason along with the Pro Range niche has changed.

If you want to learn more, download the Pro Cooking Buyers Guide. It compares brands and explains features and terms.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Power Up....

Years ago, consumers purchased pro ranges, because of the style and functionally the heat output. Although pro ranges seem to be the super premium choice, conventional stoves now have power burners as well. In fact, the outputs have become similar, so the question must be asked.

What is the BTU difference between a slide in at $2100 and a Pro range at about $5400?

JennAir...47,000 BTU(1 16, 15, 12 and 5)


Wolf...54,000 BTU(3 15,000 and 1 9,0000)+ other Wolf advantages: Double convection oven and three stage simmer capability on every burner.


Premium products are still selling fairly well, because people can have more affordable performance. Products to consider: JennAir, KitchenAid, Electrolux, Frigidaire and Bosch.

Cool New Stainless

Perhaps the fastest growth company in the appliance industry is LG. From 2002-2006, the company went from zero sales to achieving significant market share. Product innovation and style are the company's hallmarks.

However, there is a flip side of success. Support is needed with sales: parts, warehousing, technical support and logistics. In my opinion, this part of LG needs work. Without technical support and service, I probably would not offer LG.

They do have really interesting products....Have a look.



Sunday, July 13, 2008

Steam It....Washers

The new feature in the appliance industry is steam...It is now an item in appliances like wall ovens, washers, dryers and dishwashers. I like cool new stuff, but only if it is usable...Lets look

Washers: Introduced by LG, steam is now a featured item for Whirlpool and Maytag as well.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

How Much?

Once again, I am intrigued by the relationship between the increase in commodities, steel, gas, etc and the decrease in actual appliance prices due to recessionary constraints especially in the middle market

The MDB5601 is the most popular Maytag dishwasher. We sell it for $399 in black or white...Normally

It is $299 after 2 $50 dollar rebates or a discount of 33%

Who is Joey Kazzoun?

Meet Joey Kazzoun...I have known Joey for 20 years through my best friend from California. He is a gourmand of the highest order. His supreme highlight was cooking a 16 course meal over a 7 hour period. His favorite cuisine: Mediterranean. If you look on a map, Mediterrean covers alot of ground.

I find his appliance buying habits fascinating. He lives in Texas, so he is out of the Yale sphere of influence. This guy will scour the ends of the earth for a deal. He has actually spent a ton of time researching and buying products.

But did this gourmand decide properly or did he sacrifice performance to save a few dollars.....The guy has about 30 appliances in his home, so this will be a multiple post

Yale PSA: The End of Free Delivery

A sad day at Yale. We have been fighting an internal decision to charge for freight since the beginning of the year. The decision was effected to charge $69 as of July 14th.

The rational:

We have great delivery guys who refuse to work cheap. Each one of these guys has to submit to CORI(state criminal certification) and credit checks before employment and are trained mercilessly before they receive driver/helper status

Gas...No further explanation

The associated costs of fleet management have outstripped our ability to control and mitigate

$69 is still competitive especially since removals($25 apiece elsewhere) and power cords($18-25) are still free at Yale

I did not want charge for freight. However, with the rising associated costs, I did not want to package it in the price and then claim it. We will still offer the best delivery in the industry

I hope you understand its costs

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

French Doors 2.0

French doors (side by side refrigerator with bottom freezer) are amongst the most popular appliances sold. They currently outsell side by sides around 8 to 1

The reasons for the popularity are: full width storage, more refrigeration space and add the "coolness" factor, because consumers want form as well as function.

LG, GE, Maytag, KitchenAid and JennAir have new models with ice and water through the door...Here are a few snippets

Hint: For price, look at the Maytag unit. In July there are a ton of rebates on the model mfi2569. For state of the art, look at GE, interior LED and just a beautiful aesthetic

Monday, July 07, 2008

Maytag Epic Vs Whirlpool Duet

As you know from previous posts, Maytag is now a Whirlpool subsidiary. To review, Maytag after being incredible successful in the middle 90s with their Neptune washer tanked when the Neptune had issues.

Whirlpool then purchased this former icon for a mere pittance and smartly shuttered the factory. The new Maytag is now the same as the Whirlpool Duet...

So it should be the price....right?

Alas it is not. The best Maytag the MFW9800 with steam, better spin and heat boost is the same as the basic Whirlpool at $1599 after rebate and almost $400 cheaper than the comparably featured Duet

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Return of Asko

Before Bosch, the high quality European dishwasher was Asko. Asko was manufactured in Sweden, had great features like graphite racks, the lowest water usage and was the quietest dishwasher on the market...In fact it still is the quietest (except the difference is not detectable by the human ear, so they can claim it).

Then about 7 years ago, it stopped. The onslaught of Bosch combined with the instablity of Asea, Askos parent company, eradicated all of Askos' market share.

4 years ago, Merloni of Italy purchased the company. They have streamlined the company, improved product quality and introduced new products including this dishwasher.


The D5122 is all stainless including the wash arms, uses the least amount of water and is technically the quietest dishwasher on the market. Certainly worth a look.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

3% up and 20% down

A reader on GardenWeb wrote a post to read the Yale Blog, because it is only slightly self serving. I am mostly thankful for an almost positive review.

I also must qualify some of the rebate posts. Manufacturer rebates are available everywhere, not just Yale. As I have said on many occasions, navigating rebates will save a consumer tons of dough. As a side note, I am personally fascinated by the company letters detailing the reasons for a 3-6% increase in prices.....

Only to rebate the same products 20% one month later. Lets look at one of my favorite washer-dryer pairs as an example. The ATF800 is Frigidaires best with heat boost, extra spin and every other cycle ever offered in a washer...Now look at the price.


For the pair $1549 less $300 in rebates is $1249....