Honest opinions about how to buy Appliances and Lighting.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Labor Day

I am away today, but there is yet a new factory rebate program just published. Labor Day and Memorial seem like big promotional periods these days. This may be true nationally, but in New England, people are never home.

So when I return, we will delve into some decent buys for September.

Can't believe summer is over

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thermador Rebates

Does anyone else not understand this?

Monday, August 25, 2008


Flash back to the 1980s(back when I was cool...sort of)

At that point of time, if you wanted to purchase an overhead hood, Broan and Nutone were the only manufacturers. The Nutone version was called a chuck wagon hood evoking the high styles of the early 50s. Broan wasn't much better.

Then in the 90s the Europeans exported beautiful hoods. They became functional focal points in the kitchen...Have a look(most of these are wall mounted, but there are similar products designed for island)

A couple of pointers:

1. Ventilation is CFM and capture. Size the hood properly for what you are cooking

2. Check ceiling heights...Duct extensions can be super expensive


As we have said in previous posts, islands have become popular with the merging of kitchen and dining area into one room. People not only cook, but also live in the kitchen. This shift in lifestyle has changed ventilation considerably.

Most consumers want their cooking products in the island. They can face their guests while entertaining or keep a more watchful eye on the kids while playing. There are two ways to vent an island properly: downdraft or overhead hood. We will focus on the downdraft for today.

The advantage of a downdraft is simple. It disappears. There are a number of choices with my favorites being Best, Broan and Electrolux. The actual CFM(cubic feet per minute) can range from 500-1000.

Unfortunately, a downdraft can never handle alot of smoke, heat and/or grease. It simply doesn't have the capture area. Ventilation is after all capture and CFM.

A couple of tips:

1. Downdrafts are for basic, not professional cooking only

2. Consider an induction cooktop. It is faster than gas and emits much less heat.

3. For heavier cooking consider an overhead hood

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Islands, Style and Everything Between

I was walking around the store yesterday and had an epiphany (sudden realization.)

Have a look:

The displays are islands mirroring a trend in residential design. As I have posted previously, our parents and grandparents had formal dining rooms and working kitchens. Now the trend is to combine the two into one informal "great" room.

This change in design has ramifications in lighting, venting as well as choosing appliances...All of which will be covered next week (or thereabouts.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

More Shallow Depth Ideas

Shallow depth refrigerators are desirable in a kitchen, because the sides do not protrude. Thus the kitchen looks more linear and more attractive. SubZero pioneered the pro niche in the 60s and 70s, and were followed by GE Monogram, KitchenAid and Thermador. Later, Amana decided to manufacture the regular shallow depth product and were followed(and beaten up by) GE Profile, KitchenAid and JennAir.

Now there are a number of alternatives from an endless number of companies. Unfortunately they tend to be somewhat expensive starting at $1600 as well as only fitting a 36 inch or over cabinet.



Fisher-Paykel and Blomberg manufacture smaller widths, and are decent alternatives to traditional shallow depth products.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Viking Strikes Back

Evidentally, my earlier review of Viking Vs Wolf(July 15) caught the ire of our Viking Rep...His comments are below

FYI, I was made aware of a recent blog you posted. Glad to see people are reading. A few notes I would like to make, for what it's worth.

1) Viking currently offers 2 self clean ovens in the 48" Dual Fuel. The left oven is not convection but offers a proofing element. We are looking forward to more upgrades coming in the new Custom Series range due out in the fall.

Response: Mea Culpa

2) I would challenge any simmer out there. The BTU number is only part of the equation. The design of the burner and size will also make a big difference when comparing. We also give the user this same great feature on every burner. The customer doesn't have to worry about shuffling items around.
According to Wolf's site: They offer 950BTU simmer on their 15K burners and 325 BTU on one 9,200 burner.

Response: They have one dedicated simmer, but all of the units are three stage simmers...BTW, simmer is only measurable by BTU.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Tax Weekend, Evacuations and A Day Off

Tax Weekend was once again pretty nuts to the tune of about 53-60 customers per hour every hour. It was a little more complicated this year, because there was an electrical fire on the NSTAR line in the building....So we had to evacuate the building for awhile on the second busiest(after The Private Sale) day of the year.

Yeah, we lost some business, but nobody was injured. I refuse to be upset about these problems. It doesn't help matters much. We pay for business interruption insurance anyway

Kudos to the staff for another great effort last week...It is always appreciated.

No regular blog today...I will blog to the first topic sent by email.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Sales Tax Holiday...

A couple of interesting articles about the Mass State Tax Holiday. In my opinion, with so much bad news, anything positive is good for the economy at this point.

But there are varying opinions even within the company.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Refrigeration Part 12

A simple product designed to keep food cold has become complicated. Back in the late 1960s, SubZero designed the first shallow depth refrigerators. Designers loved the concept, because at 24 inches deep the refrigerator was in line with the cabinets.

Now there are several different types of shallow depth refrigerators: Professional with the compressors on the top, counter depth refrigerators or shallow regular refrigerators and integrated which are refrigerators less than 24" depth.

I have posted this information before now I will show you more definitely...

Integrated VS Pro


Pro and Pro Vs counter depth


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Policy of Returns

You are looking at the Yale Outlet, my home for the next 5 days.

Our return policy is simple. If the product does not fit, we will take it back without any restocking charges under 30 days. The average return policy in the appliance and furniture industry is 25% restocking plus a handling fee. Some companies do not handle returns under any situation, particularly on the internet.

Most companies are now charging to restock even before delivering the product in event of a cancellation, so be careful.

Following are a few tips on how to avoid this problem:

A. Obviously measure your space, but also measure every hall and doorway as well.

B. Most products can be stripped down, look at this dimension to determine whether the product fits.

C. Inquire about the return policy. Negotiate before your purchase or shop the sale to a more consumer friendly company.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Marthas Vineyard...Final

Following is the last of the Vineyard pics from last week. For newcomers, I spent the weekend at a friend/business associates house. He is in the granite business, and we trade granite for appliances..With the tremendous amount of granite at Yale, it buys a ton of appliances...as I discovered.

Lets look at the kitchen.

Consists of a Wolf 48 inch professional oven, 2 Bosch integrated dishwashers, 2 Shaw sinks with Perrin and Rowe faucets(ouch), Visual Comfort pendants and 2 SubZeros. We settled on a smaller 30 inch SubZero and placed a set of refrigerator drawers in the island...

And the rest of this appliance laden domicile (time to order more granite.)

This is actually a great house 2 minutes off the ferry in Vineyard Haven.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Wall Ovens

Consumers understand regular ranges. Typically, they are 30 inches with 4 burners, oven and drawer. The product becomes hard to understand, when the same oven is in a wall. The features and brands seem different than a regular range....or so it seems.

First, the reasons to buy a wall oven are multiple: The oven is off the ground, so there is no bending. Secondly, a consumer can buy double ovens within a 30 inch cabinet. In a freestanding application, there is obviously a limitation of one(the drawer does not count).

So lets pick a few.....I have actually four favorites out of the 20 or so we have on display.

1. My favorite is the least expensive at around $2100. Bosch is stylish and features the same Euro convection as the more expensive pieces. Here is another tip to saving money: Most of the commodity companies like KitchenAid (narrowly missed my list), GE or Frigidaire will offer massive rebates, if you buy their oven.


2. With the most interactive control panel, rotisserie and really great quality control, Miele would be my second favorite. This wall oven will prompt you for everything.


3. Wolf features 2 convection fans, a flip down control panel and a pizza stone. The pizzza actually tastes pretty good.


4. $3000 is the magic number. 50% of the ovens are around this price point. Of these pieces, Thermador is my favorite.


Friday, August 08, 2008

Absolute Yale

As you know, I am the CEO of this company and over the years have delegated all my old functions to more capable people. Part of resigning all operational and day to day functions seems to be resisting the urge to impose your mindset on the anointed person doing your old job.

It seems to be especially hard in marketing, my job since 2001. My way was radio advertising for short periods, but with great frequency. Our new way seems to be print(does anyone read newspapers anymore?) with more consistency.

Then there is the style: No price and item, which concerns me because we are price competitive and the minimalist nature of the ads themselves...Vodka bottle yes, appliance store...? BTW, read the offer very carefully.

Absolut Yale


Thursday, August 07, 2008

Yale at 500

Hard to believe, we are at 500 posts in about a year and one half...about 220 people read us daily plus another 100 or so direct subscribers.

Hopefully, we have stayed true to the mission of simplifying a very stressful purchase and maybe we have nudged you to considering Green purchases. The math, at least to us, seems compelling.

The times have changed since our first post. I do still believe in the value of remodeling smartly for many reasons and will continue posting to that end.

On behalf of Pat and myself....Thank you.

Steve Sheinkopf
Yale Appliance And Lighting

The $14,000 Mistake

Take a glance at this refrigerator....


This refrigerator was the first of the internet ready appliances. It has a TV, a jukebox, camera and an incredible interface.

It bombed for 2 reasons.

A. LG manufactured this product in Titanium only...Titanium does not match stainless steel or any other color for that matter.

B. They totally overestimated the market. People did not care about these features in a refrigerator.

It is certainly a cautionary tale for most manufacturers....for consumers buying appliances, I would ask: Do you need to spend money on unneeded features?

BTW, the refrigerator resides in our lunch room for the staff.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

How to Survive Tax Weekend

So it is Taxday weekend again August 16-17.

TaxDay refers to an exemption of products $2499 or less for personal use. In theory, a consumer can purchase an unlimited amount of items under $2499 without tax.

Following is a few tips on how to survive the crowds and the aggravation thereof:

1. Do your shopping now before the weekend.

2. Generate a quotation on the items you wish to purchase.

3. Either tell the salesperson to process the order on TaxDay or call/fax or email that weekend.

4. If you want to shop that weekend, head out early to your prime destinations. By prime, I refer to the big ticket items. If you waiting in line 3 hours for a $20 item, you may find that your time is probably worth more.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


I am really starting to like track lighting...Track is an alternative to recessed lighting for task applications. Track can also provide the other elements to properly light a room, which are accent, ambient and even decorative.

And it can be so good looking:

Monday, August 04, 2008

Cheap Pros

So you have decided to buy a professional range, it is an exciting purchase. The range will have a burner output of 15-18,000 BTU, convection oven and the all important commercial look. For some of us, the excitement ends at the price, which can be prohibitive. For a 30 inch range, the tag can be in the $3500-6000 range. For a 36, the price can be $5400 to almost 10,000.

There are, however, very good alternatives to the traditional professional range. First, the burner output can be emulated on most standard ranges. A JennAir pro style slide in, for example, will have 2 16,000 BTU burners.

If it is the commercial look you seek then Bertazzoni and NXR offer the "pro" look at a much cheaper price.

Have a look...


Upside: Price (the 30 inch is only $1999), 18,000 BTU burners and a great simmer at 500 BTU per burner.
Downside: Brand new and unproven.



Upside: Price, great Italian styling and a multitude of finishes.
Cons: Only a few of the burners are high BTU, only available with burners.

Upside: Price



Friday, August 01, 2008

Crazy Rebates..Again

Lets look at this Frigidaire integrated dishwasher.


This $569 dollar dishwasher becomes $369 after manufacturer rebates....It is actually fairly quiet and has an absolute plethora (love that word) of features. The downside is the plastic tank, which probably should be metal since it's over $500.

But understandably, consumers will still wait for tax day.