Honest opinions about how to buy Appliances and Lighting.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Lighting Effects......Ginger Part 2

Ah Black Friday....The next 3 plus weeks will determine the fate of half the retailers. Happily, the appliance business is fairly consistent throughout the year. Most manufacturers have some pretty interesting rebates, but I do not see a Black Friday rush to buy appliances and/or lighting. Then again, consumers may show a more practical side

About 2 weeks ago, I had a request for different bulbs and their effects especially in recessed lighting. Lighting effects are determined by the Kelvin scale. The lower number, around 2000 degrees, is decent, warm lighting. The higher end, 5000 degrees, is considered unflattering light. Commercial fluorescents and actually sunlight fit this category.

So lets look.


Although the bulb should be outlawed for its inefficiency, the bulb renders especially well casting a warm, yellow glow.


Great question would be to ask which type. Color rendering fluorescents are actually pretty good at around 2800-3500 degrees Kelvin and are 4 times more efficient than incandescent.


State of the art in all ways. It renders similar to an incandescent or low voltage bulb and is 6 times more efficient with 20 times the lamp life. Of course not all LED renders the same. Read some of our more recent posts about this lighting technology

Low Voltage

Low voltage is currently the standard for upscale homes. It is actually whiter or higher on the Kelvin scale than incandescent, but by only 200 degrees. This whiter temperature actually shows granites and cabinets better than incandescent.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving. Every year I serve dinner at the Pine Street Inn for the homeless. PSI is the largest shelter in Massachusetts, and in my opinion, perhaps one of the best run charities in the area.

This holiday for me recalibrates what truly is important. If you are exposed to people who have nothing, you become grateful for what you have. Hate to be preachy. Its not my style, but it is my way of saying....

Happy Thanksgiving...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Products

LED is the way. Hate to be Zen, but its the truth.

To review (again) LED is:

1. 7 plus times per watt brighter than incandescent. Instead of a 75 incandescent or halogen, LED will use only 12 watts.
2. Has a 20 year life.
3. Cool to the touch...Doesn't add heat to the environment or further HVAC costs.

Small Tip:

Only buy LED recessed if it has a Cree chip in it. Thats right, go to the local store and ask that specific question. Cree casts white light, and every other company casts blue and/or yellow.

Lets look at the new 5 inch LED can and trim from Cree under their brand LRF. There is a much greater variety of trims and styles available than their 6 inch piece including: wheat, aluminum, pewter, black, graphite and white

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Demise of Some Interesting Things

I find myself hanging out with Dave Kiley, second generation contractor and aficionado of all things appliances and especially lighting. He was talking about the sudden disappearance of some interesting products. Is it him, he asked?

No, Dave, as the economy constricts, companies discontinue certain parts of their portfolio and keep just A or popular items to cut costs. Unfortunately, in most cases the most interesting items are not their best sellers.

Have a look:


As an example, the Broan 1050 compactor is the most powerful in the industry and is the only 12 inch compactor in the market. (They produce the GE piece). Its less costly than a cabinet at around $400. The Broan will be a memory at the end of the year.

Small tip: For the forseeable future, you may want to recheck your orders, especially on proprietary products with no substitutes. Manufacturers will continue to shed SKUs during recessionary times.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Yale PSA..Outlet

About 6 months ago, we turned our first floor into an outlet for all returns, minor scratch and dent, discontinued and obsolete products. With our hassle free return policy, products can start to accumulate. After all, we deliver about 175-200 appliances per day.

Luckily, this part of our business has developed a quite a following with the locals even without any advertising. The logis is simple. I look at this as sunk costs, and 60-80% of something is better than 100% of nothing. Customers seem to like paying 20-40% less, because the unit does not have a box or has a minor scratch...So it seems to work for everyone

Outlet is open Saturdays 9-12. We will be opening it during the week as well.

Here is a small sample of product and pricing:

GE white cooktop $125
Bosch white integrated dishwasher $499
GE black glass 36 inch cooktop $200
FRigidaire Gallery electric convection stainless range $499

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Energy Efficiency Presentation

I was asked to do a presentation on Energy efficiency appliances last night. It never ceases to amaze me how much an appliance from just 10 years ago costs to operate versus today.

Anyway, the following is the powerpoint from last night.

A couple caveats:

First, I realize that noiseless dishwashers and glass top ranges are not new, but they are to people who have not replaced their products in 40 years.

Secondly: The Subzero has a yellow energy tag of 58 dollars to operate. The energy stickers are actually from 2001 on all the products. With 2008 electrical rates, it is about $120 and a 10 year old product would be about $240.

Third: This was a 15 minute presentation without discussing bulbs. I can drone on for hours if asked....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Energy Efficiency...Part 9

Have a gander at this refrigerator...


The SubZero Pro 48 is the most expensive refrigerator to operate. But how expensive?


If you are reading this and have a 10 year old (family size) refrigerator, this beast is $75-100 cheaper to operate.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Please Don't

Quick Question: Can you place a downdraft behind a professional cooktop like this Wolf?

Although some manufacturers approve the application, the combination will not vent properly. The smoke, heat and grease cannot be adequately captured by the downdraft.

In a downvent application like an island, try induction. Induction is faster to boil and simmer. More importantly, it is 90% efficient versus 60% for gas, so there is less heat to vent....

Monday, November 17, 2008

Double Duty

Have a look at this product. Is it a freezer or refrigerator?

Threw you a softball. This product can actually perform either function with a flick of a switch. I really like the versatility...Great for storage, holidays, etc.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Recessed Trims

Ginger...This one is for you.

We have posted information on recessed lighting. As you have read, recessed is comprised of 2 pieces, the "can" or electrical housing and the "trim" or decorative piece.

There are tons of trims available, so we will concentrate on the most popular.

The Baffle (no idea who names this stuff.)

The Baffle is without question the most popular trim sold. Named for its baffle interior, this trim reduces glare and in white blends well with the ceiling.

The Eyeball

The Eyeball is used prinarily for accent and washing of walls. Quick tip: Buy an eyeball that is regressed, which does not protrude outside of the ceiling like in picture 1.

The Multiplier

The Multiplier has a shiny interior usually in chrome or gold. This trim multiplies light and can be a nice accent if you have gold, chrome or bronze accents in the room.

Closed trims

These trims are watertight and used in shower and outdoor applications.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pro Electric?

In 1990, Viking and Dynasty brought the restaurant range to the home. The Professional range has been a mainstay in upscale kitchens ever since. Restaurants almost exclusively cook in gas, because of the high heat (although induction has become more popular commercially.)

But how do you purchase the same commercial style in electric? Assuming of course, you do not want to install propane.

The answer is below. BTW, thank you to the anonymous poster, who asked the question.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pro Vs Regular

Quick Question: What burner has better BTUs?

The GE bridge element or the Thermador Professional Star Burner.

Have a look:

Answer is GE at 18,000 versus 15,000 for the Thermador.

Guess what...regular non professional stoves have at least one high btu burner of 15,000 or greater. These units start typically at about $600-$700 rather than $2900 from a pro.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

How To Buy...Recessed Lighting Part Three

I have actually broached the topic in previous posts. The new method is to briefly explain the basics and answer questions on or off line. (I read this in a blog mag)

Recessed lighting is actually 2 parts. The can is the electrical part and fits within a ceiling. The trim is the decorative piece.

To buy recessed, follow this sequence:

1. Is the ceiling insulated or uninsulated..determines the style of the can
2. How tall are the ceilings...determines size of the can...For low to medium heights...choose a 4 or 5 inch can...taller ceilings 6 inch or greater
3. What room are we lighting...Kitchen and baths need more light. Rough measurement for kitchen...12-24 inches off cabinet and 3-4 four feet apart
4. Is this task or accent lighting...Task requires an open or baffle type trim. Accent requires a more specialized trim like an eyeball, pinhole or regressed trim.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Meet Ed

Ed is a customer who finally decided to replace his 50 year old Frigidaire drop in range. A drop in range is a product which is supported (dropped in) on a base cabinet. There are still tons of these stoves around the area especially from the 1950s and 60s.


How do you replace a 50 year old stove without spending a fortune on renovation?

Try this:

Slide in...To switch, the electrical must be converted and the base cabinet eliminated.

Wall oven/cooktop: Decent option, but the countertop needs to be reworked.


GE: GE still manufactures the style. Easier option since the cabinet just needs some modification, but the product is not as compelling as the others.


Friday, November 07, 2008


The new tact in customer acquisition is..."We will beat it by $100 or 15% or its yours for free"

Pan to the clerk..."Sorry Sir, I can't beat this price, so its yours for free"

Can this happen?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

How To Buy...A Dishwasher

The dreaded How To series continues....How do people actually buy a dishwasher?

After all, we display 45 or so models.

Have a look at a few:

European Vs American: Europeans have a filter. Americans have an eviscerater, which shreds the leftover food.

Integrated: Controls on the top. Cooler look, but it will cost you.

Quiet: Strange fact; brands cannot claim the quietest product. The difference between manufacturers is not detectable by the human ear.

Cycles: The amount of wash, rinse and dry time. A pots and pans cycle, for example, is the longest cycle at 99 minutes.

Racks: In some brands, the top rack can adjust 16 positions.

My favs...

Frigidaire: Great low cost supplier.

Bosch: Reasonable, quiet and efficient.

KitchenAid: My Mom had one.

Miele: Great repair record.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


So what are you doing Monday and/or Tuesday...Could be a good day to shop for appliances.

How To buy....A Front Load washer...Part 2

This is a sequal to an earlier post. There have been many changes in this category, so its worth a revisit.

Have a Peek:

Size: The average size is now 4.0 cubic foot with Electrolux being the largest at 4.7, or double a top loading unit. I still think the Frigidair Affinity at 3.5 cubic foot should be large enough.

RPM: The better units have average RPMs or spin speed at 800-1200. This is a decent feature as the clothes will be drier with a greater spin, which saves electricity, money and is better for your clothes.

Heat: Like the spin, the booster option heats the water typically another 20 degrees for whites.

Steam: Steam is employed 2 ways. Clothes can be refreshed without ironing or can be used to blast/pretreat tough stains.

Controls: Wave touch, IQ touch, Master Chef, Novatronic....The better washers allow customization down to the fabric.

My Favs:

Frigidaire Affinity: Inexpensive, fully featured.

Whirlpool/Maytag: Same machine...Good size.

Bosch: The most Eco friendly.

Miele: Best repair record.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Ge Monogram....Part 4

I have blogged about the new GE Monogram products over the last 2 weeks. Lets look at the range and hood. We also look at how to buy these products in general:

The Range:


The new Monogram has decent specs, but the desirable specs are:

1. BTU output: The average pro is 15-16,000 BTUs...GE is 18,000.
2. Simmer: A Good simmer is 500 BTU...GE measures by temperature at 140 degrees.
3. Surface has the ability to be purchased as 6 burner, 4 burners grill or griddle.
4. Oven is convection or double convection.




1. CFM...Cubic foot per minute. For a 36 inch stove, the hood should be 600 cfm and 900 if purchased with grill or griddle
2. Capture Area: A Pro hood should be 24 inches deep in order to pool or capture the smoke

A few other tips:

1. Size the duct properly...Use at least 8 inch round for Pro installations.
2. Duct straight: Efficiency is lost with bends.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Desperate Times Call For....Rebates

There seems to be a theme to The Yale Blog. Every month, I seem to be amazed by the sheer magnitude of rebates. Actually, Sears does a pretty good job advertising their 20% off sale.

With the economy in recession, most manufacturers are offering individual and package rebates, which can total 40%. Consider rebates when you researching an appliance purchase. Buying a complete kitchen from one company will maximize the amount of rebate dollars.

Lets look at a few individual pieces by brand...

Frigidaire: Their best selling dishwasher and washer have $150 in rebates

Bosch: $200 on their popular slide in ranges and $150 on their best selling dishwasher.

GE Cafe: $150 on the dishwasher and $100 on the refrigerator.

KitchenAid: $175 on their best selling dishwasher.