Honest opinions about how to buy Appliances and Lighting.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Energystar Refrigerators

They don't make them like they used to is a common refrain. It is however somewhat inaccurate especially in the appliance industry. Product has always been manufactured well with notable exceptions....The GE compressor recall in 1988 and The Maytag Neptune issues of 1996, but in general appliances last about 10-12 years.
You probably have not kept cars, clothes or furniture as long.

Over the last 10 years, there has been a push towards efficiency in appliances. California mandated it in 1986 (our present Energy Secretary) and the EnergyStar program was publicized. If you were replacing a 10 year old side by side with a new french door, what would be the savings?

With the recession, its a pretty interesting answer. First, there is $110 in energy savings. Secondly, there is a $50 Nstar rebate. For many manufacturers, there is an instant $100 rebate in May with a Yale matching rebate of $100. Then there are a few with individual rebates of $50. If you buy a refrigerator as part of a kitchen package, there could be yet another package rebate of $150-300.

Quick answer: At least $350 in energy savings and rebates on side by sides and french doors and up to $750 in packages.

Not a bad time to change your refrigerator.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How To Buy An Air Conditioner

25 Years ago, the standard rule for an air conditioner BTU was square footage times 30. This, of course, is dead wrong.

No two spaces are alike. Here are some general rules..

1. 5000 BTUs is adequate for a bedroom of 175 square feet or less...add 1000 BTU per 50-60 square feet

2. add 1,000 BTU for sunny exposures, add 2,000 to 4,000 for cathedral ceilings and 4000 for a kitchen (hottest room in the house)

3. Do not overcool. The air conditioner will not dehumidify and will freeze (cold air will blow back into the unit itself)

4. Air conditioning does not turn corners well...Buy 2 smaller ones instead of a larger unit

5. EER is a measure of energy efficiency. Each point is a 10% savings in operations. Thus a 10.7 EER ac is 10% better than a 9.7

6. Through the wall acs require a slideout chassis or a liner.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A $1200 Pendant?

This post is more about what not to buy. Most of what we sell is of this variety:

Cost is between $85 and $300 on average. Lighting is intriguing and so different than appliances. Instead of dealing with major industrial companies like GE and Whirlpool, we buy from individual owners and simple partnerships.

As you can imagine, the quality can differ greatly, and once a light flickers, malfunctions or hangs crooked, consumers usually have no warranty (we warranty in home for life). Even if you did have a warranty, electricians loath these types of jobs.

Which brings us to a $1200 pendant....Why

Extreme quality....Hand blown glass, authentic details and great components. Would I buy it? In the right room, it certainly would be a consideration.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

How To Vent a Pro Properly

So many Vents...So many Choices

We show about 50 or so vents...Here is what you need to know about venting a professional or high output range so your house does not smell like the last thing you cooked

1. Capture area or depth is important, at least 24 inches

2. Vent straight...either straight up or back with as few elbows as possible

3. Use the appropriate duct...4 inch duct is for dryers not hoods

4.CFM should be:

1200 or higher for 48 inch
900 for a 36 inch with grill
600 for anything else

As I write this, the difference between a 600 and 1200 cfm blower is about $250. If you grill or wok, consider upgrading your blower cappacity accordingly.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What Happened To JennAir Downdrafts?

Look at this JennAir Expressions unit

Back in the day (about 15 years ago), we sold a ton of these in single, double and triple units. It was a state of the art product with convertible burners, inside grill and a flush design.

So what happened?

Like anything else, the product hasn't changed, but everything else has. These cooktops are induction, which is not available in the Expressions.

Componentary downdrafts like this Electrolux have allowed people to buy exactly what they want for a cooktop rather than being pigeonholded into a grill or a particular design.

Back to the drawingboard, Whirlpool (owner of JennAir)

Monday, April 20, 2009

SubZero 736 VS The BI36

For people new to the market and the blog, SubZero has introduced a new refrigerator series called the BI. So what is the difference between the BI and the newish 736.

The 7 series is integrated or flush to the cabinet with two freezer drawers.

The BI has a water purifier and a new air scrubber, which keeps food fresher by scrubbing food gases out of the inside of the refrigerator. The unit does, however, protrude past the cabinet, and is not a true integrated product like the 7 series.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Not A Twit

If you want a slightly watered down version of the ole blog, Yale now has its own page on Twitter Yale1923. I actually have one at Shanks5

You can also befriend us on Facebook if you are so inclined.

Whats the catch?

Simple really, radio, tv and advertising cost money. Facebook, email and Twitter costs nothing. We already have two sales a year directed exclusively to our email base. If new media can become viable, I will use the savings to create more offers to consumers.

Eventually, I would love to sell by tweeting...then again, it could be for the next generation

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Good Top Loader

Ah, the odious top loader...only a product like a Hummer or Dodge Durango wastes more resources that a $399 top load washer, and this workhorse refuses to die. This virtually guarantees years of wasting money to the tune of $200 per year.

This new GE is different. Its almost like a front load machine with 4.1 cubic foot capacity and only uses 16-24 gallons per wash.

Not bad for $400...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Just For Kids

I have always been ambivalent about kids lights. Will kids resent these lights in 10 years? For many years, manufacturers stopped producing these lights.

Evidentally, they are back...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Finally A Completed Line

Electrolux debuted last year in the US after being the biggest player worldwide. Their emphasis is cooking with induction range tops and pretty interesting ovens.

But something was missing. I tried to tell them 2 years ago, but they were confident in the 150 million spent on market research. When I inquired about the omission of a french door refrigerator, they went blank....Heck all I would have charged was the price of a Chianti.

It is a big deal. People want coordinated kitchens especially in the upscale market right down to the handle.

Now you can match...

Monday, April 13, 2009

How To Buy Appliances

670 plus posts and finally I am on point:

1. Rebates: Its all about rebates these days. in the old days, it was Magic Chef who started it, Frigidaire expanded and now brands like GE, Bosch and KitchenAid have rolled out programs. Rebates can save you almost 1/3 the purchase price. Watch the web, ask a trusted salesperson and review manufacturers websites...They change monthly

2. OEMs: Fancy term for the same product labelled several times. KitchenAid, Amana, Maytag, Whirlpool and JennAir have the same refrigerator. Buy the least expensive. In laundry, this could save $200-300

3. Features: What do you really need? I love the top of the line cooking products with power burners, convection and second oven, but only if the client will use it. The difference between a KitchenAid dishwasher at $600 and $1300...buttons, cycles...aka features

4. Service: Hate to say it, but the chances of a product being repaired by the manufacturer is remote at best. Find the retailer or independent who can fix increasingly intricate products

5. Social: In the old days, you would ask your friends and peers about a prospective company. Now you can check Yelp, Angieslist and CutySearch for hundreds of reviews

Friday, April 10, 2009

Single or Double?

Interesting...but will consumers like it?

Time will tell

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Split It

French door refrigeration(defined as a side by side top and bottom freezer) has replaced straight side by sides as the new upscale refrigerator of choice. The reason for said purchase: The product looks good.

A couple other reasons for the purchase:

1. More refrigeration than a side by side
2. Better lateral storage
3. Better access to the refrigerator(don't have to stoop for fruit and veg)
4. In an island setting, the shorter doors allow for more space


Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Warming drawers are the most underappreciated appliance in this industry. These units can keep food heated without dehydrating for up to 3 hours. It can also refresh leftovers. Large families with multiple dining schedules or singles who simply want to heat a slice can both be satisfied...

In the spirit of yesterdays post of never splitting appliances.....watch this.

Warming drawer average price: $1200 (starting at $700)

Range with warming drawer (and griddle, power burner and convection)...$1200

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Breaking Up Is Hard (And Expensive) To Do

Great tune. Happy Monday, I guess.

Let us presume that you will be planning/consummating or otherwise considering a remodel, renovation or new construction. Let us state further that your budget has been cut.

If you want a seriously different piece of advice guaranteed (not in a telemarketer type of way) to save you some dough, then do not split your appliances.

A single wall oven, which is defined as a stove without burners in a wall, is $700-1800 on average. A very good freestanding range with burners will cost less.

Have a look at a pictorial:

The GE Profile single wall oven with digital LED controls $2289

The GE Gas stove with convection, 17,000 BTU burner and griddle $1299

Friday, April 03, 2009

A Tale Of Two Ranges

Lets look at the Wolf dual fuel and a Bertazzoni 48 inch range.

There is a 6,000 dollar difference. What does $6,000 buy in a range?

Two self cleaning ovens
Convection in the small oven
Grill or griddle capability
Burners with a 15,000 BTU output and 500 BTU simmer capability

Is it worth the price?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

New Appliances

Every April, there is always a new appliance show for the regional dealers. This years winner is Electrolux with their french door refrigeration. Fisher Paykel was interesting, as was Bosch.

Have a look at the future: