Honest opinions about how to buy Appliances and Lighting.

Friday, February 27, 2009

EnergyStar Maytag

On March 1-March 30, 2009, this Maytag Epic machine will be $499 after $350 in rebates. This is not the long dead Neptune machine. Maytag laundry has been manufactured by Whirlpool for 3-4 years. As I have posted before in tough times, manufacturers will do almost anything to keep factories rolling.

This may be a good time to review the $100 difference this month between an EnergyStar Maytag front load versus a conventional top load.
Regular Estar
Water consumption Gallons 14,000 versus 5,009
Energy consumption kilowatt hours 374 versus 153
Spin RPMs 400 versus 1200
Capacity Cubic feet 2.6 versus 3.26

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Way Different Post

This is a different post than the norm. I am not bashing a competitor or a group of stores. However, I look at these circulars and we shop our competitors weekly. To be honest, I wonder about the lowest price claims.

Big stores should be buying in bulk and selling cheaper. Unfortunately, with appliances especially, there is more administration, handling and cost. Most independents like Yale have less administration and buy through national buying groups.

Have a look at this ad of a featured unit on sale...

Versus us (or anyone else)

This is not a buy Yale post....just don't assume you have to walk into a warehouse for the lowest price...Shop, use the phone and check online.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Owens Renovation Part 2

We delivered GE Cafe appliances to Owen in yesterdays post. Today, lets look at his lighting issues. Lighting is more challenging, because there are tons of options. We also have to consider his sense of style and blend that with his new decor.

Issue 1: Glass cabinet

His glass cabinet did not leave much room for traditional strips or undercounter lighting, so we used LED tape...Nice effect (terrible pic).

Issue 2: How to light a big painting.

He had existing old recessed, but replacing with wall washers would have been inadequate. We used stainless Tech track with customized black glass heads.

Issue 3: How to light ambiguous art object.

Two ways really (for now)...Low voltage track or recessed...Owen chose the track.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Owens' Renovation

This is Owen, my next door neighbor.

I like Owen. He is a great next door neighbor always polite, mostly quiet and just an all around likeable person. One day Owen asked me to help with his renovation. He had a number of lighting and appliance related issues which are my specialty.

Lets look at the appliances first.

Issue 1: Old Appliances....Did not want to spend a ton of dough replacing.

Answer: GE Cafe....It has style for a fraction of the price of SubZero/Viking/Wolf. We could have substituted Bosch (he liked the GE range better plus Bosch does not have a french door) or Frigidaire. As I have posted previously, you can renovate affordably and still have very good products.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The $804 Renovation

There are plenty of reasons to renovate: Energy efficiency (replacing of old appliances), changing configurations and/or room specs, replacing old cabinets and counters.

Now if you are moving and do not want to spend the money (or not moving and do not want to spend the money). Then consider changing your lights...

Somewhat self serving you say? Have a look at these two pictures...

Total cost of "renovation"...$804

Friday, February 20, 2009

LED Pendants

Lets look at pendants...As I have mentioned before with the merging of living space and dining room, pendants (fancy word for smaller lights) have become more popular.

Lets look at more pendants.

Lets look at Daren "Leadfoot" Lechner hang even more pendants (and why 150 is not enough)

Now lets focus on these two: These are LED pendants and use a fraction of the light of the others. In the past, a low output LED was just that...low output. LED pendant 2.0 has the output and color renderings of a regular light, just without the electrical consumption

Thursday, February 19, 2009

In With The New

You are the second person to see the new GE Induction range (after me.)

Induction (to review) is much faster than gas, offers lower simmering and emits far less heat in the room. The good news about GEs entrance into the market is Frigidaire and Whirlpool will not be far behind. Then the pricing will be lower as competition intensifies and the technology improves.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Come On

You can almost sense the desperation in the retail community. As I have written previously, the offer that the product is free if the retailer cannot match the price is at best bizarre...Then again so are promises of $500 back or 15% or whatever

At the same time, you have a very real chance of losing your money at a faltering store if you are placing a deposit on a significant item for future delivery

Protect yourself with some simple steps:

A. I will not shop anywhere without a personal recommendation from a friend/expert or very positive social media posts: Look at Yelp, Citysearch, AngiesList for aggregate posts

B. Empty stores are usually empty for a reason

C. I question a price that is way lower as it usually means there are hidden fees somewhere else. People make this mistake when choosing contractors and then become slammed with change order increases

D. I love the phone. Call the company. Look for return calls, etc. Think your contractor will wait on the phone for more than 2 minutes....Think again

E. Maybe its just me, but dirty, unkempt stores are a precursor to lousy service later

Be careful out there.....

Monday, February 16, 2009


They don't make them like they used to....so they say.

Thank heaven they don't...so I say.

Have a look at these refrigerators...They have one common feature.

These products are all EnergyStar compliant, and qualify for a $50 rebate. A new refrigerator will save $100 per year versus a product purchased 10 years ago.

Cool graphs and forms

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Yale PSA: The Yale Home Show

I always plan the Home Show for 9 days and two weekends. There is certainly enough to cover with induction, LED and other interesting household products, but truthfully I always plan on losing one weekend to snow.

Last weekend, they closed the exit to actually drive here, so there is the aforementioned planned lost weekend.

With all due deference to Ming, Paul and Brenda, this weekend will likewise be great with Nelson from Kouzina, Tagare the corporate chef from Monogram, Chris from Dbar, Regina Dvorak(great young chef) and Steve Shipley from Johnson and Wales. Steves' demos are incredible.

Have a look


One last note, we are more than competitive with the Presidents Day sales...The above is just bread and circus without offering value


I have been writing about LED lighting since we started the ole blog over 2 years ago. For review, LED, is 5 to 7 times more efficient than incandescent, lasts 20 years and does not emit heat, which saves HVAC costs.

Now the problems:

Problem 1: They cannot seem to manufacture LED so the color is white.

That issue has been rectified, but only by a few brands, most notably Cree, Juno and Jesco.

Problem 2: For many of the undercabinet systems, you need a "driver" or transformer. You still actually need this in many low voltage applications, but electricians hate the extra wiring.

Have a look at this:

The new Juno undercabinet...white and driverless. Available middle of February 2009.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bad Ventilation

So we are having our Home Show this week. Yesterdays seminar was indoor grilling sponsored by Viking. The indoor grill always smokes out the store, and is a cautionary tail for people who stir fry, grill or griddle.

CFM or speed of the blower, duct size and duct run(length of duct from the motor to the outside) are key elements to venting properly. However without capture area or a depth of 24 inches, smoke can bypass the hood even if you oversize the blower.

Viking range...24 inches to the outside of the burner. Mantel hood improperly fabricated at 19 inches depth.

Add a professional chef and a ton of fatty meat...

And you have a room or kitchen filled with smoke.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cool Things?

A couple of mini posts today...

Have a look at this Viking induction portable burner.

I actually like this unit. Its fast, portable and somewhat reasonable at $529: great ancillary burner.

Now look at this Blanco faucet:

$700-$800 for an LED light in the faucet....Seems like a ton of dough for very little functionality.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Amana Vs Maytag

Bottom freezers are popular. Simple reason: No bending for fruits and veggies.

But you see the Amana and Maytag, and you want to make the right decision. You check Consumers Report and the results are(and should be inconclusive)

Its the same product: Maytag has an icemaker, Amana does not. In some cases, there could be 5 brand names for the same exact item

KitchenAid Vs Bosch

Have a look at the two best selling dishwashers in the market, Bosch and KitchenAid.

They both sell well, yet both are different ...Cliff Note differences below.

Bosch: Quieter, uses less water and energy, has lower starting prices and heats the water hotter.

KitchenAid: Has a grinder (you do not have to clean a filter like Bosch), better racks in the higher models, more features, cycles and a heated dry option.

Both companies are offering rebates in February of $50-150 on their best models

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Viking Induction

The first Viking induction range is now on display.

But is it better than the Viking gas?

It is definitely better. Induction will heat faster and instantly simmer. Because it is 30% more efficient, induction does not emit heat into the room like a high powered professional unit.

As I read this in 2011, there are several induction ranges. If you want to learn more, read the Electric Range Buyers guide

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Circuit, Home Expo and Tweeter

Less than 10 years ago, Circuit City was profiled in the book "Good to Great". It's the story of how ordinary companies become extraordinary in less than 20 years.

Now they are gone. I bought my stereo from Tweeter, and also looked at Home Expos format in Plano, Texas almost 10 years ago.


Lets look at this Wolf 48 inch stove:

It has 15,000 BTU outputs with each burner capable of simmering consistently at 500. The top can be purchased with grill, griddle or frenchtop.

The main oven is double convection, self cleaning and the side unit is also self cleaning convection.

This is arguably our best stove. Then again at $11,000 plus, it probably should be.

Have a look at this Bertazzoni range:

Now its not self cleaning and the top is not as powerful nor does it simmer as well, but it looks good for half the money.

For more information about Pro Ranges take a look at our Pro Cooking Buying Guide, which includes info about brands, features and trends.

Monday, February 02, 2009

How to Buy Decorative Lighting

Lets look at the traditional, yet contemporary fixture...Notice anything different, beside the color and style.

Look again.

It has no arms. Probably about 30% like this fixture, 50% do not and 20% are ambivalent. That's the beauty of decorative lighting or any other product of fashion. Chandeliers are only part of a lighting plan, and the other elements task, accent and ambient are the real illuminators.

So as I have posted before, buy what you like...You can mix styles, colors even sizes (to a point)...Its all personal taste.