Honest opinions about how to buy Appliances and Lighting.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The ROI of Green

People will not buy Green products unless there is an immediate return on investment...especially now. Ironically, that was the topic of last nights presentation. LED, compact fluorescent, refrigerators, laundry and induction are covered.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Food Collection

So you have a person in your house that just shovels all the leftovers from his/her plate into the sink...

Watch this: Ordinary sink opening with new strainer basket, rather than an ordinary strainer....great for septic systems.

Speaking of septic, you can legally buy a disposer with a septic tank. Insinkerator manufacturers this disposer, which chemically breaks down the food. Have a look...

You will like tomorrows post...for sure

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Kitchen Sink

Sinks are fairly innocuous. They stay under your cabinet...catch and dispose water. Before you buy a cheap one, understand that replacing a sink involves re-plumbing faucets, disposers and possibly the dishwasher.

Couple of easy solutions:

1. Sizing: Sinks, like appliances, follow cabinets. Cabinet sizes are predominantly 25,33 and 38 inches. Sinks are 22, 30 and 36 inches.

2. Gauge: Refers to the amount of nickel in the sink. 18 Gauge is considered decent, but there is more nickel in a 17 gauge product. More nickel means a more scratch resistant sink.

3. Shape: Never understood the double bowl, big single bowls have become more popular.

Have a look at some new 17 gauge sinks...

Friday, September 25, 2009

EnergyStar Event

The folks for EnergyStar will be at Yale Saturday from 10-2. There will be games, energy saving tips and they will be promoting their $169 instant, exclusive rebates on EnergyStar refrigerators...

A Decent Solution?

Finishing our week of mostly refrigeration: There is currently only one solution for a paneled refrigerator at a somewhat reasonable($2800) price. The KitchenAid
KFC22 is designed for this application.

But lets take a closer look:

KitchenAid has a thick door in order to hold the panel, and thus protrudes way more than a normal built in. It is still a decent solution, but be wary of the actual look.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Shallow Depth Refrigeration

This site is tied in with Google Analytics. Yesterday, I was looking at keyword search details, and 7 out of the 10 reasons people look at our blog in the last 30 days is for shallow depth refrigeration, which may be a good reason for a post.

Quite honestly, shallow depth looks aesthetically cleaner in a kitchen, as the black or gray sides are not shown. The refrigerator is 24 inches deep, so it is also dimensionally similar to standard cabinets.

There are two types of shallow depth products: Regular (there is no official name for this) and integrated.

Regular shallow depth products are 24 inches deep plus the door. This is the largest segment of the shallow depth category. It includes SubZero, KitchenAid, GE among others...

Integrated fits within a 24 inch panel and is best for paneled applications. Best brands include: Thermador, Liebherr, Miele, Gaggenau and SubZero...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Electric Ranges...Basics

As I wrote with gas, the basics of free standing stoves is easy to understand, of the two, electric is even easier. Most electric ranges have a glass top called ceran. There are only two places where these tops are manufactured with Schott being the primary supplier.

So lets look at the real differences between electric ranges...

The top

1. Basic 4 burner
2. 4 burners with warming zone
3. 4 burners with oblong or griddle type burner
3. Induction...Magnetic heat. Fastest and best form of cooking (gas or electric)


1. Basic radiant oven
2. Convection..fan forced heat to keep a more even heat


1. Storage
2. Warming Drawer - keeps food warm for up to 3 hours
3. Second Oven

1. storage
2. warming drawer...keeps food warm for up to 3 hours
3. second oven

Two companies seem to dominate our electric range sales, Frigidaire and GE. Frigidaire has decent features for the price. GE is a little more upscale and has the only induction range in the free standing category.

For more specific information about electric ranges, please click here for the electric range buyers guide

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mercury And You Part 2

Quick Question:

Which contains more mercury; this Yale associate or a compact fluorescent bulb?

Correct answer is the Yale associate. The Yale associate has fillings, which contain higher levels of mercury than this bulb. Mercury is a dangerous element and harmful but, the bulb has only trace levels of mercury. You still however, have to dispose of it properly.

The benefits in my opinion (Hello Benton Harbor) outweigh the risks. The fluorescent is 4 times more efficient, lasts 10 times longer and emits 1/3 the heat compared to a standard incandescent bulb. We actually converted most of the showroom to color rendering (similar color output as an incandescent) fluorescent.

Total savings first month $1500-2500. Staggering as it may seem, we were able to use 5 watt fluorescent instead of 25 watt incandescent, and we no longer have the heat issue in the store...which turns on the ac, etc. We also do not have to change bulbs constantly.

EnergyStar Refrigeration

Our new site needs work, and it does have issues. We are working to address, but to clarify: All EnergyStar refrigerators for NSTAR and National Grid customers from GE, Frigidaire, Electrolux, SubZero, Thermador and Bosch have $169 instant rebates...Its a little confusing at the present time without question

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Back To Basics...Gas Freestanding Ranges

Gas ranges and appliances aren't difficult when you really look at them.

Have a look...

The top:

1. Basic Top with 1 power burner of 14,000 BTU(unit measure of heat output)
2. Better Top with 5 burners and a power burner of 16,000 BTU
3. Best top with top BTU output of 17,000 and a griddle


1. Non Convection
2. Convection...fan forced heat for a more even temperature


1. A...Drawer
2. A warming drawer which maintains food for up to 3 hours or refreshes leftovers
3. A second oven

Not much harder than that.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Products?

As I mentioned in the last post, once a year the appliance manufacturers show new products in Foxwoods. Predictably, this year was the least inspiring. In a recession, the easiest way to remain profitable is to slash inventories, reduce headcounts and slash R&D. Slashing R&D typically means less new products as was the case on Monday.

Its not all bad. The newer products(2-6 months) may have less features, but also have lower prices. Winners: the new laundry from Bosch, the new Duets from Whirlpool, new GE refrigeration...

Have a look:

Most inspirational product: This disposal "Gator"...lose a ring or other valuable down the disposer and this contraption will fish it out...complete with LED light.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Meet The New Boss (Tomorrow)

Had a great blog set for today...I was posting the new introductions on appliances from an industry show held at Foxwoods yesterday, but I forgot the pictures. So now the post is about: How to buy appliances now:

Some of this is a review

1. Look for rebates: Its still number one. Sears, Lowes, Home Depot and every appliance store has some kind of rebate offer. Example: Viking and Thermador pro ranges have similar specs, but Thermador is also adding a dishwasher for free with purchase...advantage Thermador.

2. Have a Bottom Line Mentality: 30% off $1,000 is still more expensive than $650. As consumers, we pay with dollars not discounts. The price at the bottom of the invoice is the only relevant item

3. Free is...?: Free Delivery is a great idea, unless there is a charge of $30 for removal, another $60 to walk up two flights of stairs and $25 for a range cord(which costs $3). Ask these questions before you buy

4. Buy what you use, will use and more importantly understand: The over the range GE Advantium is a great piece cooking at 4-8 faster than a regular range. If you use just the microwave only feature, you have overspent by $400-500...same with convection or any other step up feature.

5. Be Social: Angies List is worth the subscription, some free resources like Yelp and Citysearch will have reviews. Quick Note: There are issues with every store...Look at the responses from the stores to the problems as an indicator of your future experience...Also, ask friends, neighbors and tradespeople where they shop

6. Selection is good: Meaning you want to see it. Do not be pushed into store brands without a reason as salespeople typically are paid a higher commission for selling a store brand

7: Service: Establish who will fix it BEFORE you buy. Appliances are not cars. Every major car dealership has service, not every appliance store does the same. You will need service on a new product 15-18% of the time, so prepare beforehand

8. Walk: There are plenty of stores who want your business if someone is being unreasonable or unaccommodating(or both)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Types of Refrigeration

Back in the ancient days, I was the trainer for the new salespeople (to be)...

Third Lesson: Do not use industry terms. This is a rule I violate every day on the ole blog...until today.

Let start with the many types of refrigeration. We have 130+ on display, so lets look at a few.

Top Mount: Fridge on bottom, freezer on top

Advantage: Inexpensive, great selection for smaller spaces
Disadvantage: Stooping for vegetables, fruits, nothing over 21 cubic feet
Best Brands: Frigidaire, GE

Bottom Mount: Fridge on top, freezer on bottom

Advantages: No stooping for fruits/veg, larger sizes available
Disadvantages: Stooping for ice cream, pricier than the top mount
Best Brands: GE, Amana

French Door: Side by side top with bottom freezer

Advantages: Its cool...face it, French is also great in an island scheme, because there is not one wide door
Disadvantages: Pricier than a bottom freezer

Side By Side: Refrigerator on right freezer on left

Advantages: Organized storage, more freezer space(which can also be a disadvantage), smaller doors are better for islands
Disadvantages: Poor lateral storage, not enough refrigeration
Best Brands: Frigidaire, Bosch and GE

Shallow Depth: Can be any of the top configurations, only with the depth being 24 inches plus the door.

Advantages: Looks great in a kitchen
Disadvantages: Pricier with less cubic footage

Professional: Compressor on the top, shallow depth, multiple configurations

Advantage: Impressive
Disadvantage: Impressive price
Best Brands: SubZero, Liehberr, Thermador

Integrated: Fits seamlessly inside a cabinet, cleanest look

Advantage: Freedom to place components where you wish...really the best look with expensive cabinetry
Disadvantage: Most money per cubic foot
Best Brands: Bosch, Thermador

Thursday, September 10, 2009

EnergyStar $169 Rebates

Quick review then a question:

Replacing a 10 year old refrigerator with an EnergyStar will save $100-110 per year...

Replacing a 20 year old refrigerator with an EnergyStar will save $200-250 per year...

Piece of advice: Your second refrigerator...remove it.

Now the question: What does the SubZero built in, GE french door, Frigidaire top mount and Bosch side by side have in common:

They all have $169 instant rebates as a joint venture between Yale, NSTAR and National Grid.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Electrolux Laundry

I actually like these units, but for different reasons. Sure, it has decent specs. Electrolux is the largest units in the industry at 4.7 cubic feet or double a top load. It also does not use much water or electricity and has some pretty robust controls.

One of their main features is the 18 minute wash and 18 minute dry cycles, but this is only for very small loads.

Their best feature by far is the venting profile...or lack thereof. The vent is recessed from the back of the unit, so you now only need 31" inches of depth. On other units, the depth is 31 plus 4 inches in depth for the vent pipe.

Great space saver for stacks and closets.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


We spend a ton of time explaining the vast difference between EnergyStar front load washers and the conventional top loaders. In the long term, the cost of operation of a top load is way too expensive...

Dryers are the same story just with different terminology. Couple of pointers on buying the right unit:

1. Dont worry about size. The smallest dryer is larger than the biggest washer.

2. Look for a moisture sensor: Moisture sensor will shut the heat when it senses a level of moisture in your clothes. Total win/win. Clothes are not shrunk and energy is not wasted.

3. Don't buy on cycles: It's just a timer anyway. Cycles are writing next to the knob. Total waste of your dough if you are buying a machine only on this basis.

For no extra charge, following are a few operating tips:

1. Do multiple loads at once...Dryer is already hot, and there is no energy wasted.

2. Clean the lint filter often...Dryer operates more efficiently.

3. If you do not feel like ironing (I actually like ironing), throw the wrinkled garment into the dryer on an air fluff cycle.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

New Models

Appliance companies usually wait until September to release new models. Being a contrarian by nature, we usually buy the present models, because the manufacturer will mark these down to prepare for the new.

Unlike cars, new models in appliance typically have aesthetic, not functional differences, so now would be a good time to look for an almost discontinued yet still current unit.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


Tomorrow is a big day in Yale history. The launching of our new website. Like most software, this has more than a few flaws, but it is way better than what we have at present

Hopefully, you will think so

Cut, paste and behold 11 months of work

RIP JennAir (For Now)

As of today, we will no longer be carrying JennAir at Yale. The JennAir kitchen is now Frigidaire Pro...

The display pieces are in outlet...

So what happened? Jennair was very popular at this store since the 1970s and occupied the affordable luxury niche recently. They have had a couple of challenges over the last 8 years.

First, they have been completely out-marketed by Viking and Wolf at the high end, as well as Electrolux, Bosch and GE in their core market. Every one of these companies has introduced new compelling products while JennAir stuck to their dwindling downdraft segment.

Secondly, the brand has been commoditized beyond recognition. I am not critical of Whirlpool as a manufacturer. They are the best appliance factory people in the world. That's the issue. They leverage their factories, so the same product is produced for 6 different labels. There is absolutely no reason to now buy JennAir other than their new overpriced walloven...all the other products are co-branded with other brands.

For JennAir to succeed, Whirlpool needs to start from scratch and create unique products branded exclusively for JennAir. Can they? Absolutely. Will they....?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Two Fans Are Better Than One?

In the 1970s, convection was introduced in wall ovens. Simply, convection is fan forced heat, so a more even heat is spread through the oven. Thus, food is more consistently cooked. We bake cookies at Yale 6 days a week, and each cookie has the same texture and flavor (not that anyone seems to notice.)

Flash forward 30 years and Wolf designs a new system employing 2 fans with more cooking modes and programs.

Have a look:

Great item, but at $7,000, it could be expensive. Surprisingly, there is now a new alternative from Frigidaire Professional with 2 similar fans...

One word of caution: Just because it has 2 fans, it does not guarantee performance. We will have to cook with this product, before we consider it a worthy alternative.