Honest opinions about how to buy Appliances and Lighting.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cooking Light

Want to learn how to Cook Light? How about learning from the Chef at Cooking Light Magazine?
His name is Chef Billy Strynkowski, and he will be at Yale this weekend

The guy is really worth the trip(yes even to an appliance store)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Do This NOT That

Let's say you cannot vent your dryer. You live in a condo in Boston or any other city. For LEED and PassiveHouse certification, its pretty common. Now you have really two options. Either you buy a washer with a separate condenser dryer (turns steam into water) or a washer and dryer combination in one unit. My strong recommendation:

Do this: Bosch washer and condensor dryer

Not that: Any combination washer and dryer

Why: First the dryer in a combo is 110v, so it is notoriously slow. Secondly the rate of repair is far better with a condenser.

Big Tip:

If you have purchased a condenser set, run a water line from the dryer to the drain in the washer. The water will then be drained from the dryer therough the washer, so it does not have to be emptied (my drivers taught me that).

Thursday, October 28, 2010


So many bulbs, so many choices...LED, Low voltage, halogen, incandescent. Let me explain.

Incandescent: Regular light bulb still renders (at 2500K) the best in terms of quality of light. It is however, really bad with 10% efficiency, 7 month life and 300 degree heat emission.

Halogen: Halogen is an incandescent bulb with halogen gas on the filament. It is a whiter beam, which is desirable in kitchens (2700-3000 Kelvin), but it is an incandescent so it is generally an inefficient bulb.

Low Voltage: Low voltage is another incandescent white light. The light and the beam can be controlled more readily, because it is converted to 12 volt from 120. Although there are a few high quality low voltage bulbs with life of up to 18,000 hours it has the characteristics of the aforementioned bad incandescent light.

CFC: Compact fluorescent bulbs have a better longevity at 7 years with less heat emission. You can buy dimmable, color rendering fluorescent bulbs, but typically a basic fluorescent cannot do either.

LED: Light emitting diodes (LED) are the best with a 20 year life, zero heat emission and 90% efficiency. It even renders similarly to an incandescent. Payback is 2.5 years, but the initial outlay is expensive. Be VERY careful with LED lights: buy them with a CREE chip, so the quality of the light is good.

This post is somewhat complicated, but search LED and Kelvin posts for a better understanding

BTW, thank you to Christine from Canton...appreciate the Twitter mention.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Down On The Farm

Ah, the farm sink....a beautiful adaptation to what must have been on a farm back in the day. Whereas most sinks are undermounted or hidden under granite, this sink is pronounced and in your face.

Have a look...

Big tip: If you want one of these, you must plan it early. The design of this sink impacts cabinets....But this is a really unique (and expensive starting at $1,000) sink.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

3 Ranges

With the introduction of induction at lower prices of $1639, it will be interesting to see how manufacturers react in the category. If you want to look at just stove tops as a precedent, induction will be at the high end and regular electric ranges will price far below and have basic features.

Induction, as I have posted previously, is better technology. It is faster, better to simmer and more efficient than even a professional gas burner.

With that in mind...let's compare based on features an induction range against 2 others in the same price range.

Samsung $1829 - Four induction burners, three convection fans and warming drawer.

Electrolux $2299 - 5 burner, single convection with a second oven...Like the style and the second oven is better than the Samsung warming drawer, but it is $470 more.

Bosch $1899 - 4 burner, convection and warming drawer...I like the brand and the style, but it is $70 more...for what?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pendant/Decorative Lighting

The videos are a bit confusing....However, there are two essential points:

A. Pendants have become the main style of decorative lighting. As dining rooms and kitchens have merged, bigger islands and "great rooms" call for more yet smaller lights.

B. Decorative lighting doesn't or should not be the main lighting source. It is simply part of an overall lighting plan especially if the other elements (task, accent and ambient) are present.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Miele Dishwashers

JD Powers awarded Miele their award for dishwashers. I never knew there was a JD Powers award for any appliance categories or companies.

In my opinion, they are correct. Miele manufactures the best dishwasher in the world.

Have a look:

Miele has some cool features:

Plate guard plus: Designed so the plates do not chip

Double insulated pump: Product will never leak

Separate Cutlery tray: Silverware has separate rack to prevent scratches and allow for more space in the unit

The best feature is ironically its biggest problem. Miele doesn't outsource anything. They manufacture their own controls, motors and even components. In an age where manufacturers are designing in Europe, outsourcing parts in China and assembling in Mexico, Miele is exactly the opposite. By owning the entire process Miele has a much better control on product quality.

Their repair rate is 3 to 11 times better that their competition. In fact, it is the best repair rate in the the industry by far.

However, it doesn't come cheap. Miele dishwashers start at $1199, over twice the average purchasing price.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


My first iPhone videoblog....It's more of a test, because we can only hope I become more acclimated to this format (to be kind).

This post is about new French Door refrigerators


Regular Depth

Shallow depth

New Products

There are over 40 new appliances on display....A few Highlights:

Samsung Induction Range - Great all induction range with convection and warming drawer for $1899 or 500 less than its competition.

KitchenAid 27 cubic French Door - This is now the largest french door refrigerator available.

Maytag French door double drawer - Style is a radical departure for this once proud company, but this a very nice refrigerator. Would love to meet the person who convinced the American public about the necessity of two drawers.

KitchenAid Gas Range - Somebody at Whirlpool (KAs parent) finally woke up, because this range is competitive with the fifth burner. Hopefully they will update their ranges more frequently than every 10 years.

Samsung Integrated Dishwasher - Stainless inside/outside at $150 dollars cheaper than their competition...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Look at this seemingly ordinary Samsung refrigerator...

You are looking at a 33 inch shallow depth french door refrigerator. In fact you are looking at the only 33 inch french door refrigerator. It's significant, because 50% of you have 33 inches of depth or less for a refrigerator, and as of last week almost all were 36 inch.

BTW, this is also only $1349 or $500 less than most other (larger) shallow depths.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Few Renovation How Tos

You want to renovate and upgrade your property or just enjoy your kitchen more...Following are a few shortcuts, which will not break your budget.

Stainless appliances

Just give in already...There is no better upscale finish and hasn't been for almost a decade. Sure, Viking produces lemonade yellow. Other companies have their graphites, etc...but nobody buys it. Stainless is still an upgrade from black, white and almond.

Shallow Depth Refrigerator

More expensive, but aesthetically much better than looking at sides protruding in your kitchen. Shallow depth is almost a requirement in a kitchen with an island

Slide-in stove

This is a similar argument as the shallow depth. A slide in stove has no backguard and thus allows a much cleaner look throughout your kitchen.

Undermount sink

An undermount keeps the sink out of sight, and is much easier to clean without the edges of a regular sink.

Pull-Out Faucet

So much easier than a faucet with a separate spray and so much better looking.


Budget $200-400 on decorative lighting. It will personalize your kitchen and is a relatively small part of your budget.

Recessed Lighting

If you have a normal ceiling height buy 4 inch, 5 inch or low voltage housings. Do NOT buy a large diameter recessed light. It looks dated and unattractive.

Yale Goes Pink

This week, we are happy to announce that Yale is going pink this October! For every new Facebook fan (up to 1000) we get by November 1st, we are going to donate $5 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. We chose this organization because of its commitment to early detection and providing mammograms for those in need.

We want to acknowledge the courage and strength of women who battle with breast cancer. Help us get to our goal of 1000 new fans by finding us on Facebook (facebook.com/yaleappliancelighting) and inviting your friends and family to help the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Samsung Era Begins(Tomorrow)

You are looking at 20 new Samsung appliances being staged for delivery to the store display tomorrow.

I have always been extremely cautious about new brands. We don't want to sell products with ingrained issues. Samsung is really interesting, innovative product however.

I just hope it works.

Warm it

Is your bathroom a bit cool? Well it will be cooler in the next 6 months with winter approaching. Try one of these:

This is a Broan heat, light and vent combination unit. The heat is also fan forced (like convection) so it quickly delivers plenty of warmth.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How About a Free Dishwasher?

The most widely accepted promotion is the Thermador 1-2 Free promo, which seems to be ongoing. You buy a built in refrigerator, a cooking product and receive a free dishwasher.

Not surprisingly, another manufacturer has followed with an identical promotion, but only October 21-31. Very surprisngly, its Frigidaire with their Pro line.

Have a look...

Buy a Pro Refrigerator


Over-the-Range Microwave

And this is yours free (don't worry they will make it up on volume)

Frigidaire is testing the waters for sales impact for just 10 days, but their other rebates programs are still valid and can work in conjunction with a free dishwasher.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Deal

Have a look at this:

This is the iconic and popular Yale Deal email. I do not even like the word "deal" as it is overused and oxymoronic (love that word). This email, however, is based on a product, which is a floor sample, discontinued, cancelled, ordered wrong or slightly damaged.

Most are actually refrigerators, which did not fit in Bostons' Byzantine hallways. Brownstones are a miserable place to complete a delivery.

Rather than penalize customers with restocking fees, we send these wayward pieces to our outlet and reduce them accordingly by 15-50% depending on saleability and my general mood of the day. You can sign up here, and we will delivery 2-4 a week.

Good way to save some dough...


I had a great post all queued about bathroom lighting and forgot to snap the corresponding picture. With tons of pics on the phone, it shouldn't be hard to find a suitable alternative (or not).

For now, look up...the ceiling is actually a good opportunity to be unique for not a ton of dough. Let's look at some different ideas to perhaps distinguish your home or property.

Have a look:

This is a large ornate ceiling medallion I saw at a house designed by Tocci Development in Needham. You can buy them much cheaper in plastic instead of wood. A similar medallion in plastic will cost $250-500.

"Never waste a ceiling" to quote Cliff Long, yet another upscale developer from my hometown. By designing this grooved ceiling, he will be able to provide ambient (read last weeks post) lighting throughout the space.

Or you can do everything like the Lennox hotel....Light the diameter of the dome and hang lights (they have about 12 in this installation).

Once again, you don't have to break the bank on stainless appliances to highlight your property...sometimes it's the simple ideas.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Out Of The Closet

We know the evils of fluorescent. It produces a harsh, hospital grade light. To review, the beloved, yellow incandescent is at 2500 degree Kelvin, and the evil fluorescent is at the other spectrum of 5000 degree. This white light is bad everywhere but one place.

Place fluorescent in your closet...Fluorescent and high kelvin lighting are better for distinguishing blues, blacks and darker colors. Incandescent is softer, and is therefore better everywhere else.

Monday, October 11, 2010

And Then There were Two

Wine storage has always fascinated me. When America discovered wine in the 90's, factories scrambled to find suitable products. Wine refrigerators seemingly popped out of nowhere, but essentially they were regular refrigerators with wine racks inside.

Its pretty sensible using existing products to satisfy a totally different market. It is, however, not practical to someone who appreciates wine. Wine is very different than most consumables. Because it is a living grape, wine needs to be stored properly. It will react to light, temperature, vibration and humidity. Any changes will alter the complexion and the taste.

The first company to address the category realistically was SubZero.

They thought about wine as part of the design of this product. There is a low E door with hidden lighting to block harmful UV light. There are two temperature units for red and white and a gasket to prevent crossover. The racks slide and the compressor is on rubber grommets to prevent vibration

Absent from a cave, this was the best unit until now.

The new Uline 2275 series...

The Uline has many of the same features. It is almost a carbon copy of the SubZero. I am unsure of the vibration difference, but there are certainly 2 products now worth considering.

Friday, October 08, 2010

The LED Revolution Started Here?

LED technology was actually pioneered about 3 miles away from Yale in Southie by a company called Color Kinetics. Although the company could not manufacture a white LED, Kinetics was great with colors and very popular commercially.

In July of 2007, they were purchased by Philips for 688 million. The strategy was to further CKs LED technology and marry that with Philips worldwide distribution. Their commercial installations are awesome.

But this synergy has produced this family of residential fixtures:

Hopefully more are on the way...

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Frigidaire Rebates

It's an almost herd mentality. Once one company rebates, then all of them join the fray. I could be writing this post about GE, Viking, Electrolux, SubZero, Thermador or Wolf. But Frigidaire is the subject. This is a good, basic stainless steel package, which sold for $1999 4 years ago.

Have a look:

Self cleaning range FFEF3048

Dishwasher FFBD2407LS

Over The Range Microwave FFMV164LS

Stainless refrigerator FFHT186LS

$1659 after rebates.....Frigidaire used to own this commodity stainless market, but their rebates stem out of fear from a newly aggressive GE....who incidentally have a $1659 package of their own.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Ambient Lighting

As we have posted, there are four elements of lighting: Task, Accent, Decorative and Ambient.

Of the four Ambient is the most overlooked. Ambient is uplighting or light which illuminates the ceiling. It adds a dimension of color and texture to your room.

Kitchen: Let's look at a practical example...

Cornice lighting: Lighting the tops of cabinets or as displayed here. Basic undercabinet lights or any mini track systems can render this type of light.

Pendant: Any type of semi flush or uplighted pendant can light the ceiling.

Just remember before you blast away with 30 recessed cans, add some ambient lighting to your plan. It is simple to do and will soften and beautify the environment.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Bosch Rebates

The appliance industry nationally was off 9% in August and another 9% in September. Manufacturers will react by lowering prices to spur demand. Lowering prices means rebates.

Lets have a look at the impact of Boschs most popular appliance package...

HGS3053, five burner gas range, $909 before rebates

HMV3051, Over the range microwave vent, $409

SHE43P25, stainless steel dishwasher, $799 before rebates(this has a few for a $599 after rebate price)

B22CS30SNS, counter depth stainless steel side by side, $1949

Total is $4025

After rebates is $2849

Savings of $1176

Percentage is 29.2%

This is a Columbus Day promotion which ends the 12th. After that rebates will only be $800 instead of $1176.