Honest opinions about how to buy Appliances and Lighting.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Monogram Joins The Rebate Fray

Monogram has always been an enigma. GE started by calling their best products Monogram and thus the "new" line was born...and flopped. Then they went the OEM route with their professional ranges by sourcing from DCS (poor choice) and it flopped.

Finally, they started manufacturing stylish and compelling products especially their hoods and new ranges, just in time for the depression...sorry recession. With their competitors rebating their products, Monogram joins the herd.

Their rebate is as follows:

Buy any pro range and hood or cooktop, wall oven and hood and receive $1,000.

Add a Built-In refrigerator and add another $1,000.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Mighty Have (Not) Fallen

Five years ago, if you asked me when SubZero would have a rebate, I would have said never. All cliches aside, upscale appliances follow the building and remodeling trends. When construction is booming, there is enough business for SubZero/Wolf, Viking, Miele and Thermador.

When there is not, these brands have to fight for market share. Rebates have become commonplace as a short term consumer incentive, because they can in theory be withdrawn with increasing business. Somehow, these rebates will probably be more prolonged, but that's an opinion...

Let me show you how to qualify for $2500 from SubZero/Wolf (it is the same company)

Buy a SubZero and a Wolf range or cooktop and wall oven and receive $1000

Add any major piece like this Wolf hood or SubZero wine cooler, and the rebate increases by $250 per piece.

What do you think?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Freestanding vs Slide-In

Lots of pics today.

To review, the difference between a Slide-In and Freestanding is basically a back-guard.

The price, however, can be up to $600 more for a slide-in with the same features.

Why would you pay more? Tile, steel, or any custom appointments become more noticeable and accentuated without the back. Have a look...



Close up

Different range/same back-guard

Monday, February 22, 2010

This Old (Yale) House

We are now the lighting consultants to This Old House. TOH is about renovation and building. I like the show, because the people are passionate and explain every facet of construction in detail.

I like lighting the most out of our offerings as it really personalizes the house. We have people who go to homes and restaurants to design the lighting. Love seeing an empty space turned into something unique.

Our segment really focuses on LED, undercabinet and recessed lighting. Have a look as it is very informative (you can always fast forward to the parts of interest).

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Cost of Service

There is such a lack of transparency in any kind of service, especially appliances.

A Couple of Questions to ask:

What is the trip fee?

In other words, how much does it cost to send a tech to your home. We charge $89, which is what it costs after hourly, insurance, gas, etc. We deduct half if you choose not to repair. If someone is charging a cheap rate like $50 bucks, beware. The charges will pile up later.

How much for a completed call?

Now the fun begins. As a reference, we charge $198(including the trip fee)for a completed call even if it means a couple visits. Most companies will work on a hourly and charge more for multiple visits...Get the quote BEFORE repair

Do you perform background checks?

This person, after all, will be in your house. Right?

Once again, check Angies and Yelp for service providers

(Almost) New Frigidaire Professional

Frigidaire is the most underrated company in the appliance industry. They were the first to manufacture affordable stainless steel appliances. To a certain degree, they still own that segment of the market.

Following is their latest and greatest...a curious introduction.

First, the style is interesting and matches this whole new series. They added convection conversion, which automatically reprograms regular baking recipes to convection. Frigidaire has 2 power burners including the griddle burner, so the top is better than last years.

The second oven (under the main) has been eliminated in favor of a warming drawer. A warmer will keep food warm without dehydrating for up to 3 hours...or refresh leftovers...but a second stove it isn't....a definite downgrade.

However, at $1269, it is still cheaper than it's competitors by a couple hundred dollars.

Unfortunately, if you want a second oven, the price tag is now around $1800.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Two Shades of LED

To review, LED uses 1/7 the power of incandescent, lasts 20 times longer and emits almost zero heat. Since there are no standards on this somewhat new technology, LED has become somewhat confusing. There is a huge difference in color rendering and also price...

So have a look at the differences:

Cheaper LED, price around $30-40 casts a blueish light:

Plastic casing
Lesser quality semiconductor and bulb

For areas like mud rooms and basements, this is still a decent bulb.....

Better LED, price between $120-140 casts a natural white light

Steel Casing

Cree semiconductor

$140 is pricey, but this is the best light for kitchen, bath, accent and ambient lighting. For the lifetime, LED will still save a fortune in electricity and maintenance costs.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Induction vs. Professional (Again)

Lets have a look at this glass kitchen...

Lets compare a commercial 22,000 BTU professional wok

Against a high output induction burner

Induction is the winner by far...and is:

Faster to boil
Faster to simmer
Childsafe (needs to sense metal to turn on)
Less venting

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cooking Light, Buying Right

We had the Executive Chef from Cooking Light Magazine in on Saturday. It had to be one of the best cooking demos in Yale history (that's saying a ton), because there seemed to be 50 people listening for 5 hours.

I love the Home Show, but President's Day is still a decent time to consider an appliance, a car or durables in general. Manufacturers add incentives to compensate for a chronically slow winter.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

5 Products to Consider

Following is a continuation of yesterdays post with individual rebate information.

5 heavily rebated items:

Number 1 on this list. Bosch WFVC6450 is now $489 after $400 in rebates. This is a great machine with huge capacity and is incredibly energy efficient.

Whirlpool Duet is $599 until the 16th.

KitchenAid Top of the Line dishwasher KUDS40FVSS is now $799 after $300 in rebates.

Maytag electric or gas stove $389....unspectacular, yet solid.

Friday, February 12, 2010

How To Survive Presidents Day

Imagine you are George Washington. You successfully lead a ragtag Colonial army against the mighty British empire, sign the constitution and become the first President of this new Republic...and for this you have a Holiday dedicated to car and appliance buying.

President's Day is actually a pretty good time to buy an appliance. Manufacturer's will have extra rebates for a 5 day period usually around Presidents Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day. Tomorrow I will post the most heavily rebated items.

Before you shop consider the following:

1. Forget about discounts and focus on the bottom line price. 25% off 2,000 is still more expensive than $1475. Most heavily discounted sales are usually off the company's highest price.

2. Look for package deals and try to stay within the same brand if possible...Rebates become geometric with quantity.

3. Beware of the extras. Delivery, electric cords and removal can be expensive.

4. Inquire about service. New appliances will need some kind of service 80.1% of the time within 5 years.

Shifting gears, our home show continues through Monday. A few pics from last Saturday...Also on Facebook...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cash For Clunkers?

Never has a program been shrouded in such secrecy. These people should be protecting military secrets rather than administering a rebate program.

Lockheed Martin are the directors behind the program. I try to speak/email to them once a week. According to them, there is no definitive date for Cash For Clunkers.

I plan on sending an email to Yale email subscribers as soon as info is available. If you want to know just about Cash For Clunkers, Pat has established a Cash For Clunkers email only. You will receive email about this promotion only.

However, you can always you can sign up for the regular monthly newsletter. You will receive email roughly once a month on different programs, sales and other government promotions like Tax day (if they have it).

Visit our subscription page, and choose the lists you would like to sign up for.

No spam, I promise.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Really New Ventilation

Hard to believe, I started working full time in 1986. Back in those medieval appliance times, you had three choices for ventilation (hoods): Broan, Nutone and Rangemaster. Sure, they worked, but looked awful doing so. Downdrafts became popular during this time partly because of style deficiencies of regular vents.

Then the Europeans arrived. Names like Zephyr, Best and Faber really dominated the hood market with beautiful designs. Now the hood was purchased for aesthetics as well as functions...or the reverse of years previous (how many downdrafts do you see now?)

Unfortunately, Best was acquired, and Faber and Zephyr became pricey. There is a new hood line called XO, which has introduced great looking hoods at more affordable prices...Have a look:

For review...

Small review on how to buy a vent (check some earlier postings for elaboration)

Consider the following:

1. CFM

2. Depth

3. Duct run

4. Duct turns

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Best Machine (You Probably Won't Buy)

Miele manufactures the best washer and dryer. That's fact. This company is crazy about quality, and still manufacturers its very own intuitive controls. They have a perforated "honeycomb" drum which is specifically designed to be easy on delicates and almost a limitless variety of washing modes and cycles.

You probably wont buy it through no fault of the company itself...

Three reasons:

1. The product was not designed to be stacked...Now most upscale consumers are moving laundry to the bedroom not the basement.

2. Since it is German made, the price has increased dramatically to over $2800, while the economy has dictated price decreases.

3. Companies like Bosch are now manufacturing competitive products for almost half the price.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Pro Alternatives

Once upon a time, professional ranges (defined as fast burners of 15,000 BTU with a commercial appearance) were widely sold. This segment has been decimated with the economy and general housing market.

However, there are alternatives...


In many ways, this could be a better unit than a pro oven with a 17,000 BTU power burner, griddle burner, convection oven, second oven and self cleaning...Good value at

Bertazzoni A304GGVXE

Faux pro. Looks like a pro, but has regular burners and a much more ordinary price at $2299.

KitchenAid KDRS467VSS

Ok, this is a pro range. It is the hottest at 20,000 BTU with a clock, timer and self cleaning. At $5499, it is $3000 less than similar products.

Friday, February 05, 2010

From Edison to LED

"Nearly 130 years ago, Thomas Alva Edison received patent No. 223,898 for the invention of an Improvement in Electric Lamps. That spawned the incandescent bulbs we all know today - and which in 2012 will begin to fade under federal regulations designed to increase energy efficiency." Read the rest at Boston.com.

Incandescent bulbs won't begin to be outlawed until 2012, but the technology of the future appears to be here now.

We have a short YouTube video of the difference between an Incandescent and an LED bulb running a power meter. Check it out:

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Yale Home Show

For the first 14 years of my career, we were in a free standing Home Show in Boston. These events became too general in my opinion, and most have actually disappeared.

11 years ago, we remodeled the store (the first of 7 times and counting) with live products. Then the idea of live demos with chefs seemed like a logical extension. Customers also seem to need the most help with selections in February, because projects are starting or will be starting shortly.

So why not show people tons of choices and show these options working?

Thus the idea of the Yale Home Show was born.

How To Buy The Same Range

Seems I have been confusing a bunch of people with this Bosch Vs Frigidaire range. To newcomers, Bosch has been buying their less expensive ranges from Frigidaire, but can be actually cheaper depending on rebates...or so I thought. At the end of this post, I will throw in a short "How to buy a gas range"...no extra charge.

The Bosch HGS3053: Five burner no convection $839 (the Frigidaire 5 burner is $679).

The Frigidaire DGGF3042: 4 Burners, Griddle (elongated) burner and convection $809

The Bosch HGS5053: 4 Burners, Griddle (elongated) burner and convection $959

But wait, Bosch has package rebates which net the range down significantly. I will provide a link to our package page, so you have a sense of the options.

How To Buy a Gas Range....simplified, but it really is easy.

Pick any brand with the base model self-cleaning..You will pay for the following upgrades in this order:

Fifth Burner:

Griddle burner...good for pancakes

Convection: Fan forced heat for even baking

Warming drawer: Keeps food warm (duh) for up to 3 hours great for refreshing leftovers

Second Oven: That's right, TWO ovens, one range

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Yale And Whirlpool

At one point in time, we were a huge customer of the Whirlpool company, but we have since parted ways in the last two years. From my perspective, they have lost focus, and have been beaten to the market by their rivals, especially in the luxury and affordable luxury segments. They are also behind (in my opinion) in induction and cooking technologies in general.

Still, they do have great brands and very efficient manufacturers. Here are a couple of pieces you should consider buying in February...

KitchenAid KUDC03FVSS

Stainless integrated at $599 after a gazillion dollars in rebates. I like this unit. It has good features for a very decent price...Still love the brand. My mother had one for 18 years.

Whirlpool Duet WFW9150

Its not the biggest anymore. At $499, however, it is about about $300-400 cheaper than three years ago ...

Now about the cooking.....

New England Soup Factory

I love this place. With over 150 different varieties, New England Soup Factory is the authority on soup. My Favs are Lemony Lentil and Triple Strength Chicken Soup (great for colds).

Marjorie Druker, the owner of The New England Soup Factory, was at Yale offering cooking tips on Saturday.

There will be one renown chef demonstration per month with a small class of about 40-45 people maximum. If you want to be advised of future chef events, sign up for our cooking tips newsletter.

This is a great vehicle for people who love to cook.

Monday, February 01, 2010

What Happened to 0% Financing

Haven't seen much 0% financing lately, have you? Up until 2007, any consumer would qualify for a 0% financing deal for 1 full year based on simply owning a home. The majors players GE, Wells Fargo and Citibank charged the retailer and/or the manufacturer 5-6% and patiently waited for their money.

At this point, there were three favorable outcomes to these banks. First, you paid back the loan, and they earned the original 5-6%. Second outcome is you were late, in which they earned the original 5-6% plus whatever accrued interest rate built up over the year. In case you couldn't pay them back, well, they would just own your house. Typically, option one was the most common by far.

Until 2007

Then people couldn't pay back. The real estate wasn't worth the pre-bubble peaks, so foreclosure was no longer viable. So say goodbye to 0% probably forever.

Now to confuse you just a little, we are offering 0% in February, but with 12 equal payments during the year. Much less liability to the banks and now consumers can plan better monthly instead of being hit yearly.