Honest opinions about how to buy Appliances and Lighting.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Memorial Day

I am off this weekend, but Memorial Day is a traditional sale day for retailers...or so you would think.

I see a lot of 20% offs, etc. My only question is: 20% off what?

Look at the bottom of the order/quotation. What is the point of buying anything 20% off if it is still higher than a store selling it cheaper every day?

Have a good holiday.

Cigars And 3 Wine Cooler Considerations

Walked around the showroom and saw this little novelty...

Its a humidor from Liehberr. Cigars need to be kept in a moist environment or they dry out, which is not optimum...This is a cool unit assuming, of course, you like cigars.

Once upon a time, a wine storage company stuck a humidor in their unit, which is not a good idea. Unless you want your wine to taste like your stogie.

Since wine is living grapes, it is sensitive to everything. In order to buy the right wine cooler for long term storage, it must do the following:

1. Protect against light. Some wine coolers have a low E door, which will block UV and other harmful rays.

2. Vibration will alter the wines composition (a nice way of saying "ruining it"). SubZero insulates their compressor on grommets, so the unit will not shake when cycling. For those who have less than 3,000 to spend, just insure the racks glide out to minimize vibration.

3. Temperature/Humidity control: Heat and humidity will, once again, kill wine. Humidity is a double edged sword. Too much and the labels peel. Too little and the cork will dry and allow air into the wine. Only a few companies actually have accurate temperature controls...You want 2, one for white and red.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Ah, the Massive Gaylord Palms in sunny, humid almost Orlando, Florida. This is the view from my balcony on the 8th floor (of half the hotel).

How many of these lights are on in the day?

The answer is zero (except in covered spaces). Saves The Gaylord people a bunch of money. You can do this pretty easily by installing a skylight in your heavily trafficked areas. Sure this may seem counter-intuitive from someone selling lights, but it works.

One small caution: Daylight is at the highest end of the Kelvin scale. In layman's terms, sunlight is unflattering light. So this is not a tactic for art gallery owners, lighting stores (we have shades in our windows) and other venues which are trying to highlight or accent different objects.

For homeowners, this will save electricity and money...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Game Changer?

Frigidaire is scheduled to have a french door refrigerator available in June. Of course, they will ship their most expensive products first.

Eventually, however, they will market this...

A 26 cubic foot french door at $1500 is way cheaper than their competition. This is obviously very good for you. GE, Whirlpool and LG will have to respond in the future or risk losing this very large segment of the market.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Designing Spaces

I was in The House Of Blues Foundation Room. House of Blues actually started in Boston in Cambridge as a beta test. They closed it in order to open a larger version on Landsdowne.

The place is a monument to eclectic, rugs, wall treatments, furniture and lighting...have a look.

Expensive....hardly. You can do this pretty easily with some basic lights...

Don't be afraid of trying something a bit different...Right Mr. Fitzmaurice?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Communication Breakdown

Lets look at this new Frigidaire stainless range. Its actually an upgrade from last year with metal handles and a lower price

Now look at the microwave...

Now look at them together...

Doesn't quite match, does it? Evidentally, the microwave and stove factories need to talk a bit more.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Buy This as an Alternative to That...Part 2

Lets have a look at the SubZero refrigerator

SubZero is the best refrigerator in the market. Features include dual compressors, vacuum seal, an air scrubber and self sealing crispers. It is shallow depth so the unit will be flush to the cabinets. As I said, SubZero is the best, but then again at around $8000, it should be.

Lets look at alternatives...

Electrolux EW23BC71IS

For less than half the price at $3449, the Electrolux is a french door with an icemaker and has the same shallow depth look of a SubZero. Eliminate the icemaker and save $800. But still $2649 is a bit pricey.

Bosch B22CS30SNS

French doors are supposedly all the rage. Yet the Bosch side by side still outsells them in shallow depth. $1849 plus rebates is the reason. Look at this in a package for decent, affordable luxury.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

5 Renovation Musts

Following are a few compulsory ideas for your project...in no particular order.

Shallow Depth Refrigerator: does not protrude into the kitchen, and looks way better than a standard depth(which can stick out 8 inches beyond the cabinet).

Undermount Sink: Easier to clean, but an undermount accentuates the countertop, because it is hidden.

Pendants: Colorful, personal and unique.

Matching handles: Then again, maybe its just noticeable to me.

Smaller Recessed Lights: Recessed is available in 3-6 inches. On a normal ceiling 4-5 inch is adequate. Larger recessed just detracts from the ceiling and the overall look of the kitchen.

How To Buy a Bedroom Air Conditioner

Why a post about a bedroom air conditioner...well, that's where you will be most miserable without one. I can post other applications later (or not)...

Let me make this ridiculously easy:

Under 175 square feet, a 5,000 BTU(BTU is British Thermal Unit) air conditioner will be adequate. Under 250 square feet, a 6,000 will be adequate.

Do not oversize an air conditioner. It will not be able to dehumidify and will actually freeze up.

Sunny or Shady: Add or deduct 10% accordingly.

Tall Ceilings/top floors(brownstones, etc): Add 2,000 BTUs.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Buy This as an Alternative to That

Lets look at this Lynx grill...

It has 75,000 BTUs with weather resistant stainless steel, cast brass elements, a true sear element for quickly searing the outside of your meats, a smoker, a rotisserie and an infrared element for even cooking. In short, this is an extremely like-able grill.

Then again, it should be at around $7,000...

So how about a Weber Summit:

Not as big as the Lynx, but it still has 60,000 BTU, a 12,000BTU side burner, a rotisserie and smoker for $1859...

How about the Weber Genesis:

Its a solid grill with 42,000 BTUs at around $630. We assemble and deliver all our grills over $399 free of charge. Why?...You don't want to assemble these.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cash For Clunkers Next Wave

Another Cash for Clunkers rebate program is scheduled for September. It has tentatively been approved for washers, refrigerators and freezers.The amounts will be less than the April/May program.

Recirculating Downdraft

Have a look at our soon-to-be concept kitchen...

Now look at the cooktop...

Now look at the toekick...

This is the first of the new wave of recirculating ventilation products designed for islands and other hard to vent spaces. I am torn about this concept. On one hand the heat is not exhausted out of the kitchen like a normal vent.

It is, however, better than nothing...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Killing Brands, Gift Cards, Fabric Softener

The name Yale Electric has been around since 1923. My Grandfather named it such, because he did not have a college education. What he lacked in education, he compensated in humor or so it seems. However, I changed the name to Yale Appliance And Lighting back in 2003 to better reflect what we actually do. Yet people still refer to us as Yale Electric. On one level, I am happy for any reference especially these days....There is, however, a Yale Electric in Canton(my cousins), so it does create confusion....How do I change this perception?

So you have received a ton of gift cards as rebates lately? Just so you know, your unused money affectionately termed "breakage" is repocketed by that manufacturer or retailer along with some monthly fees. With checks, any unused money is claimed by the state after three years

Shifting gears a bit, you bought a front load and your clothes are now incredibly wrinkled. The spin on these machines is 1200 RPM or 3 times a regular top load, which creates this wrinkling. Just add a couple of tablespoons of fabric softener to the wash and the wrinkles shall be released

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Its funny and counter-intuitive, but in the 4 years blogging, I have never said go to Yale. You look at 5,000 ads a day, and I don't need to be part of the problem. It is more interesting showing you how and what to buy anyway, and then you decide for yourself.

Today is a different day, however. 3 years ago our GE rep, Ron Vecchia, said you should have an event called Innovation and showcase cooking and some of your cutting edge stuff...So I promptly stole his idea (beats thinking).

The best part are the chef demos. The demonstrations cost nothing to attend, but you need to RSVP. This year is the best by far...Have a look:

Jason Santos Executive Chef Gargoyles: Arguably one of the top three chefs in Boston. This guys food sets the standard for cutting edge. He is a first time Yale demonstrator. RSVP

Billy Strynkowski, Executive Chef Cooking Light Magazine: His demonstration captivated 40 people at The Home Show...for 6 hours. 6 Hours...unbelievable. His theme for Saturday is Al Fresco cooking. RSVP

Steve Shipley, Johnson And Wales University. Steve is my all time favorite. He could invent an unbelievable dish just using condiments(just kidding). He is like MacGyver...only with food. RSVP

How do you find out about these free demos? Sign up for our cooking newsletter. The goal is to highlight a new cooking product, publish a cooking tip and have a cooking demo each month.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Evolution of Induction

Ok...So I like this technology. It's better. Faster to heat, instant simmer, better child safety and it emits almost no heat in the kitchen. Thus, you do not need an expensive vent.

The first induction cooktop sold in the 90s was Diva (GE was actually the first in the 1980s but that doesn't count for many reasons). For a 36 inch cooktop the price was an inexpensive $4400. Then of course, others followed. Bosch, GE, Gaggenau and Electrolux. The price ranges now from $1600+ to $3,800.

For terms and definitions, you may want to look at the definitive electric range buyers guide

Induction ranges first were introduced by Viking of all companies at $6,000.

Then GE...I really like this one at $2500 with convection and two ovens.

Then Electrolux with the first slide in at $3199.

Then YESTERDAY...Frigidaire introduces a range with 2 induction burners, convection and warming drawer for $1699 (hint don't buy a regular electric range over $1699)

Hopefully, companies like Bosch and Whirlpool can enter the fray, so the price will decrease over time.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Store Display

I was walking on the alarmingly vacant, but still toney Newbury St Saturday night and was drawn to this store like a magnet. Place is called AllSaints, and I never heard of it. They sell clothing, but this is their store front (wish I had a better camera).

Have a closer look

Sewing machines for a clothing store...I thought it was brilliant. At Yale, we do not have pedestrian traffic, so we use color to enhance the store experience at the front door. I love using color as a design feature. In my amateur opinion, color personalizes the interior, and also creates a more fun and informal space.

If a clothing company can throw sewing machines in a store front, certainly you can be a little more bold in designing your space.

Wouldn't you say?

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Sequel

One of Frigidaire's most unique cooking products was always their best gas freestanding unit. It had the power burners, convection and a second oven for about $1250.

I am in no way advocating this type of purchase in all cases, as the average range sold in the US is $599-$699. However, it is a viable option to a competitive product starting at $2,000.

Frigidaire has returned with their double oven range adding a fifth griddle burner...Have a look...

Thursday, May 06, 2010

I Convert

Over the last 3 years, I have extolled the virtues of LED and CFC. LED in particular has 20 times the life of incandescent, uses roughly 1/5 the power and emits zero heat. Over the years, people have said the payback versus cost is not worth the investment. I have showed the 40% drop in my electric bill after converting to LED.

Still it is not enough.

So I spent $5000 converting the showroom to LED (I will seemingly do almost anything to prove a point). We removed 36 50 watt MR16s for 32 9 watt LED. The difference in heat is immediately noticeable.

Before - 1800 Total Watts

After - 288 Total Watts


Only one way to truly be assured of the savings.....We will check the electric bill in one month. You do see a larger savings in a commercial adaptation like Yale. The lights are on much longer, 7 days a week and 52 days a year.

But still you will see significant savings residentially, especially since the low voltage fixture and bulb is pricey itself. This also does not account for savings due to heat reduction.