Honest opinions about how to buy Appliances and Lighting.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Killing Brands, Daisy Burners and Cooktops

Have a look at this Chambers range.

Chambers was a high end wall oven and cooktop manufacturer back when I started in 1986. They were known for a cast iron burner known as the "daisy" for its daisy like shape. It was solid, dependandable and had a then unheard of output of 12,000 BTU.

KitchenAid purchased the company around 1988, and eliminated the Chambers name and rebranded the cooktop under their own label. They never really invested back into cooking per se, and are accordingly behind their competitors.

But what is in a gas cooktop...like this Miele.

Really a gas cooktop is about the ability to achieve high heat (in this case 15,500 BTU on the 2 front burners) and its ability to simmer (in this case 500 BTU).

After that it is about aesthetics.

That's all.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

AGA Goes (somewhat) Mainstream

If you own this, congratulations, you are 1 of maybe 200 people nationally.

This is a custom configured 4 oven heater range. After years of extensive marketing, AGA actually decided to join the fray under $20,000 per range, and started marketing this...

It's actually a pretty competitive stove. It is 5 burners with the power burner in the middle and the price is fairly reasonable for the professional category at $4399.

How reasonable? It is about $1000 cheaper than a comparable Wolf or Viking, but more expensive than NXR, Monogram and Capital.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Kind of an adhoc post....

You are hot. Even in this extreme heat, do not overbuy as the unit will freeze and will not dehumidify.

For your bedroom(it is cooler at night anyway)

up to 175 sqaure feet 5,000 BTU
175-225 square feet 6,000 BTU
225-275 square feet 7,000 BTU
275-325 square feet 8,000 BTU
375-425 square feet 9,000 BTU

Add 1-2,000 BTU if on a sunny exposure or third floor

Buy a decent name if you can, you dont want to lug this back to a store

At this writing, there are no reported shortages either at Yale or our competitors

Two Light Posts (In One)

You have a fixture in a hallway with a high ceiling like this one. How do you clean it or change the bulbs?

Buy a light lift. Its basically a pulley which is affixed to your studs and raises the light up and down.

Post 2

You found a great light on the internet like these black pendants:

Except they are not black...

Be careful when you buy online, many fixtures look very different when lit.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Yale PSA....This Weekend

I love out of town stores, especially chains. They promote heavy in the summer. They don't understand. New Englanders' leave town around 1 o'clock on Friday (I know, I wave).

So for the final weekend, we are finally opening the Bosch/Thermador kitchen in the entryway.

For the demo, we have flown into town Chef Billy Strynkowski of Cooking Light magazine. The guy is unbelievable. Demo is 12-3. Bosch has some great rebates, and this weekend is free installation on all Bosch dishwashers.

On the grill

Doug "Wookie" Keiles, who reminds me, he is a pitmaster, not a BBQer. He actually competes in grill championships, and Viking is his sponsor. If you want to learn how to BBQ (or BBQ better) his demo is 12-3 as well. We deliver and assemble all grills free until June 30.

Things To Consider

Following are a few interesting items to consider in no particular order...

Bosch SHE5AL05

At $539 after rebate, this is Boschs' least expensive dishwasher. Its quiet and water efficient. We are actually installing Bosch dishwashers free June 25 through the 27th...

Frigidaire FPCC3685K

I am warming up to hybrid (half induction/half electric) cooktops. Induction at lower prices.

Frigidaire FPCS3085LF

Hybrid induction, warming drawer and convection at $2049....not bad (same price as GE Profile wihout induction and warmer).

Bosch B22CS30SNS

Its inexpensive for a shallow depth at $1799....then Bosch is offering tons of package rebates.

KitchenAid KFCS22EVMS

Big, shallow, french door...with $300 in rebates.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

GE vs Frigidaire

I couldn't figure the difference between these two ranges, so I asked Neil.

Neil and I actually grew up together in Needham, and he has been at Yale for 20 plus years, so he knows the difference. Lets look at these two very popular slide-ins, the GE Profile vs the Frigidaire Gallery.

They both have convection (fan forced heat for even cooking), a bridge element (connecting two burners for continuous heat) and a fifth warming element (guess).

The GE has stainless knobs and a triple burner (varying heat control for different types of pots), so ostensibly it is a better range.

However, the GE Profile costs $2059.....the Frigidaire...$1299.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Buying Extended Service Contracts

We are increasing the prices of our service contracts effective August. Quite simply, we are spending more money fixing products than the actual warranty. I would like at least to be even after cost of repair.

The question is: Should you buy one? The answer is maybe, depending on what products and who is selling it.

Couple of considerations:

1. Do NOT buy an outsourced extended warranty. Typically, they are call centers with no actual service providers. Check the Better Business Bureau for some pretty shocking info about these companies before you buy.

2. Do not buy an extended warranty from an out of state company....unless they have a service presence.

3. The most expensive products to repair are a washer and refrigerator. The least repaired items are microwaves and hoods. Buy the warranties accordingly.

4. Ask what the warranty covers. We will cover $250 in food loss for a refrigerator. What do they do if the product cannot be fixed 2 years into a warranty.

Again, do not be pushed into buying an extended or after market guarantee. Do some research to insure the work will be done if there is a problem.

You want to be confident the warranty is worth more then paper and ink.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Been traveling in the car a bit lately and happened upon this house. My iPhone cant click wide shots, but have a look.

This is an onion light, so absurdly named for its onion like shape. As absurd it may be, it looks great on colonial, classic and traditional homes.

Monday, June 21, 2010

How To Vent A Pro Range

Roughly 150 or so people read this blog daily. Another 150-200 people read this on direct feed. This number will fluctuate based on interest. People finishing projects will probably opt out over time.

I can only tell you 2 people who never read it....my parents. They can't, otherwise they never would have done this:

Miele is a nice hood, but it is not designed to be placed over a pro range. If you have a pro range, especially 36 or 48 inch, then buy a vent with the following...

1. 21-27 inch depth, depending on the size of the range
2. CFM of at least 600 for just burners and up to 1500 CFM with grill in a 48 inch. I always specify a larger motor, because it will exhaust the worst odors quickly. The price difference is not that much.
3. Exhaust should go straight up or straight back with few turns (if any)

Couple of alternatives for Ma and Pa

Friday, June 18, 2010


If you are planning a renovation, always start at cooking. Cooking products have the most options, which can change the layout and design of your kitchen.

Have a look at this kitchen with myriad options and we will look at a few in detail.

Free standing stove

Free standing stoves do not have to be 48 inch, but the most common is 30 inch with 36 also being popular. Free standing stoves use the least amount of room of all the options, and the cooking is in one centralized area. Issues are you have to bend for the oven and venting in islands is more complicated (see Sallys Kitchen).

Wall Oven/Cooktop:

Two equal sized ovens, no bending for ovens and tons of venting and cooking options are the main benefits to this combo. It is more expensive and you need more space

Cooktop over a wall oven

Yes its expensive (probably $1,000 more than a comparable freestanding), but the granite and the toe kick does not need to be cut, so it it is more attractive.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My New Favorite Light

Look at our entranceway

You needed an act of congress to replace the bulbs in the old recessed lights. But there is now a better way.

The Tech Pendenza is a multi purpose LED light. This light can be surface mounted or can be placed over a recessed light.

At 15 watts, it has similar light output to a 90 watt halogen bulb (we are saving 300 watts). Better still, it has a lamp life of about 15-20 years...So if you have high ceilings, install one of these and never worry about staging, etc to replace a light bulb.

Not bad for $220...

OK, what the heck are these doing here??

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sally's Kitchen

Meet my moms friend, Sally....

This woman can really cook, so lets look at her kitchen.

Perhaps the most interesting feature is the range and hood. Typically, people place a cooktop in the island and wall ovens on an adjacent wall. To save space, Sally has placed a Wolf 48" pro range in the island. You cannot use a range with a downdraft, so Sally opted for a custom hood and blower. I like this. She is also facing her guests at all times while cooking.

SubZero BI36U/O with panel.

Miele dishwasher....Miele has the silverware basket on the tops, so there actually is a ton of extra room for plates etc.

Great kitchen...well designed and thought out.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How to Buy Appliances (Yet Again)

Pat is not around, so there will be no pics today. Just a down and dirty post on how to buy residential appliances

1. Rebates: We will plan on buying around tax day, which is a 5-6.25% savings. There is a better way. Wait for rebates. They fluctuate by brand, but the savings can be up to 38% in packages. Hitting all the various offers when they converge can save you huge money.

2. Service: This is the industry's horrible secret. Over 80% of new appliances will need some kind of adjustment within 5 years. If the store does not offer service, find the local repair agency. Ask them if they repair in warranty (its a money loser).

3. Beware the Accessories: An electric cord costs 25-30 dollars at some stores? We give them away, because the cost is $2.23. Same with dryer vents, hoses and especially removal. These ancillary products can add up to $150 or more.

4. Free: Small caution, it isn't. Typically, they will double charge for installation or removal.

5. 10%, 20%, 30%: These offers have become trendy, but companies are reducing off their highest published prices. At the end of the day compare the bottom line.

6. Delivery: What kind of delivery. In house or dropped on the curb. This is a big issue especially with internet retailers. Small caution: Independent truckers dont like stairs.

Lastly, take your time, do your research and be comfortable with your purchase.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Most Popular Shallow Depths

Every once in awhile, I look at keywords to understand what people want to read. NXR ranges and shallow depth refrigerators are the most popular topics by far. Dont quite fathom the popularity of NXR, but shallow depth is understandable.

Last week, we talked about the different types and benefits. Today it is the actual products.

SubZero BI36U/S overlay or stainless

Back in 2004, this was was the number 7 most popular selling refrigerator in the country...That is staggering. But that was also a different world. SubZero is a great refrigerator. They always have had two compressors, so the temperature stays more constant. They have self sealing crispers and a vacuum seal, so the outside air stays out.

Last year, they added an air scrubber, so food stays fresher longer as well as a water purifier. SubZero is still the best name for actual reselling a house (funny, we dont know the name of our shingles) and is still the aesthetic standard.

KitchenAid KFCS22EVMS

Its french door and its the largest. Its also reasonable for a shallow depth product.

But the most popular is......

Bosch B2230SNS

Sure, you dont like side by sides, but more people have purchased this unit than any other for 2 unrelated reasons....First, you like Bosch products, and this rounds out a Bosch kitchen. Bosch also incentivizes you to do so.

But at $1799 after rebate...This is one of the least expensive shallow depths in the industry.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Stainless Application

I kind of like these Saturday non sequitors or somewhat unrelated posts to appliances and lighting.

Doors always seem to dirty in this store. So many people touching them, boxes hitting them, etc. So why not change them to this?

Same with the banisters.

This post seems way out there, so let me show you an actual useful product. Have a look at this light.

This is actually one canopy, which can support several different lighting options. Its great if you only have one electrical source and need light in many different areas. You can vary the actual height and quantity of the lights.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Truck

Lets look at this big, ole truck.

This guy travels cross country, so this is part truck and part condo. Have a look...

But what about the appliances(your first thought)...Yachts, Trucks and RVs are interesting because they typically maximize space efficiently

Integrated refrigator. Intelligent choice a regular refrigerator would protrude another 12-14inches into the truck/condo.

Convection/microwave combination..Sharp is a decent choice. This trucker can cook, microwave or do both in combination.

Induction cooktop. Fast, less heat in the condo and induction will shut off without a pan (yes, this is a bad pic)

Have a galley kitchen or tight space and need ideas, look at a truck

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Shallow Depth Refrigerators

Shallow depth refrigeration is one of the biggest categories at Yale...There is so much from so many companies. Have a look...

Lets break it down:

Brands: Thermador, Bosch, Gaggenau, Miele, SubZero.

Integrated fits within a cabinet. With panels, this product becomes completely hidden. Its somewhat pricey and small, but it is versatile and just a great look.

Brands: Thermador, Liebherr, SubZero, GE Monogram, Viking, KitchenAid, Electrolux

Professional is manufacturered to look like a professional, commercial fridge (makes sense). Typically, it has the compressor on the top. The Pro has been the standard in kitchens for almost 30 years, but the price tag averages over $7,000.

Shallow Depth:
Brands: Viking, Electrolux, GE, Bosch, KitchenAid, Frigidaire Pro

Ok so the regular shallow depth refrigerator does not look as good as an integrated or pro, but it can be $5500 less.

It still is good looking.....Take a look at our updated post on Shallow Depth Refrigerators!