July 30, 2014

Jenn – Air’s “Designer Dialog”

Jenn-Air is offering those planning or considering a kitchen remodel a fresh way to get professional advice and answers to their kitchen design questions. Designer Dialog, a newly-launched discussion tab on the Jenn-Air Facebook Brand Page, allows visitors to tap the expertise of a rotating lineup of  kitchen designers recruited from throughout the country.

“Input from a professional kitchen designer can make the difference between a good and a great kitchen,” notes Juliet Johnson , Senior Manager of brand experience for Jenn-Air. “Beyond offering stylish, high performance appliances, we see providing access to design expertise as another way to help make great kitchens possible.”

Professionals moderating Designer Dialog discussions are members of the Jenn-Air Design Advisory Council, a group that meets regularly to share insights on industry trends and product design.  East Coast designer, Morton Block , and , Juditch A. Neary from the West Coast are the first two moderators sharing input on the page. Morton Block is a Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer (CMKBD), holds professional status in the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and is a Certified Aging In Place Specialist (CAPS). Judith A. Neary is a Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer (CMKBD).

“This is a forum that lets consumers ask seasoned professionals their design questions and get different perspectives from designers with diverse experience,” says Neary. “Anyone embarking on a design project will appreciate this resource and should take advantage of it.”

Block recommends that prior to beginning a kitchen redesign the first step should be conducting research to understand the extent of the project and the costs involved with what you want to achieve.

“Many consumers today begin a kitchen research project by doing online research,” notes Block. “When new appliances are part of that plan, the Jenn-Air Designer Dialog provides an excellent opportunity for individuals to tap into the knowledge of veteran design professionals and obtain  advice to ensure a successful project is achieved.”

In addition to being on hand to answer specific questions, moderators will share ideas and insights on a new design topic each month. To join the conversation, click the Designer Dialog tab on the Jenn-Air Facebook Brand Page.

 

Kenmore Debuts Two New Kitchen Appliances

Kenmore has announced two new additions to its kitchen appliance offerings, the Kenmore Elite Double Oven Free Standing Range and the Kenmore Elite Trio 31-cubic foot Refrigerator with Grab-N-Go™ Door.

The Kenmore Elite Double Oven has two, 3.5-cubic foot ovens that perform equally and independently. Main dishes, such as full-sized turkeys or hams, can cook at the same time in separate ovens and at different temperatures for greater cooking convenience and versatility.

Each oven features true convection to provide maximum air movement and to deliver more even cooking throughout the oven. Additionally, Electric Turbo Boil technology rapidly brings pots to boil quicker than any other leading freestanding range brand (Compared against leading freestanding range competitors.)

The new double oven is available in white and black at $1,899 for model 97512/9 and $1,999 for model 97513.

The Kenmore Elite Trio Refrigerator with Grab-N-Go Door keeps users’ most-often-used items within reach. With the most storage space of any Kenmore refrigerator available (Based on capacity measured through AHAM Standards; storage space measured through Kenmore Brand Standards and among leading brands with capacities measured using AHAM standards.), this 31 cubic foot model has a separate compartment accessed with a simple push of a button. Removing the need to open both refrigerator doors and letting cold air escape, the Grab-N-Go Door is accessible via the exterior door and is best used for items such as snacks, drinks, leftovers.

The model’s integrated water dispenser virtually disappears into the door and is large enough to fill tall items like pitchers, coffee pots and water bottles. As an enhanced version of the recently released Kenmore Elite Trio Signature Refrigerator, this model is currently scheduled for national availability at Sears in January 2012.

Energy Star’s New Most Efficient Designation

It seems that every appliance in the stores these days has qualified for the Energy Star label. A look around the local appliance store is dotted with the ubiquitous bright yellow tags.

Energy Star, in an effort to improve the system – everything can’t be the BEST – has added a “Most Efficient” designation to their listings.

“This new designation will help Americans save money and cut pollution by quickly pointing them to the best Energy Star products have to offer. Highlighting Energy Star’s Most Efficient products is a great way to encourage the strides in innovation that bring even more energy and money saving choices to our stores,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “We know American consumers are eager to make purchases that save them money on their utility bills and reduce the pollution in the air we breathe, and these labels will help them identify the best ways to find those purchases.”

Products that receive the Most Efficient designation demonstrate exceptional and cutting-edge efficiency performance. The Most Efficient recognition will represent approximately the top five percent of models on the market in the following categories: clothes washers, heating and cooling equipment, televisions, and refrigerator-freezers. The following Energy Star partners’ products are among the first to be recognized as Most Efficient: Electrolux Major Appliances, Sears’ Kenmore, LG, Samsung, Best Buy’s Insignia Brand, Panasonic, Nordyne, and Rheem. Later this year, EPA will initiate a process to consider additional product categories for potential inclusion in 2012.

Consumers will be able to identify Most Efficient products on the Energy Star website and in stores by looking for the Most Efficient designation. In addition to meeting established performance requirements, products must also be Energy Star qualified and certified by an EPA-recognized certification body. Manufacturers are encouraged to submit products that meet the requirements to EPA for recognition.

More information on Energy Star’s Most Efficient products: http://www.energystar.gov/mostefficient

Dishwasher Buying Tips

Before you step into a showroom or start a conversation with a salesperson at your local home store, educate yourself about today’s dishwashers. Then decide what type will be right for you. Here are some thoughts to consider:

Decide on a dishwasher type before you begin. The built-in dishwasher, ideal for fitting into a specially formatted space within your cabinetry, is the most standard of all dishwasher types. The drawer dishwasher, which features several drawers for different capacities, is a relatively new style that allows you to wash only a few dishes per drawer when needed. For smaller areas, countertop dishwashers might be more feasible. A portable dishwasherworks where kitchen space is limited, but can be found nearby. What type of dishwasher you choose will likely be dependent on the size of your kitchen as well as your budget.

Understand capacity levels in dishwashers. While couples and those with small families might find an 18-inch dishwasher to be suitable for their needs, larger families will probably be happier with a 24-inch dishwasher.

Consider energy costs. Look for the Energy Star symbol on dishwasher models, which indicates that the dishwasher conforms to Energy Star requirements and will thus save you money each month on utilities. Energy Star-rated dishwashers not only save you money, but also leave a smaller carbon footprint over time. For more energy savings, look for features like quick wash, which prevents the dishwasher from overusing water and expending extra energy.

Compare dishwasher cycles. While most dishwashers will include standard cycle settings such as economy, light and regular, some dishwashers offer advanced settings, such as a rinse cycle, or settings for specific dishware, such as glass stemware. Although these settings are not necessary, they can add to the overall convenience of the dishwasher.

Look at exterior style and decor. If you would like your large appliances to match, exterior color and look can play a huge part in the dishwasher you choose. When you find a dishwasher with the features you desire, see if that dishwasher is available in various styles. If your dishwasher will set the stage for the other appliances, consider how easy or hard it will be to clean the exterior of the dishwasher. While stainless steel is a popular choice, it’s also more difficult to clean.

Check out the interior layout. Consider how much you like (or dislike) the stacking ability of your current dishwasher and the placement of the silverware trays. You can find silverware trays inside the door of the dishwasher or within the pullout trays located inside the dishwasher.

Read reviews and consumer tips. While you will ultimately have to choose a dishwasher that will conform to your individual needs, reading reviews will give you a grasp on which models don’t live up to their hype. This extra footwork can save you money on repair bills and annoyance with your new dishwasher in the end.

Read more…

Thermador’s New Steam Range

Thermador’s Pro Grand Steam 48-inch range offers seven distinct cooking options — steaming, convection baking, burner cooking, simmering, grilling, griddle cooking and warming — with a combination Steam & Convection Oven, a large-capacity convection oven, a six-burner gas cooktop featuring the exclusive Star® Burners, and a fully integrated warming drawer in the all-in-one package. Additionally, it houses Thermador’s cooking exclusives, such as the ExtraLow® simmering technology, and a power Star Burner with 22,000 BTU.

“Judging from the recent success of the built-in Steam & Convection Oven, we believe the market is ready for another game-changing concept with the new Pro Grand Steam Range. Our new professional range empowers home cooks to achieve their best and experience the absolute finest in cooking, whether it’s healthy steam cooking, baking in the large-capacity convection oven, precise simmering on the Star Burners, or just keeping the family meal warm.” said Zach Elkin, director of the Thermador brand.

The new 48-inch Pro Grand Steam Range features:

The Thermador Pro Grand Steam Range offers seven distinct cooking options with four integrated appliances: a full-function combination Steam & Convection Oven; a large-capacity Convection Oven; a six-burner Gas Cooktop and electric grill/griddle option with ProCoat™titanium surface; and a Warming Drawer.
The fully integrated 1.4-cubic-foot Steam & Convection Oven cavity is large enough for a 14-pound turkey, serving 15 people. (A 14-pound turkey takes only 90 minutes to cook in Combination mode, resulting in a moist inside and a perfect crust outside.) The steam oven offers 30 easy cook food programs, and its simple water tank design allows for convenient, spill-proof refilling, and eliminates the need for plumbing modifications during installation.
The Steam & Convection Oven enables cooking without using butter or fat, improves overall food quality and appearance, and preserves healthy vitamins and nutrients typically lost during traditional cooking methods.
Patented six Star Burners with QuickClean™base, which allow for more ports and flame distribution, greater heat coverage and a smaller cold spot than conventional round burners.
Power Star Burner offering 22,000 (Natural Gas) BTU, while the remaining burners produce 18,000 BTU.
Four Star Burners featuring ExtraLow®simmering technology that cycles the burners off and on to as low as 100 degrees (375 BTU).
Large-capacity 5.1-cubic-foot Convection Oven offers maximum cooking space and nine advanced conventional cooking modes.
Spacious 1.4-cubic-foot warming drawer holds up to 10 dinner plates.

Design features include:

Highest-grade stainless steel construction and handcrafted in the United States with signature bull-nose design.
Professional®Series handles and trimkits offer design consistency with any Thermador kitchen.
New hydraulic SoftClose™hinges prevent the slamming of oven doors, and SoftClose glide doors for the warming drawer.
Full Access® telescopic racks with integrated easy-grip handle.
Electronic oven display interfaces to cook timer, meat probe and preheat status.
Commercial-style stainless steel knobs.
Commercial-style temperature gauges and illuminated electronic displays.

The range will be available in August 2011 at high-end appliance retailers, for an MSRP of $13,995.

Aging in Place – Appliance Placement

If you are a retiree building a new home, you can plan your kitchen and laundry areas to accommodate your aging body. For those of us who plan to stay right where we are, some simple adjustments and purchases can make daily tasks easier.

So, let’s start with the easy ones, like the Washer & Dryer. Front loading models are very popular today, but bending over and getting inside for the very last sock can be a problem for those with mobility issues. Most brands, including Bosch, Whirlpool and Frigidaire make pedestals for all their newer models, and can retrofit them to older models.They range from 11″ to 17″, depending on the brand. The other solution is to pull the machines out, and have your contractor frame in a raised platform at just the right height for you, cover it with linoleum, and your washer and dryer will be much more accessible.

Another place to ‘right height’ appliances is in the kitchen. Here are more tips from HB Building and Design: One popular solution is a lowered cooktop with the controls on the front. If you have room to make this modification, and lower this part of the countertop with the adjacent required landing space, it really makes things easier for shorter people, or someone sitting in a wheelchair or using a walker.

The second kitchen appliance that should be considered is the refrigerator. A side-by-side refrigerator freezer is a much better choice, giving access to both the freezer and the refrigerator from a sitting position. In a more extensive remodel, a wall oven can be installed at a lower height as can the microwave oven.

A final consideration are countertops which should be smooth to allow you to slide rather than lift heavy pots and pans. Cabinets can also be prepared for someone with a progressive illness by specifying removable base cabinets for future wheelchair access.

Is Steam the Thing? – Ovens

Here we have part three in our “Steam” series – Ovens.

Steam ovens harness the power of super heated steam to quickly cook foods without drying them out. Use a steam oven to create healthy flavorful meals while using less fat. Most steam ovens will allow you to adjust the humidity level inside the cooking chamber to create the right environment for the individual foods you’re cooking.

New steam ovens on the market offer conventional dry baking. Users also have the ability to defrost, warm up leftovers and even simulate a high heat grill to finish meats.

“It’s a way to make nutritional food that tastes like it came from a restaurant,” says Portfolio Kitchen & Home in Kansas City owner Geri Higgins. “You don’t have to add butter or sauce to it to make it more moist or flavorful.” The design center demonstrates its Gaggenau steam-convection combination oven and in-counter steamer.

The steamer and the oven are self-cleaning; condensation needs to be wiped up after cooking. For an integrated countertop steamer, a plumber hooks up water and drainage lines. Because calcium can sometimes clog water lines, many models contain water cartridges. Ovens come with detachable water reservoirs and don’t typically require plumbing.

On a recent day, Portfolio made asparagus (3 minutes) and salmon with lemon and herbs (10 minutes) in an in-counter steamer. The texture was moist but not water-logged.

Portfolio baked bread in a Gaggenau combination oven using dough from the grocery store. Steam is misted on the dough toward the beginning of the cycle to create a flaky brown crust on the exterior with the goal of retaining moisture inside.

Steam-combination ovens cook fast, too. A 14-pound turkey takes 90 minutes.

Some opt to reheat food with steam instead of using a microwave. Leftover pizza, for example, tastes like it’s fresh out of the oven.

“You’re starting to see steam ovens as a second oven above a conventional one,” Higgins says. “Instead of a microwave.”

Is Steam the Thing? – Dishwashers

Here is the second in our steam cleaning series – Steam dishwashers.

Conventional dishwashers produce steam in the drying cycle when leftover water is converted into vapor. But steam dishwashers use steam in the washing phases.

“One of the main reasons you’re seeing more steam dishwashers is because detergent manufacturers have eliminated phosphates,” says Stephen Wright, appliance manager at Nebraska Furniture Mart . “So (conventional) dishwashers aren’t as good at breaking up debris, especially the caked-on stuff.”

According to How Stuff Works, steam dishwashers don’t exclusively use steam as a cleaning method, the user has the option to add a steam cycle to clean a load of dishes. But steam dishwashers can use steam differently and at various times. For instance, some steam dishwashers, such as LG’s models, have a special setting that uses steam to clean fragile dishes. Because steam doesn’t need to use force to get dishes clean, it’s a great tool for cleaning fine china and other easily breakable items. Adding a steam option to other, more rigorous cycles also will help it clean more effectively. It’s like adding an extra boost of cleaning power to the traditional cycle.

Consumer Reports is lukewarm on steam dishwashers. They found the addition of steam does make dishes cleaner, but only a little bit. In fact, they found that the spray jet features of some dishwashers worked more effectively than steam, as long as the dishes were loaded to face the spray. A downside: they take a lot longer to get through a wash cycle, adding as much as 45 minutes. The upsides: they’re quiet and energy-efficient.