August 22, 2014

Haier Buying Sanyo Appliance Division

Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. plans to sell much of its major appliance business to China’s Haier Group, in an uncommon instance of a Japanese electronics conglomerate allowing a rising Chinese rival take over a chunk of a major business segment.

The sale of the Sanyo operations—mostly washing-machine and refrigerator businesses—is part of Panasonic’s efforts to eliminate overlapping areas since its 2009 purchase of Sanyo. For Haier, the acquisition of Sanyo’s businesses will help it move a step closer to becoming a globally recognized quality appliance brand like Whirlpool or Electrolux.

Haier Group will have the rights to use the Sanyo brand name on washing machines, refrigerators, air-conditioners, TVs, and other consumer appliances in Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia under the SANYO brand for a limited, but unspecified, period of time.

The acquisition of the Sanyo businesses is “an important part of Haier’s overall growth strategy,” said Haier Vice President Du Jingguo in a statement released Thursday.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Haier has said previously it was looking at overseas acquisitions to grow. President Yang Mianmian told Dow Jones Newswires in March it would look at opportunities that arise.

The Chinese firm previously held talks with General Electric Co. in 2008 to buy the U.S. firm’s appliance unit. Before the talks with GE, Haier made an unsuccessful bid for Maytag Corp. in 2004 but lost out to Whirlpool Corp.

Haier holds more than 6% of the world’s white-goods market.

Save Money on New Appliances and Help the World Too

We can all use a little help these days. If your budget cuts have you rethinking how to replace an aging appliance, GE offers a solution that lets you buy a new appliance while helping others. At the online GE outlet store, with any purchase of one of their discontinued, closeout or overstock appliances (which includes standard GE warranty and free delivery) they will donate 2% of the price to the United Way.

They have just about every appliance you could need – from refrigerators, and washers to trash compactors and range hoods. The supply and variety varies, with more choices in the larger kitchen appliances than others. The savings also vary. At last look, you could save $200 -$500 on a refrigerator, but just around $20 on a ventilation hood.

It would also be a good resource if you are trying to match older GE Appliances already in your kitchen.

How an Evaporative Cooler Works

If you have ever enjoyed a breeze on a too hot day as it cools your skin, you felt as Ben Franklin did back in 1750, when he changed out of damp clothes and into dry ones on a 100+ day. He noted that he was cooler in the damp clothes and realized that the warm breeze in the room was not cooling him, but rather, his sweaty clothes. Not an attractive thought, but one that led him to experiment by wetting the bulb of a thermometer with spirits that evaporated quicker than water, and then blowing air across it. He managed to bring the temperature down so far that ice froze on the bulb.

An evaporative cooler, also known as a swamp cooler works on this principle. It is essentially a large fan with water-moistened pads in front of it. The fan draws warm outside air through the pads and blows the now-cooled air throughout the house. The pads can be made of wood shavings – wood from aspen trees is a traditional choice – or other materials that absorb and hold moisture while resisting mildew.

Small distribution lines supply water to the top of the pads. Water soaks the pads and, thanks to gravity, trickles through them to collect in a sump at the bottom of the cooler. A small recirculating water pump sends the collected water back to the top of the pads.

Since water is continually lost through evaporation, a float valve – much like the one that controls the water in a toilet tank – adds water to the sump when the level gets low. Under normal conditions, a swamp cooler can use between 3 to 15 gallons of water a day.

A large fan draws air through the pads, where evaporation drops the temperature approximately 20 degrees. The fan then blows this cooled air into the house.

Here’s a little lesson to help determine if a swamp cooler will cool your house enough:

Wet and Dry Bulb Temperature

To predict how much a swamp cooler will cool the air, you need to know the wet and dry bulb temperature. The dry bulb is easy — it’s just the regular temperature of the air. The wet bulb temperature tells you what the air temperature would be at 100 percent humidity, and it’s measured with a thermometer covered with a wet cloth sock and exposed to airflow.

The wet bulb temperature is always lower than the dry bulb temperature, and the difference between the two is the wet bulb depression. Depending how efficient your swamp cooler is, it can bring the temperature down as much as 95 percent of the wet bulb depression. Imagine you and your evaporative cooler are in Las Vegas, and it’s 108 degrees outside with a wet bulb temperature of 66 degrees. A swamp cooler operating at 85 percent efficiency can bring the temperature down to a nice, cool 72.3 degrees, right in the human comfort zone.

Unfortunately, evaporative air coolers don’t work everywhere. Swamps, for instance, are lousy places for swamp coolers. It’s not entirely clear where they got the nickname, but it probably refers to the humidity they add to the air or the swampy smell that can develop when they aren’t cleaned often enough. In order to work, they need a hot, dry climate. In the U.S., swamp coolers work well in the arid southwest.

Portable Air Conditioners and Evaporative Coolers

Now that August is here and we have all had a chance to experience the heat of summer, I have a question – have any readers used a portable air conditioner? Not the fixed models that mount in the window, but the free-standing style that sit in the middle of a room with a tube that allows it to vent outdoors. How about a Swamp, or Evaporative cooler?

The efficacy of the air conditioners seems doubtful to me. Do they have the power to cool a room when at the same time they are producing so much energy (that’s heat!) to run the motor?

Many years ago, my in-laws had what we called a swamp cooler. It was also free-standing and worked by blowing air over water soaked pads. The air that came into the room was cooled as it passed through the pads. It did a great job of cooling one room in hot Southern California where, although the room did seem damp, it was pleasant.

These appliances are the same size and relative cost to buy, but the cooler uses up to 75% less energy to run.

Recall: Honeywell Electric Baseboard and Fan Heater Thermostats Due to Burn Hazard

Name of Product: Electric Baseboard and Fan Heater Thermostats

Units: About 77,000

Importer: Honeywell International Inc., of Morris Township, N.J.

Hazard: The thermostats can overheat, causing them to melt and smoke. This poses a burn hazard to the consumer.

Incidents/Injuries: Honeywell has received 16 reports of thermostats melting. There have been no reports of injuries.

Description: The recalled thermostats are rectangular, white, programmable thermostats used to control electric baseboard and fan heaters. “Honeywell” or “Cadet” is printed on the front of the thermostats that come in various sizes. The model number and four-digit date code are printed on a label inside the front cover of the thermostat. The model numbers listed below are included in this recall. Only models with date codes beginning with 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05 or 06 are included.

Brand Name/ Model Number
Honeywell/ CT1950A1003
Honeywell/ CT1950B1002
Honeywell/ CT1957A1008
CADET/ T4700B1030
CADET/ T4700A1040
Honeywell/ T4700B1014
Honeywell/ T4700A1016

Sold at: Home improvement stores, HVAC and electrical stores, and contractors from January 2000 to December 2007 for between $80 and $300.

Manufactured in: Singapore

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled thermostats by setting the thermostats to 45 degrees or turning them off. Only models with a “B” in the model number have an off switch. Consumers should contact Honeywell for a free replacement installed by Honeywell.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Honeywell toll-free at (888) 235-7363 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT. Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s website at http://www.yourhome.honeywell.com/T4700

Recall – Again: Additional Retail Sales Prompt CPSC and Meijer to Reannounce Touch Point Heater Recall; Fire Hazard Posed

Name of Product: Touch Point Oscillating Ceramic Heaters

Units: About 13,000 units (6,700 originally recalled in November 2010)

Importer: Meijer Inc., of Grand Rapids, Mich.

Hazard: The oscillating mechanism in the heaters can short out, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: Meijer has received two reports of incidents involving fires that resulted in property damage. No injuries have been reported.

Description: This announcement involves previously recalled Touch Point oscillating ceramic heaters with model number PTC-902. The grey/silver color heaters are about 10-inches tall, have a black screen across the front and controls on the top. The model number and UPC code 7-60236-58339 are printed on a metal label/plate on the bottom of the heater. Some models have an additional digit in the UPC code, making it a 12-digit code. In addition, some heaters will have a UPC code 7-13733-29222 sticker on the bottom of the packaging box.

Sold at: Meijer stores in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio from October 2009 through April 2011 for about $25. Discount retailers, dollar stores, flea markets and retail liquidators nationwide sold the heaters from November 2010 through April 2011 for various prices. The heaters were sold after the original recall was announced in November 2010.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled heaters and return them to the nearest Meijer retail store for a full refund of the purchase price. Consumers who purchased heaters from other retailers should contact Meijer to arrange a refund.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Meijer at (800) 927-8699 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s website at www.meijer.com

Keep Your Stainless Appliances Bright and Shiny

Stainless steel is an alloy of iron (90%) and chromium (10%), a little of the chromium combines with oxygen from the atmosphere to form a hard oxide coating on the surface. This process continues in a passive form throughout the steel’s life and is what makes it “stainless;” should the finish be removed through corrosion or wear, the metal will no longer be “stainless.” It will rust just like any other steel. Dirt, or other material, hinders this continual oxidation process and traps corrosive agents, ultimately destroying the metal’s corrosion protection.

Stainless steel actually thrives with frequent cleaning, and, unlike some other materials, it is impossible to “wear out” stainless steel by excessive cleaning. Use mild detergents and warm water to clean even tougher grime. You can also use mild non-scratching abrasive powders such as typical household cleaners. These can be used with warm water, bristle brushes, sponges, or clean cloths.Be sure to rinse well and dry thoroughly to prevent spotting from minerals in the water.

More tips:

    Brighten a steel sink by polishing with a cloth dipped in vinegar or ammonia, or sprinkle a little baking soda on a sponge, rub the sink gently, and rinse.

    Fingerprints can be removed with glass cleaner or household ammonia. Some newer types of finishes resist fingerprints.

    Cleaners made for stainless steel minimize scratching, remove stains, and polish surfaces.

According to the Stainless Steel Information Center, organic solvents can also be used to remove fresh fingerprints and oils and greases that have not had time to oxidize or decompose, the preferred solvent being one that does not contain chlorine. Acetone, methyl alcohol, and mineral spirits are acceptable.

Here are step-by-step instructions for cleaning a fairly dirty stainless steel appliance:

Step 1 – Begin by rubbing the entire stainless steel appliance with a clean, damp cotton cloth that has been soaked and rung out with warm soapy water.

Step 2 – Use another cotton cloth that has been soaked in vinegar and rung out so it is only damp.

Step 3 – Apply a small dollop of commercial stainless steel cleaner to a cotton cloth and then rub the stainless steel appliance with it going with the lines or ‘grain’ of the steel inlay.

Step 4 – If there are hardened food stains, baked on food or grease, remove these with a nylon scouring pad and a caustic soda (baking soda) solution.

Step 5 – Use another soft cotton cloth dipped in warm, clear water to rinse the solution off the appliance.

Recall: General Electric, Sharp GE Air Conditioning and Heating Units Due to Fire Hazard

Name of Product: GE Zoneline Air Conditioners and Heaters

Units: About 90,600

Distributor: GE Appliances and Lighting, of Louisville, Ky.

Manufacturer: Sharp Corp., of Osaka, Japan

Hazard: An electrical component in the heating system can fail, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: General Electric and Sharp have received four reports of incidents involving smoke and/or fire with the air conditioning and heating units. In two of the reported incidents, fire extended beyond the air conditioning and heating unit, resulting in property damage. No injuries have been reported.

Description: This recall involves GE Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners (PTAC) and packaged terminal heat pumps manufactured between January 2010 and March 2011, and are most often used in apartment buildings and commercial space. The GE logo is affixed to the control panel door. Serial and model are printed on the rating plate. Consumers will need to remove the front panel to locate the model and serial information. The following models and serials are included in this recall:

Brand: GE
Model Number (Begins with): AZ41, AZ61
Serial Number (Begins with): AT, DT, FT, GT, HT, LT, MT, RT, ST, TT, VT, ZT,AV, DV and FV

Sold by: General Electric authorized representatives and HVAC distributors nationwide from March 2010 through March 2011 for between $1,000 and $1,200.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the air conditioning and heating units in the heat mode and contact General Electric to schedule a free repair.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact General Electric toll-free at (866) 918-8771 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s website at www.geappliances.com/products/recall