October 1, 2014

Recall: Burlington Coat Factory Slow Cookers Due to Fire Hazard

Name of Product: Slow Cooker

Units: About 7,460

Retailer: Burlington Coat Factory, of Burlington, N.J.

Importer/Distributor: Lehrhoff ABL, of Carlstadt, N.J.

Hazard: The slow cooker’s control panel can overheat and melt, posing a fire hazard.

Incidents/Injuries: The manufacturer has received 60 reports of the control panels smoking, melting and sparking, and three reports of panels catching fire. Fourteen incidents resulted in minor damage to countertops. No injuries have been reported.

Description: This recall involves Bella Kitchen 5-quart programmable slow cookers. The slow cookers are black with “Bella Kitchen” printed on the control panel. Only slow cookers with model number WJ-5000DE and date codes 0907 or 0909 are included in this recall. The model number and the four-digit date code are printed on a label on the underside of the product.

Sold at: Burlington Coat Factory stores from June 2010 through December 2010 for $20.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should stop using the slow cooker immediately, unplug it and return the slow cooker to Burlington Coat Factory for a full refund or store credit.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Burlington Coat Factory toll-free at (888) 223-2628 between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s website at http://www.burlingtoncoatfactory.com

The Way to a Woman’s Heart is Through the Kitchen – Yours!

Hey guys – if your Valentine’s Day didn’t turn out as planned you may want to consider wooing your girl with a new kitchen.
The way to a woman’s heart is through your kitchen, according to the research by luxury appliance brand Thermador.

Its survey showed that 83 percent women fall for suitors with a luxury kitchen in their bachelor’s pad. Just 17 percent women go for guys with a fancy car in their garage.

Red convertibles may impress your friends, but they won’t make your Valentine’s heart race and cheeks flush like a top-of-the-line gourmet kitchen, said the luxury appliance maker on the findings of its survey.

In fact, 61 percent of women said a beautiful kitchen would better help them decide whether to ‘heat things up’ in a relationship than a romantic bedroom (38 percent ) or flashy garage (1 percent),” said the statement.

Steve Preiner, director of marketing for Thermador, said, ‘Not only is a well-designed and outfitted kitchen a great way to impress your date, it will also help strengthen your home’s resale value. ‘You can knock thousands of dollars off the value of a new car as soon as you drive it out of the dealership, but investing in a beautiful kitchen with quality appliances will only increase the beauty and the value of your home.”

If you are looking for a first date to turn into a second, then renovating your kitchen and installing luxury handcrafted appliances is the way to go, according to the survey.

But having an impressive kitchen is only part of the story, said the survey, adding that a lover also needs to be a good cook to impress his girl.

Forty-six percent women ‘swoon over men who can cook” and 44 percent over ‘who are fit, ” according to the survey findings.

Just one percent women are impressed by the guys who drive nice cars.

Recall: LEM Products Food Dehydrators Due to Fire Hazard

Name of Product: Food dehydrators with digital timers

Units: About 3,500

Distributor: LEM Products, of Harrison, Ohio

Hazard: The screws that secure the motor to the back panel can come loose, causing the motor to fall on the heating element. This poses a fire hazard.

Incidents/Injuries: LEM Products has received five reports of motors falling on the unit’s heating element resulting in smoke or fire contained in the unit. No injuries have been reported.

Description: This recall involves 5-tray and 10-tray LEM food dehydrators with serial numbers 2010 0701, 2010 0702, 2010 07021, 2010 0901, 2010 0902, 2010 1001 or 2010 1101. The dehydrators are gray and are made of plastic. The LEM logo is embossed on the top of the unit. The serial number is located on the label on the back panel. The last section of the UPC code found in the packaging reads “1009 1” for the 5-tray unit and “1010 7” for the 10-tray unit.

Sold at: Mass merchandisers and retailers nationwide and online at www.lemproducts.com from August 2010 through December 2010 for about $160.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled dehydrators and contact LEM Products to receive a free repair kit.

Consumer Contact: For more information, contact LEM Products toll-free at (877) 425-4509 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the website at www.lemproducts.com

Dishwasher Buying Guide – Special Features You May – Or May Not Need

Dishwashers come with many options to help you get sparkling clean dishes. Some come standard on a basic machine and some will add considerably to the price of your new dishwasher. Read on to see what Consumer Reports had to say about these features.

Adjustable racks and loading aids
Racks that adjust up or down, adjustable tines, and silverware and stemware holders let you reconfigure the interior and organize the contents. Those devices increase flexibility, especially when you cook for a crowd, and they can help accommodate large and oddly shaped items.

Dirt sensor
It adjusts water use and cycle length to soil level. A dirt sensor can improve efficiency, but not all work well.

Rinse/hold cycle
It lets you rinse dirty dishes before you’re ready to start a full cycle. This cycle can reduce odors and prevents soil from setting while you accumulate enough dirty dishes for a full load.

Filters
These keep wash water free of food that could be redeposited on clean dishes. There are two types: self-cleaning and manual.
Most filters are self-cleaning; a grinder pulverizes the debris and flushes it down the drain. That’s convenient but noisy. Some models have a filter without a grinder. It’s quieter, but it needs periodic cleaning, a job that takes a few minutes. It’s your choice.

Special wash cycles
Most dishwashers come with at least three cycles: light, normal, and heavy (pots and pans). Some offer pot-scrubber, soak/scrub, steam clean, china/crystal, or sanitizing cycles as well. The three basic cycles should be enough for most chores–even for baked-on food. A sanitizing option that raises water temperature above the typical 140° F doesn’t necessarily clean better.

Stainless-steel tub
Steel is more durable than plastic, but models with a plastic tub tend to cost far less. While light-colored plastic might become discolored, gray-speckled plastic should resist staining. Even a plastic tub should last longer than most people keep a dishwasher.

Hidden touchpad controls
Controls mounted along the top edge of the door are strictly a styling touch. They’re hidden when the door is closed. You can’t see cycle progress at a glance. (Partially hidden controls are a good compromise. They show that the machine is running and often display remaining cycle time.)

Phosphate Free Dishwasher Detergent – The Saga Continues…

Back in July ’10 we published a story about sixteen states banning phosphates from dishwasher detergent. Detergent manufacturers have reacted to that ban by removing all but trace amounts of the chemical from their dishwasher detergents.

The response to that article has been loud and clear – the new formulas are a failure.

Phosphates are chemicals responsible for serious cleaning. Phosphorus debates in the cleaning industry began 40 years ago. By 1993, major manufacturers had stopped using it in laundry detergents, says Dennis Griesing of the American Cleaning Institute, a trade association in Washington, D.C. Automatic dishwasher detergents weren’t part of the change because phosphorous was more critical to the cleaning process.

“Phosphorus likes to bind to things,” Griesing explains. “It’s a very sociable element. It would hold soil from plates and glasses in suspension in the water and prevent redeposition.”

But in 2006, when the state of Washington first voted to limit phosphates in automatic dishwasher detergents, manufacturers saw the writing on the wall. Washington’s law, which reduced the allowable amount from nearly 9 percent to a mere one-half of 1 percent, became the standard for other states.

To get rid of residue on glasses and nonmetal dishes, the institute recommends placing two cups of white vinegar in a bowl on the bottom rack of the dishwasher and running the items through a cycle with no detergent. Rewash with detergent to remove residual vinegar.

Of course, this means using more water, another environmental no-no.

Consumer Reports has suggestions for frustrated consumers, besides doing testing to find the best low-phosphate detergents. Its tips to maximize the effectiveness of dishwashers include loading large items at the side and back so they don’t block water and detergent, placing the dirty side of a dish toward the center of the machine and placing items with baked-on food facedown and toward the sprayer in the bottom rack.

As for CR’s recommended detergents, they are:

Cascade Complete All-in-1 ActionPacs ($7.50, 26-count package)

Finish Powerball Tabs ($6, 20-count package)

Finish Quantum ($13, 45-count package)

Appliance Prices Are Going Up

Top appliance makers Whirlpool and Electrolux are raising prices to pass soaring raw material costs on to customers, but their attempts may not pass muster with bargain-hungry shoppers.

According to Reuters, both companies reported quarterly profits that fell short of estimates as they grapple with tepid demand in major markets like the United States and Europe.
Many analysts questioned the timing of the move, especially since consumers in the developed world continue to look for incentives to buy expensive goods like appliances.

Korean manufacturer Samsung has not announced increases and appears to be planning to hold existing prices. Still, Whirlpool’s chief executive, Jeff Fettig, insisted it was not “economically feasible” for Whirlpool to remain indefinitely in the promotional mindset it adopted for the holiday season and last year in general. “For 2011, we expect positive but uneven demand levels around the world,” Fettig said, adding the company still hoped to expand operating margins in the year through price increases and boosts in productivity.

LG Electronics does plan an increase as well. The planned price increase matches moves announced earlier by Whirlpool and Electrolux.

Whirlpool has shut plants, cut jobs and moved some manufacturing to lower cost centers like Mexico. It has also started using common parts across its lineup of dishwashers, refrigerators and washing machines.

Electrolux, which sells under its own name as well as the Zanussi and Frigidaire brands, is planning to raise prices by 8 percent to 10 percent in North America starting in April and gradually in Europe and other markets. The move comes as manufacturers around the globe plot price increases to offset higher materials costs and regain ground lost in the recession. Electrolux Chief Executive Keith McLoughlin said the rise in raw materials’ costs had been across the board.

Dacor Introduces the Distinctive 24″ Microwave and the Epicure 36″ Raised Ventilation System

Dacor has just introduced two new products – the Distinctive 24” Microwave and the Epicure 36” Raised Ventilation System.

Available in stainless steel, the Distinctive 24” Microwave is a classic combination of form and functionality, with an affordable price that has become a signature of the Distinctive Series. Equipped with state-of-the-art Sensor Technology the Distinctive Microwave takes the guesswork out of cooking by detecting the moisture and humidity level of the food inside and cooking it accordingly. A built-in electronic sensor automatically sets the time for cooking or reheating and then “senses” the vapor emitted from the food to determine the duration and power level needed to thoroughly cook the food.

In addition, the Menu Label is clearly displayed on the inside of the oven door, providing a functional list of automatic settings to assist in meal preparation and take the guesswork out of cooking. Users no longer have to worry that food is burning or remains cold in the center. The Distinctive Microwave also comes with pre-set options for recipes that can be made directly in the microwave. Complete with recipe cards so home chefs can prepare the ingredients, the Microwave display prompts users on the recipe’s next step. During the cooking process the microwave displays recipe instructions and pauses automatically to allow users to stir, season, or add ingredients as necessary. The Auto Start option allows users to program the oven to begin cooking at a pre-set time and power level. Food can be placed inside, and the menu used to set the appropriate time and power level.

Additional features of the 24” Distinctive Microwave:

Keep Warm – keeps hot foods heated up to 30 minutes after cooking is finished with no loss of quality

Four Defrost Options – quickly defrosts meats and poultry by weight. Specific programs for each category assure excellent, even results

Minute Plus – provides users one minute of high power cooking with a single touch

36” Epicure Ventilation System

An efficient, high-quality ventilation system is essential to improving air quality in the kitchen. Ventilation Systems not only eliminate kitchen odors, but also help to control the humidity in a kitchen, which inhibits the growth of bacteria. The 36” Epicure Ventilation System offers a stylish solution for homeowners who need a ventilation system but do not want the look of a large hood hanging from the ceiling. Designed in stainless steel, this innovative ventilation system is installed under the counter and remains out of view when not in use. When needed, the system rises 15” above the countertop to efficiently remove smoke and other cooking odors. When finished, the touch of a button lowers the system back into the surface of the counter for a clear, uncluttered countertop. The ventilation system’s slim profile makes it versatile and allows it to be installed behind an oven/cooktop combination.
Dacor specially designed the Epicure Ventilation System to compliment the Distinctive Cooktop and Distinctive Rangetop. The system has an infinite speed blower control and must be vented with a Remote Blower or In Line Blower, which reduce kitchen noise, or a Cabinet Blower. Powerful and efficient design allows Dacor blowers to easily remove the most persistent and dense kitchen pollutants – from heat and odor to steam and smoke.

The Distinctive 24” Microwave rolls out to authorized Dacor dealers in February 2011 with UMRP starting at $459 while the Epicure 36” Raised Ventilation System will be available to dealers in March 2011 and has a UMRP starting at $979.

Recall: Food Dehydrator by NESCO American Harvest Due to Fire Hazard

Name of Product: NESCO American Harvest Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator

Units: About 4,800

Manufacturer: The Metal Ware Corporation, of Two Rivers, Wisc.

Hazard: A defective capacitor in the electronic control module can overheat, posing a smoke and fire hazard.

Incidents/Injuries: NESCO received three reports of overheating resulting in smoke or fire. No injuries have been reported.

Description: The recalled product includes a base with stackable trays to place food. The top of the unit houses the electronic control module. Model number FD-1020 and production date codes: 09E 0610; 09E 0624; and 09E 0903 are molded into the underside of the dehydrator’s electronic control module.

Sold at: National mass merchandisers and retailers and online at www.nesco.com and other websites from July 2009 to January 2011 for about $140.

Manufactured in:
China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled product and contact NESCO for instructions on how to receive a free electronic control module.

Consumer Contact: For more information, contact NESCO at (800) 726-4457 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s website at www.nesco.com