October 25, 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.

 

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.

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.

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…

Fire It Up Safely: CPSC Recommends Safety Check Before Grilling This Summer

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urges consumers to check their grills and “fire it up safely” to prevent fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Before lighting the grill, do a safety check.

    Has your grill been recalled? Check SaferProducts.gov. If the grill has been recalled, contact the manufacturer and stop using it until you get a repair or replacement.

    Visually inspect the hoses on a gas grill for cracking, brittleness, holes and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing and that all connections are secure. Replace if necessary.

    Check for propane gas leaks. Open the gas supply valve fully and apply a soapy solution with a brush at the connection point. If bubbles appear, there is a leak. Try tightening the tank connection. If that does not stop the leak, close the gas valve and have the grill repaired by a qualified professional.

    Is the grill clean? Regularly cleaning the grill, as described in the owner’s manual, and also cleaning the grease trap, will reduce the risk of flare-ups and grease fires.

Once the safety check is complete, make sure to operate the grill as safely as possible.

    Use grills outside only in a well-ventilated area. Never use a grill indoors or in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch or under a surface that will burn. Gas and charcoal grills present a risk of fire and/or carbon monoxide poisoning that could result in injury or death. An estimated 3,800 gas or charcoal grill-related injuries were treated in hospital emergency departments in 2010. While almost all of the injuries were burns, a few of the charcoal grill injuries were related to carbon monoxide. There were an estimated average of eight CO-related deaths per year between 2005 and 2007 associated with charcoal grills that were used indoors or in enclosed spaces.

    Never leave a grill unattended. If a flare-up occurs, adjust the controls on the gas grill or spread out the coals on a charcoal grill to lower the temperature. If a grease fire occurs, turn off the gas grill and use baking soda and or a kitchen fire extinguisher to put out the fire.

    Keep the grill hoses as far away as possible from hot surfaces and dripping hot grease.

    Keep children away from the grill area. The outside surface of a grill can get hot and burn when touched.

Appliance Myths – Dishwashers

Although we use our dishwashers often, sometimes daily, their inner workings remain a mystery to many of us. Here are some common myths busted for you.

Myth – My dishwasher is broken because there is some water in the bottom after the cycle is finished.
Truth – There should usually be some water left in the bottom sump of the dishwasher at the end of a wash. This water keeps the seals moist to avoid them drying out and leaking. When the dishwasher starts, it will first drain for several seconds to remove standing water, then it will fill with fresh water and begin the wash cycle.

Myth – A dishwasher pumps in water to fill it up.
Truth – When needed, a water fill valve simply opens to allow the household water pressure fill the machine. The pump is only involved in draining the appliance and washing.

Myth – A dishwasher stops filling when the float inside the tub rises high enough to represent a proper fill level.
Truth – Most modern dishwashers fill using a timing method, filling for a set amount of time. The float is usually for over-fill protection only, stopping a fill before it gets to the point of flooding. Under normal operation the float and float switch should never come into play.

Myth – If your dishwasher fails to function, you should call a plumber.
Truth – In most cases, no. Major appliances are considerably different from most other plumbing fixtures. Most plumbers are not familiar with the intricacies of the appliance itself and should only be called if the problem lies in the connection to the household plumbing.

We Have a Winner- Kid’s Poster Contest on Carbon Monoxide Safety

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) sponsored a nationwide carbon monoxide (CO) safety poster contest to help raise awareness about the dangers of CO in the home. Possible topics for posters included: recognizing CO exposure and CO exposure symptoms; the inability to see or smell CO; steps to protect against CO poisoning; and installation and testing of a CO alarm.

This contest was open to all middle school age children in grades 6, 7 and 8.

Carbon monoxide is called the “Invisible Killer” because it can’t be seen or smelled. It can kill its victims quickly. Do you have a carbon monoxide alarm in your home?

How Deadly CO Gets Into a Home:

* Running a portable generator in an enclosed space, basement or living area
* Running a car in an attached garage
* Poorly operating fuel-burning appliances or faulty ventilation
* Burning charcoal inside your home

“Congratulations to all the winners of CPSC’s carbon monoxide poster contest,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “We heard from middle school teachers that their students not only had fun creating the posters but also learned about the dangers of carbon monoxide. Our staff had a real challenge choosing the winners because there were so many terrific entries.”

CPSC received nearly 450 entries from 6th, 7th and 8th grade students across the nation. The contest is intended to raise awareness about the dangers of carbon monoxide in the home. CPSC estimates there were 184 unintentional non-fire CO poisoning deaths associated with consumer products each year from 2005 to 2007.

Trachell from Hawaii, whose poster is pictured above, was the grand prize winner.

Here are some other winning entries:

How to Load a Dishwasher

The proper way to load the dishwasher. Husbands and wives have been debating technique for years, roommates have had thoughts of moving out because of it. Some procedures, like careful placement, do guarantee that dishes are cleaned properly and emerge unscathed, dishwasher intact. We’ll let Consumer Reports step in with their official stance -

Here is the proper way to load your dishwasher:
* Skip pre-rinsing, a real water waster, but do scrape off food.
* Load large items at the side and back. Otherwise they’ll block water and detergent.
* Place the dirtier side of dish toward the center of machine, allowing for more exposure to the spray. Dishes shouldn’t rest against each other, or water won’t reach all surfaces.
* Put dishwasher-safe plastic and delicate items on the top rack.
* Rest glasses on prongs to prevent breakage and water from accumulating in them.
* Load forks and spoons with handles down, but place knives handles up. If your dishwasher has an open basket, mix flatware to prevent pieces from sticking together.
* Place items with baked-on food facedown and toward the sprayer in bottom rack.
* Avoid putting brass, bronze, cast-iron, wood, or gold leaf china in the machine.

 
To keep china from chipping, don’t allow dishes to touch other items, especially pots and pans. If you decide to hand wash your fine china and porcelain, line your sink with an old towel to prevent chipping and use a mild dish detergent.