January 16, 2018

Archives for May 2007

Miele is really cooking – 6 burner cooktop is hot (literally)

One of the hardest parts of doing a minimal remodel on an old kitchen is figuring out how to fit new gear into old spaces. We had a 40 year old cooktop just begging to be scrapped, and needed to find a sleek new stainless steel cooktop to drop into the now hard to match 40 inch hole. Most cooktops today fit either a 36 inch or 42 inch form factor. We were pleased to find that with a little bit of counter shaving the 42 inch Miele could manage in our old 40 inch slot.

miele masterchef cooktop  km344
The Miele km344 cooktop has a completely sealed stainless surface. You can spill a pot of boiling water over the surface without worries. Its a 6 burner cooktop, with castiron interlocking grates, self reigniting, with good, old fashioned analog dial controls.
Cooking Surface
The cooking surface is three giant grates, that each cover 2 burners front to back. The grates interlock so they have to go on in order, but there is no wobble, and great stability. No worries that a large pot will tip off of an inadequate grate. On the downside, the cooking surface consists of cast iron fingers reaching towards the center of each burner. It can be diffiicult to find a well supported flat spot to set down a soup bowl while ladling into it. It would be nicer if the grate had a couple of extra tines around each burner to create more broad surfaces for setting things down on the grate. The units continuous grates make it easy to move pots around on the surface without lifting and the sealed burners make cleanup much less complicated.

I find the configuration of the grates annoying in that they seem to be designed for commercial sized or styled cookware that the average home cook (that would be me – and I think most American cooks) does not use.

The BTUs on the majority of the burners are so high that I find myself needing to reduce the heat to keep the flames from overwhelming my pots and pans.

Here’s the burner configuration:

Burner Configuration
6 completely sealed burners
(2) 9,000 BTU burners
(2) 12,000 BTU High-speed burners
(1) 15,300 BTU Double Ring Super (Wok) burner
(1) 16,500 BTU Double Ring Super (Wok) burner

Oddly enough, the bigger more powerful burners are at the front of the unit rather than the back, so if you have kids in the house and generally want to put giant boiling pots of soup at the back of the cooktop, you find youself stuck using the lowest powered burners.

It looks quite nice, and is generally easy to clean. However, each gas ring is surrounded by a stainless ring that darkens and requires scrubbing with a mild abrasive. This is maintenance that is required regularly. Also, the lovely stainless is scratched anytime someone lifts a burner for cleaning unless the burner is carefully lifted straight up without making any contact with the surface.
Features and Quirks
The quirkiest feature of the cooktop is its propensity for blowing out the flame anytime you open the cabinet doors below the cooktop, or when the nearby oven fan blows across the surface, or when a decent breeze blows in the window. It’s nice that it automatically reignites, but it is kind of humorous to hear the cooktop relighting every few minutes on a windy breezy afternoon.

Final thoughts
Although I may sound dissatisfied, I’m really not. The Meile was pricy, and I have to wonder if it is really worth it, but overall, this cooktop works well, and the customer service has been outstanding and the tune-ups we have needed were done with skill and professionalism.

What makes a vacuum suck

Do you know how a vacuum is made? Pull up a chair and learn about it the way your 5 year old would.

Did you ever get tired of dragging your old canister vacuum around the house? Well maybe what you need is a central vacuum. A central vacuum is to your handheld what a central air conditioner is to your old window air conditioner. You install a big suction motor and dust canister in your garage. Then add a series of tubes/pipes through your walls into each room. Each room gets an outlet with a suction cap. When you are ready to clean, you bring the vacuum head and attached tube into a room, snap it into the vacuums wall jack and suck it up. Take a look at this video to get a handle on what it looks like:

Famous for Doing Nothing

He has to be one of the most easily recognized pitchmen on TV. He does nothing. He’s the most bored, lonely guy we know and he’s been missing in action for months. But not any more. He’s back. They found him.

Could it be this guy? I’d pick him just for his creative audition.

Well it’s a big enough deal to make the world news. Check it out:

If these guys don’t heat your clothes, check out this vintage clip with an earlier pitch girl.

Appliance.net, back in February: Whirlpool Seeks New Maytag Repairman

Handheld Vacuum – Video Torture Test

Popular Mechanics compares with dry flour and wet kitty litter

  1. Black & Decker 18volt Pivoting Nose Cordless Hand Vac
  2. Dirt Devil Kone
  3. Dyson Root 6 DC16 Handheld Vacuum Cleaner – $149 at Amazon

The impatient can order the winner. Seems like the only benefit of the conclusive loser is that you can get it in designer colors.

Urban Legends – the truth will out

I feel sorry for our parents.  They never knew the whether old urban legends were true or false.  We have Snopes – the original, ultimate rumor checker.   The next time somebody sends you an email insisting that you have to “pass it on to everybody you know”  go to snopes first and check it out.

 Here are a few great tidbits related to appliances.

True or False:  You can make water explode in a microwave.

 http://www.snopes.com/science/microwave.asp  Believe it or not, its true.

Here’s an oldie but goodie:  Does plastic leach toxins into your food when microwaved?  Check it out here:


Dangerous Ovens and Stoves That Tip Over

stove tippingThose of us in earthquake and seismic-savvy Southern California realize that this is a serious concern, of which, I believe, most people are completely unaware. Of greater concern is the risk to  families with children young enough to use simple leverage.   A climbing toddler could easily become a crushed toddler.  My advice would be to bolt the oven to the wall right away, and remember to always keep an eye on kids in the kitchen – there is no substitute for adult supervision.

KHOU has a video and full article.

Greek philosopher Archimedes quipped: “Give me a place to stand on, and I can move the earth.”

Toppling a kitchen appliance is clearly demonstrated by KHOU to be a piece of cake.

On the subject of child safety in the kitchen, here’s a horrible reminder of the dangers of even the most common household appliances when kids are on the loose. http://www.snopes.com/horrors/parental/dishwasher.asp 

archimedes lever

Recall: General Electric Dishwasher Fire Hazard

ge dishwasher recallName of product: GE Dishwashers

Units: About 2.5 million

GE Consumer & Industrial, of Louisville, Ky.

Hazard: Liquid rinse-aid can leak from its dispenser onto the dishwasher’s internal wiring which can cause an electrical short and overheating, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: GE has received 191 reports of overheated wiring including 56 reports of property damage. There were 12 reports of fires that escaped the dishwasher. Fire damage was limited to the dishwasher or the adjacent area. No injuries have been reported.

general electric dishwasher recalledDescription: The recall includes GE built-in dishwashers sold under the following brand names: Eterna, GE, GE ProfileTM, GE Monogram®, Hotpoint®, and Sears-Kenmore. The dishwashers were sold in white, black, almond, bisque and stainless steel. The brand name is printed on the dishwasher’s front control panel. Model and serial numbers can be found inside the dishwasher tub on the front left side of the dishwasher. A table of relevant model and serial numbers can be found on CPSC’s web site.

Sold at: Department and appliance stores from September 1997 through December 2001 for about $400.

Manufactured in: United States

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled dishwashers and contact General Electric for a free repair, a $150 rebate towards the purchase of a new GE dishwasher, or a $300 rebate towards the purchase of a new GE Profile or GE Monogram dishwasher.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact General Electric toll-free at (877) 607-6395 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET Monday through Saturday. Consumers also can visit the firm’s Web site.


Brand Model Numbers Must Begin With Serial Numbers Must Begin With
Eterna EDW20, EDW30 SS, TS, VS, ZS, AT, DT, FT, GT, HT, LT, MT, RT, ST, TT, VT, ZT, AV, DV, FV, GV, HV, LV, MV, RV, SV, TV, VV, ZV, AZ, DZ, FZ, GZ, HZ, LZ, MZ, RZ, SZ, TZ, VZ, ZZ, AA, DA, FA, GA, HA, LA, MA, RA, SA, TA, VA, ZA
GE and GE Profile GHD50, GSD40, GSD41, GSD43, GSD46, GSD4910Z, GSD4920Z, GSD4930Z, GSD4940Z0, GSD50, GSD51, GSD521, GSD522, GSD523, GSD531, GSD532, GSD533, GSD535, GSD536, GSD55, GSD56, GSD57, GSD58, GSD59, GSDL3, GSDL6
GE Monogram ZBD3500Z0
Hotpoint HDA3400F, HDA35 SS, TS, VS, ZS, AT, DT, FT, GT, HT, LT, MT, RT, ST, TT, VT, ZT, AV, DV, FV, GV, HV, LV, MV, RV, SV, TV, VV, ZV, AZ, DZ, FZ, GZ, HZ, LZ, MZ, RZ, SZ, TZ, VZ, ZZ
GE and GE Profile GHD35, GSD21, GSD2200D, GSD2200F, GSD2200G, GSD2201F, GSD2220F, GSD2221F, GSD2230F, GSD2231F, GSD2250F GSD23, GSD26, GSD27, GSD3115F, GSD3125F, GSD3135F, GSD3200G, GSD3210F, GSD3220F, GSD3230F, GSD33, GSD341, GSD342, GSD343, GSD345, GSD3610F, GSD3620F, GSD3630F, GSD3650F GSD37, GSD381, GSD382, GSD383, GSD385, GSD391, GSD392, GSD393, GSD4525F, GSD4535F, GSD4555F, GSDL122F, GSDL132F, GSDL24, GSM2100F, GSM2100G, GSM2100Z0, GSM2110D, GSM2110F, GSM2130D, GSM2130F
Sears-Kenmore 363.1438, 363.1447, 363.1445, 363.1448, 363.1457, 363.1467, 363.1475, 363.15161792, 363.1517, 363.1521, 363.1527, 363.1528, 363.1531, 363.1532, 363.1546, 363.1547, 363.1548, 363.1556, 363.1565, 363.1567, 363.1617, 363.1655 SS, TS, VS, ZS, AT, DT, FT, GT, HT, LT, MT, RT, ST, TT, VT, ZT, AV, DV, FV, GV, HV, LV, MV, RV, SV, TV, VV, ZV, AZ, DZ, FZ, GZ, HZ, LZ, MZ, RZ, SZ, TZ, VZ, ZZ

May Is National Electrical Safety Month

CPSC Warns of Dangerous Counterfeit Electrical Products

electrical safety monthWASHINGTON, D.C. — May is National Electrical Safety Month, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning consumers that, unlike a fake purse or watch, counterfeit electrical products could pose the risk of injury or death. Counterfeit circuit breakers, power strips, extension cords, batteries and holiday lights can cause fires, explosions, shocks and electrocutions.

Often, manufacturers of counterfeit products neglect to use key components or skimp in the manufacturing process in order to save money.

While cheaper prices are passed onto consumers, so too are the dangers.

Fake consumer products are not tested for compliance to relevant safety standards.

CPSC has recalled more than one million counterfeit electrical products in recent years, including circuit breakers that did not trip when overloaded; cell phone batteries without a safety device in the circuitry to prevent overcharging; and extension cords with mislabeled, undersized wiring that overheated.

“We are very concerned about unsafe electrical products,” said Acting Chairman Nancy Nord. “Our priority is to keep consumers safe by preventing potentially dangerous counterfeit products from getting into the marketplace in the first place.”

Many counterfeit products are made in China and CPSC is actively working with the Chinese government to reduce the number of unsafe products that are exported to the United States. CPSC has also been working with Customs and Border Protection in the Department of Homeland Security, legitimate manufacturers, and certifying testing laboratories to identify and stop unsafe counterfeit products at U.S. ports and in the marketplace.

Counterfeits can be extremely difficult to spot. A counterfeit electrical product could be a knock-off of a name brand product or one that bears an unauthorized certification marking. CPSC offers the following tips to help avoid counterfeit hazards:

  • Scrutinize the product, the packaging and the labeling. Look for a certification mark from an independent testing organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), and the manufacturer’s label.
  • Trademarked logos that look different than usual may signal a counterfeit.
  • Trust your instincts. If the price is “too good to be true,” it could be because the product is an inferior and unsafe counterfeit.
  • Be extra vigilant when buying from an unknown source such as a street vendor, non-authorized dealer, dollar store, online retailer or an individual. Ask about the return policy. Get a receipt and look for missing sales tax. Businesses selling counterfeit goods often don’t report their sales.
  • Stay informed. Sign up for CPSC e-mail alerts, so when a dangerous product is recalled, you’ll know about it right away.
  • Report safety-related incidents to the manufacturer or CPSC.

For additional electrical safety information about counterfeit products, visit the Electrical Safety Foundation International’s Web site

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC’s hotline at (800) 638-2772.