July 31, 2014

Recall: Thermador Built-in Ovens – Fire Hazard

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. Name of Product: Thermador® Brand Built-In Ovens

Units: About 42,000

Manufacturer: BSH Home Appliances Corp., of Huntington Beach, Calif.

Hazard: The oven can have gaps in the insulation where overheating can occur and when used in the self-cleaning mode it can cause nearby cabinets to overheat. This can pose a fire hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: BSH Home Appliances has received ten reports of incidents including one which resulted in a fire that caused extensive property damage. No injuries have been reported.

Description: This recall involves Thermador® Brand built-in single ovens and combination models which have a conventional oven and a microwave. The model numbers of the single ovens are C271B, C301B, SEC271B and SEC301B. The model numbers of the combination models are SEM272B, SEM302B, SEMW272B and SEMW302B. The ovens have date codes between FD8403 and FD8701. The model number and date code can be found on the underside of the control panel.

Sold at: Appliance and specialty stores nationwide from November 2004 through May 2007 for between $2,400 and $3,900.

Manufactured in: United States

Remedy: Consumers should stop using the oven’s self-cleaning mode and contact BSH Home Appliances immediately to schedule an inspection and free repair, if necessary.

Consumer Contact: BSH Home Appliances at (800) 701-5230 between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. For more information, visit the firm’s Web site at www.thermador.com

Fresh home made ice cream for the Fourth of July

One of my fondest childhood memories is of eating homemade chocolate ice cream on the Fourth of July. statue of liberty Fourth of July FireworksI can still hear in my mind the sound of my parents’ ice cream maker churning for hours in the bathtub. (Where it was placed to catch the water from all the condensation that would form.) I also remember the great fun we kids would have smashing blocks of ice into the crushed ice needed to fill the bucket around the ice cream canister. My mother would fill milk cartons with water and freeze them a few weeks before the holiday in preparation for the big day.

make-healthy-rich-home-made-ice-cream-for-your-kidsNow that I’m a mother, I not only make ice cream on the Fourth of July, but on any day I want to give my family a special treat. Old fashioned ice cream makers like my parents’ are still out there, (you can even find ones that require hand churning) but I have one of the gel-canister types that is much less messy. Some advance planning is still necessary, as the canister must be frozen for at least twenty four hours before use, but if you store it in the freezer, you are always ready for spontaneous ice cream making.

Here are a few tips for making your own ice cream:

  • The gel-canister should be completely dry before being frozen overnight.
  • If you plan to store it in the freezer, place the canister in a bag to keep it free of crumbs and ice that might fall on it.
  • Ice cream bases must be thoroughly chilled before processing.
  • Processing times vary, start checking at around twenty minutes.
  • Add nuts, etc. thorough the lid opening during the last few minutes of processing.
  • Let the canister thaw completely before washing.
  • Be gentle with the canister; some can be easily punctured by a sharp tool.

Chocolate ice creams are still my favorite, but vanilla is a big hit in this house as well. I have also found that a good vanilla base is a great start for fruit ice creams. Here are some basic recipes and variations from the manual that came with my Hamilton Beach ice cream maker, that I have used and enjoyed.

Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream

¾ C sugar
dash of salt
1 ¾ c whole milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 ½ C heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla

Combine the first three ingredients in a heavy saucepan, and cook over medium heat stirring until mixture is steaming. Reduce heat to low.

In a medium bowl whisk eggs and slowly whisk in half the hot mixture and then pour all back into the saucepan. Cook until slightly thick, about three minutes. Remove from heat and chill.
When ready to freeze, stir in heavy cream and vanilla. Follow directions for freezing in your ice cream maker.

Because that recipe requires advance preparations, and I tend to do my cooking on the spur of the moment, I use the next recipe most often. I also try to cut back on fat and calories where I can and I have found that I can turn this recipe into low fat ice cream (or ice milk) by substituting half and half for the cream and 2% milk for the whole milk. It is definitely a less creamy, icier dessert, but then I don’t have to feel so guilty eating it.

Easy Vanilla Ice Cream

1 C sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
2 C whipping cream
1 C milk
1 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients, mix well and freeze according to manufacturers directions.

home-made-vanilla-ice-cream

Some variations we enjoy:

Cookies and Cream- reduce the sugar to ½ cup and add about 15 broken chocolate sandwich cookies after about 15 minutes of churning.

Mint Chip – Substitute mint extract for the vanilla and add 1 cup mini chocolate chips after about 15 minutes of churning.

There are ice cream makers by Cuisinart, Delonghi, Salton and Rival. You can spend a simple thirty dollars on up to close to three hundred. Kitchenaid even makes an attachment that turns its mixer into an ice cream maker. My simple Hamilton Beach model has worked well for my family; it makes one quart, which serves everyone, (There are six of us.) but rarely leaves leftovers. I sometimes wish I could make a larger quantity, but for the most part this works, and part of the fun is making and eating a new batch.

SuperSize Me – Kitchen appliances to do a hummer proud

I was visiting a friend a few weeks ago who has recently finished a home remodel in West Los Angeles. He and his wife turned their 1500 square foot bungalow into a 4000 square foot family home. I stood in their kitchen looking at their double wide refrigerator (literally, double wide.) It’s two fridges side by side with the doors mounted to open to the outside creating about 72 inches of cold storage. The hummer of refrigerators.

Super size refrigerator — by Hummer?

Makes you wonder, how did anybody ever raise a family in the 1500 square foot house that was there before? Arrol Gelner of Inman News touches on the same question in this article from Upstate House a couple months ago:

Needless to say, bigness has hit housing in, well, a big way. Not only are American homes now nearly twice the size of their postwar counterparts, but they have more of everything: more bedrooms, more bathrooms, bigger windows, taller ceilings, more garage doors.

The things inside our homes are getting bigger too, as a trip to an appliance store will quickly confirm. Like those colossal baby carriages, appliances are being pumped up to SUV-like proportions.

Many washing machines and dryers, for example, are now raised up on huge pedestals for “convenience,” not to mention being slathered with enough fake chrome to shame a Lincoln Navigator owner.

I’m guilty too. We tore out 24 inch wall ovens and rebuilt our vintage kitchen around 30 inch double ovens, dropped in a huge fridge and a six burner range. We drive the biggest suburban on the market, and live in twice the house I grew up in. Personally, I just like elbow room and efficiency, and have a big family. But what about couples with 4000 square foot mini mansions crammed into lots of little look alike lots? Does the space inside make life seem more substantial? What’s the nexus between, big and shiny and important and successful?

What do you think?

RECALL: Combination Tire Inflator and Hand Pumps by Genuine Innovations

Name of Product: Combination Tire Inflator and Hand Pumps

Units: About 55,000

Importer: Innovations In Cycling Inc., doing business as Genuine Innovations, of Tucson, Ariz.
genuine innovations second wind bicycle pump
Hazard: The combination tire inflator and hand pump can shatter under pressure when inflating tires if there is a blockage in the tire valve, posing the risk of bruises, lacerations, and ringing in the ears to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received 12 reports of combination tire inflator and hand pumps exploding. Six injuries were reported, including lacerations, temporary ringing in ear and bruising.

Description: This recall involves the Genuine Innovations Second Wind MTB model with part numbers 2525, 2525-O or 3519 and the Wrench Force Two Shot model with part numbers 84995 or 80383 combination tire inflator and hand pumps. These devices consist of a hand pump and CO2 cartridge inflator. The part number can only be found on the packaging.

wrench force two shot bicycle pump

Sold at: Specialty retail stores nationwide and bicycle or motorcycle/ATV catalogues and online stores. The Genuine Innovations Second Wind MTB and the Wrench Force Two Shot were sold from January 2004 through May 2007 for about $30. The Second Wind MTB was sold as part of the Genuine Innovations ATV Deluxe Tire Repair & Inflation Kit from July 2005 to January 2007 for about $50.

Manufactured in: United States and Taiwan

Remedy: Consumers should stop using the combination tire inflator and hand pumps and contact the firm for a free replacement pump head.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Innovations In Cycling at (800) 340-1050 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. MT Monday through Thursday, or visit the firm’s Web site at www.genuineinnovations.com

Recall details.

Sears Repairmen or Appliance Salesmen?

Is this a situation rife for conflict of interest?

Sears: What’s in store next

sears appliance repairman salesmanSears is experimenting with encouraging its appliance-repair teams to make sales pitches, and is featuring its repair technicians at workshops inside Sears stores, as the retailer explores ways to exploit its service and repair network.

A service technician who comes to a customer’s house to repair an appliance may offer to go online or call Sears to help the customer buy a new appliance if the customer decides a repair is too costly, said Tina Settecase, vice president and general merchandise manager for home appliances at Sears Holdings Corp.

The technician would bring along a booklet of Sears’ best-selling appliances to show customers. If the customer chooses a new appliance, the technician would either use the customer’s computer or call a dedicated phone line to make the sale. The test of the process will start in mid- to late June in a few markets.

“We are testing a number of options,” Settecase said. “We are in the customers’ homes. Is there a way, when the customer determines he or she believes a product is beyond repair, that we can put her in touch with a Sears sales person at that moment?”

Sears also has featured a service technician at home appliance “health check” events to answer shoppers’ questions about their appliances and how they work. The next one will take place on Aug. 25.

Sears is redefining its Kenmore brand to emphasize innovations. The retailer introduced 25 new Kenmore products at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas earlier this month. The products include a washer and dryer that use steam to remove stains and wrinkles.

Sears counts on its appliances, along with its lucrative extended warranties, for its lead over rivals.

In September, Sears will introduce a higher-end Kenmore Elite line of countertop appliances, including a coffeemaker that brews a pot of coffee in less than six minutes, and a toaster that toasts a slice of bread in 70 seconds versus the conventional three minutes.

With his foot in the front door, should we welcome targeted sales pitches? Are these to our advantage or just too much hard sell? Does it encourage even more “throwaway” of appliances that may have another few years of life in them?

Whirlpool does Right – wins the Helen Keller Accessibility award

Superman said it best “Truth Justice and the American Way”. The American Way – the secret to our strength? well you can follow it back to the days of barn raising, and follow it forward to the deep response of American’s nationwide to the victims of Katrina. American’s look out for each other. We want our neighbors, our friends, and even strangers to have better lives.

One of America’s great companies has been honored for keeping it sights on how to help all of its customers have better lives, even those with disabilities. The American Foundation for the Blind awards annual recognition to a companies or individuals that have made significant contributions to people who are blind or visually impaired. This year they honored Whirlpool for their tremendous focus on making their products easy to use for those with visual impairments.

whirlpoollogo.gif

Whirlpool brand is the 14th annual recipient of the Helen Keller Achievement Award, recognizing individuals and organizations who have improved the quality of life for those who are visually impaired. The award is named for the world renowned advocate for the deaf and blind, Helen Keller.

Recall: Asko Cylinda Dishwashers – Fire Hazard

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. Name of Products: Asko DW95 Model Series Dishwashers

Units: About 130,000

Manufacturer: Asko Cylinda AB, of Vara, Sweden

Importer/Distributor: AM Appliance Group Inc., of Richardson, Texas

Hazard: An electrical component in the dishwasher can overheat, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received 21 reports of dishwasher fires. Product and property damage has been reported. No injuries have been reported.

Description: The recalled dishwashers include the ASKO model series DW95 with model numbers 1355, 1385, 1475, 1485, 1555, 1585, 1595, 1655, 1805, 1885, and 1895 manufactured from January 1995 through April 2000. The model number, serial numbers and manufacture date are printed on the name plate on the right interior side of the dishwasher door. Asko dishwashers manufactured after April 2000 are not included in the recall.

Sold by: Major kitchen appliance distributors/dealers nationwide from January 1995 through April 2000 for between $750 and $1,300.

Manufactured in: Sweden

Remedy: Consumers should stop using the dishwashers immediately and contact Asko to arrange for a free inspection and repair or to participate in a rebate program.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Asko toll-free at (866) 309-9921 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s Web site at www.askousa.com

Picture of Recalled Dishwasher

Picture of Serial Tag Location

Dryer Legends

wash clothes dryer lint filterClaim: Washing the lint filter in your clothes dryer can help extend the lifespan of that appliance.

Status: According to Snopes, this is True.

Ask the average person, for example, how a clothes dryer works, and you’ll probably get an “Are you kidding me?” look in return, along with a terse explanation that a dryer makes stuff “hot,” and everybody knows stuff dries faster when it’s hot.

That explanation isn’t technically wrong (as far as it goes), but it’s rather simplistic. Knowing a bit more about the process involved is the key to understanding why the advice to keep your dryer’s lint filter clean can help improve the performance and lifespan of your clothes dryer.

In a standard (gas) dryer, a fan pulls fresh air into the dryer and sends it flowing over a gas burner. The burner heats the air, which is then channeled into a tumbling drum where the wet clothes are held. The heat, air flow, and tumbling motion all contribute to evaporating the moisture held in the fabrics, and that moisture is absorbed by the gas-warmed air. (Warm air is capable of holding more moisture than cold air.) The warm air — and the moisture it now holds — passes through a filter to trap lint and other particulate matter stirred up by its movement and is vented to the outside so that it can be replaced with new, less-moist air. This process repeats until enough moisture has been evaporated and carried away for the clothes to be considered sufficiently “dry.”

Of course, if you neglect to clean the lint filter between dryings, or something else occludes the filter, moist air cannot be vented from the dryer as easily. The result will be that your dryer will work less efficiently — you will have to run your dryer longer to dry a load of clothes, which means higher electricity and gas charges for you and a shorter lifespan for your dryer.

So, keeping the lint filter clean is one simple way to increase the efficiency and lifespan (and decrease the operating costs) of your dryer. Just removing the lint from the filter isn’t always enough — the fine mesh of most dryer filters can be clogged in ways that aren’t obvious at a casual glance. As suggested by the piece quoted above, softener sheets can cause waxy build-ups on lint screens that require a little extra effort — usually no more than a quick scrub and rinse in warm, soapy water — to remove.

Many modern dryers also use moisture sensors rather than ordinary timed cycles, and residue from dryer sheets can coat the sensors and interfere with their ability to function properly. Cleaning the sensor screen with a little detergent and a soft brush, and wiping off the sensor itself with a cotton ball and some rubbing alcohol can rectify this problem.