December 17, 2017

Archives for October 2007

Vacuum Savant

Many children enjoy collecting things- stamps, coins, baseball cards, dolls, vacuums–vacuums?! Yes, Kyle Krichbaum of Michigan has a collection of 165 vacuums including an antique Hoover model O worth about $10,000. He repairs and enjoys using his collection and plans to continue this hobby into his future. You can see him here:

Recall: Connecticut Electric Recalls Counterfeit Square D Circuit Breakers Due To 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: Counterfeit “Square D” Circuit Breakers

Units: About 64,000

Distributor: Connecticut Electric & Switch Mfg. Co. (Connecticut Electric), of Puyallup, Wash.

Hazard: The recalled circuit breakers labeled “Square D” are counterfeit and could fail to trip when they are required to, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: Connecticut Electric has not received any report of incidents or injuries associated with these counterfeit circuit breakers.

Description: The counterfeit circuit breakers are black and are marked as Square D products. Connecticut Electric has identified the following breakers as possibly being counterfeit: QO115, QO120, QO140, QO2125, QO215, QO220, QO230, QO240, QO250, QO260, QO1515, QO2020, QO3100, QO320, QO330, QO340, QO360, QOB120, QOB130, QOB220, QOB230, QOB250, QOB330, and QOB360. Actual Square D circuit breakers have (a) the amp rating written on the handle in white paint on the front of the breaker; (b) the Square D insignia molded onto the breaker side, and; (c) a yellow chromate mounting clip with half of the top of the clip visible. If your Square D breaker does not match this description, it could be counterfeit.

Sold through: Electrical Distributors and hardware stores nationwide from February 2005 through August 2006 for between about $6.50 and $15.50.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should contact Connecticut Electric to determine if the breaker they have is counterfeit and if necessary, to arrange for a free inspection and replacement or refund.

Consumer Contact: For more information, Call Connecticut Electric at (866) 264-3702 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the company’s Web site at Consumers also can obtain additional information by emailing Connecticut Electric at

Picture of Genuine Square D Circuit Breaker
Genuine Square D Circuit Breaker

Recall: Digital Color Printers by Oki Data Americas Due to Risk of Electrical Shock

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: C9600 Series Digital Color Printers

Units: About 400

Importer: Oki Data Americas, of Mount Laurel, N.J.

Manufacturer: Oki Data Corporation, of Japan.

Hazard: The recalled digital color printers have an internal electrical problem that could result in electrical shock to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Description: The digital color printers are beige colored and measure 27 inches wide, 25 inches deep and 20 inches high. “Oki Printing Solutions” and model “C9600” are printed on the front of the unit. The following serial numbers are included in the recall. The serial number is located on the back left side of the printer.

Serial Numbers
AA56002655A0 through AA56002804A0
AA58001468A0 through AA58001617A0
AA58002702A0 through AA58002801A0

Sold at: Authorized OKI Printing Solutions Dealers and Solution Providers nationwide from August 2005 through September 2007 for about $3,500.

Manufactured in: Japan

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled printer. Do not touch the printer or attempt to turn it off. Unplug the printer immediately by pulling the plug from the wall socket. Unplug the printer before locating the serial number on the back of the unit. Contact the firm for a free inspection and repair.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Oki Data Americas toll-free at (877) 654-6364 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET, or visit the firm’s Web site at

Picture of Recalled C9600 Series Digital Color Printer Picture of Recalled C9600 Series Digital Color Printer

New Release: Maytag’s Latest Washer/Dryer Pair

Maytag has released it’s newest HE washer/dryer pair, the EPIC z. Maytag says:

BENTON HARBOR, Mich., Oct. 19 /PRNewswire/ — The legacy of Maytag(R) brand laundry continues with the new Maytag(R) EPIC z(TM) front-load washer and dryer. The versatile design of this space-saving, high-performance laundry system allows it to be installed virtually anywhere in the home.

The EPIC z laundry system features the quality and reliability expected from Maytag products. The front-load washer’s Rainfall Clean(TM) wash system offers exceptional cleaning performance to get clothes clean the first time, and its MaxExtract(TM) extended spin provides outstanding moisture removal.

The dryer’s GentleBreeze(TM) powerful drying system, combined with the washer’s water extraction, takes clothes from wet to dry in under 30 minutes.* The EPIC z units exceed basic ENERGY STAR(R) requirements and are some of the most energy efficient in the industry. According to recent Maytag brand research, the ENERGY STAR rating is the feature that most influences a laundry appliance purchase.**

“The EPIC z front-load washer and dryer provide solid, dependable features in a flexible design,” said Drew Fraser, vice president for North American laundry products. “They can be stacked, placed side-by-side, tucked under a countertop or set into a tighter-than-normal space. Yet, they still have enough capacity to handle a family’s laundry needs.”

The washer’s Rainfall Clean wash system has a three-baffle design that scoops up and showers water through 138 holes. This quick and thorough fabric saturation system gives detergent more time to work on stains and get clothes clean. In addition, the washer’s new NSF Certified Sanitary Cycle heats wash water up to 153 degrees Fahrenheit to remove at least 99.9 percent of test organisms. The washer’s space-saving dimensions are 36 in. (height) x 27 in. (width) x 30-1/2 in. (depth).

The Maytag EPIC z dryer includes two rear and two front premium drum rollers, part of the Smooth Balance(TM) Suspension System, that are permanently lubricated to help eliminate squeaks and noises for quiet operation and low vibration. The dryer offers an impressive 6.7 cu. ft. capacity with measurements for smaller spaces: 36 in. (height) x 27 in. (width) x 28-9/10 in. to 32-9/10 in. (depth).

Suggested retail prices are $799 to $949 for the washer, and $749 to $959 for the dryer. The Maytag EPIC z units are now available at home improvement stores and appliance retailers. Colors include Arctic Blue with Chrome, Black with Chrome, White with Chrome and White. For more information, visit

Frigits- Have some Fun with Your Fridge

If you want to have fun with your fridge and don’t want to spend close to $2000 for a digital photo frame, you can have fun for a whole lot less with Frigits. Check this out:

Recall:Keystone Manufacturing Co. and QVC Recall Convection Ovens with Rotisserie Due to Fire and Electrical Shock Hazards

The following product safety recall was voluntarily conducted by the firm in cooperation with the CPSC. Consumers should stop using the product immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Cook’s Essentials Convection Ovens with Pull-Out Rotisserie and Deni Convection Ovens with Rotisserie

Units: About 32,000

Retailer: QVC of West Chester, Pa.

Distributor: Keystone Manufacturing Co. Inc., of Buffalo, N.Y.

Hazard: Wires behind the control panel can overheat, posing fire and electric shock hazards.

Incidents/Injuries: QVC has received 49 reports of incidents, including five minor burns, five electrical shocks and 11 incidents of minor property damage to kitchen cabinets and countertops.

Description: This recall involves the Cook’s Essentials Multi-Function Convection Oven with Pull-Out Rotisserie (model number 910500), which was also sold as the Deni Convection Oven with Rotisserie (model number 10500). The model number can be found on the bottom of the oven. These are countertop ovens and the brand name “Cook’s Essentials” or “Deni” is found on the front right panel.

Sold through: The Cook’s Essentials brand was sold exclusively through QVC and the Deni brand was sold through various on-line retailers from October 2006 through May 2007 for about $125.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the oven and contact QVC or Keystone to receive a replacement oven or a refund. QVC and Keystone have notified consumers by telephone and by mail to stop using the oven.

Consumer Contact: Consumers who bought a Cook’s Essentials oven through a QVC broadcast or at, and who have not been contacted by QVC, should call QVC at (800) 367-9444 between 7 a.m. and 1 a.m. ET seven days a week. Consumers who bought a Cook’s Essentials oven at a QVC outlet or retail store should return the oven to the store at which it was purchased for a refund. Consumers who bought a Deni brand oven and who have not been contacted by Keystone should call Keystone at (800) 336-4822 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. Consumers can also visit QVC’s Web site at or Deni’s Web site at

Picture of Recalled Youth ATVs

Washers Get a Musty Odor

According to Katherine Salant of the Southwest Florida Herald Tribune, if your remodeling or home-building budget is so tight you can only afford to splurge on one appliance, make it a high-efficiency, front-loading washing machine. 

For starters, laundry chores will take less time. With a spin speed of 1,200 RPMs, my high-efficiency front-loader wrings out so much water that the drying time is shortened by as much as 50 percent. The washer holds more clothes than my old top loader, so I have fewer loads, and this shortens up the whole operation.

But, alas, these high-tech wonders are not perfect. After several months of use, front loaders can acquire a vexing, musty odor.

In a recent interview with Anthony Hardaway, a detergent chemist and washing-machine designer for the Whirlpool Corp., I learned that the musty odor problem occurs with every type of washer, though it can be worse with the front-loaders. Hardaway also explained the science behind the odor, which will surprise most consumers and likely change their laundry habits.

The source of the odor is a residue of water, detergent, and dirt that collects in the cavity that holds the washing drum.

The residue accumulates faster when all the laundry is washed in cold water, a practice followed in many households to save energy and because garment washing instructions frequently state “cold-water wash.” Unfortunately, Hardaway said, laundry detergents do not perform well in cold water. They only remove about 60 percent of the dirt on soiled laundry. The other 40 percent is redeposited on your clothes and in your washer, where it eventually turns into the odor-causing residue.

Sensing my reaction to this unnerving news, Hardaway hastened to add that most people are satisfied with the results of their cold-water washing because the dirt that remains on their laundered clothing is not obvious. Only a detergent chemist will know that the colored shirt you are wearing looks a bit faded because it is covered with layers of microscopic dirt particles deposited with each laundering. The dirt is only noticeable on white garments, where the dirt particles make them appear to be yellowing or graying.

When the household laundry is washed in warm water, the results improve dramatically because detergents perform significantly better in higher water temperatures, Hardaway said. Only 10 to 15 percent of the dirt remains on the laundered items or in the machine. The odor-causing residue accumulates much more slowly and laundered clothes are much cleaner. Colored garments will not look faded, and white ones will be only slightly discolored, or not at all.

With high-efficiency front-loaders, the type of detergent used will also affect washing results. When regular detergent is used, laundered items will be much more noticeably faded or yellowed and the odor-causing residue will accumulate quickly because this type of front loader requires a special detergent formulation that produces minimal suds (look for “he”, which stands for high-efficiency, on the detergent label). Continued use of the regular detergent will permanently damage the machine.

Using warm water and the correct detergent solves the dirt-on-laundered clothing problem, but not the odor-producing residue one, which is more pronounced in a front loader because the door seal that keeps water from sloshing out during the washing process creates a nearly air tight chamber — a set-up for mold and mildew to take hold.

Hardaway emphasized, however, that the mold and its odor are not health risks; they’re an aesthetic issue. This conclusion, he said, was reached after the testing of hundreds of washing machines in third-party laboratories confirmed that “it’s normal household mold, it’s not alarming, and it’s whatever is already in your house.”

The prevalence of the mold and odor problem depends on the climate where you live, Hardaway said. In hot and humid regions, such as Texas and the Southeast, the smell is a year-round issue that can be worse in the summer. In the North, the problem often starts in the humid summer months, as mine did, but once started, “you’ll see it all through the year,” Hardaway said.

In the dry Southwest, mold and mildew is far less likely, but the residue will still form and eventually produce odors.

Hardaway’s solution for the odor and residue problem is surprisingly low tech.

The musty odor will dissipate if you leave the door open when the machine is not in use. This works for some households, but Hardaway said many people object to this untidy look, or they have small kids and safety issues, or there is some other practical reason they can’t leave the door open.

You can eliminate both the musty odor and the residue by washing with hot water every four or five loads. In hot water, the detergent “optimally performs,” removing all the dirt from both your clothing and the machine. The only problem here is that most consumers are loathe to use hot water because they think it will cause their clothes to shrink or fade. Acknowledging their apprehension, Hardaway suggested designating bath towels as the “hot-water load.” If they are adversely affected, which he stressed was unlikely, their utility will not be compromised.

If the low-tech approach doesn’t appeal, you can resolve the odor and residue problem with chemistry. Whirlpool’s “Affresh,” a white tablet about the size of a small ice hockey puck, was developed for just this purpose and is quite effective when used once a month.

Did Hardaway’s tutorial change my own routine? I switched to washing with warm water; I wash bath towels in hot water; and I tried the Affresh treatment, which did eliminate the odor.

Thank you to the Southwest Florida Herald Tribune

How to Buy a Cooktop

Gas or electric? Smooth top or coils?  We’ll help you sort out your options.

Features and Frills:

  • Popular finishes: stainless steel and black; followed by white and bisque.  An oiled bronze finish is also newly available as is a “clean” steel which doesn’t show fingerprints.
  • Some models offer more than one type of burner- induction plus electric or gas, plus a warming zone.
  • A bridge burner can combine two burners to handle larger pots and more evenly cook the food.

What to look for:


  • Smooth ceramic surfaces- they’re pricier than coils, but easier to clean.
  • Warming zones for keeping cooked foods ready.
  • Touch pads for precise tempetaures.
  • A “hot-surface” light that warns when burners are too hot to touch.


  • Look for heavy cast iron grate and burners in various sizes and temperature ranges
  • Gas on glass- easy to clean coking grates sit on top of a smooth, easy to clean ceramic surface.


  • A magnetic field heats the pot or pan, which then heats the food- the cooking surface never gets more than slightly warm to the touch.

There is a cooktop for every budget, ranging in price from just over $250 for a Maytag with electric coils all the way to a KitchenAid induction cooktop for $2,249.00.  Of course there are many choices in the mid-range, such as a GE gas cooktop for $599.

Even the simplest meals usually involve some cooking- take your time and visit a few showrooms to check out all your options.
(Thank you to FamilyCircle magazine.)

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