August 16, 2017

Archives for March 2008

Vita-Mix Introduces New Flagship 5200 Blender

The Vita-Mix Corporation has been extolling the virtues of a whole food diet for decades, quietly amassing thousands of loyal customers who have made Vita-Mix high-performance blenders an integral part of their healthy lifestyles. Today, Vita-Mix is proud to announce the first new Vita-Mix household blender in 15 years the Vita-Mix 5200. The Vita-Mix 5200 introduces a brand new container made from a new material by the Eastman Chemical Company called Tritan copolyester, a shatterproof material that is BPA-free, a first in the home appliance market.With its new, more efficient 2 peak HP motor, whole foods arent just blended in the 5200; they are pulverized seeds, stems, skin and all. By rupturing cell walls and creating more surface area, the Vita-Mix releases the full bioavailability – and flavor – of what you put in it, making it the ultimate whole food machine.

The Vita-Mix 5200 adheres to our founders vision of producing an appliance that goes well beyond what is expected from a conventional blender, explains John Barnard, CEO of Vita-Mix Corporation. Partnering with Eastman Chemical Company on our new container material will give our customers a super-strong, state-of-the-art product that delivers the performance and legendary durability for which our company is known.

Electrolux to Debut New Line of Premium Appliances in North America

 Called Electrolux, the new appliance line is set to debut on North American shores in spring 2008. Boasting a distinctive look with a curved front design and signature blue LED displays, the new European-designed collection from Electrolux also offers ingenious features such as advanced Wave-Touch™ controls, one touch and more than 60 controls appear and disappear at the touch of a button; Luxury-Glide™ Racks, oven racks with patented ball-bearings that effortlessly extend at the touch of a finger; and the Perfect Turkey Button™, one button you push to cook a perfect turkey

Recognized throughout Europe as the gold standard of appliances, Electrolux appliances have been used in fine European homes and restaurants for more than 70 years. Now, Electrolux is bringing that same level of uncompromising quality and high performance to North America with the launch of its new Electrolux line.

Your Kitchen. Your Style.
With first in its class features, such as induction hybrid cooktops that boil water in 90 seconds or Luxury-Lighting™, ramp up designer lighting that is as beautiful as it is functional, or the industry’s largest total cooking capacity electric range, Electrolux appliances are designed to make today’s kitchens more functional, comfortable, beautiful and easy to manage. The new line includes more than 50 high-performance, stylishly designed models, including freestanding and built-in gas, electric and dual-fuel ranges, electric wall ovens, gas and electric cooktops, induction hybrid cooktops, built-in and over-the-range microwaves, counter depth and standard depth refrigerators, freezers, refrigerator drawers, wine coolers, wine towers, ice makers, beverage centers, dishwashers and ventilation systems. Long on style and innovation, Electrolux appliances are the result of a consumer-centric approach to looks and functionality. For example:

  • The Electrolux double wall oven is designed with innovative features such as Luxury-Glide™ patented ball-bearing oven racks that smoothly extend with the touch of a finger, a Wave-Touch™ control panel that keeps controls hidden until activated by a touch of a finger, and even a Perfect Turkey ™ button that helps make holiday cooking stress-free.
  • The Electrolux dishwasher boasts the largest useable capacity[i] and is the quietest dishwasher in its class[ii], so you can run it whenever you want and no one will notice. The exclusive Perfect Stemware ™ cycle means spotlessly clean stemware – every time.
  • The Electrolux dual fuel range features a Min-2-Max™ burner system offering the widest range of BTU performance in the industry so you can go from a roaring 18,000 BTU boil to a gentle 450 BTU simmer. It also offers the ultimate in versatility, combining the power of a gas cooktop with the precision of an electric oven for baking. The Electrolux dual fuel range also features Luxury-Glide™ ball-bearing oven racks that smoothly extend with the touch of a finger.
  • With its PureAdvantage™ air and water filtration systems, the Electrolux refrigerator keeps fresh air circulated throughout to prevent odor transfer and also ensures fresh, clean water at your fingertips. In addition, the Fast Ice™ option makes up to 50% more ice so you’ll be set for your parties and dinners.
  • The Electrolux over-the-range microwave boasts Cook-2-Perfection™ Technology designed so your dishes cook evenly. The proprietary Sure-2-Fit™ design even accommodates a full-size (13” x 9”) casserole pan.
  • The Electrolux 21’ Cu. Ft. Freezer exclusively offers three full extension Luxury Glide™ baskets with adjustable dividers that fully extend to provide convenient storage and easy access. No more searching for lost leftovers.
  • The Electrolux European Style wine tower holds up to 160 bottles of wine perfectly.

According to Frank Downing, Director of Product Design at Electrolux, the goal was to create versatile appliances that let people do what they need — and love to do — better, faster and easier. “Electrolux appliances offer more choices, such as eight cooking modes on Electrolux wall ovens and ranges, and an induction hybrid cooktop with both electric and induction elements,” said Downing. “We also offer more room – we have got the largest total cooking capacity range with second oven and the largest useable capacity dishwasher in the market. And finally, Electrolux appliances deliver more flexibility, like our dishwasher with custom cycles to coddle your crystal, and ranges and cooktops with a Min-2-Max™ burner, offering the widest performance range in the industry – from simmer to boil,” Downing said.

Electrolux appliances also offer ingenious features, exclusive to Electrolux including:

  • Advanced Wave-Touch™ Controls — one simple touch and the control panel activates, showing the virtually endless cooking options and control settings. Seconds after you make your choices, all but the options selected will fade to black, returning to an elegant and uncluttered display.
  • Luxury-Glide™ racks and shelves — with a ball-bearing system — smoothly extend at the touch of a finger. Luxury Glide™ racks and shelves are standard in Electrolux free-standing and built-in ranges, wall ovens, refrigerators and dishwashers. The Luxury-Glide™ system can also be found in our freezers and warmer drawers and other specialty products.
  • Luxury Lighting™– ramp-up designer lighting that is as beautiful as it is functional.
  • Luxury-Hold™ doors – oven, range and dishwasher doors that stay put at whatever angle you place them.
  • Perfect Set™ Controls on Electrolux cook tops and ranges feature a virtually endless choice of pre-set settings for predictably perfect results.
  • Sure-2-Fit™ Racking System is the most versatile racking system of any dishwasher. It offers a perfect place for more than 180 items from chopsticks to stockpots to stemware. There’s also an adjustable/removable top rack for the utmost flexibility. In its lowest position, it can accommodate 10” tall stemware in the top rack and adjust the rack to its highest position to fit 14” plus serving platter in the bottom.
  • Flex-2-Fit™ expandable element system — Elements adjust up to three sizes, so the element fits the cookware, not the other way around.
  • Refrigerator Alarm System – Notifies you if there’s been a power failure, if a door stays open longer than five minutes and if the interior temperature ever rises above 55 degrees.
  • My Favorite™ Settings – Allows you to customize settings to meet your needs, so the option you want is available at the touch of a button.  Now you can do more, just the way you want.

All Electrolux products are ENERGY STAR® qualified, where applicable. They are at least 20% more energy-efficient than non-ENERGY STAR® qualified appliances. The entire Electrolux appliance collection will be available nationwide at Best Buy, Lowe’s, Sears and select independent appliance dealers beginning in spring 2008.

Inside a Washing Machine

We don’t often consider how our household appliances work, we tend to take them for granted.  But when I stop to think about all they do, I wonder about the mechanics of it all.  The site howstuffworks.com is so much fun. It has a wonderful way of explaining how our everyday world works.  Below is an excerpt from the section about the workings of a washing machine, you can read the whole article here.

If we take a look under the washing machine, you’ll see what makes it so heavy.


Motor and counterweight

Yes, that is in fact a block of concrete in the picture above. The concrete is there to balance the equally heavy electric motor, which drives a very heavy gearbox that is attached to the steel inner tub. There are lots of heavy components in a washing machine.

The washing machine has two steel tubs. The inner tub is the one that holds the clothes. It has an agitator in the middle of it, and the sides are perforated with holes so that when the tub spins, the water can leave.

The outer tub, which seals in all the water, is bolted to the body of the washer. Because the inner tub vibrates and shakes during the wash cycle, it has to be mounted in a way that lets it move around without banging into other parts of the machine.

The inner tub is attached to the gearbox, which is attached to the black metal frame you see in the picture above. This frame holds the motor, gearbox and the concrete weight.


Cable-and-pulley support system

The picture above shows just the black metal frame, without the tub or gearbox. The cable that you see on the left side of the picture is the other end of the same cable that you see on the right side. There are a total of three pulleys, so that if one side of the frame moves up, the other side moves down. This system supports the weight of the heavy components, letting them move in such a way as not to shake the entire machine.

But, if all of these parts are just hanging by cables, why don’t they swing around all the time?

A laundry machine has a damping system that uses friction to absorb some of the force from the vibrations.


Vibration-damping system

In each of the four corners of the machine is a mechanism that works a little like a disc brake. The part attached to the washer frame is a spring. It squeezes two pads against the metal plate that is attached to the black frame. You can see where the pads have polished the plate from movement during vibration.

Appliance Maintenance Tips and Lifespan Estimates

I think it’s good to be reminded regularly to look after these appliances we spent so much to acquire.  So I feel justified in offering this list from the Sun Herald that nudges you to take a minute and check up on your household appliances. It could add years to their lifespan.

Refrigerator

Average life span: 14 years

What you need to do: Locate the condenser coils by checking your owner’s manual. Clean them by unplugging the fridge and removing dust gently with a broom or brush. Check the seals by sliding a piece of paper in the closed door. If it falls out, you need to replace your seals. And defrosting regularly can’t hurt.

Inspected and cleaned: Have it done if your at-home remedies don’t work or if there are noises you can’t locate.

Washer, dryer

Average life span: Washer: 12 years; Dryer: 14 years

What to do: Clean the dryer’s lint filter and hoses. Kinks or ridges can cause highly flammable lint to build up, a major cause of fire.

Inspected and cleaned: Replace the hoses on your washing machine every 3 to 5 years.

Window air conditioner

Average life span: 13 years

What you need to do: Changing the air filter every month helps the system run more efficiently and improves air quality. Dirt and neglect are the main causes of AC failures, so clean it well.

Inspected and cleaned: Do it twice a year, usually fall and spring.

Garbage disposal

Average life span: 13 years

What you need to do: Keep anything stringy, like pumpkin pulp, out of it. Also leave out tough produce, anything hard that can dull the blades, and grease, which can clog your pipes.

Inspected and cleaned: Have this looked at whenever your plumbing is checked.

Microwave

Average life span: 5 to 8 years

What you need to do: Microwaves are simple appliances; they don’t know the difference between the food you want cooked and old splatters in the chamber, so keep it clean and don’t exceed the recommended usage.

Inspected and cleaned: Anytime there’s a problem. You should never attempt to work on it yourself.

Dishwasher

Average life span: 9 to 12 years

What you need to do: Be mindful of what you put in it. Leave out small pieces that can get lodged in the drain and make sure everything is dishwasher-safe. Use a powdered detergent, because gels can cloud dispenser and glasswear. Spend the few dollars on a rinse aid, such as Jet-Dry, every month or so.

Inspected and cleaned: Every 2 to 3 years.

Water heater

Average life span: electric: 6 to 14 years; gas: 5 to 9 years

What you need to do: Check your hoses, fittings and release valves. Also watch for damaged areas on the outside of the tank and leaking.

Inspected and cleaned: Every couple of years.

Stove

Average life span: electric, 16 years; gas, 19 years

What you need to do: Check temperature with a thermometer or by following a basic white cake mix and making sure it cooks correctly. Keep it clean inside and out, using nonabrasive cleaners. Check your seals and the hinges, which can bend over time and let heat escape.

Inspected and cleaned: Any time it’s not heating properly.

Central air system

Average life span: 10 to 20 years

What you need to do: Check for leaks around the system and with hose connections. You should also change your filter monthly.

Inspect and cleaned: Seasonally

Is a Steam Appliance Right for You?

Steam is hot right now.  It is showing up in a variety of appliance and is touted as the way to sanitize, freshen and even shorten cleaning times. Consumer Reports weighed in on steam use in appliances at abclocal.go.com sharing their opinion of steam’s usefulness.

One thing to be aware of before even considering a steam unit is the cost:

Kimberly Janeway from Consumer Reports, says “Some cost twice as much or even more than the best buys we recommend, which don’t have a steam feature.”
The steam feature not only adds to an appliance’s price, it also adds time to wash cycles. For example, for the clothes washers, it added as much as 25 minutes. For the dishwashers, it added up to 45 minutes.
Consumer Reports’ Emilio Gonzalez just tested two washing machines with steam modes from Kenmore and Whirlpool. Both companies claim their steam features boost cleaning performance and remove stains better.
“While the washers did better at removing stains when using the steam setting, they still cleaned very well even without the steam,” says Gonzalez.
Consumer Reports also tested the steam settings of Kenmore and Whirlpool dryers. Testers used wrinkled shirts exposed to cigarette smoke.
“The dryers got rid of most of the odors and wrinkles from the shirts, although there were wrinkles still left on the sleeves. So it’s a refresher, but not a replacement, for going to the dry cleaner,” says Janeway.
New dishwashers made by Jenn-Air, LG, Maytag, and Kenmore also have a steam-cleaning feature. Consumer Reports put them through one of its toughest food cleaning challenges: removing baked on brownie batter.
Janeway says “Steam only improved cleaning slightly on all four dishwashers.”
So while steam may be the hot new trend in appliances, Consumer Reports says it’s an extra feature that’s not worth the extra money.

So, depending on your opinion of Consumer Reports, you have the beginnings of an answer to the question- Is a steam appliance right for you?

Vacuum Shoe

Here’s something that sounds good in theory, but doesn’t seem to work in practice- The people at Electrolux thought that putting a vacuum in a pair of shoes might appeal to the overworked multi-tasker. Well, it’s been over a year since this concept debuted and we’re waiting to see if our local discount store will be selling these stunning sneakers in our favorite colors.

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Appliance Sales are Down

Here’s some bad news for appliance dealers (if they haven’t already noticed the effect in their own markets)

 Twice.com reports that according to AHAM (Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers), January shipments of major appliances fell 17 percent to 3.9 million units compared with the 4.7 million major appliances sold during the year-ago period.

Taking the biggest hit was the home-comfort sector, which was dragged down by a nearly 60 percent drop in room air shipments. The decline was only minimally offset by a 2.8 percent increase in dehumidifier sales, AC’s sister category.

The cooking category also felt the heat, down 15.6 percent year-over-year to nearly 1.2 million units. Leading the decline was microwave ovens, off nearly 19 percent in January. Among ranges, ovens and cooktops, gas-fueled models fell 10.7 percent while electric models saw an 11 percent decline last month. Gas cooktops were singed by a 17.2 percent decline, marginally offset by a 1.2 percent increase in gas oven shipments. By contrast, electric cooktops enjoyed a 5.1 percent gain, while shipments of electric ovens dropped 10.6 percent.

Among the other core appliance categories, kitchen cleanup dropped nearly 14 percent to some 808,300 units, food preservation fell nearly 9 percent to approximately 623,700 units and home laundry slipped 3.1 percent to about 964,000 units.

There were, however, several bright spots. Besides the gain in electric cooktops, portable dishwashers saw shipments climb 21.3 percent and wholesale sales of gas clothes dryers were up nearly 6 percent. But among their category counterparts, electric dryers declined 3.1 percent and washing machine shipments were off by 4.5 percent, to about 519,300 units. Similarly, shipments of build-in dishwashers declined 7.8 percent, disposers fell 19.4 percent and compactors dropped 19.5 percent.

Within food preservation, refrigerator shipments declined 8.8 percent to some 513,700 units while freestanding freezers fell 9.5 percent, led by a 12.7 percent decline in chest-style models.

Summarizing the month is the AHAM 6, an amalgam of the industry’s core washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer, range and oven categories. Factory shipments for that grouping fell 7 percent in January, to 2.4 million units.

Is Your Clothes Dryer Working Effectively?

We invest a lot of money in our clothes and want them to last and look good. Over-drying and over heating clothes wears them out faster. If your dryer is working effectively, you can dry more quickly, sometimes at lower temperatures. If preserving your clothes, possibly preventing wrinkles and saving energy sounds good to you, try these tips from mrappliance.com:

  • Avoid kinking exhaust vent behind dryer. The shorter the better.
  • Exhaust ducting should be of a metalized semi rigid/flexible material. Do not use vinyl as it can be easily crushed. Vinyl will not withstand heat as well as metalized ducting.
  • Check your outside vent hood. Clean if necessary. It is not advisable to use mesh wire or grates to cover the vent hood. This will definitely help keep rodents or birds out of your exhaust but can easily clog as some lint always makes it through the dryer’s lint screen. The best vent hood has a flapper that opens when the dryer is in use and closes when off. Verify proper operation of the flapper periodically.
  • Clean lint screen between loads and more frequently if drying material with higher cotton content.
  • Do not overload dryer. Too many clothes will inhibit proper circulation of heated air between and through the garments. On the other hand, too few clothes can create a similar problem by bunching and disallowing proper air flow through the clothes. Proper air flow dissipates the moisture from the clothes faster making for a faster dry time.
  • In winter months, dryers located in a heated area of the home will dry more quickly than a non-heated utility room.
  • Drying multiple loads one after the other will reduce overall dry time by utilizing heat retained by the dryer from previous loads.
  • Recheck pockets before putting clothes into dryer. Chewing gum may make it through the wash with little to no consequence but your luck will run out if it is put into the dryer. Gum, pencils, change, nails, needles, jewelry, etc. can damage clothing as well as damage your appliance (as a rule of thumb, do not lay loose change or other small articles on top of your appliances).