November 18, 2017

Archives for May 2008

Dacor’s New Indoor/Outdoor Refrigerator

Dacor’s newest addition to its Epicure line is designed to fit neatly under any counter in an outdoor patio or kitchen layout, the unit stands at 33″ tall and 24″ wide and will easily slide into standard cabinetry openings. An innovative digital electronic control panel allows users to adjust the temperature with the simple touch of a button, a charcoal filter removes unwanted odors, keeping contents pure and the unit boasts quiet storage due to a vibration-free compressor.

Available with a stainless steel door with left- or right-hand door swing options, the refrigerator is built to withstand temperatures from 50 degrees to 109 degrees Fahrenheit, is efficient at maintaining internal temperatures and can to be used to store milk and fresh food storage in addition to beverages. The refrigerator is the ideal accessory for any bar or entertainment area and has the capacity to hold 124 cans or 50 bottles.

Recall: Counterfeit Circuit Breakers By Specialty Lamp International Due to Fire Hazard

Name of Product: Counterfeit Circuit Breakers labeled as “Square D”

Units: About 371,000

Distributor: Specialty Lamp International Inc., of Deerfield Beach, Fla.

Hazard: The recalled circuit breakers labeled “Square D” have been determined by Square D to be counterfeit and can fail to trip when they are overloaded, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Description: The counterfeit circuit breakers are black and are labeled as Square D QO-series models 115, 120, 130, 215, 220, 230, 240, 250, 260 and 2020 and Square D QOB-series models 115, 120, 130, 220, 230, 250, 260 and 1515. Actual Square D circuit breakers have (a) the amp rating written on the handle in white paint on the front of the breaker (authentic Square D circuit breakers manufactured prior to 2003 did not have white paint on the amperage numbers); (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 breaker, labeled as Square D, does not match this description, it could be counterfeit.

Sold by: Electrical product distributors nationwide from May 2005 through June 2006 for between $3 and $23.

Manufactured in: China or Unknown

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

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Specialty at (866) 650-3076 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, by email, or visit the company’s Web site at This is not a Square D Company recall.

Considering Vita-Mix

I’ve always thought of Vita-Mix blenders as a health food, hippy blender, one that has been replaced by juicers. Nevertheless, in the back of my mind I can ‘t help wondering if it is the answer to my ice crushing, smoothie making needs.   seems to feel the same way, but she finally gave in and purchased one.

At some point in my distant past, I had acquired a Vita-Mix, lured by devotees who swore by it. It could grind grain! Make soup! Make ice cream! It could grind the fiber, stems, seeds and skins of vegetables to a puree, unlike a blender, a processor or most juicers. You waste less, since the machine lets you use whole foods.

Reader, I never removed my Vita-Mix from the box, so intimidated was I by the large, powerful machine. My cat is fond of the original packing box as a scratching post.

Then Vita-Mix, a family-owned company in suburban Cleveland, sent me notice that they had a new version, the 5200 model, with a shatterproof container that is BPA-free and a more efficient motor. (BPA is the substance that leaches out of common household plastic containers and may be harmful.) The improved model came in red, a color I can’t resist when it comes to kitchen appliances or shoes.

Vita-Mix sent a pro, Wendy Manfredi, to put the monster through its paces. First, she dumped some ordinary brown rice into the Vita-Mix container and in a couple of minutes, voila! We had fine, evenly ground rice flour. You could use the flour to make rice noodles, if you felt ambitious, or you could use it to bread foods, or just as a soup thickener.

The machine operates at a velocity so fast it can create heat, and it sounded like an airplane taking off. At first, I backed across the kitchen. Then, I got used to it.

Next, Manfredi made tortilla soup. We didn’t even peel the carrot that went into it. No seeding the tomato, either. She made a smoothie, strawberry stems and all.

For ice cream, she tossed frozen peaches, soy milk and a little honey into the container. When the mixture forms mounds, she cautioned, it is done; blending too long will cause melting.

The Vita-Mix comes with a 64 ounce container which has its pros and cons- it holds almost all you could want to make, but is so large it is difficult to store.  A smaller 32 ounce jar is available for purchase separately.  Vita-Mix is not sold in stores but can be purchased online at The 5200 model begins at $449.

Whirlpool’s Fourth Annual Mother of Invention Grant Competition.

We all know the old saying: “Better later than never” well, I’m a bit late, but there is still plenty of time to enter the competition for Whirlpool’s Mother of Invention grant.

Beginning on May 11, the 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day, and running through July 31, moms may submit their unique business, service or product ideas for consideration at . In addition, to recognize moms who develop an environmentally-friendly product/service or use natural/recycled materials to create their invention, the company has added a green category for the first time. Five winners will be announced in September and will receive grant money (up to $20,000), home appliance prizes and an invitation to a business boot camp at Whirlpool headquarters.

The program closes on July 31, 2008.

Shoppers More Likely to Buy Online

People are more comfortable buying a new appliance from an online retailer now than they were just two years ago according to a survey by PriceGrabber, a Web-based comparison-shopping service.  The study found that “unease with online merchants’ customer service and the fear of making large online purchases have all decreased” since a similar survey was taken in 2006.

According to the current survey of 1945 shoppers, taken in late March 2008, 24% said they would be apt to buy major appliances online today, compared with around half that number in 2006. While the desire to “touch and feel” large home items remains an important reason for people not buying off the Web, the percentage citing that reason has dropped over the two surveys to 56% from 70%.
However, the report notes that 25%, compared with 4% in 2006 indicated the cost of home delivery as the main reason they would not purchase online.

Recall: Char-Broil Two-Burner Gas Grills Sold Exclusively at Mills Fleet Farm Stores Due to Fire, Burn Hazard

Name of Product: Char-Broil Two-Burner Gas Grills Model 463720108

Units: About 400

Importer: Char-Broil LLC, of Columbus, Ga.

Manufacturer: Shenzhen Jinwoniu Trading Company LTD, China

Hazard: On the recalled grills, the main burner does not fit correctly and does not connect properly to the gas valve which could result in a propane leak. This poses fire and burn hazards to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Description: This recall involves the Char-Broil gas grills with model number 463720108 and serial number ranging from 000001 to 000402. The gas grills have a main burner with two-burner plates, a 170 square inch swing-away rack, two side shelves and a condiment basket. Char-Broil’s logo is on the top of the lid of the grill. The serial and model numbers are located on the white rating label on the back of the horizontal support of the grill.

Sold at: Mills Fleet Farm Stores in Iowa, North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin from February 2008 through April 2008 for about $120.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should stop using the grill immediately and contact Char-Broil for a free replacement burner and installation instructions.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Char-Broil at (866) 671-7988 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s Web site at www.charbroil.comchar-broil two-burner recall

How to Save Money Buying a New Appliance

Buying a new appliance is expensive and everyone wants to get a good value for their money.  Sometimes getting less can be more.  According to Consumer Reports, some of the extra features offered on new washers and dishwashers are not needed and just add unnecessarily to the final cost.

Take new dishwasher cycles with names like “turbo zone” and “power scour.” For those, special nozzles are placed in the back of the dishwasher to take care of tough jobs.

Although those cycles do a good job, Consumer Reports testers say they are not essential.

“We find many dishwashers, using just the regular setting, do a great job cleaning our very tough challenge: baked-on brownie mix,” Consumer Reports tester Kim Kleman said.

You can also save by skipping the often-pricier stainless steel tubs and get a plastic tub in your dishwasher.

“People love the stainless steel look, but how many people are looking inside your dishwasher?” Kleman said. “The plastic tub should hold up just fine.”

Many washing-machine models come loaded with lots of extra features – such as cycles made specifically for bedding, active wear and sanitizing. Consumer Reports, though, says you should take a pass on those options.

“Stick with the regular heavy-duty, normal, delicate and white cycles. That’s all you really need,” Kleman said.

As for dryers, don’t be wowed by claims like extra-large capacity, super capacity and king-sized capacity.

“We find most dryers hold plenty, whether it says super capacity or not,” Kleman said.

Although matching washer-dryer sets look nice, they can cost more.

If you’re buying them at the same time, Consumer Reports recommends getting the best-performing, most efficient washer – one that extracts the most water from clothes.

Among dryers, get the one that has a moisture sensor.

Consumer Reports ranked its Best Buys among dishwashers, washers and dryers:

  • Dishwasher: Sears’ Kenmore 1374 for $650.
  • Washer: Frigidaire Gallery GLTF2940F for $650.
  • Dryers: GE DBVH512EF[WW] for $650; GE DPSE810EG[WT] for $500.

Keep to this strategy: Don’t pay for features you don’t need.

Recall:American Flame Fireplaces to Replace Gas Valves Due to Fire and Explosion Hazards

Name of Product: Fireplace Gas Valves

Units: About 12,000

Manufacturer: American Flame Inc., of Fort Wayne, Ind.

Hazard: Gas can continue to flow into the fireplace pilot light area after the switch has been turned “off,” posing a fire or explosion hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: American Flame has received two reports of incidents involving valve failure and continuous gas flow. No injuries or fires have been reported.


Description: The recall involves American Flame AF-4000 series fireplace gas valves installed in residential fireplaces made by twelve manufacturers under the following brand names: Pacific Energy, Travis Industries, CFM Corporation, Canadian Heating Products, Portland Willamette, Rasmussen, Chimeneas de Columbia, Twin Eagles, FDM, Inca Metals (Savannah Heating), Even Temp, and Valley Comfort. The valves were installed in some but not all fireplaces. Date codes included in the recall include 0622 through 0718. The gas valve model number is located on a label on the bottom of each gas valve. The date code is located above the label.

Sold by: Fireplace retailers and distributors nationwide from September 2006 through July 2007 for between $500 and $2,000 for the fireplaces, with additional costs for installation.

Manufactured in: Taiwan

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled fireplaces and contact their dealer for a free repair. The repair involves replacing the fireplace’s valve if it leaks gas in the “off” position when tested by a qualified service technician.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact American Flame toll-free at (888) 672-8929 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET to determine if your fireplace is included in the recall and to arrange for a free repair, or visit the firm’s Web site at



Gas Valve DiagramAmerican Flame fireplace recall