August 16, 2017

Archives for June 2009

Hannspree’s New LCD TV

From TWICE Hannspree North America introduced Monday a 25-inch FullHD 1080p LCD TV as the first offering in its mainstream ST series line.

Model ST251MKB, which carries a $400 suggested retail, will be available exclusively at Costco and will be followed by larger models later this year.

Hannspree’s ST-series LCD televisions feature an all-black design with a glossy front bezel.

Included with the set will be a 6-foot HDMI cable and universal remote control.

The televisions will also include a PC input for use as a large-format computer monitor.

“Hannspree has delivered high-end, very unique televisions to the design-focused users. With the launch of ST series, now mainstream, value-minded users can benefit from our superior design, functionality and quality of our televisions,” said Wynn Yiu, Hannspree North America president.

Spare Parts After a Washer Repair – A Reader Shares His Story

Recently one of our readers shared a humorous appliance repair story with us. We thought we’d spread the laughter out for a lighthearted weekend chuckle.

It happened a few years back when my neighbor knocked on my door hoping for some help. It seems he had a problem with his washing machine and knew he could count on me due to my vast knowledge of appliance repair (yeah, right). You can now see how this relates to having extra money. Don’t pay a repair man when you can do it yourself with a trusty neighbor’s help.

Actually, he had fixed his problem but was faced with a dilemma all great men are faced with following a repair. What to do with the parts that are left over. Well, he was fortunate, he only had one part left over and was hoping I could help him discover where it went. It was about 6 inches long, was a flattened piece of wire and was in the shape of an arch. Nothing about this thing looked familiar.

We went so far as tearing the machine back down to see where it could be missing and had been at it for about two hours without any luck when his wife returned home and asked what was up. Being a little frustrated and short on patience, my friend explained in man terms that, and I quote, “we are trying to figure out where this d????? piece of wire goes in this d????? washing machine.” She looked at the wire and started laughing. “What”, asked her husband.

“That’s not a part of the washing machine, that’s the under wire out of my bra.”

Money saved, time lost, and another successful d-i-y repair.

If you have your own humorous story you’d like to share, please feel free to post it in the comments section below or send it to stories@appliance.net

Repair or Replace? Be Careful What You Choose

In the not so recent past, if a household appliance was in need of repair, technicians invoked the 50% rule – if a repair cost 50%or more than the cost of a new unit, buy the new one. But these days as the recession deepens, more homeowners and rethinking that advice.

Getting anything repaired, however, can be frustrating. To stay profitable, service companies book multiple appointments on the same day, forcing consumers to sit home and wait for hours. And because it would be impossible for technicians to drive around with every possible replacement part, some repairs require a followup visit that can be subject to the same inconveniences.

Typically manufacturers outsource warranty service to another company, which subcontracts the actual work to a third party. So after contacting the manufacturer, consumers frequently find themselves calling yet another number, and then later, after the service call has been arranged, communicating with a third party — who inevitably seems to have a different idea about when the work will be done and what the warranty covers.

Appliance-repair rage has also driven at least one person, a 42-year-old woman in northern England who says she endured six months of rescheduled appointments and other delays, to hold a repairman hostage until he fixed her washing machine. “I am not proud of what I did,” Tracey Fox told The Daily Telegraph in January, “but it was the only way I was going to get something done.”

After the nightmare comes the bill. Manufacturers intentionally charge a lot for replacement parts as a way of encouraging consumers to buy more products, said Ronald Sawyer, an appliance servicer in Cohoes, N.Y., and a founding member and executive director of the Professional Service Association, an appliance repair industry group. “When manufacturers came up with a machine that retails for $400, that price covers all parts,” he said. “But when it breaks down and you needed a new timer, the timer alone could cost $250. Manufacturers create the technology when they design new machines, they control the manufacturing process, they make the replacement parts, so we’re at the mercy of the manufacturers.”

The complexity of warranties makes matters worse. Years ago, most manufacturers gave warranties of at least two years. Now, however, warranties on most midrange appliances are just one year, say retailers and service providers. Boutique companies like Sub-Zero and Miele typically provide coverage for longer periods.

The best way to avoid the hassle of repair, according to numerous repairmen and Consumer Reports, is to buy the simplest possible appliance. “The more doo-dads, the more stuff you add to an appliance, the more likely it’s going to need a repair,” said Mark Kotkin of Consumer Reports National Research Center. Consumers would also be wise to recognize that the more sophisticated the equipment they purchase, the more complicated — and expensive — the repairs can be.

Still, few products will last as long as those made during the 1960s and 1970s. “The old Maytag washer your grandmother had, she bought that thing and used it for 35, 40 years,” Sawyer said. “It held up like nothing was ever going to go wrong with it. Today, you just don’t get that quality.”

You can read the whole story HERE

Recall:Black & Decker Spacemaker Coffeemakers Due to Burn Hazard

Name of Product: Black & Decker® brand Spacemaker™ Coffeemakers

Units: About 584,000

Distributor: Applica Consumer Products Inc., of Miramar, Fla.

Hazard: The brew basket can shift out of alignment allowing hot water to overflow. This poses a scalding and burn hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received 235 reports of hot water overflowing and contacting consumers, including 10 reports of second-degree burns.

Description: The recalled product is the Black & Decker-branded Spacemaker™ coffeemaker. The product has an under-cabinet mount, programmable digital clock/timer, removable water reservoir, and either a 12-cup glass carafe or an 8-cup thermal carafe. Only model numbers ODC440, ODC440B, ODC450 and ODC460 are included in the recall. The model number can be located on the back of the coffeemaker.

Sold at: Major retailers nationwide, including K-Mart, Kohl’s, Target, Wal-Mart, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and Amazon.com, from March 2006 through March 2009 for between $60 and $70.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should stop using the recalled coffeemaker immediately and contact Applica for a free replacement brew basket.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Applica toll-free at (866) 668-4442 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s Web site at www.acprecall.com

CPSC is still interested in receiving incident or injury reports that are either directly related to this product recall or involve a different hazard with the same product. Please tell them about it by visiting https://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/incident.aspx

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How to Save Energy Today, Tomorrow and All Year

We’ve found your step-by-step guide to saving energy at home. Many of these suggestions are appliance related, but even if they’re not, saving energy is always a good idea. You can start today with these simple changes:

To Do Today:

    Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F). You’ll not only save energy, you’ll avoid scalding your hands

    Start using energy-saving settings on refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, and clothes dryers

    Survey your incandescent lights for opportunities to replace them with compact fluorescents (CFLs).

    These lamps can save three-quarters of the electricity used by incandescents. The best targets are 60-100W bulbs used several hours a day. New CFLs come in many sizes and styles to fit in most standard fixtures.

    Check the age and condition of your major appliances, especially the refrigerator. You may want to replace it with a more energy-efficient model before it dies.

    Clean or replace furnace, air-conditioner, and heat-pump filters.

    If you have one of those silent guzzlers, a waterbed, make your bed today. The covers will insulate it, and save up to one-third of the energy it uses.

This Week:

Visit the hardware store. Buy low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators, and compact fluorescent light bulbs, as needed. These can be purchased from any hardware or home improvement store. CFLs are now sold at some drug stores and grocery stores.

If your water heater is old enough that its insulation is fiberglass instead of foam, it clearly will benefit from a water heater blanket from the local hardware or home supplies store. (To tell the difference, check at the pilot light access (gas). For electric water heaters, the best access is probably at the thermostat, but be sure to turn off the power before checking.)

Rope caulk very leaky windows.

Assess your heating and cooling systems. Determine if replacements are justified, or whether you should retrofit them to make them work more efficiently to provide the same comfort (or better) for less energy.

This Month:

Crawl into your attic or crawlspace and inspect for insulation. Is there any? How much?
Insulate hot water pipes and ducts wherever they run through unheated areas.

Seal up the largest air leaks in your house—the ones that whistle on windy days, or feel drafty. The worst culprits are usually not windows and doors, but utility cut-throughs for pipes (“plumbing penetrations”), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. Better yet, hire an energy auditor with a blower door to point out where the worst cracks are. All the little, invisible cracks and holes may add up to as much as an open window or door, without you ever knowing it!

Set your thermostat back (forward) when you can accept cooler (warmer) conditions. This generally includes night time and whenever you leave your home for several hours. Many people find it easier to use an ENERGY STAR programmable thermostat that will automatically adjust the thermostat based on your time-of-day instructions.

Schedule an energy audit for more expert advice on your home as a whole, or learn how to conduct your own by visiting the Home Energy Saver Web site.

This Year:

Insulate. If your walls aren’t insulated have an insulation contractor blow cellulose into the walls. Bring your attic insulation level up to snuff.

Replace aging, inefficient appliances. Even if the appliance has a few useful years left, replacing it with a top-efficiency model is generally a good investment.

Upgrade leaky windows. It may be time to replace them with energy-efficient models or to boost their efficiency with weatherstripping and storm windows.

Have your heating and cooling systems tuned up in the fall and spring, respectively. Duct sealing can also improve the energy efficiency and overall performance of your system (warm-air furnace and central air conditioners).

I know, it’s a long list, but taken one step at a time through the year it’s doable, and you will be making a difference not just in your pocketbook, but for the world.

New From Jenn-Air – Duct Free Down Draft Cooktop

Jenn-Air is debuting its new duct-free downdraft cooktop, offering some of the industry’s best and quietest ventilation. This latest innovation allows high-rise dwellers and others who are unable to run ductwork or vent smoke outside to take advantage of the proven performance and versatility of downdraft ventilation technology.

Available this fall, along with the new collection of top-of-the-line wall ovens and cooktops, the exclusive duct-free downdraft kit allows for the high performance Jenn-Air downdraft ventilation system to be installed in virtually any home, including high-rise apartments and condos, without a major remodel to accommodate ducting. Using a powerful, filter to capture smoke and steam, the new duct-free downdraft system also allows for an open kitchen layout and the flexibility of placing cooktops on islands or peninsulas without having to worry about installation constraints. Aside from offering a smoke-free kitchen with virtually no design limitations, the new system has been refined to offer extremely quiet operation.

Additional features include touch control for a sleek, integrated surface that allows for easy cookware maneuvering and the highest BTU on a gas model downdraft cooktop. Other design elements include electronic ignition and automatic re-ignition in case gas flames are blown out; continuous cast-iron grates with a porcelain coating; and a shallow downdraft chamber for easier cleanup.

The new downdraft cooktop collection will be available in 30- and 36-inch configurations in Euro-Style Stainless finishes for both gas and electric models, and in Floating Glass and Oiled Bronze finishes for electric models. The new duct-free downdraft kit, available exclusively for use with the new collection of downdraft gas and electric cooktops, will be sold separately as an accessory.

Recall: Viking Range Corporation Built-In Refrigerators Due to Injury Hazard; Doors Can Detach

Name of Product: Viking Built-In Side-by-Side Refrigerator/Freezers and Refrigerators with Bottom Freezers

Units: About 45,000

Manufacturer: Viking Range Corporation, of Greenwood, Miss.

Hazard: The refrigerator’s doors can detach, posing an injury hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: Viking has received about 57 reports of doors detaching, including four reports of injuries involving bruises, broken toes/fingers, and strains. Also, several incidents of minor damage to floors and counters have been reported.

Description: This recall involves Viking built-in 48-inch wide side-by-side refrigerator/freezers and the built-in 36-inch wide refrigerators with bottom freezers with model and serial numbers with date codes listed below. The refrigerators come in stainless steel and various colors and wood finishes and are built into the kitchen cabinetry. “Viking” is written on the front of the refrigerator. The model and serial numbers are located either behind the produce drawer or on the ceiling of the interior of the refrigerators. The 42-inch wide or freestanding refrigerators are not included in this recall.

Model Numbers Starting With Date Codes
VCSB481, VCSB482, DDSB482, DFSB482
DTSB482, DDBB362, VCBB360, VCBB362
DFBB362, DTBB362, DTBB363 All units
VCSB483, DDSB483, DFSB483, DTSB483 Date codes before 030104
VCSB483D, DDSB483D, DFSB483D Date codes before 030105
VCBB363 Date codes before 102005
DDBB363 Date codes before 112305
DFBB363 Date codes before 041006

The first six numbers in the serial number are the manufacture date of the unit in [mm][dd][yy] format, e.g., serial number 051903G0000000375 was manufactured on May 19, 2003 and serial number F01250210170 was manufactured on January 25, 2002.

Sold by: Appliance and specialty retailers nationwide from July 1999 through April 2006 for between $4,725 and $6,400.

Manufactured in: United States

Remedy: Consumers with recalled refrigerators should contact Viking immediately to schedule a free in-home repair. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled refrigerator if the door isn’t sealing properly, is sagging, or fails to open and close properly. If the door is functioning properly, consumers may continue to use the refrigerator until it has been repaired.

Consumer Contact: For more information, contact Viking toll-free at (888) 345-2650 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit Viking’s Web site at www.vikingrange.com

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Recall: Starbucks Barista Blade Coffee Grinders Made by Tsann Kuen

Name of Product: Starbucks Barista® Blade Grinders and Seattle’s Best Coffee® Blade Grinders

Units: About 530,000

Importer: Starbucks Coffee Co., of Seattle, Wash.

Manufacturer: Tsann Kuen (Zhangzhou) Enterprise Co. Ltd. (“TKL”), of China

Hazard: The grinder can fail to turn off or can turn on unexpectedly, posing a laceration hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received 176 reports of grinders that failed to turn off or that turned on unexpectedly, including three reports of hand lacerations that occurred when the grinders turned on unexpectedly during cleaning.

Description: This recall includes the Starbucks Barista® Blade Grinders and Seattle’s Best Coffee® Blade Grinders with the following colors and SKU numbers:

Brand Color SKU #
Starbucks Barista® Blade Grinder Stainless Steel 171884
Starbucks Barista® Blade Grinder Green 195234
Starbucks Barista® Blade Grinder Pink 195235
Starbucks Barista® Blade Grinder Orange 220623
Starbucks Barista® Blade Grinder Teal 220624
Starbucks Barista® Blade Grinder Cranberry 242275
Starbucks Barista® Blade Grinder Olive 344476
Starbucks Barista® Blade Grinder Black 454482
Seattle’s Best Coffee® Blade Grinder Brown Metallic 474881

Sold at: Starbucks and Seattle’s Best Coffee stores nationwide from March 2002 through March 2009 for about $30.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the coffee grinders and contact Starbucks to receive a free replacement grinder.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Starbucks toll free at (866) 276-2950 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. MT or visit the company’s Web site at www.starbucks.com

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