January 16, 2018

Archives for October 2009

Play With a Kid – Win a Frigidaire Wall Oven

Here’s a contest that’s child’s play:

When you pledge to spend an hour with your child, Frigidaire will donate $11 to Save the Children’s U.S. Programs. And you will be entered for a chance to win a new Frigidaire Professional double wall oven.

Frigidaire is proud to support Save the Children’s CHANGE program, dedicated to providing nutritious snacks and promoting healthier lifestyles for children living in poverty in the United States.

New Frigidaire is the first collection of appliances designed with time-saving features for busy Moms. Every day you pledge your time, you’ll be entered for a chance to win a new Frigidaire Professional double wall oven.

Go ahead, click here to enter!

The Appliance Bermuda Triangle

Most of us have at least one- you know yours- the appliance you were sure you needed, used once or twice and relegated to the back of a closet. It disappeared into your home’s own appliance Bermuda Triangle.

Tamar Haspel who blogs at starvingofftheland.com writes about her’s and her mother’s appliance mis-purchases.

A Champion juicer is a big, heavy powerful appliance that reduces fruits and vegetables to their constituent parts: juice and sawdust.

A Champion juicer is not inexpensive. These days, they retail for a little over $200. Although other juicers cost less, other juicers do not have the power to juice the furniture.

When my mother got it, we tried it on everything but the furniture. I even wrote about it, in an article entitled, “How to Make the Most Mess with the Fewest Appliances.”

But it didn’t take. Before long, the Champion was relegated to the Closet of Appliance Mistakes, where it nestled up against the gelato maker. (First, of course, my mother offered it to me, but I’m not stupid enough to take a big, heavy appliance destined for the Closet.)

I’ve learned many things from my mother, and one of them should have been not to buy a Champion juicer. But when I saw a barely used one at a yard sale for $12., I couldn’t resist. Twelve dollars! That’s five percent of its retail price! Besides, I don’t live in a tiny apartment any more. When you have an entire Basement of Appliance Mistakes, you can branch out.

Still, I wasn’t sure. “I’m not sure,” I said to Kevin as we contemplated the juicer.

“If you don’t like it, you can put it on Craigslist and you’ll probably get your twelve dollars back,” he said. Although this was true, I think he just wanted to make sure I went home with something substantial, since he had just bought a windsurfer that came with three sails, two masts, a boom, and a harness.

I should mention that the Basement of Appliance Mistakes is also the Basement of Water-sports Mistakes. If this windsurfer joins the other two that are already down there, there won’t be much room for the Champion juicer.

The gist of starvingofftheland is that Ms. Haspel and her husband are attempting to feed themselves at least one food a day that they have a direct connection to. They might have grown or raised it themselves, or possibly fished, hunted or traded for it. In this spirit, the couple has begun raising chickens.

The chickens clinch the juicer sale. “What pushed me over the edge was the thought that the vegetable pulp, which still has considerable nutritional value, could be fed to the chickens. Everybody wins.

I forked over my twelve dollars, and took my juicer home. All the parts were there, and it hummed smoothly when I turned it on. We had half a bag of carrots in the refrigerator, and we used them for the test ride.”

We ended up with two glasses of carrot juice. It tasted exactly like the carrots it came from — fine but a little bitter. We also had a nice plate of carrot crumbles for the chickens, and we headed out to the run.

We expected an enthusiastic reception, but the chickens wouldn’t touch the stuff. They gave one or two experimental pecks, and then looked reproachfully at us. “This isn’t carrot,” they were obviously saying, “This is sawdust.” This, from birds that eat rocks, charcoal, and tree bark.

Apparently, you can’t drink your carrot and feed it to your chickens, too.

I’m not giving up on the juicer just yet. I’m very fond of beet juice with ginger, and I’ll give that a whirl. And if anyone out there has any brilliant uses for it, I’m all ears. But if you’re in the market for a Champion juicer, you might want to keep an eye on Craigslist.

Whirlpool’s New Latitude French Door Fridge

Ever wonder why a family of four needs seven kinds of juice? Whirlpool brand knows different lifestyles call for different tastes. Now, playing the balancing act with groceries, leftovers and gallons of milk are a thing of the past with the new Whirlpool Latitude French door refrigerator.

The Latitude refrigerator was developed with consumers’ needs in mind, offering 10 percent more space in the refrigeration compartment compared to similar size models while maintaining the same external dimensions. With 27 cu. ft. of capacity, the Latitude refrigerator is expansive, boasting the industry’s most usable interior refrigeration space based on shelf and door bin surface area, including deeper door bins, extra shelf space and an easy-to-access in-door ice maker with removable bucket. The Latitude refrigerator also includes an option to drop the refrigerator and/or freezer temperature to accommodate new food additions, all while garnering an ENERGY STAR qualification.

A recent survey commissioned by Whirlpool Corporation found that 53 percent of adults believe the refrigerator is the appliance that uses the
most energy in their home on a day-to-day basis. However, according to ENERGY STAR, a new ENERGY STAR-qualified refrigerator saves enough energy to light the average household for more than 4.5 months (when replacing a refrigerator bought before 1990).

“We know that consumers want more room in their refrigerators to help manage the varying tastes of their families. With that in mind, we have designed the Latitude refrigerator to not only hold several jugs of juice and milk in each door bin, but to help make consumers’ daily lives just a little bit easier with smart solutions like an exterior dual pad dispenser with measured fill. It gives consumers the ability to dispense the exact amount of water needed for a recipe or morning coffee,” said Carolyn Torres, Whirlpool refrigeration brand manager. “Even with the added interior space and intuitive features, such as a power outage alert, the Latitude refrigerator helps conserve energy and saves money on utility bills, without sacrificing performance.”

The Latitude refrigerator brings consumers’ kitchens several innovative
features, including dispensing an exact amount of water, measured in cups, liters or ounces with a rotating faucet that allows consumers the ability to fill tall and odd-shaped containers with ease; a power outage alert that notifies consumers that there has been a power outage and the duration so they know whether or not food is safe to eat; and, the Fast Cool option, which immediately drops refrigerator and/or freezer temperatures to accommodate new food.

The Latitude refrigerator is available in white, black, stainless steel and Satina finish with an MSRP starting at $2,599.

Manufacturer Rebate vs Government Rebate

We’ve been getting questions regarding when the Government’s promised 300 million dollar appliance rebate will become available. The problem is, unlike the cars Cash for Clunkers program, this appliance stimulus plan is designed and administered by the individual states.

Under a population-based funding formula, Ohio was allocated $11 million, Kentucky $4 million and Indiana $6 million for the rebates.

Today is the deadline for the states to submit their rebate plans. The federal government has until the end of November to approve them.

But most states aren’t expected to launch their rebate programs until early next year.

Jim Recker of Recker & Boerger Inc. appliance stores in Ohio and other appliance retailers say there are plenty of manufacturers rebates already available and some retailers are piggy-backing with their own rebates.

“People will wait for (the government program), but if they bought now, they could take advantage of rebates already in place and save on less energy used by the new appliances in the meantime,” said Recker,(Cincinnati.com) whose firm has stores in Springdale, Montgomery and Anderson Township.

Some examples: Frigidaire has extended a $100 cash back offer on Energy Star-qualified dishwashers through the end of October. Electrolux is offering $100 pre-paid Visa card on Energy Star-rated refrigerators purchased through November.

Another wrinkle in the appliance rebate program is that the federal guidelines encourage the states to team-up with recyclers to remove old appliances from the market, although it isn’t mandated (as it was in the Cash for Clunkers program).

Affresh Tablets for the Dishwasher and Garbage Disposal

While the aroma of baking pies and browning roasts are welcome in the kitchen, dishwasher and disposal odors are not. To keep smelly kitchen odor at bay and ensure appliance workhorses run smoothly, Whirlpool introduces the new affresh Dishwasher and Disposal Cleaner, the only national two-in-one cleaner for dishwashers and garbage disposals.

If not properly cleaned as indicated in the Use & Care guide, all brands of dishwashers and garbage disposals have the potential for odor. Dishwashers in particular can be a problem when dirty dishes sit for multiple days or when food residue is not completely rinsed away. Until now, no product on the market removed both dishwasher and garbage disposal odors.

An extension of the affresh washer cleaner brand, the affresh Dishwasher and Disposal Cleaner is simple to use. Simply place one tablet in the main dishwasher detergent tray and another tablet in the prewash tray or in the bottom of the dishwasher. Run on the heaviest cycle – without dishes – using the hottest wash temperature to activate the affresh chemistry to dissolve and neutralize odor, leaving behind a crisp citrus scent. If consumers have a garbage disposal, they should follow up with a tablet in the disposal to remove odor in the drain pipe, which connects to the dishwasher. To clean the garbage disposal, place one tablet into the disposal, slowly run hot water through the disposal for 15 seconds. Turn off water and disposal, and wait 30 minutes before flushing with hot water.

Affresh Dishwasher and Disposal Cleaner is safe for septic tanks, dishwashers, disposals and plumbing, and is the #1 recommended cleaner by KitchenAid, Whirlpool, Maytag and Amana brands. For more disposal and dishwasher maintenance tips, consumers should review their appliance Use & Care guides.

The MSRP for a package of six affresh Dishwasher and Disposal Cleaner tablets is $5.99 and is available at major home appliance dealers.

Should You Buy a New Refrigerator?

You can find good information about appliances in large and small news outlets. I recently found a clear, simple explanation in the Cape Cod Times of why it could be worthwhile to replace a refrigerator even if it seems to be running perfectly.

Thanks to updates to federal energy appliance standards, all of today’s major home appliances do use much less energy. If you’ve got a product you use often like a refrigerator, washing machine or other major home appliance that is 10 to 15 years old or more, you’ll probably offset the purchase price of a new one by saving enough money on its energy use in the coming years.

I know it might not seem to make a lot of sense, especially in today’s economy, to replace a major appliance that seems to be working well just because it’s old. But this could cut monthly utility bills substantially.

Just like the purchase price of a new car is actually what you pay the dealer to buy it, pay the mechanic over time to maintain it, and pay the gas station over time to fuel it, appliances also need to be viewed as having the same types of actual costs.

A new refrigerator, for example, that carries the government’s ENERGY STAR designation showing that it greatly exceeds current minimum standards will probably save $1,000 or more over its lifetime compared to an older model.

The yellow EnergyGuide labels that come with major appliances show the estimated annual energy consumption of the model and other information regarding its energy efficiency. They also show where the appliance fits into the range of energy consumption of comparable products.

Most new appliances probably will last for many years, and energy-efficient models will continue to pay you back with lower energy costs over their lifetimes.

Check out the ENERGY STAR Web site that gives information on special offers, sales tax exemptions or credits, rebates and other discounts on energy-efficient products in your area at http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction rebate.rebate—locator.

You also ought to look around your home to see how many products you’ve got plugged into electrical outlets. About 20 percent of the average family’s utility bill goes toward powering these home appliances. It’ll help you appreciate the importance of buying efficient products.

One shopping tip that can help save money is to buy only the features you need. If you figure a certain-sized refrigerator is best for your family, don’t be tempted to get a bigger one. Will you use the through-the-door water dispenser or the ice maker? If so, they can be great features. If not, they add not only to the purchase price but to the unit’s energy use as well.

The bottom line is simple. When buying an appliance for your home, keep in mind that the cost of the energy to operate it over its lifetime will very likely be more than you’re paying for it. Purchasing an energy-efficient model makes a lot of sense.

Old Appliances Stick Around and Get the Job Done

We all say it: “They don’t make ’em like they used to.” Well, Donna Vickroy at the SouthTownStar offers hers and others thoughts on this:

Milan and Helen Varichak’s grandkids say their kitchen looks like outer space.

The South Holland couple have a 51-year-old Westinghouse stove and a 54-year-old General Electric refrigerator.

“They’re both in good condition,” Helen said. “The refrigerator could use a good polishing but other than that, it’s OK.”

By contrast, their son, who lives in New Lenox, has had his refrigerator replaced three times already.

When Helen and Milan moved into their home in 1958, Helen’s father gave them a new double-oven stove as a housewarming gift.

And until recently, the gift continued to warm their house. But Helen said now she is in need of a repair man because she recently had all new electricity put in her house and the stove won’t work.

“I think it just needs to be updated,” she said.

Dennis O’Malley, who owns O’Malley Heating and Cooling in Orland Park, still has the refrigerator his grandparents bought in 1934.

The General Electric appliance was the first item his grandparents bought on credit. The price tag? $222.60.

O’Malley still has the documents and warranties for the appliance.

Ron Steffek still has the original tag with the model number for his 1928 GE refrigerator. The Oak Lawn resident also has another GE that is a year older.

The fridges, both of which sport the compressor ball on top, have never been serviced and are still being used to store pop and beer.

Marge Beddow, who lives in unincorporated Palos Township, has a cast iron stove that is at least 70 years old. The wood-burning device has two round circles on the top where her mom once placed pots.

“My brother is 82 years old, and he remembers it when he was little,” Beddow said. “I remember my mom making soap on it.”

Today, the stove and its accompanying shovel are used for decoration.

Brad O’Connor’s old ice box is part decoration and part storage unit.

When they used to have parties, O’Connor remembers his mom going over to Lang Ice on the corner of 59th Street and Lawndale Avenue to pick up a block of ice. She’d put it in the family’s ice box, stock it with sodas and it would be good for the day.

O’Connor doesn’t know exactly how old the ice box is, just that it predates electricity. It has three doors, one on the left, one on the right and one on the bottom for ice.

“It’s probably pre-1930s,” he said.

When he moved from Chicago’s Gage Park community to Hometown, he brought the box with him.

After World War II ended in 1945, there were few appliances to be had. The newly married Rosettis put their name on waiting lists at Sears, Montgomery Ward and a little hardware store across the street from their Chicago Heights home.

Two years later, on the day their son turned 1, the owner of the hardware store called.

“He described this GE refrigerator to me, and I say, ‘Oh my, that sounds too big,’ ” Daphene Rosetti said. Still, they wheeled the fridge across the street, plugged it in and it’s still running.

Now it is relegated to the basement and used to stock pop and beer.

When Leonard and Joan Stubenfoll got married in 1955, they bought a used 20-year-old refrigerator. The Stubenfolls keep their GE model in the garage, stocked with pop and beer. They’ve never had to have a repair man out – not for that fridge, anyway.

“We’ve had three or four newer fridges (in the kitchen) since then,” he said.

Stubenfoll has a theory.

“They made the old models too good,” he said. But apparently, “they’ve” learned their lesson.

“If companies continued to make ’em like they used to, they would have gone out of business.”

Broken Appliance? Do You Repair it or Not?

Having a broken appliance is annoying, not knowing whether or not to fix it is frustrating. We’ve found some questions to ask yourself before you decide what to do, along with appliance lifespan estimates and some simple maintenance advice. Read on.

10 questions to ask:

– Is it really broken? The trouble may be a short in the plug, a tripped circuit breaker or a bad surge-protector outlet. Check the troubleshooting section of the unit’s instruction manual for the most common problems and solutions.

– How old is the appliance?

– Have you had trouble with the unit before? If it’s performed well, it might be worth fixing instead of replacing with something unproven.

– How much will it cost to repair the unit?

– What would a similar appliance cost?

– Are there any hidden costs to purchase (removal, installation, disposal, tax, etc.)?

– How difficult is it to replace the appliance (is it a built-in)?

– What additional features will I get with the new appliance?

– What energy savings will I get with the new appliance? Will they offset the cost of a new appliance versus repair?

– What tax credits are available for purchasing an energy-efficient unit? Will they offset the cost of a new appliance versus repair?

Average life of appliances:

Industry experts say washing machines tend to break down the most because they take the most beatings and contain many moving parts.

– 10-15 years for refrigerators and freezers.

– 10-20 years for ovens and ranges.

– 10-15 years for dishwashers.

– 10-15 years for clothes washers/dryers.

– 10-20 years for water heaters.

– 15-20 years for central air-conditioning unit.

Preventive maintenance:

– Clean the condenser coils on your refrigerator annually and check door seals to ensure they are airtight.

– Check air filters monthly and replace as needed.

– Replace washer fill hoses every five years.

– Avoid overloading the washing machine.

– Have the exhaust duct on the clothes dryer inspected and cleaned once a year. Clean the lint filter before each use.