October 24, 2014

Mom Can Win New Appliances

Indianapolis-based appliance and electronics retailer hhgregg (NYSE:HGG) announced that it will be celebrating Mother’s Day by inviting customers to enter its Frigidaire kitchen appliance package giveaway. From April 26th-May 5th, one contestant will be selected daily to receive $100 hhgregg gift card and all contestants will be registered for the chance to win the grand prize; a kitchen appliance package that includes a refrigerator, range, dishwasher and microwave.

hhgregg’s Mother’s Day giveaway will also support the heart health of moms everywhere. For each Facebook “like” hhgregg receives during this time frame, the company will donate $1 to The American Heart Association’s “My Heart. My Life” fund, up to $20,000. A minimum of $10,000 will be donated.

“We wanted to honor mothers everywhere this year by not only hosting an exciting giveaway, but by giving back to the American Heart Association, a wonderful organization that promotes healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke,” said Jeff Pearson, Vice President of Marketing, hhgregg.

To register for the Mother’s Day Giveaway, please visit www.hhgregg.com/hhgives.

To “like” hhgregg on Facebook, and have $1 donated to The American Heart Association, please visit www.facebook.com/hhgreg

Rating the Latest Appliances – JD Powers Results

The 2010 Laundry Appliance Satisfaction Study and 2010 Kitchen Appliance Satisfaction Study from J.D. Power and Associates found that awareness of Energy Star certified appliances has increased among U.S. owners of new appliances since 2009 and so has the percentage who purchased an Energy Star appliance.

According to appliancemagazine.com, 86% of 2010 dishwasher buyers reported buying an Energy Star certified appliance, for an increase of 5% from 2009 and a 9% increase from 2008.

Satisfaction with appliance performance is strongly influenced by the owner’s perception of the appliance’s water and/or energy efficiency, the study found. Customers who report that their appliance is Energy Star certified are more likely to be more satisfied with their appliance than customers who do not indicate that their appliance is certified.

The Laundry Appliance Satisfaction Study measured customer satisfaction with clothes washers and dryers based on performance in six factors:


• ease of use
• features (such as the number of settings available and appliance capacity)
• performance and reliability (including energy efficiency, noise level, and how well the appliance functions)
• styling and feel
• warranty
• price

CLOTHES WASHERS: Samsung ranked highest for the second year in a row when it came to satisfying clothes washer owners, with a score of 832 on a 1000-point scale. Samsung performed particularly well in four of six factors:

• performance and reliability
• ease of use
• features
• styling

Other brands that broke the 800-point mark in the clothes washer rankings included:

• Kenmore Elite (817 points)
• Electrolux (816)
• LG (811)
• Maytag Epic (802)

CLOTHES DRYERS: Samsung scored 833 and was No. 1 in the clothes dryer rankings – the third consecutive year it’s been in the top spot. J.D. Power reported that Samsung did particularly well in four of the six factors:

• performance and reliability
• ease of use
• styling
• features

Only two other brands scored more than 800 points in the study:

• LG (814 points)
• Kenmore Elite (809)

Kitchen Appliances Study
Customer satisfaction was measured based on performance in six factors:

• performance and reliability (including how well the appliance functions, noise level, and energy efficiency)
• features (such as the number of settings available and appliance capacity)
• ease of use
• styling and feel
• price
• warranty

REFRIGERATORS: Samsung – for the sixth year in a row – ranked highest in satisfying refrigerator owners with a score of 803. Samsung performed particularly well in:

• ease of use
• performance and reliability
• features.

Samsung was followed by LG (781 points) and Kenmore Elite (776 points).

DISHWASHERS: Miele ranked highest in customer satisfaction in dishwashers with a score of 806 and performed particularly well in four of the six factors:

• performance and reliability
• styling and feel
• features
• warranty

Bosch also cracked the 800-point mark, scoring 801 points.

COOKTOPS/RANGES/OVENS:
Wolf ranked No. 1 in cooking appliances with a score of 812, and performed particularly well in five of six factors:

• ease of use
• performance and reliability
• styling and feel
• features
• warranty

Samsung ran a close second in this category, with a score of 809, and was the only other appliance brand to top the 800-point threshold.

The Studies

The 2010 Laundry Appliance Satisfaction Study was based on responses from more than 5100 consumers who purchased clothes washers and more than 5100 consumers who purchased clothes dryers from a retail store or received one through other means (such as a new-home builder or a gift) during the past 24 months. The study was fielded between March and April 2010.

Appliance Repair Saga

We all have to deal with this on occasion- here’s a lighthearted look at one woman’s recent experience with an appliance failure.

Most of us are familiar with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ five stages of dealing with death, but I think they work equally well with appliance repair.

Not long ago, the electronic control panel on our stove went south, mid-meat loaf. Where moments before had been a glittery display panel reminiscent of the Starship Enterprise was now the Black Screen of Death. An ominous notation appeared: “Error F5.”

Instantly, I went into Denial. As in, this can’t be happening to me! This range is practically new! It had great ratings! I even went so far as to search online as to what Error F5 was. It was possible, I thought (see Denial, above) that it could be something innocuous. But basically Error F5 is code for “This is SO going to cost you.”

Finding out that the first available repair appointment from the Authorized Dealer was going to be nine days away made an easy segue into Stage 2: Anger. Loads of anger.

One teensy weensy component goes bad and the entire control board has to be replaced? This is felony design abuse! What was so wrong (caution: Luddite alert) with the old two-knob ranges, bake knob on the right, temp knob on the left? It is immoral! It’s un-American! It’s – no, no, I’m not turning down the appointment. But – and here we glide seamlessly into Stage 3: Bargaining – are you sure you can’t get me in any sooner? The kids and grandchild are going to be visiting next weekend and having no way to cook except a microwave is going to be really, really hard. Maybe you have a cancellation list I could put my name on? (Please?)

Like dying, it only gets worse from there, because eventually the Authorized Dealer actually shows up. The kids had been very nice about it all when they came. It wouldn’t be their last visit, they said, consolingly. And it never hurts to remind oneself from time to time how wonderful warm food tastes on a cold rainy evening especially since they didn’t get any.

But by this time, Olof and I are ready for some serious bakables. So it was with total shock when the Authorized Dealer mentions that control panels are a special order, usually 30 days. Stage 4: complete and total Depression, slams you right between the taste buds.

But during that long month, a funny thing happens – Stage 5: Acceptance. You develop an inner peace, not to mention an intimate relationship with the pizza guy. Cooking is over-rated. Vast technological improvements have been made in microwavables. You can now often recognize the animal they were made from.

So when the Authorized Dealer calls to install the new panel, you’re almost not sure you want him to come out. Especially when he tells you that the control board is $590 and labor to install $150. More, of course, than a whole stove used to cost.

But then you think about your mother’s wonderful cassoulet and about the grandkids coming to refer to you as Grammy Nuke. So you fork over the money and fix the range, assuming this was just a fluke and you’ll have many more years of life out of this appliance.

Talk about Denial.

Pro-Style Ranges, Who, What and Why

We’ve all seen them, those big, shiny ranges that are often the centerpiece of a new kitchen or remodel.  The question is do you need one?

You might be interested in one for the style it adds to your home even if the added power that comes with the equipment is not something you’ll use.  Professional style ranges, like restaurant stoves,  generate more heat than a standard range – the ovens and the gas burners on top have a higher BTU (British Thermal Unit) output than conventional kitchen ranges, but unlike restaurant stoves, they’re specially insulated.  And, unlike conventional kitchen stoves, you will need a hood for ventilation, just as in a restaurant kitchen.

An advantage of a professional-series range is that the top gas burners burn hotter, allowing you to boil, saute or steam faster, but “you can also actually simmer on a low flame without burning the bottom of your pot,” says James Kita, sales manager for Metro Builders Supply in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

Most of the ranges have convection ovens, which use fans to spread heat throughout the oven cavity to provide an even temperature throughout.   You’ll probably use more gas for a pro-style stove than a conventional one, Kita says. But as far as energy-efficiency is concerned, unlike refrigerators, dishwashers or washing machines, “they don’t rate these ranges because it’s not a machine that’s running all the time.”

There are also additional points to consider:  they weigh more conventional ovens, so installation will likkely cost more;they might require additional insulation in the kitchen, and there is the additional expenditure for a hood.

Professional style ranges are available from multiple manufacturers such as Viking, Thermador and even Kenmore and GE.  These companies identify them generally as “Professional Series”.  Prices range from $2,000 to $12,000, depending on the brand and the size of the stove – they vary in width from 30 to 60 inches.

Win a New Electrolux Range or Wall Oven

Kelly Ripa, spokeswoman for Electrolux, is searching for the perfect turkey.  To that end, Electrolux is holding a Perfect Turkey contest.  Just submit your entry here detailing your turkey success story, or possibly better, your tail of woe.  The winner will receive a new Electrolux wall oven or range with the “Perfect Turkey” button – just in time for the holidays.

Newly Expanded GE Café Series of Appliances

The newest additions to the GE Café series include two counter-depth refrigerators, and a new electric range.

Refrigerators:

The counter-depth styling allows the appliances to blend seamlessly with the surrounding cabinetry, achieving a built-in look without the added expense of a built-in model.
The new counter-depth 25-cubic-foot side-by-side refrigerator is available with ClimateKeeper2™ technology, featuring a dual-evaporator system to create two zones of air circulation that help foods stay fresh. Because air is no longer circulated between the fresh-food and freezer compartments, the freezer’s cold, dry air won’t prematurely dry out foods, and odors won’t transfer between the compartments. Suggested retail price for this refrigerator is $3,249.

For home chefs who prefer the convenience of keeping produce and meats at eye level, GE will launch the 21-cubic-foot GE Café counter-depth bottom freezer with French doors. Now available with an internal water dispenser. Suggested retail price is $2,899.

Offered as a free-standing, slide-in range, the new GE Café Electric Range offers consumers without a gas line the ability to have a restaurant-inspired range. The range includes a fifth center burner and cast-iron griddle on the cooktop, a PreciseAir™ convection oven, and a double-oven configuration with a drawer that heats up to 450 degrees for added cooking flexibility. An optional stainless steel backsplash is available (model JXS80SS). The GE Café electric free-standing range (model CS980SNSS) will be available November 2008 with an estimated retail price of $2799.

Basic Appliance Care and Safety

If you are lucky, you rarely need to pay much attention to the appliances that run, some of them 24 hours a day, in your home. But to keep everything trouble free, it’s good to follow some basic guidelines for care and safety when using or installing appliances in your home. Handymanclub.com offers some simples steps for use with your washer, dryer, refrigerator, ranges, cooktops, even your water heater.

Ventilation and combustion (dryers, water heaters, ranges and cooktops)
• Clean the clothes dryer’s lint filter before or after each load. Check behind the dryer for trapped lint. Clear lint from the exterior vent often. Lint buildup results in inefficiency and excessive wear and can even pose a fire hazard. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an estimated 15,500 fires each year are associated with clothes dryers.
• Use only metal ducting for gas dryers because they run hotter than electric machines. Rigid rather than accordion-pleated ducting is best for airflow.
• Never vent clothes dryers or water heaters into the house to supplement heating.

Plumbing (washers, refrigerators and water heaters)
• To prevent leaky or bursting waterlines, check washing machine hoses for signs of wear. Consider replacing rubber hoses with newer braided stainless steel hoses.
• Check the screens at either end of the water hoses and remove sediment that may have collected there. This is especially important after road construction or water-main work has been done in your area.
• Periodically check that the washing machine is soundly footed and level so the hoses and the drain hose do not come loose.
• If a dishwasher’s tub doesn’t empty after operation, detach the drain line from the household drain and clean any debris from the line.

Gas (dryers, ranges and water heaters)
• Never use an oven as a room heater — combustion pollutants resulting from fuel-burning appliances can cause illness or death. Have gas appliances serviced periodically to ensure they burn with the proper mix of air and fuel.
• Be sure all vented appliances are checked for backdrafting. (This is one reason that it’s important for a city building official to inspect newly installed vented appliances.)

Electric
• Diehard DIYers may bristle at this warning from the CPSC — nonetheless, it’s a lifesaver. Never attempt to repair a microwave oven — because they use high-voltage power, they can pose a risk of electrical shock even after they are disconnected from the power source.
• Use dedicated circuits for large appliances such as washers and dryers.
• Keep appliance cords away from hot surfaces.

Shopping Tips – Save Money, be Satisfied

Once you’ve read through our articles on choosing a kitchen appliance and have narrowed down your decision, it’s time to shop.  A good place to start is with your budget.  Knowing what you feel comfortable spending and sticking close to that number will help you to enjoy your new purchases.  One good way to stay within a budget is to decide which appliances you want to splurge on and which ones can be more economical.

These tips will help as you search:

  • Shop for the best buys. Don’t just assume that an appliance warehouse has the best bargains. It’s true that such companies buy directly from the manufacturers, but it’s also common to find a group of smaller dealers who pool their resources to buy bigger volumes at discounted rates from the factory.
  • Consider the value of warranty along with the price. Ask about the extent of the warranty. Which parts are covered? Does the warranty include labor? Will the warranty be honored by another dealer?  In most cases, an extended warranty might no longer be a good investment.
  • Check on installation requirements.Each appliance may have its own requirements. An icemaker on a refrigerator, for example, requires a water line. A downdraft fan on a cooktop eliminates the need for overhead ventilation, but the vent pipe needs outdoor access. Some installations may require the service of a plumber or electrician before the installation.  This will add to the total cost.
  • Find out what is included in the price. If an appliance requires professional installation, ask if that is included in the purchase price. If you decide to install the appliance yourself, be certain the installation charges aren’t included in your purchase price.
  • Although new appliances are a fairly long term investment, they’re not a lifetime commitment like they were 30 years ago,  so take your time deciding, but remember you can upgrade as your budget permits.  So, use these and our other tips and then relax and enjoy your new appliances.