Monday, December 3, 2007

Appliance Shopping

We’ve been microwaving it for over a week now. We only needed our range to last 6 more months (until we sell our house), but it just couldn’t make it. The Sears Kenmore range was only 13 years old, but has required multiple repairs throughout those years and finally became unrepairable. So on Sunday, we made our way to Warners Stellian in St. Paul to buy a new range. While we were at it, we also started looking at some new appliances for our new home.

This might seem a bit out of order (we haven’t even started foundations yet)- but one thing we discovered was that stainless steel appliances typically have a significant price increase at the beginning of the new year. If we were able to start our appliance order prior to Dec. 31, we can avoid the increase.

For our appliances, we will be looking for the Energy Star labels. Only cooktops and
ovens do not have Energy Star labels. To earn the ENERGY STAR, they must meet strict energy efficiency criteria set by the US Environmental Protection Agency or the US Department of Energy. Many of these products will qualify for rebates or tax credits.

For refrigerators, we were initially looking for counter depth. The reduced depth allows for everything to be within reach and sight. But the reduced capacity and increased cost (in some cases) made this option less attractive. I also learned that the door water and ice dispenser is by far, the part most likely to fail on a refrigerator. Because of this, we are going to forego the door dispenser (even though we have all dreamed about this feature since childhood). This 25 cubic foot LG model is looking good for now.

Cooktops and ovens are even more complicated and varied. GE seems to be the manufacturer with the most advanced cooking technologies. But we are not sure if we want to be able to bake things in ¼ the time (Kevin won’t even allow a bread maker in our house!) For energy use, convection ovens use less energy because they cook in less time and self-cleaning ovens actually use less energy because of their construction. There is a relatively new technology called induction that allows for a flat, easy to clean cooktop and it’s only hot when a metal pan is in contact with it (great for homes with kids). But for now, we are going to go with a 5-burner gas cooktop. We are planning on a wall oven (better ergonomics) and potentially a upper microwave/convection oven.

Bosch makes a great dishwasher. It saves water, energy and is quiet. You can pick the level of acoustical rating you desire.

Some folks like to select all their appliances from the same line so that they look consistent and handles all match. This might be important if you select a line that has a very different esthetic, such as GE's Profile line with curves. But we're in favor of clean, simple lines and getting the best appliance for each category rather than staying within one manufacturer's line.


d'Andre said...

Hi Roxanne and Kevin,
Love your blog!! Your project seems so organized compared to Our Lady of Perpetual Renovation (that's our house...). What kind of cooktop are you thinking about?

Anonymous said...

Count me as disappointed that the fridge door water/ice dispenser is out of the running.

Kevin & Roxanne said...

Hi d'Andre!
Thanks for the message! The current plan for a cooktop is a Bosch 5 burner gas model. We are also going with the Bosch wall oven and microwave. Part of it has to do with the esthetics (of course) as we like the clean looks of Bosch. The other factor is the rebate! The more Bosch appliances you buy right now, the more the rebate. So for lack of any other greatly distinguishing factors, we will probably go with Bosch. The induction cooktops are very interesting and might be the future- but it might turn out to be like the 8 track tape too?
The Our Lady of Perpetual Renovation project at least has a great name! That has to count for something?

pottersmith said...

Bosch dishwashers are really quiet! Using Much, much less detergent as well as water.

We recently had to replace clothes washer and ended up with another Bosch - Consumer Reports Best Buy --
And it is too! ultra low water, ultra quiet, you can begin to hear a whine when its going up to 1,000 rpms in the spin cycle.

On the Fridge ....Water and Ice through the door ....Really increases the energy consumption - Consumer Reports data indicates a doubling of rate of repair too.

Anonymous said...

Funny how modern appliances last only a few short years compared to the old clunker you are replacing! Think of all the embodied energy in replacing appliances that last only a few years at best! They also tend to be very difficult to work on. My favorite example is the Maytag front-load washer that uses a tiny amount of water, but was so fraught with repair problems that it bankrupted the company after class action lawsuits.

pottersmith said...

Regarding the euphoric memory of the older appliances seeming to run for ever and the embodied energy in the fabrication of the equipment and materials: A good number of peer reviewed studies indicate otherwise.

The other interesting component of the change out to the newer appliances - in the case of washing machines - cleaner clothing and less damage to fabric meaning greater useful life - so long as you or I stay the same size!

When a business like Maytag goes under there are forces at work than an urban myth associating it with one appliance type.Maytag had not been Maytag for quite a while.....