Dryers become the next Energy Star

July 15, 2014 by

energystarsappliancesThe Environmental  Protection Agency announced this spring the first-ever Energy Star dryer label.

I know what you’re thinking:

“Wait, you mean there wasn’t an Energy Star label for dryers before?”

I know, right? However, the popular thinking was that dryers couldn’t vary much among each other in energy use therefore, there was no reason to call them out.

But about three years ago, the EPA began to take steps to expand the program and reported on ways that clothes dryer efficiency could be improved.

The new label will recognize highly efficient gas and electric dryers that use about 20% less energy than required by 2015 federal standards.

Over 80% of U.S. homes have a clothes dryer, and these appliances account for approximately six percent of residential electricity consumption.

So far, one brand has already jumped on the new category. Whirlpool announced an Energy Star rated Duet steam dryer.

Whirlpool brand Duet® model WED87HED steam dryer

Whirlpool brand Duet® model WED87HED steam dryer

Many of today’s dryers already use temperature or moisture sensors to shut off the dryer once clothes are dry and cease using energy past its usefulness. Dryer models that meet the new Energy Star requirements are likely to improve upon these “auto termination cycles.”

From Energy Star:

Among the more efficient gas and electric dryers that will earn the Energy Star, consumers should expect to encounter a promising new technology. Heat pump dryers recapture the hot air used by the dryer and pump it back into the drum to dry more clothes. By re-using most of the heat, it creates a heat pump dryer that is more efficient and avoids the need for ducts leading heat out of the laundry room.

 

 

Custom home trends: Butler’s Pantry and upper-level laundry room

March 12, 2014 by

In honor of the Parade of Homes, I asked fellow blogger Nina Lindquist of Homes by Tradition — a custom home builder in the Twin Cities metro area — to share with me a couple of the new home design trends related to appliances that she’s seeing.

Butler’s Pantry 

You know when you’re a guest at someone’s home and they say, “Help yourself” to you? Well, butler’s pantries are the physical manifestation of this familiar phrase.

For those of us (myself included) who want our guests to just enjoy themselves and stop meddling in the kitchen, a butler’s pantry is genius.

gourmet-kitchen-minnesota

Butler’s pantries are designed to be an extension of the kitchen but are areas mostly for food and beverage serving and servingware storage. I love this example from Homes By Tradition because it incorporates a refrigerator for beverage self-service that can also be used for overflow food when entertaining. Who couldn’t use this around the holidays?

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In this luxury home, the wooden floors continue and a soft arch is used to marry the butler’s pantry to the kitchen instead of closing it off with a door. Not only is this pretty, but it keeps access to the pantry convenient.

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Ceiling-height cabinets make a dramatic statement while squeezing every last drop of storage out of this room.

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See the empty wine rack? That’s about all that my kitchen and this amazing butler’s pantry have in common.

Also (don’t get me wrong, granite’s great, but) the dark stained wood countertop makes me drool. It’s just exactly how you would want to wow your guests, complete with warm, under-cabinet lighting to say, “Hello! Look at our gorgeous and distinctive custom countertops.”

Upper-Level Laundry Room 

You have two cars, so why wouldn’t you have two laundry rooms? OK, so maybe that’s a stretch (but try it on your significant other anyways). But when designing their dream home, many families create spaces that maximize their time and ultimately, happiness — which is why upper-level laundry rooms have become a must-have in new home construction.

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The rolling laundry carts, cabinet storage and super-capacity laundry pair heighten the convenience factor of this laundry room  by Homes by Tradition, which is more beautiful and spacious than my bedroom, by the way. Can I move in?

This is clearly not your standard, dank utility laundry room. The neutral colors really pop against the cheerful wall color, and it’s roomy enough to give a place for everything (and keep everything in its place!).

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The Parade of Homes runs through March 30, 2014 so hurry over to learn more info on Homes By Tradition‘s Spring 2014 home, which Nina blogged about this week.

50 Shades of Gray Laundry Pairs

February 10, 2014 by

The appliance world has been rocked by gray this year, especially in the laundry room.

But it’s never “gray.”

These washers and dryers — whether front-load or top-load — are called pretty much every other name but looking just as sweet and trendy.

Here are the 12 iterations I could find.

Electrolux-laundry-pair

Sia, eat your heart out. I am (Electrolux) Titanium.

stainless steel asko washer

Asko gray-colored washer, also monikered Titanium.

Maytag changed the name of this finish to Graphite after initial testing showed low response to "Pencil Lead."

Perhaps Maytag changed the name of this finish to Graphite after initial testing showed low response to “Pencil Lead.”

stainless steel washing machine

LG’s lead pencil + metal, aka Graphite Steel.

samsung dark colored washer and dryer

Samsung’s Onyx, which also features WiFi controls through a smartphone app.

maytag maxima colored laundry

Perhaps to match the countertops in your kitchen comes Maytag’s Granite. Nevermind that true Granite comes in a huge variety of colors.

samsung colored laundry pair

Not to be confused with Silver is Samsung’s Stainless Platinum. If I’ve learned anything from being engaged, this shade will be more expensive.

whirlpool-cabrio-chrome

Now this one gets REALLY interesting. It’s the Whirlpool Cabrio Platinum Edition but the color is Chrome, not Platinum.

whirlpool-laundry-pair

Also Whirlpool Chrome, but this version is front loading.

GE-Chrome-laundry

GE’s Metallic Carbon, shown here in the Right Height model, looks oddly reminiscent of GE’s Slate for the kitchen.

electrolux-stainless-steel

Let’s just call a spade a spade with Electrolux Stainless Steel.

Miele stainless steel washing machine

Miele’s Stainless Steel washer

How quiet should a dishwasher be?

February 3, 2014 by
howquietdishwasher

Doves cry at about 44 dBA.

Dishwasher-makers aggressively tout the quietness of their dishwashers by dBA ratings. A dBA rating expresses a weighted decibel level that puts in human context to how loud or quiet a sound is to our ears, because humans perceive sound differences less sensitively at volume extremes. With dishwashers in the marketplace ranging from 37-64 dBA, what really matters when it comes to quietness and what’s simply hype?

We speak at about 60 dBA, light rainfall registers at 50 dBA, a quiet suburb at night registers at 40 dBA and a whisper registers at 30 dBA. Check out Bosch’s interactive “Understanding Decibels” feature on its website to better understand common noise levels.

Dishwashers used to average about 65 dBA. Now, the majority of dishwashers have dBA in the low 50s to the 40s, so somewhere between dinner table chatter and scattered showers. Not only is that a vast improvement over what you likely have in your kitchen, but I bet it will clean way better too.

The most quiet dishwashers compete on just one or two dBA levels — a difference that is unnoticeable or barely so. The Miele Futura Diamond dishwasher comes in at 37 dBA when used in its Extra Quiet Program mode; otherwise, it’s rated at 42 dBA. The Bosch 800 Plus comes in a close second at 38 dBA “in normal operation,” which I think means with clean dishes.

Miele explains that dirty dishes often lead to louder operation in competing brands, because the dishwasher has to work harder than during testing. The lowest difference between testing its competitor’s dBA claims using both clean and dirty dishes was about 3 dBA levels, which is barely noticeable.

quietestdishwasher

In the real world, we call this splitting hairs, so such a slight difference should not be your deciding factor. Alternatively, you will likely notice 10 dBA levels, which is the point at which audible sound doubles.

However, how quiet does your dishwasher really need to be not to interrupt your life? Current trends in home layouts have kitchens much more open to the rest of the house, but what the dBA levels don’t remind you of is that sound dissipates with greater distance.

Are you home-schooling your children at the counter or for some strange reason installing a dishwasher in your nursery? If you’re not carrying on important tasks near your dishwasher, take the ratings with a grain of salt and consider price, racking and performance as also very important.

GE dishwasher jets pulverize residue in bottles, annoyingly narrow cylinders

January 29, 2014 by

If you’ve ever tried to clean baby bottles in your dishwasher, the game-changing-ness of GE’s latest Profile Series dishwasher needs no explanation. This is probably the best dishwasher ever. OK, maybe I’m overreacting a little, but just bear with me. 

New, dedicated jets have been added into the top rack to clean dried milk from a baby bottle or, say, the spinach that gets stuck to the bottom of your smoothie jars in case you’re juicing or whatever.

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No use crying over dried milk, here.

Tines on the upper rack are topped with a blue node that sprays water up into its hard-to-reach area. You load the bottle or other tall, narrow opening cylinder on top of the tines and the water will directly spray into the bottom of the containers.

Or if I’m to explain it in another way:

peanutpeanutbutterandjelly

But why stop there?

Silverware jets obliterate yesterday morning’s peanut butter-covered knives and side jets say adios to that stuck-on enchilada mess left on the casserole dish.

best-dishwasher

For those of you keeping score at home, GE touts 54 percent more cleaning jets than any other dishwasher in the industry — 102, total.

Not only is that a big number, but the wash arms reverse and vary speed to ensure better coverage. It’s also a really good way to confuse the mess left on the plate: just when it thinks you’re coming at it one way…BAM! REVERSING JET!

GE profile dishwashers

It also doesn’t hurt that it’s really pretty.

GE Profile Series PDT750SSFSS

$1200 says you never have to handwash a bottle again after you buy this…

Sleek stainless and hidden controls, because it’s modest like that.

 

Stove top cleaning tips

December 20, 2013 by

candy-stove-mess

It’s that magical time of year when you’re cooking twice and much and inviting people into your home to witness the aftermath of that.

Luckily, returning your stove top or cooktop to looking like new isn’t that hard; it just takes a little know-how.

Follow my tips and you’ll never flounder with soap and water again. Cuz ain’t got time for that!

If you have porcelain-coated stove top or grates

gas-stove-top-cleaning-tipsNo. 1 Enemy: Clean up spills containing acids, such as vinegar and tomato, as soon as the surface is cool enough as they could affect the finish.

Tool: Nonabrasive plastic scrubbing pad and cooktop cleaner. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser saves a lot of elbow grease.

Timesaver: Throw grates in the dishwasher on the most powerful cycle you have. It’s recommended to give it a good bath in the sink first, but if you have a great Warner Stellian dishwasher like I do, no prerinsing necessary!

DO NOT: put caps on the dishwasher or reassemble caps on burners while they are wet. Unless you like struggling to ignite your burners.

If you have a ceramic or glass top stove, i.e. electric:

how-to-clean-ceramic-stove-top

No. 1 Enemy: Sugary spills (jellies, candy, syrup). Tis the season!

Tool: Cooktop Scraper or a razor blade. Clean while the cooktop is still warm, wearing oven mitts if necessary.

Culprit: Heavy soil, dark streaks, specks, and discoloration

Tool: Cooktop Polishing Cream or soap and water (if you have aggression you need to work out). Do like Mr. Miyagi taught you: wax on, wax off until white film disappears and takes mess with it.

Culprit: Burned-on soil

Tool: Cooktop Cleaner and Cooktop Scraper (or razor blade). First apply cleaner. Then scrape surface keeping blade as flat as possible. Finish polishing cooktop until film disappears.

Culprit: Overboiling residue

Tool: Overboiling was a special skill of mine when I was first learning how to cook, which took place on the unforgivably hot surface of an electric stovetop. I learned that a melamine sponge (aka Mr. Clean Magic Eraser) eliminated the evidence quite well.

If you have cast-iron grates

cleaning cast iron grates

Read this existing post. HOW TO: clean cast iron grates.

how to clean stainless steel cooktop

You might have a full stainless steel stove top under your grates. First try stainless steel cleaner. For tougher messes, try a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Always go with the grain for best results.

Cyber Monday Appliance Deals – dishwashers, refrigerators, stoves

December 2, 2013 by

As big as Black Friday is for appliance shoppers, Cyber Monday tends to be a day of even greater savings on appliances for your kitchen and laundry room. Warners’ Stellian Cyber Monday Appliance Sale is no exception. We’ve made special buys of Cyber Monday dishwashers, washers and refrigerators. Not to mention 25% off Dyson vacuums with free shipping!

Due to the nature of the discount, all offers are good while quantities last and must be taken or delivered within 30 days! As always, local delivery and appliance recycling are free on orders $499 and up.

cyber-monday-dishwasher-dealssamsung-dishwasher-cyber-mondaySave $250 on this Samsung fully integrated dishwasher (model DMT400). Choose either white or black for only $399.97.

cyber-monday-dishwasher-dealsYou’ve probably heard raves about not being able to hear a Bosch dishwasher. They are rated the quietest dishwasher. This fully integrated, stainless steel Bosch dishwasher (model: SHX43R55UC) is rated at only 48 dBA, ya hear? Now only $599.97 when you SAVE $300.

If your Thanksgiving nearly ruined your stove like my Thankgiving did, you might be thinking a new range would look good under the tree, er, in the kitchen. Choose any color – stainless, white or black Samsung electric range (model FER300S) for only $499.99 — and you’ll save up to $300. Plus, we’ll deliver it, install it (parts extra) and recycle your old one easy peasy all included. Now if only the turkey were this simple!

black-refrigerator-cyber-monday

stainless-steel-fridge-cyber-mondayThis Black Samsung Bottom Freezer Refrigerator Closeout (model RB195ACBP) is only $799.97, after you SAVE $400. Or update to stainless steel and sleek handles for $999, with this Samsung Stainless Steel Bottom Freezer Closeout (model RL225NCTASR). It’s a $700 savings!

cyber-monday-microwave-deals

Another common casualty of Thanksgiving and the onslaught of leftovers is the microwave. So we put together a killer deal on some over-the-range Samsung microwave (model SMH1622). It’s only $129.99 for black or white or $139.99 for stainless steel, save $70 or $80.

Other featured deals:

  • Save $130 on a new Whirlpool Washer (model WTW4930XW), now just $399.97
  • Score a new Whirlpool Gas Dryer (model WGD4800XQ) for only  $449.97 – you’ll save $150
  • SAVE $250 on LG third rack dishwasher in stainless steel with towel bar (model LDF7561ST):  $749.99

Top Black Friday washer & dryer deals at Warner Stellian

November 25, 2013 by

If you’ve been waiting to replace your washer or dryer, wait no further. Black Friday 2013 washer – dryer deals are here! If you’ve been waiting to do your laundry, apologize to your loved ones.

Here are the top 2013 Black Friday laundry pair deals in Minneapolis, MN:

Black Friday Washer Dryer Deal #1

coloredlaundryblackfriday

Titanium colored LG front-load steam washer & electric steam dryer. SAVE $600 on pair. Final price: $899.99 each. (white $799 each)

Black Friday Washer Dryer Deal #2

whirlpoolsteamwasherblackfriday

Whirlpool Duet front load steam washer & electric steam dryer. Save $600 on pair. Final price: $699.99 each.

Black Friday Washer Dryer Deal #3

black-friday-washer

Samsung front-load steam washer & electric steam dryer. SAVE $600 on pair. Final price: $599.99 each.

 

Black Friday Washer Dryer Deal #4

lgblackfridaywasherdryer

LG front-load steam washer & electric steam dryer pair. SAVE $600 on pair. Final price: $599.99 each.

 

Black Friday Washer Dryer Deal #5

blackfridaylaundrypair

Whirlpool high-efficiency, top-load washer and electric dryer. SAVE $400 on pair. Final price: $499.99 each.

Black Friday Washer Dryer Deal #6

cheapblackfridaylaundry

Amana top-load washer & electric dryer pair. SAVE $180 on pair. Final price: $599.00.

Plus, Warners’ Stellian always offers free, professional delivery and appliance recycling from a friendly crew you can trust to treat your home like its their own on purchased $499 and up. We will also handle basic reinstallation on refrigerators, ranges/stoves, washers and dryers — all you’re on the hook for are any necessary parts.

Also featured:

Maytag top-load washer & electric dryer. SAVE $380 on pair. Final price: $399.99 each.

GE top load-washer & electric dryer. SAVE $400 on pair. Final price $399.99 each.

Does your man deserve a new Dyson? Black Friday vacuum deals

November 19, 2013 by

So many of us find ourselves wondering how to give a Christmas gift that really shows our significant other that we’re thinking of him.

So this year, why not get him what he really wants:

A vacuum.

dyson-black-friday

Reward your husband with what he’s always wanted…a new vacuum!

Men have long been obsessed with pitching in around the house, specifically with cleaning floors and upholstery.

black-friday-vacuum-deal

“Now THIS is how you clean a floor ladies, see?”

Sadly, you think I’m being facetious — and maybe I am just a bit — but wrapping up a Dyson for this holiday season isn’t a bad way to get some help with your household chores. After all, it’s a not-so secret that Dyson was designed to interest men, what with the emphasis on power and technology.

Better yet, you can save big with Black Friday vacuum deals. Warner Stellian is offering 25% off Dyson vacuums on Black Friday (actually, you can start taking advantage online starting on Thanksgiving if you want to take a break from turkey and appreciation). Plus, all vacuums ship for free nationwide!

Which should you choose?

For a vacuum that looks like a power tool and competes against race cars, look no further than the DC34, which delivers 15 minutes of powerful, constant suction or 6 minutes on MAX power for tougher cleans. Dyson digital motor spins up to 5 times faster than a racing car engine. It has a lithium-ion battery that recharges up to 3 times faster than others with patented Root Cyclone™ technology for no loss of suction.

dyson-dc34

Dyson DC34 Handheld vacuum. Reg. $199.99, only $149.99 for Black Friday (starts Nov. 28 online and Nov. 29 in store)

Pet hair, beware! The Dyson Animal DC41 was designed for pet moms and dads who love their dogs and cats but don’t necessarily want their presence found on every surface of the house.

Dyson DC41 Animal is a Dyson Ball™ upright vacuum with the latest Radial Root Cyclone™ technology. It generates the strongest suction power at the cleaner head, to powerfully remove dust, dirt and pet hair from the home. Includes a Mini turbine head to clean pet hair and stubborn dirt from upholstery, stairs and the car. Lifetime washable filter traps microscopic allergens.

Dyson DC 41 Animal. Reg. $599. Black Friday price only $449.99 (starts online Nov. 28 or in-store Nov. 29)

Dyson DC 41 Animal. Reg. $599. Black Friday price only $449.99 (starts online Nov. 28 or in-store Nov. 29)

 

If your situation is especially…hairy…upgrade to the DC41 Animal Complete. Dyson’s newest full-size Dyson Ball™ upright is engineered for outstanding cleaning performance, with extra tools for pet hair and ground-in dirt and comes with Dyson’s new Tangle-free Turbine tool. The Animal Complete has the strongest suction at the cleaner head, which automatically self-adjusts for different carpet lengths and hard floors.

black-friday-dyson-dc41-animal-compete

reg. $649. Black Friday price just $487.49. (starts online Nov. 28 or in-store Nov. 29)

Local customers can rest assured that we are equipped to service the vacuums we sell — whether its Dyson, Miele vacuums or Panasonic vacuums.

How to buy a stove/range – shopping tips

November 8, 2013 by

Whether you call it a stove or a range, you’re going to want to keep these considerations in mind when shopping for a new … oh I give up.

black-electric-range

Though freestanding ranges are the most commonly used, slide-in ranges are growing in popularity. Featuring unfinished sides and controls on the front, this style lends a more built-in look, great for islands, and featuring decorative backsplashes. Professional ranges mimic the performance and appearance of a true commercial range.

pro-style-range

Pro-style ranges use the most durable components and achieve high temperatures for rapid boiling as well as extremely low temperatures for delicate and precise simmering.

Larger models (36”, 48” or 60” wide) can include built-in griddles and grills. Their ovens offer convection and high-temperature broiling. Convection ovens use airflow for even heat distribution and consistent baking, even with multiple racks. When cooking meats, convection fans sear the skin to retain moisture.

wolf-range

Gas vs. electric

Professional and aspiring chefs usually prefer gas due to a common misconception of all-around superior performance; In most cases electric ranges boil liquid just as quickly and frequently, electric burners reach extremely low temperatures for delicate and precise simmering. But the heat-retention qualities of electric coils and ceramic surfaces cannot range from high to low heat instantaneously as gas cooktops can. But glass surfaces of electric ranges are the easiest to clean and maintain.

When it comes to ovens, electric responds quicker to temperature changes, providing less heat variance overall for more consistent baking results. However, gas ovens provide more “moist heat,” which is better for meats and vegetables. For cooks who want the best of both worlds, the dual-fuel range has the flexibility and control of gas burners on the cooktop with the accuracy and precision of an electric oven.

Induction range burners use magnets to directly heat cookware and leaving the surface cool to the touch, combining an unmatched degree of safety with high power and the responsiveness of gas.

‘HOT’ features to consider

  • Warming Drawer – functions as a keep-warm area.
  • Second Oven – additional cavity functions as a separate oven. Perfect for cooking short items such as pizzas, pies, casseroles, etc.

slide-in-double-oven-range

  • Split Oven Racks – can be partially removed as needed for cooking multiple dishes simultaneously.

    split-rack

    Split racks accommodate simultaneous baking of tall dishes.


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