Archive for the ‘Refrigerator’ Category

Vinegar cleaning ideas

January 31, 2011

White vinegar: not just for salad dressing and pickles.

Kim Ode of the Star Tribune posted last week that vinegar rids salt stains from suede boots. And that got me thinking: vinegar is kind of a cheap, green cleaning wunderkind.

Using vinegar to clean is certainly nothing new, but perhaps you haven’t yet tried one of my ideas.

Cleaning uses for vinegar

1. Rinse aid – I’ve recently blogged about the benefits of a regular vinegar cycle (using vinegar to clean your dishwasher), but I’ve also heard of using vinegar as a dishwasher rinse aid substitute.

There’s really no harm in using vinegar in your dishwasher, but I suggest only using it in lieu of rinse aid between trips to the store. Rinse aid should be called drying aid, and modern dishwashers need it to properly dry dishes.

2. Microwave cleaner – Heat a microwave-safe cup of vinegar in your microwave and let it boil, so the steam can loosen up all the stuck-on splatters for a minute or so. Wipe down the interior immediately, while it’s still moist inside — no scrubbing necessary!

3. Clothes washer cleaner - Just like  your dishwasher, your washing machine benefits from a regular vinegar cleaning. Run a cup through an empty cycle using the hottest setting.

4. All-purpose surface cleaner - Equal parts vinegar and water work well for cleaning windows or glass. Also try the solution for an all-natural way to clean the inside of a refrigerator. I hear you can use it to clean stainless steel as well, though, I recommend using a stainless steel cleaner for a shiny, polished finish.

5. Coffee maker cleaner – This tip, learned from my mom, is among my favorites. I try to run a full coffee pot of vinegar through my coffee maker (remove any coffee or filter, obviously) every few months. It’s satisfying to watch all the grime flake off into the pot, and you’ll be amazed how much faster your coffee brews without all the sediment slowing it down!

6. Stove top and oven cleaner – I’ve already blogged about using a paste of vinegar and baking soda for oven cleaning, but that same paste can be applied to your stove top to scrub out those stubborn brownish discolorations and food splatters.

Have you ever tried cleaning with vinegar?
What other household cleaning remedies have you tried?

Fisher & Paykel CoolDrawer refrigerator drawers

January 28, 2011

Don’t get me wrong. I love my full-size, bottom-freezer refrigerator. But occasionally, my freezer runs out of space while my fresh food compartment maintains plenty and my eyes wander to the grass on the other side…

Recently I’ve been thinking, why can’t my fridge be more adaptable?

I had a very educational conversation with the produce manager of a local grocery last weekend about fresh basil preservation. I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to refrigerate it! (Also, those of us in cold temperatures should take special care when transporting fresh basil home, as our subzero air can turn the delicious leaves black.) It should be kept in a cool (50-some degrees) spot.

That’s why I love these multitemperature refrigerated drawers.

Now you see it.

Now you don't.

The Fisher & Paykel CoolDrawer (RB36S25MKIW1) lets you choose freezer, chill, fridge, pantry or wine at the touch of a button so that everything from fresh food to frozen meat to fine wine can be stored at the correct temperature.
So, if you buy a lot of produce one week you have extra fridge space.

Refrigerator (37°F)

Or if a family member comes home with a record catch of fish and the freezer’s full, voila.

Freezer (0°F) (Deep Freezer -13 °F)

If you want to keep it a little colder than the stuff you keep in your fridge, you can do that too.

Chill (31°F)

And if you plunk down more than you’d like for fresh basil and don’t want to see any of it go to waste (or pesto), you’ll love the pantry function.

Pantry (53.5°F)

Having a party? Store your wine and then chill it to precise serving temperature.

Wine (53.5°F for long-term storage, 44.5°F for white wine serving and 59°F for red wine)

And at 36″ wide, the Fisher & Paykel CoolDrawers keep everything in easy, ergonomic reach while being deep enough to fit wine bottles and 2-liter bottles, as shown above.

The spill-proof storage bins can come out or be moved around to do just about anything you need it to.

I'm imagining a Thanksgiving turkey, thawing at the recommended 40 degrees, not crowding my refrigerator for four days.

If you want to see it, we display it at our St. Paul store, our Apple Valley store, our Woodbury store and our Edina store.

And, for being so curious, you will be rewarded with free assorted ice cream treats when you open the drawer.

How sweet is that?

How long does a refrigerator last?

January 26, 2011

This post is the latest in the series “How long do appliances last?” They’re written in a style I learned in journalism, called “By The Numbers,” which was often just another way to say “I need to take up space and do something visual.” Voila.

12

The number of years in the average refrigerator’s lifespan, according to data published by Appliance Magazine in 2010. The life span reflects how long the first owner of a refrigerator used it, which doesn’t necessarily mean that it broke down.

14.75

Amount cubic feet of fresh food storage space in the average refrigerator, based on all active models in 2009.

6.76

Cubit feet of average amount of freezer space, based on all active models in 2009. Guess that means the average refrigerator unit is just under 22 cu. ft.

$1,180

Average price of Energy Star refrigerators in 2009.

$1,150

Average price of a standard refrigerator in 2009 (not much difference, eh?).

2.8

Amount of years it takes for the lower operations costs of an Energy Star refrigerator to make up, or “pay back,” for the initial sticker price difference.

$71

Net savings (energy savings minus initial higher cost) of an Energy Star refrigerator over its expected lifetime of 12 years.

How long do appliances last?

January 21, 2011

Dramatization. Warners' Stellian responsibly recycles all replaced appliances.

Replacing a broken down appliance ranks among our least favorite situations as a retailer, because our customers might not be so excited to getting a new refrigerator as we would hope. Instead, these shoppers meet us in many points along the appliance mourning spectrum (denial, anger, bargaining, depression).

I recall countless conversations consoling those bereaved, especially, of more “recent” appliance purchases — which, though a bit longer than 10 years ago, struck owners as not lasting as long as they should. Or certainly, not as long as “the old one.”

“They just don’t make ‘em like they used to,” I offer, and most agree and move into the last stage of appliance grief: acceptance.

What we didn’t generally get into was how they make ‘em today. Specifically, how long should your appliances last?

Over the next few (indeterminate unit of time), I will get into that. And I will throw in some other fun number factoids (bonus!).

Power out refrigerator tips: What to do when the electricity goes out

January 5, 2011

Rule No. 1: Don't open your refrigerator or freezer.

Here in Minnesota, we generally suffer a few power outages each winter season. But when the power goes out, your refrigerator is not cooling. So what should you do with all your food?

1. Call the power company
Find out how long the power will be out.

2. If the power outage is less than 24 hours:
Keep the doors shut on both the refrigerator and freezer compartments to keep food cold or frozen. If you’re experiencing a refrigerator power outage for more than 2 hours, you might want to pack dairy and meats into coolers (Styrofoam is fine) filled with ice, says the CDC.

3. If the power will be out for more than 24 hours:
Add 2 lbs of dry ice in the freezer for every cubic foot of freezer space, which will keep the food frozen for two to four days, according to appliance-maker Whirlpool Corp. Otherwise, you’re going to have to eat all that perishable food. Or try canning the food, if you know how.

Thought it seems counter intuitive, a full freezer stays cold longer than a partially filled one and a freezer full of meat stays cold longer than a freezer full of baked goods. A half-full freezer will keep food safe for 24 hours, and a full freezer will keep food safe for 48 hours, according to the CDC.

If food contains ice crystals, you can refreeze it, although the quality and flavor may be affected. Test meats to ensure the temperature hasn’t risen to 40 degrees. Use your gut. If it looks like it’s in rough shape, toss it.

DIY Network to feature our kitchen showroom on remodel show

December 30, 2010

Appliance specialist Joe Warner suggested this LG gas range for Carrie and Robert, who enjoy cooking and baking.

The DIY Network filmed again yesterday at our Warners’ Stellian Edina showroom, this time for “I Hate My Kitchen.”

Each episode, homeowners receive smart design help to maximize their budget to make their dream kitchens a reality.

>>See photos of the filming

It was fun to watch the crews document the shopping experience of our customers, homeowners Carrie and Robert.

Carrie and Robert are doing a “gut job” of the kitchen in their South Minneapolis home. (Carrie joked that she didn’t let Robert buy a snow blower last winter because she was so set on saving for their kitchen remodel!)

First, we learn about Carrie and Robert:

  • They enjoy cooking (lots of soups!) and baking, and are ready to move from electric to gas cooking.
  • While still a good size for a South Minneapolis kitchen (the home was built in the 1920s), they still want to maximize their space.
  • The current dishwasher is too noisy and doesn’t really offer them much versatility.
  • Carrie and Robert plan on spending a good deal of time in this current house.
  • The appliances will need to complement custom cabinetry, new floors and counter tops.

Based on what he found out from Carrie and Robert, our appliance specialist (and my brother!) Joe Warner suggested the following:

LG 5-burner gas range in stainless steel (LRG3093ST)

Carrie and Robert currently has an LG ceramic top electric range. They like the brand, but want the power and responsiveness of gas cooking. The four main burners offer a range of temperatures, for a low simmer at 5,000 BTUs to a power boil at 17,000 BTUs — and the burners can all be rearranged. So, Carrie can simmer two soups on the back burners while using higher heat on the front-most burners. Also, the fifth burner offers a place to heat oblong pans or place a skillet for breakfast items. The heavy-duty grates offer a continuous surface to easily move pots and pans around.

The oven, with a gorgeous blue finish, is a big, 5.4 cu. ft. capacity, which can accommodate pretty much anything Carrie and Robert will throw at it.

Basically, I’m super jealous.

LG fully integrated steam dishwasher (LDF7932ST)

At 50 decibels, it doesn’t get much quieter than this LG dishwasher. It’s so quiet, in fact, that LED lights tell you when it’s operating and when it’s not. Adjustable racks will accommodate nearly any size pot or pan Carrie and Robert throw at it, and there are even wineglass holders (which Carrie noted will get plenty of use).

Steam bursts through hardened on messes for pots and pans, yet is gentle enough to use with those wineglasses.

Perhaps best of all, the fully integrated finish tucks away the control panel on top of the door and the stainless interior means Carrie and Robert can enjoy the looks for a long time.

How gorgeous is that? Robert and Carrie like this model because:

  • An automatic ice maker means Robert can retire that title from his own name :)
  • The freezer on the bottom configuration and wide, two-door refrigerator allows for plenty of eye-level fresh storage within easy reach
  • The shallow, counter top-depth maximizes the space in their 10′-12′ kitchen

I’m so excited for Carrie and Robert to get delivery on the appliances they picked out. I’ll post pictures afterward in a couple weeks, but unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until the episode airs in September for the big reveal of their custom kitchen remodel.

Preventing freezerburns

December 22, 2010

Right about now, you’re probably unpacking months’ worth of food from your refrigerator and freezer to make room for all that holiday food.

And you might found some of it had been freezer burned (i.e. brownish, leathery spots indicate freezer burned meat). What causes freezer burn?

Freezeburns are caused by cold air directly contacting your food and/or when your food dries out in the freezer.

Don’t fret, as freezer burnt foods remain safe to consume. The FDA recommends cutting off freeze burn spots before or after cooking (so you don’t have to taste the evidence that you failed to push all the air out of your plastic storage bag).

To prevent freezer burn:

Use only freezer-safe containers, bags and wraps and get as much air out of the packages as you can. It’s the trapped air that will cause your food to dry out, discolor or develop “interesting” new flavors.

This means some frozen foods from the grocery store shouldn’t really go straight to the freezer. For best results, meats should be removed from their packaging and wrapped in freezer wrap and placed in a freezer bag with all the air forced out.

But knowing how to use your freezer in general can help maintain the quality of frozen foods longer.

Don’t put a bunch of warm food to the freezer at one time. This overloads the freezer, slows the rate of freezing, and can raise the temperature of frozen foods. To that point….

Set the freezer at 0°F. The higher the freezer temperature, the faster your frozen foods lose their quality.

Keep the freezer full. It seems logical that less food means you need less cold air to keep it frozen, but that’s actually not the case. A freezer operates most efficiently when it is at least two-thirds full.

Avoid prolonged storage. Make sure you eat the oldest food first. Long-term freezer storage is best suited to a manual defrost freezer, not a freezer compartment, which are mostly frost-free these days.

Make some breathing room. Leave space between items so air can circulate freely, which allows food to freeze as quickly as possible.

 

 

Energy Star refrigerators save $50/year over 1990s fridges

December 13, 2010

This is an outdated picture of my kitchen, but you get the idea.

I’m replacing my 15-year-old refrigerator this month with a more roomy, smarter-designed and better-looking new fridge.

Best of all, it’s an Energy Star refrigerator, which means that it uses at least 20 percent less energy than a non-Energy Star fridge. Plus, although Energy Star refrigerators generally cost more upfront, you should consider overall cost of the appliance — which includes how much energy it uses compared to other models.

Energy Star estimates that over the lifetime of your refrigerator, you will cut your energy bills by $165 versus if you used an non-Energy Star model.

So think of how much you save when you unplug the refrigerator you’re using right now? Actually, see the handy chart below.

So my fridge from the ’90s costs about $97 per year compared to an Energy Star refrigerator, which uses an average of $48, according to this chart. (And actually, my new fridge is 10 percent better than the Energy Star standards; its energy use is estimated to cost about $43 per year.)

Obviously, I have to buy the new fridge, but I’ve budgeted for that. Now, what will I do with the $50? Better question: what will do with the $600 in usage cost savings I’ll realize over the average life (12 years) of my refrigerator?

Cyber Monday appliance deals on kitchen packages, refrigerators, washers and more

November 29, 2010

Note: this post refers to the 2010 sale prices. see my posts tagged Cyber Monday for current postings about Cyber Monday deals.

Click for more deals

Click for more deals

I don’t usually get this sales-y, but we’re offering our best Cyber Monday 2010 appliance discounts ever this year.

Seriously, Warners’ Stellian has great deals on refrigerators, washers and dryers, dishwashers, stoves and ranges and microwaves, as well as kitchen packages.

Click for more deals

Click for more deals

Our Cyber Monday Sale is two days only (while quantities last), with some deals ending today.

And remember, we deliver for free to the Twin Cities metro on orders $499 and up and ship for free nationwide on appliance orders $1,999 and over.

Black Friday washers, dryers and other appliance deals

November 25, 2010

Note: this post refers to the 2010 sale prices. see my posts tagged Black Friday for current postings about Black Friday deals.


The Big Event, Warners’ Stellian Appliance’s 2010 Black Friday, starts tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. and runs through Monday.

As always, we offer free delivery and appliance recycling in the Twin Cities metro on purchases $499 and up. But we also now ship for free nationwide on orders $1999 and up. Plus, pay no interest if you pay in full within 12 months.

Here’s a preview:

LG 4.5 cu. ft front-load steam washer, only $499 (save $1000, usually $1499)

Frigidaire stainless steel gas range $399

GE 18 cu. ft. stainless steel refrigerator $499 (normally $899)

KitchenAid dishwasher $499 (on sale from $799)

LG 20 cu. ft. French-door refrigerator $899 white/black, $1099 stainless (usually $1199 & $1449)

LG steam washer and dryer pair, $1199 (reg. price $1999)


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