Posts Tagged ‘range’

Replace your working appliances and deduct it from your taxes!

May 26, 2010

Have you ever had a refrigerator konk out on you in the middle of the summer, leaving you without one for days?

If you have, you know what a pain it is to be without something as essential as a refrigerator. And you know what a relief it is when you have a working refrigerator again.

But can you imagine trying to raise a healthy family without a refrigerator at all? Or without a stove?

Can you imagine barely scraping together the time and money to wash your childrens’ clothes at the laundromat so they don’t have to face the other school children in a soiled shirt?

If you replace your working appliances over the next five days, these are the kinds of people you will help.

Beginning tomorrow, when you buy a new refrigerator, stove, washer or dryer from Warners’ Stellian, we’ll help you donate the clean, working appliances you are replacing to Hope For The City.

If Hope For the City accepts your appliance donation (see criteria below), you’ll receive a tax-deductible donation form for up to $200 (see graphic to the left). If it’s not accepted, Warners’ Stellian will still recycle your appliance free of charge.

Hope For the City is a Minnesota-based nonprofit that collects surplus goods from businesses and distributes them to its partner nonprofits, who in turn give the goods to people in need. (Note: Hope For The City does NOT fulfill requests for individuals, so working through a Hope For The City partner is the best way to get help for someone.)

The 85 partner organizations pretty much touch every type. They serve children and adults in need of food, shelter and medical care. They provide hot meals for hungry children and adults, education for the underprivileged, job skills for the unemployed, support for senior citizens, medical care for the sick, and educational and social programs for youth.

Basically, these people really need your donation. It’s not a matter of replacing for these worthy recipients — It’s a matter of having.

In the past year alone, Warners’ Stellian and its customers have donated over 500 appliances to Hope For The City. Aside from this promotion, we send a set of appliances over to the nonprofit weekly.

>>See complete details

10 sneaky ways you’re wasting money in your kitchen

March 23, 2010

This is among posts I prewrote to be published in my absence while I took vacation time. I will respond to all comments when I return. Thank you!

You bought your kitchen appliances on sale. Bonus: they’re Energy Star, so you’ll save money in water and energy costs.

But did you ever think that the way you use your appliances can really affect your utility bills?

Here are 10 energy-wasting choices to avoid:

1. Making your dishwasher heat up cold water

Run hot tap water before you run your dishwasher it doesn’t have to heat up the water as long.

2. Setting your refrigerator and freezer too cold

Your fridge section should be set at 37 degrees to 40 degrees, and your freezer section should be set at 5 degrees. A deep freeze should be set at zero degrees.

3. Using an uncovered pot to boil water

Think of all the heat  — and time — lost without a cover on  a pot of heated water. Instead, a cover traps the energy in.

4. Selecting “Heat Dry” on your dishwasher

If you don’t wash a lot of plastic dishes, or lots of dishes in general, choose the “Air Dry” setting or simply prop your dishwasher door open after the rinse cycle.

5. Leaving foods uncovered in the refrigerator

Uncovered foods release moisture, causing the compressor to work harder. Instead, cover all liquids and foods.

6. Prewashing your dishes

Not only will it decrease the effectiveness of your dishwasher detergent, prewashing your dishes is unnecessary and wastes water. Just scrape off the big pieces of food.

7. Ignoring the gasket on your refrigerator

Close your refrigerator door over a piece of paper or dollar bill so it’s half in and half out of the refrigerator. If you can pull it out easily, your door seals aren’t airtight.

Try moistening the gasket with a thin layer of Vaseline, which should create a better seal. If that doesn’t do the trick, you might need to replace the gasket altogether.

8. Cooking with dirty burners and drip pans

Clean burners and drip pans will reflect the heat better, cooking your food faster and saving you energy.

9. Placing small pans on bigger burners

Match pans to the size of the element. Otherwise, you’re using energy to heat a bigger burner only to let it escape around the sides of the smaller pot or pan.

10. Barely stocking your refrigerator

It seems backwards, but a full refrigerator holds temperature better than a poorly stocked refrigerator. Just don’t pack food so tight as to block the airflow.

HOW TO: clean and season a griddle

February 5, 2010

If this were my griddle, the pancakes would be bacon.

I blogged yesterday about my trip to the Roth Distributing Minneapolis Showroom’s Culinary Center.

There, I got my first taste — pardon the pun — of Wolf cooking and loved it. I especially liked the built-in griddle feature.

I don’t eat a lot of pancakes, probably because they always turn out like Oreos in a pan (dark and crispy on the outside, white and creamy on the inside). The pancakes we made on this griddle were dummy-proof.

I wish I would’ve taken my own picture of Roth’s griddle because it was so expertly seasoned. Apparently, some Wolf owners start to freak out a little when their griddle starts turning more brown than silver.

Well don’t freak out. That’s what it’s supposed to look like.

Here’s how to season the griddle:

You want to season the griddle before ever using it. Pour 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil or peanut oil (not olive oil!) per 11 inches in the center. Spread the oil with a dry paper towel.

Turn the griddle on to 350 degrees and heat the oil until it begins to smoke. Then turn off the heat, wait until the griddle is cool enough to touch and wipe the excess oil off with a paper towel.

Repeat.

Now, to clean the griddle, pour sparkling water (we used Perrier — when in Rome, right?) on it while it’s hot. Excess oil and food scraps will bubble up and off.  Use a metal spatula to scrape everything into the grease collector.

Once the griddle’s clean, pour a teaspoon of vegetable oil or peanut oil on the surface and spread it with another dry paper towel to reseason it.

Photo credit:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/crystalflickr/ / CC BY 2.0

Cleaning oven glass

December 9, 2009

Noticed some streaks and stains on the inner oven glass that weren’t there before?

(fig. 1)

Hold up! Step back from your Jump To Conclusions mat — it’s not a bad seal.

Several vents (highlighted in fig. 1) open directly into the inner door to vent the hot air away from the glass. And because of their proximity to the stove top and its mess, people often spray cleaner near the vents that sneaks inside the door and drips down, causing streaks and stains.

What to do?

Our smart and helpful customer service rep Amy cautions you against pulling the door apart yourself.

Officially, if it bothers you enough, pay a service company to clean it — otherwise you’ll void the warranty, she said. Unfortunately, this aesthetic nuisance falls outside of warranty coverage because the customer did it herself.

Anatomy of an oven door

But if your range is older than 10 years — and in some cases, five years — warranty is no longer a concern.

So, unofficially, you can check out this HOW TOs on espares.com and find more on fixya.com — at your own risk.

Don’t get all “Red Green” inspired and duct tape the vents, like one customer informed Amy he’d being doing. That hot air needs to go somewhere.

A better way to prevent stains between the glass is to not spray near the vents. Better yet, spray cleaners directly onto the rag, rather than the range.

10 tips for making the most of your kitchen on Thanksgiving

November 24, 2009
Thanksgiving cooking can be confusing. Especially for those who don’t cook often*. Here are some ways to use what you already have to make the day go a little smoother.

1. Calibrate your oven

Your oven’s temperature could be off, causing you to over- or undercook. If you still have it, check your manual for specific instructions on making sure that your oven’s 350 degrees is really 350 degrees.

EHow’s guide “How to Calibrate an Oven” is also good if you ditched your literature.

Use all three racks without rotating.

2. Load up your oven with convection baking

Many people buy a convection oven with holiday cooking in mind, and then forget to use it! If you have true convection or settings that allow multi-rack cooking (the bake and broil element shut off after the preheat), you can put a dish on each rack without having to rotate them.

Just remember to set the temperature 25 degrees below what’s recommended for normal baking.

3. Use convection — in your microwave

If you have a convection microwave, you have a second oven. The 25-degrees-below-normal-bake-temp rule applies here, too.

4. Think beyond popcorn

Many microwaves come with a sensor you can use to automatically adjust cooking power and temperature based on the amount of moisture in the food. Try it on meat, potatoes and vegetables to save time and ensure a perfect dish. Again, check your manual for instructions of how to use your model’s specific features.

Allow 24 hours for an icemaker to refill.

5. Make extra ice

Empty out your icemaker bin into a large, plastic bag and keep it in the freezer 24 hours before your guests arrive. By the time they do, you’ll have a bin full of ice and a cheap refill once that’s gone.

6. Turn on the oven light

The temptation to open the oven and check on your goodies is high, but the temperature won’t be if you do. The oven temperature can drop 25 degrees in just seconds, increasing cooking times and wasting energy. So keep that door shut, already!

7. Remember that meat probe? How ’bout that warming drawer?

Hopefully just reading this jogs the memory of that stuff you have but never remember to use. Many ranges now come with metal probes to stick into a turkey or ham to monitor the temperature, which should hit 180 degrees.

(Note: The probes usually come packaged next to the manual, so they’re probably waiting for you in that same junk drawer filing system where you left them.)

And, are you sure that drawer under the oven you use to store pots is only for storage? Some range models include warming drawers, which work great to keep early bird guests’ dishes ready while you finish up the bird.

8. Match pots and pans to burners

Having a tiny pot on a large burner wastes energy and a big post on a tiny burner slows cooking time. Cook smart on the stovetop to shorten cooking times and save energy/money.

For those who "only know how to grill" comes a way to contribute to holiday cooking. (Ha!)

9. Fire up the grill

Grilled turkey tastes great and frees up your oven for everything else. Get creative and use your grill for potatoes, biscuits and pie — and I can vouch for the deliciousness of pie made on the grill.

(Bonus tip: We all know those who don’t cook, but only grill. Now there’s no excuse to not help!)

10. Adjust your refrigerator’s shelves

Remember that shelves can be moved up and down to fit tall items like 2-liter bottles and frozen turkeys. And consider making a short shelf for platters that can’t be stacked. That way you won’t be wasting all that space above the trays.

I’d love to hear more tips if you have them. I just really like the number 10.

*Nearly 4 out of 10 say they use their oven only once a week or less throughout the year, according to a poll of about 1,100 Angie’s List members.

DAJTNVKMETZH

HOW TO: Clean a stove top

October 13, 2009

You probably already know you’re supposed to use special stove top cleaner for your smooth- or glass-top range or cook top to keep it looking new.

It looks like Soft Scrub (pale and creamy-textured), but it works like wax, restoring a shiny finish without streaks left from soap and water.

Most customers who come into our store stock up on this stuff because nothing else works quite like it for the day-to-day clean ups.

Like I said, you probably already knew that. But this tip usually makes customers think we’re nuts: straight-edge razor blades.

razor

The sneakiest weapon in your appliance cleaning arsenal.

Using a sharp object to clean glass might sound strange, but wait until you see it scrape off those old “burns” you got from over-boiling water. Just be careful with your fingers and keep the razor at an angle so it doesn’t scratch the top.

As for getting rid of brownish stains, my sister/salesperson, Angela Warner, swears by Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

Have you used a razor blade to clean your range top? Or do you have another great cleaning move you swear by? Leave a comment!

Would you paint your appliances?

October 5, 2009

Anyone who follows Warners’ Stellian on Twitter knows that I have a slight obsession with DIY projects. So many of our customers are in the middle of their own DIY remodels and as a hopefully soon-to-be homeowner, I plan to pump a lot of sweat equity into my investment too — especially the kitchen.

While I consider myself open-minded — and certainly cheap enough — but perhaps not adventurous enough to try an idea from “This Old House”: Update an old fridge with a faux stainless steel finish.

I downloaded some before and after shots from the company that makes the paint, Thomas’ Liquid Stainless Steel:

rangeb4 rangeafter

The idea is innovative, and some people seem to really dig the idea, but all I can think of good intentions gone wrong.

Sure, $56 a can is palatable for most anyone, but the paint seems better suited for smaller projects. A white, black or bisque fridge generally carries a textured finish, which will never match the look of a contemporary stainless steel refrigerator. (Don’t know what I mean? Watch them paint a textured fridge in the promotional video.)

I’d love to see pictures if anyone has painted or knows someone who has painted appliances — with or without success.


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