Posts Tagged ‘Whirlpool’

Mini refrigerators and dorm microwaves for college cooking

August 5, 2011

Getting a decent meal on campus one of the biggest challenges students deal with. At least that was my experience.

But having a fridge helps keeping fresh food on hand both affordable and easy for the busiest college student. And having a microwave or oven means you don’t have to rely on the dining halls or takeout if you don’t want to.

Here are some affordable and functional options for your dorm or college apartment:

If you don’t need a freezer (and really, you might not) in your dorm or office, maximize your fridge space with this Danby 2.5 cu. ft. mini refrigerator (comes in white or black). The can dispenser makes beverages easy to grab and having space for a 2-liter or big wine bottle can be really handy and free up a lot of space on your shelves.

But sometimes you’ll want a freezer for pizza (or Jell-O shots). The Avanti 4.1 cu. ft. mini refrigerator comes in white or black and, best of all, has glass shelves to catch the inevitable spills and mitigate the damage.

This LG microwave has got to be my favorite. Who doesn’t want a pizza oven in her dorm room? But it’s not just for pizza; this stainless steel microwave can bake cookies and pretty much any other slim object you can dream up. I call it the best grad gift ever.


If you’re not so into pizza or if you have a tiny space, you’ll appreciate this 0.5 cu. ft. Whirlpool microwave, made specifically to fit into tight corners. Despite its compact footprint, pull the pocket handle on the door and you’ll find space for an 11-inch plate.

Why HE detergent is a must

February 14, 2011

I’m going to eschew the obligatory Valentine’s-themed blog post for a topic close to my heart: oversudsing.

More laundry detergent does NOT mean more clean, especially in a front-loading high-efficiency washing machine.

High-efficiency washers use far less water by design than traditional washing machines. Less water and more powerful wash action means less dilution of detergent, leading to overproduction of suds.

High-efficiency detergent (or HE detergent) provides the just right amount of suds to ensure the cleanest clothes possible. HE detergent is labeled “concentrated” or “2x” oftentimes, and sports this symbol on its bottle or box.

Make sure to follow the instructions on the label based on load size. And not that tablet laundry detergent isn’t recommended by manufacturers because of issues dissolving in the washer dispenser.

If you don’t use HE detergent,Whirlpool Corp. warns of the following problems:

  • Poor cleaning results.
  • Detergent residue left on clothing.
  • Washer odor due to sudsing residue.
  • Wet clothes at the end of the cycle due to excess suds hindering spinning and draining.
  • Leaking due to excess suds.
  • Extended cycle times or excessive water usage from extra rinsing to remove suds.
  • Error codes.

So remember, less is more.

 

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.

Dishwasher troubleshooting: Dishwashing detergent left in dispenser

December 7, 2010

My new baby (and yes, those are blue laminate countertops)

I got a new Asko dishwasher a couple of weeks ago, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it: the way all my pots and pans fit, the stemware holders for my house’s wine habit, the knife holder for my vegetable habit.

Nothing comes out with a speck of food, and we no longer have to yell at each other over a tsunami of washing sounds. My life has improved two-fold. No more dishwasher problems.

Well, there was one. The Cascade Action Packs we had just bought on sale were getting stuck in the dispenser.

After reading the Use & Care manual (gold star for me), I noted that Asko recommends using powder detergent, and only about a tablespoon of it depending on the hardness of your water.

When I switched back to powder, everything was fine. But it’s not always as easy as switching dishwasher detergent.

If you still have caked detergent after running your dishwasher, try these dishwasher troubleshooting tips, adapted from Whirlpool Corp.

Was the dispenser cup wet when you added detergent?

If dispenser cup is wet, the detergent can clump. This also means that if there’s still detergent left in the cup, don’t think, “Oh, well now I don’t have to refill it!” Clean it out and start over.

Is the cycle incomplete?

If the previous cycle did not complete, the detergent can become caked in the dispenser cup if it is left sitting in the dishwasher. But this probably isn’t the cause for those with chronic detergent-caking issues. Again, clean the detergent from the cup and start over again.

Is the detergent old?

Older detergent exposed to air will clump and not dissolve well, which will cause the dispenser door to stick to the detergent. Buy new detergent, and this time, keep it in a tightly closed container (i.e. not the box with an open flap) in a cool dry place (i.e. not under your sink right next to the wall where your dishwasher runs hot!).

Is the water temperature too low?

For best washing and drying results, water should be 120oF (49o C) as it enters the dishwasher, so check your water heater setting. I also try to remember to run the kitchen sink tip until hot water comes out to help this.

Were items blocking the dispenser that kept it from opening?

Items blocking the detergent dispenser will keep it from opening. Make sure water action can reach the dispenser.

Other good (if not obvious) detergent guidelines

  • Use automatic dishwashing detergent only.
  • Add detergents just before starting the cycle.
    • I’m guilty of this. I’ll fill the detergent cup when I’m done with the night’s dishes so I only have to press the button before bed a few hours later. Don’t be like me.
  • The amount of detergent to use depends on the hardness of your water and the type of detergent.
    • If you use too little, dishes won’t be clean.
    • If you use too much in soft water, glassware will etch.
  • Your manufacturer’s suggested amount is based on standard powdered detergent, so follow instructions on the package when using liquid or concentrated powdered detergent.
  • Water hardness can change over a period of time. You can find out your water’s hardness for about $15 by calling Water Doctors.

5 Energy Star washers that almost pay for themselves

September 24, 2010

Appliances aren’t cheap. And Energy Star appliances cost even more than standard, new appliances.

But that’s just the sticker price. I’ve blogged before about how the long-term savings of Energy Star washers will not only end up costing less than regular washers in the end, they’ll pay for a dryer.

An Energy Star washer costs an average of $258 more at purchase time, but saves about $481 in energy and water costs over its lifetime.

Now, unless you get it at heavy discount or as part of a government stimulus/utility rebate program, $481 won’t pay for an Energy Star washer. But it comes close.

Here’s a roundup of the least-expensive Energy Star washing machines to prove that energy efficient appliances can be accessible to all.

GE 4.1 Cu. Ft. Energy Star Washer (EWA5600KWW)

Frigidaire Front-Load Washer (FTF530FS)

Maytag 4.0 cu. ft. Energy Star Washer (MVWC6ESWW)

Whirlpool 4.3 Cu. Ft Energy Star Washer (WTW5500XW)

MY PICK: Fisher & Paykel EcoSmart 4.2 cu.ft washer (WA42T26GW1)

Stoves with double ovens: Hot trend

September 22, 2010

(pun intended in that one)

With the official start of hot dish season Thursday, the migration of cooks inside from their grills to their ranges commences.

At least that’s what I’m cooking. Sure, a couple times a year, we clear out the racks to accommodate a turkey and ham. Or you might be a bread-baker. (I’m more of a meatloaf-maker, myself.)

But I’d venture that most of you most the time need the height of just one rack.

So why do you need to use such a big oven all time? You don’t, which is we’re seeing more kitchens with double oven ranges and more brands making them. Using the smaller oven means you preheat faster, use less energy and, best of all, don’t have to bend down so far to put in/pull out your pans.

Here’s a roundup:

Maytag Gemini Gas Double Oven Range

Jenn-Air Dual Fuel Double Oven Convection Range

Jenn-Air Electric Double Oven Range

Frigidaire Gallery Gas Double Oven Range FGGF304DLF

Whirlpool Gas Double Oven Range GGG388LXS

GE Electric Double Oven Range JB850SPSS

Top-load washing machines replacing front load washing machines?

July 28, 2010

The buzz in laundry appliance circles (trust me, they exist) these days for washers is all front load, front load, front load.

Or is it?

Whirlpool Cabrio front-load washer and dryer in black

The Whirlpool appliance crew came in last week to show our sales staff its new line and argued that many of today’s customers want top load laundry again. But these customers aren’t replacing a top-loading washer with a top-loading washer; They’re replacing front-loading washers with top-loading washers.

True, some of the earliest front-loading washing machines came fraught with mold issues and vibration and noise problems. Those early kinks have pretty much, ahem, come out in the wash. But apparently, not everyone’s convinced.

Without an agitator, Whirlpool's new top-load washer has tons of capacity -- up to 5.2 cu. ft.

Plus, Whirlpool’s high-efficiency top-load washer offers many of the same features front-loaders became popular for:

  • extra-large capacity
  • high spin speeds
  • less water and detergent used

Also available are features such as steam cleaning and drying, allergen-eliminating cycles and precision detergent/bleach/fabric softener dispense.

All Whirlpool’s new washers are rated are at the peak of energy efficiency ratings — Tier 3 — by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (see “Energy Star not sole guide for energy-efficiency”). The Cabrios sense the size of the load and only use as little as 14 gallons per wash, as much as 31 gallons fewer than a traditional top-load washing machine.

I’m a huge front loader snob, but I have to admit that the features are pretty darn similar and who wouldn’t rather reach down than bend down. I think they’re definitely a good machine for the customer who wants quality but not another front loading washing machine.

Steam dryer: Not just hot air

December 31, 2009

Iron-a-aphobia? Don't worry, there's help.

Tell me if this has happened to you: You work all day, come home for a quick wardrobe change for a night out (especially on a day like New Year’s Eve) only to find your dress or dress shirt more crinkled than an Ore-Ida — and you don’t have time (or refuse) to iron!

What now? Hang it on the door and turn on a hot shower? I think we’ve all tried that.

Electrolux EIMD551RR, though I prefer to use its middle name, "Lifesaver."

Now I just toss it in my Electrolux steam dryer for a refresh and throw it on 15 minutes later. This one has rescued me so many times.

In steam refresh cycles, a small amount of water is sprayed into the dryer drum after several minutes of tumbling with heat. The dryer will continue to tumble at regular heat for the duration of the cycle to reduce wrinkles, static and odors in fabrics. Of course, some fabrics release wrinkles easier than others, but I like prepping heavily wrinkled clothes with a steam cycle so they’re easier to iron.

But steam dryers aren’t just for procrastinators/wrinkled-clothes wearers.

LG DLEX2501V

The LG TrueSteam Dryer (among others) has a SteamSanitary™ cycle, which is NSF certified to eliminate 99.3% of 3 common infectious bacteria. Think of all those decorative pillows, comforters and children’s toys and stuffed animals that can’t be washed, but need to be sanitized for allergy-sufferers and to ward off cold/flu this season.

Whirlpool WED9500TW

While not cheap, steam models aren’t too much of upgrade from a comparable model, money-wise. The LG steam electric dryer  in white is on sale for $999 until Monday, Jan. 4, and the Whirlpool steam electric dryer pictured to the right is on sale for $799 while quantities last.

Next week, I’ll be in hot water…talking about steam washers. OK, no more bad idioms until the New Year, I promise :) .

Photo credit (wrinkled shirt): http://www.flickr.com/photos/foshie/ / CC BY 2.0


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