Posts Tagged ‘Wolf’

7 most popular appliance blog posts of 2011

December 28, 2011

A post on cleaning the dishwasher was a top dog.

Though not the most-read posts of all time on the Warners’ Stellian Appliance blog, these next 7 posts garnered the most views of those written this year.

7. HOW TO: clean a dishwasher

With more states banning phosphates in dishwashers without consumers possibly noticing, dishwashers got white film.

But a regular maintenance cleaning is always a good idea.

6. HOW TO: clean cast iron grates

If you’re lucky enough to have cast iron grates, you’re unlucky enough to handle cleaning them. The experts at Wolf Range weighed in.

5. DIY Network ‘Rehab Addict’ Nicole Curtis talks appliances

Old house lover/rehabber Nicole Curtis invited us into her “Minnehaha House” in Minneapolis for tips on fixing up kitchens and buying the right appliances.

4. Stove drip pans cleaning tips

Is there anything worse than the grime that builds up on the burner pans on your stove top? Not only do I include a deep-cleaning method, but I offer up the secret ingredient to easily keeping those drip pans shiny on a weekly basis.

3. How long does a dishwasher last?

2. How long does a refrigerator last?

1. How long does a washer last?

No, you’re right; they don’t make ‘em like they used to. (But believe me, that’s not all bad!) Unfortunately, gone are the days when you could expect your appliances to last a decade and a half. Find the new lifespans in each post above.

HOW TO: clean cast iron grates

January 11, 2011

We read each and every Customer Satisfaction Survey returned to us by our customers. One customer’s cleaning inquiry struck me.

She couldn’t find any information on how to clean cast iron — the “rough” iron grates and burner caps on her new range. The manual only referenced porcelain-coated grates, not cast iron grates.

“I’m sure I’m not the only person who is wondering,” she wrote — and I agree with her.  Plus, I love a good challenge.

So I e-mailed the smart folks at Wolf appliances for help on cleaning cast iron grates. They sent me a knock down, drag out PDF containing their best cleaning tips, including recommendations for products they’ve tested!

From the guide:

Burner Grates

Recommended products

  • Mild detergent
  • Paste of baking soda & water (NOTE: the customer previously tried this unsuccessfully)
  • Mild abrasive cleaners
    • Soft Scrub Orange
    • Bon-Ami
    • Barkeeper’s Friend
    • Fume Free Easy-Off (spot cleaning)
    • Carbona 2-in-1 Oven Cleaner (cleaning solution can be reused once)
    • SOS pads
    • Dawn Power Dissolver
    • Krud Kutter

Recommended method

  • Remove from range top and place on a flat surface near the sink
  • Remove grates from unit and place on a flat surface near the sink to clean. DO NOT immerse in water. Towel dry.
  • How water and liquid detergent; paste of baking soda and water
  • Degreasers (Formula 409, Fantastic Orange), use sparingly. Towel dry.
  • “Multipurpose NO SCRATCH” Scotchbrite pad (blue, NOT green)
  • Mild abrasive cleaners, rinse and towel dry
  • Worst case scenarios – Spot clean with Fume-free Easy Off
  • Carbona Oven Rack Cleaner, following directions on package

 

Simmer down, now! Pay attention to burners’ BTU minimums, not just maximums

October 12, 2010

When Warners’ Stellian entered in the Builders Association of the Twin Cities Chili Cook-Off, I enthusiastically volunteered to make our entry.

We were encouraged to make more than 2 gallons, with the logic being more chili means more tasters means more votes for Warners’ Stellian. So, I made six batches. Observe:

 

Two-thirds of the chili produced, getting ready to "simmer"

 

When it came time for the massive amounts of chili to “simmer” for an hour, I lowered the controls on my (15-year-old) gas range to the flame’s lowest point before disappearing and tended to other responsibilities.

When I returned to dutifully “stir occasionally” 55 minutes later, all three pots of my chili were not simmering, but boiling. Of course chili isn’t as delicate as say, chocolate or Hollandaise sauce, but I don’t like the idea of keeping my chili at high heat for nearly an hour.

Apparently, flames on most ranges nowadays can only go so low.

Astronomically high BTU burners are trendy right now, but several brands also offer cooktops and ranges with extra-low settings for safer simmering.

 

Wolf gas cooktop

 

Wolf burners go down to 300 BTUs and absolutely will NOT scorch chocolate.

When I went to Wolf product training, a tiny Hershey’s square sat in a saucepan atop a Wolf simmer burner all afternoon, perfectly happy and melted.

 

Dacor gas cooktop

 

Dacor has burners that can go as low as 650 BTUs, but also includes a simmer plate with some models.

A simmer plate is an accessory that protects your delicate foods from the direct heat of the burner, holding it at the safest low temperature possible.

 

Thermador gas range

 

Thermador ExtraLow Simmer burners can simmer as low as 100°F at 375 BTUs.

If you’re wondering, I didn’t place in the top three, though I did win the prize for Most Colorful Chili (you are what you eat, right?). Of course, I blame my lack of victory on my non-simmering range.

Are stainless steel appliances an environmental no-no?

May 19, 2010

Stainless steel has become the standard finish for many when replacing kitchen appliances.

The growing popularity of commercial ranges like Viking and Wolf ranges introduced stainless steel to the kitchen.

And soon homeowners wanted to coordinate the clean, contemporary look with refrigerators, dishwashers and microwaves.

But environmental concerns wisely also influence purchasing decisions today.

The Star Tribune’s Fixit columnist, Karen Youso, posed the question of whether stainless steel appliances should worry eco-conscious consumers.

Her answer, happily, is no:

Stainless steel can be — and is — recycled. (According to the International Stainless Steel Forum, new stainless-steel products are made from about 60 percent recycled stainless.) Its alternative, enameled steel, also is recyclable, so stainless steel isn’t significantly better or worse for the environment.

But materials aren’t all that important when trying to determine how earth-friendly home appliances are. What matters most is energy efficiency, said Lise Laurin, founder of EarthShift, a Vermont company that works with corporations and institutions on sustainability.

Of course, we recycle replaced appliances for free on most purchases, so you can feel comfortable about upgrading to stainless steel. Just make them Energy Star appliances.

Another successful Grill Expo

April 13, 2010

Another delicious day at work for me -- cedar plank-grilled salmon on a gas DCS grill

Our 4th annual BBQ Grill Expo fired up gas grills and charcoal grills at all Warners’ Stellian stores this past weekend, April 10-11.

Representatives from Weber, DCS, Vermont Castings, Holland Grill, Wolf and the Big Green Egg cooked up meats, sides and desserts (“S’moretilla,” anyone?) for hungry and curious guests.

Kind of intrigued/grossed out by the "S'moretilla" (marshmallows and Nutella grilled between two tortillas) on the Vermont Castings gas grill

Almost as quickly as the food vanished, $50 Von Hanson‘s gift certificates flew out the door for those who purchased a grill $599 and over. (And Warners’ Stellian dressed them up with some nice swag, too — see below.)

This apron takes its cue from me.

The deals are still hot (pardon all the bad puns), and I’m especially excited about grills this season, because I’ll actually be buying one myself. (If you have opinions, please share!)

Check out more pictures from the BBQ Expo, including grills and grilling fare, on Facebook and Flickr.

Stu "King of the BBQ" Glock grills chicken wings on the Big Green Egg charcoal smoker.

What’s you’ll see at the Warners Stellian Warehouse Sale

March 12, 2010

So, we have some pretty sweet deals on hand for this weekend’s Extreme Warehouse Sale.

While quantities last, we have three pairs of laundry that have been priced to move:


(gas dryer extra on first and third pictured pair)

And those looking for a new refrigerator have the chance to get a LG French-door refrigerator at rock-bottom prices.

But, quantities are limited, so deals can only last as long as your fellow customers allow them to.

We’re getting A LOT of calls from people with specific model numbers in mind, wanting to know what products would be included in our sale.

He was very understanding when I explained to him that we have more than 2,000 products on display for this sale.

And truly don’t know what’s down there until we see it all Saturday morning!

But with more than 2,000 products, we generally have something for everyone, or at least for the majority of the nearly 2,400 groups of customers that came out for our last warehouse sale.

Other big discounts include an Energy Star Maytag dishwasher in stainless steel for $349 and a stainless steel Fridgidaire self-clean gas range for $499, while quantities last (both pictured below).

A selection of brands that “never go on sale” will be available (again, while quantities last), including Sub-Zero, Wolf, Viking, Liebherr and Electrolux. Customers can save up to 80% on professional-style built-in models. Jenn-Air wall ovens, for example, will start at $599 and you can save $1,000 off Electrolux French-door ice & water refrigerators.

We’ll have some of my personal favorite, steam laundry, at the sale for $1499 for a washer/dryer pair.

Maybe your kitchen and laundry room is all set, but you’ve got your eye on a grill or wine refrigerator. We’ll have those, along with Miele vacuums starting at $329.

Make sure to study my tips on HOW TO: Shop the Warners’ Stellian Warehouse Sale like a pro.

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

Appliance geek gone wild

February 4, 2010

You’ve heard of the kid in the candy store. Well, my recent trip to Roth Distributing’s Minneapolis Showroom the other week was like the kitchen geek version of that.

Ten thousand square feet of professionally designed vignettes stocked with the latest Sub-Zero, Wolf, Asko and Best appliances.

Roth isn’t a retailer, but the regional distributor of those luxury appliance brands.

Now, we show a good amount of high-end stuff like this on our own showroom floors, but not all under one roof.

Roth’s staff knows their stuff. They’ll help you decide what you really want and then show you exactly how to get the most from it.

(p.s. I loved this round sink with built-in cutting boards and strainers. So cool.)

My favorite part, though was the Culinary Center, where Roth holds its live cooking demonstrations (which I seriously recommend) and where we cooked brunch that day.

Now, I love to cook. But my current kitchen isn’t there yet. (The adage about mechanics and their cars holds true for appliance company employees and their kitchens, I think.)

This “living kitchen” has the best of the best cooking products, from wall ovens to dual fuel ranges to built-in steamers, wok burners (or “power burners,” as they called them) and grills. And…

Wolf DF606DG (Dual fuel range, 6 burners, double griddle, my culinary fantasy)

…griddles. This 60-inch (that’s like, two standard ranges glued together) Wolf’s six gas burners flank a double griddle. It might not look big at 450 pixels wide, but I’ll give you a second to think about it at 5 feet wide.

Yeah. It’s big.

Of course, most people won’t need a 60-inch, professional range. But wouldn’t it be nice?

More on griddles later. Stand by.

Why 300 CFM, Energy Star audit and the upcoming appliance stimulus

October 23, 2009

Faber Rangehoods: Kitchen Ventilation 101, CFM – what is it?

Behold the Faber Inca Smart. A 28" 250 CFM Hood Liner (#630006288)

Behold the Faber Inca Smart. A 28" 250 CFM Hood Liner (#630006288)

Another of the most frequently asked questions in our stores is “What is the maximum CFM I can have on my hood/over-the-range (OTR) microwave before I have to look into a make-up air system?”

The answer is 300 CFM, but why (other than it’s Minnesota code)?

Faber Rangehood‘s blog answered that question, plus offered a good explanation of the misunderstood CFM.

Also, a situation of negative pressure could also occur when too much air is pulled out of the home and it is not replaced by air from the outside. In today’s construction the homes are becoming more and more air tight and when too much air is pulled out of a home, you need to sometimes “make up” for that lost air by pumping outside air into the home. In colder climates this is a huge issue, in most parts of Canada there are laws in place about maximum cfm’s before a make up air system has to be installed (typically 300 cfm is the threshold).

Faberhoods.blogspot.com

Faberhoods.blogspot.com

Sub-Zero / Wolf Drastically Cuts Carbon Output

Rumor mill blog Appliance Advisor reported that Sub-Zero and Wolf ditched their carbon- and platinum-finish lines, along with several handle options. I previously blogged about the distinctive look of carbon.

I know it doesn't look colorful, but look at how much this family loves the distinction of Sub-Zero's carbon stainless steel finish! It's a departure from the ubiquity of SS, yet it retains the much-beloved sophistication. Call it compromise.

I still can't get over how happy this family is about its carbon Sub-Zero appliances.

Guess it’s not for everyone.

Energy Star Appliances May Not All Be Efficient, Audit Finds

energystarThe New York Times reported an internal audit conducted by the Deparment of Energy concluded the Energy Star program needed tighter tracking of appliance manufacturers using the energy-efficient label.

Some believe this wakeup call will lead to tighter standards and perhaps will supply the push needed to create a “super star” program IDing the top 5% of energy-efficient appliances.

Warners’ Stellian, in cooperation with Minnesota Greenstar, already promotes distinction of appliance energy use by tiers.

Declutter and Purge Your Kitchen to the Necessities, the Checklist

Do you really need two garlic presses? If you think you do, you need some serious help. I found just that help on Hello Kitchen (via Lifehacker). Print out the cute and practical kitchen checklist to separate necessity from redundancy. Pull each item to a quilt spread near your kitchen, and donate what remains.

hellokitchen.com

hellokitchen.com

Minnesota to get $5 million for rebates on appliances

Details are still being hashed out by the Minnesota DOE on the $5 million “dollars for diswashers” Energy Star-rated appliance rebate program, funded by federal stimulus program.

Our own operations director/co-owner Robert Warner helped advise the team responsible for state’s plans for the money (which appliances if replaced would make the biggest energy dent, etc.)

The program, which is expected to begin in March, has yet to receive approval, but it probably look something like this:

  • $200 for refrigerators/washers
  • $150 for dishwashers
  • $100 for freezers

The program limits one appliance rebate per household, meaning about 25,000 households will get a rebate.

Some say the months-away start will delay appliance purchase, but with the energy savings lost in waiting several months to purchase (see Energy Star’s savings calculator) and the current low prices characteristic of this season, buying now could be an even better deal — with less-crowded showrooms :)

If you’re contemplating a purchase and you don’t know what to think or if you just want to know more about the program,  please call me at our corporate office (Google it) or contact me at jawarner (at) warnersstellian (dot) com (sorry, don’t want any spammers!) with any questions about the forthcoming program. I’ll e-mail/call you with more details as they’re finalized.

U of M’s ICON Solar House

September 25, 2009

Can modern, solar-powered design be livable? That was the concept behind the University of Minnesota’s ICON Solar House team.

Students from disciplines ranging from business to design to engineering took up the challenge of designing, building, and operating the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered house. Next month, the team and the house will travel to Washington, D.C. for the U.S. Department of Energy‘s Solar Decathlon contest, in which the house will be displayed on the National Mall for three weeks along with 19 other houses from competing colleges.

It’s called a decathlon because the students’ house will be judged from a set of 10 criteria (including appliances — we love these people!).

The Icon Solar House’s Dan Handeen was gracious enough to give a tour of the project Wednesday, so we could see how far the house had come since we got involved some months ago when the house didn’t even have walls!

Mary Stage (Web administrator) and Carla Warner (director of sales) pose with Dan Handeen outside the U of M's Icon Solar House.

I took this photo of Mary Stage (Web administrator) and Carla Warner (director of sales) with Dan Handeen outside the U of M's Icon Solar House.

The combination of livable design and airtight engineering impressed us. We all laughed at the concept of a “sleeping alcove” — which is basically a room sized to the dimensions of a full-size bed — but the high ceilings and amenities (towel warmer?) surpassed our expectations for a 800532-square-foot home. (Update: Dan said the finished floor area of the house was even less than I had read about in other stories about the house.)

Dan Handeen shows us the energy meters.

Dan Handeen shows us the energy meters.

Dan said the team wants the ICON Solar House to stand out from the sterile-type designs they witnessed at the last contest. Rather, the students want to create something that people can actually see themselves living in. (See more on the team’s ideas for the ICON Solar House.)

Solar panels help power the house, Dan explained. But the house is already super energy-efficient, so teams that roll the meter backward — producing more energy than they consume — are awarded 100 points. The team that produces the most energy gains an extra 50 points, Dan said.

Obviously, we’re cheering for them. We’re so proud to be a part of such an inspiring project and help select the right appliances to help the team score the trophy and the bragging rights. All of the appliances in the ICON Solar House have the highest Energy Star ratings.

Kitchen-in-progress.

Kitchen-in-progress

dw

It's a cabinet! It's a drawer! No, it's a DishDrawer!

Dan startled me when he pulled out that wide, far-right cabinet to reveal a dishwasher, which is embarrassing because I work for Warners’ Stellian and knew all about the Fisher & Paykel DishDrawers. But these were so well-integrated (re: paneled) and perfect for the small kitchen space that I confused them for cabinets.

The 24-inch-wide Liebherr refrigerator (left) will also be paneled and was cooling lunch for the crew in the meantime.

It's too bad this cooktop will only be used to boil water. That's some lucky water...

That's some lucky water...

Perhaps the most strategic choice of appliances in the kitchen was the Wolf 30-inch induction cooktop. Each team competing in the Solar Decathlon must perform the same set of tasks, which mimic things people do in every day life.

One task is to boil 5 pounds of water. Induction cooking is extremely efficient because energy is only supplied to the pot. And no wasted heat means water generally boils faster on induction cooking surfaces.

Dan says the team was planning on selling the house, but the U of M has been so impressed with the project it might want to keep the house all to itself. I certainly would.

Dan Handeen shows us the energy meters.

Dan Handeen shows us the energy meters.


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