Warners’ Stellian Warehouse Sale: It’s baa-ack…

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Warners’ Stellian’s semiannual Extreme Warehouse Sale is less than a week away.

Like before every sale, we’re super slammed getting ready, so I’ll give you the fast 5 Ws (and one H):

What: Hundreds of appliances below cost – including brands that “never go on sale.” Seriously, there are thousands of deals on closeout models, floor models, scratch and dent items, discontinued models and even new, in-box “special buys” we make specifically for this sale. All items come with full factory warranty. Delivery will $75 to the metro area, so take your purchase with you for maximum savings. Professional installation is available for built-in items.

When: Saturday, March 13 from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 14 from 10 to 5.

Where: Warners’ Stellian’s St. Paul Warehouse, approximately 1 mile north of 94 off Dale Street.

Who: Thousands of deal-seeking Minnesotans (and Western Wisconsinites!). We counted about 2,600 “groups” (we don’t count people individually because people usually make purchases as a family/couple) last November. For our part, we’ll have 60 salespeople helping customers select the right product and 60 people helping customers check out, plus more workers helping customers load purchases into their car, directing traffic, etc.

How: We prepare half the year for this sale, and it’s been so successful that manufacturers have gotten behind it and helped us offer deals worth getting excited about.

Why: Because we love you? Yes. But mostly because you love deals. For your friends and family members (and maybe even you) who didn’t get an appliance stimulus rebate reservation, there are deals that will leave just as much if not more cash in your hand — just not in the form of a check from the government.

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Related: HOW TO: Shop the Extreme Warehouse Sale like a pro

Refrigerator Maintenance Boosts Longevity

Some people spend as much money on a kitchen as they do a car, yet expect to do no maintenance. Would you be surprised if your truck engine overheated if you never changed the oil or refilled the coolant? Most also expect to rotate and replace tires and wiper blades.

You might not have spent 13 grand-something on a fridge, but I’m sure you plunked down a good amount. Here are some maintenance tips to help get your return on that investment.

Moisten Fridge Gasket

refrigerator seal
Gasket, seal, “rubber thing” — whatever you call it, keep it moistened.

A small amount of condensation on the fridge or freezer is normal, especially during humid weather and summer vacation if you have kids who don’t know how to keep the refrigerator doors shut.

If you see more condensation than normal, check the seal (or gasket as we appliance nerds call it) for any obstructions and clear them. If there aren’t any, try moistening the gasket with Vaseline. Seriously, it works.

After applying a thin layer of Vaseline, organize your fridge. It doesn’t have anything to do with the seal, per se, but it will help you find what you need faster, meaning the door won’t be open as long. If Warners’ Stellian installed your fridge, we leveled it to tilt slightly back to encourage the doors to swing shut.

If someone else installed your fridge, consider leveling it in a similar way.

Clean Refrigerator Coils

New refrigerators have self-cleaning condensers. But if you have an old fridge, you might still have coils that need to be cleaned once or twice a year. Some fancy vacuum cleaners have attachments to suit this purpose. But otherwise, you’ll have to get a coil brush from an appliance parts store.

(If you find yourself driving to an appliance parts store to buy a coil brush, make a detour and buy a new fridge instead because yours is pretty darn old. The energy grid will thank you.)

To clean the coils, remove the base grille and use the brush or vacuum attachment to clean it, the open areas behind the grille, and the front surface area of the condenser.

If you have pets or hairy, shedding family members, take care that the area around the refrigerator stays clear to ensure proper heat exhaust. Otherwise, that thing will be running all the time.

Change the Water Filter

If you have a water dispenser, you likely have a water filter. Replace it every six months or take direction from your indicator light, if you have one. Or, if odor and odd taste don’t cramp your style, stretch the life of it. But seriously, beyond water quality, an old water filter can cause sediment to build up and cause problems.

There are probably seven different types of water filters. Yours is either is the top back corner of the interior, down in the kick plate, or along the top interior of the fridge. ALWAYS bring your filter into the store when you’re replacing it because we don’t necessarily know the type a filter goes with a model number we looked up in your order from two years ago. We can guess, but it’s still a guess.

After replacing the filter, flush the air from the water system to prevent dripping from the dispenser.

What did we miss? Share your refrigerator maintenance tips in the comments.

Steam Dryer: Not Just Hot Air

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

The steam dryer function does more than you think it might.

Tell me if this has happened to you: You work all day, come home for a quick wardrobe change for a night out 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.

Instead, toss it in a steam dryer for a refresh and throw it on 15 minutes later.

Steam Refresh Dryer Cycle

In steam refresh cycles, a small amount of water is sprayed into the 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.

@falenkdwb's LG washer and steam dryer.
@falenkdwb’s LG washer and steam dryer.

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

These dryers have a sanitize cycle, which is NSF certified to eliminate 99.3% of three 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.

Do you use a steam dryer? If so, what’s your favorite feature?

For more laundry tips and tricks, explore more on our blog!

Why do front-load washers take so long?

Many customers seem confused when we explain that front-load washing machines need an hour minimum for a normal wash cycle.

Luckily, for times when I can't wait an hour and a half for a clean outfit (sports uniforms, anyone?), I have the 18-minute wash, 18-minute dry feature from Electrolux (though my laundry room looks nothing like this). In a word: lifesaver.

But front-load laundry machines profess great water and energy savings. How does a longer cycle reconcile with such efficiency?

First, front-load washers don’t fill deeply with water, only to dump it all out a short while later. Rather, they pump in a minimal amount of water (some models use sensors to determine the size of the load).

Water continuously filters in and out throughout the cycle, meaning the water stays clean the entire time. Top-load washers fill with water until the clothes float, and then the clothes just sit in that water for the entire cycle.

Also, heating the water often takes longer in a front-loader. A sanitation wash cycle takes about two hours. But you can be assured the hotter temperature eliminates all the cold and flu germs and dust mites congregating in your clothing and linens.

The good news is laundry still takes the same amount of time because dry times have been cut in half. We used to wait for the hour-long drying cycle to finish long after the washer was done. But now, because front-load washers extract so much water during the spin cycle, the average dryer cycle lasts only about 30 minutes.

Or for me, the skinny jeans (which I refuse to put in the dryer because they may get a bit too skinny) I hang on a drying rack easily dry by morning.

10 Kitchen Tips for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving cooking can be confusing, especially for those who don’t use the kitchen much otherwise. Check out these tips to make your Thanksgiving cooking a breeze (or just a little bit easier).

1. Calibrate the 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.

2. Use Convection Oven

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 Microwave

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

4. Use Sensor Cooking

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.

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. Use 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. Use Meat Probe and 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 Cookware 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.

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.

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

10. Adjust Refrigerator 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.

Do you have any other tips to make the most of your kitchen? We’d love to read them in the comments.