Appliance Design · Innovative Features · Refrigerator

GE came up with the absolute laziest way to make coffee — and you’re going to love it

As a recent bride, I observed single-serve coffee brewers gaining ubiquity among peers’ registry lists. Nearly all my friends now enjoy the convenient pick-me-up afforded by the Buick of a coffeemaker parked in a space formerly reserved for kitchen prep.

According to a 2014 National Coffee Association coffee drinking trends survey, 29 percent of respondents who drank coffee said they used a single-cup brewer, up nearly 50 percent from the previous year.

Per usual, I bucked the trend because how convenient can a Keurig be when you still have the same amount of steps?

  1. Add coffee
  2. Add water
  3. Brew

(but seriously, we all know the real reason is I’m just too cheap to shell out for K-cups)

So imagine my distaste for crow when GE Cafe announced its Keurig-integrated refrigerator (available fall 2015.

Brewing System 1

IT’S PLUMBED, PEOPLE! Inserting a K-Cup become the only step of your morning coffee routine, as the refrigerator’s dispenser supplies fresh, filtered water for every cup with no need to refill. One-step coffee. Game-changer.

Better yet, using your refrigerator as your coffeemaker means you can reclaim your coveted counter space.

Perhaps for this.
Perhaps for this.

 

dogtreatmaker
Or this.

The partnership evolved from the GE Café French-door refrigerator with a hot water dispenser (also cool for tea drinkers or baby bottle preparers) after current owners saw coffee brewing as the refrigerator’s natural progression and suggested it to GE.

If you want to talk about really fancy, your mobile device connects to the fridge so you can preset your brew time so the water in the reservoir heats up in anticipation of your groggy self impatiently pushing the button the next morning.

Genius.

Side note: Miele began selling a built-in coffee system years ago that had the ability to work with coffee pods

Best · Cleaning · Cooktops · customer service · Dishwashers · DIY · FAQ · HOW TO · Refrigerator · Remodel · Washer

7 most popular appliance blog posts of 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.

Appliance Design · customer service

No. 1 cause of appliance returns

So you’ve fallen in love with a new appliance, and it looks great and has the features to do all the stuff you want it do.

And you plunk down a sizable chunk of change (appliances are no small expenditure!), and schedule the delivery.

So imagine your sadness when the only thing our highly complimented, professional crew delivers is the bad news that your beautiful new appliance won’t

  • fit through your doors
  • into your allotted space
  • work with your existing connections

This isn’t a rare occurrence that only happens to those with irregular house situations; It happens ALL the time because all houses are irregular.

Heck, my new refrigerator nearly didn’t fit because the width changed between the upper cabinet and lower cabinet, and I had only measured the latter! (Luckily, our guys are pros and made it work for me.)

Also, consider the space needed to use the appliance. For instance, is there enough room for the door to open? Not only was my space almost too narrow for the top of my fridge, but in switching from a top-mount refrigerator to a freezer-on-the-bottom model, I failed to consider that the freezer drawer would need to clear the window frame along its left side only a couple inches ahead. Again, our guys are pros and made my selection work despite all its challenges.

If you’re purchasing laundry, consider which side your washer and dryer are on and make sure that the doors will open appropriately.

Ideally, the machine on the left should have hinges on the left side of its doors and the machine on the right should have its hinges on the right side of the door.

Bottom line: Assuming you need “standard”-sized appliances is dangerous because standard doesn’t exist. And every house is different.

If you’re considering replacing any of your appliances soon, this checklist will help you prevent the expensive and time-consuming mistake of purchasing the wrong product for your space.

Our salespeople will qualify you, but as in the case of my refrigerator, even I didn’t measure diligently enough!

Measure the opening    

Measure the area where your appliance will be placed rather than the size of your existing appliance. And take it from me and measure along several spots of your opening.

Size up the pathway

Those living in older homes especially, take note! Ensure that your appliance it will fit through each hallway and doorway of the entire path to its final destination.

Of course, you can remove railings and doors if necessary, but you’ll want to do this in advance and remeasure to ensure that this too allows enough space. When in doubt, discuss the situation with your sales rep.

Check your connections

You need the appropriate electric outlet within 3-½ feet of the space you’ve selected for your new product. Make sure the outlet is grounded (accepts a three-prong plug), since most appliances require one. For electric dryers and electric ranges, be sure to check for a 240V electric connection.

Measure twice, cut once

Take another look at the pathway en route to the final destination of your appliance and ensure that your product will fit through the designated space.

It could save you more than 25% of the purchase price, your valuable time and (if you’re like me) your ego.
>>See our complete list of tips for buying appliances and having them delivered

Appliance Design · Budget-wise · Food · Refrigerator · Uncategorized

5 ways to preserve food longer

With the opening of the Mill City Farmers Market last weekend and the start of many people’s summer CSA shares, the perennial topic of food storage becomes fresh again (see how I did that?).

Numerous ways to extend the life of fresh fruit, veggies, meat and dairy exist, but here are the 5 I could think of.

What do you do to try to make your food last longer?

1. Use your crisper

Those clear drawers in your fridge aren’t just for convenience. Many models allow you adjust the humidity of your crisper drawers to suit their contents. Consult your use & care manual for specifics on your model, but in general, set humidity to high for green, leafy vegetables and low for fruits and vegetables with skins.

2. Pick your spot

Brands might create the perfect space for gallon-jug storage on your refrigerator door, but consider how quickly you will use highly perishable foods before storing them here. Why? Consider the temperature fluctuations of this region of the refrigerator.

If you go through a gallon of milk every couple days, then maybe it doesn’t matter, but those of use who just use a sprinkle in our coffee should definitely select a cooler spot, like the back of the fridge, which is less affected when the door opens.

Accordingly, produce like broccoli, asparagus and apples benefit from colder temperatures located near the rear, while corn and berries — for example — benefit from the warmest spot in the refrigerator, so choose those for the front.

3. Use a paper towel to keep your greens…green

I love making big salads, but we all know that greens (especially leftovers) quickly become yellows and browns.

I arrange washed greens between paper towels to absorb excess moisture and seal them in punctured plastic bags. I’m not sure how “official” this is, but it’s allowed me to eat salad leftovers for two days before.

4. Don’t pass gas

Ethylene gas, that is. Foods like apples, peaches and pears produce ethylene, a gas that kick-starts ripening, which can cause premature aging in some fruits and damage in others. Avoid storing ethylene-producing foods near others sensitive to it (see list here) or keep them in a plastic bag to contain the gas.

5. Know what NOT to refrigerate

Sometimes the refrigerator can do more harm than good — as in the case of avocados, bananas, tomatoes, pineapples, mangoes, potatoes and squash — which should be stored at room temperature. Cold temperatures can dehydrate and damage these foods.

Plus, I think that refrigerating tomatoes sucks all the flavor out, doesn’t it?

Budget-wise · FAQ · Food · Freezer · Refrigerator

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

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.

Budget-wise · Energy Efficiency · Energy Star · Refrigerator · Sustainability

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

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?

Budget-wise · Dishwashers · Dryer · Events · Ranges · Refrigerator · Washer

Black Friday washers, dryers and other appliance deals

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.

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)