About Warners' Stellian · Community Giving · Events

Replace your working appliances and deduct it from your taxes!

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

Appliance Design · Design · Energy Efficiency · Sustainability

Are stainless steel appliances an environmental no-no?

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.

Appliance Design

Pode olhar I na sua geladeira?

OK, so I couldn’t actually say this phrase in Portuguese, but I sure asked to look at plenty of European’s refrigerators — in English.

I spent the last couple weeks in Portugal visiting a friend (we also traveled to France and Italy), and along the way I invaded the privacy of every kitchen appliance I came across; Rita’s friends wondered why I was so interested in their dishwashers. Why wouldn’t I be?

My apologies for the lack of photos, but I don’t own a camera and decided snapping cell phone pictures of near strangers’ kitchens could wear out my welcome.

So here’s what I learned about Europe, through the lens of appliance blogger.

“Dryers are for emergencies”

That’s what my friend Rita said when showing me the Bosch laundry pair installed under the counter in the kitchen of her house, which would be considered a condo in the states. Nearly all the clothes I washed during my trip were hung on the balcony to dry and later ironed — even the towels! All over Lisbon, clothes hung from lines strung out windows and across balconies. It was quite the sight.

A picture from Flickr of the conventional clothes-drying technique in Lisbon.

In my world of Midwest blizzards and crumpled clothing, irons are for emergencies and a steam Electrolux dryer a lifesaver.

Food must be fresh

Rita’s mother went to the market nearly every day for produce, bread, fish and queijo fresco (“fresh cheese”). The 24-inch wide refrigerator gave little space to bottom freezer compartment, which contained frozen vegetables and soups used — again — “only for emergencies.”

Queijo fresco, or fresh cheese, is simply delicious.

At least in the houses I visited, going to the market often was part of the culture. (Then again, so was double parking on busy metropolitan streets.) But without a built-in icemaker (one Siemens brand refrigerator had smart vertical ice cube trays built-in to the front of the freezer drawers) or water dispenser, there’s more room in the refrigerator for eggs. The Portuguese cook with A LOT of eggs, I learned. My favorite use of egg yolks? Pastel de nata.

I often feel like I eat more out of my freezer than my fridge. I love frozen veggies and meats for stir-fry that don’t have to be prepared within days of a grocery shopping trip. Plus, I grew up in a house freezer jams, soups and casseroles. Most of my fruit sits on the counter.

Cooking fits in a small footprint

“Standard” American cooktops and ranges are 30 inches wide. Proud owners of pro-style cooking products, however, enjoy a cooking space up to 60 inches (yes, that’s 5 feet).

Most of the cooktops and ranges I saw were a slim 24 inches, or “apartment-sized” in Warners’ Stellian store speak. Still, I enjoyed multiple-course dinners that — had I not already given the kitchen a good up-and-down — I would’ve never guessed was prepared in such relatively cramped surfaces.

I regret now not asking whether a whole turkey could fit in the oven, easily the benchmark for cooking capacity concerns here in America. Then again, being blond-haired and blue-eyed got me enough strange looks in Portugal.

I do have a devoted love to the kind of appliances I grew up with — the kind my grandpa and dad and aunts and uncles sold. But I can appreciate the way that Europeans do things differently, sometimes even better, maybe.

But I’d rather not give up my dryer.

Appliance Design · Budget-wise · cooking · Energy Efficiency

10 sneaky ways you’re wasting money in your kitchen

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.

Budget-wise · Cash for Appliances · Events · HOW TO

HOW TO: Shop the Warners’ Stellian Warehouse Sale like a pro

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This blog post, originally published last November, remains one of my most-viewed posts. So I’m reposting it — with a few edits — because like I say, this ain’t no Macy’s clearance rack.

What is it with us Midwesterners and our deal-bragging? You know: upon receiving a compliment, we gloat about the gasp-worthy low price we got it for — unsolicited. Perhaps it’s because we fancy ourselves pro deal hunters.

But our Extreme Warehouse Sale this Saturday (7-5:30) and Sunday (10-5) is no Macy’s clearance rack. I’m talkin’ big-ticket items at huge discounts: you need to prepare a bit. The savings are so hot, all sales are final.

Luckily for you, I’ve compiled the secrets of the pros — tips that will prepare any appliance rookie for the big league.

WarnersStellian1
Here are some Extreme Warehouse Sale pros, lined up before the doors open.

Before the sale

measuring tape
Don’t be a fool; Use this tool.

Measure your space
Don’t learn the hard way: there is no “standard” in appliance sizes. Use a measuring tape on the available space — not the existing appliance — and write down dimensions to bring to the sale.

Also, measure the width of the doorways and staircases the appliance will need to travel through.

Know your fuel type
You’ll need to know whether you have a gas or electric hookup when buying a dryer, a range or a cooktop.

Consider your hinges
For example, some refrigerators on sale will be left hinge only. Wouldn’t it be terrible to find a great deal on a fridge only to get it home and not be able to open it? Also know what side you want the hinges on a front-load washer and any type of dryer, in case there’s an option.

Do some research
We’ll have more than 2,000 appliances available at the start of the sale, so have something in mind to avoid frustration. The best tip? Know what you like and don’t like about your existing model. Check out our Web site for more ideas on what features are important to you.

If you’re purchasing as part of the Minnesota Trade-In & Save Appliance Rebate Program, check out qualifying Energy Star models.

 

The day of the sale

Buy a MN rebate-qualified product
If you’re shopping for a refrigerator, freezer, washer or dishwasher to submit a state appliance rebate, let your salesperson know that so they can help you find a qualified Energy Star model.

744336_pick-upBring a hauling vehicle
Usually, we offer free delivery on purchases $499 and above, but this sale is anything but usual. Our warehouse is full of products, so we encourage customers to take their purchases with them the day of the sale. We’ll help you load it up and everything.

If you’re picking and a new refrigerator or freezer as part of the MN rebate program, bring your old refrigerator or freezer for us to recycle as well as your “Proof of Demanufacturing” forms for us to sign.

If you do choose to have it delivered, it’s $75 and you must take delivery within 30 days. Application forms for the state rebate program must be postmarked within 30 days of your rebate reservation date.

Know your schedule
We’ll arrange for delivery and any installation for built-in appliances (available for additional charges) at the time of sale. We’ll call you the day before the delivery with an AM/PM estimate and our crew can call you before they arrive if you need to meet them at your house.

It’s a warehouse, not a playhouse. Bring a stroller!

Pack a stroller
Our warehouse is a warehouse. It’s clean and safe, but it’s also big and crowded and without a play area. Strollers work well to keep small children nearby when you’re shopping the selection. We’ll have cookies and water on hand, as well as children’s areas with movies and coloring books near the checkout areas.

After the sale

Submit state rebate application
If you have a rebate reservation or waiting list reservation for a dishwasher or clothes washer, you can send in your application form along with a copy of your receipt immediately after the sale.  Those who purchased a refrigerator or freezer and dropped off their old unit should have our warehouse crew sign their “Proof of Demanufacturing” form and send that in along with their completed application form and receipt.

Those receiving delivery of a refrigerator or freezer for the rebate program should have our delivery crew sign their “Proof of Demanufacturing” form when we haul away their old unit for recycling. That form then should be sent in with the rebate application and receipt.

Receive delivery/install time estimate
You’ll receive a call with an AM/PM estimate the day before your scheduled delivery and/or install.

Apply for manufacturers’ rebates
You could qualify for even more savings by manufacturers’ rebate. Once you receive your product, you can fill in the serial number (the delivery crew can help you locate this) on your rebate forms and submit them promptly, as they expire. Be patient, as rebates can take 12 weeks to process.

1139528_communicate_4

Read your manual
Knowing your new product can help you save time and improve the quality of your cooking and cleaning. Stow it somewhere memorable to refer to for troubleshooting and general operation questions.

Don’t ignore accessories

If you get a dishwasher, buy rinse aid to help dry your dishes. If you buy a smooth-top electric range, you’ll want cooktop cleaner to keep it looking new. The water filter in your fridge will need to be replaced every six to 12 months. And please, for the sake of your breathing, don’t overstuff your vacuum bags!

Visit my blog
Every Wednesday, I attack the FAQs plaguing our industry. Hard-hitting questions like, “Why is my washer smelly?” and “How do I clean stainless steel?” It’s also an easy way to reach me if you need help. Plus, you’ll be the first to know about the next Extreme Sale!

Budget-wise · Cash for Appliances · Energy Efficiency

So you’re on the waiting list: what now?

By this morning, rebate reservations for the Trade-In & Save Program (aka Cash for Appliances) had been exhausted, leaving only spots on the waiting list.

Approximately 6,000 rebates each for washers and dishwashers were reserved either by phone or online as well as of 11,400 for fridges and 2,000 for freezers.

So, you’re on the waiting list: what now?

The process looks exactly the same as the process for an actual rebate reservation, except without a guaranteed rebate. You’ll have 30 days to purchase a qualified appliance, arrange for “Proof of Demanufacturing” if you’re replacing a fridge or freezer and postmark your application materials.

The rebate processor will hold received wait-listed applications is the order they are received by mail. They will be opened in this order as needed as additional funds become available and awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Again, no guarantees and no communication from the State Office of Energy Security or the Department of Commerce, but if you’re going to buy anyway, we have nothing to lose. Right now is certainly the time to buy, with oodles of manufacturers’ rebates and Warners’ Stellian’s own sale prices and instant stimulus rebate.

Our sales staff can help you identify the manufacturers’ rebates on your new appliances, but remember to check for possible rebates from your utility company (see dsireUSA.org for a complete list of incentives).

Cash for Appliances · Energy Efficiency · HOW TO

HOW TO: get an appliance stimulus rebate

Get ready…

We think the rebates will go quickly...

The rebate reservation system for Minnesota’s Trade In & Save Program (aka Cash for Appliances/Appliance Stimulus) opens in less than a week!

I’ve compiled this “how to” guide with official info and my own words to help you through the process. Please read it in its entirety to minimize confusion.

1. Beginning 8 a.m. Monday, March 1, reserve a rebate by completing the online application form at www.MNApplianceRebate.com or by calling the program’s toll-free number at 1-877-230-9119.

Reservations can be made for one appliance only. Reservations will only be taken for categories (refrigerator, clothes washer, dishwasher or freezer only) with funds still available or if the wait list is open for reservations.

There are only about 11,000 refrigerator rebates; 6,000 rebates each for washers and dishwashers; and 2,000 rebates available for freezers.

2. Print the online application confirmation page. You will need to mail this page after you have completed your purchase with all supporting documents. Phone applicants will receive the application confirmation page by mail.

3. Purchase an eligible ENERGY STAR qualified appliance (browse our selection online, though we carry more than we display online) to replace an existing appliance from a Minnesota retail location. You don’t need to wait to receive your application by mail if you reserved a rebate by phone. You don’t need to bring in your forms at all, actually. Online purchases and purchases made before March 1, 2010 will be disqualified.*

*Our suggestion: shop now. Head to one of our 7 stores (see store locations & contact info) and our sales staff will help you choose the best eligible ENERGY STAR product for your needs and will put what we call a “quote” in our computer system with your product selection and personal information. This is not a purchase, as we’ve taken no payment. If you get your rebate reservation, all you have to do is call your salesperson with your credit card number and schedule delivery.

We anticipate a flood of calls and store visits beginning March 1, so this will hopefully speed up the process for you. We appreciate your patience throughout this process.

4. We will help you arrange to either pick up your appliances or get them delivered (delivery is free to customers in the Twin Cities metro area with a minimum purchase of $499; delivery is free after mail-in rebate to customers in the Rochester area with a minimum purchase of $499) and properly recycle the replaced appliance.

You will receive with your application from the state a “Proof of Demanufacturing” form if you are replacing a refrigerator or freezer. Our delivery crew will sign that when they take away your old appliance. You must submit that form for the increased rebate amounts ($200 for a refrigerator and $100 for a freezer; rebate amounts are half that without “Proof of Demanufacturing” because the state doesn’t want people keeping these units in use).

5. Fill out the submission form completely and make a copy for your records.

6. Mail the required materials within 30 days of the online or phone reservation.

Approved applicants will be receive by mail a rebate check to their residential address, with no exceptions. PO Boxes are not accepted. Rebates are not allowed for commercial endeavors, including owner-occupied rental properties.

Additional incentives

The state rebate can be combined with offers from Warners’ Stellian, manufacturers, utilities, and municipalities.

Warners’ Stellian will be offering an instant $25 rebate on all products eligible for this program, as well as exclusive manufacturers’ rebates.

Combined with possible incentives from your utility (visit this link for specific offers from MN utility companies) and bounty programs (visit this link), the savings can be quite dramatic.

I will take additional questions as much as I am able. Again, we appreciate your patience during this process. We hope that you give us the chance to earn your business.

Good luck!