Customer Kitchens: Part II

Hey Appliance Fans,

The Kieffer’s Guy is off today, and after much begging and brown-nosing, he let me have the honor of writing a blog post! So today’s post is brought to you by the Kieffer’s Intern! Please hold your applause until the end, and contain yourselves.

A couple of months ago  we asked our clients to send us pictures of their finished kitchens and you guys did not disappoint. As always, we will keep you anonymous while we showcase your before/after shots. Today’s kitchen re-model comes from Flourtown, Pennsylvania, and features some beautiful appliances. Let’s take a look.

Before Pictures:

 

Picture of old stainless steel double-oven in wooden cabinet

Historical records indicate that Abe Lincoln made hot pockets using this double-oven.

Past-model gas cooktop with under cabinet ventilation above

We received a call from the 70’s, asking us to return their funky-fresh tile work.

Older model stainless steel refrigerator sitting proud of the cabinets surrounding.

In the design world, there’s a concept called “Integration”. This is not it.

 

Now I know what you’re thinking, be nice. From what I understand, this was a very old house.  For the new kitchen, our client used a variety of brands such as Liebherr, Wolf, GE Monogram, Electrolux, Bosch, and Ventahood.  The transformation is nothing short of spectacular.

After Pictures:

Image of a GE Advantium Oven model ZSC2201NSS

Check out this Advantium Speed Oven, Model: ZSC2201NSS

 

GE Monogram is a wonderful brand and our client put it to good use. What you see here is GE Monogram’s built-in oven that features their famous Advantium Speedcook technology. This appliance can cook crescent rolls in less than 10 minutes!

An image of a GE Monogram Oven Model ZET1SMSS

Here’s a 30-inch convection wall oven from GE Monogram, Model: ZET1SMSS

 

In this picture, you see the 30” built-in wall oven from GE Monogram. The way it sits flush under that counter gives it a smooth, integrated look. Love it! Let’s talk about that fridge because it’s a beautiful example of integration.  What you see (barely) to the left of the oven is Liebherr’s 36-inch refrigerator with bottom freezer, model HC2061. Among a great number of features, this unit includes Liebherr’s patented BioFresh system, which calibrates the temperature of the refrigerator in one of its drawers to just above freezing which adds to the life of meats, fish, and other items.

 

Image of a Bosch dishwasher model SHX7PT55UC

Look at that sexy Bosch dishwasher, model SHX7PT55UC

You can’t just say “We have the quietest dishwasher in the country” and not have the data to back it up. This Bosch dishwasher clocks in at 42 dBA, making it about as loud as a whisper. Expandable wings on its flexible 3rd rack, also known as a cutlery tray, provides extra height to fit measuring cups and extra-large utensils.

Image of Wolf's 30 inch cooktop model CT30GS and a Ventahood, model SLH9130SS

Wolf’s 30-inch gas cooktop, model CT30GS with Ventahood’s 30-inch undercabinet hood, model SLH9130SS)

When it came to the cooktop and hood, our customer chose to keep the design the same, but she upgraded the hardware. This 30-inch cooktop from Wolf is fantastic. It has a dual stacked burner design that reaches upwards of 15,000 BTU’s, delivering tons of heat. You can also turn down for a simmer with no boiling or scorching.

Everybody knows the Kieffer’s Guy loves Ventahood, and for good reason. This unit, from their Emerald series, features Ventahood’s patented Magic Lung technology. Magic Lung technology allows Ventahood to have the quietest blower around. In stainless steel, it matches the cooktop perfectly, making for a beautiful cooking setup that is both functional and efficient. Great picks on the cooking and ventilation appliances!

Image of Electrolux washer EIFLS60LT and gas dryer EIMGD60LT

Titanium washer from Electrolux, model EIFLS60LT and matching gas dryer, model EIMGD60LT

Although not a part of the kitchen, the laundry appliances are very important. Here, our customer chose to go with an Electrolux pair.  These models feature Electrolux’s IQ-Touch Controls which lets you see all of your washing/drying options at all times.  The dryer boasts steam technology and the washer features a quick wash cycle that’s just 15 minutes long!

Well, that’s it for today, appliance fans! If you have any questions about any of the appliances in either one of the kitchens, give us a call at 215-699-3522.

Until next time, America!

-The Kieffer’s Intern

Washing Machines: Top Loaders vs. Front Loaders

Hey Appliance Fans,

If you’ve ever visited the store that rhymes with Bal-Mart or visited this site, then you know there’s a darn good reason as to why we wear clothes.  Go ahead, click the link I just provided; however, make sure you’re sitting down and NOT eating anything.  Scary, isn’t it?

Anyway, eventually you’ll need to wash your clothes which means you’ll either make a trip to the laundromat or decide to buy a washer and dryer for your home.  Let’s concentrate on the second option for now which actually breaks down into three sub-options: traditional top loaders, high-efficiency top loaders, and front loaders.

Traditional Top Loaders:

“A Clockwork Traditional Top Loader”: When I wash your clothes, I use a bit of the ultra-violence.

There’s a reason why we call these guys traditional.  It’s what I grew up with and you probably did too.  There’s an agitator in the middle of the basket which bangs your clothes all around the interior.  Yes I said “bangs” because traditional top loaders are the most violent on your clothes.  These washers are why you have so much accumulation in your dryer’s lint trap.  The agitator is pushing against your clothes which frays the fibers on your garments.  When you throw the clothes in your dryer, the dryer removes the frayed fibers and they are caught in the lint trap.  I bet you throw that lint away, don’t you?  Well don’t.  Save it because it makes great tinder to start a fire.  Listen, you never know when you’ll need it for some survival situation.  Ok, ok so I watch too much Man Vs. Wild, Survivor Man, and Dual Survival.  You don’t have to save the lint, but don’t blame me when you reach the peak of Mt. Everest and your matches are wet.  Incidentally that agitator in the center of the basket takes up room, so generally traditional top loaders have less capacity than high efficiency top and front load washers.

Here’s another thing about top loaders: they use the most water per cycle than the other types of laundry.  A whole lot more—sometimes up to 44 gallons for an entire cycle!  Let’s say you run the washer five times a week.  That means that you could be using as much as 880 gallons of water a month (5 X 44 = 220 X 4 weeks/month = 880) just washing your clothes.  If you have a big family, that number could easily jump to 1,000 gallons or more.

Now I know it sounds like I’m bashing traditional top loaders, but I don’t want you to interpret it like that—I have one at home.  They definitely have a niche in the marketplace.  Their price points are usually the most aggressive out of the three options and generally speaking, the wash times are less than your other washer choices.

Pros of Traditional Top Loaders:

  • Lower Price Point
  • Faster Wash Times (generally speaking)
  • What we’re “used” to

Cons:

  • Harsher on your clothes
  • Slower RPMs on the spin cycle meaning more moisture left in your clothes for a longer dry time
  • Less capacity (generally speaking)
  • Use an incredible amount of water per cycle

Brands to Consider:

  • GE
  • Whirlpool
  • Maytag
  • Amana
  • Estate

High Efficiency Top Loaders

The interior of a Whirlpool Cabrio

These units are on the market for consumers who are fearful of front loaders, but recognize the importance of water efficiency.  There is no agitator in the baskets of these units.  Instead, there is an impeller at the bottom that’s designed to pull the clothes into the water.  The water will never fill the entire basket hence the water usage is less than traditional top loaders, but still more than front loaders.  It’s VERY important that if you purchase this type of washer (or front loader) to switch to HE detergent.  This is a formula specifically designed for machines that are water efficient.  Basically this detergent won’t create as much suds during the wash.  As Americans, we equate suds with cleaning power when bubbles in the soap have NOTHING to do with cleaning at all.

A great feature of HE Top Loaders is that their spin cycle is MUCH faster than traditional top loaders—sometimes even rivaling front loaders’ spin cycle.  A faster spin is very important when we’re talking about the overall energy efficiency of the washer and dryer combined.  Higher RPMs on a spin cycle removes more moisture in the clothes which means you won’t be running your dryer as long (a dryer uses way more energy than your washer).  This concept also applies to front loaders which I’ll discuss in a second.

Don’t freak out when you use the washer for the first time and the wash cycle seems to take forever.  It will take more time than a traditional top loader.  This is completely normal because the washer is using less water and needs more time to rinse the clothes.  Your super water efficient dishwasher is the same way (which I’m sure you’ve already noticed).

Pros of HE Top Loaders:

  • More water efficient than traditional top loaders
  • Faster RPMs in the spin cycle
  • Larger capacity than traditional top loaders (generally speaking)
  • Gentler on your clothes than traditional top loaders

Cons of HE Top Loaders:

  • Not as water efficient as front loaders
  • Higher price point than traditional top loaders
  • Slower spin cycle than front loaders (generally speaking)

Brands to Consider:

  • Whirlpool
  • Maytag
  • GE
  • Fisher Paykel
  • LG
  • Samsung

Front Loaders:

 

A colorful display of Electrolux Washers

When I’m helping customers in our showroom, it seems that front loaders get a bad rap or at least they’re hearing bad things about front loaders and I think I know why.  One of the biggest complaints with front loaders of the early 2000’s was that they would develop mold and they would emit an odor.  It’s true they did, but manufacturers have solved this problem.  First, if you open any of the doors on a front loader and look at the gasket inside, you’ll see some drainage holes.  This gets water out of the gasket that might have remained after the cycle is finished.  Second, many of the front loaders today have a “clean basket” or “sanitize basket” cycle.  This is a wash program NOT designed to wash your clothes, but rather to clean out the interior of the washer.  The water temperature during this cycle can reach up to 170 degrees and it kills/washes away any mold that could potentially build up.  Depending how often you use your washer will depend on how often you utilize the clean washer cycle, but assume that you’ll use it about once a month.  Most odors can be avoided if you leave the washer door open after you’re finished a cycle.  I’d recommend this for any top loaders as well.  We all know that mold loves dark, damp places and as much as appliances have advanced technologically, they are still at Mother Nature’s mercy.  By keeping the door slightly ajar, the interior will dry out with less chance of an odor developing.

Use HE Detergent to avoid this.

Now that I’ve tackled the smell issue, let’s talk about why I love front loaders the most.  They are the most water efficient type of washer on the market sometimes using as little as twelve gallons in a cycle!  Front load washers are also the gentlest on your clothes.  Remember that there is no agitator grinding against your clothes fraying them.  This means that your clothes will last longer, retain their color longer, and you’ll notice less lint being captured by the dryer.  How does a front loader clean your clothes if there isn’t an agitator?  While the drum is spinning, it’s dropping your clothes into the water located at the bottom of the drum.  It’s using gravity to “slosh” the water through your garments.

Don’t forget that a lack of an agitator means more capacity in front loaders.  Some brands offer a 5.1 cubic foot drum.  That’s HUGE and will fit a bunch of clothes or bulky items like comforters or jeans.  Take advantage of that capacity when loading the washer– fill that sucker up to the brim!  As long as you can close the door without using force (unlike how you close your suitcase when you go on vacation), you haven’t over filled it.

Make sure this logo appears on your detergent.

There’s yet another reason that I love front loaders: energy efficiency.  Yes, we talked about these units using less water, but their spin cycle is MUCH faster than other forms of washers.  Some units can spin at 1400 RPMs!  I really can’t describe how fast that is unless you see it with your own eyes.  Spinning your clothes at that speed will remove ridiculous amounts water before you put them in the dryer.  You don’t have to be Stephen Hawking to know that less moisture in your clothes means a shorter dry time.  The water and energy savings of a front load laundry pair basically pays for the dryer over the lifetime of the machines.

The most important thing to know about front loaders if you’re switching from a top loader is that front loaders clean your clothes differently.  Don’t expect to see tons of water and bubbles filling up the drum during a wash cycle.  As I mentioned before, Americans equate cleaning with lots of suds and water splashing everywhere and it’s just not true.  Just like high efficiency top loaders, make sure to use HE detergent.

Pros of Front Loaders:

  • Less water usage
  • Gentle on your clothes
  • Fast Spin Cycle
  • Large Capacity

Cons of Front Loaders:

  • Higher price point
  • Mold is a thing of the past, use the “sanitize drum cycle”!

Brands to Consider:

  • Whirlpool
  • GE
  • Maytag
  • Electrolux
  • Frigidaire
  • Bosch (compact laundry only)
  • Miele (compact laundry only)
  • Samsung
  • LG

Of course all of your questions can be answered by any member of our sales team.  We make it up as we go along.  Just kidding, America.  Until next time!

-The Kieffer’s Guy

As always, don’t forget to visit the Kieffer’s website for all of your appliance needs in Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Delaware, and Washington DC!

The History of Laundry

Hey Appliance Fans,

So maybe I’ve tackled too big of a subject to actually discuss the history of laundry.  Suffice to say we used to use the local river and some rocks.  In the middle ages, well, they really didn’t do too much laundry– hence the bubonic plague.  Fast forward to the invention of washboards.  These made for better musical instruments than anything else.

I'm guessing these guys don't get out too often.

Once using the river got old and the washboard was being used in the jug band, mankind developed electricity and the door was opened to the “modern day” washing machine and dryer.

I use the term washing machine and dryer because that’s what we called them.  As the “American Marketing Machine” evolved into the juggernaut that it is today, someone developed the term “Laundry System”.  After hearing this term, my cynical side automatically began generating sarcastic comments at a rate of exactly 478 comments per second.  But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.  Today’s washing machines and dryers are sophisticated, convenient appliances.  And, I’m sorry to say, can’t be used as musical instruments– they’re manufactured to be tone deaf.

One of the best aspects of living in America is that, as a consumer, we have tons of choices regarding any type of good or service that we want to purchase.  Surprise, laundry appliances are no different.  From Miele to Samsung, GE to Maytag, Fisher Paykel to Electrolux, and Bosh to LG (just to name a few); the consumer has a boat load of choices.

Efficiency, efficiency.  Did I mention efficiency?

Maytag Vantage Series Laundry System

Guess what this section is going to be about?  That’s right efficiency.  The name of the game in laundry systems.  Two aspects come into play in the efficiency game: water usage and power usage.

I’m sure you already know that there are two kinds of designs for washing machines: top load and front load.  Across the board, front load washing machines are usually more water efficient.  For example, some top loaders can use as much as 45 gallons in one wash cycle.  The newer, front load units can use as little as 12-14 gallons.  You don’t need to be a mathematician to see how drastic of a difference that is.

High Effciency Logo

Look for this on your detergent to make sure you're buying High Efficiency detergent.

In addition, front load washers can spin at a higher RPM– meaning that more water can be removed from the clothes before putting them in the dryer.  This translates into a much shorter drying time and less energy usage.  Keep in mind that all front load and now some top load washing machines require that you use “High-Efficiency” detergent.  Though this type of detergent was difficult to find a few years ago, every major laundry soap company makes an “H-E” detergent.  Just look for the high-efficiency logo on the label.

Pricing Laundry Systems

Washers and dryers are priced very similarly to dishwashers in that the number of cycle options, efficiency of the model, and other features determine the price of a unit.

Bosch 500 Series Washer

Bosch: AquaStop Leak Protection prevents leaks from happening.

Basically, the lower the cost, the less features.  That doesn’t always mean that a lower priced unit is inferior to a higher priced unit.  It just means that there are less features and options.  For instance, the Bosch Vision 500 Series washer has AquaStop leak protection ensuring that your washer won’t leak  if there’s a problem.  Most manufacturers will have a similar feature in some of their units, but typically more price conscious models would omit this option.

Coming in for a landing…

I tend to go on and on (and on), but I’m going to stop here.  There’s no reason to write the next great American novel about laundry systems when our sales staff is happy to answer any questions you might have.  Just remember these main points:

  1. Efficiency is the name of the game.  Front loaders are typically more efficient
  2. Front loaders spin faster to remove more moisture making dry times shorter.
  3. Be sure to determine if you need high efficiency laundry detergent.
  4. Pricing of units varies depending on features, cycles, and options.

As always, don’t forget to visit the Kieffer’s website for all of your appliance needs in Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Delaware, and Washington DC!

-The Kieffer’s Guy

Energy Star Appliances = Money in Your Pocket

Hey Appliance Fans,

By now, everyone knows how incredibly efficient energy star appliances are.  Washing machines and dishwashers are using less and less water and refrigerators are now cheaper to operate than ever.  Because of this, everyone is seeing their monthly utility bills shrink.  Did you know that the amount of money a consumer can save over the lifetime of an energy star clothes washer can cover the purchase cost of the dryer?!?

Purchasing Energy Star Appliances:

If you have an appliance that’s older than ten years, chances are it’s robbing you every time you turn it on.  Picture your washing machine, in a dark alley with a gun, sticking you up for your wallet.  If that makes you angry, it should.

Tips For Buying Energy Star Appliances:

  1. Determine the size of unit you need. For instance, if your children are grown, do you really need a 5.0 cubic foot washing machine or a 25 cubic foot refrigerator?  Less space.  Less energy.
  2. Check the Energy Guide Label. This label tells you how much electricity, in kWh, the unit will use in one year.  Keep in mind that energy rates will vary based on region, but this will still give you a good comparison between models and brands.
  3. Contact A Kieffer’s Salesperson. There are differences from manufacturer to manufacturer.  Don’t waste your time doing the research.  Let one of our sales staff give you all the information you’ll need to know.

Check out more information on purchasing energy star appliances.

Energy Star Rebates:

Buying energy star appliances doesn’t just save you money.  It also saves the utility companies.  In fact, many energy companies throughout the country are offering rebates to encourage consumers to switch from old, energy sucking units to sleek, efficient models.  Here in the Philadelphia area, both PECO and PP&L are offering rebates to consumers who make the switch.

PECO Energy Star Rebates:

  • Refrigerators……….$75.00
  • Freezers……………..$75.00
  • Clothes Washers…..$100.00
  • Dishwashers………..$50.00

Download the PECO Rebate form.

PP&L Energy Star Rebates:

  • Refrigerators………$50.00
  • Clothes Washers….$75.00
  • Dishwashers……….$30.00

Download the PP&L Rebate form.

As always, don’t forget to visit the Kieffer’s website for all of your appliance needs in Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Delaware, and Washington DC!

-The Kieffer’s Team