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How to Buy Appliances

Blog by Sara Kalke | September 2nd, 2011

Time to upgrade your appliances but don't know where to start?  Here are a few tips from House & Home Magazine!  Full article at:  http://houseandhome.com/design/how-buy-appliances

How To Buy Appliances

How To Buy Appliances

Get the best quality kitchen and laundry appliances with these tips, brought to you by Whirlpool Canada.

Whether you shop at a department store or your neighbourhood appliance outlet, knowing which questions to ask can help you find a great product that will stand the test of time. Over the years, a high-quality laundry or kitchen appliance will save you cash and help you avoid unnecessary repairs. Here's what you need to ask.

Question One: Will this fit in my space?

It sounds obvious, but too often homeowners head to the store without measuring the dimension of their kitchen or laundry room and current appliances first. (Unless you’re planning on remodeling, in which case you have free rein.) Factor in air-circulation clearance that you many need, too — for example, positioning a refrigerator two to three inches away from the wall — and ensure that you have enough room to open the door or lid of the appliance. Don't forget to measure your halls and doorways, too. Get tips on placing your appliances beforehand. Finally, make sure you have adequately grounded, three-hole receptacles, as recommended by The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM).

Question Two: What does the warranty cover?

The Government of Ontario Consumer Protection division recommends finding out what’s covered in a warranty, such as parts and labour, and for how long. The Amana® Bottom-Freezer Drawer Refrigerator comes with a limited one-year warranty, for instance. (And all KitchenAid® refrigerators have a 10 year warranty on sealed refrigeration parts, such as the compressor, evaporator, condenser, dryer and connecting tubing.) Be sure to keep your sales receipt, owner’s manual and warranty after you purchase your appliance, and remember to register your appliance with the manufacturer. At the end of the day, saving cash on a discount appliance with no warranty or minimal coverage may not be a smart choice.

Question Three: Is this an ENERGY STAR® qualified appliance?

It’s worth investing in an ENERGY STAR qualified product, because it will be considerably more energy efficient than comparable, non-qualified models. That means you’ll save on your energy bills over the long term. Also, look for the yellow-and-black EnerGuide label on refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers and clothes washers, which tells you the estimated annual energy consumption of the model measured in kilowatt hours (kWhs).

Once you're comparing ENERGY STAR qualified models, select the one with lower kilowatts per year to save electricity and cash. The KitchenAid Architect Series II side-by-side refrigerator, for instance, uses 152 kWh less per year than the least efficient similar model fridge. Note that not all product categories have ENERGY STAR standards, for example, dryers, but some may offer features that save significant amounts of energy. Case in point: the Whirlpool Duet Steam Electric Dryer, boasts an Eco Normal dry cycle that saves up to 40 percent of dryer energy when paired with the Duet washer, compared to traditional top-load laundry pairs with an average size load. Get more information on choosing models in our article, "Choosing Energy-Efficient Appliances".

Whirlpool Canada — which supplies Kitchen Aid, Whirlpool, Maytag, Amana and Jenn-Air brand appliances — actually won the 2009 ENERGY STAR Manufacturer of the Year Award for for its commitment to Energy Star leadership, throughout the appliance life cycle from manufacturing, transportation, usage and disposal.

Question Four: Does the finish require special care?

Some materials are easier to clean and show fewer marks than others. For example, smaller glass shelves may be simpler to clean than metal racks in a refrigerator. (Just remember to avoid using hot or warm water on cold glass shelves, which may cause breakage.) Also, use stainless-steel polish on stainless-steel appliances for best results. Find out more in our article, "How To Maintain Appliances."

Question Five: What is the cycle length?

Newer models of dishwashers and laundry machines offer shorter cycles or even delayed or timed starts for more convenience. ("Energy-saver,” “light” and “short-wash” cycles typically use less water and save energy, also, according to Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency.) The Whirlpool® Duet® 4.0 cu. ft.  High Efficiency Front-Loading Washer, for instance, allows you to set the washer to begin cleaning up to 10 hours later. Quick Wash & Quick Dry options on Duet laundry pairs let you wash and dry in just over 30 minutes, too.  The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers recommends asking for the use and care manuals before you buy, so that you can make informed decisions.

Question Six: What is the capacity of the model?

Finding an appliance that fits in your space should be a first priority. But if you’re comparing similarly sized appliances, then you can begin to compare capacity. Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency recommends thinking long-term: If your family is growing, or if family members are moving out, this will impact your needs. If it's growing, consider the KitchenAid® Architect Series II French Door refrigerator, which features the most shelf-space of any fridge in the industry. (This is based on shelf space in external ice and water dispensing French door refrigerators without ice storage in the door.) Likewise, the Cabrio™ High Efficiency Top-Loading Washer can wash three baskets of laundry in a single load — the industry’s largest capacity top-loading high efficiency washer.

Question Seven: How much water does this use?

Water usage in dishwashers and clothes washers can vary widely from model to model and brand to brand. Check the label to see how much the appliance you're considering consumes. ENERGY STAR qualified models use less. For example, the Maytag Bravos top load high efficiency Washer easily handles large loads — with an unsurpassed 5.0 cu. ft. I.E.C. — while using 70 percent less water and 67 percent less energy than conventional top-loading washers manufactured before 2004.

Question Eight: Are delivery and installation included?

These can be expensive but necessary costs, so find out what's included in the purchase price when you're shopping around.

Question Nine: Will my old appliances be disposed of safely?

If your appliance retailer offers to take away your old products, be sure that they're being responsible. According to Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that cool refrigerators and freezers can escape and damage the atmosphere’s ozone layer if not recovered properly. Contact your municipality about appliance collection programs for safe disposal.

Review our Best New Appliances gallery, and then enter for your chance to win* a KitchenAid® French Door Refrigerator with an MSRP of $3,199!

®Registered Trade-Mark/™Trade-Mark of Whirlpool, U.S.A., KitchenAid, U.S.A., Jenn-Air, U.S.A., or Maytag Corporation or its related companies. Used under licence in Canada. Used with permission.

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Full article at:  http://houseandhome.com/design/how-buy-appliances