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What You Need to Know: Bosch Dishwasher Feature Packages

By Jill Anderson, Appliance Specialist

Sleek and stylish dishwashers are not all created equal; many have feature packages that go beyond beauty. The Bosch Dishwasher series offers clever features designed to be intuitive. One such feature is its layers of insulation, making the brand one of the quietest dishwashers on the market. Dishwasher noise, measured in decibels, averages in the 50s; any noise over 50 decibels is loud (normal conversation typically reaches 60 decibels), so dishwashers that hang under 50 are going to be desirable. The lower the decibel, the quieter it is, and Bosch’s leading dishwashers are in the late 30’s-early 40’s range, creating soft-sounding washing.

A number of models in the Bosch Dishwasher series also feature Easy Glide racks, adjustable racks and in some, even a third rack for an extra loading area. The third rack (on top) acts as a silverware tray, making prime storage for large utensils, and adds 30% loading capacity. This results in a flexible stacking layout.

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Some of the Bosch Dishwashers available at Allen & Petersen

SHE3AR7 50 dBA

SGE53U5 46 dBA

SHEM63W5 44 dBA

SHP865WD 44 dBA

SHPM78W5 42 dBA

SHX878WD 42 dBA

SHXM98W75N 39 dBA

Tag Along to our Pricing Revolution!

By Kyle D. Mirka, Chief Operating Officer @ Allen & Petersen

Let’s face it, no one likes paying too much for anything! We strive to provide our customers with a highly educated sales person, a large amount of inventory in stock, and a ton of options – but at the end of the day – we still sell a product that you can buy from a number of suppliers.

lowpriceSome years ago we instituted a Lowest Price Guarantee, which has been our promise to the community that we never take advantage of a customer who wants to shop local.  While the combination of a great experience and a competitive price has been a huge benefit to our customers, technology has allowed us to take it one step further.  Introducing, the Electronic Shelf Label, or as we affectionately call them, digital price tags.

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While the features, dimensions and prices on the tag may not look ultra sophisticated, the technology behind them is saving you money!  Now you don’t even need to ask for us to match a price because our digital price tags have already scrubbed the internet to find the lowest price in the market!  Every morning before our store opens, the tags come alive with changes for the day to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

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So check us out at www.aphome.com or see those same prices in store on our digital price tags!  We look forward to seeing you!

Steel & Aluminum Tariffs: How They May Affect Appliance Pricing

By Kyle D. Mirka

Whether you agree with the principles of the latest tariffs or not, their reality will likely have at least some impact on what you might pay for goods made from steel and aluminum.  The 25% tariff on steel and 10% tariff on aluminum are supposed to affect all countries with exception to Canada and Mexico.  At first glance you could estimate that only the steel and aluminum coming from foreign countries, other than Canada and Mexico will increase, but my feeling is all boats will rise with the tide.  Domestic forges and the forges of Canada and Mexico could take the opportunity to increase their own margin given their competition just got a major price increase.  Because our products contain a fair amount of those materials I thought I’d share some of the repercussions that you might see in appliances.

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If you’ve read my earlier blog about laundry tariffs, you know that domestic manufacturers of laundry appliances received some relief from their foreign competitors in late January when a tariff on large home style washing machines went into effect.  And while this caused foreign manufacturers like LG and Samsung to announce manufacturing facilities here in the United States, the result of the latest tariffs on steel and aluminum may just turn the tables back in favor of foreign manufacturing again.

You see, the tariffs on steel and aluminum do not affect finished goods made of steel and aluminum made outside of the United States and imported into the country.  A beautiful stainless steel refrigerator made by a foreign manufacturer with foreign steel can come into the United States tariff free, while a domestic manufacturer building a similar stainless steel refrigerator had to either buy tariffed steel from a foreign forge or buy steel from a domestic forge which will likely raise prices in the coming days if they haven’t already.

With so much at play it’s hard to say exactly what might transpire.  As recently as today, many foreign countries are asking for exceptions, and some may actually get them.  If the tariffs hold, I believe foreign manufacturers of appliances will put enough competitive pressure on domestic manufacturers that pricing on the retail floor may increase only a small amount or simply stay the same.  If I’m correct, sadly the domestic manufacturer ends up footing the bill of steel and aluminum tariffs, if that is the case.

What I know for certain is, that as of today, our prices have not been impacted by the steel and aluminum tariff, but what the future brings has yet to be seen.  If you’re in need of a major appliance and have been considering making a purchase, I’d recommend you do so earlier than later to avoid the mess altogether.

 

Will Using Homemade Laundry Detergents Void My Washing Machine Warranty?

by Cheryl Shaffer, Appliance Specialist

We all want to save money, especially in areas where we don’t think about the long-term benefits. I hear all the time that people hate having to go to the grocery store, especially here in Alaska, where the sticker shock alone could be a precursor to cardiac spasms. One of the questions that arise in the laundry conversation is, “Will I void my manufacturer’s warranty if I use a homemade laundry detergent or additive in my machine?”

Great question! Not so easy to give an across the board answer, as not all of the manufacturers agree. Here is a general breakdown of their responses: (in no specific order)

  1. Blomberg – it does not specifically void their warranty if you use your own detergent for laundry. HOWEVER – if the detergent or additive causes damage to the machine, it would be considered “misuse or abuse” of the machine, and that would render the warranty null.
  2. Whirlpool – which covers the Whirlpool and Maytag brands – they expressly say in their warranty that if you use products they do not authorize, then it voids the warranty; and that makes homemade products not allowed.
  3. Fisher & Paykel – you may use homemade or store-purchased laundry products and not void your warranty. However, like each technician I contacted, they all questioned about how well the homemade product would work, would it be truly HE, (and have low bubble content), or would you risk causing a, “Lawrence Welk bubble explosion?” Soap flakes are not recommended as they don’t dissolve easily in the HE machines. Be extra vigilant if you are using the low profile agitator because this model uses less water to wash your clothing.
  4. GE – again, they do not specifically prohibit the use of homemade HE qualifying detergents, as long as they do not damage the machine, including the rubber / plastic elements or cause rusting.
  5. Speed Queen – their technician specifically stated that customers may use homemade or manufactured detergents without worrying about voiding their warranty.

One of the great bits of wisdom I gathered from the phone calls to the technicians was that there are three basic, “Warranty Bible Rules”, and they are:

  1. Acts of God – floods, fires, and lightning strikes – none of these are preventable by the manufacturer, so they are not covered under your warranty.
  2. Acts of Critters – if your dog chews through the cords, it’s not covered. Same if you get mice in the electrical lines, roaches, termites, etc. Damage is not covered.
  3. Acts of Abuse / Misuse – you use gasoline to remove a stain, forget to rinse it out of the fabric and the fumes explode, catching the machine on fire. Forcing up the locked lid to add a sock to the washer. Also under this heading falls using homemade detergents, fabric softeners, vinegar, etc., IF it eats the rubber gasket, damages the plastics or causes corrosion of the metals…

Warranty – VOID.

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The good news is, that if you’re looking for a trusted eco friendly detergent without having to worry about warranties, we really like the Excelsior line. It uses the power of enzymes to gently clean and brighten clothes rather than bleach, phosphates and harsh chemicals. It’s designed to be used in HE machines, so you use less per load, even in a normal washing machine.

 

The New Low Profile Microwave Hood Combination:

Written By: Aubrey Lockard, Appliance Sales Specialist

I have been in the appliance industry for over 15 years, and it takes quite a lot to get me excited about a new product. Well – the Whirlpool brand has done it with their new “Low Profile Microwave Hood Combination” (WML75011HZ). I know, it sounds silly, how could a simple microwave make someone so excited?

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Microwave hood combinations, also known as Over-the-Range Microwaves, are used in about 50% of homes in the US when it comes to ventilation and give you a hood, microwave, and lighting source, all in one convenient package. They are average for their outer dimensions, and even many of the their features. Therefore, their capability and options for usage and installation applications are very limited, and have been so for the last decade.

Kitchen design trends are leaning more towards low profile – and in some cases, almost hidden – appliances. In the past, microwave hoods would not lend to that design trend, as they tend to be quite large. That is no longer the case with this Low Profile Microwave Hood Combination, especially with its exclusive low profile height at only 10 5/16” (the average is 17”).

From a usage and performance standpoint, here is where this unit stands out:

  • 1,000-Watts for quick and even cooking.
  • Tap-To-Open Door so you can easily open it without having to put down your dishes.
  • Concealed Touch Controls that are hidden behind the door to give the microwave a clean and modern look.
  • A CleanRelease non-stick interior to easily wipe up spills.
  • Steam cooking capability with purchase of optional Steam Accessory.
  • LED lighting for superior and energy efficient illumination in your kitchen.
  • 400 CFM high performance fan to remove smoke, odor, and moisture from your kitchen space.
  • Available in White, Black, Fingerprint Resistant Stainless, Black Stainless and the new Sunset Bronze.

Here are the not as fun, but just as important, install advantages:

  • Only being 10 5/16” high, it is more of a direct replacement for a standard under cabinet hood.
  • 90 degree Hinge door so you can install it right next to a wall and still open the door.
  • Finished sides that match the front of the microwave color.
  • More flexibility on the distance between your cooktop surface and the bottom of the unit.

Great things really can come in small packages!! Come check out the new Low Profile Microwave Hood Combination- coming soon to Allen & Petersen!

Laundry Tariffs & How They Will Affect You

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by Kyle D. Mirka

In case you haven’t heard, the price of washers and dryers is going up.  All manufacturers have announced that they will be INCREASING the prices of their washers and dryers, with most beginning their price increases on April 5, 2018.

If you need a new washer or dryer, now is the time to buy!

These price increases all began with LG and Samsung being accused of “dumping” their laundry machines in the United States. Dumping occurs when one or more manufacturers export a product to another country at a price below the normal price. The objective of dumping is to increase market share in a foreign market by driving out competition and thereby creating a monopoly situation where the exporter will be able to unilaterally dictate price and quality of the product.  While these accused Korean manufacturers didn’t manage to push out ALL other laundry manufacturers they did manage to push out a few and have gained tremendous market share.

When these manufacturers were first accused, and then found guilty of this practice, the courts would impose strict penalties and or tariffs for products that were built in Korea. So LG and Samsung, in an attempt to avoid these penalties, would simply move their manufacturing and or shipping location to other low cost production locations outside the US that were not affected by the courts’ ruling(s). This moving of production locations happened multiple times.

It was this activity that finally led the United States Government to impose a tariff on all imports of most large residential washing machines at a rate of 20% on the first 1.2 million units annually, then 50% on those imported after that.

In mid 2017, with the threat of tariffs, LG and Samsung both announced new appliance manufacturing facilities in the United States and in November started bringing more than double the amount of washers into the United States than they had during the previous year. In addition, once the tariffs were officially decided, these manufacturers have moved up the date in which those facilities will become operational.

Even with the stockpiling of these affected models and the shifting of production to the Unites States, these two manufacturers have announced that their retail prices on laundry will be going up. Domestic manufacturers, who have been keeping their own retail prices artificially low to try and remain competitive to their Korean competitors, have chosen to also raise prices.  All of the major manufacturers, including but not limited to LG, Samsung, Whirlpool, Maytag, GE, Electrolux and Fisher & Paykel, have all announced price increases that typically range from $100 to $200 per set, with one manufacturer increasing their prices by $400 for the pair.  A number of manufacturers have notified us that most of these price increases will take effect beginning April 5, 2018.

What we have found most interesting about these price increases is that they don’t just affect front load washers, which is what the tariff applies to, but they are being applied to top load washers and dryers as well. So, just about every washer and dryer that will be sold in the United States is going to increase in price.

Regardless of how anyone feels about the value of manufacturing appliances in the United States or whether tariffs are a good idea or not, laundry prices are going to increase. If you, or a friend is need of new laundry equipment, buy it now or pay more for it later.

Even if you beat the price increase, be aware that parts for these affected machines are also subject to the tariff. This will mean that if you need a part later on for your washing machine expect to pay much more for it than you would have if this tariff had not gone into effect.

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What size hood will I need?

by Leon Barbachano

Choosing kitchen ventilation can be confusing, and we often get questions about what size hood is needed for a certain size range or cooktop. The non-answer is, it depends on the range and if it will be located in an island or along a wall. Here are the main points to consider when purchasing a hood:

  1. Capture area. Larger hoods obviously have more area to capture cooking odors, but it’s also important to factor in the area around the cooking surface. If you are putting a hood against a wall with cabinets on each side, the wall and the cabinets acts as a director that moves the air up into the hood – if it is in the island then one should go with a larger hood to make up for the lack of these “directors” leaving more open space for the smoke and steam to escape to.
  2. Cooking Surface. If the new range has burners at 12K BTU or less then you can get away with a smaller hood because there simply isn’t enough firepower to get a lot of cooking odors, steam or smoke going. If you have a grill, then you want a bigger hood. You need to be able to have enough space for the smoke and grease to hang out until it can be processed through the duct to the outside of the house.
  3. Food and Cooking Techniques. You will appreciate a larger hood if you do a lot of stir-fry and sauteing of food or if you do lots of odor laden foods (like garlic, onion, and salmon). A larger hood will allow the odors, smoke and steam to stay within the area of the hood  as they escape rather than hanging in the air, embedding themselves into your fabrics and wood surfaces in the kitchen.

Beyond the actual hood, you will also want to think about the CFM of the blower. Many hoods have the option for more powerful blowers. (Some manufacturers sell blowers and hoods separately, others provide higher CFM blowers in their more expensive hoods). Bigger is generally going to be more powerful at getting odors and smoke out.

But – CFM does not tell the whole story. Just getting more CFM will not mean better performance – as performance is based on:

  1. The capture area of the hood (you have to have enough space for smoke and odors to hang out before they are processed through the blower and duct).
  2. The size of the duct itself. It is very important that you have the right size duct for the blower (each manufacturer will state what size is needed for best performance – bigger blowers require bigger ducting).
  3. The configuration of the duct. If you have lots of sharp turns, the airflow in the duct becomes quite turbulent – the air gets confused as to which way to turn, and performance decreases. The same holds true with ducting that is not smooth – any sort of bumps – and rigid or sharp turns will decrease performance.

Please remember that one constriction in the duct will cause poor performance even if everything else is good.

Think of drinking a soda through a straw. Squeeze on the straw and less soda flows through. Put lots of turns in the straw and it takes a lot of suction to get the soda flowing through. This is similar to how ventilation for hoods works.

Another thing to consider is Make-Up Air. You need to be cautious about having too much suction. If the blower is too big you might pull out the air that is needed to breathe (or for your furnace or fireplace or water heater to breathe) which can result in Carbon Monoxide poisoning. The newer, tighter homes may have this issue. Generally 400 CFM or less will work with tight homes. But better hoods are 600 CFM or more. One thing customers tell me is that they don’t usually use their hood on high – but if they do, they open a window (in an attempt to get the smoke out), which solves the make-up air issue at the same time. (Building inspectors don’t buy this argument though – so if you are building you will need to get with your HVAC servicer to calculate how big your blower can be – or they will come up with a make up air system for you.)

Now, after the long explanation above we use a few general rules (assuming ducting is properly sized).

  1. If you have a range that is along a wall, we recommend that the hood be the same size as the range.
  2. If you are putting a range in an island we recommend going 6″ wider on the hood than the range.
  3. If you are going to have a grill on your range add 6″ to each of the above rules.

Monogram Bluetooth Induction Sous Vide

by Brandon Forschen, Appliance Specialist

Have you ever heard of Sous Vide cooking? It’s a means of cooking food by use of a vacuum-sealed plastic bag placed in a temperature-controlled bath for intervals ranging from just a few minutes, upwards of hours of cooking time. Normally you would need to watch your pressure cooker or pot constantly to make sure you were maintaining correct water temperature. Some companies have invented a tool called a bath wand or Sous Vide wand that would attach to the side of a pot and circulate water through a heater to maintain temperature, all with varying cost and effectiveness. However, GE Monogram has made an accessory tool of their own for their Inductions cooktops. It’s reasonably priced, and it works amazingly.

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Constructed directly thru GE’s partnership with FirstBuild, at its heart the sous vide gadget is a smart thermometer that clips to stockpots and samples water temperature readings continuously. It then pairs to compatible GE cooking surfaces via wireless Bluetooth and transmits data in real time. When you set a desired temp, the Monogram induction cooktop uses the sous vide add-on to automatically adjust its burner output. Combined, both stove and sensor work to lock down water bath conditions for the duration.

After seeing it live in person and using it myself I think it is the easiest way to use Sous Vide cooking.

The Condensation Drying Experience

by Cheryl Shaffer, Appliance Specialist

Congratulations! You’ve decided to take the plunge into a condensation drying dishwasher! You’re reducing your energy consumption over the year because you’re not using an exposed heating element inside the tub to dry the dishes, and reducing your energy, which equals more of your dollars staying INSIDE your pocket. That’s a win in my book!

Occasionally, customers will ask about how to help their machine do a better job of drying their dishes. They understand that plastic dishes will not dry as well as china, silverware and many cookware pieces, because the internal temperature of the dishwasher tub does not climb as high, and they’re ok with that, because those lower internal temperatures also mean that their plastic pieces won’t melt during the drying process.

One of the first things that the experts at the manufacturers tell us about getting your dishes drier, is to always use a finishing rinse aid in conjunction with your dishwasher detergent. This agent works as an anti-surfactant; which means that it causes the water to sheet off of the walls of the dishes more easily.

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The next step is to not wash your dishes BEFORE you put them into the dishwasher. It’s an old school concept: wash your dishes before you put them into the machine. Wrong thinking. Today’s machines need you to only scrape off the big stuff, and put them into the dishwasher and let the machine do the work. This saves you time, money and water. And today’s enzymes in the detergent need that food residue to “eat”, or they will begin to erode your china and glassware. Finally, the computer in your dishwasher will “look” at your dishes and decide how dirty they are, and override your chosen settings if it thinks your dishes are already clean, (because you pre-washed them). You can dry your dishes more thoroughly by not using the Speed 60 setting, and selecting the “Extra Dry” button instead.

Again, congratulations on choosing a great dishwasher and rest assured that you can call Allen & Petersen Cooking & Appliance Center to help you answer any questions with your purchase.

How to get the best performance out of your dishwasher’s Quick Wash cycle: Take a look at your soap!

By Erik Hiett, Appliance Specialist

Several years ago I helped my sister select a new dishwasher. I had
asked her to list all of the important features she wanted to have in
her new model. The most important was “a 15 minute Sanitary Cycle”. I
laughed at her. It’s important to point out that my sister had, at the
time, a roughly 40 year old KitchenAid dishwasher which, back then, used about a
gazillion gallons of water and sounded like a tank driving through her
kitchen. Much to her dissatisfaction, I had to be the bearer of bad
news and explain to her that was no longer an option and, at the time,
a 45 minute “quick” wash cycle was the best we could do. She was less
than pleased.
There are a number of “Quick Wash” cycles in dishwashers these
days. However, many don’t seem so “quick” when comparing them to
shorter wash cycles in older models. Because dishwashers are using
such little water, there are compensations to be made to make
up for the lower consumption. Length of cycles, steam functions, and
higher temperatures are some of the more common methods. Short cycles
aren’t as hard to come by, but a good performing short cycle is. So,
what can we do when we don’t want to wait hours and hours to wash a
load of dishes? My suggestion is to look at your detergent.
I recently saw an article that rated over 30 dishwasher detergents.
30 different detergents??? Why are there so many different dishwasher
detergents? What’s the need? If dishwasher detergents all did the same
thing then there probably wouldn’t be some many, right? But they don’t
all work the same, which is why were talking.

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Sadly, I recognized many of the brands as detergents I had personally tried….and never
repurchased again. So, what do I use now and why? Miele, a German
manufacturer, produces an enzyme based detergent that dissolves very
quickly and works amazingly well. Why is this important? Because if
your short wash cycle is going to be running for a much shorter time,
then your soap is going to have to get to work fast! I’ve found that an
enzyme based detergent works far better at eating away crud from my
dishes than detergents without enzymes, whether it’s a longer or
shorter wash cycle. But, sadly, the packaging many of these tabs are
wrapped in don’t dissolve quick enough to start working in time. After
all, these soaps are used to working in pretty long cycles. Miele
wraps theirs in a water soluble exterior that allows for a super fast
dissolve time, which leads to that enzyme based soap rolling up its
sleeves and getting to work!
The proof is in the pudding….or perhaps lack of any leftover
pudding, that is! After years of sub par performance, often blamed
solely on the dishwasher, I’ve successfully found the perfect
dishwasher detergent for my dishes- and maybe yours!

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