Make a wise choice in new appliances

  • Wednesday, October 28, 2009 10:05am

Where is your best appliance dollar spent? On the features that best suit the needs of your home, your family and your lifestyle.

Whether you are replacing one appliance or planning a kitchen remodel, every appliance on your shopping list has its own value. According to John Maas, sales associate with Albert Lee Appliance in Lynnwood,

“An appliance should do what you want it to do without giving too little or going too far over the top.”

Each of us is vulnerable to a moment when we want a purchase that is bigger and better with all the bells and whistles. But bigger and better may not fit the square footage of your kitchen. And bells and whistles come with dollar signs attached.

Let’s focus on the oven. Once, maybe twice a year, you plan to cook a 25-pound turkey in it. So you look for an oven that will accommodate your once-a-year basting date, but overlook how your oven will be used the other 364 days of the year.

“You purchase a ginormous oven that is over the top. It’s great in a family picture, but in reality it’s too much of an oven and adds complexity to life,” Maas said.

On the other hand, sometimes a customer will cut back on the wrong features of an appliance. The new purchase becomes a long-term disappointment and money not-so-well-spent.

Maas advises: “You should really look at how you are going to use the appliance. Plan and buy for your kitchen based on 99 percent of the time you will use it, not the 1 percent of the time you will use it for a holiday meal or party.”

He also recommends thoroughly discussing your needs and goals with a knowledgeable appliance salesperson, or as he terms it, an “appliance counselor.”

When speaking to your appliance counselor, make note of what you didn’t like in an old product. “If you’ve lived with issues for years, it doesn’t make sense to buy a product with the same problems and same kind of design,” Maas said.

“When you enter a showroom, come with an open mind and introduce yourself to new possibilities in what you will be able to cook or how you will be able to store things,” he said. “You have the opportunity to learn how a feature of an appliance can improve the way you cook and maximize the time you spend in the kitchen.”

For instance, most of us are accustomed to using a conventional oven that provides good overall results. An upgrade to a convection oven delivers some great opportunities for time-saving and food quality. Because a convection oven circulates hot air, food cooks faster at a lower temperature and with better results.

At the Albert Lee showroom, customers can attend cooking classes in its live demonstration area to learn how to maximize the potential of an appliance. Customers can also test the demonstration appliances to determine if certain amenities suit personal needs. “A feature you never use is an investment that was made for nothing,” Maas said.

In purchasing a dishwasher or refrigerator, Maas suggests you bring in larger dishes and trays that require more room for storage. See how they will fit in the appliance and if shelves can move to accommodate their size.

When choosing a refrigerator, also make note if you need storage space for gallon containers, generous space for bulk foods and organizational options for frozen meals. The ergonomics of a refrigerator and freezer can greatly simplify your life, especially if bending and reaching for items is difficult for you.

A final note: Be sure the appliance you choose fits in the existing space of your home. Be sure to measure the width, depth and height of space you have to work with. The cost of returning an appliance to the store or taking on the cost of construction to make the appliance fit adds up to wasted time and money.

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