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11 tips for buying the right major appliance

Man Looking inside the washing machine

Are you getting ready to buy a major appliance, like a refrigerator, washer, dryer, oven, dishwasher or room air conditioner? It’s a big decision that likely will play a role in your day-to-day life and routine for years to come. It’s essential that you do the necessary research to find the appliance you need. Here are 11 tips to make sure your next major appliance fits the bill:

• Get the specs. Ask your dealer for specification sheets from several manufacturers who build the type of appliance or appliances you plan to purchase. Compare available features, designs and capacities.

• Know what you need, and what you might need later. Decide which features you will really use, and what you might need down the line. Some appliances may include the options of adding features later, like installing an icemaker in a refrigerator.

• What’s your price range? Compare prices in relation to what the appliance offers, which will vary by model. Price tends to increase as features are added.

• Decide on the size. How much clothing needs to fit in your new washer? Will the refrigerator hold enough food? Is the room air conditioner powerful enough to cool the room? Know what size and strength you’ll need so you can select a model with sufficient capacity.

• Consider the care. Ask your dealer for the appliance’s use and care manual and read it carefully before you buy the appliance. The manuals for the floor models should be available. Reading the manual will give you a better idea of how the appliance tell you about any special care it needs.

• Will it fit? Check the space available for the appliance to make sure your new appliance will fit, and make sure halls and doorways allow clearance for entry and installation.

• How is it getting there? Ask the dealer about the cost of delivery and installation. Are they included in the price?

• Find the fix. Make sure authorized factory service is available in your area for the brand you select.

• How does it fit your routine? Check the product’s design carefully to make sure it meets your needs and accommodates your habits and favorite cookware.

• Check the power. Avoid overloaded circuits by making sure your house has adequate electrical service for the appliance. Check for adequately grounded, three-hole receptacles.

• Do a little light reading. Read the warranty before finalizing your decision. Does the warranty cover the entire product? Only certain parts? Is labor included? How long does the warranty last?

The number of options you’ll have may seem overwhelming, but following these tips will help you find the appliance you need. Good luck in your search!

How appliances save water every day

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Two hundred and seventy billion gallons of water. It’s enough to fill 40 million Olympic-sized swimming pools. It’s also how much water would be saved if every home in the U.S. installed a new model dishwasher.

What are you doing to save water? It’s a great question to ask yourself on World Water Day, March 22 which the United Nations established in 1992 to shine a spotlight on conservation, sustainability and other water-related issues. Odds are your dishwasher and clothes washer are already helping you save serious amounts of water. Both are helping consumers cut back on their water use. Here’s how:

  • Washers are doing more with less. Clothes washers purchased today hold 20 percent more laundry than they did in 2000, yet they use even less water. The maximum water consumption per cycle for all types of washers (both front- and top-load) fell 35 percent between 2005 and 2014, from 35.7 gallons in 2005 to 21.6 gallons. The minimum water use per cycle also fell significantly during the same period, from 20.2 gallons to 12.2 gallons—a 39 percent drop.
  • Dishwashers are running near the minimum. The average amount of water used in a normal dishwashing cycle is down more than 41 percent since 2005. A new ENERGY STAR-certified dishwasher can save an average of 1,600 gallons of water a year compared to 1994 models.
  • Less water + greater efficiency = lower bills. Even clothes washers of average efficiency can save your household more than 5,000 gallons of water a year and more than $150 in utility costs compared to the washers of a decade ago.

New appliances are just one of the steps you can take to cut back on your water use.  Here are a few more water-saving tips from the EPA:

  • Check for and repair any leaks in appliances, toilets, and other water-using devices in your home.
  • Don’t rinse the dishes. There’s no need to rinse your dishes in the sink before putting them into the dishwasher. Scrape them, and let the dishwasher do the rest.
  • Do full loads of laundry, or select the appropriate water level for the size of the load you’re washing.
  • Don’t use water to defrost. Instead, thaw frozen foods overnight in a refrigerator.
  • Keep cool wat

Give the air in your home a spring cleaning

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With memories of massive snowfalls still fresh in the minds of many, it’s easy to forget that spring allergy season is just about here. When the first sniffles of spring strike, allergy sufferers may be tempted to hole up and avoid the outdoors. But the air inside may be just as bad or even worse, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA estimates that indoor air may contain double to five times as many pollutants as the air outside.

There are four main sources of indoor air pollution: pollen tracked in or blown in from outside; animal dander; mold and mildew; and tobacco smoke. All can make your allergies worse. But there are some steps you can take to fight back, and your appliances can help you get the upper hand on allergens:

Invest in a room air cleaner: If you decide to buy a room air cleaner, look on the packaging for the AHAM Verifide Label, which will list Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) numbers for tobacco smoke, dust and pollen. The higher the numbers, the faster the air cleaner will clean the air. Buy a room air cleaner appropriate for the size of the room in which it will be used.

Suck it up: Your vacuum is one of your best tools in the quest to rid your home of allergens. Vacuum your carpet and rugs at least once a week, and twice a week in high-traffic areas. Vacuum your upholstered furniture, mattresses and drapes regularly. Consider doing a deep clean with solutions made to loosen and extract allergens.

Wash it away: Wash your bedding in hot water—at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit—to remove allergens from sheets and blankets and the kids’ stuffed animals.

Learn more about how AHAM’s Clean Air Delivery Rate program for room air cleaners, and how you can find AHAM Verifide Products.

An introduction to connected home appliances

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Do you have enough hours in the day? Most busy people probably wish they had a few more. Connected appliances, while they can’t make a day longer, CAN help you recapture more of your own time. One recent study estimated that connected appliances could save a typical household 100 hours a year.

The time savings from connected appliances could come from a number of places, including an easier process, automated tasks, and remote operation. Here’s a sampling of how connected appliances make your life easier, taken from AHAM’s new white paper, Home Appliance Connectivity: Limitless Potential:

Peace of mind: If you’ll be away from home for a while, connectivity can allow you to make sure your appliances stay in working order while you’re gone. Connected appliances can also help you keep tabs on older or ill family members or friends who are under your care.

Repairs made easy: Connectivity could revolutionize appliance repairs and make long waits for a repair technician a thing of the past. Manufacturers are already developing features that will allow repair technicians to remotely identify problems and, in some cases, repair them without even visiting your home.

Simplified process: A connected dishwasher could “learn” when you typically wash dishes, and be set up to begin the process automatically when appropriate. Clothes washers could give you advice on how to wash a certain type of garment, saving you the time of doing research. That’s one less thing you have to worry about.

Lower energy costs: Connected appliances have the potential to work with the Smart Grid to drive energy cost savings and improve the environment. They could automatically reduce energy use based on the user’s preference, or allow users to access renewable energy when it’s available.

Want to know more? Download Home Appliance Connectivity: Limitless Potential, for an introduction to the possibilities connected home appliances have to simplify your life, as well as what manufacturers are doing to keep connected appliances safe and secure.

Here’s what’s hot in the world of major appliances

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Source: Houzz

While connectivity seems poised to become a widespread feature in home appliances, consumers are still looking for convenience and style first when it comes to their kitchens. And top-load washers are making a major comeback. Here’s a look at the trends we’re seeing in major appliance shipments:

  • Induction cooking goes mainstream: Since 2010, the percentage of surface units shipped that include at least one induction unit has doubled. Five years ago, only 8% of electric surface cooking units shipped included at least one induction element. By last year, the number had grown to 16% of units shipped. This is one example of a commercial kitchen trend that has made its way into homes as well.
  • More doors, please: Consumers are looking for more refrigerator and freezer space. AHAM has seen a steady increase in bottom-mount refrigerators with four or more doors since 2011, the year we began tracking those shipments. Last year, 17% of refrigerators shipped in the third quarter had four or more doors, up from 11% four years earlier. Bottom-mount refrigerators with two doors made up just 13% of shipments in 2015, down from 35% in 2008.
  • Back on top: After several years of lower shipment numbers, top-load washers are seeing a resurgence in popularity. They accounted for 76% of units shipped last year, up from 62% in 2009, according to AHAM data. But it’s different this time around, as a lot of the growth is due to a growing preference for top-load washers without agitators. They made up about 48% of top-loading units shipped in 2015, compared to 27% in 2011. This is a prime example of innovation, as this product has grown more efficient, and offers the consumer multiple configurations and options.
  • It’s a “steel”: We’ve seen a steady increase in the number of dishwashers and side-by-side refrigerators with a stainless steel finish. Side-by-side refrigerators with a stainless steel finish made up 60% of units shipped at the end of the third quarter in 2015, up from 29% in 2006. More than half of dishwashers—56%—shipped last year had a stainless steel finish, a trend that has been on a steady upward climb since 2007.

What styles and features are you looking for in your next major appliances? Leave a comment below.