What We Do Categories

CES 2016: New heights in convenience

CYJeyBtVAAAyFwz

For most of us, life isn’t going to get less busy anytime soon. But appliance manufacturers are stepping in to help by giving us appliances that are ready to take on a bigger share of the day’s tasks.

While connectivity and smart appliances are one of the main themes for appliance manufacturers at CES 2016, convenience remains the driving force behind the next generation of home appliances. We’ve already touched on robotic cleaning, remote operation and smart home features. Here are a few more of the innovations AHAM members are displaying at CES 2016:

Recipes at your fingertips: A new generation of refrigerators, stoves and other cooking appliances showcased at CES 2016 will tell you what’s for dinner. They’ll give you instant access to recipes, and even make meal recommendations based on the ingredients you have on hand.

They’ll do the thinking: A new generation of washers and dryers could largely eliminate the guesswork that sometimes goes with choosing a wash cycle. Just tell them what kind of clothes you’re washing, and they’ll automatically select the most appropriate cycle.

Faster action on repairs: Smart and connected appliances could cut down on the time it takes to make repairs. In the future, repair technicians—with the user’s permission—could keep tabs remotely on how appliances are functioning, and let the users know when something is wrong. Some of the problems could be corrected without a visit from a technician, but if not, connectivity could also streamline the scheduling process.

Smarter space: It’s not all about connectivity at CES. Along with the new electronic features, manufacturers are also touting increased capacity of washers and dryers, as well as refrigerators with strategically placed compartments and space-saving features like retractable shelves.

Follow AHAM on Twitter @AHAM_Voice for more on innovation, energy savings and the latest news from AHAM.

Appliance manufacturers pile on the innovations at CES 2016

CYD2FLMU0AA2MO-

AHAM member companies are rolling out a new wave of connected appliances at CES 2016, and it’s clear that the new and cutting-edge appliance features could help consumers maximize convenience and take back more of their own time:

Here’s a brief look at the some of the innovative home appliances on display:

The end of fridge magnets? A new generation of connected refrigerators feature multi-function digital touch screens that could turn the refrigerator into the home’s top gathering spot, where family members come not just to eat and talk with family, but for entertainment and news about the day. A number of models on display allow you to display schedules, notes, and photos. And don’t forget about the food inside. Some feature cameras to let you see what the fridge is holding, without opening the door. Other features allow you to mark expiration dates, keep a shopping list, order groceries, and play video and music.

Welcome home: The buyers of new homes want the latest appliances to be a part of their homes from the day they move in. Mock-ups of smart homes and rooms being showcased at CES 2016 include connected refrigerators, induction stoves, washers, dryers and other appliances, with central controls. Some are even operated by voice command.

Chores, on your schedule: Have a last-minute schedule change and don’t want your clothes to sit around, getting wrinkled? A number of clothes dryers at CES 2016 can be operated remotely, so you can align your arrival home with the end of a cycle. Manufacturers are using connectivity to improve dryer safety as well. Some models will send alerts when it looks like your dryer vent is becoming clogged, which could reduce the risk of fire.

Tasks on autopilot: While robots have handled their share of the vacuuming for a number of years, a new generation are taking automated floor cleaning to the next level. New models include cameras to allow you to check up on their work, and others map the rooms in the house and accept precise direction on areas that need to be cleaned.

CES 2016 runs through Saturday. Follow us on Twitter @AHAM_Voice for more on the hottest home appliance innovations!

AHAM Members at CES 2016

AHAM members will be out in force to reveal their latest innovations at CES 2016 this week in Las Vegas. Connected and smart appliances will have a prominent place in this year’s show, and AHAM staff will be on hand, visiting with members and highlighting the latest trends.

A day before the official opening of the show, appliances are already grabbing media attention. Major appliances drawing some of the early buzz include are refrigerators that send shopping lists straight to your phone, washers and dryers that can order more detergent when supplies run low, and ovens that can be controlled via smartphone. We’re also hearing about innovations in the portable and floor care spaces, including a robotic vacuum that allows the owner to check on its work via video.

Throughout January, AHAM will be focusing on the growing trend of connected appliances and the potential it has to introduce consumers to new levels of convenience and efficiency.

Want to keep up on the action at CES 2016? Follow AHAM on twitter @AHAM_voice for ongoing updates from the CES exhibit hall.

5 Reasons for Returning Appliances and How You Can Do Better Research Before You Buy

Consumer-Durables

With the holiday season upon us, shoppers are doing their research and looking to take advantage of deals on home appliances. Across the board, from floor care to personal care, retailers and manufacturers are planning to deliver you innovative and energy efficient products this holiday season.

And while the majority of consumers who buy appliances get what they’re looking for, some will return them, even if they’re working.  AHAM, along with Bellomy Research, recently conducted an extensive study on why consumers return small appliances that are in good working condition. Here are the top five reasons:

  • Appliance did not perform the way the customer expected
  • The appliance was smaller than the customer expected
  • Appliance was a gift the recipient did not like or want
  • Second thoughts about the color, style or model
  • The customer found another model they liked better

Overall, though, there was one underlying theme behind why consumers return products: they did not have a clear understanding of what they were purchasing before the purchase.

So what can shoppers to do avoid post-holiday returns? While AHAM’s research suggested improvements manufacturers and retailers could make to reduce return rates, it’s up to the customer to do their own homework—and they know it. Our study found that “some customers also feel they should have completed more research before purchasing, or wished for an easier set-up process.??

Then what can you, as the consumer, do? Here are AHAM’s tips:

  1. Go “hands on”: Product demonstrations are commonplace at many retailers now, allowing you to visualize and use the product before purchasing. This can eliminate confusion about issues such as size, performance, and quality.
  2. Read and watch online reviews: There are limitless resources online for consumers to learn about a product, and potential features that affect decision-making. Videos are both abundant and valuable because they allow you to see the actual product being used.
  3. Research the product through the manufacturer’s website and owner’s manual: Appliance makers strive to be clear about the features and benefits their products offer. Whether online or on paper, they provide extensive resources that allow the everyday consumer to understand what they are buying before a purchase decision is made.
  4. Contact the manufacturer directly: This is perhaps the most important tip, but many shoppers don’t realize it’s an option. Only 40 percent of people surveyed said they had spoken with the product’s manufacturer before returning an item. Most manufacturers have resources to answer your questions and resolve almost any issues before a return becomes necessary.

Do you have any tips you feel should be added to this list? Please share them with us in the comments.

Follow us on Twitter – @AHAM_Voice for more updates, tips, and data trends from the home appliance industry!

Tips for Managing your Child’s Allergies

Child allergies

If your child is one of the millions that suffer from allergies in the U.S., you know that it can be hard to control their symptoms.  Reducing contact with airborne allergens like dust and pollen can help prevent the onset of symptoms in children.

Here are a few steps you can take around the house that may help your child breathe easier:

  • Keep windows closed in the car and at home and limit outdoor activities, especially when the pollen count is high.
  • Give them a bath or shower before bed to help remove the allergens that may have collected on them or their clothes throughout the day.
  • Vacuum the carpet and floors throughout the home on a regular basis and consider using a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
  • Dust mites tend to live on the floor, bedding and furniture, so you should wash your child’s bedding frequently in hot water.  You can also use dust mite allergen covers on bedding.  It is also helpful to minimize the amount of extra pillows and stuffed animals that are kept on the bed, since they also collect dust mites.
  • Do not hang laundry outside to dry where it may collect pollen and other allergens.  Use a dryer or hang the clothes inside instead.
  • Use a portable room air cleaner in your child’s bedroom to filter airborne particles and help them breathe—and sleep—easier.  A portable room air cleaner that’s received a Clean Air Delivery Rate seal may reduce the level of airborne pollutants.

Search for AHAM Verifide air cleaners in the online directory found on www.AHAMVerifide.org where you can compare models. Search by room size to find the models that are most appropriate for your child’s bedroom.  Look at the CADR ratings for tobacco smoke, dust and pollen and find the models that have the highest ratings since they will clean your room the fastest.  You can then weigh the importance of product features, such as design and wifi connectivity, to find an air cleaner that fits your needs.

Put Safety First When Purchasing Second-Hand Appliances

We all like to find good deals, and you may be on to finding some great ones this Labor Day weekend.  But, put safety first if you are considering a second hand appliance.   AHAM urges consumers to consider the following tips before purchasing a second-hand portable appliance:

  1. Ask the age and working condition of the appliance you want to purchase.
  2. Check for frayed or damaged power cords, switches and parts.
  3. Inspect for tampering and inquire about any repairs performed on the appliance.
  4. Make sure all parts, including the owner’s operating manual, is included with the product. The owner’s manual provides important performance and safety tips.
  5. Has the appliance been the subject of a safety recall? Recall notices are available from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Remember to check back through the life of the appliance for recall notices.

If you’re in doubt, purchase a new appliance instead! You could be getting mush more than you bargained for if you aren’t careful.    And, those selling a second-hand product should use these guidelines too, to determine if the unit should be sold or simply discarded.

Stainless Steel Continues to Grow in Popularity

IStock_000011181462Large

If you’ve been shopping for appliances lately, seen a home improvement program or browsed a design magazine, you’ve probably noticed a lot of appliances with stainless steel finishes. There’s a simple explanation for that: it’s become the most popular finish for the “core?? kitchen appliances (refrigerators, dishwashers and ranges). Ten years ago only 20% of core appliances had stainless steel finish but by 2014 that number had grown to 49%! Stainless is also a popular finish for vent hoods, microwaves and even portable appliances such as coffeemakers and toasters.

What used to be a finish reserved for mostly higher-end models now extends to more budget-conscious  models. Many consumers are attracted to the finish’s sleek, contemporary appearance, especially those of us who grew up in a time when every kitchen we stepped into had appliances that were white, beige or even avocado green or harvest gold!

For someone who is thinking about redesigning their kitchen or simply replacing their existing appliances, the appliance’s finish is one of the top concerns. Some questions to consider include “How will stainless steel integrate with my current or new cabinets???, “How can I avoid having a cold, industrial look in my kitchen??? and “How easy is stainless steel to keep clean??? AHAM has assembled a few resources to help you. HGTV has some suggestions from designers on how consumers can take advantage of the benefits of stainless steel and other materials:

You can soften the cold shine of stainless with granite and ceramic, says Karen Sciascia, designer for A Matter of Style in Cheshire, Conn. In a traditional or contemporary kitchen design, Karen favors cream-colored granite counters to offset the cold shine of stainless appliances. “The mica in the stone really picks up the soft gray color in the stainless,” she says.

Read the complete article here. SFGate also has some tips on what colors blend well with stainless. Finally, Bob Villa tells you how to keep those new stainless steel appliances looking like they just came out of the showroom.

Save Money and Help the Environment with these Energy Saving Tips

Sustainability iStock_Small

Everyone would like to use less energy and reduce their monthly electricity bill. AHAM has assembled some quick and easy tips to help you reduce the amount of energy your appliances use. Every bit adds up.

  • If you are replacing your refrigerator, do not use the old refrigerator as a second refrigerator because it won’t yield energy savings. Properly recycle the appliance. The store where you purchased the new refrigerator likely will pick up and dispose of your old one for no charge.  You can also visit the ENERGY STAR website for information about their Responsible Appliance Disposal program.
  • Allow hot foods to cool before placing them in the refrigerator, and always cover foods that may release moisture in the refrigerator.
  • Limit opening the refrigerator and freezer doors.  Label foods or use clear food storage bags to easily identify foods.
  • Scrape, but do not pre-rinse, dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.  Dishwashers do a great job of cleaning soiled dishes.
  • Take advantage of your dishwasher’s “eco?? option that reduces water use, or use the no-heat air dry feature.
  • Use the proper load size setting for each load of laundry or use the automatic setting if your clothes washer has it to ensure you’re not using more water than necessary. Also, use cold water settings whenever possible.
  • Always clean the lint filter on the clothes dryer after each use.  A clogged filter will reduce dryer performance.

How do you save energy at home?  If you have energy saving tips, share them with us!

Five Appliances that Save You Money

Espresso iStockMediumIf you find yourself stopping off at a coffee shop before work each morning, lugging home cases of bottled water from the grocery or always eating out, you might want to look at how home appliances can save you money. Even better, most of them you probably already have in your kitchen so why not start saving money right now?

Coffeemakers—Save on pricy coffeehouse blends by brewing your morning cup at home.  Resisting a $3 cup of coffee will save you nearly $1,000 per year!

Freezers—Stock up on frozen foods when they are on sale. Last year, nearly 2 million home freezers were shipped for sale as consumers realized the savings in stocking up on frozen sale items.  Also, remember to shop for an ENERGY STAR freezer to save even more on energy costs.

Water filters—Use a water filtration system in your refrigerator instead of buying bottled water.  This practice will save you money, and will help the environment by reducing the number of plastic bottles that clog landfills.

Portable electric heaters—Turn down the heat and use portable heaters in rooms that are used frequently.  Keeping the thermostat down will save money while portable heaters provide direct and quick warmth.

Cook at home—An electric oven turned on for one hour on 350ºF only uses 2kWh of electricity, costing just 24 cents.   The cost of dining out can add up quickly when you add in drinks, tips and tax.   Try cooking at home for a low-cost meal.  Tons of free recipes can be found online from AllRecipes.com, Food.com and Food Network just to name a few.

Keep Your Clothes Dryer Operating Safety and Efficiently with These Tips

Lint filter iStockMedium

Proper installation and maintenance of clothes dryers are an important part of ensuring that the appliance performs as designed.

The dryer venting materials are an important factor in dryer performance and safety. AHAM recommends the use of rigid sheet metal or corrugated semi-rigid sheet metal venting material. Never use coiled-wire foil or plastic venting material.

Are your clothes taking longer to dry than they used to? Dryers need maintenance like any other appliance. In order to keep sufficient airflow around the heating source, lint must be removed from the dryer and vent. Lint and dust can build-up over time and reduce airflow, resulting in decreased performance, by not allowing air to circulate freely through the dryer. Don’t forget to clean the back of the dryer, where lint can be trapped. Clean the lint filter before and after each load. The interior of the appliance and venting system should be cleaned periodically by qualified service personnel. Keep the area around the dryer clean and free of clutter.

Dryer Do’s

  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions on installing the dryer and vent system.
  • Replace coiled-wire foil or plastic venting with rigid sheet metal or corrugated semi-rigid sheet metal venting.
  • Clean the lint filter before and after each cycle.
  • Inspect venting system behind dryer to ensure it is not damaged or crushed.

Dryer Don’ts – Do NOT dry the following items in the dryer:

  • Anything containing foam, rubber or plastic (i.e. bathroom rugs, non-slip mats).
  • Any item which the dryer manufacturer’s instructions specifically state “dry away from heat.”
  • Glass fiber materials (unless manufacturer’s instructions permit).
  • Materials on which there was anything flammable (e.g., alcohol, cooking oils, gasoline, spot removers, dry-cleaning solvents, etc.). These should be dried outdoors or in a well- ventilated room, away from heat even if they have gone through the wash cycle. Flammable substances give off vapors that could ignite or explode.
  • Fabric soiled with cooking oils.

A complimentary copy of AHAM’s Clothes Dryer Safety brochure can be obtained by sending a request to info@aham.org. Large quantities of the brochure, as well as those on preventing range tipping, portable heater safety and cooking safety, can be ordered through AHAM’s online store for a nominal shipping fee.