Choosing The Right Appliances

Whether you shop at a department store or your neighbourhood appliance outlet, knowing what 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 are some tips on what you need to ask.

1.  Will this fit in my space?  It sounds obvious, but too often homeowners head to the store without measuring the dimensions of their kitchen or laundry room and current appliances first.  Factor in air-circulation clearance that you may need, and make sure you have enough room.  Also, don’t forget to measure your halls and doorways, too.  Finally, make sure you have adequately grounded receptacles.

2. What does the warranty cover?  Find out what’s covered in warranty, such as parts and labour and for how long.  Many refrigerators come with a limited one-year warranty, for instance.  All KitchenAid® refrigerators have a 10 year warranty on sealed refrigerator 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 appliances and remember to register your appliance with 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.  IKEA has a fabulous warranty

3. Is this an ENERGY STAR® qualified appliance?  It’s worth investing in an ENERGY STAR® qualified product, because it will be considerable more energy efficient than comparable, non-qualified models.  That means you will save on your energy bills over the long term.  Also, look for the yellow and black EneryGuide label on refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers and clothes washers, which tell you the estimated annual energy consumption of the model measured in kilowatt hours (kWhs).  Once you have compared ENERGY STAR® qualified models, select one with lower kilowatts per year to save electricity and cash.  Whirlpool Canada, which supplies Kitchen Aid, Maytag, Whirlpool and Jenn-Air brand appliances, actually won the 2009 ENERGY STAR manufacturer of the Year Award for its commitment to Energy Star leadership.

4. 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 simper to clean that metal racks in a refrigerator.    Avoid using hot water on cold glass shelves, which may cause breakage.  Also, for stainless steel appliances use a stainless steel polish for best results.

5.  What is the cylce length?  Newer models of dishwashers and laundry machines offer shorter cycles or even delayed or timed starts for more convenience.  The Association of Home Appliances Manufactures recommends asking for the use and care manuals before you buy, so that you can make informed decisions.

6.  What is the capacity of the model?  Finding an appliance that fits your space should be a first priority.  But if you’re comparing similarly sized appliances, then you can begin to compare capacity.

7. 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.  Some models easily handle large loads, while using less water.


Alison O’Toole

Alison O’Toole

CENTURY 21 Bachman & Associates
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