Get the best quality kitchen and laundry appliances with these tips, brought to you by Whirlpool.
Whether you shop at a department store or your neighbourhood appliance outlet, knowing which 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's what you need to ask.
Question One: Will this fit in my space?
It sounds obvious, but too often homeowners head to the store without measuring the dimension of their kitchen or laundry room and current appliances first. (Unless you’re planning on remodeling, in which case you have free rein.) Factor in air-circulation clearance that you many need, too — for example, positioning a refrigerator two to three inches away from the wall — and ensure that you have enough room to open the door or lid of the appliance. Don't forget to measure your halls and doorways, too. Get tips on placing your appliances beforehand. Finally, make sure you have adequately grounded, three-hole receptacles, as recommended by The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM).
Question Two: What is the capacity of the model?
Finding an appliance that fits in your space should be a first priority. But if you’re comparing similarly sized appliances, then you can begin to compare capacity. Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency recommends thinking long-term: If your family is growing, or if family members are moving out, this will impact your needs. If it's growing, consider the KitchenAid® Architect Series II French Door refrigerator, which features the most shelf-space of any fridge in the industry. (This is based on shelf space in external ice and water dispensing French door refrigerators without ice storage in the door.) Likewise, the Cabrio™ High Efficiency Top-Loading Washer can wash three baskets of laundry in a single load.
Question Three: Are there convenient timing features?
Newer models of dishwashers and laundry machines offer shorter cycles or even delayed or timed starts for more convenience. ("Energy-saver,” “light” and “short-wash” cycles typically use less water and save energy, also, according to Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency.) The Whirlpool Duet Fanfresh™ option with Dynamic Venting Technology™ (DVT) has a built-in washer fan that activates after the wash cycle is over, tumbling clothes for up to 16 hours (when you can't get to the washer right away). It helps keep clothes fresh and reduces wrinkles by tumbling clothes periodically after cycle’s end. Intermittent tumbling in the washer helps reduce the growth of odour-causing bacteria. This feature allows you to wash and dry a small load right in the washer, or simply run the fan to start drying out the washer between cycles. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers recommends asking for the use and care manuals before you buy, so that you can make informed decisions.
Question Four: Is this an ENERGY STAR® qualified appliance?
It’s worth investing in an ENERGY STAR qualified product, because it will be considerably more energy efficient than comparable, non-qualified models. That means you’ll save on your energy bills over the long term. Also, look for the yellow-and-black EnerGuide label on refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers and clothes washers, which tells you the estimated annual energy consumption of the model measured in kilowatt hours (kWhs).
Once you're comparing ENERGY STAR qualified models, select the one with lower kilowatts per year to save electricity and cash. The KitchenAid Architect Series II side-by-side refrigerator, for instance, uses 152 kWh less per year than the least efficient similar model fridge. Note that not all product categories have ENERGY STAR standards, for example, dryers, but some may offer features that save significant amounts of energy. Case in point: the Whirlpool Duet Steam Electric Dryer, boasts an Eco Normal dry cycle that saves up to 40 percent of dryer energy when paired with the Duet washer, compared to traditional top-load laundry pairs with an average size load. Get more information on choosing models in our article, "Choosing Energy-Efficient Appliances".
Whirlpool Canada — which supplies Kitchen Aid, Whirlpool, Maytag, Amana and Jenn-Air brand appliances — won the 2011 ENERGY STAR Manufacturer of the Year Award for the third consecutive year for its commitment to Energy Star leadership, throughout the appliance life cycle from manufacturing, transportation, usage and disposal.
Question Five: How much water does it 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. ENERGY STAR qualified models use less. For example, the Maytag Bravos top load high efficiency Washer easily handles large loads — with an unsurpassed 5.3 cu. ft. I.E.C. — while using 76 per cent less water and 78 per cent less energy than conventional top-loading washers manufactured before 2004.
Question Six: What does the warranty cover?
The Government of Ontario Consumer Protection division recommends finding out what’s covered in a warranty, such as parts and labour, and for how long. Whirlpool® Canada appliances, including Whirlpool® Home Appliances, Jenn-Air® Home Appliances and KitchenAid® appliances, come with a limited one-year warranty. All Maytag® refrigerators have a 10 year warranty on the compressor. Be sure to keep your sales receipt, owner’s manual and warranty after you purchase your appliance, and remember to register your appliance with the 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.
Question Seven: 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 simpler to clean than metal racks in a refrigerator. (Just remember to avoid using hot or warm water on cold glass shelves, which may cause breakage.) Also, use a stainless steel cleaner, such as Affresh Stainless Steel Spray for stainless steel exteriors, best results. Find out more in our article, "How To Maintain Appliances."
Question Eight: Are delivery and installation included?
These can be expensive but necessary costs, so find out what's included in the purchase price when you're shopping around.
Question Nine: Will my old appliances be disposed of safely?
If your appliance retailer offers to take away your old products, be sure that they're being responsible. According to Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that cool refrigerators and freezers can escape and damage the atmosphere’s ozone layer if not recovered properly. Contact your municipality about appliance collection programs for safe disposal.
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**Based on a 3lb load of lightweight fabrics.
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