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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cleaning the DMR77 dishwasher

We just reinstalled our DMR77 after our kitchen renovation, so it was a good time to figure out if a thorough cleaning would improve wash performance. My main complaint is that the filtering system performance seemed to have degraded after a year, and we often get little bits of dried food on plates and glasses (and yes, we do use a rinse aid). The Sears tech who came to replace the upper rack adjusters recommended Dishwasher Magic or Glisten powder to bring performance back, since the spray arm jets or the filtering system might be clogging up.

An interesting post on Lifehacker (referencing another post on Real Simple) said that using a packet of unsweetened lemon Kool-Aid was a great way to clean the insides of a dishwasher. This is due to the fact that the main ingredient of lemon Kool-Aid is citric acid.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Samsung Service

There have been a lot of comments on this blog regarding the unresponsiveness of Samsung Customer Service. This has ranged from long delays in getting a service call, service call appointments not respected or in some cases useless telephone support.

As a general observation, all of the "mainstream" appliance manufacturers (GE, Whirlpool, Frigidaire, LG) generally provide poor or minimal service and support direct to the consumer. This is because support and service traditionally takes place at the local level, through the dealer where the appliance was purchased. It is simply less expensive to support dealers than to deal directly with consumers, and they rarely, if ever, have retail-level service organizations.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Samsung Induction Range now available

We have always coveted gas ranges but our neighborhood doesn't have gas distribution. This means that if we really want a gas range or cooktop, it means propane conversion and a 200 lb tank as well as overhauling our ventilation.

While doing some consulting work for the Institut de Hotellerie du Quebec (our national chef's school here in Montreal) a couple of years ago, I was introduced to induction, and I was suitably impressed. Since we had begun to design our new kitchen, I began to look into the costs of an induction cooktop. I was not only surprised at how expensive they were (over $2000 for just the cooktop), but also the requirement to upgrade the house electrical. In our case we would have to upgrade our 200A entrance and the wiring to the cooktop (ouch).

But now (finally) Samsung has introduced a standard range with an induction cooktop! And it is quite impressive. Looking very much like my FTQ386, the FTQ307 offers true induction with very slick rangetop touch controls (SelectTouch), and the very obvious elimination of knobs on the range panel. The only other difference I can make out is an increase (!) in the oven capacity from 5.7 to 5.9 cu ft., (with the space saving coming from the induction surface). This range looks like it plugs into a standard 220V range outlet.

I am totally gushing over this and I can't wait to see one (or even get to try one out). However I am concerned that the surface "elements" have been compromised in order to make this compatible with standard range wiring and current limits. There is one large element, but the other three seem to be on the smallish size.

Pricing in Canada at Future Shop is $2900, which seems a bit pricey (suggested retail in the US is $1999).

Thursday, October 1, 2009

160,000 litres of water saved due to HE appliances

In our municipality, our water meters are read every May, and we receive our water tax bill in September. I was quite pleased to see our consumption drop from 463 cubic metres to 303. This saving converts to 160,000 litres or 43,000 U.S. gallons of water.

Virtually all of this water savings was due to our higher efficiency Samsung washer and dishwasher that we put in July 2008, so this is only 10 months of actual reduction in consumption.

This year in August we replaced 2 of our original 16-20 litre per flush toilets with American Standard Flo-wise dual-flush (3/6 litre), which should result in another significant drop in water consumption.

What does this work out to in $ terms? We saw an immediate reduction of $52 on our bill, but since rates have risen significantly, we actually saved $125 over what we would have paid had we consumed as much water as the previous period.

Having done all this, there will be now a declining return on our investment, as our water consumption is charged on a progressive basis (the more you use, the more you pay). We will likely drop consumption to below 200 cubic metres next year, which is charged the lowest rate.

At this point, the swimming pool and our reverse osmosis water system add significantly to water consumption, but we are not about to give up either.