Kitchen Remodel Tips

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With the tremendous following home remodeling televisions shows have these days, it comes as no surprise that the do-it-yourself trend is on the rise. While doing things yourself to enhance the value of your home can save a bundle and even become a fun family project, it’s important to understand that some things are not meant to be done by anyone other than a licensed and bonded contractor. When we start to have initial discussions about remodeling a kitchen, it’s often the case that homeowners get excited very quickly and want to hop right in, knocking down walls and opening up space before they even realize what a load-bearing wall is or what kind of damage could be done to floors, electrical systems, or the overall integrity of the home.

DIY is a great way to approach projects like painting bathrooms, retexturing kitchen and coffee tables, and even adding fixtures like sconces. But when it comes to what we now know homebuyers consider the most important room of the house, bringing in professionals is probably your best bet. Once you’ve hired a contractor to remodel your kitchen, what are the best ways to beautify it, make it more functional, and have the remodel increase the value of the home?

Make it bigger: Enlarging the kitchen is important. Homebuyers have noted over the past four years or so more than ever that the kitchen is the “most important room of the house,” and that’s because in most cases, it isn’t just where we eat—it’s where we congregate, make important decisions, and in open floor planned homes, everything that happens in the kitchen is part of what’s happening in the family room as well, whether it’s a family conversation or listening in on the big game. Larger kitchens bring in buyers willing to pay more, and they also accommodate more cabinetry and larger islands and countertops, which means more storage and more room to prep, cook, and convene.

Reface or replace cabinets: There’s nothing worse to a potential homebuyer than a beautiful kitchen space and floor plan with worn out and/or outdated cabinetry. If your cabinets are old in a bad way (and by this we mean to exclude well executed midcentury modern cabinetry and the like) you can have them refaced or replaced. Refacing is an excellent money-saving choice if the cabinetry is made from quality wood that’s still in good condition. Conversely, replacing kitchen cabinets is your best bet for enhancing home value and the look of your kitchen when existing cabinets are poorly constructed or fabricated from particleboard and/or other cheap materials.

Replace aging appliances: If your kitchen is lined with old, white appliances from the 1990s or before, it’s time for an upgrade. Even if you think these appliances are perfectly fine, there are several good reasons to replace them. To begin, if they don’t have the Energy Star seal, it’s costing you more money to cool your food, wash your dishes, and heat your food than it needs to. When you purchase a new Energy Star approved refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, oven, or range, you’re investing in the value of your home while also reducing your cost of living.

How to Care for Cast Iron Appliances

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Cast iron appliances and stovetops have been a mainstay of the American kitchen for decades. Before we had the modern conveniences we have today, cast iron griddles, kettles, pots, and pans were all important tools in the meal preparation process. Interestingly, no matter how modern our kitchens get, cast iron remains an important material to both cook on and in. Though we have electric ranges and induction cooktops, the gas range is still a favorite among most gourmet chefs—as well as the well-seasoned cooks in many US households.

The great thing about cast iron cooktops and appliances is that they absolutely stand the test of time—they are the true workhorses in any kitchen where they are utilized. But because they are used with such great frequency, it can sometimes cause a need for more frequent or deeper cleaning. Cast iron is a porous material, so unlike some of its counterpart materials, it is penetrated bythe oils, juices, and the smells that come with everyday use. To keep your cast iron appliances and cooktops clean and functional, maintenance is required—but don’t worry—the job of cleaning these items is nowhere near as tough as the appliances themselves!

In most instances, cast iron appliances or the iron grates of a gas stovetop, for example, can simply be soaked overnight in warm water with a healthy dose of liquid detergent. Most kitchen décor professionals and chefs will tell you: using a quality dishwasher detergent to soak cast iron items in the sink overnight will work better than using a regular hand-dishwashing soap. The reason for this is that the constituents of the dishwasher soap are stronger, and by removing the stains, smells, and items stuck to your cast iron appliances or grates chemically, you won’t have to worry about using abrasive manual methods. After a good soak, rinse and lightly scrub with a soft-sided sponge to avoid damage. For stubborn areas, you can gently use the rough side of a sponge, but do this gingerly and with caution.

While some people feel perfectly safe to use steel wool or other very coarse tools to scrub cast iron appliances, you can actually do much more harm than good this way. Some very old cast iron skillets may do well with this approach, as most who clean their iron items this way are also educated in how to “season” their skillets and pans—a process that requires the use of oil, heating, and experience to do correctly. In addition, the cast iron covers for the eyes of your gas stovetop are not appropriate for the seasoning process, as it is the job of these pieces is to keep debris, water, and oils away from the gas eye itself. A simple overnight sit in the sink with a strong dish detergent is your best bet—especially for cast iron grates or appliances that have a porcelain seal or coat that can be easily damaged by harsh scrubbing with steel wool or harsh brushing utensils.

Appliances Connection Announces Mobile Site

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press-release-imagePRESS RELEASE – September 12, 2014

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK – Appliances Connection, America’s premier online retailer for major home appliances and furniture in every category,  announced today the launch of a convenient mobile site. Optimized for phones, tablets, and other mobile devices, it is easier to navigate by touch, offering both convenience of on-the-go shopping and Appliances Connection’s legendary selection of home goods by top manufacturers.

Now it’s easier than ever to find the best deals on the highest-quality products, allowing customers to compare products straight from their phone or tablet while they’re shopping. That means that the best deals are always just a tap away.

“This is a constantly changing market,” says Appliances Connection social media manager Brian Visaggio, “and customers deserve to be able to get the best price available for any product. Our new mobile site allows the sort of on-the-fly price comparisons that make saving real money easy.”

The mobile site offers all the content of the desktop site, including product pages, sales, rebates, user-generated reviews, and customer service content. With access to the same feature-rich experience, users can make their buying decisions when it’s on their mind. With many home renovation and decor projects taking place on weekends or at odd hours, customers no longer need to sit down at a computer to find exactly the product they need, but can instead determine their needs and make the purchase almost simultaneously.

Visaggio concludes, “Appliances Connection has already revolutionized the desktop shopping experience. With this mobile site, we’re going to do it again.”

What to Know When Buying Your Appliances Online

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We know ordering appliances online is different than shopping in a store. There are many advantages to ordering online. It allows you to find the perfect appliance without ever leaving the comfort of your home. How do you know the appliance is perfect for you? At Appliances Connection, we strive to make your shopping experience convenient so that you only get what you want. Here are things you should know before making your appliance purchase online.

Research and Ask Questions

The very first thing to do is research appliances and ask questions. You’ll want to look at different features and narrow your list down to appliances that have only the features that you want. See what other customers are saying by reading reviews like the ones you can from us. Write down any questions you have about the appliance, pick up the phone, and give us a call. We’ll be happy to answer any of your questions about our large or small kitchen appliances.

Measure

You’ll want to make sure that your appliance will fit when you order it, so measure the area where it will need to go. Measure it three times to make sure you get the dimensions correct. When you order your appliance, make sure it will fit within the space you have available.

Get the Best Price

The internet is amazing because it allows you to shop around for prices. At Appliances Connection, we offer low prices and price match, so you can be sure to get the best price around. We even offer buy now, ship later so you can get a good deal now and have your appliance delivered at a later date.

Thoroughly Inspect Upon Delivery

When your appliance is delivered, thoroughly inspect it to make sure it will work for you. If it won’t work, send it back. If it will, sign the papers and have it installed.

We’re Here to Help

There are a lot of things to know before purchasing your appliances online. Don’t forget about removing your old appliances when you’re through. That’s something we can help you with. If you have any other questions about large or small kitchen appliances and purchasing online, go ahead and call Appliances Delivery for assistance.

Stainless Steel and Fighting the Fingerprints

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At Appliances Connection, we understand how excited you are to receive your brand new, shiny clean appliances. We also understand your commitment to keeping those appliances looking new for as long as you own them. Stainless steel looks beautiful, but the thought of fingerprints makes some people hesitate. We’re here to tell you that you can still get beautiful stainless steel discount appliances and keep them fingerprint free.

Stainless Steel Cleaner 

First and foremost, you can simply invest in a stainless steel cleaner polish and buff the fingerprints right out. We even carry towels with the cleaner built in so you don’t have to worry about overspray onto counters or cabinets.

Dusting Spray or Window Cleaner

If you’re short on cleaner, dusting spray or window cleaner also works just fine. To get the best effect, let the spray or cleaner sit for one minute before wiping off.

Olive Oil, Baby Oil, or Car Wax

You know how you use oil or wax and buff it on your beautiful car until it sparkles? You can do the same thing with your stainless steel home appliances. Put your choice of olive oil, baby oil, or car wax onto a cloth and buff until the appliance is uniformly shiny. It also helps to prevent fingerprinting for a little while.

Vinegar and Water

When in doubt, mixing one part vinegar to three parts water is a great way to get out stubborn fingerprints. Mix the vinegar and water in a spray bottle, then use the spray like a normal cleaner.

At Appliances Connection, we understand the desire to keep your brand new home appliances looking like new. Fight the fingerprints on stainless steel appliances with the suggestions above. If you’re worried about overspray more than anything else, invest in some of our stainless steel cleaner cloths. For the best results, clean your stainless steel appliances once a week. For any questions you might have about discount appliances and how to keep them clean, call us right away.

How to Choose the Right Grill for Your Outdoor Kitchen

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Summer is here, and what better time to kick back in your backyard with good food and old friends? If you have the space, adding an outdoor kitchen saves you from running back and forth to your house while creating a fun outdoor environment to entertain guests.

Below are some tips to choose the right grilling appliances for your outdoor kitchen, part of our new Summer appliance series.

Grills

The grill is the centerpiece of outdoor cooking and can be placed anywhere outdoor your home. Depending on the features you’re looking for, simple kettle grills can run as cheap as $100 while high-end gas grills can cost thousands of dollars. There are plenty of choices, so look at which type and what size will work best for your home.

How much space do you have?Grills with side burner can take up a lot of room, so measure your available space to ensure your choice of grill can fit.

How often will you be grilling? If you grill a lot, a charcoal grill may not be the best choice as they take a much longer time than gas or electric grills to heat. However, if you will only be using on weekends and are looking for a more cost-efficient method, charcoal may be the right choice.

What will you be grilling?Whether you will be grilling single food items or entire meals will determine how large of a grill you will need. Steaks and vegetables can be cooked in a relatively small space, but if you’re grilling larger items for a larger group of people, don’t let your cooking be limited by your grill’s size.

Grill Types

Charcoal Grills 

Charcoal grills come in a wide-range of models, from portable to grill/smoker combinations. The cooking flavor is more intense than gas models; however, cooking will take time as it typically takes 15 to 30 minutes for the grill to heat.

Natural Gas Grills / Propane Grills

While upfront gas grills are typically more expensive, per use cost is significantly less than charcoal. Additionally, grills will preheat in a few minutes with either a push-button, rotary or electronic lighter. While the flavor is milder than charcoal, you have better temperature control. Propane tanks typically hold 20 pounds of fuel that last for around 9 hours. Natural gas grills require a direct gas hookup.

Electric Grills

If you live in an area where charcoal or gas is not available, an electric grill is a great option for grilling. It can be used anywhere near an electrical outlet. These models are typically best suited for apartments.

Cooking Grids

There are different styles of cooking grids for your grill, but cast-iron is the best for heat retention and cleaning. Stainless steels grids are rust-resistant; however, food typically sticks. Porcelain-coated does not stick; however, the coating can chip if not properly cared for.

And don’t forget about the grill accessories!

While you only really need a brush, tong, spatula and fork to grill, there are plenty of accessories that are great to have:

Cooking Baskets Skewers will help cook smaller food items faster.

A rotisserie can fit on many models and will add greater flexibility to what you’ll be able to cook.

A good grill pad will help keep grease from staining your prep surfaces and patio.

How to Host a Barbecue in the Comfort of Your Kitchen

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Summer is here, and that means grilling season. Nothing beats a good backyard barbecue, with the smell of freshly-cut grass, friends milling around, and burgers, pieces of chicken, and corn on the cob being flipped over a charcoal grill.

However, if you live in an apartment or do not have a backyard, there are ways to host a barbecue – in the comfort of your own kitchen.

You can basically grill anything indoors as you would outside. Many consumer gas ranges include grills built into your cooktop, such as FiveStar and GE. There are also home appliances like contact grills, like a George Foreman, and portable cast-iron griddles that quickly allow your commercial stove to produce that aesthetically appetizing grill lines at a relatively cheap cost.  Grilling pans are also very good at producing the “Maillard reaction” from grilling, in which amino acids react with sugars to produce the browning so familiar with barbecue.

One pitfall to look out for is smoke. You should always grill near a window or under a range hood, but there are some steps you can take before you grill to help avoid setting off your fire alarm.  Be sure to pat dry any marinated meat with a paper towel before placing on the grill pan and avoid any coarse rubs that’ll likely fall into the cracks of your grill. A simple solution is a dry powder rub, which stick tightly to the meat after rubbed with a few drops of canola or grape seed oil (avoid olive oil).

While some of the outdoor grill “flavor” may disappear, you can easily substitute smoked paprika or chipotle powder with a few drops of natural liquid smoke to your barbecue sauces. You can also avoid the splatter produced by the meat’s fat and water content by either covering your meat with aluminum foil or finish the cooking process in your oven after searing.

You can also enjoy crisp, juicy corn on the cob with just a microwave. The most important step is to leave the husk on the fresh corn, which traps steam and cooks the cob quickly. After three to five minutes, you can let the corn cool and then remove the husk and silk.

While these steps may not be the barbecues you remember of your youth, you will be able to enjoy steak, corn, and a nice glass of wine or lemonade in the comfort of your air-conditioned home.

Tell us: do you have any indoor grilling tips?

What Do Dishwasher Noise Levels Even Mean?

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When shopping for a dishwasher, there are plenty of factors to consider: wash cycles, adjustable racks, and energy efficiency. However, one of the most popular features is its decibel level. While most dishwashers tend to have similar decibel levels, just one decibel can make a huge difference: a single decibel increase is actually 30 percent louder.

When researching dishwashing appliances online, here are some features that will determine how noisy a dishwasher can be:

Insulation Quality

Insulation is installed along the sides, top and the door of the dishwasher. Proper insulation not only reduces noise but also improves energy efficiency. Look for dishwashers with an Energy Star rating and/or quiet operation features as these units have sufficient insulation.

Sound Dampening Material

There are additional sound-deadening materials that can be installed around a dishwasher to dampen the noise, especially if you own an older model. These materials can be attached with construction adhesive or silicone sealant along the sides and tops of the dishwasher.

Stainless Steel vs. Plastic Tubs

Stainless steel tubs are quieter than plastic tubs because the stainless steel absorbs noise better. While stainless steel models tend to have a higher upfront price than plastic models, you will save long-term costs due to its ability to better retain heat and increase the efficiency of the drying cycle.

So while a decibel rating above 60 could be deafening, dishwashers with a rating in the 40s are virtually silent. Here is an abbreviated list of the most popular dishwasher models currently available at Appliances Connection and their decibel rating:

 

Best Apartment Size Appliances Every Household Should Have

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Whether you live in a tiny 100 square-foot apartment or a starter home in the suburbs, appliances quickly fill up space that you may not have. However, just because you’re limited by space and size does not mean that you have to downgrade the quality of the appliances you use every day, from washers to refrigerators and dishwashers. Below are appliances that work great and efficient and won’t take up too much room.

Apartment Size Cooktop: Whirlpool G7CE3635XS

While a cooktop is great for reheating soup, you’re able to make your favorite meals on one as well. Whirlpool’s G7CE3635XS cooktop is a 36-inch ceramic glass cooktop that features two dual radiant elements to allow you the flexibility you need for the varying sizes of your pots and pans. Additionally, when making sauces, Whirlpool’s cooktop features an AccuSimmer for exact temperature control. What’s best about a cooktop, especially in small kitchens, is how easy it is to clean. Even the knobs are dishwasher-safe!

Apartment Size Refrigerator: Summit FF7BSSTB

A reliable refrigerator is vital to your kitchen; however, they tend to take up the most space. When you have a small kitchen or don’t have the need for a lot of cooling space, a smaller refrigerator is a great option. Summit’s FF7BSSTB compact refrigerator has deep shelf space, adjustable glass shelves, but will only take up 24 inches of space. It is perfect for any tight spaces in your kitchen and can easily fit underneath your countertop. Additionally, since the fridge was designed for freestanding use, it looks great in any spot of your home. An additional benefit with the Summit – and many other compact fridges – is it is energy-efficient. Not only will an apartment size refrigerator save you room but also money at the end of every month.

Apartment Size Freezer: Hoshizaki CRMF27

 

A compact freezer is a great addition to any household, even if you have the room for a full-size refrigerator/freezer unit. It will keep your frozen food more organized and allow you more space. Additionally, separate units look great in any kitchen redesign. Hoshizaki’s CRMF27 has a sleek stainless steel exterior and fits perfectly in any small spaces and/or under your counter. Most importantly, it keeps your frozen goods accessible, a problem that plagues many refrigerators when you have to reach down or kneel to the ground.

Apartment Size Dishwasher: Maytag MDC480PAB

When you may not have the room or the budget for a built-in dishwasher, a portable model is a great option to keep your dishes clean. Maytag’s MDC480PAB portable JetClean dishwasher is dependable and has all the features any built-in model would have: stainless-steel choppers to break down any food left on your dishes as well as a high-pressure jets to remove any tough food particles. This dishwasher is also Energy Star-qualified, so it will save you energy and water as well as lower your utility bill.

What’s Most Important in a Kitchen’s Design

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Kitchens are the heart of every home, so it’s important that the functionality of the kitchen is intact. It should be where everyone gathers to cook large family dinners, but also where your kids should feel comfortable working on their school projects.

If you are redesigning your kitchen, you should pay attention to how the layout of your kitchen affects your everyday life. Here are five areas that are most important to the design of your kitchen – as well as the everyday life of you and your family.

Counter Space

Bottom line: if you do not have enough counter space, you will not have a functional kitchen. However decorative you’d like your kitchen to be, it’s important that you have adequate space to prepare dinner as well as store your kitchen appliances.

Look at your everyday activities to determine what you need your counterspace for and how much you require. Additionally, make a list of the appliances you prefer to be permanently located on your countertops. These may include a toaster, coffee maker, food processor, or many other major kitchen appliances. If you don’t have a plan for your kitchen appliances, it’s very easy to start accumulating more than can fit in the space you’ve allotted.

The Triangle

In design, the kitchen triangle is the link between the sink, the stove, and the refrigerator.  The best designs have seamless access to and from all three locations. If your kitchen island or narrow walkways cut access to any of the three areas, any job done in the kitchen will take up more time and over time will become much more of a hassle.

Once the triangle is determined in your kitchen redesign, then you can focus on other areas of the kitchen to perform more specific tasks, such as garbage disposal and food preparation. Additionally, if you prefer to have in-kitchen seating for light snacks and/or dinner, it’s important to evaluate the space so that it best accommodates the members of your family and even guests.

Storage Space

As I mentioned, it’s easy to accumulate kitchen appliances as well as dry goods, spices, and many other items you use on a daily basis. Being able to properly conceal all these items will not only help in the flow of your kitchen design, but also look much more aesthetically pleasing. Additionally, pay attention to how these items are stored. It’s important your kitchen appliances are accessible. If you have to pull out a dozen pots and pans to pull out your waffle iron, I promise you won’t be keen on making waffles every morning.

Lighting

While most rooms have general lighting, it’s important to have the right amount of task lighting for the specific work areas of your kitchen. If you don’t have the right amount of lighting near your stove, it may be difficult to determine, for example, the amount of sugar you poured into a measuring cup.

Look at your design and allow that to determine where and what types of lighting your kitchen will require. As long as you have the right amount of lighting, your kitchen will be efficient – and will show off the excellent décor.

Garbage 

No one wants that garbage exposed, both literally and figuratively. Say goodbye to the old days of just sticking a bin under the sink. There is much more in planning the proper trash disposal.

Not only will you need proper space for trash, but also sections for recyclables. Most trash services segment glass, plastic, and aluminum, and some – especially apartments – ask to separate items such as baby diapers and cat litter. Not only is in mandatory in your area, but it’ll make your kitchen not only better-smelling but also more efficient when it needs to be.