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Stainless steel rules the home

Appliances: Home technology with all the bells and whistles includes rebates

Posted: July 30, 2010 8:52 p.m.
Updated: July 31, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Emanuel Martinez, store manager at Pacific Sales in Valencia, stands next to a top-of-the-line washer/dryer pair from Samsung.

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What recession? When it comes to home appliances, the nifty new features, great deals and government rebates available just might have you out a-spending. But, if you do shop for appliances, make sure you get them with a shiny stainless steel finish. You don’t only want to keep up with the latest innovations, you also want your guests to know you do at a glance!

For our overview of what is happening in the appliance world, we turn to Pacific Sales in Valencia and get the scoop from Store Manager Emanuel Martinez.

Stainless steel finish
Martinez said based on his company’s sales, stainless steel is currently the No. 1 finish for kitchen appliances. He said stainless steel is easy to clean and maintain, and stainless steel appliances increase the resale value of your home. Pacific Sales has appliances in other finishes, but when you walk into the huge showroom, you can’t help but be dazzled by all the gleaming stainless steel glistening under the lights.

We’ll consider a few of the appliances available at Pacific Sales, including top-of-the-line models in stainless, and some models for the more budget-minded.

Washers and dryers
You’ve probably caught on (even I recently have) to the fact front-loading clothes washers are the current trend. “The big advantage is they use up to 70-percent less water than top-loaders,” Martinez said. As an example, he said a top-loader might use 40 to 45 gallons of water during a wash, while a front-loader might only use 15 to 20 gallons.

Martinez said top-loading washers have a center agitator so your clothes are basically moving with the water in the tub.
With front-loaders, the drum is only partially filled with water, and the clothes are tumbled through it. In this way the water cleans more efficiently.

He also said front-loading clothes washers are more energy efficient and — without an agitator post — the capacity is much larger than top-loaders.

We took a look at the top washer/dryer paring available at Pacific Sales, made by Samsung. Both appliances have stainless steel on top and a front and side covering in a silver-gray plastic. Through Aug. 3, the washer (WF520ABP) is priced at $1,599, and dryer (DV520AGA) at $1,569. There are additional discounts from Samsung of up to 20 percent — and don’t forget those rebates. It is important to note these prices do not include the pedestals, which add $229 each. The matching pedestals offer storage and raise the appliances higher for easy access.

While the prices above are definitely “pricey,” you get all the latest features on both appliances.

The washer is a front-loader, offering 4.8 cubic feet of capacity. “It’s the largest capacity in the industry for front-loaders,” Martinez said. Among other advanced settings, the washer has a steam cycle, which helps you remove stubborn stains from clothes.

One of the nice features of this washer, and all front-loaders, according to Martinez, is the small drawer in the upper left, through which you add your detergent, fabric softener and bleach. You add these materials into their own individual compartments in the drawer, and the washer automatically dispenses them at the proper time for the wash settings you have selected. The drawer is easy to pull all the way out for cleaning.

The dryer offers 7.8 cubic feet of capacity, which Martinez said is also the largest available in the industry. It has a stainless steel drum, which will not rust and will not chip or dent as easily as porcelain-coated drums. The dryer also has a steam setting, which allows you to quickly freshen up clothing and remove wrinkles.

“You can steam your clothes while you take a shower, and then you are ready to go,” Martinez said.

The dryer also has a removable shoe rack. With the rack in, you can place shoes or a few delicate items of clothing on it and the drum spins around it while drying. It’s much easier on shoes, and you won’t get that old, annoying ca-clunk, ca-clunk of shoes in the dryer.

We also looked at a lower-priced washer/dryer set, from Frigidaire, priced through Aug. 3 at $899 total (after rebates) for both appliances. Again, this price does not include pedestals — and while you don’t get all the bells and whistles that the Samsung pairing offers, you get appliances with plenty of goodies, including a front-loading washer.
Refrigerators

Martinez next took me to the refrigerator section of the store and pointed out the Samsung RF4287HARS refrigerator. This French door-style unit, with a stainless steel finish and huge freezer on the bottom, has incredible capacity and multiple convenience and energy-saving features. It also carries a hefty price, at $2,999. But remember, you can get up to 20 percent back in rebates from Samsung.

Martinez said this refrigerator has a 28-cubic-foot capacity while the average in the industry for French door units is about 25 to 26 cubic feet. “It’s one of the largest French door refrigerators on the market,” he said.

Refrigerator features include ice and water dispensers on the door and spill-proof shelves that fold and move to allow amazing flexibility in storage. There are two humidity-controlled crisper drawers, LED lights, an easy-access water filter, door shelves that can accommodate two one-gallon milk containers and an icemaker that can be removed so you can easily dump ice into an ice chest. There are also two large drawers where you can store big cakes or platters. These can be set for their own temperature, such as wine/party dishes (42 degrees), deli snacks (37 degrees), cold drinks (33 degrees) or meat/fish (29 degrees).

The freezer has easy to clean bins, vertical pizza storage slots to save space, pullout drawers for frozen veggies and such, and big bottom holding areas for whole turkeys and the like.

For comparison, Martinez showed me a side-by-side refrigerator with good capacity and a stainless steel finish on sale for $899 without rebates. He noted it was “true stainless steel,” unlike some refrigerators that have a silver-gray finish that appears stainless but isn’t.

Ovens/stoves
In the microwave section, Martinez pointed out a great deal on a stainless steel-finished microwave. With features that normally make it much more expensive, this Jenn-Air over-the-range model normally goes for $849. Through Aug. 3, it is on sale for only $199. The microwave has the built-in vent so it can serve as the “hood” over a range. It has a turntable and a stainless steel interior. It also has a convection fan so that you can bake small portions, such as small casserole dishes, cookies, rolls and frozen pizzas.

Now if you are looking for a semiprofessional kitchen, you might consider a Viking range with a main oven and companion oven. At Pacific Sales, this 48-inch range will cost you $9,899. You can get it with eight burners, six burners and a griddle or four burners, a barbecue and a griddle. The burners are sealed to keep food from dripping into them and are easy to clean.

You can get this range with an electric main oven or gas oven (which costs less). The oven/range has a stainless steel front and knobs, and the main oven has convection fans and ball bearing pull-out racks. The oven is also self-cleaning.

The smaller companion oven allows you to cook simultaneously with the larger oven, but at a different temperature. The smaller oven also lets you cook smaller dishes more efficiently.

A separate, 48-inch Viking hood is available for the range at $1,799. It has halogen lights, heat lamps and commercial-grade filters you can clean in a dishwasher. The blower for the hood comes separately and has its own price, which depends on the power you choose, which is related to the number of burners on the range.

Martinez showed me another stainless steel-finished range a little lower down the food chain. This LG model goes for $899 through Aug. 3. At five cubic feet, he said it has one of the largest gas ovens on the market for a free-standing range. It also has warming drawers on the bottom.

Between these two, which cost $1,999, is the stainless steel GE Profile range. It has five burners, and the center burner can be used with a griddle or grate. This range also has a second oven for baking built into the drawer below the main oven.

Martinez emphasized state rebates are available for the purchase of certain new refrigerators ($200), clothes washers ($100), dishwashers ($100) and freezers ($50). Visit www.cash4appliances.org for more information. In addition to the special deals it currently offers, Pacific Sales also offers free delivery of appliances (if you are within 30 miles of a Pacific Sales store), free installation and setup, and free haul-away of your old appliances.

The Valencia Pacific Sales is located at 29011 The Old Road, Valencia, CA 91355. Call (661) 294-4400 or visit www.pacificsales.com for more information.

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