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THE ENERGY EFFICIENT RANGE HOOD CHOICE


Selecting Kitchen Appliances

As you are looking through house plans or have already purchased the plans for your dream home, you are probably envisioning the kitchen and the type of appliances you would like. The appliance selection process can be a very exciting part of building a new home.

Major appliances, such as refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers &dryers, gas and electric cooking ranges, ovens and cooktops, microwave ovens, and dishwashers have greatly improved over the last several decades. They have increased in functionality, energy conservation, and there is a greater selection of styles and colors that are more readily available. This also means there are many more items to consider when selecting your new appliances. With so many choices it is helpful to ask yourself several questions:

  • What types of models are available? With major appliances there are many different shapes and styles to choose from. For refrigerators there are top or bottom mounts (the freezer is on either the top or bottom of the refrigerator), or side-by-side units with vertical doors. For cooking units there are a couple options. Ranges combine a cooktop with an oven, or the other option, which is becoming more popular, is a separate cooktop for an island or countertop and then has the oven in a different location. With cooking units you also need to decide if you want gas or electric. In washers and dryers the main difference is top loading or side loading. Dishwasher models are fairly standard.
  • How much do I want to spend? With the variety of models and added functions the prices of new appliances can fluctuate greatly. Refrigerators for example can start at $400 and go up to over $1,800 for top of the line models with lots of bells and whistles. For major appliances the price will increase as the size of the unit and the number of added functions increases. Price also tends to be influenced by the color and style of the appliance. For example, a stainless steel appliance is going to be more expensive than a standard white one.
  • What size and functions do I need for my new appliances? The people who are going to be using the appliances usually determine the answer to this question. Will you need an extra large washer and dryer for your family's laundry needs, does your family like to get ice or cold water from a door unit in the refrigerator, do you need a large freezer section, or do you want six burners and a griddle for your cooktop, are some common questions. Yours and your family's lifestyle help to determine the functions you need in your appliances. The size of the appliance can also be determined by how much space is available for installation in additions to allowing adequate clearance. An example would be if you want to have a large 48 inch wide refrigerator but the layout of the kitchen won't allow for the door to fully open. This would cause you to reconsider your choice in refrigerator size.
  • What type of warranty is available? When shopping for and comparing new appliances it is always important to fully understand the warranty. You will want to know if the warranty covers the entire product or if only certain parts are covered, the length of time the warranty is good for, and if labor is included. More than likely you will need to have something fixed on your appliances during their 10-15 year life span, so it is a good idea to know what is covered.

As you are going through the process of selecting your new appliances, it is beneficial to coordinate with your builder. This is important so that appliance sizes and functions can be accommodated for. For example if you are going to have a gas cooktop you will need to have gas lines run to the appropriate location, or water hookups might need to be installed for door icemakers. If proper planning is done, it will save costs in building and will allow you to incorporate almost any appliances into your dream kitchen.

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