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What's in an appliance? Tom Beardslee from Seattle Home Appliance has some tips on buying quality machines. (AP File/Photo)

Quality home appliances

SPONSORED - Nobody likes to buy things twice, whether they wear out, break, or otherwise need replacing. So when looking for a new home appliance, how can you tell what's a quality piece of engineering, and will keep up with advances in technology? Tom Beardslee from Seattle Home Appliance offers some tips on purchasing an appliance that will last.

New technology advances allow appliance manufacturers to experiment with low-energy products. Induction cooktops, for example, turn your entire cooking space into a burner, but it only heats the pot or pan on top of it. Induction cooktops result in speedy cooking times, which means less energy is wasted, and you can save money on your electric bill.

New advances in refrigerator technology also result in lower-energy appliances. "Some of those are coming out at $45 per year in operating costs," Tom says. New fridges are also benefiting from better insulation. High-density foam results in less energy being lost through the fridge itself.

Washing machines and dryers have also been changing. "The front-load technology has been the leader for many years," Tom says. "They save so much water." Front-loading washing machines use 12-15 gallons of water, compared to a traditional top-loading washing machine with an agitator that uses 50 gallons per load. Your average water savings are quite significant.

Front-loading washing machines save wear-and-tear on your clothes as well; their gentle cycles don't tug on the wet fibers of your clothes. Their spin cycles also leave clothes mostly dry, even before you put them in the dryer, which means you'll also save money on energy to dry your clothes.

When it comes to quality, Tom says there are always recognizable brands, like Kenmore, Whirlpool and Maytag. Kenmore, however, "doesn't make anything," Tom says. They instead are purchasing models made by other manufacturers and private-branding them, which doesn't always result in lack of quality. Every manufacturer makes a different level of quality, Tom says. "The more features, the more expensive the product."

What can make the difference, he adds, is the products you use in said appliances. Detergents low in animal fats result in less clogs in mechanical parts, he says, meaning less maintenance for you. He also suggests cleaning the coils of your fridge every six months, as well as the vents on your dryer -- not the lint screen, he cautions, but the actual vents.

Home Matters with Pete can be heard on KIRO Radio every Saturday at 8 a.m. and Sunday at 6 a.m. or anytime at KIRORadio.com. Like Home Matters on Facebook.

Cait Walsh, MyNorthwest Writer
Caitlyn Walsh is a regular lifestyles contributor for MyNorthwest. She enjoys reading and hiking, as well as perusing all the cat videos the Internet has to offer.
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