What to consider when changing your appliances

Bermuda Sun Jun 15 2011
By Dr. Jack Garstang Writer/Sub-editor

There is no better time to update your appliances than when renovating a kitchen.

The first question you need to ask is what do you want to do in the kitchen. That should be the determining factor in your purchasing decision.

Further, you need to know how to save money on appliances and what new models are out there that could suit the way we use our kitchen.

We all need to be environmentally conscious these days and using clean-burning propane gas to power appliances is one way to go as is selecting energy-efficient electric ones.

 First of all, remember that the cost of the appliance is not the only consideration. 

David DeSilva, sales manager at Bermuda Gas, said people should first look at their cooking habits before replacing a stove or oven.

“If people do a lot of baking then convection is important. Fan forced baking is faster as well, it circulates heat more evenly, and is not relying on heat coming up from bottom. Roasts also tend to be moister on the inside.

“Once they have decided what they cook or like to cook, there is the basic range, or the double oven free range standing units. This is basically two ovens, which allows you to cook cookies in the top oven and a roast in the bottom.

“Up to now double ovens had to be built in, but we have a 30-inch range which now has a double oven and is available in gas or electric.”

As far as electrical cooking is concerned the latest trends are induction stoves.

This is a magnetic form of cooking, and what the element does is to recognise the pan size with the element only producing heat to fit the bottom surface of the pan.

“If you had a 10-inch burner, only that area under the pot will get hot,” Mr DeSilva said. “You can put your finger on to the edge and you won’t get burnt. It saves on energy, and the good thing is that only the surface under the element gets hot.

“It is similar to a gas burner: instant on, and instant off. The ceramic glass will retain heat, but the whole thing shuts off.”

As induction cookers are new to the market they are relatively expensive. Further, you can only use pans with magnetic bottoms, and obviously copper bottoms are not magnetic. Mr DeSilva advises his customers to use a magnet to test their pans. If space allows, wine refrigeration could be an option for your kitchen. You could even plan for an under-counter wine storage unit.

Mr DeSilva said: “There are several different types out there. Some are basic free standing while others have dual zone areas, where you can separate reds and whites, and have a section more cold for whites and less cold for reds.”

On the refrigeration side, bottom freezers are the trend, “primarily because we spend more time in the fridge than the freezer”, he said.

Dishwashers are far more energy-efficient when it comes to water usage, observes Mr DeSilva.

“They dispense water in the dishwasher more efficiently for cleaning with a half wash option, instead of a full cycle. Noise, too, is a big factor, and now they have reduced the noise levels considerably.

“Laundry appliances have come a lot more efficient, especially with front load units which use less electricity and less water.”

He noted that drying time is reduced using a gas dryer, which is 20 per cent faster than its electric counterpart, which makes gas a less expensive option.

Whether planning a new kitchen or changing your appliances the sales staff at Bermuda Gas are willing to help.

“We welcome people to come in and bring their plans, their ideas on what they like and do budget quotes for them,” Mr DeSilva said.

“We’ve got over 10 major brands that we could work with and anyone of our sales consultants are happy to sit down and work with them. A lot of times it happens they come in and want the biggest and the best, maybe out of their budget range. But we always look to get the cost down by giving them the same sort of options.”