Dear Claudia: My kitchen appliances are nearly 10 years old, for Christmas I get to choose new ones. I am sure there is a lot of new technology and I have no idea what I am looking for. I welcome your input.
How exciting! Without knowing specifically what you are replacing I can only give you general suggestions. By selecting Energy Star appliances you will save money on your energy bills. Also, select appliances that are higher end name brands such as Viking and Thermador, if possible. Although it is a greater investment it is definitely worth it. It will increase the value of your home and they tend to last longer.
When it comes to refrigerators, the counter depth style gives you a more built-in look to blend in with the kitchen cabinetry and takes up less room. Here in Arizona I believe it is a must to have an ice and water dispenser. If you are used to cooking big meals it is convenient to have a six-burner cook top and two double ovens. Look for an oven and microwave with convection technology that cooks faster and more evenly.
If you choose to buy appliances from different vendors make sure they at least have similar handles and matching finishes. To avoid a common mistake when shopping for new appliances, make sure that you measure the spaces of the exiting appliances and verify that your new appliances will fit.
Dear Claudia: I bought my house a year ago and last winter I noticed that my single-paned windows were making it harder to keep my house warm. Every month I had excessively high gas bills.
Is it worth changing the windows to double paned or are there other options?
It is always a great investment for your home to replace your windows with the Energy Star seal of approval.
Today, manufacturers use an array of advanced technology to make Energy Star-qualified windows. They will contribute to protect the environment as well as save you money on your heating and cooling bills.
In addition, they will deliver more comfort, protect your decor from sun damage and create less condensation. For instance, the interior glass stays warmer, so you can have a bed close to the window even when the temperature drops below freezing.
They need to be installed by a trained professional, according to manufacturer instructions. Otherwise, your warranty may be void.
Additionally, good quality drapes or other window coverings, a roof overhang or a shade tree and sealing all the gaps from drafts can help you reduce energy as well.
Claudia Dabdoub is a resident of Ahwatukee Foothills and owner of D'amore Interior Design Studio. To ask a question for an upcoming column, reach her at (480) 751-9938 or www.damoreinteriordesignstudio.com.