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Choosing Major Kitchen Appliances

It can be very exciting to go shopping for major appliances. These are big ticket items and can make a major impact on your home. If you plan on working with a designer for your kitchen remodel, which is highly recommended, they will probably need a list of desired appliances along with there sizes because this will have a big impact on the design of the kitchen.


Dishwashers have evolved through the years and are largely much quieter and often are made to blend in to your kitchen design. It would be wise to look for a dishwasher that utilizes quieter motors and stainless steel interiors. This will help deaden the noise which is important if you plan on having your kitchen open to the rest of your living space. You can also get them with custom panels to match or blend in with your cabinetry as you can with other appliances such as refrigerators. Another option you might want to consider if you do a lot of entertaining or have a large family is to have more than one dishwasher. This is becoming more and more common in modern kitchen designs. Most American made dishwashers are a standard 24 inches so if you are in the states, replacing an old one is usually no problem. Check the measurements before getting a European made dishwasher. They are generally less wide than American.

Cook-tops and Stoves
Conventional stove/oven combinations are still available but cook-tops that are fully independent from ovens bring you more features and flexibility to both. Commercial cook-tops are becoming more popular in residential kitchens because they cater to the gourmet chef. High-end gas cook-tops feature low-level BTU which provides maximum control for precise cooking. Burners with an inner and an outer flame perform with high-precision and consistent heating.

Residential units are chasing commercial units in terms of price and features, so do your homework. Electric cook-tops may be less expensive, but will not have the same precision as gas models. Cook-tops range in size from 30 to 38 inches wide, but may be as wide as 48 inches if a griddle is included.

An island is a good option for those that enjoy entertaining. It allows party hosts to face their guests while cooking. If you want to thoroughly open up the kitchen, install a cook-top with a downdraft ventilation system. This will eliminate the need for overhead hoods.

Standard and Convection Ovens
Ovens now come in two types—convection and conventional. Convection ovens are more expensive. They feature blowers that circulate the heat for faster, even cooking. As with dishwashers, double oven are becoming more common and warming drawers, once a fairly prominent fixture in kitchens, are seeing a come-back in kitchens today. Warming drawers can be set from 0 to 175° Fahrenheit to maintain the texture and temperature of cooked foods without drying them out. Warming drawers cost anywhere from $800 to $1000, but are very useful in kitchens and will see a lot of use providing for large or complex meals.

Convection microwaves offer new cooking options for homeowners pressed for time. They have roasting, baking, and crisping capabilities and combine all the reheat features of a microwave with the cooking options of a convection oven. Cooking time can be cut in half, but the flavor and texture of the food remains.

Refrigerators come in side-by-side, top-and-bottom, and built-in models. Choosing a style may be a matter of personal preference, but the size of your family should dictate the size of refrigerator you purchase. A family of four may only need a 21 to 25 ft3 unit, but a family of six or more might need a 27 to 32 ft3 unit. Just remember that the width of the unit determines placement options. Let the needs of the family determine the size of the fridge, there’s nothing worse than having a refrigerator that doesn’t function to fit the family.

When considering additional features like ice makers or water dispensers, you should consider placement. These features require water hook up which will require extra plumbing. You should also consider that a paneled refrigerator won’t go well with an external water dispenser because spills can damage the paneling over time.

Height and width need to be taken into account when purchasing a refrigerator. They can be as tall as 68 inches or more and as wide as 36 inches. You will need sufficient clearance from hallways, doorways and so forth. Refrigerators that will be placed next to a wall will require a suitable door design. A standard rule of thumb is to allow at least 2 inches on each side to allow a door to swing open.

One trend recently coming about is to add auxiliary fridge/freezer drawers. These under-the-counter units can be used to store beverages or overflow items from the refrigerator or freezer.

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