Follow-up on new GFCI code requirement

Remodeling a Kitchen? Think about updating GFCI outlets.

This is an update of a blog I wrote last year regarding new NEC requirements for GFCI plugs as of June 29, 2015.

New Rules on GFCI Receptacles

We purchased an older home recently, and did major remodeling including the kitchen. We had some electrical issues in the kitchen, so I called in an electrician to analyze and fix the problem. Not just an electrician, this fellow was an electrical inspector who did some odd jobs on weekends.

GFCI-Outlet

New GFCI Outlet

He addressed and fixed the main problem I had which related to the lack of adequate power in my kitchen. While he was there, I asked him to install new GFCI outlets in my kitchen. We had a brief discussion regarding the new code, and he informed me that GFCI plugs should not be used for the refrigerator. THIS IS WRONG, and it is widely misunderstood by the trade. The new NEC code which went into effect June 29, 2015 requires the new self-monitoring GFCI's in the kitchen, but does make an exception for a refrigerator in the kitchen. That does not mean that the GFCI is not a good idea for the refrigerator, but an exception is granted where needed (see below). Here's what you should know:

At one time, twenty years or more ago, refrigerators and freezers had large compressors, that had large power requirements when they turned on, a “surge” if you will. Old model refrigerators provided a lot of cooling very quickly, then turned off for a long time, and then kicked back on when the refrigerator warmed up. A refrigerator or freezer kicking on might unnecessarily trigger the circuit breaker and disconnect power to the refrigerator. This could result in food loss or spoilage. However, today's refrigerators have smaller compressors that run all the time at variable speeds, eliminating the “surge” and keeping temperatures even. Refrigerators today pose little risk of tripping a circuit breaker. In fact, if they do trip the circuit breaker, it is likely there is an underlying cause that needs to be addressed.

The real lesson for you is that if you have any electrical work done in your kitchen or baths, it is a good idea to update your electrical receptacles with new outlets that are compliant to the latest NEC requirements.


For more information call or visit the experts at Arizona Wholesale Supply .

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Induction Cooktops

Three Criteria for a New Induction Cooktop

Price, Power, and Features

You're already convinced that you want a new induction cooktop, and why not? Instant on and off, super safe, amazing cleanup, and more. It's time to make the move! But which model should I choose? What size should I buy? How much should I pay? What bells and whistles are really worth having? Read on.

Power

One of the reasons for buying an induction cooktop is the amazing speed that you get with induction cooktops. By all means, your new cooktop should have a power burner which will bring water to a boil as fast as lightning. Seriously, ask your sales associate what the wattage is on the largest induction element. It's not a perfect measure, but is a good indication of what kind of speed you'll have. But let's face it, ALL of these cooktops are going to beat any conventional cooktop on time to boil. Jenn-Air touts a “fastest to boil” feature on their power element.

Features

Thermador-Freedom

Thermador

There are a host of feature differences on different induction brands and models. For example, you might prefer a bridge element: two elements connect to offer the option of cooking with an oblong pan. Various convection tops have large power elements. Thermador has a unique Freedom cooktop that enables pots and pans to be placed anywhere on the cooking surface.

Price

Whirlpool-Induction

Whirlpool

Now that induction cooktops have been around for some time, prices have moderated some, but they're still not inexpensive. On the other hand, it's hard to find a user that doesn't love cooking with induction. You don't want to pay more than is necessary, but you also don't want to go so low that you're disappointed in the outcome. GE, Frigidaire, and Whirlpool are popular priced brands that each offer induction cooktops. Consult with your builder or designer, and make sure you visit with the experts at Arizona Wholesale Supply.


For more information call or visit the experts at Arizona Wholesale Supply .

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Review of K+BB Criteria for Choosing a Cooktop

Kitchen and Bath Business Drops the Ball

Advice for choosing a cooktop according to the “experts”.

I regularly read the articles in Kitchen and Bath Business (K+BB) for the latest news in appliances. It’s generally quite informative. Sometimes articles appear to be written by folks who are writers, but not necessarily SMEs (Subject Matter Experts). While there is nothing wrong with this, when they don’t conduct thorough research and fact-check their information, the advice they give can be misleading. Consider the recent article:

Bertazzoni-Cooktop

Five Criteria to choosing the right cooktop

Here are my comments on the above article’s content.

1. Size considerations.

The author proclaims that if you need extra counter space, you should consider an electric smoothtop or induction top because you can use it as counter-space. Think about this. Your cooktop is a big investment. It’s obviously heat resistant and durable, but it is not a cutting board, nor is it a work surface. Yes, you might put down a bag of groceries on it now and then (carefully), but really it’s not a food prep station or general use countertop. If you drop something on it, your cooktop can break, costing you hundreds of dollars.

2. Cooking habits.

Again, the author’s advice is generally OK, but could be more useful – until she trips up with this doozy.

“..please note, though, that induction cooktops only work with cast iron, enamel cast iron or stainless steel cookware.”

Just about everyone in the industry knows that there are many stainless steel pots and pans that will not work on induction cooktops. The test is to place a magnet on the bottom of the pan. If the magnet sticks you’re OK, if not, the cookware is not usable on induction.

3. Energy usage.

It’s a big mistake to make energy usage a deciding factor in purchasing a cooktop, but the KB+B author jumps right in with her recommendations. Though I’m a big fan of saving energy, it’s unwise to decide among a gas vs. electric vs. induction cooktop based on energy usage. The total difference in energy cost among the various cooktops will not amount to much at all. Worry instead about the energy usage of an air conditioner or water heater – even washer, dryer, and refrigerator. The difference in energy costs on cooktop types is just not significant.

4. Safety considerations.

Here the author begins by stating that if safety is your concern then you should only choose electric or induction. WOW! Millions of us cook with gas. Are we disregarding the safety and well-being of our families? Seriously?

5. Maintenance and Care.

There’s an opportunity here for lots of good advice on cooktop maintenance and care, but alas the author just can’t seem to provide informed content even here.

Here’s my advice to K+BB: You have a stable full of great designers who write articles for you, and there are also many specialists available to you who are expert on appliances, cabinets, countertops, and other topics. There’s nothing wrong with using a writer (in this case a PR person) to produce your content, but at least have a subject matter expert review his or her content before publishing.


For more information call or visit the experts at Arizona Wholesale Supply .

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Selecting Outdoor Kitchen Appliances

Appliances for an Outdoor Kitchen

Arizona Wholesale Supply has the latest options

Outdoor-Kitchen

Arizona Outdoor Kitchen

Planning an outdoor kitchen? Here are some ideas and strategies for you to consider.

  1. Get help. Outdoor kitchens require just us as much professional planning – probably more – than indoor kitchens. Because you are planning a kitchen space as well as an outdoor space, you may need both a kitchen designer as well as a landscape architect to cover all the bases.

  2. Sort out your objectives. How do you envision the outdoor space? Is this primarily for family entertainment? Is there a pool involved? A firepit? Think about the space available and how you might use it. What will the role of the kitchen be?

  3. Review your options. Did you know that there are major appliances rated for outdoor use in all of the leading appliance categories – cooking, cooling, and cleaning? You won't find this information from the big box home improvement store. Consider making an appointment with professional appliance experts such as those at Arizona Wholesale Supply.

When it comes to reviewing outdoor appliances, it's important to note that UL (Underwriters Laboratories) has different requirements for outdoor use. Safety requires special protection for exposure to the environment. Standard indoor appliances installed outside won't meet code, and may be hazardous.

Notwithstanding safety requirements, it makes sense that manufacturers of appliances for outdoor use would also add “weather-proofing” durability features so that their products can withstand outdoor use.

While everyone recognizes grills as outdoor appliances, few people are aware of the variety of appliances being made today for outdoor use. For example, manufacturers have only recently begun making dishwashers for outdoor kitchens. Think of the convenience of not having to trek inside with all those implements and dishes dripping with barbecue sauce.

Believe it or not, outdoor rated wine coolers are also being produced (with special locks). Outdoor refrigerators have been available for some time and now there are also outdoor ice makers as well to keep your drinks refreshed without having to run inside for more ice.

Other interesting outdoor appliances, include pizza ovens, warming drawers, and patio heaters. Matching stainless steel outdoor bars, cabinets, and shelves can be purchased to complement your appliances.

As far as outdoor cooking is concerned, there are smokers, side burners, rotisseries, and more to accompany a wide variety of grills in all sizes and price ranges. To help sort out all these options and manage the budget, you'll need an appliance professional. Whether you are a builder, remodeler, designer, or consumer visit Arizona Wholesale Supply for the lowest prices, the best selection, and professional assistance in selecting the right outdoor appliances for your outdoor kitchen.
 

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Phoenix 602 258-7901, Scottsdale 480 596-0092, Tucson 520 795-4663

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Oven Heat Issues

Oven Next to Refrigerator

Oven Next to Refrigerator

“It is recommended that you do not install your refrigerator near an oven, radiator, or other heat source.” This comment is from the Refrigerator User Instructions of a leading major appliance manufacturer.

NKBA guidelines recommend 12″ of counter space adjacent to the refrigerator. As you might imagine, it's not convenient to load and unload the refrigerator if there isn't nearby counter space available. Nevertheless, sometimes this just isn't possible. What is the risk if your refrigerator is located next to an oven? It's possible that the heat from the oven could cause blistering on the refrigerator side adjacent to the oven.

Circumstances vary. It's typical that there is an inch or so of air space between the refrigerator and nearby oven cabinet. Also, there is going to be a cabinet panel on the side of the oven. Both the air gap and the panel will provide some insulation between the oven and refrigerator. If necessary, you might consider installing a heat shield.

Protecting Adjacent Cabinets

Appliance manufacturers follow UL requirements and comply with a maximum allowable wood cabinet temperature of 194 degrees. However, some laminate cabinet finishes such as thermofoil require heat shields. Thermofoil is made by heat-fusing a very thin layer of vinyl to the base cabinet material to create a smooth, uniformly colored surface. It's durable and easy to clean. However, it can blister and peel if exposed to the high heat from an adjacent cooking appliance. “To protect your thermofoil finish, a KraftMaid heat shield is required on cabinetry located next to an oven.” This from a KraftMaid web page.

There can be some other issues with the heat generated by cooking appliances. Be careful when removing pots and pans from the storage area below your range if you've just been using the oven, especially if you have just completed the self-cleaning cycle. This area can get really hot. While the oven doors, are designed so that their skin temperature will not get too hot even during self-clean, it's just common sense not to lean against a hot oven.

Another area that can get quite hot is at the back of the cooking surface on a gas range. During oven use gas ranges exhaust quite a bit of heat from the oven at the back of the range. Unlike electric ovens, gas ranges must “breathe” by taking in and expelling air. (Electric ovens have a small air exhaust tube only to prevent a vacuum). If the exhaust heat from the back of the oven is excessive consider turning on the vent hood to pull the hot air up and out.

It's a good idea to follow manufacturer instructions as much as possible if for no other reason than to avoid issues if there is a future problem. The instructions are written as a guide for you, but they also limit the manufacturer liability if you fail to follow them.

For the best advice on your appliances consult the professionals at Arizona Wholesale Supply Company. They have specialists that can handle all of your appliance, flooring, and window covering needs. Serving Arizona from three locations: Phoenix, Tucson, and Scottsdale:

Arizona Wholesale

Arizona Wholesale Supply Co.

Phoenix 602 258-7901, Scottsdale 480 596-0092, Tucson 520 795-4663

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Safety First – Range Anti-Tip Device

New Range?

Don't forget the anti-tip device

Anti-tip devices have been required on all ranges by UL since 1991. All major appliance manufacturers provide anti-tip devices at no charge with freestanding and slide-in ranges. It is the homeowner's responsibiltiy to make sure that this device is installed with the range.

Do not ignore this. It's a mistake to think that this is just another example of bureacratic interference and a waste of your time. Whether you are having your new range installed or installing it yourself, you must be certain that your anti-tip device is installed. It is critically important and could in fact prevent serious injury. We've embedded a brief YouTube video below that explains the need for anti-tip devices:

While we don't want to belabor this point, the anti-tip device is too often ignored in the installation process. It's not at all difficult to install, but does take a few minutes. It's also worth noting that if you ever have a home inspection done in the process of selling or buying a home, checking for an anti-tip device is a standard procedure for home instpectors.

anti-tip bracket

anti-tip bracket

anti-tip bracket installed

The device itself is simply a bracket or cleat that is installed behind the range. One of the rear leveling legs on the range slides into the bracket preventing the range from tipping forward.

If your range is already installed, you can easily check for the anti-tip device by grasping the range from the back and pulling forward. If the range does not pull forward, the anti-tip device is secured. If the range does pull forward, you need to install the anti-tip device. Check the installation instructions that came with the range. There's a good chance the bracket is in the package. If not, call the range manufacturer's 800 number. They will be happy to send you one. Otherwise, you should be able to pick one up inexpensively at an appliances parts store.

Some installers ignore this important step in the installation process or charge extra for it. At Arizona Wholesale Supply, installation of the anti-tip device is included in the installation charge.

For more information about appliances call or visit the experts at Arizona Wholesale Supply Company. Three convenient locations to serve you.

Arizona Wholesale

Arizona Wholesale Supply Co.

Phoenix 602 258-7901, Scottsdale 480 596-0092, Tucson 520 795-4663

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