Homeowners rely on appliances on a daily basis. Stoves and ovens for cooking, microwaves, freezers and more. They come in different shapes, sizes and price tags. But all of that choice can be really confusing. After all, how do you know if you’re buying the right appliance for you? We let the expert walk us through the process. Then contact one of our appliance experts for more info!
Shopping for a new appliance, but feeling overwhelmed by what’s out there, even within a single price range? Appliance designers are increasingly embracing the principles of universal design to make their products appeal to a wide range of consumers. Not only will buyers find universally designed appliances easier to use, safer and more accommodating to everyone, regardless of age or physical ability, they’ll also have greater choices from colour and design to programmability. An appliance professional can help you make the right decision.
But do you need all the bells and whistles? Here are five ways to help you narrow down your choices:
The most important thing to remember about buying appliances is their safety factor. Look for the CSA certification mark on electronics and appliances, which shows that these products have been tested and certified to meet applicable Canadian standards for performance and safety.
Also, consider what your personal safety needs are:
- Automatic shut-offs;
- A cool touch feature;
- Lock-out or override switch.
Dual signaling appliances that alert you visually – as well as audibly – are recommended. People who are deaf or hard of hearing will be able to see the visual signal and people who are blind or visually impaired will hear the signal. This is a universal design approach that works for everyone.
Ease of Use
If the vacuum is too heavy to lift or too awkward to push, it will stay in the closet. If your dishwasher has too many programming options, it will be run at only one speed. Front-loading washers and dryers are preferred by many people, including people who use wheelchairs, but a top-loading machine may be preferred by someone who finds it difficult to bend comfortably.
Consider the location of the controls as well. For example, for a stovetop, front or side-mounted controls are easier to see and operate than rear mounted controls, and they increase safety because it eliminates the need to reach over the burners.
When it comes to kitchens and laundry rooms, maneuvering space around appliances is a key consideration, as space may be required for a walker or a wheelchair. It’s always important to consider how work is going to be done. Planning for clear floor space around all appliances in the kitchen is an important design consideration.
Before buying an appliance, test out different models with various features to make sure your choice of appliance meets everyone’s needs. Open the doors and pull out drawers and racks to see how easy it is to clean the appliance. Turn the knobs. Are they easy to use or do they take too much strength to operate? Is there good colour contrast so that the information on the controls is easily seen? If an appliance has a small LED screen that provides programming instructions, for instance, make sure the colour and size of the on-screen characters will work for you.
One of our appliance experts can help you out with that!
Cost is always an important factor, but sometimes the convenience offered by a household appliance will outweigh the higher cost. Then there are the long-term costs of running the appliance. Energy savings may outweigh a higher purchase price. Look at the energy consumption of different models or types of appliances by comparing the EnerGuide and ENERGY STAR® labels, either at the store or online. Want to know how much money you can save?
Watch this video – it tells you everything you need to know:
Buying an appliance soon? The CMHC has a fact sheet that will help you make your decisions.
Your appliances need proper, routine care to ensure they live out their life cycle. Contact one of our appliance repair professionals who can help keep them in working order for years to come!
About the Author: Christina Haddad is the vice president of Ontario’s Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation division.