WHEELING - Self-cleaning ovens have existed for decades, but just add water to some of today's new high-tech ranges and the ovens steam-clean themselves.
The future of home kitchen appliances is readily available through local home centers, and don't exist just in fantasy. New offerings get an "E" for making functions easier, being more economic, energy efficient and environmentally friendly.
Whirlpool offers the "AquaLift" system in some of its ranges. The cook cleans the range by placing water in a tray at the bottom of the convection-style oven, and when the clean mode is activated steam is produced inside to clean the oven.
Tim Church, appliance department manager at Lowe’s in Wheeling, shows a bold red washer made by LG.
Photo by Joselyn King
"It's so much more energy efficient," explained Jim Church, appliance department manager at Lowe's in Wheeling.
And a second model of oven produced by Whirlpool also can help bakers save on their electric bills by reducing energy consumption. The company now makes a stand-alone dual-oven range. The appliance is the same size as a traditional stove, but the storage area at the bottom of the appliance used for pots and pans has been eliminated. Instead, a regular-size oven has been dropped closer to floor level, and a smaller oven sits atop it just under the stove's burners.
"(The small oven) takes half the time to pre-heat, and most baking is done here," Church explained. "At Thanksgiving, you can do your pies in the oven above, and your turkey in the big oven below."
Today's consumer shopping for home appliances wants to save both money and energy, he continued. This is best exemplified in the area of washers and dryers, where most models meet Energy Star requirements.
Clothes washers of the past utilized as much as 45 to 50 gallons of water per load, he said. Today's washers, meanwhile, consume just 23 to 28 gallons per load - representing a 40 to 60 percent drop in usage, Church noted.
Many of the most modern models don't have an agitator. Instead, their stainless steel interiors have texture upon them reminiscent of great-grandma's washboard.
Elsewhere in the kitchen, customers are wanting French-door refrigerators, according to Church. These units have at least three doors, with a two-door side-by-side cooling area at top, and a pull-out freezer area at bottom. Cooks most often still want their kitchen appliances made of stainless steel, but there are other options, he continued. Traditional porcelain-made appliances now come in a silver color reminiscent of stainless steel, and appliances also can be purchased in such bold colors as red and blue.
At H.H. Gregg at the Ohio Valley Mall in St. Clairsville, springtime can mean choosing appliances to spruce up the kitchen, adding fun to the family room with a large-screen television or upgrading a computer system. H.H. Gregg offers the latest in appliances including the popular stainless steel finishes, self-cleaning ovens with convection cooking capabilities and easy to clean finishes on refrigerators.