Beware: Today’s Appliances May Fall in Love with You

By Bill Primavera

The Home Guru

There is no documentation whatsoever on a suspicion I’ve pondered over the past few months that, just as men are said to fall in love with their cars and their tools, women may form an emotional attachment to their home appliances.

The thought first occurred to me when a buyer client told me he lost a sale on his last home because his wife refused to leave her washer and dryer to the prospective buyers. It seems that they were discontinued models that she simply refused to part with, and that set up an adversarial relationship with the buyers who wanted those same discontinued models left in place.

Then, just last week when I was showing a home to a couple, the wife, noting that the washer was top-loading, said that she would switch it with the washer located in the home she is selling because, “there’s no way I leave my house without my front-loading washer.”  So doesn’t this seem suspicious to you?

Curious to find out what an appliance authority might think about my hunch, I called Rich Leahy, owner of Atlantic Appliance in Yorktown and Mount Kisco.  Rich dismissed the idea, saying that he had never heard such a thing and emphasized his position by saying, “And I’m certainly not about to buy my wife a dishwasher for Valentine’s Day.”

But then, when asked, he proceeded to tell me about some new developments in appliances that might have a buyer, man or woman, indeed fall in love with them, and not just because they’re pretty, but they’re smart, really smart.

Today, thanks to microprocessors, they even get to know you and intuit what we need from them in terms of performance, much like an attentive lover.

This I had to experience, so I asked Rich to walk me around his store to show me what special things appliances can do today.

Our first stop was at a Sub-Zero refrigerator whose microprocessor determines how many times you open and close the door, what the ambient temperature is outside, and based on that information allows for the maximum efficiency in the way it runs.  “In essence the refrigerator is studying you and making a determination of how it will operate, judging by the way you treat it,” Rich said. Almost scary, isn’t it? (Remember Hal the computer in “2001: A Space Odyssey?”)

Next we visited a refrigerator manufactured by Miele whose microprocessor sends a message to the manufacturer wirelessly when something is going wrong with it. In turn, the manufacturer calls you to say that a service representative must come to the house to repair the product. Now, I ask you, isn’t that cool?

The next stop was at a new Wolf range cook top, operating with magnetic induction.  “In the past, it took a while for food to heat with electric,” Rich said, “but with magnetic induction, when you put the pot on the cook top, the pot becomes the second half of the magnetic field and you get instant heat.  The pot gets hot but the cook top remains cool. The benefit is that when you press the off button, the heat stops immediately just as though you’re cooking with gas.”

In a row of washing machines, Rich explained the advantage of the new front loading design. “In top loading design, washers beat the clothes and hurt the fabric, but in the new front-loading models, the clothes are gently tumbled back and forth, almost like hand washing.  And, it’s much more energy efficient because it spins at such a fast rate that it removes almost all of the water. Then, when you throw the clothes into the dryer, they’re done more quickly and use much less electricity.”

But the real news about washers today, most of which are placed on the second floors of homes, is that they no longer rumble the whole house as they used to do. Their microprocessors act as a sensor that can feel the floor and know when a certain rpm produces vibration. It then adapts to the floor and, after a couple of weeks, it figures out how to quiet itself down.

“With dishwashers, microprocessing has silenced them to the point where manufacturers like Bosch have had to place a little light in front so you can know that the dishwasher is actually on,” Rich said.

Other interesting appliance developments Rich noted were: a wine cooler whose glass door can turn from clear to opaque just by touching it (“Imagine what that technology will do for our windows?” Rich said); ovens that use steam in the cooking process for better taste and faster cook time; microwave drawers that slide out, thereby saving space needed to open a door; dishwashers that operate on the same principle of drawers; and refrigerators that cool food, then convert to an oven to cook it.

As I survey my own kitchen appliances, I know that most of them are a little dumb by today’s standards. In fact, the ice maker in my refrigerator doesn’t know when to call it quits and produces an overabundance of cubes daily. So maybe I’ll go out on a limb and buy my wife a new refrigerator for Valentine’s Day, one that will get to know her really well.

For more information about appliances from Atlantic Appliance, visit:  http://www.atlantic-appliance.com or call 914-962-2500.

Bill Primavera is a licensed Realtor® affiliated with Coldwell Banker and founder of Primavera Lifestyles Marketing, a public relations firm. His websites are: www.PrimaveraHomes.com and www.PrimaveraPR.com.  For questions about the housing market, or if you are considering buying or selling a home, he can be reached directly at 914-522-2076.