May 2014 archive

Daydreaming about a Miele

Happy Friday! I have been spending the last few days running around town looking at faucets, garage doors and vacuums.  You would think, gosh that is so boring, but actually it has been kind of fun :-)

Yesterday, I stopped into the Miele Gallery in Bellevue and talked to the salesperson there about the differences between the vacuums.  I tried out the S2 Delphi and the S8 Calima and S8 Marin.  The differences between all of these are the body and a few of the attachments.  The Delphi and Marin both have electric brush heads (meaning there is a motor spinning the beater bar) and the Calima has only an air driven brush head.  All of them are suitable for carpet, but the Marin and Delphi are probably more efficient at picking up dirt in carpeting.

Beyond that, I didn’t really understand all the differences between the models so I have been doing some research.  I just found a great article that breaks things down into very simple terms.  Miele makes 5 different vacuums: 2 different uprights and 3 different canisters.  The 2 uprights are full size (S7000 series) and small size (Quickstep).  The 3 canisters are the S2 series, S6 series and S8 series.  Among the various vacuums in each individual series, there are various attachments that make it suitable for various floor types, such as electric brush head or air driven brush head.  However, each canister uses the same motor.

Tool Recommended for
Rug and Floor Tool Wool, high-quality area rugs and bare floors
Turbo Brush (205) (Air driven) Area rugs, looped or short pile carpet
Power Brush (217) Med pile carpet, pet hair and
Power Brush (228) High pile, thick or plush carpet, pet hair
Power Brush (236) Same as 228 w/ headlight and bumper

Once you know what kind of attachment you need, it makes it easier to narrow down among each series what vacuum you should be looking at.  The differences between the series are:

S2: Basic vacuum body with dial suction control and semi-sealed filtration

S6: Adds the following upgrades that are not available on the S2

  • Thicker plastics
  • Better fit and finish
  • Longer cord (three feet longer)
  • Upgraded floor brush (natural bristle)
  • Upgraded dusting brush (natural bristle)
  • Longer wand
  • Quieter motor
  • Crush-proof hose
  • Fully sealed filtration

S8: Adds the following upgrades that are not available on the S6

  • Rubber 3-D bumper surround
  • Toe tap suction adjustment
  • Built in accessory storage compartment
  • Fully sealed HEPA filtration standard
  • Available automatic suction control
  • Available finger-tip suction control
  • Available HEPA filter usage timer
  • Available Auto-stop tool rest

Obviously, budget will also help you decide if you get an S2, S6 or S8.  Here are the most popular models for each tool.

S2 S6 S8
Rug & Floor Tool Models Olympus ($299) Quartz ($399) Alize ($649)
Turbo Brush Models Capri ($399) Onyx ($499) Calima ($679)
Power Brush Models Delphi ($499) Topaz ($749) Kona ($899)

Since I have medium pile carpeting, I will likely want a power brush model.  I haven’t decided how much I would like to spend.  I originally didn’t want to spend that much, but I think perhaps this might be a worthwhile purchase so I think it might be a good idea to up my budget.  Right now I’m thinking of going for the Delphi or the Topaz.  I have to decide how important the fully sealed filtration is for me because that is the only thing on the S6 list that I really care about.

Do you own a Miele?  Was it a worthwhile investment?  Are your carpets cleaner than ever?

 

Faucets – Who knew they were so complicated!?

Hope you had a great long weekend!  Our kitchen faucet has been leaking for a few weeks now and we finally decided on the weekend that it was time to do something about it.  We went to Costco and Home Depot to check out what they had and there are SO many options that it is hard to decide what to do!

Here’s some thoughts and what I learned today in my crash course on faucet buying :-)

Hansgrohe Metro Faucet

Hansgrohe Metro Faucet – Available at Costco.com ($199.99)

Design

  • We currently have a faucet with the handle that is top mounted but I think we want to switch to an arc faucet with a side mounted handle.  It just seems more modern, and while the side mounted handles confuse me, I am sure I’ll get used to it after living with it.
  • We definitely want to be able to pull out a head so that we can easily wash the sink.

Materials & Build Quality

  • I noticed that many of the faucets in HomeDepot are now made in China and feature plastic pull down heads.  I think we want something a little higher quality. The MOEN Indi faucet is made in the USA, though the few Kohler ones I looked at were made in China.
  • Costco’s Hansgrohe faucets are advertised as solid brass construction.  Initially, I thought this was great, since my parents faucets are all brass and have lasted 40 years!  However, I’ve been doing some research on brass and it seems like all brass has some lead in it that may leech out.  All faucets sold after January 2014 must conform to a new Safe Drinking Water Act which limits the amount of lead leeched into drinking water from the faucet.
  • Stainless steel is another option.  According to this website, it shouldn’t have any lead.  It also says that not all stainless steel is created equal and that we should look for 304 stainless which is 18% chromium and 8% nickel.
MOEN Indi Faucet - Available at HomeDepot ($238)

MOEN Indi Faucet – Available at HomeDepot ($238)

Flow

  • We definitely want to have the option to switch between spray and shower on the flow.  However, one thing I didn’t realize was that some faucets won’t let you switch mid-stream and some force you to hold down a button for shower.
  • According to reviews, Hansgrohe Talis C requires you to turn off the water to switch it from spray to shower and back.  The Hansgrohe Metro requires you to hold down a button for the shower.  I think that might be a deal breaker for me.
  • Another consideration is the flow rate.  I read on the HomeDepot reviews that the MOEN Indi that I liked has a water saving feature, meaning the flow rate is really slow.  The specs say 1.5 gallons per minute, though I can’t really picture how slow that is.  Perhaps I’ll measure my current one, as I’m pretty happy with it.  I’ve seen other faucet spec sheets that say they do 2.2 gpm so there is definitely a range.

After all of that, I think I’ll have to check out a specialty plumbing supply store this week to see what is available at the higher end since I’m not really happy with any of the choices I saw on the weekend.

LOFT is still stuck in pioneer days

I realized last week that I have almost no summer clothing to wear so I started browsing Loft.com, which is one of my go to places to shop for casual, stylish clothes that are pretty affordable.

I pretty much only order once a year because I always swear I’ll never do it again.  Here’s why: LOFT has one of the worst in-store return processes ever and they take about a quarter century to actually ship you the clothes.

Returns

Every time I’ve had to return something to LOFT, the associates seem to take it personally that I’m bringing it back.  I once even had one of them laugh in my face because it was outside the return period.  Rude.

Their process is also mindblowingly slow.  I’m so used to going to Target or Nordstrom and having them scan the receipt and then scanning the item and then the return is done!  At LOFT, they have to key in about 1000 things and manually find the item on the packing slip.  Its funny because the packing slip has a barcode.  Why it isn’t used… I’ll never know.

Shipping

I made my order on Thursday, May 15th at 9:30pm.  I ordered 7 items and opted for standard shipping which has a delivery window of 8 (EIGHT!!!!) business days after order.  I wonder if they are using the pony express to deliver.  (Even the pony express only took 10 days from coast to coast…).

On May 16th, 4 items shipped and were delivered May 22nd.

On May 17th, 1 item shipped and is still in transit with no estimated delivery date.

On May 18th, 1 item shipped and is still in transit with no estimated delivery date.

Finally on Thursday, May 22nd (a full week AFTER I placed the order), the final 1 item shipped and the item won’t be here until next Friday.  Its as if they had to sew the darn thing before they sent it out!  (And it will miss their promised delivery window…)

Yikes.  Clearly they are able to process the order quickly, given that there was a delivery sent out on the day after I made the order.  What boggles my mind is how slow they are to process and ship everything.  I definitely am spoiled by Amazon Prime’s 2 day shipping window and their quick order handling.

LOFT, I love your clothes.  But the customer service just needs to shape up.  I suppose I need to just stop shopping there since it aggravates me so much but like a drug, I just keep coming back once a year to replenish my wardrobe.  :-)

Happy Memorial Day!  Have a great long weekend.

Buying a new vacuum

I decided that our Bissell bagless was just not cutting it anymore and started researching vacuums.  Someone recommended this Reddit Ask Me Anything Q&A thread about vacuums and I was literally “sucked in” for hours on end reading what this vacuum repairman had to say.  Not only did I learn a few things about vacuums, he totally sold me on getting a better vacuum.

I went to a local store the next day and checked out some Miele vacuums and was in for a bit of sticker shock.  I only did a cursory search on Amazon to see how much they were and I saw that there were some starting at $250.  When I got to the store, I found out that the cheaper versions wouldn’t be suitable for carpet — they were hardwood vacuums only.  Vacuums that would be suitable for medium pile carpets would start at around $600+.  Gulp.

I haven’t yet decided what I’m going to do.  I really don’t want to commit to spending $600+ on a new vacuum.  The Reddit vacuum guy basically recommended buying the most expensive vacuum you can afford.  I’m not totally sold on that idea yet.

Costco has a Sebo upright for $600 but again, that is a bit more than I want to spend.  Costco.ca has some Mieles for < $500 but darn it, they are only available in Canada!  So I think maybe I’m going to shelve this idea for a bit and come back to it.

The 2014 REI Anniversary Sale Is Here!

The 2014 REI Anniversary Sale starts today!  This is a great time to pick up camping, hiking, biking and outdoor gear.  REI sells top quality merchandise and they have an unbelievable return policy.  They want you to be completely satisfied with your purchase so they only sell great stuff and you have 1 year to return or exchange anything.

We recently purchased a bike for my husband so we’ll be picking up some cycling accessories that he will need like innertubes, a patch kit, a bike bag and tools.

REI members also save 20% off any regular priced item (I believe it excludes bicycles & some electronics) at the full line store as well as in the outlet.  Membership is only $20 and is lifetime.  I think it is well worth it since they run lots of member only specials throughout the year.

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