Dyson Sues Vax over Vac

According to an Appliance Magazine article sourcing the Guardian, Dyson is taking legal action against Chinese-owned Vax over its Mach Zen model, claiming that they infringed on the registered design of the original Dyson vacuum from fifteen years ago.

Vax has declined to comment on the case.

This is not the first time Dyson has defended what it considers to be its intellectual property and design rights.  In 2006 they won their claim against Qualtex for selling vacuum cleaner parts that were visually identical to Dyson parts.

How to Replace Washing Machine Inlet Valve

There’s another great repair article over at acmehowto.com about replacing the inlet valve on your washing machine.

Of course, never attempt such a repair yourself without following all safety precautions, like unplugging the washer.

First it discusses what exactly an inlet valve is, and what can happen if the valve is blocked or if its solenoid isn’t functioning.

It discusses how to identify it, where on the washing machine to find it, and how to disconnect it.  It gives advice on the hoses, the terminals, and the wiring.  Once the valve is off, it tells you how to connect the new one and make sure it’s working properly.

If you need to replace your washing machine’s inlet valve, read this article.

LG Wants Higher Stake in US HVAC Market

LG announced its intent to penetrate the American HVAC market with an array of new energy-efficient products.

Three new LG models with high SEER ratings will be offered by the middle of 2010.  LG will also be opening two more appliance training academies later this year, adding to the academies opened in California and Georgia recently.

Read more about it here.

First High SEER DC-Powered Air Conditioner

A new solar-powered air conditioner has been introduced by SPP (Solar Panels Plus).  It is high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rated (SEER) and is called the SplitCool DC18.

The air conditioner runs on a bank of batteries powered by solar panels and can be installed without adding ducts.  It would handle each room as a separate zone.  It also features a remote compressor, allowing for quiet operation.

Read more about it here.

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Whirlpool Launches Rebate Finder Online

Whirlpool has launched an online tool for consumers to learn more about what rebate programs are available to them under the “Cash for Appliances” program for their particular state.

Entering in a zip code and appliance type will provide consumers with their specific rebate amount.  It will also provide rebate amounts from any local utility companies, if offered.

Read more about it here.

US Government Releases Smart Grid Standards

The NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), part of the US Commerce Department, has released its framework of standards and strategies for the upcoming smart grid phenomenon.

This article from Appliance Magazine provides the link to the NIST publication.  To summarize, it includes a reference model to help actually design the smart grid itself, a set of 75 standards, a process to revise or add standards, and a strategy to handle security issues for the online component of the grid.

How to Test Dishwasher Drain Valve

If your dishwasher motor only has two or three wires, it is a single-direction motor, which means the dishwasher has a drain valve.  If the motor has four wires, it is a reversing motor and the the machine doesn’t have a drain valve.

So, provided you have a drain valve to test, here are the basics, thanks to this article from acmehowto.com:

First, you need to follow all safety procedures.  For example, make sure the machine is unplugged.

Remove the lower panel underneath the dishwasher door (it’s usually held in place by a couple of screws).  Most of the time, the drain valve will be close to the motor.  Simply locate the motor and look for a hose coming out of the motor.  The hose should lead to the drain valve.  The valve is essentially two parts: the gate arm and the solenoid.  The gate arm should move up and down smoothly.  Check the springs on the gate arm–if they’re damaged in any way, replace them.

The solenoid will have two wires connected to it.  Check the terminals and the wire connections for corrosion.  Replace any corroded part.  Use a multitester to test the solenoid for resistance.  With the multitester on the X1 setting, touch the probes to each terminal.  The solenoid should read about 40 ohms.  If there is no reading or if it’s nowhere close to 40 ohms, replace the solenoid.

That’s it!

Intel to get in on Smart Grid Racket

Intel is interested in the Smart Grid market, an article from Appliance Magazine states.

Intel has introduced its concept for a home dashboard that will be able to communicate with sensors, appliances, and smart meters.

Read more about it here.

Maytag Showcases New Appliance Packages for Builders

Maytag has introduced three new kitchen and laundry appliance packages for builders.

The first is the entry level, appealing to new homeowners.

The second is the move-up homebuyer option, which offers bigger machines and more amenities.

The third is obviously the cream of the crop, for what they call the savvy homebuyer (translated as the homebuyer with the most money to spend.)

Read more about it here.

Shipments Up on Furnaces and Water Heaters

More people purchased furnaces and water heaters in November 2009 than they did the previous November, according to the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) data reported by Appliance Magazine.  The data also shows that year-to-date sales are still down.

For example, shipments increased for the month for residential water heaters, both gas and electric, as did commercial gas water heaters.  Only commercial electric water heaters decreased in shipments from month-to-month.

Whereas overall year-to-date shipments in each category were still lower in 2009 than in 2008.

The article doesn’t mention this connection, but it is possible the month-to-month increase is attributable to the “Cash For Appliance Clunkers” legislation recently passed by the US government.