The Right Kitchen Timer Can Make A Big Difference

A kitchen timer is a tool that most people dont give a second thought. However, many professional chefs understand that the wrong timer can ruin a perfectly executed meal. When youre depending on a kitchen timer to let you know when to take out your meal from the oven or off the stove top even a few minutes can be the difference between food that tastes just right or a meal that is rubbery, dried out, and overcooked. Todays kitchen timers are a little more advanced than their old-fashioned counterparts, but its main responsibility remains the same: to make sure that your meal is timed perfectly. Technology has caught up with the manual timers which were popular in the 1950s, and today almost all chefs rely on digital timers. The Antune solar, FMP 4-in-1 digital, and FMP Zap timer are three of the most popular timers on the market today. They each offer an array of benefits and can help take your kitchen meals to the next level.

The AJ Antune solar timer is one of the first solar powered kitchen timers run by light making it the perfect timer for any eco-minded chef. The timer also comes with back-up batteries. The timing mechanism is reliable and features four timing channels so you can be sure it is dependable. You can also choose to program times into it for quick retrieval. Once youre using it you can rely on audio and visual signals to let you know when the timer has gone off, and it can be mounted onto any magnetic surface in your kitchen.

The FMP 4-in-1 timer can run on a 9-volt battery or an AC adaptor. The digital timer, which is made out of ABS plastic, can time a meal up to 10 hours and features four separate counting timers. Each of the timers has memory recall and can be adjusted from hours all the way to seconds. Audio signals let you know when your meal is ready, whatever your next step might be.

The FMP Zap timer is a digital timer that uses an oil resistant cord to power. This timer can time up to 99 hours and feature a large LED display so that you will have no problem seeing the countdown clock. It is made of stainless steel and is able to be mounted on any type of kitchen hardware.

Buying a timer might not seem important until you realize that the cheap timer you bought is not reliable and your cooking has been suffering for it. Once you make the decision to upgrade to a digital timer you will notice that your new clock is much more dependable and easy to use.

Illuminating The Future Of Kitchen Lighting Energy Efficiency By Capitol Lighting

It doesn’t matter if you live in a home with a modern kitchen that has all the fancy upgrades, or one that just has a single overhead light in the center of the room. If you’re not using the latest generation of energy-efficient bulbs, it’s time for a lighting upgrade.

“Kitchen lighting has made great strides in the past couple of years, not just from a design standpoint, but with regards to energy efficiency. So upgrades are definitely worth looking into,” says Joe Rey-Barreau, education consultant for the American Lighting Association (ALA) and an associate professor at the University of Kentucky’s School of Interior Design. He travels the country tracking trends, and one he’s noticed lately is the focus on energy conservation.

“Lighting manufacturers are spending a considerable amount of time, and dedicating a lot of resources to developing fixtures capable of using more energy-efficient light sources than the standard incandescent,” Rey-Barreau says. “And it’s no coincidence that this trend is growing in popularity at a time when energy costs are on the rise,” he says.

As recently as two years ago, the only fixtures available for the kitchen that used the most energy-efficient light sources available today – fluorescents and Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) – were not aesthetically pleasing. In today’s marketplace, however, decorative energy-efficient fixtures are available in every product category, whether you’re looking for something traditional, modern or artsy.

“We know consumers want to capitalize on the fact that compact fluorescent bulbs are approximately three to four times more efficient than incandescent bulbs, and LEDs can be three to 10 times more efficient, so we’ve dedicated a lot of resources to developing new fixtures that utilize the technology,” says Scott Roos, vice president of product design for Juno Lighting Group. “We’ll be introducing an LED under-cabinet unit in the fall that requires just eight watts of energy to provide the same illumination as an 80-watt halogen light source. Our new LED down light will be 40 percent more energy efficient than a compact fluorescent and 75 percent more energy efficient than an incandescent.”

Holtkoetter International, Inc., a manufacturer of residential lighting fixtures based in St. Paul, Minn., plans to release several models of fixtures that use LEDs early next year. But energy-saving products are nothing new for Holtkoetter. “We’ve been offering fixtures that take halogen IRC bulbs, capable of improving energy efficiency by 50 percent, for the last five years,” says company president Paul Eusterbrock.

Infra Red Coating (IRC) bulbs are designed in such a way that the heat they generate can be recycled and turned into light.

Hubbardton Forge, a lighting manufacturer out of Chandler, Vt., meantime has concentrated its efforts on developing decorative fixtures that take compact fluorescents. “We have offerings in every category for decorative fixtures that really enhance what you get out of a compact fluorescent,” says George Chandler, president of Hubbardton Forge.

No matter which of the new technologies you choose to go with, when shopping for energy-efficient fixtures, Rey-Barreau says it is important to look for the Energy Star label. In order to qualify for the Energy Star designation, the product must meet specific performance criteria for energy-efficient performance set by the U.S. Department of Energy.

As for concerns people may have about the quality of light given off by compact fluorescents and LEDs, Rey-Barreau says that “while in the past color rendering may have been a concern, it is no longer a problem. Consumers can rest assured the quality closely matches that of incandescents.”

Today’s advancements are quite impressive, but what does the future hold? Rey-Barreau expects the lighting industry to work hard at getting more products on the shelves that use the most energy-efficient technology developed to date – LEDs. “Right now LEDs are still kind of expensive, but once they become more readily available, the cost will come down significantly,” he says.