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Whirlpool updates most lines.

HOUSTON--Whirlpool has freshened nearly every category for its mainstream brand in time for the Builders' Show here beginning Friday. Officials are singling out improvements in refrigeration, electric ranges and dishwashers, but gas wall ovens, room air conditioners and a new business for the Whirlpool label, water filtration, could be added to the list.

Bob Cunningham, the brand's general manager, says extensive consumer research is evident in "three major product launches." The refrigeration line offers flexible, accessible storage; ease of cleaning and time-saving features.

"Unparalleled quiet and easy operation are key themes for our new dishwasher line, which also boasts the longest list of performance and convenience features we've ever offered. And we've designed a new line of freestanding electric ranges that are easy to use and easy to clean, produce consistent cooking results and look good in the kitchen."

The refrigeration line is 55 models in eight series, all with chlorofluorocarbon-free refrigerants, 26 exceeding present energy-efficiency standards by 20 percent or more and three by 41.1 percent.

The DesignerStyle roster numbers eight side-by-sides, 11 topmounts and one bottom-freezer. A primary feature is the Flexi-Stor system, described as the most flexible interior available. It includes a Flexi-Slide utility compartment on the door which moves laterally; Flexi-Clean Plus Slide-out Spillguard cantilevered shelves which go up, down and sideways, and a Flexi-Shelf flip-up door platform which raises or lowers.

Other storage enhancements include the EZ-Trak shelf, which moves laterally; adjustable and removable door bins and freezer shelves; deep crispers, and the Flexi-Glide pull-out freezer floor, claimed to be unique. Visibility has been improved with clear bins and up-front lighting and controls. Door dispensers now are offered on top-mounts with right- or left-swinging doors.

Whirlpool's Super Efficient Refrigerator Program model will become three this year. The '95 lineup features the Aura vacuum panels, credited with a great improvement in energy efficiency. Model ED22DSXD, 22 cubic feet, reportedly exceeds the federal standard by 41.1 percent; the ED25DSXD, 25 cubic feet, by 38.1 percent, and the ED27DSXD, 27 cubic feet, by 38.2 percent.

Dishwashers come in four series: eight under-counter units and two portables. The headliner is the DU980QPD Quiet Partner, said to offer a One Touch control system and 30 percent less noise than Whirlpool's quietest '94 model.

Engineers have eliminated the timer dial. Instead, cycle choices are incorporated into six one-touch electronic pads which control water and energy consumption more efficiently.

But it's the 10-element sound package which has Whirlpool officials excited. Most notable is a Sound-Lock system employing a dynamic vibration absorber. It is tuned precisely to the motor's frequency and is said virtually to eliminate motor noise and vibration.

The complete redesign of freestanding electric ranges has yielded 18 models: Clean Top glass surfaces and SpillGuard tops with coils; self-cleaning, continuous-cleaning and standard ovens.

Highlighted features on one or more models include EZ-Touch electronic oven controls and lockout; one-touch baking and broiling; platinum temperature sensor; 3.9 cubic feet inside; EZ-View window; separate time and temperature displays; pre-heat countdown timer with audible signal; removable knobs; streamlined handle; upswept, one-piece surface, and choices of all-white, all-black or all-almond.

Gas shows up in three wall ovens, each measuring 24 inches across. Common features are electronic ignition, porcelain interior, a family-look towel bar and monochromatic exterior.

The most featured oven is the SB160PED, with electronic controls, self-cleaning and waist-high broiler. The step-down SB130PED has continuous cleaning and a three-stem analog clock-timer, and the basic SB100PED provides standard cleaning and analog clock.

As noted, room air conditioners are the quietest, most energy-efficient ever to carry the Whirlpool label. A Quiet Miser feature employs more efficient components for maximum cooling with 25 percent less air flow than comparably sized units. An Energy Saver control on all 19 DesignerStyle models cycles the fan as well as the compressor on and off.

Water filtration is a transfer from the KitchenAid brand, whose Pure Delivery Pump was introduced at the Builders' Show three years ago. Whirlpool's line of four WaterSource Systems already has retail placement at Circuit City.

Under-sink equipment spans from the System I WSC100YW, with single cartridge to reduce sediments and chlorine; through WSC200YW, with a second cartridge for lead; WSC300YW, with a third cartridge for petroleumbase volatile organic compounds, to the WSC413YW, with three cartridges, a reverse-osmosis cartridge and storage tank.
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Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Date:Jan 23, 1995
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