the toolbox

Refrigerator dispenses hot water

Hot water from the fridge?

It may sound like a contradiction, but GE's new Cafe French-door refrigerator dispenses hot water as well as cold.

The refrigerator's door-mounted dispenser can supply 10 ounces of heated, filtered water in 2 to 5 minutes. You can program it for any temperature from 90 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit, or you can choose one of four preprogrammed settings: 90 degrees for warm water, 150 degrees for making cocoa, 170 degrees for making tea or 185 degrees for making soup.

The hot water dispenser requires the user to both push and turn a knob to safeguard against accidentally dispensing heated water.

Even with the added feature, the 29-cubic-foot refrigerator still meets Energy Star standards.

The refrigerator has an estimated retail price of $3,099.

Akron Beacon Journal

Under-cabinet ice makers

If you're in the market for an under-counter ice maker, here are some factors to consider:

Different ice makers make different shapes of ice. Crescent-shaped ice is the most common form produced by refrigerators and by under-counter ice makers. They are flat on one edge and rounded on the other and typically cloudy in appearance. There is also bullet-shaped ice. It looks just like the name suggests: a cylindrical bullet with a rounded hole in the flat end. This one is also opaque.

Flake ice is usually completely white and is also the cheapest form of ice to make in great quantities. This type of ice cools drinks quickly and is also convenient for packing and storing food. Other options include cubed-shaped ice and nugget ice. The nugget ice is clear, crisp and popular as a chewable ice. Because it melts slowly, it doesn't dilute drinks quickly.

Some ice makers are designed specifically to create clear ice by removing all the air and impurities from the ice during the freezing process.

The under-counter ice maker should be easy to install and, if possible, have a removable bin with ample ice storage. It should be properly insulated and not have condensation or frost buildup. And it should run quietly and produce ice quickly.

Many — but not all — under-counter ice makers do not require a drain, so they can be installed anywhere.

Another factor to consider is your family's daily ice needs. A small family could get away with an ice maker that makes about 12 pounds of ice a day. If you entertain and need more ready-to-use ice, opt for an ice maker that produces 125 pounds a day.

Scripps Howard News Service