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New Top of the Line Rowenta Delivers...IF YOU FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS
on October 14, 2009
I must confess that I read through almost all the reviews of the other Rowenta Irons, and was on my way to purchasing the Advancer when I saw this new model.
First off, for people who are familiar with Rowenta irons, the ones made in Germany (as this one is) tend to be larger in size than an average iron. If you don't mind wielding a big iron, then you'll be ok with this one. The water chamber is also larger, so that adds to the weight when filled.
Secondly, it makes a great deal of difference whether the Rowenta is made in China or Germany. Since this one is German-made, you will have less trouble. I tend to stay away from anything made in China, especially when it combines electronics with water. Simply put, China's quality control still leaves a lot to be desired.
Third and most important: FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS! Rowenta goes to great lengths on their website and user manual to recommend the following: DO NOT USE DISTILLED WATER. DO NOT USE BRITA WATER FILTRATION SYSTEM. They recommend BOTTLED Spring Water. You may use regular tap water if water in your state is "soft" (lacking in minerals). If you have to use regular TAP Water and you are not sure whether your tap water is hard or soft, contact your town hall OR go to Google and type in "water" "usgs" "gov" The first USGS website on top is the one created by the US Govt to show the hardness of water in your state. You want to type in "water hardness" when you are on that site, and a North American map showing water hardness by state will pop up. The harder your tap water (more minerals), the more you want to mix 50% of it with 50% "BOTTLED spring water." (Though I have seen the BOTTLED Spring water recommendation from Rowenta for all their earlier irons, the Steamium manual did not have it.) So I called up Rowenta and was advised that Bottled Spring Water is the only thing they recommend these days. Being a perfectionist when it comes to ironing, I use 100% bottled spring water to eliminate any doubt.
Why? Because unlike many regular irons, the higher end Rowentas have Anti-Calc features that break down the natural minerals in regular tap water. If you use distilled water, it goes against the mechanism and things start to go wrong.
Rowenta steam irons have been designed to operate using tap water, up to 12 grains of hardness per gallon (12 gr/gal or 205 mg/l or 2.05 mmol/litre)
The squarish platform in front of the handle (on the top) is a lit reading that shows you what setting you currently have it on. The light is green and it lights up the words "wool, linen, cotton, etc."
There is a trigger on the bottom of the handle (where your index finger is if you hold the iron). When you iron, you can squeeze it to create what Rowenta calls "forced steam" which pushes 30% more steam into the fabric. The trigger sets off a pump that makes a fairly audible whirring mechanical noise. It's important to note that if you have the iron plugged in and turned off, the trigger will still set the pump off. But it works. And it works very well.
The vertical steam also sets a nice burst of steam into your clothing. I notice that depending on the size of your hand, it is sometimes difficult to keep my finger off the forced steam trigger when I hold it vertically. However, if you accidentally press the trigger, it does not affect the burst of steam in any way. It's good for 5-7 squeezes before it needs to reheat, which is only several seconds. If you find the unit too heavy to hold up (when it is filled and vertical), you can use your other hand to hold the rear of the iron's handle for support.
The auto shut off works and stays blinking until you pull the plug from the wall outlet and re-insert it. This resets the auto-shut-off mechanism for the next detection.
The item comes with a tall slim plastic water spouted "pitcher" to help you pour water neatly into the iron. The front tip of the iron is extra pointed for getting perfect creases on shirt and pleat corners (the Rowenta Advancer and Focus also features this pointed front tip)
Remember to empty the water chamber after you are done ironing. As long as you follow the guidelines for the type of water and keep the iron empty when in storage, I think you will have a durable product. I think the leaking and problems complained by users of other Rowentas come from the calcium / mineral residue buildup inside the unit when hard / distilled / filtered water is used over a long period of time.
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