Archive for the ‘Kitchen Appliances’ Category

in sink dishwasherWhile it may not feature pictures or even hit tunes performed by the 90’s boy band sensation, the In Sink Dishwasher still promises to add fun and compact pleasure to any kitchen, regardless of the size.

As city apartments get smaller and smaller and the tiny home movement picks up the pace, the appliance industry has searched ever harder for ways to make standard appliances fit into not-so-standard sized kitchens. In this environment where smaller and more energy-efficient appliances are valued more highly than ever, the in sink dishwasher was born.

As we all know, standard-sized dish washers take up a fair amount of under-the-counter space. Their installation can constitute a small to major remodel, and they tend to go largely under-utilized when used by a single homeowner or couple. If you don’t want to wash all your own dishes but you don’t think you need a full-sized dish washer or don’t have the space, an under sink, in sink or portable dishwasher might be the way to go.

in sink3But what are these strange and petite creations? In sink dishwashers are relatively new to the appliance scene and provide an entirely unprecedented revision to the standard dishwasher design. In a double basin kitchen sink, an in sink dishwasher would take up one of the basins sort of like a top-loading dishwasher. They hold about 5 place settings worth of dishware or a handful of pots and pans depending on their size. They’re as quiet as any dishwasher on the market, and far from taking up counter space, the lid actually functions as a cutting board, opening up even more counter space to the cozy kitchen cook.

in sink2This unique little set up saves both time and money; they conveniently save space, use half the water of a standard dishwasher, and can clean a load of dishes in as little as 15 minutes to half an hour. That means you’re going to be saving money every month when your utilities bill comes in, plus you don’t have to wait around for an hour just to clean whatever handful of dishes you dirtied. The dishwashers’ smaller size even makes them easier to load both in terms of finding space for them and being in a comfortable position as you file them away.

If you’re in love with the idea, keep in mind you don’t have to have a tiny kitchen to validate an in sink kitchen purchase. If you want a place to clean dishes in your wet bar or outdoor kitchen, both would be finely complimented by an in sink dish washer. They’re also helpful in large kitchens if you need a convenient and quick way to run small loads as needed or cram in just a few more dishes into a large wash cycle.

Want an alternative to the standard dishwasher but think the in sink might not be right for you? There’s plenty of other new takes on the old concept, including under sink dishwashers and portable dishwashers, which sit atop your kitchen counter.

New technology can be dangerous, regardless of what time frame you’re living in; it’s untested, and there’s generally only one way to find out what downsides come with whatever convenience that a new appliance has to offer. After years of use, here’s some information about appliances that were originally accepted with open arms, and then discovered to be horribly dangerous.

fridgeWhile the refrigerator is one of the most important inventions in the history of household appliances, some crucial improvements have been made since 1913 to ensure that they’re helping more than they’re hurting. Back when they were a fledgling technology, refrigerators used ether, ammonia, sulfur dioxide, methyl formate, and other toxic gases to cool food. These gasses, which could corrode eyes, explode, and otherwise threaten the health of any human, were fine if they were kept encapsulated as the design necessitated. However, if a pipe eroded or there was some kind of rupture in the tank where these gasses were kept, entire families could suffer fatal injuries. This eventually led to the use of Freon gas as the standard cooler for refrigerators, which while healthy for humans has since turned out to be bad for the environment.


antique toasterOld fashioned toasters were also fairly dangerous; the coils that conducted heat were made of iron wires that melted easily and constituted a major fire hazard. Nowadays toaster coils are made of Nichrome, a mixture of nickel and chromium that is usually implemented in an 80/20 proportion, respectively.

Up until 1989, standard hair dryers would commonly blow asbestos directly into the faces of their users. Asbestos is made up of tiny particles that hang in the air and are easily inhaled by humans, but difficult for lungs to expel. When the particles are trapped in a person’s lungs, it can cause mesothelioma. When manufacturers like Conair and General Electric learned of the risks that their products were causing, there was a large-scale recall of the hairdryers in 19079. However, only about one sixth of the asbestos hairdryers sold were ever recovered, implying plenty of people just went on using theirs.

wringerWringer washers were also among the most dangerous appliances to ever have enjoyed widespread use. In the 1960’s before spin cycles became popular, clothes washers required a giant set of rolling pins called a wringer to squeeze excess water out of newly cleaned clothing. The large device exerted 800 pounds of pressure on the fabric that it ingested, as well as the many fingers and body parts that inevitably ended up inside the machine as well. Often there weren’t on-off switches, so if people got body parts stuck in the machine or any of its exposed gears, they would have to try to pull the power cord out of its socket.

Finally, in 1952 Sears put out a product that was as dangerous to the environment as it was to the home: the Kenmore Indoor Garbage Burner. By employing a set up where smoke was exhausted outdoors, garbage could be burned anywhere within the home. This appliance, which offered buyers the possibility to “save steps by on-the-spot disposal,” costed only $39.88.

We often multitask in our high tech, high paced way of life, but when it comes to the kitchen we are like molasses on a cold winter day. We often don’t know what to do, or how to do it and thus get frustrated and avoid the kitchen all together. This can get pricey, and fast. luckily there are a few hacks that can help you the most out of your kitchen. These range from the seemingly obvious to the seemingly impractical, but trust us these techniques can help make your pesto, the besto. From using your freezer to wash your cloths, to using the microwave to help you squeeze OJ there is money in that kitchen, you just gotta know how to get it. 

hot mamaThere are some things to consider before you start to hack your kitchen appliances, mainly that it is risky. Also that anything that breaks as a result of your tampering with, or disabling the regular operation of the machine would effectively render your warranty moot, so just some food for thought.

“people can certain get more out of their appliances but they need to be very careful when doing so, a warranty can sometimes be voided if an appliance was used for a purpose other than what it’s designed for. Moreover, the odds of an appliance breaking is much higher when using it for a different purpose, so its best to assess if the outcome is really worth the risk.” says Doug Rodgers

Up first if you Dishwasher. The dishwasher is an extremely versatile device that has applications well outside its design specifications. The reason  being that minus the detergent there are a lot of things you can do that fall into the realm of cooking and food preparation.

To poach salmon with your dishwasher, simply place your salmon in aluminum to make sure its as water proof as possible, and add whatever seasonings you want. The dishwasher reaches a high enough internal temperature that it will actually cook up your fish in a nice even way. When it comes to clean up down worry, the dishwasher can also clean itself up.

Also clean and cook potatoes in your dishwasher by placing them spuds on the top rack and turn on the rinse only cycle. will come out nice and cooked and soft and ready for mashing, honest. 

You can also get the most out of your gross old dirty rags and sponges. Lots of the time you just don’t wanna put them in the laundry, but you also are torn when it comes to trowing them away because that can seriously add up. So by just running a load with the ones you were planing on getting rid of anyways will get a little more life span out of your job and you will taste the savings in a jiffy. Another way you can get the most out of old tools you were thinking were getting a bit to gnarly such as your hand gardening tools is to give them a run in the old dishwasher and boom, good as new.

kitchen4When people are making crucial decisions regarding what appliances and counters to put in their kitchen, it can be easy to be distracted and overwhelmed by the variety of decisions and options there are to make. It’s important to keep in mind that your particular dream kitchen may not be your best friend’s, mother’s, sister’s or Oprah’s dream kitchen. That’s ok though, because the kitchen you’re planning is for you, and you’re going to be happiest with something that incorporates your specific needs into the design, not something that necessarily answers to current trends.

The best way to figure out what direction you want to move in is to reflect on where you’re coming fkitchen 5rom. What do you appreciate about your current kitchen? What don’t you like about your current set up? These are the first of many questions you must consider in order to find your ideal set up, so take the questions seriously.

Once you have a more fundamental understanding of what you’re after in a kitchen, you have to figure out how to acquire as much as possible of your ideal kitchen given the limitations that you also encounter- these limitations might involve space, money, and a variety of other factors that you need to be realistic about in order to get the kitchen that works for you as opposed to half of the kitchen you want for twice as much as you should have spent on it.

In order to be the savviest spender you can be, and make sure to identify the essentials first. You’re going to want to spend money on top-grade design services rather than on upgrading your materials, for example. If you invest in a design that nails the floor plan and important appliance placement, you’re probably going to end up with a more attractive kitchen than one that started out on the wrong foot style-wise and is now covered in luxury surfacing as an attempt to cover it up. Your kitchen says something about you, so make sure that message is a positive and thoughtful one.

Another crucial factor to keep in mind for gracefully bringing together a kitchen that meets your needs- how do you actually livkitchen 6e? The best kitchen is one which is functional for the person who uses it, so take your particular needs seriously throughout this process. You don’t need a kitchen that Martha Stuart would be filmed in- you need one that has all the appliances (like toasters) that your children can use during their do-it-yourself phase.

These personal elements can be found through answering a variety of questions: How many people live in your household? How old are they and do any of them have any specific needs or allergies? Are you a wine-o that needs a wine storage, do you want to make room for two cooks at a time? What’s your budget in terms of food and what appliances are you truly going to need to fit those desires assuming you only make certain kinds of meals?

energy efficient dryer

There are a lot of different dryers on the market, all with slightly different designs and slightly different services to offer. Some are more energy efficient than others, and those are generally more expensive but also will cost you less on your utilities bill every month.

The existence of energy efficient products isn’t itself such a foreign idea, but have you ever wondered exactly what it is about those products, in this case dryers, that makes them more energy efficient? The secret is in certain small adjustments to the design. This article will act as a basic introduction to what engineers have done to make dryers offer the same heating service while using less energy input.

In general, a clothes dryer heats wet clothes as it tumbles them. It does this by pulling outside air into the machine, having it pass over heating elements similar to those of a toaster, and then sending that hot air into the dryer drum where the clothes are spinning. The reason it makes sense to tumble clothes is that it separates wet surfaces, allowing the dryer to divide and conquer wet spots as warm air circulates through your clothing and converts water to steam. The steam that is generated throughout this process is then blown out of the dryer through the drying vent. The tumbling motion also fluffs up your clothes, which is why clothes are so much softer out of the dryer than off a clothes line.

A conventional dryer uses about 1,000 kilowatts of energy a year, which comes out to costs around $85. They’re comparative energy hogs and unfortunately they all operate so similarly that Energy Star hasn’t seen fit to rate them. By the way, if you’re wondering what qualifies a machine for an Energy Star rating, it only has to operate using 10% less energy than the standard appliance.

That said, there are dryer features that allow them to become more energy efficient, so if you’re looking for a more resource-scrupulous machine, you can seek the ones with the following options:

A drying machine with a moisture sensor can operate with more energy efficiency because it will turn itself off after overall moisture rates drop past a certain level; timed dries tend to waste energy by running after they’ve already completed the job.

top loading dryerCool-down features can also allow for dryers to function with less waste. They make the dryer continue to tumble clothes but without heating outside air towards the end of the cycle; this way your clothes can make it to dry using residual heat instead of unnecessary extra heat.

Some dryers have top-loading designs and switch the direction of the tumbler, making it harder for clothes to ball up and create pockets of moisture protected from the heat.

Even if you don’t buy a dryer with these features, there are ways you can use conventional dryers to save energy. Spin your clothes as much as possible before loading them, don’t over load your clothes, separate clothes by weight or fabric type, clean your lint screen, keep your vent hose clear, and pre-dry heavier items on clothes lines.

GFCIEver seen an outlet that has a reset button on it and wondered what was going on there? You’re looking at a ground-fault circuit interrupter and it’s there to protect people from being electrically shocked.

Remind you of a fuse? They’re somewhat similar, but not exactly. The main purpose of a fuse is to protect a larger electrical system (like a home) from undergoing a dangerous fault that sets off an electrical fire. A fuse uses a small wire to carry current so that if the current exceeds a certain amperage that surpasses the amperage for which the system was built and begins to heat the wire past a particular point, the wire will melt and the overheating circuit will break before any electrical fires can happen. That’s very helpful, because mundane household activities like vacuuming and hanging pictures can damage a circuit in such a way that huge amounts of current being to flow in places that aren’t built to withstand it, and that means the wires holding that current will start to heat up like the wires in your toaster. The fuse heats up faster than the wire and burns out before the wire can start a fire.

So that’s the point of the fuse, but a GFCI (which stands for ground-fault circuit interrupter) is slightly different. It’s more subtle and is built right into the standard American 120-volt outlet, which if you remember, has two vertical slots and then a round hole centered below them. The slightly larger left slot is called “neutral” and the slightly smaller right slot is called “hot” and the hole in the bottom center is called the “ground”. A properly functioning appliance will cause electricity to flow from the hot slot to the neutral slot.

The ground-fault circuit interruptor monitors the amount of current flowing from hot to neutral for imbalance and trips the circuit if something isn’t going the way it should be. It’s able to sense an imbalance as small as one between 4 to 5 milliamps and reacts within one-thirtieth of a second.

GFCI worksThis makes using appliances much safer. Say you’re using your power drill on a cold, wet day and you are standing on the wet ground outside your house. The drill is a little wet, making it possible for there to be a path from the hot wire inside the drill through you to ground. You don’t want the electricity to flow from the hot to ground through you because that could really mess you up; luckily the GFCI can sense the current flowing through you because not all of the current is flowing from hot to neutral, as would be expected. Once it senses that a second circuit is causing there to be less electricity flowing to neutral than expected, it trips the circuit and cuts off the electricity.

So say this happens while you’re using your hair dryer or something and you identify the unsafe aspect of what you were doing and fix it; how do you go back to using that outlet? Just reset it with the other button, it will reconnect the circuit and make it possible for you to use appliances plugged into that outlet again.

water heater tubeNothing is more frustrating than losing your access to hot water… except probably losing all access to flowing water in general, which sounds like kind of a drag. Either way, if you’re used to it, you’re not going to like going without it. But say you turn the hot water on in your shower and only cold water comes out. How do you know if its a plumbing issue or an issue with your water heater specifically? To an untrained eye, these issues are difficult to navigate, but with a little help (which I hope this article will give you) you’ll be getting to the bottom of your hot-water problem in no time.

  1. In a situation in which no tap in your house will yield hot water, it could mean that the pilot light in your hot water heater has somehow been extinguished. This can happen due to weather, wind, a catch in the gas line that feeds the light, and a variety of other fluke-type causes. Check the pilot light and relight it if its out (should be as simple as lighting the light of your oven, but make sure to look up the directions in your owner’s manual just in case). If it looks like the model you have makes this process complicated or dangerous or in general you’re just not feeling confident about lighting the flame yourself, contact a professional company technician to do it for you.
  2. If your water heater is making odd noises that you don’t remember it generally making, you’re likely hearing minerals or hard-water scale that has accumulated within the tank and eventually broken off. Unfortunately if this is the case, you’ll need to drain the tank and clean out the sediment before you start seeing weird stuff come out your pipes. This is generally a good job to hand off to professionals.
  3. water heater broIf a puddle has formed around your water heater, you’ve got a leak and water is seeping from your tank. The water could be coming from anything from a loose valve to a leaky pipe. If you can’t find any leaky pipes, see if you can tighten the valve in general. If the valve is loose, water could easily leak out of the heater. Otherwise you may just have a faulty valve, an obstructed vent or a defective heating element.
  4. If there is hot water but it’s not sufficiently hot, the first thing you can do is check out the thermostat to see if it’s set up the the temperature of your liking. If it is at the setting you originally chose but no longer yielding hot enough water, think about when the last time was that you flushed out your tank. The same minerals causing the weird noises may have built up in your tank and made it so it was more difficult to heat up the water properly. If your tank has been flushed recently, you may want to check out the heater’s dip tube to make sure it isn’t broken (which would cause the tank to not heat up properly). You can check the dip tube by removing the cold water supply line and taking the dip tube directly out of the tank.

Your toaster uses infrared radiation to crisp up your bread. When you see those toasty coils glow red, that’s the radiation. Infrared radiation is a type of electromagnetic radiation that sounds like it’s different from heat but it’s just heat. The coils provide a gentle drying and charring effect on the surface of your bread.

toasterMost toasters use nichrome wire wrapped back and forth across a mica sheet to heat up yo bread. Nichrome is an alloy of nickel with chromium (and sometimes iron) commonly used in high-temperature applications such as electrical heating elements. Its electrical resistance allows for it to generate a lot of heat when currents are run through it. Nichrome is also useful because it does not oxidize when it is heated (like iron would, leading to rust).  Mica is a shiny sillcate mineral with a layered structure generally found as minute scales in granite and other rocks, or as crystals. It’s used as a thermal or electrical insulator.

With a couple mica sheets wrapped in nichrome, you could get the toasty job done. However, things like bread crumb catchers and spring-loaded toast-announcing movements have come to be expected.

When you look deep into a toaster’s crevice, you’ll generally notice a metal holder rising up and down in the slots to raise and lower the bread as well as a pair of grates that line either side of both slots. When you push the holder down, metal springs at the bottom of either slot get compressed which in turn squeezes the grates inward, towards each other.

The handle is attached to the holders. When you push the handle down, a mechanism activates which holds the handle down until the toast is ready, electric current is sent through the nichrome wires, and a timer is initiated that counts down until the toast pops up.

fork in toasterHere’s how it happens: When you push the handle down, you complete a circuit that allows for electric current to flow through the nichrome wires. Another simple current made up of transistors, resistors and capacitors turns on and supplies power to the electromagnet. The electromagnet then attracts a piece of metal added to the handle, holding the bread down. Another simple circuit is responsible for acting as a timer. A capacitor charges through a resistor and when it reaches a certain voltage it cuts off the power to the electromagnet. Without the magnetic charge holding the piece of metal (and the toast) down, the springs at the bottom of the toaster release their tension and pop up the bread. The springs also push the plastic handle up, cutting off the power to the toaster all together.

A lot of toasters allow for toast darkness settings by using a variable resistor. Changing the resistance changes how fast the capacitor charges, which in turn affects how long it takes for the electromagnet to be cut off from the electricity that allows it to hold the piece of metal and the toast down into the toaster and maintain current flowing to the nichrome wires.