Posts Tagged ‘appliances’
The kitchen is one of the most popular rooms in a home, so why not make yours really stand out? Whether you’re selling or simply want to upgrade, here are some simple tips and ideas to get you started without breaking the bank:
- Plan ahead and find patterns, colors and textures that you like from magazines, home improvement stores and the Internet.
- Set a budget! Know what upgrades will give you the most value for your money and do your best to stick with your budget.
- Make a plan and do one thing at a time, especially if you’re going to do it yourself.
So where should you start?
Repaint or stain your cabinet doors and add new hardware. This is one of the easiest and least expensive upgrades you can do that makes a big difference. If you need advice on what works best with the cabinets you have, take a door into your local home improvement store and ask for professional advice.
Kitchen Counter Tops
Counter tops can be expensive if you’re going for granite, but that’s not your only option. You can opt for concrete or granite overlay. Do your research to find what suits your budget and style best.
Your choices are endless when it comes to updating your kitchen floors. From peel-and-stick tile to laminate wood flooring and travertine, the sky is the limit— but be mindful of your budget! Bring home samples of the flooring based on your style and budget before you make a final decision. Many real estate professionals agree that a kitchen remodel splurge should be saved for the countertops and not the floors, so keep this in mind when deciding. You want to make sure you get great value from any upgrades you do.
Saving Money on Kitchen Appliances
If your appliances are in good working order and match in color and style, save your budget for more beneficial upgrades. If your appliances look really dated or don’t match the new look of your kitchen, you may want to consider finding some great scratch and dent deals.
Did you know that appliances can be painted? A professional paint job can turn your white appliances into fresh, new-looking ones. You can also buy appliance-safe paint at your home improvement store and do it yourself.
Installing modern lighting is amazingly simple if your kitchen is already wired for overhead lighting. A new chandelier can make a big difference, and you can find options for less than $150! To make an even bigger impact, be sure to install a dimmer switch. You’ll be surprised what a difference a little “mood switch” can make.
The options are endless for remodeling your kitchen on a budget. The hardest part is deciding which upgrades will make the biggest difference on the smallest budget. Just be sure to do your research and to set realistic goals. And last, but not least, enjoy the project by making it your own.
Furniture tip over injuries have increased as the size of furniture and appliances has increased. Tip-over casualties most frequently occur when children climb onto, fall against or pull themselves up on television stands, shelves, bookcases, dressers, desks and chests. In some cases, televisions placed on top of furniture fall and cause a child to suffer traumatic injuries.
Industry standards require that TV stands, chests, bureaus and dressers pass a stability test. If a piece of furniture violates these standards, the product can be subject to a safety recall. But this only provides limited protection. Where the TV or furniture is placed and how it is used is beyond the manufacturer control. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission and Health Canada there are simple steps that parents and caregivers can take to help prevent injury.
To help prevent tip-over hazards, consider the following safety tips:
- Choose storage furniture (bookcases, cabinets, television stands and dressers) with wide and stable bases that sit directly on the floor. Models with legs or wheels are more likely to tip over.
- Attach furniture to the wall using angle braces, anchors or safety straps. If these items come with the product, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation. Secure the anchors directly to wall studs if possible.
- Do not place TVs on dressers. They are not designed to hold them. Place televisions far back on low, stable furniture that is designed to hold the weight and size of the television. Attach the television to a stand if possible.
- Keep electrical cords behind furniture where children cannot reach them.
- Do not place items that may appeal to children — such as toys, plants and remote controls — on top of TVs or tall furniture.
- Children may climb dressers because the drawers can be opened and used as steps. But open drawers make a dresser unstable, increasing the chance of it tipping over. For your children’s safety:
- Open only one drawer at a time and close all drawers when not in use.
- Place heavier items — like books — on lower shelves or in lower drawers.
- Always supervise children in the home and teach them not to climb or hang from furniture.
Tip over protection is also needed for most freestanding and slide-in ranges/ovens. This is a simple bracket that is usually installed at the back base of the unit to prevent it from tipping over if weight is applied to an open door. Most manufacturers have supplied the bracket since the 1990s. It can often be observed by removing the bottom drawer, if one is present. If there is any doubt about whether this tip protection is required for your unit or how it should be installed, contact the manufactures. For extra protection when children are present, a child-resistant door lock can be installed.
For additional tips on home safety go to totsafe.com
Portable fans are one way to help breeze comfortably through a summer heat wave, but as the season winds down, homeowners should continue to be aware of the potential safety hazards associated with their use. Inexpensive portable fans are not designed to operate long-term. Over time, plastic fan blades can crack or can get out of balance due to heavy dirt buildup. The occasional inadvertent knockover also is likely to cause damage that may not be immediately apparent. Exposed portions of the fan’s cord can be damaged by foot traffic, vacuuming or objects inadvertently placed over the electric cords. Any fan that operates noisily or erratically should be immediately disconnected and repaired or replaced.
Underwriters Laboratories also recommends the following safety precautions:
- Place the fan and cord out of general traffic patterns.
- Position the fan on a stable, level surface.
- Do not use a fan near an open flame or where combustibles could be blown toward a heat source.
- Keep fans from outdoors or damp areas where electric shock could occur.
- Do not attempt to start or move an operating fan in the dark.
- Keep children away from all fans.
- Immediately replace frayed or damaged wires, or dispose of the fan.
- Be aware of fans sold at garage sales; in particular old metal blade units. In addition to possible damage, old units may lack the safety features available with the newer units. Look for a Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or Canada Standards Association (CSA) listing indicating manufacturing standards have been meet.
Remember, these tips are only general guidelines. Since each situation is different, contact a professional if you have questions about a specific issue.
If your kitchen has a garbage disposal, you know how easy it makes mealtime clean up. But what you may not realize is that your disposal comes with some pretty important rules. Here are some of the most vital:
• Insert food slowly. Stuffing it all into your disposal at once can cause clogs and shorten the life of your system.
• Grind hard materials. Many people think food like chicken bones or small fruit pits are a no-no, but they can actually help clean the walls of the disposal.
• Use cold water for at least 20 seconds. This will solidify grease so that it can be ground up. Also, make sure that all food particles are washed completely down the drain.
• Keep it clean. One good way to eliminate drain smells is by grinding citrus fruit peels. You can also add a few drops of dish soap and let the disposal run for a few minutes.
• Use hot water. This will make grease liquefy and build up, which can clog the drain.
• Grind fibrous or expandable foods. The former, like celery stalks and onionskins, can tangle up the disposal. The latter, like pasta and rice, can clog it.
• Turn off the motor too quickly. You’ll want to make sure all food particles are completely ground. Once done, continue to run the water for at least 15 seconds to flush out particles.
• Wash coffee grounds down the drain. While they won’t harm the disposal itself, they can clog pipes and drains.
• Forget to use it. Lack of use can cause rusting and corrosion, which can lead to premature system replacement.
Questions are often raised about the use of aluminum wiring on major appliance circuits, such as kitchen ranges and electric dryers. The use of aluminum wire on major appliance circuits, as well as service lines to homes, has been common practice for many years. While aluminum wire connections, in general, may have a potential to loosen if not properly installed or used with the appropriately designed devices, the concern is not as great on modern major appliance circuits as it would be if the electric panel or appliance was very old, or if aluminum wiring was used on other household circuits.
There are several reasons for this lower level of concern:
- Heavy, multi-stranded wires are generally used. Aluminum wiring is also manufactured today to different standards than 40 years ago when it was first introduced in the housing market.
- There are typically only two connection points with a major circuit – at the appliance and at the electric panel. A household circuit will have many connections points on it, which increases the chance of a problem developing, regardless of the type wire used.
- Newer appliances have specially designed connectors that have been manufactured and tested for use with aluminum wiring. When concerns with aluminum wiring first surfaced years ago, some appliances did not have connectors suitable for use with aluminum.
- The connection points or lugs are of a different design than those found on household receptacles or switches, reducing the potential for the wire to loosen.
- The heavier wire used does not bend or crimp as easily as smaller gauge wire. Crimping or excessive bending can increase the chance of damage to the wire.
- Oxidation inhibitors can be applied to the exposed wire at the terminals when specified by the manufacturer or electric code. This can help limit corrosion on the surface of the exposed wire. Corrosion increases the resistance to electric flow, which leads to heat buildup.
- Major appliances and the associated wiring are more likely installed by qualified professional electricians, whereas a homeowner is more likely to work on their own household wiring – leading to faulty connections.
But while there no special concerns associated with aluminum on the major appliance circuits, it would be a good idea to have all aluminum connections checked periodically as a precautionary measure. If the household circuits are aluminum a periodic check is especially important. Any signs of a problem, such as flickering lights or a hot receptacle outlet coverplate should be checked right away, regardless of the type wiring. Any work on the electric system should only be performed by a licensed electrician familiar with aluminum wiring.
(c) DBR Franchising, LLC
Homeowners that have never had an in-sink garbage disposal system might wonder what the big deal is. Those who have been using a garbage disposal for years, on the other hand, know that they are one of the handiest kitchen additions around. When preparing food or cleaning up after a meal, rinsing off plates, pots, and pans becomes a snap, as you don’t have to worry about clogging the drain with bits of food. The convenience of a sink garbage disposal is so popular that they are found in a large portion of newly constructed homes and condos. If you are thinking of installing a sink garbage disposal system in your home, or of replacing your existing unit, there are a few things to consider.
In-sink Garbage Disposal Basics
Garbage disposals are pretty simple and they all work on a similar principle. They have a flat plate with small, rotating steel mashers, and an inner disposal wall that has “teeth” to do the job of grinding your food waste. A motor inside the unit rotates the flat plate in the food-grinding area. When you switch the unit on, the mashers are forced to swing toward the outside of the spinning plate.
Disposals should be run just until the food has been ground up, which is usually less than 30 seconds. Also, make sure to run a full stream of cold water through the disposal while it grinds. Then let the water run for another 30 seconds after you turn off the disposal.
Types of Garbage Disposals
By far the most popular kind of disposal unit in new homes is the continuous feed. When you place food in the disposal and switch it on, the mashers force food against the teeth of the inner wall and shred it. The shredded food then falls through small holes between the spinning plate and the inside walls, and is diverted into the drainpipe.
The job of the rubber shield at the top of the disposal is to keep fast-moving food particles from being ejected out of the disposal. The stopper lets you plug the sink to hold water when you’re not using the disposal.
Batch feed garbage disposals
Batch feed disposals function exactly like continuous feed disposals–the difference is only in how you turn them on. To turn these garbage disposals on, you place a special stopper in the disposal opening and turn it. The stopper activates a switch that turns on the disposal.
Dishwasher Garbage Disposals
Just as the name implies, these are separate garbage disposal units meant to grind up food particles in the dishwasher. These mechanisms can be found inside the dishwasher unit, or you may be able to connect our dishwasher to your sink garbage disposal.
Your garbage disposal can jam if something solid or tough gets lodged between the spinning plate and the inside wall of the disposal. There aren’t many parts of your garbage disposal that you can or should service yourself, so be sure to call a service professional for any repairs your disposal may need. And, be sure to never put your hands near the opening while it is running.
Tip: To reduce odors and freshen your drain smell, try grinding a lemon rind into your disposal.
Gas appliances such as water heaters, furnaces and fireplaces, need plenty of air to operate safely; otherwise they will produce potentially deadly carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and toxic gas; you can’t see, taste or smell it. Most carbon monoxide poising incidents happen during the heating season, but problems can develop at any time gas appliances are operated. In warm weather, the improper use of gas (and charcoal) grills and portable generators can create carbon monoxide hazards.
To minimize this potential hazard in your own home, make sure your gas appliances are installed and maintained properly. Building codes and equipment manufactures require specific combustion air and venting provisions for installed appliances. Combustion air is the air supplied to the burners to ensure the right mix of air and gas for safe, efficient combustion and proper operation of the appliance. Venting provisions ensure that the potentially harmful byproducts of combustion vent to the exterior properly.
Gas appliances should only be installed by qualified professionals. Most local building code departments require permits and inspections of all new installations. Contact your local gas company or a licensed heating contractor if there are any questions or concerns with your gas appliances.
For Safe Operation of Gas-Fired Appliances:
- Schedule an annual appliance inspection, cleaning and tune-up by a qualified specialist.
- Have vents and chimneys inspected by a qualified expert at least once a year.
- Make sure there are combustion air provisions for any appliance installed in the house.
- Store combustibles and flammables far away from gas appliances.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors on each floor level and in sleeping areas.
- Make sure gas grills have adequate clearance and do not use the grills under a low overhang or indoors.
While you may not be using your heating system or gas fireplace due to the warm weather, now is a good time to arrange for servicing so you are ready to go once temperatures cool down again.
Remember, these tips are only general guidelines. Since each situation is different, contact a professional if you have questions about a specific issue. More home safety and maintenance information is available right here on our website. Click on any of the topics to the right for more.