Every once in a while I come across an appliance that has more value for metal scrap than its function or condition. Don't get me wrong, I have some old kitchen appliances that still work very well and that I rely on heavily, even if one button or feature no longer works. And I'm a strong believer in taking good care of appliances to extend their life and save money - it's the smart, frugal thing to do.
But I'm talking about appliances that are in such terrible shape such as this fan. The ones that pose any kind of safety hazard, still being in operation. This fan was spotted in a women's shower building at a campground. Keeping this particular item in service in a public place, shows some serious lack of due diligence by the owner.
I feel the same way when I encounter an old fridge with the interior and outer rubber seal covered in black mold. Besides the obvious big-time energy waste, a refrigerator in this condition delivers more than cold storage. It offers some serious health hazards.
If it still works, when should you scrap it? When it comes to safety risks, that should be a no-brainer. Other times, it's not so easy to make disposal and replacement decisions. Read more for tips on how to deal with this appliance decision - Appliance Tip - When to Scrap it
Appliance cord safety - Have you inspected cords lately?
Photo © Mifflin
In order to reduce our electricity bills, we installed a GE 24-hour mechanical timer on our water heater. It's a process a handyman can do by following detailed instructions or securing the help of an electrician. I expect the timer to pay for itself in a couple of months as energy savings add up.
It took being on time-of-use (TOU) electricity rates to force us to take this step to control how and when our water heater is on, but you don't have to. Start saving energy today by installing a timer on your water heater and reduce energy use. You may have to explore different on/off timing schedules for your household, but they are easy to set (and change).
Being able to control water heating is just one step you can take to reduce your electricity bills. Learn more about mechanical timers and how we installed a GE 24- Hour Mechanical Timer on our electric water heater.
Photo © Mifflin
Fine china tends to exude a certain amount of elegance even with a rather plain design. That's why basic white china is such a popular choice for a formal table. Let's call it neutral tabletop finery, where you can dress it up or down simply by adding colorful table linens or plate chargers and it never becomes 'old'.
But every once in a while a certain china pattern strikes me as being the pearl, the gem if you like - dinnerware that cannot avoid close scrutiny and admiration, regardless of what else is on the table.
The Lenox Opal Innocence Silver fine china doesn't really need an introduction. One glance says it all. It has some classic lines, but there's just something about the elegant (silver) vine motif with the raised enamel dots, platinum and silver trimmings that sets it apart from mainstream dinnerware.
Note that Lenox's Opal Innocence fine china - a very popular tabletop - comes in more than one pattern. Adding Silver to the same vine, rather than white on white, seems to bring it up a notch compared to the rest of the line. It's truly the 'icing on the cake', fully-dressed formal dinnerware that is both graceful and timeless. This is a pattern that would hard to resist touching and that is sure to foster many compliments.
Photo © Lenox
Before you know it, canning time will be here. Some start their canning cycle with jams and jellies, as soon as the local berry harvest is ready. Whether you're new to canning or have been preserving foods for eons, you'll want to have all the supplies you need, when it's time to start. So this is a good time to take stock and review your supply of canning jars, lids and other preserving supplies.
Since time delays during the canning process can affect the finished product, it's important to have all your equipment and supplies ready before you prepare the harvest. This Getting Started Canning List can help you be organized and ready to start when canning season starts.
Photo: © Mifflin
If you only need storage shelves during certain times of the year or a rack that is super easy to close and transport or store, an Origami Rack is the perfect solution. It's a shelving unit that folds taking very little room when stored.
With a set-up time of 20-seconds, it's ideal for the college dorm room or to set up a temporary indoor garden to start seeds in the Spring, yet you can quickly store it when not in use. The Origami Racks are folding shelf systems that are affordable, very durable and sturdy. One would also be ideal to take camping for keeping your gear stacked and handy, yet you can fold it to transport.
- Learn More About Origami Racks
- How to Install a Wire Shelf - Video
- How to Install a Wall Unit - Video
- Kitchen Storage Solutions
- Mobile Plastic Storage Drawer Units
Yonanas - my new best friend. A Yonanas machine is a great way to make dairy-free frozen treats and you can make a nice dessert even with only one frozen banana. This machine was a joy to use and I also found it pretty quick to take apart and clean. It performed as advertised with a soft-serve output that rivals some gourmet ice creams, but without dairy.
I highly recommend it if you want to make guilt-free healthy desserts and it's especially ideal for those on dairy-free or gluten-free and for those who must avoid preservatives. I definitely went bananas on this test!
Every time I started to feel guilty after having enjoyed a treat, I had to shake myself back to reality - that was only a banana!
Learn more in my: Yonanas Frozen Treat Maker Review
Photo © Yonanas
False. Not all blenders can easily crush ice for smoothies or icy drinks. A blender must be designed with ice crushing in mind, have enough power and a strong blade mechanism to crush ice without burning out. The blade should also be designed for optimum blending with ice. Power requirements can vary by design. For a counter blender, look for at least 500 watts of power, the more - the better.
A personal blender with 200 or more watts can be sufficient, as long as the blade is suitable and the mechanism can handle it. You don't necessarily need an ice crushing setting, but the blender should be designed to handle that function. Some blenders are designed specifically for ice crushing tasks and that's the type to get if you plan on making a lot of frozen drinks. Always read blender specs before buying to ensure it has that ability.
While some use their range oven to dehydrate fruits or make jerky, it's not really the most energy efficient method. It's also not always the best when it comes to drying foods evenly, nor convenient since it ties up your oven for several hours. A dehydrator is more convenient and generally does a much better job in less time.
I usually dry herbs in the microwave but that can be pretty risky fire-wise and tends to produce burnt edges and loss of flavor. Dehydrating foods can save you money and reduce food waste, but the problem for many who want to get into dehydrating is justifying the outlay for the proper equipment.
I found the Nesco American Harvest Snackmaster® Encore solves these problems for my drying needs. Reasonably priced and versatile when it comes to drying foods and making jerky, it's the ideal dehydrator that you can grow as you explore the world of food dehydrating. And as I found out, jerky is pretty easy to make with the right equipment. There's also a handy tool that's a must-have companion for this dehydrator. Learn more in my: Nesco American Harvest FD-61 Dehydrator review and find some helpful buying and use tips.
Photo © Nesco American Harvest
At this time of year, windows generally need a cleaning to remove the winter dust and grime. But climbing can be downright dangerous for some, so it's important to make sure that you climb safely or use cleaning tools that reduce the need to climb. This extendable window washer extends your normal reach and makes it quicker and safer to clean windows. While it can't help you clean the second level windows, it certainly can give you a better reach to the main floor glass. Learn more about this Mallory extendable window washer.
The ultimate dish drying rack for those always looking for more space. The Kitchen World Dish Drying Rack is 22" long with two tiers, one for plates and the bottom for everything else. With a high quality chrome finish, it looks like a work of kitchen art, so it's likely to get a few nods. And handles on the side make for easier lifting or carrying.
You don't have to settle for the standard rubber/plastic garden variety dish rack, you can add style to your sink area. It's amazing how stylish dish racks have become.
Photo Courtesy Price Grabber