Why Upgrade?

Growing up, my dad would always say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This is how I’ve been taught to ‘save money’ and take care of the things I have so they’ll last forever. Unfortunately, Dad, times have changed.

Refrigerators seem to be that appliance that people use until it falls apart; because of my Dad’s philosophy, I have always been a firm believer that upgrading is the last resort. But what people don’t know, is that by keeping that 10 year old refrigerator and passing up the new models, they are actually spending more money and settling for less. The main difference between an old and new refrigerator is the electrical consumption. With better temperature control, new features, more space, and lower noise levels, these new refrigerators are much more efficient, and save you money at the same time!

By consumers ‘indulging’ in new, upgraded appliances, energy use has dropped over 50% between 1987 and 2010. Appliances that have especially helped save energy are refrigerators with the Energy Star rating. Why is this so important? “Refrigerators that earn the Energy Star rating are about 15% more energy efficient than models that meet the minimum federal energy efficiency standard.” That’s 15% more energy saved on top of the amount of energy being saved with a new model refrigerator! If that’s not enough to encourage one to upgrade, switching to a new model is also better for the environment. Using energy efficient appliances in your home will significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that have been a growing concern.

So, if it ain’t broke… that doesn’t mean you can’t upgrade!

Content courtesy of:

Manila Standard Today: http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/06/04/why-you-should-upgrade-your-appliances/

Energy Star: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=find_a_product.showProductGroup&pgw_code=RF

Which is Best: Top Load or Front Load Washing Machines?

Traditional Top Loaders:

There’s a reason why we call these guys traditional.  It’s what I grew up with and you probably did too.  There’s an agitator in the middle of the basket which bangs your clothes all around the interior.  Yes I said “bangs” because traditional top loaders are the most violent on your clothes.  These washers are why you have so much accumulation in your dryer’s lint trap.  The agitator is pushing against your clothes which frays the fibers on your garments.  When you throw the clothes in your dryer, the dryer removes the frayed fibers and they are caught in the lint trap.  I bet you throw that lint away, don’t you?  Well don’t.  Save it because it makes great tinder to start a fire. Incidentally that agitator in the center of the basket takes up room, so generally traditional top loaders have less capacity than high efficiency top and front load washers. They also use the most water per cycle than the other types of laundry.  A whole lot more—sometimes up to 44 gallons for an entire cycle! However, they definitely have a niche in the marketplace.  Their price points are usually the most aggressive out of the three options and generally speaking, the wash times are less than your other washer choices.

Pros of Traditional Top Loaders:

  • Lower Price Point
  • Faster Wash Times (generally speaking)
  • What we’re “used” to

Cons:

  • Harsher on your clothes
  • Slower RPMs on the spin cycle meaning more moisture left in your clothes for a longer dry time
  • Less capacity (generally speaking)
  • Use an incredible amount of water per cycle

High Efficiency Top Loaders:

These units are on the market for consumers who are fearful of front loaders, but recognize the importance of water efficiency.  There is no agitator in the baskets of these units.  Instead, there is an impeller at the bottom that’s designed to pull the clothes into the water.  The water will never fill the entire basket hence the water usage is less than traditional top loaders, but still more than front loaders.  It’s VERY important that if you purchase this type of washer (or front loader) to switch to HE detergent.  This is a formula specifically designed for machines that are water efficient.  Basically this detergent won’t create as much suds during the wash.

A great feature of HE Top Loaders is that their spin cycle is MUCH faster than traditional top loaders—sometimes even rivaling front loaders’ spin cycle.  A faster spin is very important when we’re talking about the overall energy efficiency of the washer and dryer combined.  Higher RPMs on a spin cycle removes more moisture in the clothes which means you won’t be running your dryer as long (a dryer uses way more energy than your washer).

Pros of HE Top Loaders:

  • More water efficient than traditional top loaders
  • Faster RPMs in the spin cycle
  • Larger capacity than traditional top loaders (generally speaking)
  • Gentler on your clothes than traditional top loaders

Cons of HE Top Loaders:

  • Not as water efficient as front loaders
  • Higher price point than traditional top loaders
  • Slower spin cycle than front loaders (generally speaking)

Front Loaders:

One of the biggest complaints with front loaders of the early 2000’s was that they would develop mold and they would emit an odor.  It’s true they did, but manufacturers have solved this problem.  First, if you open any of the doors on a front loader and look at the gasket inside, you’ll see some drainage holes.  This gets water out of the gasket that might have remained after the cycle is finished.  Second, many of the front loaders today have a “clean basket” or “sanitize basket” cycle.  This is a wash program NOT designed to wash your clothes, but rather to clean out the interior of the washer.  The water temperature during this cycle can reach up to 170 degrees and it kills/washes away any mold that could potentially build up.  Depending how often you use your washer will depend on how often you utilize the clean washer cycle, but assume that you’ll use it about once a month. By keeping the door slightly ajar, the interior will dry out with less chance of an odor developing.

Now that I’ve tackled the smell issue, let’s talk about why I love front loaders the most.  They are the most water efficient type of washer on the market sometimes using as little as twelve gallons in a cycle!  Front load washers are also the gentlest on your clothes.  Remember that there is no agitator grinding against your clothes fraying them.  This means that your clothes will last longer, retain their color longer, and you’ll notice less lint being captured by the dryer.  How does a front loader clean your clothes if there isn’t an agitator?  While the drum is spinning, it’s dropping your clothes into the water located at the bottom of the drum.  It’s using gravity to “slosh” the water through your garments.

Don’t forget that a lack of an agitator means more capacity in front loaders.  Some brands offer a 5.1 cubic foot drum.  That’s HUGE and will fit a bunch of clothes or bulky items like comforters or jeans.  As long as you can close the door without using force (unlike how you close your suitcase when you go on vacation), you haven’t over filled it.

There’s yet another reason to love front loaders: energy efficiency.  Yes, we talked about these units using less water, but their spin cycle is MUCH faster than other forms of washers.  Some units can spin at 1400 RPMs! Spinning your clothes at that speed will remove ridiculous amounts water before you put them in the dryer.  You don’t have to be Stephen Hawking to know that less moisture in your clothes means a shorter dry time.  The water and energy savings of a front load laundry pair basically pays for the dryer over the lifetime of the machines.

The most important thing to know about front loaders if you’re switching from a top loader is that front loaders clean your clothes differently.  Don’t expect to see tons of water and bubbles filling up the drum during a wash cycle.  Just like high efficiency top loaders, make sure to use HE detergent.

Pros of Front Loaders:

  • Less water usage
  • Gentle on your clothes
  • Fast Spin Cycle
  • Large Capacity

Cons of Front Loaders:

  • Higher price point
  • Mold is a thing of the past, use the “sanitize drum cycle”!
Content courtesy of: http://kieffersblog.com

10 Creative Cleaning Tricks!

  1. Play-Doh: Use it to pick up tiny shards of invisible glass that are impossible to sweep or vacuum up.
  2. Microwave: Use it to sanitize sponges and wash cloths by rinsing/squeezing and microwaving them for 3 minutes.
  3. Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar and 3 Tbsp salt. Use it to clean tarnished copper by spraying the copper, letting it sit, and then wiping it clean.
  4. Remove colored markers from the walls by spraying with hairspray and immediately wiping clean.
  5. Wash a narrow vase by adding dry rice and water. Shake vigorously.
  6. Dust heard to reach places with a hair dryer.
  7. Pour a can of cola in the toilet to remove rust rings.
  8. Treat glass shower doors with a water repellent product to keep them scum free.
  9. Remove pet hair from upholstery with duct tape.
  10. Use walnuts to hide scratches in wood furniture

Clean Your Microwave Easily

Cleaning dried food off the inside of a microwave oven can be time consuming and difficult, but not if you follow these steps to clean it easily and effortlessly!

Follow these steps:

  1. Either fill a microwave safe bowl halfway with water and add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, or cut a lemon in half and place both halves upside down on a plate with water.
  2. Place bowl (or plate if you used lemons) in the microwave
  3. Turn microwave on for 3-5 minutes for the bowl (or 1-2 minutes for the lemons)
  4. The steam should loosen the food and make it easy to wipe clean
REMINDER:
  • Do not use abrasive cleaners on your microwave
  • Do not stand close to the microwave or allow the microwave to run too long due to the fact that the door may burst open and spray hot water everywhere

10 Interesting Facts About Recycling

10 Interesting Facts About Recycling

  1. Rain-forests are being cut down at a rate of 100 acres per MINUTE!
  2. The highest point in Hamilton County, Ohio is “Mount Rumpke” – a mountain of TRASH at the Rumpke sanitary landfill towering 1045 ft. above sea level.
  3. Plastic tossed into the ocean kills nearly 1 million sea creatures each year
  4. 500,000 trees must be cut down to produce the Sunday’s newspaper
  5. It takes a 15 year old tree to produce 700 paper grocery bags
  6. The U.S. produces 70% of the world’s solid waste
  7. Landfills are responsible for 36% of all methane emissions in the US, one of the most potent contributors to global warming.
  8. Recycling 1 aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for 3 hours
  9. It takes an orange peel 6 months to decompose and it takes a styrofoam cup 400-500 years to decompose
  10. Using recycled glass takes 40% less energy than making products from all new materials.

10 Simple Ideas to Summerize Your Home

Turn your home into a summer wonderland with these 10 simple ideas!

  1. Plant or hang outdoor flowers.
  2. Attract hummingbirds with honeysuckle vines, wildflowers, bird feeders, and bird baths.
  3. Add outdoor string lights to your patio.
  4. Replace heavy winter drapes with sheer light curtains to let in more light.
  5. Replace dark lampshades with light colored shades.
  6. Use terracotta pots indoors for fruit, utensils, or plants.
  7. Keep a pitcher of cucumber water or iced tea in the fridge.
  8. Replace torn screens to get fresh air without letting the bugs in.
  9. Add a fire pit to your outdoor patio.
  10. Always keep a vase of fresh flowers in the living room, dining room, or kitchen.

How to Get a Foul Smell Out of a Refrigerator

Smelly refrigerators are the worst. They’re not only a pain, but they’re also dangerous. Typically, odors in our refrigerators tell us some of our food is spoiled. Sometimes these smells can even seep into our fresh vegetables and contaminate them.

In this post, we’ll show you how to get foul smells out of your refrigerator.

Shown: LG Stainless Steel French Door Refrigerator, LFX25974ST. Click for our locations

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Standard Washer and Dryer Measurements

Front loading machines can be stacked for optimum space-saving capabilities and style. Photo from decorati.com

When purchasing a new washer or dryer for your home, it’s crucial to measure your space (similar to buying a new piece of furniture). Getting the right measurements will save you a ton of time in returns, phone calls and overall general headaches.

Below, we’ll go over the steps on how to Continue reading

Remodeling Your Kitchen on a Budget

So your New Year’s resolution is to finally update that kitchen, but you don’t have stockpiles of cash to do it all at once. Two things to remember:

  • You don’t have to do it all at once. Start with the smaller changes while you save for the big ones.
  • Plan ahead. Have at least an idea of measurements and color scheme of your new kitchen before forging ahead—this will save you many headaches.

As with most goals, we often get too impatient—especially those involving the most popular area of the house. But where we lack in cash, Continue reading