Category: Home Improvement

Garden-Creations-JB5629-solar-accent-lights

Ideaworks JB5629 Solar-Powered LED Accent Light Review

Garden-Creations-JB5629-solar-accent-lightsThis solar accent light doesn’t need any electricity and no wiring is needed. Therefore, you can easily install them at any place you like. They will absorb solar energy to recharge the built-in batteries and shine at night. They can turn on or off automatically. All the materials are weatherproof, so they can last for a long time.

Many people have bought them. One reason is the price. The price is very low. Generally, you need to buy plenty of them to decorate your garden. Therefore, even if you buy a lot of them, they will not cost you much. And when they run, they don’t need any electricity energy. Therefore, they will not increase your energy bill.

This Ideaworks JB5629 Solar-Powered LED Accent Light set includes 8 lights and each measures 4.25″ by 4.25″ by 13.5″. The installation is pretty easy. You only need to plugin them into the ground.

[Rating: 4.2/5 stars]

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Solar-Deck-Lights-combo

Solar Deck Lights – Showing your Deck or Patio in its Best Light!

Solar-Deck-Lights-comboOne of the many specific uses of solar lighting is for brightening up the decking and entertainment areas outside our homes. If we’re having a few friends round for a barbecue or a few glasses of wine then solar deck lights can add mood, decoration and safety to the area.

One of the criticisms of solar lighting in the past has been that it is much less bright than electric lighting and doesn’t last as long. While this is still true for some models, more powerful solar sets are coming on to the market all the time. Already we have solar spotlights and task lights that have a separate solar panel that can be placed to optimally receive the most amount of sunlight per day while connecting via cable to a lighting unit up to 15 feet away that uses multiple LED bulbs. These systems are far more powerful and can match the light from a 40 watt incandescent bulb.

In the case of solar deck lights you may not need the most powerful lights but you will probably want lighting on the railing posts and gate posts, if there is a gate leading to stairs down to the garden. You may want another landscape light or two fixed to the wall and lighting the whole entertainment area, depending how big it is. Or you may just want some accent lighting that shows off your deck or patio in its best light!

The two most common types of solar deck lights are post cap lights and recessed lights. The first type is usually fastened to the top of the railing or on 4 x 4 or 6 x 6 posts, brightening the stretch of railing below and around it. They will be sold in sets for you to place along the deck railing at intervals. They may be made of plastic but the best ones are from aluminum, as these stand up well to all weather conditions (which is why window frames are often made from aluminum.) Most of these lights will use a small solar panel in the top, together with a rechargeable battery and one or two LED bulbs inside, using this set up to collect, store and release the power as lighting when darkness falls, when they will turn themselves on automatically. They are easy to fix to the post and, once there, really require no maintenance at all, making them very attractive compared to the electric lights that need wiring up.

The second type of deck light is the recessed light. These are designed to be flush mounted into the decking and up-light, similar to the lights that are used for driveway lights. They are more difficult to install than the post lights as they need to actually become part of the decking and can be walked on – you will need a drill. Because they will be walked over they will also have to be very strong and durable as it’s not just the weather they will get battered by.

With prices coming down and designs becoming better at lighting larger areas for longer periods, solar deck lights are a good option for you as a replacement for electric lights. They are easy to install, need no maintenance and use no electricity so they will save you money, time and effort in the long run.

Hoont-Outdoor-Solar-Step-Light

Setting Your Expectations Correctly with Cheap Solar Lights

Hoont-Outdoor-Solar-Step-LightBefore rushing out to the nearest garden center or lighting store to add a set of cheap solar lights to your household it is best to consider the many options you have with these items, to avoid being let down by getting a set that doesn’t do what you had hoped.

It is important to bear in mind the limitations with these lights and not believe all the hype and buzz surrounding them – though of course there are very good reasons for being excited by the possibilities that solar lighting brings to the home, as you will see later.

Firstly though, consider what you will be asking your purchase to do. If you are buying a couple of small, cheap rock lights and are expecting to place them on your deck to light up the whole area when you have a party then you will be disappointed. They are designed only as accent lighting to be placed in a flower bed or light up around a hazard like a pond for a few hours during the evening. They normally have a small solar panel, a small battery and an LED bulb that processes the sun’s energy, stores it and releases it – as most solar outdoor lights do – but they are certainly not designed to produce strong lighting throughout early and late evening and into the night.

In this situation you will probably need to “up” your budget and go for some post lights and deck lights that you will install at regular intervals around your decking, providing both mood lighting and safety lighting that will illuminate step areas or other hazards. In other situations that require task or spot lighting the cost per unit will be higher still as you will need a light that uses a larger panel and multiple LEDs to provide adequate illumination. So cheap is not always the way to go with these lights.

Now we have covered the main downside that people experience with outdoor solar lights, let’s take a quick look at all the advantages of these units over electrical lights, before giving you a couple of tips how you can save money when purchasing them.

Firstly they use zero electricity so any cost differential between the outlay for these lights and that for electric lights is paid back over time. This makes them more environmentally friendly than electric lights, of course. Also, they have virtually no maintenance required to keep them running – there’s not even an on/off switch in most cases and they will turn themselves on as the light starts to fail.

Being easy to install – pathway lights are often pre-mounted on spikes that are driven into the ground – also means that if you buy a large set of units it doesn’t involve much work to get them all set up, unlike electric lighting which involves a qualified electrician to wire everything up and hide the cabling.

Buying solar lights in sets is a good money-saving idea. Some manufacturers like Westinghouse will package their lights in 6, 12 or even 24 lights so that you can choose a set large enough for the job at hand and place at regular intervals around your property – doing this will mean that the work you ask of each light will be less, as it will be spread out amongst more units. They are usually quite attractive designs too, so having lots of lights adds to the overall ambiance of your garden, yard or driveway area.

Of course another way to save some money when buying solar landscape lights is to get them online. Garden centers are a good idea to get a look and feel for how they work, but you will find cheaper prices available at the many specialist solar lighting web sites. Choosing one with a variety of brands, images, clear specifications and product information, a good ordering process, secure payment and a proven delivery process will give you the peace of mind to order online.

SINGER-4411-Heavy-Duty-Extra-High-Sewing-Speed

Top 5 Best Sewing Machines Reviews

Invented in the 1800’s, sewing machines have progressed. In the beginning, the models were heavy and straight stitch only. Later on, the computerized and lightweight models have been developed. In addition, it is possible to do the attest embroidery stitches with the new model.

Ratings given on sewing machines are given, depending on the preferences of the reviewer. Different people have different needs. A sewing machine that does the greatest and latest embroidery may not be of help to a person who mends socks or jeans.It may not be appealing to the artistic type too. This review will be objective in its rating. This calls for subjectivity among the readers while deciding what sewing model to purchase.

The models that have been selected represent various styles and levels of skill. Other factors that have been considered include the ease of use. The various features and their functions have also been discussed widely. There is no need to have a classy machine sitting in your closet simply because you cannot operate it. Simplicity is crucial.

Fun factor of the machines was one of the criteria used to select the machine. Sewing should be fun, after all. In a nut shell, a good sewing machine should lay down the stitches effortlessly and the final outcome should be beautiful on the first or second attempt.

The following best Sewing Machines can help you find the most suitable one for your real needs. If you need one, choose one of them  and they will not disappoint you.

Best Sewing Machine

1. Pfaff Creative Sensation Pro Sewing Machine

pfaff-creative-sensation-proThe Pfaff Creative Sensation Pro Sewing Machine model of sewing machine has 169 pre-programmed stitches that can be easily modified as you move on. One of the unique features of this model is that it has an integrated dual feed adjustment tension button which is perfect and a stitch shape creator. It even has the ability to map out the stitches before you begin sewing. It has up to 37 needle positions which are precisely placed. It has speed and flawless performance.The manufacturers are kind enough to the users by giving a 5-year warranty on top of all those lovely features.

2. Bernina 830 Embroidery and Sewing Machine

Bernina-830-Embroidery-Sewing-MachineThe Bernina 830 Embroidery and Sewing Machine has virtually automatic functions. It has a push button that threads the needle. It has a button that raises and lowers the needle when the need arises and it cuts the thread towards the end of the stitch. This quilting and embroidery machine allows for creation of patterns and stitches prior to sewing. It has 30 bright LED lights for illumination purposes. Not only does it come with a 25-year warranty, but also a 5-year computer warranty.

3. Husqvarna Viking Designer Diamond Sewing Machine with Embroidery Unit

Husqvarna-Viking-Designer-Diamond-Sewing-MachineThis model is ideal for beginners. In addition, the Husqvarna Viking Designer Diamond Sewing Machine with Embroidery Unit has features that experienced sewers would fall in love with. It has a color torch screen that allows easy navigation and stitch selection. Did I mention that it has over 100 different stitching designs and 200 in built stitches available? For easy stitching, it has a material placement function that ensures the material is in the right position. It is so easy to operate it-just push the button once and it begins sewing.

4. Brother XL2600I Sew Advance Sew Affordable 25-Stitch Free-Arm Sewing Machine

Brother-XL2600IIt does sew in the basic and the old fashioned way. The Brother XL2600I Sew Advance Sew Affordable 25-Stitch Free-Arm Sewing Machine is simple and easy to use as it lacks bells, whistles, computer screens or multiple buttons. However, it has a button where you can select the design stitch you want. It has a manually operated bobbin and threading winding. It has a 110-volt machine foot pedestal and a light bulb for illumination purposes. It has 25-year limited warranty. It can be purchased online from Amazon.com.

5.SINGER 4411 Heavy Duty Extra-High Sewing Speed Sewing Machine

SINGER-4411-Heavy-Duty-Extra-High-Sewing-SpeedThe SINGER 4411 Heavy Duty Extra-High Sewing Speed Sewing Machine has a stainless steel bedplate and metal frame. It is the best model for sewing suede leather, quilting and denim. It has a button hole feature-makes it ideal for sewing buttons. In addition, it has 11 inbuilt essential stitches. Basically, it has no fancy features. Its major advantage is that it is durable, thanks to the metal chassis that promises durability and toughness.

Dutch-Oven

What is a Dutch Oven? – Definition and Use

Dutch-OvenIf you plan to braise meat, A Dutch oven is probably a good cooking pot to use. Actually, a Dutch Oven is a heavy gauge cooking pot which has a tightly fitting lid. It is good at braising, making stews and soups.

A Dutch Oven can be used in the oven or on the stovetop. Generally, they are made of cast iron. It is recommended to season cast iron Dutch oven before using, similar to other cast iron cookware. Cast iron can withstand high heat, so cast iron ovens are also great for deep-frying. If you don’t have a deep fryer, you can use your Dutch oven instead.

Dutch Ovens with an enamel coasting are so easy to clean and they are rust-resistant. There is no problem about rust.

However, we also need to know that cast iron is not good at heat conducting. Therefore, it is not so easy to get hot, taking a long time. And this feature also makes it retain the stored heat for a long time.

That’s why make them perfect for braising meat, making stews and soups.

Potato-Ricer-Baby-Food-Strainer

Best Potato Ricer Reviews

If you plan to use a stand mixer to make mashed potatoes or just mash potatoes by hand, you will find it is really inefficient and you cannot get the right texture of well mashed potatoes. Using an electric mixer to smash potatoes cannot give you the right texture that you what, while using your hand to smash them is both time and energy consuming. Therefore, the best method is to have a potato ricer to do the job. We’ve compiled this list of the best potato ricers for you to choose from because of their ease of use, ease of cleaning, ratings, as well as customer reviews.

Browne Foodservice 746192 Stainless Steel Potato Ricer with Discs

Browne-Foodservice-746192The main material of this product is stainless steel, making it sturdier. The design of long handles makes it easy for leverage. Its ridged head allows you to rest on the bowl, so there is not a problem of failing over. 3 interchangeable disks can offer 3 levels output – coarse, medium, or fine. Therefore, you have more options to choose from. It is also very easy to use it. Firstly, boil the potatoes and when they become cooked, plop the cooked potatoes into your ricer. And then you squeeze its handle, add some milk, cream, or spices as you like. The cleanup is also pretty easy, so you can use it more as you like.

The average rating of this bestselling potato ricer is up to 4.8 and more and more people think it is a must-have for your kitchen. If you never use one, you will find it is so useful for making mashed potatoes.

Oxo Good Grips Potato Ricer

Oxo-Good-Grips-Potato-RicerThis one is also one of the most popular potato ricers you can find one the market. The rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars. It is also made of solid stainless steel. It comes with interchangeable screens, so you can get from fine to coarse mashed potatoes. Plenty of people highly recommended it. One user said it is of high quality thanks to its solid construction and an attractive appearance. She felt so satisfied with this ricer and didn’t find any problem. She especially loved its great ergonomics design and smooth riced potato output. What’s more, it is pretty easy to clean it.

Potato Ricer and Baby Food Strainer

Potato-Ricer-Baby-Food-StrainerThis one is very cute and handy. As a versatile potato ricer, it can mae your mashed potates fluffy and lump-free. It is also can be used to amke baby food, spaetzle or apple cause. its handles are made of heavy duty plastic, which are very comfortable to use.  It also offer 2 plates, one for a coase grand and the other for a midium grain. It is also very easy to use and clean. And you can throw it into your dishwasher to clean it.

Norpro Potato Ricer

Norpro-Potato-RicerThis one is the most affordable one you can choose. It is able to hold 20 ounces or 2.5 cups. It has a triple chormed finish, so it is not made of stainless steel. You can use it to make light, fluffy mashed potatoes or vegetabels. This one is not dishwasher safe, so you’d better wash it by hand. If you just need a cheap one for occaional use, this one is perfect.

OXO Good Grips Adjustable Potato Ricer

OXO-Good-Grips-Adjustable-Potato-RicerThis one allows you to turn its rotaing dish clock wsie, so you can make from fine, medium to coarse mashed potatoes. You can use it to make spaetze, chunky applesauce as well. If you need a more veratile one, this is definietly the best chocie for you.

 

 

Makita-UC4030A-Commercial-Grade-16-Inch-Electric-Chain

Best Electric Chainsaw Reviews

When it comes to chainsaws, there are mainly two types: gas chainsaws and electric chainsaws. The former ones are perfect for those who just use saws to finish some light work, while the latter ones are perfect for those professionals who use saws to do hard work regularly. Generally, gas chainsaws are larger and powerful than electric ones.

However, if you only need a saw to do a little work, you don’t need to pay much for a powerful saw but an electric chainsaw is enough. You can use it to prepare stocked woodpile for your fireplace, trim your bushes and trees, as well as do other landscaping. They are perfect for occasional use. In the following, we listed the pros and cons of an electric chainsaw

The pros:

  • Easy to use – just plug it in a standard outlet, and then trigger it. It is so easy, isn’t it? It holds comfortable and vibrate less.
  • Quiet – When working, they are much quieter than gas chainsaws, not disturbing your neighbors.
  • Safe to use – Because it uses electricity, there is no noxious fumes. It is much safer to use.

The Cons:

  • Not powerful for hard work– If you use an electric saw to do some hard work, you’ll find it is not so powerful. In this situation, a gas chainsaw is your best choice, because they are designed for hard work.

Best Electric Chainsaw

We’ve done a lot of research and compiled this list of top rated best electric chainsaws for you to choose from, according to their durability, ease of use, safety, ratings, performance, as well as customer reviews. They are designed for only intermittent use, it is meaningless if you want to buy one for frequent use for hard work.

Makita UC4030A Commercial-Grade 16-Inch 14.5 amp Electric Chain

Makita-UC4030A-Commercial-Grade-16-Inch-Electric-ChainWhen it comes to power tools from Makta, it means high quality and great performance. This Makita UC4030A is one of the top rated chainsaws you can trust. Its rating is 4.5 stars. It is easy to use and maintain due to its one-touch blade that is tool-less and the chain adjustments. The grip handles are rubberized, making you feel comfortable when gripping. To protect the motor, it is equipped with a current limiter to reduce any overloaded current, protecting the motor from burning out. It is worth buying.

Husqvarna 316E Electric Chain Saw

Husqvarna-316E-Electric-Chain-SawThis chainsaws features a compact and slim body. It is much smaller than others. However, it also has a powerful motor which is powerful enough for your indoors or outdoors light work. Many users spoke highly of its noise level control and low vibration.

Earthwise CS30016 16-Inch 12 amp Electric Chain Saw

Earthwise-CS30016-16-Inch-12-amp-Electric-Chain-SawAs a popular model, it even can replace a gas chainsaw in some way. Because of its much more powerful and lighter features, you must be more careful when you are using it. It also includes an oil level window for convenience. The average rating is 4.4 on Amazon and there are 100 more customer reviews. If you plan to buy it, checking these reviews first and you can understand whether you really need it or not.

Makita UC3530A Commercial Grade 14-Inch 15 amp Electric Chain Saw

Makita-UC3530A-Electric-Chain-SawThe Makita UC3530 is another Makita Electric Chain we recommended on this list. It has almost the same features as UC4030A. However, it is much more affordable. It also has an oil reservoir that comes with a view window, so you can easily check its bar oil level.

Black & Decker LP1000 Alligator Lopper 4.5 Amp Electric Chain Saw

Black-Decker-LP1000-chain-sawAs one of the top rated and bestselling models on Amazon, this Black & Decker LP1000 balances performance and price very well. The price is less than $100, but it gets a rating of 4.6 stars from 500 more customer reviews. It is affordable and gets the highest rank on this list.

Conclusion

If you are limited on a budget, you can choose Black & Decker LP1000. If the reliability and performance are at a premium, you can consider Makita UC4030A or UC3530A. Others are also great.

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How to Change A Refrigerator Water Filter

replace-a-filterIf you haven’t changed a refrigerator water filter on your refrigerator, you may think it may be difficult. The fact is that changing one filter on a newer refrigerator is much easier and quicker. Generally, most refrigerator water filters can shut off automatically, if you unscrew it from the refrigerator. This design is very great. However, if the filter you have is not attached to appliances (e.g. a secondary filter), you need to shut the water off first and then to change it.

How to buy a replacement filter?

  • Buy it on local store – If you know the brand and the specific model of your fridge, you can unscrew the filter and take it to a local home improvement or hardware to buy one. However, you may not find the right filter because these stores may not sell the filter you plan to buy.
  • Buy It on line – it is highly recommended to buy a replacement filter on line. Of course, you need to know the brand and model of your refrigerator. You can buy it on line from many online retailers, like Amazon. They usually come in 2 or 3 packs and this can help you save money.

Twist on filters

Generally,twist on refrigerator water filters are located in the front, back or inside of the fridge. Different models may be different. First, you need to change a twist. This is so easy – just turn the refrigerator filter a 1/4 turn counterclockwise, and then pull it out of its housing directly. Don’t discard the knob which is able to be used on the new replacement filter. The reinstallation is also very easy. Put the knob on the new filter and push the water filter into its housing, and then turn it a 1/4 turn clockwise in order to lock it into its position. The process is just the reverse process of changing a twist.

Once you have finished the reinstallation, you’d better throw away 1 or 2 gallon of water or discard the first batch or 2 of ice in order to get rid of the carbon residue which is left behind by a new filter.

Make sure to dispense and throw away a gallon or two of water or discard at least the first batch or two of ice to get rid of the carbon residue left behind by a new filter.

Push in filters

This type of filters can be found in the front, in the bottom grille, in the top towards the back or inside the refrigerator. If you don’t know where it is, the product specification may have marked the location. The installation is much easier than a twist on filter. There is a button and just push it to release the old filter and then pull the old one out. And then you need to do is to take off the cap and push it onto the new replacement water filter. The last step is to push the new one with the cap in to lock into position. Before starting to use it, you need to dispense or discard 1 or 2 gallons of water or throw away 1 batch or 2 of ice, which can get rid of the residue left behind by a new filter.

Watts-543700 3-Stage-Filter

When do you Change the Water Filter?

Watts-543700 3-Stage-FilterIf you have a water filter, there is a question you should pay attention to – “When do you change the water filter”. This question is very important, because once the filters cease to be effective, the filtered water will be not pure as it used to be. Therefore, we should know when to change them before they lose their efficiency.

However, this question depends on several factors. Generally, water filters have their estimated life span that is measured in gallons of water. However, the estimated life cycle is only a guideline supposing you use filtered water on average water use. Therefore, it is not a good indicator to tell you when you need to change them, because every household uses a different amount of water every day. In the following, I will list some factors that may affect the life of your water filters:

Factors affect the life of your water filter:

  • The overall water condition: how many contaminants are in the water and how much do you want to filter every day.
  • If the water is very hard (hard water contains more minerals), the filters may be clogged by the building up scale.
  • How much filtered water do you consume every day, more than the average use?
  • If a filter is clogged or cannot filter out particles and contaminants, it become useless and ineffective. You have to replace it.

When to change?

  • If you detect an odor in the filtered water, this means your filters cannot work.
  • Filtered water tastes unpleasant.
  • The water pressure from the faucet becomes lower and lower gradually.
  • Filters are seemed very dirty with clear containers.
  • You have exceeded its life span that manufacturers recommended.

In order to ensure the effectiveness of your water filters, replace them on time is very important, ensuring that you always have clean filtered water to consume. A back-up replacement filter is essential for convenient change-outs. Different models use different filters that are sold by brand. You need to buy filters as same as your previous one.

Generally, if you have installed a reverse osmosis system, it is recommended to change its filters every 6 months to 1 year. Many models have an indicator that can remind you when to change them. Many faucet water filters may also have an indicator and you need to change its filer every 3 to 6 months.

Solar-Pool-Panel-System

What are Swimming Pool Solar Panels

Solar-Pool-Panel-SystemIf you want to use your swimming pool anytime or just extend the using time of it in a year, the first problem is that the water is too cold to swim. Therefore, installing solar panels to heat the water in your pool becomes meaningful, because compared with using a pool heater powered by gas, solar panels heat your pool without any energy from the grid needed and any greenhouse gas emissions. You may think power heating solar systems are expensive, but the fact is that they are not as expensive as you might think. In this post, we will talk about how they work and why you need them.

How Swimming Pool Solar Panels Work

Swimming pool solar panels are not solar photovoltaic panels that we use to power our home or charge batteries. They work differently. They have a sensor to regulate the temperature which you set according to your preference. A pump is used to filter the water and then water is sent by the pump through the solar collectors. When water travels through the solar collector array, it is heated by the sun. Warm water is led back to your swimming pool.

Types of Panels

Although there are numerous different models of pool solar panels, there are only 2 main types – Unglazed and Glazed.

  1. Unglazed – This type is made of heavy plastic and rubber. It is recommended to use it above freezing temperatures for better sufficient.
  2. Glazed – Its tubing is made of copper and its aluminum plate has a tempered glass covering. Therefore, it is more efficient than unglazed models and you can use it all year around.

Before choosing one, you should know how many panels you should install. There is a solar pool calculator to help you to calculate.

The Essentiality of Pool Covers

The swimming pool has a large surface, so the heat can escape easily if there are no pool covers. Pool covers are very important to keep the heat. It is highly recommended to keep one in place when you are not swimming in your swimming pool. This is especially very important at night. If you don’t use one, this is like pouring warm water into cold water in the winter.

Cost and Maintenance

There are many factors that may determine the cost of your pool solar panels, like the size of the pool, your geographic location and the orientation. Generally, it is estimated that investing in such a system may cost you about $3000 to $4000 and you can recoup the investment from several years to 7 years. The federal government or some states government may offer tax incentives, if you invest in solar panels, which can reduce up to 30% of the initial cost.

Generally, such a pool heating system can last for 15-20 years. In the first less than 7 years is the payback period, and from then on, the operation costs are almost none and they only need very low maintenance. If you don’t use them in winters, you should shut them off and keep them dry to avoid any damage from freezing in cold winters.