Toshiba EM925ASA Microwave Oven Review

Toshiba EM925A5A Microwave OvenThe humble microwave oven is the most underappreciated kitchen appliance you have on your counter top.  It can warm food, boil water, cook a full meal and even bake desserts in a fraction of the time it takes your stovetop or oven, yet home cooks still think of it as an amateur’s tool.  My busy family of four loves our microwave and use it throughout the day more than any other kitchen appliance so when our seven year old GE microwave oven finally bit the dust we were at a loss for what to do.  After a little online shopping we decided to go with the one of the top selling microwave ovens on Amazon, the Toshiba EM925ASA Microwave Solo Oven.  It is an affordable and relatively frill-free unit and it was small enough to fit in the place where our GE once sat.  Was it worth it?

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Gas Heat Not Working? Check the Flame Sensor

Example Furnace Flame sensorMy gas furnace is only a couple years old, so I wasn’t real happy when our gas furnace began operating intermittently, sometimes starting when it should and sometimes not. We would be sitting in the living room playing a board game or just walking around and one of us would say, “Hey, it’s kind of chilly in here…” Essentially, the heat would be working fine for several weeks and then one day it just wouldn’t start. We’d sometimes hear the furnace try to kick on, but it wouldn’t last very long before it shut down again. Our gas furnace was basically cycling through its “starting cycle” much too quickly and it was never actually running for more than a few minutes. If this sounds like your gas furnace problem then read on to see what you can do to fix it before making an expensive service call to a heating repair company. read more…

Ryobi Electric Power Washer Surface Cleaner Review

Ryobi Electric Power Washer Surface CleanerPower washers are fun and effective ways to remove dirt, grime, moss, mildew and other materials from all your outdoor surfaces using pressurized water, but they can be difficult to use on large areas.  All power washers, no matter how expensive or how affordable have this one drawback: the pressure nozzle used to blow off the dirt has to fire the water out in a very narrow band in order to clean effectively.  This isn’t really a problem when you’re blasting the mildew off a deck chair, but the task of cleaning a large open area like a cement patio or large wood deck quickly becomes mindless drudgery when you can only clean away a three inch swath at a time.  That’s where pressure washer surface cleaners come in: They are attachment accessories for your power washer that turn your single nozzle into two rotating nozzles that clean large surface areas quickly and easily. read more…

Ryobi 1900 PSI 1.2 GPM Electric Pressure Washer Review

Ryobi 1900 PSI Power WasherIt’s a spring ritual for me to pull out the cheap power washer I had bought last year, hook it up, turn on the water and start cursing as it squirts water all over the patio.  Another $100 electric power washer had bit the dust.  This year I purchased the compact and mobile 1900 PSI Ryobi Wheeled Electric Pressure Washer.    was immediately impressed with the quality of the Ryobi Pressure Washer when I opened the box.  The power washer feels sturdy, has quality metal fittings and nozzles and worked well right out of the box.  Hookup was easy and straight forward with all the pieces fitting together well.  Even the garden hose screwed into the pressure washer without a hitch.  There’s a large, impossible to miss power button on the side of the power pressure washer that works well.  In less than ten minutes I was up and running. read more…

Ames Stand Up Weed Puller Review

Ames Stand Up Weeder Tongs

Weeding a lawn is one of those dreaded homeowner tasks that should be done regularly but is rarely done well.  A lot of homeowners, myself included, tend to rely on chemicals to indiscriminately do the weeding work for us, saving us time but definitely not money.  It may take me 20 minutes to spread weed killer all over my lawn, but then I have to wait for days or even weeks to see the results.  Conversely, I could spend a few hours manually pulling out the weeds from my yard and see the results of my work almost immediately.

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How To Reupholster and Re-Cover the Fabric on Your Dining Room Chairs

Reupholster a dining room chairNo matter how much you loved your original dining room set when you first bought it, chances are you’ll eventually want to update and recover the upholstery on the chairs at some point during its lifetime in your home. Fortunately reupolstering dining room chairs is a relatively quick and easy process, even for people who don’t attempt a lot of home improvements. By re-covering the fabric on your dining room chairs on your own you could potentially save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars that would normally be paid to a furniture expert.

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How To Repair A Broken Polyethylene (Black Plastic) Sprinkler Line

Sprinkler Line Coupling for RepairPart of the challenge of owning a home is making mistakes that you need to fix. I’ve made lots of carpentry mistakes, electrical mistakes and even plumbing mistakes in my own home, but I haven’t made too many landscaping mistakes… until now. One of the first mistakes I made when moving into our current home was not remembering that my front yard had an underground sprinkler line when I went to dig a hole for a new sapling I wanted to plant. I pushed my shovel into the ground and almost immediately felt the unmistakable snap of plastic cracking beneath the soil. Ooops. I had dug through an underground sprinkler line and now I had to repair it.

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How To Clean Stainless Steel – Four Methods Compared

best stainless steel cleaning methodsHaving Stainless Steel appliances is still one of the most popular ways to instantly upgrade the look and feel of your home’s kitchen, no matter how small or how big your room might be. Stainless steel as a classic, and professional, clean and sophisticated look that never goes out of style and looks good with almost any kitchen remodeling project. We love our LG stainless steel fridge, but with two growing kids we quickly realized the downside to stainless steel: greasy smudges and fingerprints all over our appliances almost every day. So I looked on the internet and found four cheap and easy suggestions for cleaning fingerprints off stainless steel. Unsure of the best solution, I decided to test all four at the same time to see what the best cleaner is for a stainless steel appliance.

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Make Your Own Dirt and Topsoil Sifter – With Wheels!

Build Your Own Dirt and Soil SifterMy back yard once had a large empty pit of sand, stone and grass that was left over from a previous owner’s above ground pool. It was the perfect place for a swingset, but once my kids got older I had to find a way to remove all the stones from the 15 foot circle so that I could cover it with topsoil and grow some grass. The most difficult task of this project was removing the stone from the dirt. To do this I needed to have some way to collect the stone and leave the dirt. I essentially needed a quick and easy way to sift out the stones and leave the sand and soil. A commercial sifter was way too expensive, so I decided to make my own stone sifter using an old wheel barrow, some left over 2x4s and a roll of 1/4 inch garden screen I had picked up just for the job.

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Changing Your Ceiling Fan Direction for Summer or Winter

Change Your Ceiling Fan Direction for Hot or Cold WeatherMechanical fans have been around for centuries, but the modern electric ceiling fan was invented in the early 1880’s and eventually became one of the most common place appliances in any modern home. Ceiling fan popularity faded as air conditioning became more prevalent and affordable, but they’ve recently enjoyed a resurgence as a low-cost, energy-efficient cooling method that can also look great in the right room. Most of us think of ceiling fans as tools to cool a room, but depending on their setting and direction they can actually warm a room as well. Here are some tips and tricks for warming and cooling your home with a ceiling fan in the summer or winter months.

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