Home Appliances

Guide to household appliances

Certain domestic appliances are a standard feature in any home because they are necessities for modern life (e.g., a fridge or stove). Other small appliances are convenient to have but not necessarily needed. Telling the difference between a needed appliance and something that's simply nice to have is important and will save you money in the long run. Here is a basic guide for what you need, what you can live without if you have to and what to look for when you're buying.

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Purchasing Major Appliances

When purchasing major electrical appliances, consider the warranty of the appliance, its power consumption or energy rating, and how it will look in your home. These items tend to be expensive, and ticket price is usually just the beginning. Maintenance, replacement and operation costs can add up if you don't select carefully.

Matching a Major Appliance with Your Home Decor

Major appliances are an investment, and it's worth being prepared to spend some money, especially if you want something that suits your decor. Stainless steel typically looks very good in kitchens, but it isn't for everybody (it might look odd in a country kitchen, for example). If you're willing to spend a bit more, you can even get a custom fridge built with a front that matches your kitchen cabinets.

Televisions are another appliance that you should try to match with your home décor. Typically, a simple television set will blend right in with most modern homes. You could even look for something wall-mounted if you're looking to save space. Either way, it's worth remembering that televisions often become focal points in the room, so find something that will look appropriate.

Washers and Dryers

Some people argue that a washer and dryer are necessities, but many people still choose not to buy them. If you do choose to purchase a washer dryer combo for your home, remember to check how much power it consumes. As with any major appliance, you can save money and electricity by looking for something more efficient. Using a clothesline in the summer months will help save power as well.

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Humidifier

Humidifiers work to maintain a healthy amount of humidity in the air of a home. Air humidifiers are often purchased for residents who have trouble breathing (for example, a person with asthma) or for homes that feel too dry (particularly during the winter months). Furnace humidifiers and house humidifiers work with the central air unit of a home to add moisture throughout the entire house. For smaller spaces, or for a single resident, it is best to use a room humidifier. This humidifier is personal, mobile and compact.

Mist humidifiers are also appropriate for smaller spaces within a home. These devices release light moisture into the air, leaving it less dry and easier to breathe. Humidifier filters act to purify the air of a room by eliminating dust and other unwanted particles.

Humidifiers are a common choice for anyone who needs to add moisture to their home. It is important to ask how loud a humidifier is and how often it needs to be looked after before purchasing it. Practicality is far more important than design in this case (but that doesn't mean you can't also find one with a decorative finish or design!).

Dehumidifier

The presence of a dehumidifier can make a home more comfortable and healthier for its residents.

Home dehumidifiers collect excess moisture in the air and store it internally (usually in a tray or container that needs to be emptied periodically). By maintaining a healthy level of humidity in a home, a dehumidifier can prevent mold from developing and potentially causing health problems for homeowners. The elimination of excessive humidity in certain climates can make a home a more pleasant environment to sleep in, as well. Dehumidifiers can even protect wooden furniture and other belongings from rotting away in the humidity.

Before purchasing a dehumidifier, it is important that you determine the amount of humidity in your home. Just as too much humidity is bad, too little can also be a problem, so you don't want to use your dehumidifier in the wrong area or on too high a setting. Additionally, it is important for dehumidifier users to empty the collection vessel on a frequent basis in order to avoid overflow and water damage in the home.

Fan

Deciding what type of fan to purchase can be tricky if you're not exactly sure what each style of fan does. Before purchasing a fan, you should establish exactly where the fan is needed. Electric fans are great for cooling down individual spaces. A portable fan can be moved from room to room, while a desk fan is even smaller and perfect for workspaces. Just make sure to check the noise level of a desk fan before purchasing it. There are also personal fans small enough to be toted around in purses and bags. These are battery operated and are a step up from hand fans, which can be elegant and will do in a pinch, but require you to exert energy to move them, which often leaves you feeling warmer than before.

There are several options for cooling down an entire home. House fans collect warm air from the entire house and deposit it into the attic. Ceiling fans placed strategically throughout a home can also make a drastic difference to the temperature. A hugger ceiling fan is best suited for low ceilings or small spaces. Wicker ceiling fans and palm ceiling fans can provide a unique look to the home, and palm ceiling fans make minimal noise when in use. Exhaust fans and bathroom fans will help circulate air and reduce humidity.

Heater

Heating is pretty much a home essential, especially if you live in a colder climate. But sometimes, you only need heat in a certain area, or you might need extra heat in a certain area. For those situations, portable heaters can come in handy. Electric heaters are probably the most popular, particularly for enclosed or poorly ventilated spaces, where kerosene heaters or propane heaters might present a danger. Natural gas heaters are gaining in popularity, however, especially with today's concerns over energy efficiency and the rising cost of electricity. Of course, the truly eco-conscious might consider solar heaters, although these can be quite expensive and require plenty of sun exposure.

Kerosene and propane heaters are still great choices for outdoor living areas such as patios and decks, and they can also be useful to have on hand in the case of a power outage because they require no electricity. Used properly in well-ventilated areas, they are an excellent heating option.

Small Appliances

Most small appliances aren't needed, but they can really make things easier. Before you make a purchase, it is worth considering how much you'll use it. Discount appliances are alright if you're buying something that you won't use too often, but if you're shopping for something that will get a lot of use, it's important to make sure that it will last. You'll ultimately save money by not having to replace an appliance every other year.