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How to Shop for Appliances

Nobody likes it, but everyone has to do it every once in a while – appliance shopping. Ugh. It’s a boring shopping trip, because they all look generally the same. And when you finally do decide which one you want, you drop a load of cash that you would have rather spent on something fun. But it’s not to be – the food has to stay cold (fridge) until you want it hot (oven). The clothes have to get clean (washer) and the water needs to be hot (water heater). You want to stay warm (furnace) part of the year, but cool (air conditioner) the other part of the year. These appliances are integral to our lives.
Don’t just settle on the cheapest appliance you can find though. Do a little homework, and you’ll get better value for your money, and end up with something functional that also makes you happy.
What Do You Need?
Think about what you need before you go shopping. In what way(s) does your current machine fail you? Too big? Too small? Inefficient? What feature(s) does it lack that you would actually use (would you seriously learn how to adapt recipes to a convection oven?). Think about these things. Decide what finish you want – not all models are available in every color, so this definitely helps narrow the field.

And please, measure your space! One would think that appliance sizes are standardized, but they are not. Not by a long shot. And they all look the same size in the store, and the dimensions on the tag don’t tell you much when you don’t know how big your space is, so you won’t even notice it’s the wrong size until you get it home. Then you have to deal with returns. So measure the width, height and depth of wherever you’re putting the appliance, write down those measurements, and bring the measurements shopping with you.

Do Some Research
Look at what’s available and where you have to go to get it. Sure, the big appliance store might have some great sales, but the items that aren’t on sale are no cheaper than specialty stores, though the selection is more limited. Look around online, and you’ll be amazed at what you find. Now there are glass-front refrigerators. Did you know that? And your big box store won’t have them. There are one-piece washer/dryers (they do both!), infrared ovens, solar water heaters, and a host of others. In short, there are all kinds of things that the typical discount store won’t stock.
Get a Deal
The very best time to get a great deal on appliances is a weekday toward the end of the month in either September or October (or February for refrigerators). If you can’t have all of these factors, wait for as many as you can. Weekdays are best because appliance stores are packed on the weekends and getting service from the sales staff can be difficult. You have a better chance of negotiating a deal when you can spend time asking questions and getting to know the details of the appliance. The end of the month is great because salespeople are typically looking to meet their sales quotas. They are much more likely to cut a deal if they really need the sale. September and October (or February for refrigerators) is when manufacturers ship out the new models for the year, and stores have to make room for the new stock by putting last year’s models on clearance.

You can also score some pretty good deals on holiday weekends, when appliance stores tend to have sales. But be warned – the crowd factor still applies, so if the sale price is still outside your budget, you may not be able to negotiate any lower. Look for sales online – there’s no negotiation possible, but the sale prices can still be great, and they may even have free shipping.

Narrowing Choices
Once you’re actually shopping, first narrow down the choices with your measurements. Immediately exclude anything that won’t fit, obviously, because that won’t change. Then exclude anything that doesn’t have the finish you’re looking for, unless that’s a flexible criterion for you. Now you’re down to price versus features, and you may have to give a little one way or another. A good tie-breaker is the Energy Star rating – get the best one when in doubt. The saving in utilities really add up – it’s possible to buy a washer that costs only $9.00/year to run, averaging five loads per week. These things sip water and electricity, so even if you break your budget a bit, you’ll make up the difference in the long run with energy savings.
Unless you have an unlimited budget, you probably won’t get everything you want. But if you do the homework beforehand and go shopping before your appliance breaks down, it’s possible to come pretty darn close.

Information about Spy Cell Phones

Imagine a cell phone secretly watching your behavior. Think of your mobile phone eyeing your actions and recording them in its memory. Sounds impossible? I am afraid, it isn’t. In fact, cell phones can be used to track user behavior and record conversations and text messages that are exchanged through them.

A spy phone is a mobile phone or a spy device that allows a user to monitor and hear or record conversations and other activities taking place over the phone. Spy phones can function in different ways. They can be used as listening devices whereby secretive conversations can be tracked. They are popularly used by secret agencies to track criminal activities that are carried out over cellular networks. They can be used for tracking periodic calls and recording the frequency of calls from certain suspicious numbers. Spy phones can be used for monitoring business and household activities while the cell phone user is away.

Previously, simple wiretapping techniques were used to spy telephonic conversations. Secret agencies and security authorities commonly used phonetapping as a tool to track the suspects’ behavior. It would enable the security officials to listen to the telephonic conversations taking place over phones they tapped. However, with the advancements in technology, spying became easier.

Today, installable software can be used to record cell phone calls and messages. Also, there are cell phone spying systems, wherein a spy is automatically alerted when the cell phone user dials a certain number. There are certain software applications, which can be loaded onto the cell phones and be used for maintaining call logs, recording text messages and monitoring Internet activity over the mobile phone. Some of these applications also let a user call the target cell phone number from a preset number and track the target user’s activities. ‘Phone Dead’ is a relatively recent technology that enables a cell phone to be used as a spy phone even when switched off. In this case, the spy cell phone is configured to function in a ghost mode, whereby it silently answers the calls it receives.

With the implementation of modern spying techniques, cell phones can be converted into call and text message interceptors or GSM trackers, thus making them function as spy cell phones. Besides tracking messages and conversations, spy cell phones can also alert third-party users of the target phone’s outgoing calls. Spy phones can also be used to track the target user’s location by means of GPS technologies. They can be programmed to record audio or video for a predetermined period of time.

Spy cell phones give rise to legal as well as ethical concerns. Their positive side is that they can be used by parents to monitor the behavior of their children. Also, they can be used by business officials to track workplace activity. The most important application of spy cell phones is in tracking criminal activities. But there is another side to this and it is not positive. Yes, spy cell phone software is easily available. Cell phones are easily convertible to spy phones. Their ready availability makes them subject to illegitimate use. Malicious cell phone users can gain an unauthorized access to other users’ mobile phones and dampen the overall security of cellular networks.

Perhaps, it is ironic that the technology that helps you stay connected to the world can also provide any individual with an unwarranted access to your life.

Spy Listening Devices

Listening to a conversation is one of the best ways to gather information. Overhearing a verbal exchange between two people can reveal a lot of important details that can be useful. There are various reasons for spying, like to gather information about a cheating spouse, help in a criminal case, and it can also be fun to spy on friends and play pranks on them.

Most of the spy gadgets and gizmos shown in the action movies are fictitious. There may be very few of them which are actually real. But, using the right kind of device will not only help you bather sensitive information, but also keep you undetected. The following are some of the common listening devices, that can not only be used by professional investigators, but also by anyone with a purpose.

Cell phone Listening Devices
Cell phones are a necessity today, and almost everyone carries one. Hence, it has become very easy to spy using this device. Now, these cell phones come either as a separate equipment or are in-built in a cell phone. To use this device the person who is spying will call on an alternate number which connects to a bug inside the cell phone, and once this happens you can easily listen to the person you are spying on.

Phone Bugs
These are probably the most popular and the best wireless spying devices. You must have seen it in movies, that the agent leaves a small device in the car and follows them to be able to hear the entire conversation. This small device is known as a bug. A bug can look like a lighter, a wrist watch, clock, etc. The best part about this device is that, you can not only listen to the conversation but you can also record it at the same time. Thereby, giving you the freedom to store the proof. Few of the advance bugs come with specialized recorders, which records voice only when on phone or while talking. Hence, it does not record all that unwanted silence.

Spy Microphone
Few of the modern spy microphones are much smaller and advanced. Few of these come with super-sensors, which allows them to listen to the minutest of voice vibration with exceptional voice clarity. Apart from this, there are few others which come with instruments that allow you to listen many yards away.

Spy Watch
This one falls under the category of wearable-spying devices. The best part about it is that, it doesn’t look like one. You may also gift it to the person whom you want to spy on, and then listen to his/her conversations. These have exceptional voice quality because of the microprocessors, which fit into the device, and are long-lasting.

Parabolic Ear Listening Device
It comes in different varieties and shapes, and is one of the most used devices. The sound clarity is noteworthy within permissible limits. The device works in a simple way, you just need to point it at the direction where your suspect is and listen. A few of the devices will let you listen clearly from a distance of few yards to hundreds of meters. There are few devices which allow you to listen sharply from as far as 600 meters.

Apart from this, there are many other products available out there depending upon your purpose. If you’re a professional, then you may get professional devices, otherwise, you may indulge in saving a lot by getting a decent and more generic device. So the next time if someone gifts you a watch, make sure that it’s not a listening device.

Spy Gadgets for Cell Phones

As a child I always dreamed of becoming a spy. Judge and persecute me if you want to, but the fact remains that most of us dream of a life on the fast lane, with experiences that give us a head rush. Everyone wants access to gadgets that are so futuristic that you feel like you are in a different millennium. But since that dream remained a dream, I opted for the second best option; becoming a writer. The inspiration came from something that British novelist Graham Greene once said, “The great advantage of being a writer is that you can spy on people. Everything is useful to a writer, you see; every scrap, even the longest and most boring of luncheon parties.” Okay, so maybe being a writer does not allow you to be in the most exciting of situations, but you can create them and write about them. Like this article, which allows me to tell you about those spy gadgets for cell phones that are a reality and allow you to spy on people, regardless of whether you are a special agent for MI5 or a suspicious spouse.

Cell Phone Spy Gadgets

While on the silver screen a phone may morph into several different gadgets, in reality (or at least the reality that is available to us mere mortals), the gadgets are a little less futuristic. Sure there are technologies available to us that were unimaginable till a couple of years ago, but they may not be as awe-inspiring as you want them to be. In this article, we give you a round up of gadgets that you can purchase from the market.

– The first gadget that popped up during our research has gained quite a lot of popularity, especially amongst people who have been looking for something that can help you detect infidelity. The cell phone SIM card spy, which is available for a hole in the pocket price of USD 149, allows you to copy dialed numbers and deleted texts. All you need to do is procure the SIM card you want to spy on, and insert it into the USB reader. It allows you to save all the date on the SIM card on your PC. What an inventive way of spying on your loved one!

– Another gadget quite popular with spy story aficionados is the cell phone that is worn as a watch. It disguised a watch, which is manufactured by a Chinese company is called Galactus and features a touchscreen LCD with a virtual keypad and a bluetooth headset. This tiny master-spy gadget also has photography and videography abilities with a spy camera located at the 3 o’clock position on the watch. It also plays audio and video files. Imagine having all that literally in the palm of your hands.
– There are also spy phones in the market that come with motion detectors, and calls up a number that you have to feed in if it detects motion. This facility allows you to check for intruders and lets you listen to any noise they make for almost 30 seconds. The detection range of this spy gadget is about 30 feet x 20 feet.
– The next gadget may not exactly be appropriate on this list, but we cannot resist having it here anyway. There is a gun available in the market which resembles a cell phone, but has a .22 caliber pistol inside that allows the arms bearer to fire four successive rounds. In order to load the phone, all you need to do is twist it.
– Many mobile operating systems have applications that allow you to convert normal phones into spy cell phones. For example, there are applications that allow you to intercept calls, messages, access photographs on the phone, monitor calls, etc. These are used by many parents to keep an eye on their kids and also people who want to make sure that their partner is not cheating on them.

These gadgets may not be the miracles of technology that allow you to do exactly what your favorite fictional spy does, but it still allows you access to some pretty cool spy and surveillance equipment.

How to Make Spy Gadgets

I have always been fascinated with the flashy gadgets flaunted by heroes of action movies. It often made me think how would it feel if those gadgets were for real. Well, unfortunately, or fortunately, not all of these gadgets are real. A few of these gadgets are available in the market, while there are a few that can be made at home as well.

How to Make Spy Gadgets For Kids

More than adults, I think kids love spy gear the most. Making these few gadgets at home will not only be fun for your kids, but then will also ensure some quality time with your kids. It is easy to make them, and will be most liked by your kid, as kids like things made by themselves.

Disappearing Ink
If you want to send your friend a secret message and don’t want anyone to read it, then writing it with invisible ink will do the trick. Well, the ink itself is not invisible, but after writing with it, it becomes invisible. To make disappearing ink you will need few chemicals. First you will need to put 1/10g of thymolphthalein in 2 tbsp of rubbing alcohol. Then, add approx 90 ml of water to it and stir. Once you get a little thick solution add approx. 20 drops of sodium hydroxide. Once you’ve done this the solution will turn dark blue. Your disappearing ink ready! To test your solution take a cotton fabric and write anything on it with your disappearing ink. After sometime, you will see that the ink has disappeared. To read the message again, dab with ammonia over the message and it will reappear. Writing on paper takes more time for the ink to disappear than writing on fabric.

Secret Agents Lipstick Note Holder
For this you will need lipstick (best if it is empty) and paper. You need to cut the paper to a rectangle 10 inches long and 1-inch wide. Write your secret message on it and coil it. Insert it into the lipstick and you can now smuggle your ordinary looking lipstick with the secret message.

Keyhole Spying Equipment
This one would be liked the most by little detective spies, when looking from the door keyhole is not enough. To make your own spying keyhole you will need thick paper, a very clear marble, and sticky tape. First place the marble on the paper and roll the paper to make a tube out of it. Stick the paper with a sticky tape so that the marble inside it doesn’t fall out easily. Try to place the marble in the center. And here is your spying keyhole is ready. It is really important to use a marble as clear as possible, to get a better view. Also, because of the way light is reflected through marble you may get an inverted image when you see through it.

Remote Control Walkie-Talkie
This can be the easiest of all. For this you will need a walkie-talkie, a remote control car, and glue or sticky tape. For better range, use a good pair of walkie-talkies. What you need to do is stick your walkie-talkie to a remote control car. Make sure that your remote control car can take the weight of the walkie-talkie and maneuver effortlessly. To hide the walkie-talkie, make a design out of paper to hide it. Let the walkie-talkie remote control car go to rooms where you want to spy and you can listen to the conversation with the other set of walkie-talkie you’ve got.

Spy Hidden Camera
Spy cameras are interesting devices. To make your own hidden surveillance camera, you will need an empty tissue box or any other disguised box, a digital camera, and a knife or scissor. Cut the side of the box so the lens of the camera fits in it and full images are captured. Place the digital camera in it with the lens of the camera just in front of the hole you made and make sure that it cannot be seen. You can cover it with some tissues to hide it. When you want to spy on somebody, just keep the camera in recording mode, and get your evidence.

Spy gadgets like the ones described above are easy to make, and also help you spend quality time with your children. However, ensure that along with teaching them how to make these gadgets, you have to also teach them to use them appropriately.

Spy Gadgets for Kids

The hi-tech spy and surveillance equipment used by the spy kids in the Spy Kids Trilogy drove every kid crazy. Though they knew that every gadget used by Carmen and Juni were just fantasy items, it didn’t stop them from longing for these gizmos. If there are secrets to keep in the world, there are going to be spies who seek these hidden information. Espionage or in simpler terms spying, has certain charm and intrigue that attracts both kids and adults. No wonder, kids love to enact undercover agents who risk their lives to get hold of a secret which is dear to their country or solve a mystery that has left everyone stumped with the help of intriguing clues and cool gadgets. In fact, the gadgets used by a spy are very important to him and can make all the difference in his line of work. So, if you are planning to form a spy group of your own, then you need to collect the most essential spy gear that will aid you in winning these games of spying.

Spy Gear for Kids

Invisible Ink
This is the most common and oldest spy gadget that you may need for sending secret messages to your group mates. Whenever you want to call a meeting of your fellow spies or convey some secret information regarding someone or some facts, invisible ink can come to your rescue. To write an invisible message, dip a toothpick or any other sharp object in lemon, milk, white wine, vinegar, apple juice or orange juice and write on the paper. Let it dry completely. To see the message, just hold it in front of a light bulb or candle flame (not too close). The heat of the bulb will make the message appear in brown color. You can also use sweat or saliva to write a secret message. Since, all body fluids are fluorescent by nature, they can be detected under UV light. So, the person who has to read the message should have a UV light source.

This is a very famous war-time method of sending invisible messages. It adds thrill to the whole of game of hiding a secret and protecting it from your foes.

This is a very useful device for a spy when he does the actual spy work. It can be used to peep through the windows and doors without being seen. The periscope is kind of a Z-shaped device that can be made from simple cardboard pieces. However, over the years this device has undergone a few minor changes. They are: central vertically slanting line is straight in a periscope and two mirrors are to be fitted firmly at the two joints where the slanting and horizontal lines meet at the top and at the bottom. The angle of both the mirrors inside the periscope should be exactly 45 degrees, with the reflecting sides facing each other, such that the upper mirror reflects the image, seen from the upper hole, to the lower mirror, which we can see through the lower hole.

Make the periscope as thin as possible so that no one can spot it while you are holding it up. Periscopes are used in submarines to spy on enemies.

Magnifying Glass
Let us step back in time and cherish the mystery solving skills of the bygone days. Forget super-gadgets that tell you the exact location of a suspect through GPS, get hold of a magnifying glass and solve the ‘what’, ‘when’ and ‘where’ of a puzzling mystery through the old-fashioned way. Put on the garb of the greatest detective ever known – Sherlock Homes and find out where did your father forgot his favorite watch or some other little puzzles of your home and school through good old art of detection.

Magnifying glass provides detail vision of clues left behind by the culprit. More than just cloak and dagger stuff, it takes the diligence of a focused spy to get to end of a otherwise baffling secret. You can also embrace the spirit of an unrelenting spy and find evidences which are hidden in plain sight.

A walkie-talkie set is very essential for a spy to keep in contact with his fellow spies. A ready-made walkie-talkie set is easily available in toy shops or you can make one using plastic or paper cups. The paper/plastic walkie-talkie will work for a limited distance since it is made by attaching the two cups with a single continuous string.

To make this walkie-talkie, make a small hole in both the cups at the bottom and insert a string through it. Pull out the string and make a big enough knot so that it gets stuck in the cup. This is the best spy gadget for teams which will help your fellow spies to communicate with each other. With the help of this device, you can pair up with your partner-in-sleuth and fool your enemies with elaborate schemes.

Hollow Books
If you want to carry some object very secretly without letting anyone know, the best place to hide it is in a book. You need a thick book like a dictionary. Keep in mind that the book has to have hardcover. Open one-third of the book and lay it flat on a table. With a sharp knife, cut a rectangular hole in the thicker side of the book. The hole can be as deep as you want. A very thick layer of pages cannot be cut. So, cut out a few pages at a time.

Feel like walking on the footsteps of an old-fashioned spy? Then find a pair of binoculars and get your mission rolling. Carrying a binoculars on the neck comes with the job description of a secret agent. Satisfy your curiosity with a fine binoculars and explore the world around you. These binoculars can also be used for multiple activities like birdwatching, stargazing, fishing, exploring new places, traveling or playing other games like pirates.

Fingerprint Powder
To get the actual feel of a spy, you need to carry fingerprint equipment with you to determine the true identity of a criminal. To make fingerprint powder, use black chalk, graphite from a pencil or charcoal and grind it to a very fine powder. Or, you can collect soot from the chimney directly. You will need a brush to dust away the powder from the crime scene and reveal the fingerprints. Clean and thin plastic sheets in small pieces are needed for storing the fingerprints in the database and comparing them with the suspect’s fingerprints. So, get moving to dust some fingerprints from cookie jars to catch the late-night snacker in your house.

Night Vision Goggles
You are not truly a spy unless you do a stake out in the night, keeping a vigilant eye on things! For such a night, while prowling the rooms of your house or camp and doing your ‘secret mission’ work, you need a perfect pair of night vision goggles that will enable you to find out what’s going on even in pitch darkness. While some might frown upon kids using such high-tech gear, we know that such items actually come handy for some night-time adventures. Be it cookie hunt or a game of cops and robbers in your garden after the sunset, you can use your imagination and your night vision goggles to win from your competition.

A spy costume is the most important thing that any spy should always have at his disposal. Have a spy theme party and invite all your friends for playing a game full of stealth and shadowing around. Use your wit and come up with ploys to get hold of a ‘confidential document’ from your enemy camp. To all my little aspiring secret agent friends, go out there and prove that you are indeed the next James Bond!

Top 9 Appliances for College Students

Important Tip
Before buying an appliance, confirm if you really need it, and only then consider the space available.
Generally, college years are some of the best years of our life. College life is not all fun though, it also involves learning not only academics but certain life skills that help us grow into better individuals. Chief among them are making new friends, managing finances, time-management, and meal planning. Speaking of which, college students always complain about the lack of time to prepare good food, and eventually pick up bad eating habits. However, a little resourcefulness along with certain kitchen appliances can help sort this issue.
We, at Buzzle, bring to you the top 9 appliances that will help college students save time and plan their meals in a better way making college life a little easier. So, take a note of what you need to buy before you start college this season.

A toaster is not just for toasting a slice of bread. This appliance can be used for warming up slices of muffins, heating bagels, melting some cheese (very carefully), and roasting those delicious marshmallows to your comforting cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter night.

Steam iron
For a college student, getting his/her clothes laundered every week can be an expensive affair, especially on a budget. Save money by investing in a small steam iron to do it all by yourself. A steam iron can prove to be extremely useful during the wet season, when it is especially difficult to dry clothes.

Electric kettle
Having a full-fledged kitchen while living a student life is never really possible. The easiest solution is to buy appliances which are multifunctional. For instance, an electric kettle can be used to heat water, brew tea, make instant food, and soups. This little appliance can become a life saver, when you have to work for long nights on important projects and submissions, and cooking is not a priority.

Hot plate
A hot plate is essentially a stove, and a tool to perfect your culinary skills early in life. If you are permitted to use a hot plate in your room (rented place), it would be the best thing that could happen to you during your college years. You can actually cook a four-course meal with a hot plate, right from soups and gravies to basic mac and cheese. However, you need to be a little more careful while using it.

As a student, breakfast is possible only if you wake up sufficiently early enough so as not to miss your early morning class. A nice shake or a smoothie could be an early morning breakfast for college students who are constantly on the go. A blender is the best appliance to make such a quick, healthy breakfast. You can carry this nutritious drink to class in a nice sipper without spilling it. Blend a bowl full of strawberries and skim milk to begin your morning on a sweet note.
Mini Fridge
Eating out for the entire duration that you live at the college campus is never really an option. This is why having a fridge is a good idea. This compact appliance allows you to store food, and keeps it fresh for a longer time. The best part about having a fridge in your room is that you can store cool beer. So, kindly add a mini fridge to your list.

Microwave Oven
Obviously, eating food right out of the fridge can sometimes kill your appetite altogether. A nice hot plate full of delicious food, after a long day at college, is what every student craves for. Thus, a microwave oven is another useful appliance, especially when you have to pull an all-nighter. You can quickly heat up take-away food, have a midnight snack, and get back to your studies with renewed energy. Interestingly, this appliance can heat water and even dry out wet clothes.

Hand Vacuum Cleaner
Late night studies, weekend parties, and lack of time to clean, leaves the room in an absolute mess every week. A hand vacuum cleaner is extremely useful to clean your room quickly. It could also come in handy to clean your laptop keyboard which is home to dust and food particles.

Electric Grill
Hosting parties is a regular college scene. Make this a tad more interesting with an electric grill. You can use it to have a Sunday barbecue in the nearby park, or a quite party at your room. You can grill your steak to perfection and make your food a little more healthy.

Having these appliances with you during your college years not only gives you a chance to learn cooking, but also saves money that is generally spent on eating out. This way you can also ensure that you eat healthy.

How to Choose an Appliance Repair Service

Getting a non-functioning appliance fixed can be a big chore. Ask someone who has come home after nine, ten, or twelve hours of work, to a washing machine that just won’t start. As the clichéd adage goes: been there done that! I can say from experience that a broken appliance is a big time peace-of-mind sucker.

But the appliance just cannot sit there, it has to work, so we have to do the inevitable; calling an appliance repair service. Therefore, allow Buzzle to give you a quick list of to-dos while choosing the right appliance repairing service in your area.

Ask for Referrals

Start the search for a good appliance repair service by asking your friends and family about ‘referrals’. People in your neighborhood could also help you with the phone number of a local appliance repair service. If somebody is recommending a specific appliance repair service, it means that they have already used it once, and are satisfied with the service they provide. Therefore, you can rest assured that you will also get good service.

Search Through Various Sources

If you do not get any substantial results by word-of-mouth inquiry, start searching through other sources, such as Yellow Pages, classified ads in local newspapers, and on the Internet.

Call and Inform Them about…

The Type of Appliance
Once you find a phone number, give them a call and tell them about the type of appliance that needs repairing. It should not be assumed that anyone who fixes appliances will fix all types of appliances. A washer repairing technician may not be well versed with the nuances of repairing an air conditioner.

Model or Brand of the Appliance
The next step is to inform them about the model or the brand of your appliance. Sometimes, it may happen that the service company may not have spare parts for the specific brand you own. Most of the time, you will get an affirmative answer, but in case you don’t, it is better to move on and call another company.

Inquire about…

The Duration they Have Been in Business
If you get an affirmative answer, inquire how long they have been in business under the same name, and in the same location. You should politely and diplomatically pose this question. One more question to ask is if they are insured, and if they possess the state license for operating an appliance repairing service. The insurance should be current, and the license should be valid.

Details of the Technician
If you get a positive response, inquire about the technicians. Start by asking them if they regularly train their technicians. Also, ask if the technicians are required to pass drug, alcohol, and other background tests and checks, and if the technicians are required to wear uniforms that can identify the name of the company. Always ask the name of the technician that they will be sending. You should also find out if it is possible to talk to the visiting technician about the problem before he pays a visit.

Tell Them the Exact Problem
Try to speak to the executive or the technician about the type of problem you are facing. Tell them the exact scenario in detail. For example, if you have kept your central heating off in summer, and want it to get switched on in autumn, it is possible that it may not start properly. In such a case, you have to tell them the exact details of what is happening. Like, if the radiator is not warming up, or if there is a funny noise coming from the boiler. In response, you will get a few possibilities that might have occurred, and also the estimated price for the repair work. If they don’t answer, you might want to think twice about contracting them for the job.

Do hesitate to ask these questions. From a customer’s point of view, it is necessary to be sure before you let anybody in your house. Just keep in mind that while inquiring on the telephone, you should keep the tone of your speech inquisitive and not aggressive.

Compare Prices
If you get a feeling that the price that they have quoted is too high, do not book them. Assure them that you will call back and confirm. Check and compare the prices with other similar appliance repair services. It may happen that some appliance service companies are very popular. They apply extensive marketing gimmicks, like advertising, etc., to make themselves visible, and then try to get the money back by charging higher fees to the customers. Beware of such services. I won’t say that they would provide bad service, but only that they would charge an exorbitant amount for it.

Lastly, in case you find that the service was slow, and the company took a long time to respond to your call, do not opt for them next time. They are not concerned about your well-being and safety, because electrical appliances need to be fixed immediately, or they can cause serious damage to your house.

Replacing Appliances Can Save You Money

Home appliances are big ticket items, no doubt about it. And when one breaks down, shelling out the cash for an emergency replacement hurts, and can potentially throw your finances out of whack for months. So, being reluctant to replace what ain’t broken is understandable.

The thing is, replacing your appliances can actually help you come out ahead in the long run, as long as you plan ahead and shop carefully. It’s important to replace strategically, though – if the fridge is only five years old and in good shape, it’s probably fine. Prioritize the 10-year-old air conditioner first. If a newer appliance has required unusually frequent repairs, though, you may want to consider just being done with it and getting a new one.


The biggest advantage is energy efficiency. Not just for the environment, but for your energy bill as well. As technology advances, appliances use less and less energy and water than their predecessors, and the savings can make a big difference in your cash flow. If you buy Energy Star certified appliances, those savings can be quite substantial. Almost half of your energy bill comes from heating and cooling your home. Replacing an old heating/cooling system can take a serious chunk out of your monthly expenses. Newer washers, dryers and dishwashers are designed to run on as little water and electricity as possible – some newer Energy Star washers may use as little as $9 of electricity per year.

As a bonus, many states offer tax rebates to residents who replace old appliances with Energy Star models. Check your state’s listing on the Energy Star website to see which brands and models are approved. They may seem more expensive at first, but the rebates can offset the purchase price substantially.


If you’re using the appliances that came with your house, you may be wasting money running a machine that’s way bigger than you need. Refrigerators, ovens, washers, dryers, dishwashers and heating/cooling units all come in a variety of sizes. Obviously, the larger the machine, the less efficient it is. If there’s only one or two of you, consider downsizing your kitchen and laundry appliances. You’ll save energy and water, and you’ll free up space, too. The only exception to this is the heating/cooling unit, where larger models may be more efficient than smaller models because they don’t need to run as long.

Home Salability

If you’re thinking of selling your home, the question of replacing your appliances becomes even more pertinent. New appliances won’t necessarily add value to your home, but old or worn-out appliances can certainly detract from it. And even though new appliances won’t get you a higher selling price, they do add to your home’s salability. For example – your house is competing with a similar house down the street, both with similar prices. If your house boasts a beautiful kitchen with brand new appliances and a new central air, it looks to the buyer like they’ll get more for their money. New appliances are shiny and impressive, and the energy efficiency is a major selling point.

When buyers look at a house with older appliances, they mentally tack on the price of replacing them. Sometimes, they’ll ask for an appliance allowance when they make an offer. That allowance is usually more than what you would pay, were you to replace them yourself, but if you don’t accept it, they won’t buy. Skip the negotiation and just replace them before you ever put it on the market.

How do Hand Dryers Work

The basic utility of a hand dryer is to dry hands using an electric source. Hand hygiene is a very important aspect in preventing spread of communicable diseases. A washroom is a place where the presence of disease-causing microorganisms is very high as compared to other places. And if a washroom is meant for public use, then one can imagine the concentration of microorganisms in there. Since many disease-causing germs spread through touch, hand dryers were devised so that people can dry their hands without actually touching the roll of paper towel available for common use in public restrooms. Hand drying machines not only help in maintaining hygiene, but also help in reducing waste produced by the use of paper towels. Very often we use this machine in public restrooms or at home without actually knowing how it works. So, let’s see how a hand drying machine works.

Working of a Hand Dryer

• Sensing
Electricity consumption for regular hand dryers is around 2200 watts, and for energy-saving devices it is around 1600 watts. Earlier, these devices were switched on using a button. When the button was pressed, the device started blowing warm air for drying hands. But new-age hand dryers have infrared motion sensors installed in them. The device detects motion and automatically turns on when hands are placed for drying. Similarly, it automatically turns off when hands are moved away from the dryer, thereby preventing wastage of electricity.

• Heating and Drying
Warm air is produced by a hand dryer using a heating coil made up of Nichrome, a hybrid of chromium and nickel. When air, having a temperature as that of the surrounding environment, is passed through the heating element, it gets warm. The heating coil is usually heated 50 degrees higher than the existing room temperature.The warm air is then blown out of the device through a tube or a vent facing downwards. Hands are placed in the path of warm air coming out of hand dryer for drying. The warmth and pressure of air coming out of the dryer is sufficient to evaporate water from wet hands. First, the air pressure blows off water droplets from the hands and then the warmth dries out the moisture from the hands. Traditional hand dryers need around 45 seconds to dry hands, whereas new-age dryers take around 15 seconds to do this task.

• Sanitizing
There has always been a debate about the level of hygiene maintained by hand dryers. The cause of concern was that these devices circulate same air again and again, thereby making no difference in terms of hygiene. This was definitely true in case of hand dryers used in earlier times, but with new innovations coming up, manufacturers have tackled this issue by making use of High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters in their devices. These filters are 99.97% efficient in removing particles of 0.3 microns in size or smaller, from air used for drying hands. Thus, the amount of disease-causing germs in air blown out of the dryer is substantially reduced. Some manufacturers have even made it possible for air to be released at a speed of 400 mph which helps in sterilizing it before being released in the atmosphere.

A hand dryer is a one-time investment which can serve its purpose for a long duration of time. Regular cleaning of the dryer is essential to maintain its efficiency. Janitors in charge of cleaning hand dryers must ensure that the air passage of the device is clean to maintain a steady flow of air. The sensor used to detect hand-motion must also be cleaned regularly so that its sensing ability is maintained at its best. Only when these few things are followed, working of a hand dryer will not be hampered.

Appliance Paint

Kitchen appliances start looking old after a few years. The color fades and the shiny coat that made it look brand new develops scratches and marks. If the appliance still works well, it doesn’t make sense to replace it. But the fact is, such an appliance makes your kitchen look old and shabby. A good solution for this would be to apply a coat of paint over it. Appliance paint is a paint that is specially formulated for use on appliances. Ordinary interior paint cannot be applied on appliances since they do not adhere well, and they are likely to peel off very soon. Appliance paint is generally of two varieties: brush-on, where you can use a brush to apply it; and spray paint, which is released in a fine spray mist.

How to Use Paint for Appliances

Applying paint is a very cheap option to match the colors of your appliances with your interiors, as well as to make old appliances look new. But not all kitchen devices can be coated with this paint. High temperature emanating appliances like ovens, hobs, and stoves should not be painted, since the paint would melt off and cause damage to the devices. Refrigerators, food processors, dishwashers, and microwave ovens are ideal for this paint. Before you apply a coat of paint, it is important for you to choose a formula that works for you. Also read the instructions given at the back of the paint container to understand which appliances you can apply it on.

Painting Procedure

Before you start, you need to choose a color. Choose one that matches the interiors of your kitchen, and also decide whether you want the spray or a brush-on variety. To paint an entire appliance, spray-on works well. However, if you just want to hide nicks and scratches, then a brush-on paint will suffice. Next, you need to prepare the appliance.

Clean the appliance thoroughly with diluted white vinegar to remove all dust, dirt, and grime. Pay special attention to the nooks and crannies. If there is any rust, then you need to apply a special product that will prevent it from spreading. Now let the appliance dry completely, and take it outside where you can paint it without messing anything else up. Doing this outside helps in drying and deals with ventilation problems. Spread old newspapers around the device to protect the floor. Next, shake the can of spray paint and start spraying the appliance in an even coat. Work from one corner to the other, and make sure that you hold the can of paint at least a foot away. Apply two to three coats for maximum coverage. Allow it to dry for over 24 hours before taking it back to the kitchen.

You can also use stainless steel paint for a steel-like finish. When you are remodeling a kitchen on a budget, appliance paint can help keep costs down.

How to Clean an Iron

Many of us imagine cleaning to be a herculean task. Perhaps, cleaning an iron is something we’ve never thought of. What we don’t know is, that an iron that hasn’t been cleaned in a while, starts collecting dirt and grime. Sometimes, this dirt and grime sticks on to the clothes, and leaves behind stains on them. As a result, the clothes do not have the same freshness as they did when the iron was new.

It is essential to know how to clean an iron so that the freshness of our clothes is maintained. What is required for this process is available in our very own kitchen. With a little effort, your equipment can be as fresh as new.

The Need For a Clean Iron
Several things may affect the efficacy of the iron, such as gunk stuck in the steam vents, scorch marks on the base, or the remnants of burnt fabric. These afflictions will cause it to underperform, not allowing you to look your ‘very best’ at all times. The following steps will address tips on how to deal with these problems.

Basic Methods

Follow these basic methods, to avoid bigger problems, and for an iron to survive as long as it should.

– Every few days, wipe your iron with a solution of vinegar and salt in equal proportions, heated together, using a unsoiled cloth. This will prevent it from sticking or dragging on any kind of fabric. You may also add baking soda to this mixture so as to make it more effective.

– For the steam vents, use a pipe cleaner or a cotton swab dipped in a mild detergent solution, and pass it through every steam vent on the surface. This will prevent any buildup of deposits left behind by hard water.
– It is essential to remove any excess water in the reservoir after ironing, while the iron is hot, so as to prevent the occurrence of the above-mentioned problems. In such a case, the reservoir will remain dry and the mineral deposits will not stay back and eventually rust.
– Try to use distilled water to prevent the collection of minerals in the steam vents.
– Maintain the exterior by wiping it with a damp cloth. You may use a mild soap to clean the exterior in case of resistant stains. This will prevent the collection of dirt and grime on the surface, that may get transferred on to the fabric while ironing.

Removing Burnt Fabric from the Base
In your hurry to work, you didn’t check the setting, and in the process burnt your favorite outfit! You luckily found an alternative, but when you returned to iron your clothes for the next day, you had an ugly piece of fabric stuck to your iron. This is how you can clean it:

1. While the iron is still hot, unplug it and put a wet sponge on the affected area immediately. The fabric will peel off because of the sudden change of temperature.
2. To remove the remainder, use a mild scouring pad, as a harsh one will scratch the base. If it proves ineffective, use a little baking soda with water sprinkled on the surface, and rub it with a sponge.

This is a quick and effective method. This will not only help peel off the burnt fabric, but will also remove any oily or starchy deposits that have collected at the bottom. You will notice that the next time you iron your clothes, they will look crisper than before.

Cleaning an Iron that leaves Spots on Fabric
You’re ironing your favorite white t-shirt and you notice it’s developing small spots all over, much to your dismay. This may be because of the rust that has been collected inside the steam vents, or because of some dirt left behind on the surface. To solve this problem, you may follow these methods:

1. Before beginning, ensure that the iron is cool. Prepare a soapy solution with a mild detergent, and using a cloth or sponge, wipe the surface. Follow it up by cleaning with cloth soaked in clean water. Using a scouring pad or a strong cleaning agent, will spoil the base. Try to avoid the use of the same.
2. Fill the reservoir with equal parts of water and vinegar, up to the brim.
3. Switch on the iron, on the steam setting and leave it on till the mixture evaporates.
4. Repeat the same steps only with water, until the stench of vinegar has left the reservoir.

Allow your iron to prove its effectiveness by taking good care of it. These tips and tricks will definitely help you keep your iron, and your clothes, as good as new. So you needn’t worry about buying a new iron every time you’re faced with any of the aforementioned problems.

How to Save Money When Purchasing Home Appliances

When buying home appliances, if you are paying in cash, the initial cost for purchasing them will require a substantial amount of money. If you opt for financing the purchase, monthly payments, including the interest, will have to be paid for an extended length of time. Plus, you will also have to pay for the operating costs that you will incur monthly.

Given below are a few tips on how to save money when purchasing home appliances:

– Before actually buying something, ask yourself if you really need it. You’ll be surprised at how bringing it into focus like this will often lead to you giving up on the idea of actually spending money on getting a clothes dryer or an automatic dishwasher you may have been vaguely thinking about getting for yourself.

– When you shop for new household appliances, it is a good idea to read the information given on the energy guide labels, which are mandatory on items like water heaters, furnaces, refrigerator-cum-freezers, refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, washing machines, and air-conditioners. These labels will tell you the estimated cost of operating them annually. Compare various models and makes of the home appliance you require in order to find out which would cost less to operate. The amount you save on the operating costs over its life could be quite considerable. If these savings are invested, you could draw a substantial interest from them.
– You should also take into consideration the prices of the different models and makes. For instance, check if the price of the energy efficient automatic defrosting refrigerator-cum-freezer is more than the one that is not as energy efficient. And then, calculate if the cost of operating it over the life of the appliance will be greater than the difference in the purchasing price. In a nutshell, choose the model and make that will give you the best financial deal.
Sometimes, it may be cheaper to replace a particular appliance than getting it repaired. Decide what you think will be the most financially advantageous.
– When you compare prices while shopping, find out the trade-in amount you will get for your used gadget. Sell it if you find that you will get more by selling it instead of trading it in.
Don’t rush, buy it immediately, and pay its full price. Instead, wait to buy it on sale. Most appliances are put on sale some time or the other in the year. It would mean saving as much as 10-25%, perhaps even more.
Never hesitate or be embarrassed to haggle or bargain. You could be surprised at the amount of discount you could get.
– As a rule of thumb, never buy on impulse. Home appliances are costly items, and that is why you need to give it considerable time and thought before actually making the purchase so that you buy exactly what you require at the best price possible.
– When purchasing a home appliance, don’t head first for the models that are the most expensive. Instead, check out the models at the lowest price range. Although these models will be basic, without any of the ‘extra frills’, they may suit your requirements quite adequately. In case they do not, then check the models in the next price range, and carry on likewise, until you find the gadget that you feel is just what you have been looking for. If you begin with the models in the topmost price range, you may end up buying something with features you really do not need, and yet you will have paid more.
– When shopping for used or new appliances, look around, and compare prices at several places, like appliance stores, online outlets, garage sales, auctions, thrift shops, home remodeling businesses, appliance and furniture warehouses, rental shops, departmental stores, as well as the bulletin boards where you live or work. In addition, find out from friends and acquaintances if they or anyone else they know are selling a particular appliance. The more avenues you look in, the higher the chances of you finding what you are looking for at a lower price than you would have to pay otherwise.

Tips for Choosing the Best Fitness Tracker

Fitness seems to be the buzzword these days, with more and more people opting for a healthy lifestyle. Having said that, though, in today’s fast-paced life, it is quite a challenge to find time to exercise. Even if you do manage to find time, the enthusiasm seems to wear off in a couple of weeks. Sure, we all rush to get ourselves a gym membership as part of our new year resolutions. Well, we all know how that goes! While all of us undoubtedly have the heart to change things around, it is often motivation that seems to be lacking. A new league of wearable technology might be just the perfect solution to this.

Fitness trackers are extremely handy gadgets that help you track your progress as you exercise. These nifty devices log information like the number of steps you take, the distance you covered, the calories you burned, and even your pulse rate. This information, in turn, helps you track your progress and helps you stay motivated. There’s been a barrage of fitness gadgets hitting the market, each vying to find favor with you (and your wallet!) Finding the best activity tracker can be quite a herculean task. Thankfully, help is at hand. Here are some basic things to keep in mind as you go about choosing the best fitness tracker to suit your needs.

What do you intend to use it for?
Fitness trackers are available in a range of options depending on their use. The most common and basic of these are pedometers. These are usually tiny devices with a small display that shows you the number steps you’ve taken. You can carry the pedometer in your pocket as you go for a jog or a walk. The Omron HJ-321 Tri-Axis Pedometer is one such simple and effective tracker. For people who exercise more rigorously, fitness bands make more sense. These bands sit around your wrist and can monitor various aspects like heart rate, calories burnt, distance covered, steps taken, etc. Some fitness bands even track your sleeping patterns and work as a wrist watch. Some of the most popular fitness bands in the market are the Nike FuelBand, Fitbit Force, Jawbone Up, etc.

What are the connectivity options it offers?
Most fitness trackers have a small screen that displays relevant information about your exercise routine. These may also contain logs of your last couple of outings. These should be just about right for most users. Some fitness bands, like the Nike FuelBand uses colored LEDs to tell you about your progress, and also displays short messages to keep you motivated. Most advanced fitness trackers can sync with your smartphone over Bluetooth, and display a lot more information. Others can connect to your PC and transfer the logs onto it. This would suit users who want to track your progress at the macro level and set goals accordingly.

How’s the battery life?
The basic pedometers are usually powered by button cells, and they last for quite a while. The more advanced trackers have an internal rechargeable battery. These usually last from a couple of days to a few weeks depending on the usage. If you tend to travel a lot, opt for a fitness tracker that has a standard USB charger as these are a lot easier to charge on the go.

Does it have a dedicated fitness app?
For users who simply want to track the number of steps taken or distance traveled, a simple pedometer should suffice. If, however, you want to keep track of every detail of your exercise, then dedicated apps that come along with advanced fitness bands should help. These apps not only track your progress, but also suggest meal plans and workouts to suit you. They also let you publish your progress chart on your Facebook page for all your friends to see. This can act as a major motivational boost.

How much does it cost?
As they say, it’s all about the money. If you are looking for a simple pedometer, you can buy one for anywhere between USD 15 – 50. The more advanced fitness trackers would set you back anywhere between USD 100 to 200.

Fitness trackers are a great invention, and can really help you attain your fitness goals. The market today is flooded with some amazing fitness gadgets, you only need to have a discerning eye to pick the best that suits you. Do remember though, this is but a mere tool, and can only be put to good use with someone who’s committed staying fit. So, pick up a fitness tracker, set your goal, and set out to conquer your fears. Cheers.

Gadgets We Can’t Live Without

Machines and gadgets have reduced human effort, time spent and has also brought mental peace with it. For everything you can think of, there is a machine available for it.

In this article I am going to list down the gadgets that we can’t live without. We are dependent on them, addicted to them and have befriended them. Thank the inventors for making the existence of these gadgets possible and thank god for creating these inventors. Let’s have a look at them.

Gadgets We Can’t Do Without

1. Smart Phones

Can you imagine just one day without your cell phone? Without calling, texting, or MMSing, anyone? Okay! If your answer is “Yes I can.”, then let me tell you that, “I don’t believe you”. There are times we all get sick of our constantly ringing phones but then our cell phone is something that we can’t really quit using. Go out without your cell phone and you’ll feel like you’ve ended up in a new city. This happens right? Therefore, this ranks number one on the my list of gadgets we can’t live without.

A cell phone today has everything starting from a camera, music player, camcorder, Facebook, twitter, Google+, temperature teller, song detector, GPS system, several other software and mainly the option of blocking people or calls from those you don’t want to hear from.

2. Laptops/Tablets

We literally sleep with our laptops. We work on them, watch movies, store pictures, videos, information, access our mails, and social networking sites. Yes, these things are available on cell phones too, but it’s not as comfortable and as convenient as a laptop. The most important point is that we carry our laptops everywhere we go; For presentations in meetings, making projects, burning CD’s, watching videos, research, read books, listen to songs, etc. It’s portable, light and so convenient. It is something we can’t do without.

3. Music Player

I can’t do without my music player. I have a million songs and a hundred video’s stored in them. I use it while I am working out in my gym, for my in-house parties, when I go cycling, or walking, or driving. Sometimes I also use it at work, when I am saturated. We all do this, don’t we? A music player is a gadget that we can’t live without it because it has music in it and music is something that takes you to a different world, relieves stress and gets you moving.

4. Video Games

PlayStations and Xbox-es are said to be boys-toys but they are women’s toys too. Men think that women don’t enjoy video games as much as they do, but they are wrong. We women love playing video games and can spend an entire day doing so. These video games are so realistic that they actually take you into one and make it a realistic experience. It makes you compete, kill, fight, yell and moreover, it gets your adrenaline pumping. It is a must have for everyone. Even if you think you don’t like playing it, just play a game you can relate to once, and you’ll get addicted too.

5. TV

After owning a laptop, a cell phone, a music player and a video game, a Television still maintains its position on the list of gadgets we can’t do without. I am talking about the long, sleek HD televisions. Your TV is that gadget which you’ll still prefer to watch a movie with a home theater to get a cinematic effect. Also it is still the first pick for catching up on news, soaps, matches and sitcoms. We may not be watching TV attentively, but even then while you are working on your laptop or eating food we need to have the TV playing.

6. Digital Camera

I don’t know of anyone who can live without a camera. We travel, we party, we socialize, spend some good moments with our loved ones and capture them forever in the form of photos. Also if you say that you met a superstar say for example Scarlett Johansson, or Leonardo DiCaprio, how are you going to prove it? You will need to take pictures and show the world for them to believe you. Not just that, when you see your baby taking the first step or the look on your girlfriend’s face when you proposed to her, are the moments you will never get to witness again, you just have to capture them and keep them for life.

7. Wrist Watches

Not just James Bond’s watches are gadgets, the watches we use are gadgets too. Watches do so much today besides performing its conventional act. It not only saves from reaching late and being yelled from your boss or your girlfriend but also can tell you the world time, can be used in water, are break-proof, with calculators, LCD screens, diamonds and gold studded, etc. It’s not just a gadget but also an accessory which defines you and your status symbol. As your budget increases, your watch will provide you with more facilities. None of us can imagine leaving our houses without our watches; even if you are carrying your cell phone, and laptop.

8. Wireless Bluetooth Headset

A wireless Bluetooth is not just an accessory but a must-have gadget. It is a savior when you are driving and your client or your boss or your girlfriend is calling you. It lets you drive and talk both at the same time, comfortably. Because it has a Bluetooth installed in it, you don’t even need to use your hands to see who is calling you. The only goof-up would be if you pick up a call from a person you did not want to speak to, without seeing your phone. But it is still a gadget you can’t do without.

9. GPS Navigator

A GPS Navigator is another must have gadget installed in your car. This device will determine your vehicle’s current position and location and will also guide you in your way ahead. This gadget was initially used only by the military, aviation and marine technicians. Though, now it is commonly used by many people in their cars. This is great device if you are going on a road trip or an expedition, as you can even carry it individually. It gives you an approximation of the longitude, latitude and altitude. Even if you are lost in an unknown land it will help find shelter and food. It is certainly a gadget one should not opt to live without.

10. Microwave and Food Processor

A microwave is a kitchen gadget. It is not a device used only by women but instead it is a device more used by the men. It helps you cook, bake, defrost, and heat. We all may compromise on anything but when it comes to food, we all want it to be delicious, fresh and just the way we want it. A microwave bakes you cakes and cookies, cooks food, defrosts the frozen meat and performs many other tasks. There is no way imagining life without it.