June 29, 2017
Home Lifestyle Appliances

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save space with a compact washer and dryer in one

Space can oftentimes be a luxury. The challenge of a tiny house, small apartment, condo or studio demand the most compact solutions.

A compact washer and dryer in one appliance usually fits the bill for a variety of situations. These are small washer and dryer hybrids that take about half the space as conventional washer and dryer combos.

They can usually fit underneath a counter top and are even ideal for mobile homes, larger boats and RV’s.

Many leading manufacturers of the compact washer and dryer are typically from Europe.

This is because most people there live in smaller, more efficient homes where small washer and dryer designs are the norm. If anyone has perfected space efficiency, it’s companies like Asko, Bosch an Miele.

The benefits of having a washer and dryer in one machine is five-fold:

  • Being about the size of a standard dishwasher, they can fit in bathrooms, kitchens or any other practical spot and act as a counter top.
  • They use less energy to run.
  • They use less water due to the front load design.
  • They switch the laundry from washer to dryer automatically.
  • They are easily camouflaged. Some even come with designs to match an existing counter top.

The cons of these designs are fewer but just as convincing:

  • They can be pricier than an average washer and dryer setup.
  • Due to their small size, they’re not equipped for high-volume performance. They are better for smaller families up to 4 people and can handle just around 6 to 22 pounds.
  • A ventless unit runs longer than any other design, usually 2 to 3 hours.

To Vent Or Not To Vent

Compact washer and dryers come either with or without a vent.

This has everything to do with the dryer and not so much with the washer. Whatever the current setup is determines which design is more suitable.

Vented varieties need an external exhaust to the outside. They work by taking in air and heating it up to dry the clothes. The air absorbs the moisture, turns it into steam and then sends it up and away through the exhaust.

Of course, this works well where there is already an exhaust, or where it may be convenient to set one up. It is typically the design that suits boats and RV’s the most.

The ventless version is most commonly used in apartments and condos.

They are convenient because they don’t need to be hooked up to an external exhaust, but they do still need to drain water out through the plumbing. They work like dehumidifiers: The hot air absorbs the moisture and sends it to another chamber where the moisture condensates back into water, where it is then drained out automatically.

The biggest fall-back of a ventless washer-dryer is that they take a little bit longer to dry – about an hour longer.

Some Extra Advantages

Even though a small washer dryer may take longer to run, there are some advantages to balance out the energy consumption. The front load design inherently uses less water than a top load design. This means less time and energy heating the water. They also have a mean last spin that sucks out extra water, meaning that it could potentially offset some time in the dryer.

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is a small dishwasher even worth it for compact living spaces

Small dishwashers are convenient little things. They add a certain amount of efficiency to a living space, and they provide the time to do more productive, relaxing and enjoyable things. However, in a living space where there is limited room, is a compact dishwasher actually small and efficient enough to make having one worthwhile?

A mini dishwasher is typically half the size of a standard dishwasher. They are often bulky appliances that are designed to sit on the counter top and connect to the sink’s water supply. Instead of using counter space, there are other designs that sit on the floor. Some are portable and can be rolled around to serve as a moving counter top, or at least they can be rolled somewhere out of the way.

The only way to prevent too much counter or floor space from being taken up is to install a small dishwasher directly into the cabinetry next to the sink. This way, it replaces a cabinet, but it can still leave some extra storage space beneath it. One extra benefit to this is extra counter space since there’s no need for a drying rack.

There are other relevant questions to consider when thinking about small dishwashers:

  • How much do they cost?
  • Does the amount of time it takes to regularly hand wash dishes make having a mini dishwasher worth it?
  • Is the amount of water and energy substantially different?

A compact dishwasher can range in price from $200 to $600 dollars. The lower end ones are typically sufficient for small scale dish washing on the counter top. Try not to stuff them with pot and pans. The higher ends are the mobile ones with extra features and more dependability when it comes to energy consumption.

Hand washing dishes can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes out of the day. There are efficient methods for cleaning and drying dishes, but sometimes this isn’t something that most people look forward to. Especially when the house is one prone to entertaining guests, and the aftermath is always lots of dishes, the time to clean can take much longer. Having a mini dishwasher to wash some plates, bowls and utensils is very helpful.

As for the amount of energy and water saved, it is usually negligible. All dishwashers use electricity, so there is that added expense, but a small dishwasher uses less than 3 gallons of hot water per batch. Hand washing typically doesn’t use electricity, but the amount of water used is totally variable from house to house. With the most efficient hand washing method, it has been estimated that each batch of hand washed dishes saves about $0.63.

The Determining Factor

More than likely, the reason for even considering a small dishwasher is because of space issues. This appliance is essentially a luxury and isn’t completely necessary. It is important to prioritize which appliances are the most needed. Many people who live in tiny houses, small apartments or efficiencies would forgo the compact dishwasher if that meant they could have a clothes washer and dryer appliance instead.

Sometimes an extra appliance that uses practical space isn’t worth the hassle of storage and set up. Other times, if there happens to be extra floor space, counter space or a spot in the cabinetry, it can actually be a very appreciated convenience.

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will electric tankless water heaters save money use these tankless water heater reviews

There has been a lot of probing and questioning of the new tankless water heater technology. It is advertised as a “green” energy for heating water without keeping a tank of water hot 24 hours of the day. They do have their merits, but they also have their tankless water heater prices. Herein contains an assessment of the technology along with helpful electric tankless water heater reviews.

Tankless water heaters are designed to be smaller and more efficient than conventional storage tank water heaters. Instead of holding hot water, they are part of a complex electrical mechanism that instantly heats water when the valve is opened. This product is often touted to save money on energy, especially when hot water is only needed momentarily at the point of use.

The manufacturers of tankless water heaters usually tout them to be a source of “unlimited” hot water. This is true to an extent, but it really depends on how much water is used at different faucets simultaneously. Tankless water heaters work best when they are closer to the point of use. This means that the longer the pipe is from the source, it will take longer to heat up. Also, if too much water is being used at the same time at different sources, the temperature will drop.

A single water heater will typically heat one bath, one dishwasher and one washing machine. To accommodate more use of water, more units should be installed. Large families would usually do better to use multiple small tankless systems than one big central tankless water heater.

Now this is where the real question comes in: Is it worth the tankless water heater prices? Initially investing in a tankless water heater can help reduce gas and energy consumption from 19 to 53 percent. In terms of savings this can be around $42 to $121 annually. Purchasing and installing more electrical systems to use simultaneously lowers the savings substantially.

In order to qualify for the warranty, the electric tankless system must be installed by a technician. Factor in the cost of installation and it becomes a $2,000 to $5,000 project. To install a permanent system, it is sometimes necessary to upgrade existing electrical systems in the home. The Center for Energy and Environment in Minneapolis calculated that it could take anywhere from 22 to 72 years worth of annual savings to pay off initial investment.

Electric Tankless Water Heater Reviews

The Ecotemp L5 Portable Tankless Water Heater and Outdoor Shower

For $119, this little guy is a lightweight, battery powered and easy to use. It can raise the water temperature 35 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the input water. It comes equipped with a shower head, and all it needs is water and external pressure to make it work. It comes with a one-year warranty.

Highlights:

  • Built for the outdoors; it’s essentially designed for camping, off the grid conditions or any situation that calls for warm to hot water and portability.
  • Suitable for very light use.
  • When dealing with cold water in the winter, expect warm, but not hot, water.
  • Easy to connect to water supplies and outlets with output garden hose adapters.

The Ecotemp L10 High Capacity Outdoor Tankless Water Heater

This is the L5’s bigger brother, and for $220, it comes with everything that the L5 doesn’t. It’s designed for more permanent outdoor installation. Good for cabins, campers or barns. It comes with a one-year warranty.

Highlights:

  • Easy to install.
  • Heats water anywhere from 80 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the temperature of the input water.
  • Delivers a little less than 3 gallons of water per minute, which is enough for two simultaneous hot water applications.

The Rheem RTE 13 Electric Tankless Water Heater, 4 GPM

At $179, this is a fine point of use water heater. It’s compact and built for indoor use. Installation takes some time to figure out, and a hired technician needs to do it. It might require some upgrades to the current electric set up in the home. It is better as a point of use heater because the temperatures don’t travel more than a few feet before dropping. It also doesn’t do well in extremely cold places. It comes with a one year warranty for the parts, and a 10 year heat exchange warranty.

Highlights:

  • Complicated installation.
  • Good for light, indoor use.
  • Not good for delivering well water.
  • It has a manual temperature control on the unit.

The Ecosmart ECO 27 Electric Tankless Water Heater

For $490, this one comes with self modulating technology. It has a digital thermostat that can regulate the temperature by the single degree. It is a good all-around water heater; a family of 4 to 5 could subsist on just one of these. It might also require some electrical upgrades. This one has a lifetime warranty.

Highlights:

  • Self regulates how much energy is needed to efficiently heat the specific temperature.
  • Complicated installation.
  • Heats larger amounts of water at a time.
  • Designed for colder climates, but uses more energy to heat cold water.

Tankless water heater prices are worth the money if you don’t use a lot of water at one time, despite the “unlimited” hot water claim. They hold up great for general use. Simply being prudent with resources is what really helps save money.

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ventless gas fireplace what you need to know

From cold caves to cozy cottages, humankind has come a long way. Over the course of thousands of years, humans have optimized fire technology from campfires to stovetops, chimneys to the truly modern ventless gas fireplace! This ventless fireplace doesn’t come without its inherent pros and cons, however. In fact, there are quite a few to consider before committing to a whole purchase.

About The Ventless Fireplace

Ventless gas fireplaces are freestanding units with no flue, chimney or vent that carries the exhaust outside. They are designed to burn very efficiently, resulting in complete combustion and maximum heat. Using indoor air for combustion, the byproducts are primarily small traces of carbon dioxide and water vapor.

In all actuality, however, impurities such as odorant, dust, paint, oil and carbon monoxide may be present. As part of health and safety regulation, all ventless gas logs must come equipped with carbon monoxide detectors and oxygen detection safety devises. Many people find the act of burning gas indoors an unsafe practice.

No doubt, there are certainly precautions to take when using a ventless gas fireplace. Good ventilation, for example, is necessary when burning gas indoors. Many people also purchase a secondary carbon monoxide detector as back up.

Positive Features

  1. The unvented gas fireplace provides much more heat than a traditional fireplace. Without a vent, the heat has nowhere to go except for into the house. Traditional fireplaces lose up to 85 percent of their heat up the chimney.
  2. It is much more affordable than a traditional fireplace. An unvented fireplace provides supplemental heating for a low cost.
  3. It is easy to install and can be hooked up to any propane cylinder or natural gas line. They are usually set up against a wall or in front of an old masonry fireplace.

Negative Features

  1. It is a potential health risk. Many people have reported ill-effects from using unvented fireplaces in their homes, such as headaches, eye irritation, chest congestion and coughing spells. It could potentially aggravate symptoms of already existing asthma, bronchitis or allergies. Also, those with heart or lung problems, anemia and pregnant women might be more affected by the presence of carbon monoxide.
  2. A perfectly functioning unit still emits water vapors from the gas logs. This excess vapor can potentially ruin walls and encourage mold or mildew to grow in the home.
  3. It is not meant to be the primary source of heat. Therefore, it shouldn’t be left on for longer than an hour. This can potentially deplete the oxygen levels in a room.
  4. If it is left on for more than an hour at a time, fresh air will need to be let in. This could mean opening a window for a short time to replenish the oxygen.
  5. Drafts and tight houses alike can interfere with the combustion process.
  6. The gas produces an odor that smells like burning kerosene. There is no way to prevent the odor without ventilation.
  7. The fire provided is not realistic. Because the logs burn so efficiently, there is a taller blue flame that doesn’t quite touch the logs. When the fire absorbs the logs in a vented fireplace, it burns unevenly causing it to create more smoke and soot.

A great way to avoid all of this is to consider a gas fireplace with a vent. This would give you the choice whether you needed the vent open or closed. Accordingly, you would also need to purchase the correct logs, such as vented or unvented gas logs – there is a difference.

All in all, a ventless gas fireplace offers a great deal of convenience, warmth and entertainment. It has its place when maximum heat output is needed, especially in case of an emergency. It is ultimately up to the consumer to decide whether they truly need unvented combustion in their home.

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is an incinerating toilet or electric toilet really an option for your green home

Many people have come to the conclusion that using water for waste is completely unnecessary and even harmful to the environment. For the past decade now, new toilet technologies have produced more efficient methods of dealing with human waste. Some of the most notable of these are the electric toilet and incinerator toilet designs. Many people, whether from a lack of a septic or dreams of being more green, are considering these sustainable toilet alternatives.

Advantages

For starters, the incinerator toilet is similar to the regular toilet, but it forgoes the need for water, plumbing or a septic system entirely. Rather, it uses electricity, natural gas, propane or other fuel sources to incinerate the waste into a sterile ash. There are a few operational differences between a standard and incinerator toilet, but the overall function is not altogether unfamiliar. They are safe, clean and very simple to use.

The incinerating toilet is perfect for off-the-grid homesteads where the thought of trying to acquire extended water service is discouraging. They are also legitimate alternatives for places where repairing, replacing or installing a new septic system just isn’t viable. This could happen when there are space limitations, environmental concerns or even financial restrictions. Installing an incinerating toilet is likely to cost at least three times less than repairing or putting in a new septic system.

Which Design Is Right For Your Home?

Both the electric and gas models have their own advantages. The electric model is by far the most popular, since it is more convenient to install, use and maintain. The gas toilet is very efficient although it is certainly the better choice for infrequent usage, such as a vacation home, cabin, hunting or fishing shack.

Electric

The electric toilet can be placed anywhere there’s a 120 volt outlet. A 3-inch diameter exhaust pipe will need to be connected from the rear of the vessel to the outside of the building. Preferably, this should be more like a chimney so that the fumes and odor are distributed up and away from the immediate area.

This one looks the most similar to a traditional toilet. It has a bowl that “flushes” the waste into the larger holding and incineration vessel. It requires a cone-shaped paper sheet to line the bowl for clean disposal. It can hold around 2 to 4 batches before it requires incineration. Then, after it heats the waste at around 1400 degrees for about one hour, the remaining ash equals to about a tablespoon.

Natural Gas and Propane

This incinerating toilet has the benefit of not needing electricity to work. It can be installed either temporarily on a cylinder propane tank or permanently on a gas hookup. It should always have plenty of air flow in the room that it is located.

A gas toilet resembles an outhouse or a port-o-potty more than a standard toilet. Instead of a “bowl and flush” system, it has a pit where the waste is held and eventually incinerated. After each use, an aerosol foam is sprinkled over the waste, and an anti-foaming chemical has to be added before it incinerates for up to 4 hours.

Depending on your location, there might be obstacles in the form of local building codes. Many municipalities are unfortunately not savvy to these alternative technologies, and they may need extra precedence. Nonetheless, with more demand and popularity, green technology will soon become the norm.

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the pros and cons of installing-a whole house dehumidifier


Here are HomeTuneup.com’s top rated whole house dehumidifiers for 2015.

RankImageProductDaily CapacityWeightPrice
1Frigidaire FAD704DWD Energy Star 70-pint Dehumidifier70 pint46 lbsCheck Price
2Keystone Energy Star 70 Pt. Dehumidifier70 pint40 lbs Check Price
3Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 Energy Star Dehumidifier70 pint47 lbsCheck Price
4Frigidaire FAD954DWD Dehumidifier95 pint69 lbsCheck Price
5Thermastor - Santa Fe - Compact 2 Crawl Space Dehumidifier70 pint65 lbsCheck Price

If you’re dealing with mold and that musty feeling in the air, one of the best ways to air out your house and get the upper hand is to buy a whole house dehumidifier. The right dehumidifier will get rid of mildew, mold, and mites, and can protect your health and your possessions.

When you’re shopping for a full house dehumidifier, you need to know what to look for. Here are some important features to consider:

  • Size and noise level. Both of these are connected to where you plan to put the dehumidifier in your house.
  • Energy efficiency. Newer models of dehumidifiers typically are more eco-friendly and cost-effective than older models.
  • Temperature settings. Some dehumidifiers are designed to be able to operate in cold environments. Also look for an auto-defrost in this situation.
  • Bucket size or direct drain. Make sure you know the capacity for your dehumidifier and that you buy one which offers you convenience for emptying out water.
  • Washable filters. If they are washable, you can reuse them. This cuts down on replacement costs.
  • Type. Three main types of dehumidifiers for your whole house exist: heat pump models, chemical absorbent models, and dehumidifying ventilators.

We’ve gone through and ranked five of the best whole house dehumidifiers according to these features and customer reviews. Check them out!

1. Frigidaire FAD704DWD Energy Star 70 Pt. Dehumidifier.

With over 4,000 customer reviews averaging 4.5 out of 5 stars, this dehumidifier immediately grabbed our attention. It’s the #1 bestseller on Amazon.com, and it only costs $200-$300. That is incredibly reasonable for such a highly rated whole house dehumidifier! Direct drain allows for continuous operation, but you can also use the unit without one.

The container includes a level indicator so you know when it is time to empty it out, and the filter is washable and reusable. Caster wheels give you easy portability. Customers love its effectiveness and its quiet operation. This is really an outstanding buy for a very low cost!



>> Click here to get a great deal on the Frigidaire FAD704WD <<

2. Keystone Energy Star 70 Pt. Dehumidifier KSTAD70B

This dehumidifier is another big seller on Amazon, with more than 660 customer reviews at the time of this post. The average rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars, and the price is $180-$240, making it only marginally more expensive than the Frigidaire FAD704DWD.

Features include a 1.3-gallon water tank with a transparent indicator and a full bucket alert. The unit automatically shuts off when it is full. Casters make for easy portability, and the dust filter can be cleaned and re-used (a handy indicator lets you know when it is time). Customers love the high energy efficiency of the model and praise its performance, especially in Turbo mode.



>> Click here to get a great deal on the Keystone KSTAD70B <<

3. Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 Energy Star Dehumidifier

Here is another Frigidaire product which you can buy in the $250-$290 range. It has more than 230 customer reviews, with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Features include a 13.1-pint tank, which includes a useful handle, an alert when the tank is full, a splash guard, and automatic shut-off.

If you have a drain handy, you can set the model up for continuous operation. Low temperature operation is another feature of this dehumidifier, perfect for cutting back on energy consumption and costs. This dehumidifier has some of the best reviews we’ve seen; it runs quietly and works great in continuous and bucket mode.



>> Click here to get a great deal on the Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 <<

4. Frigidaire FAD954DWD Dehumidifier

This model is not as popular or well-known as the ones above, but it is highly rated with an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars and more than 20 customer reviews. It is more expensive than the others we have looked at as well, selling in the $350-$500 range. Features include the option for continuous operation, a pull-out tank with a splash guard and handle, and an extra-long cord so you don’t have to worry about extension cords.

Buyers say it is easy to set up and works perfectly, cycling on and off as needed to save money and offer superior performance. The only reason we didn’t rank this model higher is the price.



>> Click here to get a great deal on the Frigidaire FAD954DWD <<

5. Thermastor – Santa Fe – Compact 2 Crawl Space Dehumidifier

This dehumidifier was designed to offer compact, powerful performance, and is ideal for medium-sized spaces. It is Energy Star Rated for eco-friendly and cost-effective performance, and includes low temperature operation and some extra accessories. The reviews are very positive; this is a dehumidifier which provides excellent, reliable performance. Why don’t we rank it higher? It is unfortunately by far the most expensive model here, selling for more than $1,100.

Now you know some excellent dehumidifiers to check out if you are searching for a whole house solution. Any one of these would make a top-shelf purchase. So make a list of features which are important to you, and take a closer look at each of these great products!



>> Click here to get a great deal on the Thermastor Santa Fe <<

The Pros and Cons of Installing a Whole House Dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers are an absolute necessity for people who live in highly humid areas. They are efficient tools for removing excessive moisture from the air, which is a constant battle in some areas.

Often, some people try to ride out the humid season without a whole house dehumidifier, but once the mold starts attacking the furniture and the paint starts peeling from the walls, they start considering the options. Here, we will explore the specific pros and cons of purchasing a whole house system.

Whole House Dehumidifier Compared To The Portable Dehumidifier

Firstly, it is important to address the difference between a whole house dehumidifier and a portable one. A central system regulates the humidity of the entire house equally from a central location whereas a portable one works only one space at a time. The central system uses more energy than a single portable dehumidifier, but if there are multiple portable devices running, then energy can be saved by using a whole house system.

Another key point is that the whole house system doesn’t need water to be emptied from it like a portable system frequently does. Central systems are hooked up to plumbing so they can dump the water caught from the air by themselves. Therefore, they can be left alone for long periods of time to do their work, unlike the portable dehumidifier.

Pros

Adjusting the exact humidity – This invaluable benefit means that the desired humidity can be regulated simply by using a dial. The moisture content of the whole house can be set to a fixed percentage and kept there until it’s changed. This makes controlling the internal home environment much easier, and it takes the blunt of the work off of the central heating and air conditioning, which all in all saves energy.

Preventing health risks – High humidity means a more suitable environment for mold, mildew and bacteria to take up residence. Once in the home, these uninvited influences can cause or exacerbate allergies, bronchitis, asthma and infections to the people living in the house.

Avoiding home damage – The same noxious mold, mildew and bacteria can also degrade the walls, fabric and furniture of a home. Just the same, the moisture content in the air will also cause wallpaper to curl and paint to peel from the walls.

Cons

High cost – This is usually what deters most people from wanting a dehumidifier so badly. Of course, it is a great initial investment and more than a portable dehumidifier would ever be. However, using a whole house system pays off and actually comes out cheaper in the long term.

Complicated installation – Installing a central system requires a working knowledge of specific tools, electrical wiring and plumbing. The idea of this scares off many Do-It-Yourself oriented people who lack the necessary skills to put it together. A trained HVAC technician would most likely need to install it.

Hard to move – In the event that the house might one day need to be sold, the central dehumidifier isn’t very convenient to relocate. It might have to be left behind. This brings us to a special:

Bonus Pro!

Selling point – The time has come to move out of the house, and, as unfortunate as it is, the marvelous central humidifier cannot be relocated. It can, nevertheless, play as a major determining factor for selling the old house altogether.

RankImageProductDaily CapacityWeightPrice
1Frigidaire FAD704DWD Energy Star 70-pint Dehumidifier70 pint46 lbsCheck Price
2Keystone Energy Star 70 Pt. Dehumidifier70 pint40 lbs Check Price
3Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 Energy Star Dehumidifier70 pint47 lbsCheck Price
4Frigidaire FAD954DWD Dehumidifier95 pint69 lbsCheck Price
5Thermastor - Santa Fe - Compact 2 Crawl Space Dehumidifier70 pint65 lbsCheck Price

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