9 Apr

How to Choose the Best Water Softener (Buying Guide)

A good water softener could potentially improve your quality of life. It could solve all your hard water problems. It could eliminate the daily irritations to the body and mind that you may be experiencing due to the high content of hard minerals in your house’s water supply.

If you’ re not sure if your household does have hard water or not, there’re easy tests that you can perform. But also, if you see that the soap and shampoo usually doesn’t lather well, your laundry is starting to look dingy, your dishes have spots, or your coffee maker, dishwasher and other appliances have scale deposits, then it’s highly likely that the water you’re using is hard.

Though these natural hard minerals don’t really pose any major health risks, it can become a bit of an annoyance in the long term. Fortunately, you can purchase a whole house water softener, all these problems will be solved. If you’re on the market for a new water softener but don’t know where to start looking this water softener buying guide should help.

Water Softener Types

water softener buying guide

Ion Exchanged Water Softeners (Salt Based Models)

This is the most commonly used type of water softeners. It works by substituting the hard minerals in water with sodium. The appliance usually consists with two tanks: one filled with resin beads and the other with brine. And then using the principle of ion exchange, it softens the water.

Salt-Free Water Softeners

Some people who are concerned with their salt intake, prefer the salt-free models. These units, instead of sodium use potassium-chloride. However, it’s important to note, that this type is not exactly a water softener, but only a descaler. This means that it doesn’t remove from the water the hard minerals. It only prevents these minerals from depositing as scale on different surfaces.

What to Consider When Choosing a Water Softener

  • Number of bathrooms – To choose the size of your new water softener, it’s important first to calculate your household’s daily water usage. The number of bathrooms is a good indication of maximum water usage. The water softener’s capacity should be able to handle all the bathrooms’ water demand at the same time. The sizes of water softeners are rated in grains of hardness that they can remove per each cycle of regeneration. Another factor to consider when choosing the capacity of your water softener is the amount of people in the house.
  • Location of the main water supply – That’s where you would usually install the water softener. The most common entry points are in the basement, utility stairs, and under the hallway stairs.
  • The level of the water hardness – This is the amount of calcium and magnesium that is present in your water. To determine the hardness level of your water, you need to perform a special test.
  • Features and controls – Look for electronic timers that will automatically set the unit to recharge whenever needed. They will calculate your average daily water usage and select a preset time. However, this feature might be a downside if on some particular day you have a much greater water usage. In this case, you will fall short of water. Another downside of this feature is the waste of water, since the water softener will regularly regenerate whether it is necessary or not. So a better option would be a model with a on-demand regeneration process. These meter based systems measure and calculate your daily water usage and regenerate accordingly.
  • Budget – Depending on your budget, you can choose a more simple and convenient model or a more superior with lots of advanced features unit.
  • Brand – It’s always better to buy from an already established company since they would already have a certain reputation on the market. This also allows to check user reviews before making a purchasing decision to understand if the water softener would be the ideal choice for your needs.

These are the main factors to consider when choosing the best water softener. For a more detailed guide and lots of tips, check out http://www.softwaterlab.com site. In addition to a very helpful guide, you can also find there reviews and comparison of top products on the market this year.

16 Jan

Dishwasher Maintenance Tips

Dishwashers are some of the most underrated appliances in a home. Imagine of all the time and labor the machine saves you? But how much time and costs do you invest towards maintaining this appliance? Ideally, no one wants to imagine a day without their dishwasher, which is why maintaining the machine should be so important. In the next few minutes, we shall look at the different ways you can prevent your dishwasher from getting damaged, how you can fix common problems and how to regularly clean it.

dishwasher maintenance tips

  1. Periodically Clean the Interior

    Food particles often collect on the interiors of a dishwasher, and this could heavily damage its efficiency. However, you can easily eliminate them with a deodorizer and a warm rug.  A deodorizer is especially effective at eliminating any kinds of mold and bacteria that could be inside your machine. You can also use a pipe cleaner for lifting the food particles that won’t come out when you use a normal rug. If the machine is a bit old, invest in a rust-removing solution as well.

  2. Clean the Filters, screens and Sprayer arms

    Every dishwasher has at least one filter. Most of the filters are located at the lower spray arm of the machine, and are very important in helping the machine clean your dishes effectively. However, they hold a lot of food particles and dirt in them which can reduce efficiency over time.  As such, learn how to remove the filter, replace or clean it from your machine’s manual. In the end, a clean filter results in a great performing pump and functioning motor seals. On the other hand, check your machine’s screens and sprayer arms from time to time. They also hold debris and food particles that reduce the washer’s efficiency. To maintain them, soak the sprayer in arm vinegar regularly. After that, always remove the debris found in between the sprayer holes.

  3. Use Water Optimally

    Dish washers use a lot of water in any given day. But the more water you can save, the higher the probability your machine will last longer. Again, work towards saving on energy used by the dishwasher. For this, try to limit the machine’s heating temperatures to 130 degrees. On the other hand, adjust the water temperatures that flow into the machine, so that it can be ideal for the washer to start working immediately. In any case, your goal should to have a machine that work efficiently without having to work harder than it should.

  4. Use recommended Cleaning Solutions

    The cleaning detergents you use on your dishwasher can greatly affect its overall performance and durability. And because of this; you should only stick to the cleaning solutions recommended for use by the manufacturer. In most cases, powdered detergents work better in eliminating foul smells, in removing debris and in reducing water used by your dishwasher. Gels are good too, but they sometimes work inefficiently with hard water. Some of them could also clog your detergent dispenser or dissolve the machine’s seals if they contain chlorine bleach.

  5. Never Overload your dishwasher

    Never get tempted into adding an extra bowl or pot into your dishwasher. Instead, clean only the number of dishes you machines can handle at a time, and if possible hand clean the rest. Again, learn to use the right cycle when cleaning your dishes. Using a shorter and lighter setting could save your time for instance, but it could heavily damage your machine in the long run. After all, you will want your machine to run longer and perform efficiently during that period.

Troubleshooting Dishwasher Problems

  • A leaking Dishwasher

    If your dish washer leaks, check for cracking or damaged seals. And if it is the case, call your plumber immediately. However, if you can notice any broken seals, make sure you use only enough detergents. Too much use of detergents can cause your machine to overflow for instance.

  • A fast Discoloring Dishwasher

    If you notice that the interiors of your dishwashers are discolored or stained, don’t panic. Sometimes food particles from tomatoes could be the source of discoloring. However, rust too could make your dishwasher start to wear. In case the problem is with food debris; you can always use cleaning detergents that can handle citric acid. You can also eliminate rust with cleaning solutions, but you may need a technician to fix any damage caused by exposure to metal.

  • Dishwasher never gets clean

    If your machine never gets clean no matter what you do, consider the following. For one, always use enough hot water. Enough water means that it can reach the heating element. On the other hand, the ideal heating temperatures should be around 130 degrees. If your water never reaches the heating element, trying calling a plumber to fix the problem. You may also check for blockages in different parts of your machine and note where the problem could be.

23 Sep

How to Install a Garage Door Opener?

On average it costs less than $500 to buy and install a garage door opener. Actually, the only people who spend more than $300 on Garage door openers are people who call professionals to install the garage door openers for them. However, garage door opener installation cost can be quite high. But if you are a handy guy, you could actually install this new device in very few steps. But before then, here are some basics tools you will require:

  • Wrench
  • Hacksaw
  • Pliers
  • Screw Driver
  • Tape Measure
  • Hammer
  • Level Wire stripper

how to install a garage door opener

What else will you need?

The Door Opener– Before everything else, you need the right type of garage door opener for your garage. A good device should costs in between $100 and $350. The big cost difference comes in the type of technology used to make the opener. Screw driver type of garage openers for instance cost less than $250, and they often are less noisy than the chain drive types. On the other hand, the most expensive types of door openers are the belt drive makes, because they are more powerful and produce little noise.

But before you start…

Understand your Device’s Features

A garage door opener isn’t something you want to change every now and then. It’s not one of those easy home improvement ideas. It actually takes about five to six hours for a single installation process, which is why it is just important to be sure you have the device you expected. For starters, buy a device with reverse directional safety. Most good openers are supposed to automatically open the garage door on sensing motion. In addition, checkout for an emergency battery power which could serve during a power blackout.

But most importantly, make sure your device has enough horsepower to lift the type of doors you have. If you have a double garage door for instance, don’t go for a device with less than ½ hp.  And if your doors also have a wooden overlay, go for a stronger opener, probably one with a horsepower of ¾ or more. Note however that you don’t really need to buy a stronger opener if you have a single door garage. It will cost more but offer similar services.

Additional Features

  • Check out for lighting functions– A good door opener should have a security lighting feature that goes on when you open the door and goes off after it gets closed.
  • Must have a remote control function– In this day and age, a good door garage opener must be controllable by a remote function. However, your remote controlled door opener should also be programmed with top notch technology if it is to function efficiently without affecting your neighbor’s garage door system.

The Installation Process

garage door opener installation

Once you are sure you have the right door opener for your garage, start by doing the following.

  • Step 1: Check the Doors’ springs and Balance

    Sometimes the problem might be bigger than you expected. Your doors’ spring for instance could be broken, and thus the cause of loud noise in there. On the other hand, maybe the garage’s two doors aren’t balanced properly, which is why they open slowly.

  • Step 2: Position the Opener using a Ladder for easier Installation

    I bet by now you already have the manufacturer’s instruction book in your hands. You will need it right after positioning the door opener at your desired height. You will need lumber to position the opener accordingly, after which you can mount the rail to the header bracket as the manufacturer’s instructions indicate. Once the opener is in a good position, use your tape measure and level to determine how you should install it. Ensure the door stays open, which you can achieve if you lock it with the help of a clamp to keep it from closing.

  • Step 3:  Use strong Mounting Straps to hand the Iron Angle

    While most door openers come with a complete list of installation materials, their mounting straps are often weak and flimsy. You will need solid straps and a good iron angle if you want the door opener to last longer. You can find slotted angle iron in a hardware shop. Cut it into size with your hacksaw and attach it to the face of a one inch joist using a pair of lag screws. And to make your garage door opener stronger, hang it with a pair of more angle iron and tighten with nuts and bolts.

  • Step 4: Check the Door’s Opening Force

    Hoping that you didn’t reuse any garage door parts; open the door using a remote control. You may actually place something at the bottom of the door to put in some pressure. Any pressure on the door should make it not to open. But if it does open after adding pressure, tune and fine tune the opening and closing force, of course while referring to the manufacturer’s instructions.

    Finally, install great light bulbs that are not affected by vibration, and try opening and closing your garage door again.