Safety When Using a Portable Generator

Safety When Using a Portable Generator

Using a generator has a few hazards you need to be aware of, and some very important factors that have to be strictly adhered to.

You should never use a generator indoors, even with ventilation. Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent carbon monoxide (CO) buildup in the home. The CO from generators can rapidly lead to full incapacitation and death, but CO cannot be seen or smelled. Even if you cannot smell exhaust fumes, you may still be exposed to CO. If you start to feel sick, or dizzy while using a generator, get to fresh air straight away.

Generator Location

Place the generator away from windows, doors, and vents that could allow CO to come indoors because you may have windows open to get fresh air while the power is out. Be sure to protect the generator from moisture, operate it on a dry surface under an open canopy-like structure, such as under a tarp held up on poles. Do not touch the generator with wet hands.

It is a good idea to install battery-operated CO alarms or plug-in CO alarms with battery back-up in your home, according to the manufacturer’s installation instructions. If CO gas from the generator enters your home and poses a health risk, the alarm will sound to warn you. Test the battery frequently and replace when needed.

Refuelling

Always make sure you turn the generator off and allow it to cool before filling with fuel, fuel that is spilt on hot parts could ignite

Only use fuel suitable for the generator and store in appropriate containers. Store the fuel outside of living areas in a locked shed or other protected area. Do not store it near a fuel-burning appliance, such as a natural gas water heater in a garage.

If the fuel is spilled or the container is not sealed properly, invisible vapors from the fuel can travel along the ground and can be ignited by the appliance’s pilot light or by arcs from electric switches in the appliance.

Always make sure that your generator is in good working condition. If you are buying a new generator, it is good to do some research first. You can read some portable generator reviews here.

Using appliances

Always try to plug appliances directly into the generator or use an adequate extension lead. Check that the entire cord is free of cuts, abrasions or tears and that the plug has all three prongs, especially a grounding pin.

Never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet, a practice known as ‘backfeeding’. This is an extremely dangerous practice that presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer.

Summary

If you follow these few steps, you are ensuring that you and your entire family remain safe and out of harm’s way.

Casserole Dish With Beef Bourguignonne

Why Use a Slow Cooker?

There are several reasons why cooking in a slow cooker makes sense. When looking to buy a slow cooker, it is very important to do some research. Make sure the appliance you purchase is the correct size, shape and capacity for your needs. Click on the link to see plenty of crock pot reviews, this will help you make an informed choice.

The Cost

Buying, operating, and cooking with a slow cooker is very cost effective. Slow cookers are very cheap to buy, and can save you huge amounts over purchasing fancy countertop convection toaster ovens and broilers.

The way slow cookers can tenderize meat also means you can save money by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat that would otherwise remain tough.

Vegetarians can also cut their grocery bills by using a slow cooker to soak and cook dried beans saving around 60% over buying canned beans.

Cooking with a crock is also very inexpensive when compared to the costs of running an oven. Using a conventional electric oven for one hour can cost around 20 cents, while operating a slow cooker for 7 hours costs only 10 cents, an energy saving of 50%.

Another major money saving aspect is all to do with how much food you can produce in a slow cooker. You will generally have plenty of left overs which you can either use the next day, or simply freeze and use at a later date. 

Healthy Eating

Cooking a meal from scratch will ensure you know exactly which ingredients have been used, and where the produce has been sourced, which is clearly not the case with pre-prepared meals that can be bought at the local grocery store.

When using a slow cooker, you will not have to use oil or fat, because the natural nutrients from the ingredients will provide this. As long as you trim the fat from your lesser cuts of meat, you well be serving a lower fat meal than those prepared through frying or offered at restaurants. A slow cooked meal will definitely offer a more enjoyable, and far healthier meal option than a take away.

Cooking is Easy

Using a slow cooker is so quick and simple, all you have to do is prepare the ingredients, place them into the pot, turn the appliance on and leave it to do its work. You can leave the slow cooker all day without having to worry. Returning home to a freshly cooked meal is fantastic. Most slow cooker recipes are very simple, there is no need to be a culinary expert.

Quick and Easy Cleaning

Using a slow cooker means that you will only have one pot to clean after the meal. I don’t know many people who enjoy cleaning dishes, so spend more time with your family or friends and less time with dish pan hands after each meal.

Most modern slow cookers have removable cooking pots, this also cuts down on clean ups by allowing you to serve a meal in the crock itself and store leftovers in the refrigerator. This is single dish cooking, serving, and storing at its best.

Slow cookers are at their best in the cold winter months. Macaroni and cheese, slow cooked beef stew, or even chili can be prepared, read for your return. Because the slow cooker keeps all of the meat juices and flavors in the gravy, they are one of the tastiest meals you could produce. Comfort food at its best.

A Time Saver

Along with the money saving aspects, they will save you plenty of time too. Once the food is prepared and placed into the pot, there really is no need to watch over the cooker while it is working its magic.

You can forget about food over boiling, it simply does not happen in a slow cooker, you really don’t have to babysit your meal as it cooks. Who knew that cooking slowly could save you so much time.

So if quick, simple and cost effective cooking is your thing. Treat yourself to a slow cooker, it could change your life.

Under Counter Ice Machines

The Top 5 Under Counter Ice Machines

There are many ice making machines. They come in various shapes and sizes with different capabilities. Below you will find a list of 5 under counter ice machines, simply decide which model you think is the best undercounter ice maker and if you click the link, you will be directed toward a site that is dedicated to the world of ice making machines.

Sunpentown IM-150US Stainless Steel Undercounter Ice Maker with Freezer

This model is perfect for any home. It is available for a very competitive price, which is why it is a top seller. Although it is very affordable, it still has a very good specification.

The machine is finished in black and has a stylish stainless steel door. This ice maker can produce up to 12 pounds of ice per day and has a removable bin, which holds 6 pounds.

Due to its size it will easily fit under any counter top, although you will need a licensed plumber to install the machine as the appliance attaches directly to the main water line.

This would be a good choice for those with budget in mind.

SPT IM-600US Stainless Steel Under-Counter Ice Maker

This model means business. It can provide up to 50 pounds of restaurant quality clear ice per day and because of the front ventilation system and the fact it only stands at 32.8 inches; it will fit neatly under most counters. Although designed as an under counter model, because of its professional stainless steel finish, you will be able to use it in a free standing application because it looks so good.

The removable storage bin can store 25 pounds of ice, making it a great choice in a professional capacity.

The manufacturer recommends using filtered water. They believe this will increase the units’ longevity.

It is not the cheapest option available, but it is certainly a great choice if you require plenty of ice that is produced in a machine that looks the part.

Marvel 30iMT-BS-F-R 15-Inch Wide Under Counter Ice Machine

This company have been producing luxury under counter wine and refrigeration appliances for over 70 years. They always look amazing and are a top quality product. You will pay a little more for one of these models, but they are truly a market leader.

At only 15 inches wide, this ice machine can fit into almost any available cabinet space that is 18 inches or more, yet it produces and stores up to 30 lbs of crystal clear, gourmet ice cubes in 24-hrs.

Finished in brushed stainless steel, it would be a fantastic addition to any kitchen, either as an under counter model, or used in a free standing application.

EdgeStar 45 Pound Undercounter Clear Ice Maker

Running out of ice will never be a problem with this machine. It will make an impressive 45 pounds of restaurant quality ice per day. Finished in commercial grade stainless steel, it will look great in any kitchen.

This appliance is only 32.8 inches high and has a front ventilation system so is perfect for any counter top, it also has stainless steel sides, so if you require a machine to stand alone, it is a great choice for you.

The removable storage bin can hold 25 pounds of ice, making it a perfect choice for entertaining, hosting large parties or even in a professional capacity. You will need a professional plumber to install the appliance for you because it connects directly to the main water line.

Offering plenty of ice, with fantastic modern styling, this could be the machine for you!

Koldfront Built-In Clear Ice Maker – Black

This machine again offers 45 pounds of restaurant quality, clear ice per day. This makes it a good choice for hosting parties or large functions. It features a reversible door so would be a simple addition to any well designed kitchen or home bar.

Like other models, it will fit under most counter tops but also has finished sides if you require it to stand alone.

If you are looking for a machine that looks a little different, this model has a black finish that will add style to any kitchen.

The manufacturer recommends using filtered water, this is to stop bacteria and mould. It also helps control the level of limescale inside the appliance.

It has a 45 pounds per day capacity, yet also manages to store 25 pounds of quality ice. If you are looking for a machine that will add style to your kitchen, as well as being able to produce the ice you require, take a look at this appliance.

Zojirushi BB-CEC20 bread machine

The Bread King

I have often thought about making my own bread by hand but with a family and running my own business, time is somewhat of a rare commodity for me.

On the other hand, my sister is very homely and always makes all of her food from scratch.  This includes beautiful, home-made bread. I have always wanted to do the same.

When I visit her, her home always has various cooking smells, she is always baking bread and cakes, you name it, she bakes it and her food always looks so good.

The taste of her bread is incredible, she did pass on the recipe to me a few years ago but I have never used it. This was about to change…

I decided I was going to eat and have home-made bread at home and was going to invest in a bread making machine.  Although she makes most bread by hand, my sister always raves about her bread machine, so I took the plunge and bought the same one, a Zojirushi model. I know about this machine because my sister has it, but if you need a Zojirushi BB-CEC20 bread machine review look no further than this site. It is a popular machine and a ‘top seller’, so there are numerous reviews and guides on the internet.

The Machine

This is a dual-blade bread machine and it makes rectangle, 2-pound loaves. It has 10 pre-programmed settings that include 3 crust shades, LCD control panel; 13-hour delay timer. 

This model looks good and you won’t have to pack it away.  It is brushed stainless steel and so easy to keep clean. It has a large capacity at 2lbs, but is a reasonably compact machine, so it should fit most kitchen countertops.

Recipes

I don’t want to eat the same bread all of the time, with this bread maker you can write your own programmes if you want to and make bread in your own way, other than the standard way. 

You can make bread you would be proud of and bake a loaf that looks like it came from a real bread tin. If you are entertaining and serve it to your friends, it actually looks handmade and honestly looks very good.

Versatility 

Although the capacity of this machine is 2lbs.  You do not have to make such a large loaf.  Adjust the ingredients and settings and it can handle smaller loaves of bread. 

It even has a meatloaf, jam and sourdough setting. You can make and cook meatloaf, create jam and make the dough to start off your sourdough. 

The quick loaf setting can make bread in 2 hours 18 min, as opposed to the regular setting of just under 4 hours.

It also has a delayed timer. This is handy if you are out and about or know you will be late home for some reason.

So, why make your own bread? 

Cost 

Bread is usually cheap as it is made in huge batches, usually by massive companies who can afford to buy the ingredients in bulk, if not the actual bread itself. Currently, it is still not as cheap as making a loaf at home.  The average loaf of bread currently costs 47 cents as opposed to 42.4 cents. Obviously, this is averaged out using the standard ingredients.

Rising

If it doesn’t rise, it is usually because you haven’t put the ingredients into the machine in the correct order and the correct time.  For each recipe there is a setting, set times and clear instructions.  Follow these and you cannot go wrong.  If you get stuck, the machine also comes with a DVD and detailed (and a bit complicated) manual.

Also, old ingredients stuck to the attachments and inside the machine can affect the way your bread rises, as the rising process is a delicate one.  Please ensure you clean your machine out after every use.

Health

Half of a commercially made loaf is water; the wheat, soya flour, fat, baking aids and ascorbic acid. The rising or baking aids (called L-cysteine) although it can be synthetically produced, is usually made from feathers, pig bristles or in some cases hair clippings.  This means a lot of bread is unsuitable for vegans and vegetarians. 

Dietary Requirements 

If you have a wheat, gluten or some other intolerance associated with bread or any of its ingredients, you can control what goes into it, if you make it yourself. 

Feels Good

There is something really satisfying about making your own bread. The taste, smell and quality of the homemade loaf will be “incomparable” to the shop-bought one.

It also feels great serving something you have made to your family, with the added benefit that your home smells of fresh bread.

Busy Lives 

I run a stables, this means early starts and late nights. The delayed timer means I can put it on and it can cook through the night or through the day, whichever you need. If you are worried about safety in this regard it has an auto shut off too. Excellent. 

Having had my bread machine for a few months now, I really wish I had made the effort to start baking earlier. There are so many benefits to making your own. For a start, you know what ingredients are going into each loaf, mine has nothing artificial, all natural ingredients, something that is very important to me and my family. You can control the size and type of bread you make; you can customise it down to the type of crust you want.

This isn’t just a bread maker either.  It makes cakes, meat loaf, jams and sauces. It is such a versatile machine and a great addition to any kitchen.

With a little pre-preparation, you don’t even have to be at home whilst the bread is baking. With the nifty timer setting, you can pre-set them for whenever you want and away it goes. My advice to you is obviously, before you invest in anything, you need to look around. You have your own requirements, price, size, features etc., just do your research there is a machine to suit every requirement. This is one of the best investments I have ever made!

DEWALT Cordless Combo Kit

DEWALT Cordless Combo Kit Review

Looking for the right drill can be a confusing task, as there are so many makes and models available. I have always liked to buy a well-known brand. I am a great believer that if you pay a little more for one of these, you are going to get a superior product.

I am a really big DeWalt fan, all of my tools are DeWalt, from my 36v cordless SDS drill, to my circular saw and cordless grinders.

DeWalt have done very well in the latest selection of 18v and 20v tools. The XR range are all compatible with the same batteries. There is a huge range of tools available and because the batteries can be expensive, you have the option to buy a “bare unit”, which is basically buying the drill without a battery being supplied. Obviously, this is an option when you have bought a few tools with batteries, and have managed to build up a collection of these and already have the charger.

I needed to replace my 18v cordless hammer drill, so I looked at my favourite website  Drills and Drivers for advice. I already had some of the new XR range tools, so the model selection for me was easy. I chose the DeWalt DCK290L2 Hammer Drill/Impact Driver Combo. It seemed a great choice, because for a very good price you get a powerful cordless hammer drill and a market leading impact driver.

The drill manages to give you adequate fixings in concrete for the smaller jobs (you wouldn’t drill a 22mm hole with it, but that is just common sense). If you are looking to use the drill for inserting wall plugs, it is perfect. It also drills through metal and wood with ease. I have used it on steel with an 10mm metal bit and also used it on maple timber with a 28mm flat bit and it sailed through no problem. The drill is robust, it has a real solid feel about it, unlike the cheaper DeWalt options available, which feel a little flimsy.

The impact driver has the same solid feel and never has a problem with pushing the screws right in, (unlike my old impact driver, which sometimes gave up the ghost with a screw hanging half way out of the wall).

The metal components help give it a solid feel. Like most people, I have occasionally dropped the drill, which is never a good idea but accidents happen, and both came through without a problem, which is nice to know!

The Technical Bits 

  • Impact driver has ¼ inch hex chuck, drill has ½ inch chuck
  • Impact driver delivers 2800 rpm and 1400 inch pounds of torque
  • Drill has a 3 speed transmission delivering up to 0-2000 rpm 

Pros and Cons 

Pros:

  • Very durable design
  • Light weight casing
  • Both have 3 work lights on the front to brighten up the work area
  • Well-built and robust compared to other models
  • Great battery life with 30-minute charger

Cons:

  • Because of the build quality, it is a little heavier than other models
  • Because of the performance stats. it is more expensive than some options available
  • I don’t like the soft bag but that is a personal preference

Summary 

A combination kit is a fantastic way of building your tool collection in a cost effective way.  Batteries can be very expensive, so a great benefit is that with the DeWalt DCK290L2 Hammer Drill/Impact Driver Combo you are supplied with two batteries. This will also be of assistance when you are adding to your toolkit because you will be able to purchase a ‘bare unit’ saving you money in the future. The charger works efficiently and you can fully charge one of the batteries in 30 minutes, so you can be sure you don’t run out of power. When you take into account all of the facts, this combo kit is as good as they come. Yes, you may be paying a little bit more and they may be slightly heavier tools, in spite of this, this is a set well worth considering. You are buying a robust and durable drill, that performs the tasks required to a great standard.