best rice cooker

Rice cooker is one of the most efficient and compact appliances that must be purchased in almost every kitchens and used by any housewives for time and effort saving. However, there are some small features and tips about this kitchen appliance that you might not know and in this article, they would be revealed to you so that you can have cook better meals for your family. The best rice cooker should be used properly so as to lengthen its lifespan.

best rice cooker

Use Your Rice Cooker Properly

You should prepare the rice outside the rice cooker before cooking them. Don’t wash the rice inside the rice cooker holder because it would pose a threat to the protective layer inside the cooker and reduce the heat contact ability. That would have a bad effect to the rice cooking process. The rice would not be cooked evenly.

using rice cooker

Another thing you should pay attention to is the outside of the rice cooker inner pot. It is often wet after washing the rice so that you have to dry the inner pot before putting it back into the rice cooker. If you don’t dry the outer layer of the inner pot, it would harm the heater plate and the heat sensor. When putting the inner pot into the cooker, make sure that it went to the right position, you should have some small spins so that everything goes to right place and ready to use or else the rice can’t be cooked.

You should also plan the time to have meal so that you can cook the rice at the right time, avoiding cooking too soon then have to re – heat over and over. That has a bad effect on the magnet inside the cooker. Especially, never use the inner pot for any other purposes or combine it with other types of kitchen appliances such as gasoline cooker or steamer so as to protect the pot from being deformed.

How to Cook the Rice Perfectly?

To cook the rice as you wish, before cooking, you should use your hand and spread the amount of rice inside the pot so that they can cover the base of the pot and be cooked evenly. If you don’t do so, the rice can still be cooked but in some areas, the rice can be overcooked while some parts of it are not cooked. While the rice cooker is processing, don’t open it too much because doing that can cause the lack of heat and steam inside the pot. At the moment when the mode shifts from cooking to heating, quickly turn the rice up so that the cooked rice can be soft and dry enough.

Cleaning the Rice Cooker after Using

Just like other kitchen appliances, you have to clean it after finishing cooking. With rice cooker, you just need to use wet towel to clean it. Avoid cleaning it with direct water. You should not use rough surface cleaning tools as well because it can leave some scratches to the inside of the cooker and ruin the anti – stick layer.

Steam valve must be cleaned up as well. Some people think that this is not an important part of the cooker but it’s one of the most essential parts that help the cooker function correctly. You should have some cleaning at this part regularly so that the atmosphere inside the cooker can be refreshed and the rice can be kept for a long time.

Using the Rice Cooker Safely

No matter how regular you use this type of kitchen appliance, it deserves a dry and high place in your kitchen. Don’t place it near any other types of appliances that can emit heat or heat waves because it can have some bad effects on your rice cooker. While cooking, the body of the rice cooker will be heated up to very high temperature so that you should not touch any part of your body to it or let your children play or do anything near the rice cooker. The plugs should be cared as well. You have to make sure there wouldn’t any accident involving electricity or fire while using the rice cooker. After using it, unplug from the electric source right away.

record player

Hobbies are an important part of people’s lives as they provide a certain amount of pleasure and distraction from stress and everyday obligations. Many people choose vinyl collection as their main hobby, for all kinds of reasons. Some search for rare records and buy them for personal pleasure, others do with the possibility of reselling them further down the road if the value increases.

As there are countless vinyl records up for sale out there, whether you want to buy them for out of pleasure and want to combine them with the best record player available, or simply see them as a future source of income, you need to know a few things before actually buying them.

record player

What You Need To Take Into Consideration

That being said, the task of making a sound investment can prove to be very challenging. Here are a few tips on what to pay special attention to when buying records:

  1. Disc Condition

Depending on the condition a record is in, the value of it can be higher or lower. You have to pay special attention to the condition of the disc, especially if your intention is to keep it to yourself and add it to the personal collection. A disc in good condition will add to the listening experience and enjoyment.

disc

Conduct a thorough examination of the disc you are interested in. If you notice that its surface is dull, that will suggest that it has been used a lot. If you are looking to make a proper investment, look for discs with shinier surface. That indicates that it hasn’t been used a lot and has a lot of its value preserved.

Once you have examined the surface area and it meets your requirements, you should then check for scratches. Deep scratches will not provide a good listening experience, and they greatly decrease the value of the item.

The simplest method of checking for scratches is to run your fingers over the surface of the record and feel if they are present. If you can easily feel them it probably isn’t a good idea to continue with the purchase, since you won’t get a good, quality sound out of them. However, if the scratches are barely there you should continue to the next step of the examination process.

  1. The Sleeves

All vintage vinyl records should come with a record sleeve. You can also tell about the condition of the record by the condition of its sleeve. Granted, it is nowhere near in terms of importance as the condition of the actual record itself, it is still something that should not be overlooked.

A well preserved record sleeve will have minimal damage. You should be aware that some degree of damage will definitely be present due to the age of the record, so don’t look for pristine condition.

If you browse online for a vintage record, you should always look for pictures of the sleeve as well. If there is no picture of it, ask for it directly from the seller.

  1. The Value

Obviously you want to get your money’s worth, regardless of the purpose of your purchase. Whether you are buying a record for personal use, or plan to keep it as a possible source of income, you need to be aware of the real worth of the record at the time of purchase.

It is very likely that the people or specialized stores selling them are looking to get the best deal possible. That being said, it is a good idea to check several different places for prices and record condition. It will help you get a better understanding of the real worth of a particular record.

Also, don’t be afraid to negotiate. Sometimes the price can be a little too steep for your budget. There are a lot of people that take more pleasure in the process of negotiation than the actual purpose. And more often than not, they end up buying the record at a lower price than the asking one.

Even if the price is already within your preference range, you can still make an effort to get a better deal. You never know.

Headphone

Many years ago when the world was in the middle of Walkman Empire and the revolution of devices in the 80s of 21st century, headphones were very big and heavy. They were not popular for sure. However, things changed very much. Headphones are becoming one of the best essential devices serving for the entertaining demands of people. Moreover, you don’t have to pay too much money for this device. If your budget is large enough, you can look for some limited editions of the best headphones in the world that are produced just a few all over the world. Or if you just need something to listen to music while travelling, the best headphones under 100 might satisfy you as well. In this article, I will show you some choices that are based on styles and functions.

Headphone

People nowadays don’t care too much about the differences between high mobility headphones and the ones that are used for entertainment at home. However to me, it is very important to clearly determine the demands (listen to music, gaming purpose…) and where to use the device (at home, outdoor…). That could help people to clear their mind and choose the best headphone that suits the needs. Overall, the headphones are divided into 5 types based on the appearances:

  1. In – ear headphones ( ear bud headphones)

Ear bud headphones are often designed with other portable music devices and are loved because the sound quality. In general, the sounds from this kind of headphone are better than that ones produced by full – sized headphones (the type that cover your whole ears). Ear bud headphones are attached directly to your ears or put inside the ear pipes. Some of them have additional rubber circles that help the headphones to cope with many types of ear shapes and reduce the chance that the headphone falls of the ears of users.

  • Pros: The design is compact, light and most of them have additional microphones with functional buttons. Ear bud headphones have the ability of reducing the noise from the environment effectively. Moreover, the headphones are hard to stick into the hair or other accessories such as glasses or earrings.
  •  Cons: The sound quality as well as the base depth can’t compare with other full – sized headphone designs that can annoy customers if using for a long time. In addition, some ear bud headphone models are difficult to wear in or remove from the ears; therefore they can’t be the best choice for using in offices. Besides, the designs of the lines are easy to be entangled.

Advanced features: Volume button, the variation in size and material of the rubber circles, volume balance

  1. On – ear headphones

This type of headphone has many names: Supra – aural headphones (Super sound), open – backed headphones, and semi – open…

On – ear headphones have round design that covers the outside of the ears, and users can use them with almost all of the standard portable music devices as well as high technology sound devices at home. Despite the fact that on –ear headphones can cover the ears, some people just prefer full –sized ones because of the ability to keep the noise outside and not let the sound get out. However, on – ear headphones are much better when using in offices, because of the property of the place that requires users to hear other sounds from the environment and the sound from the headphone at the same time.

  • Pros: Comfortable, cooler for the ears than full –sized models, some designs can be folded neatly to bring along.
  • Cons: Lack of noise preventing ability in comparison with in –ear or full –sized headphones, weak bass sounds, sound leaking.

Advanced features: Microphone and direction tracking in, ear pads, folded designs, and the lines can be coiled are some its remarkable points.

These are just 2 of 5 types of headphone designs that I want to mention. For more information, come to my blog and look for the next article – part 2 of “Buying guide for a new headphone”. The best headphone is not the most expensive; it’s the one you feel comfortable with. If you have any questions, the best ones you should ask are audiophiles. They are experts in sound devices, and surely they can have the best answers for you.

home theater projector

home theater projector

Home theatre installation can be a challenging task. But if you do it right, you will end up creating one magnificent piece of art. The notion of having a home entertainment system has provided comfort for people and a way to clear their minds of their everyday troubles. You can just sit back and relax in the ambience created by the exquisite sound and video produced by your devices. With the proper knowledge and all the essential components everyone can design their home entertainment system of their dreams.

The Visual Part

There are two general possibilities to design the viewing experience depending on the size and space of the room. For smaller rooms you could acquire the biggest possible HDTV and attach in on the wall. However, if your space is bigger, you will undoubtedly get a better viewing experience by installing a projector.

If you do choose to use a projector you will also need a bigger screening area. You can achieve this by installing a picture-like frame on the opposite wall, or if you want to be able to conceal the screen when you are not using it, you could go for a motorized frame.

Also, depending on the experience you would like to get, you could choose between a standard image projector and a 3D one. Naturally, you should purchase the equipment that fits your budget. Everyone wants to have the most luxurious equipment, but not everyone can afford it. If your budget is tight, and you still want to maximize your watching and listening experience, simply get a non 3D projector and cast the image to a normal pull down frame like those you have probably seen in your local schools.

The Audio Part

home theater speaker

When it comes to speakers, this is the part people find the most challenging. You can purchase the best HDTV or a 3D projector for the most amazing viewing experience, but it will stand for nothing if you don’t match that with the appropriate speaker setup for the best listening experience. Selecting the compatible speakers for your space is absolutely crucial. Get the wrong ones and you would have spent a ton of money for nothing since you won’t get the feeling of pleasure you imagined.

If you have the option to install speakers that will be built-in the walls, go for it. That will ensure you get a good sound quality and they will literally take up no space from the room.

On the other hand, if you wish to achieve a higher level sound, go for bigger floor speakers. They will take up some space, but the sound you will get from them will be unmatched.

For people that are really limited in terms of room space, and can’t install speakers into the walls, the ideal solution is to go for smaller, bookshelf speakers. These take up very little room space.

The Brain of the Operation – The Receiver

Home Theater Receiver

The receiver is the device you connect all your gear to. Without one, you will achieve nothing. At the better it is, the better the entire experience. The home theatre receiver is the brain of the entire operation, since it switches between audio and video channels and frequencies providing you with the ultimate enjoyment.

That being said, having the most expensive and highest end speakers won’t do you any good unless you match them with a powerful receiver who can extract the best of them. It is very important that you don’t get fooled by a low price tag on a receiver. They may claim to provide 110 watts per channel for the price of a chocolate bar, but that will hardly be true. Both the quality of the sound and the picture from the TV or the projector rely on the power supplied by the receiver. If it is not capable of handling the power requirements you will not get the best results, no matter how good the rest of your audio-video equipment is.

Therefore, when you do head to the local electronics store, be sure to know how to test the device properly on your own and not just take the salesmen’s word for it.

Imagine your home theatre project is like an empty canvas waiting to be painted. You create your own work of art. You are the brush master. Gather the necessary information on every item which is going to be a part of your setup and make wise decisions which ones to get within your projected budget.

Home automation

Global warming is one of the biggest problems the world is dealing with nowadays. Due to global warming, the climate is slowly but certainly changing and the proof of that are all the nature catastrophes we witness more often than not as time goes by. These changes also mean that temperatures fluctuate rapidly and we end up having extreme cold to extreme heat in very short time periods.

All of this makes it more challenging for people to find efficient ways to control temperature in their own homes. You can’t be sure how much heat you are going to need to warm your house against the cold winter, and the complete opposite goes for the summer time. This is where programmable thermostats come into play. They are a part of the home automation systems which make people’s lives much more comfortable and easier.

What Do Programmable Thermostats Do?

In the simplest of terms, programmable thermostats can be defined as units that keep the desired temperature in your home in the most energy efficient way possible. These devices are really simple to operate, and when configured properly they provide significantly cheaper bills for you to pay.

During the scorching summer period, many people tend to leave their air condition unit run the whole time, even when they are at work, because they want their house to be pleasantly cool when they return home. As you can imagine this is far from being energy efficient. Most of you work eight hours a day, which means those are eight hours of electricity wasted.

Programmable thermostats allow you to set your air condition unit to turn on or off on a timer. This means you can set your AC to turn on, let’s say, 20 minutes before you get home from work. Your house will be cool enough when you arrive and you have not wasted eight hours’ worth of electricity. Multiply this by the number of days you go to work and your electricity bill will be a lot lower.

What Kinds of Thermostats are There?

Now that you know what they do, let’s take a look at all the different types of thermostats, and what makes them different from the rest.

Thermostat

  • Digital Thermostat – These can be set to make a device turn on or off at a given time schedule and the desired temperature. This makes them extremely convenient, but their flexibility can make it a real challenge to configure them exactly to your needs.
  • Electromechanical Thermostat – These are perfect for people on a regular schedule. Unlike the digital counterparts, they must be scheduled manually and their timers operate on a number or hours, as opposed to setting a specific time of the day.
  • Hybrid Thermostat – These are a mixture of the previous two. Hybrid thermostats make use of the simplicity of the electromechanical thermostat, combined with the customizability of the digital ones.
  • Light Sensing Thermostat – Arguably the most expensive and most difficult to use. As you can assume by the name, it reacts to light. What makes them convenient is the fact that they never require batteries, and settings are kept even when the power is out.
  • Occupancy Thermostat – These are the complete opposite of the light sensing ones in terms of difficulty to use. Occupancy thermostats are used for buildings that are rarely used. After setting the initial configuration, all you need is to push one button to turn them on, which activates your settings and them automatically turns off after a set time.

Home automation

Home automation systems are on the rise. While the older models and features weren’t as reliable and interesting to most people, the newer, improved models offer a lot. By investing in any of the mentioned types of programmable thermostats you can make sure that your home will always be as warm or as cold as you like when coming back from work or anywhere else. They are also extremely convenient when it comes to heating or cooling bills. You will not have to waste money on operating costs while you are not at home.

So get a nice programmable thermostat for your home, and never have to worry whether your house will be too hot or too cold regardless of the weather season.

Thermostat

Energy efficiency is something people take very seriously nowadays. From individual point of view, people look to make their homes more energy efficient as a solution to their high electricity bills. But there is a bigger picture – not only people feel the positive effects of energy efficiency individually, entire countries, and therefore, the world also benefits from energy efficient products and devices.

There are two institutions in the United States established to help people save on electricity bills and also ensure that the country will have the necessary electricity resources for the future.

Energy Star and Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Institutions

Founded in 1992, Energy Star is an institution that aims to help people in purchasing energy efficient appliances. The Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) focuses on the bigger picture, and finds ways to ensure that the country will have enough energy available in the future.

The role of the Energy Star is to influence customers, while the EERE steers its influence towards making manufacturers build more energy efficient products. Between the two, the result of conserved energy is enormous.

When shopping for cooling or heating appliances, you should always opt for products incorporating the Energy Star logo, with increase in energy efficiency of 10% at the very least. Apart from the US, the Energy Star evaluation system has also been adapted to other countries in all parts of the world. There are dishwashers which provide up to 41% energy efficiency, while some fluorescent lights can go up to 75% energy efficiency.

Keeping Your Electricity Bill on the Low Site with Programmable Thermostats

In all likelihood you have heard about programmable thermostats and know what their role is in terms of energy efficiency of your heating and cooling devices. Some of you may already use them, but merely installing them doesn’t mean that you get the most of them already.

Thermostat

Here are some guidelines on how to ensure your programmable thermostats are configured optimally:

  • Place of Installation – You shouldn’t just install your thermostat wherever you want. They should be positioned away from heating or cooling sources. If you aren’t certain, consult a professional to place your thermostat in the best spot.
  • Set a Different Temperature While not at Home If you want your thermostat to keep a certain temperature range in your home while you are at work, set it to a more energy saving temperature. For example, you don’t need your home to be as warm as when you are at home. So set the thermostat to a slightly lower setting to keep your house from cooling down completely, and increase the temperature once you are home.
  • Don’t Make Drastic Temperature Changes – By doing so you are inadvertently destroying your heating and cooling appliances.
  • Give a Couple of Degrees Up – In winter lower the temperature by two degrees, or increase it by two degrees in summer, even when you are at home to maximize energy efficiency. That difference of just a couple of degrees may seem obsolete for you, but it will lower your electricity bill by a lot in the long run, and you will not be able to tell the difference in those two degrees.
  • Regular Battery Change – Regardless of the quality of the batteries, never keep the same batteries powering the thermostat for more than a year. Better yet, get a programmable thermostat with a battery monitor feature.
  • Manual Thermostats Can Save a You a lot as well – Although digital thermostats are recommended for optimal energy efficiency, you can achieve similar results with manual ones too. You just need to make sure you adjust the temperature whenever you leave your home.
  • Don’t Save on Thermostats for Your Business – If you are also running a business, install as many programmable thermostats as needed. Being able to make the assessment on your own is rarely possible, so it’s crucial that you hire a professional.

At this point you should not have a single doubt about the efficiency of programmable thermostats. Digital or manual, they will make sure that your electricity bills are lower while making your home feel as comfortable as ever. Do not forget that you also help the well-being of the environment as well.

home perfect: a smart home

Normally, and this especially goes for the time of winter, you get home from work to a cold, dark home. Without a doubt most of you would like for their homes to be warm, cozy and bright without having to leave the thermostat and lights active while you are at work. And thanks to all the major technological advances made in recent years, it is now all completely possible.

Now coming back to a warm, well-lit home is perfectly possible. You can configure your home any way you like. You can set your lights and thermostat to turn on 30 minutes before you arrive home. The garage door will open just as you approach it.

home perfect: a smart home

Nowadays everything is possible thanks to the appearance of smart homes. You can make your home smart by installing a home automation system. Some time ago prices of such systems were fairly high and only a select few could afford them, and manufacturers were also rare. However, now all of that has changed. Many more manufacturers appeared on the market, and competition makes wonders in terms of prices. Furthermore, what was previously regarded as luxury, is now mere necessity. You are probably wondering, what is so special about home automation. Let’s review the following features.

Transforming your home into a smart one will make it safer, cheaper to maintain and extremely convenient to live in.

Smart Homes Offer Convenience

By installing a home automation system in your home you inadvertently make it more energy efficient. But also you won’t have to worry about many other things. For example, your home will be perfectly able to water the garden on its own with the automated sprinkles; the thermostat will be able to tell whether it should increase or decrease the temperature on its own; the lights will know when to turn on or off; the garage door will know when to open itself and so much more. By automating most of these features you also end up with a lower electricity bill every month. No electricity will be consumed in vain as your home will keep itself in the optimal conditions. Thanks to today’s technology, all of this is just a button away from you. You can even set the toilet to flush automatically.

Add to Your Security

A smart house is a safe house. Regardless of where you are, whether home or out, thanks to your smart house alarm you will get a security alert the second your home is under threat. It doesn’t mean that no one will ever attempt to break in, but it does mean that they will not think of doing it again.

Safety doesn’t refer to protection from burglars only. That being said, your smart house will also alert you in the event of a fire. And if you are in the house while that happens, a certain chain of event will occur to help you get out of it as soon as possible, while it also sends a notification to the local fire department.

Smart Homes save You Money

Granted, you have to invest in it first, but in the long run you are definitely going to feel the benefits of it in terms of money savings. Having everything automated means that your house will take perfect care of itself, ensuring the highest levels of energy efficiency.

Energy Efficiency

By now, it should me crystal clear to you that there is so much to gain by installing a home automation system. But just to make sure, here are some additional tips and possibilities:

  • You can add voice commands which turn your lights on or off
  • You can install a pool alert system. This can make your home safer for your children, as you will get an alert the moment they approach the pool area.
  • You can install motion sensor cameras. They will start recording the moment someone enters a designated area.
  • You can install a door camera. That way there will never be any surprises when you open the front door once the doorbell rings.
  • You can install a light randomizer. What this means is that you can set your lights to go on and off at random times during the day with a random duration. This is extremely convenient when you are going on holiday. Having the lights turn on and off occasionally will keep burglars away.
Hand holding mobile phone controls smart home

Many people have an elderly parent or grandparent counting on their care and help. There is a statistic out there saying that for the next 15 years, around 10,000 people will turn 65 every day. So if you don’t have to care for an elderly person right now, you probably will have to soon.

It should be mentioned that installing a home automation system will not set you free of all the responsibilities, or that an elderly person will not require a nurse or special medical care. It will however make all those things considerably easier and more convenient for everyone included.

Hand holding mobile phone controls smart home

Hand holding mobile phone tablet controls smart home temperature water light security technology flat concept vector illustration

Home automation systems are not a finite set of possibilities. And that is what makes them great, you can add features whenever you like and your budget allows. Most features do require you being able to operate a simple remote controller or an app on your smartphone. Once you install it, there should be no additional costs connected to it, unless it requires internet for you to remotely operate it.

The majority of the home automation features range from $50-$75. Naturally, there are some more expensive than others and the most expensive one will not surpass the $250 mark. Compared to other maintenance costs, such as plumbing or HVAC repairs, those prices are relatively cheap.

  • Where the Elderly Come into the Picture 

Older people are usually fully capable of embracing their age and require no special assistance regardless of the occasion. Others however, lose the ability to perform certain tasks that they were able to do once. This is how home automation systems can help them.

  • They Tend to Forget Things Easier 

It happens to the all of us really, but as people get older it happens quite a lot more often. For example, you may forget to turn the stove off once you are done heating something once in a blue moon, but older people make a habit out of it. Thanks to advances in technology, it is now available to install a system that will break any electrical circuit after a previously set period of time. Some can also send special alerts when a device is left on for a longer period of time.

Other things older people tend to forget is taking their meds on time. There are devices you can set up to send an alert when it is time for a person to take their medication. Sensors can be installed on doors and windows which will send notifications if something is left open or unlocked after performing regular check-ups.

doors and windows

  • Senses Fade with Age 

Provided the appropriate home automation components are installed, notifications will be sent out if the sensors detect carbon monoxide / dioxide presence in the home. Notifications can be sent out in different ways such as text messages, normal messages on the home hub, but the lights can also be set to flash once such an occurrence is detected.

  • They are more likely to fall and not be Able to Stand Up 

Bones get more fragile with age, and that is a matter of fact. More often than not older people can’t stand up once they have fallen. There are systems that can sound an alarm in the house once it happens, provided the person is living with someone else. Also, having motion sensor triggered lights installed will ensure that they will never wander through the halls in the dark.

  • Temperature Control 

It is also known that the elderly are more susceptible to radical temperature changes or extreme hot and cold. Programmable thermostats are extremely convenient since they can be set to turn the heat up, or trigger the AC to cool the room down to a previously set temperature. Once the thermostat sensor detects a temperature limit has been reached it will automatically turn on the appropriate appliance to remedy the situation.

  • Cameras Increase Safety 

Old people living alone are the perfect prey for burglars. Installing a camera system around the exterior of the house is highly recommended. Internal camera system can be also beneficial.

Once again, installing a home automation system for your elderly parent or grandparent does not relieve you of all your duties. But it does make life both for you and them infinitely easier.

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