Monthly Archives: May 2011

Quality Cookware – 4 Important Factors to Look At When Choosing These Cooking Tools

Many home and restaurant owners would prefer to invest in quality materials than second rate products. Had you ever had the feeling of getting ripped off by cookware sets that don’t seem to last very long? It’s time you purchase quality cookware and make the most of your money’s worth.

You don’t have to be an expert chef to identify cookware items that are of the highest quality. Here are four things you’ll need to know before purchasing any kitchenware items.

Materials:

Cookware sets available on the market are made from various metals. There are unique cookware materials used like copper and aluminum that accelerate the cooking process. Some manufacturers use anodized aluminum cookware to prevent this reaction.

A very popular cookware material combination in higher quality cookware is the use of stainless steel with with a copper core. This provides excellent heat distribution for even cooking. Other makers use stainless steel with a copper bottom to achieve great results.

Cookware made of all copper (or mostly copper) material is also very popular for quality cooking, as it does not have some of the chemical reactions associated with other materials. Although copper is an expensive material cookware, this is the type that most professional cooks use for many cooking techniques. It conducts heat efficiently and evenly, so you’re assured that your food is cooked in entirety.

Aluminum is a material that is used in quality cookware, but only with certain applications. It is lightweight, and is best used as a core, or wrapped in another material such as stainless steel. The aluminum in the better cookware does not come in contact with food, as it tends to give food an “off” taste. This can be found in the cheapest of cookware, as all-aluminum pots and pans are inexpensive to make.

Cast iron cookware pieces are items you should have (at least 1 or 2 pieces) for your home. They work best for searing steaks and other foods that your standard cookware might not do as well. You just have to keep your cookware seasoned to prevent food from sticking and pitting.

2. Purpose:

This is another factor you’ll need to look onto with quality cookware. Ceramic pottery, glass and enamel cookware are usually used for home cooking purposes. It’s convenient and less costly than having to purchase highly expensive sets used by most restaurants.

3. Care:

With kitchen uses, you’ll need cookware that withstands everyday use. Special care might be needed to preserve the quality of these kitchen items.

Stainless cookware should be cleaned with warm soapy water or with warm ammonia. Most cookware items are used with mild cleansers to avoid corrosion and damage. Even with quality cookware sets, its durability depends on how you’re going to take care of it.

4. Budget:

The last factor you’re going to consider in buying quality cookware is your budget. Although most of these are expensive, this will only be a one-time deal if it guarantees long-term use. Stainless steel is a popular material used in most cookware apparatuses. It’s durable, cost-effective and highly resistant to the constant wear and tear.

Quality cookware might seem a bit expensive when first faced with the purchase, but you will see its value in the long run. You will first discover that these cookware items are long-lasting, so you won’t have to shell out money every couple of years to on sub-quality kitchenware. And quality cookware will definitely show you improved cooking performance and ease. Be practical and put your money into a set of quality cookware that will last a lifetime of great cooking.

Kitchen Cleaning Tips You Need to Know

The kitchen is the place that you want to be one hundred percent free of bacteria and smelling fresh and clean. With these kitchen cleaning tips, you can make sure that your kitchen is safe for cooking the family meals. Most cleaning tips do not need to be hard work, if you use the right cleaning tips, you can use less elbow grease and clean your kitchen with very little effort.

The Garbage Disposal and Clogged Sinks

If you notice that your drains are draining a little slow, chances are that you have some build up from food particles and whatever else you put down your drain. To clean a clogged drain, you need to pour a half of cup of baking soda down the drain. Then follow this with a cup of vinegar. Wait about an hour and then pour a boiling hot pan of water down the drain. If you have grease build up, you need to pour a cup of salt, then a cup of baking soda down the drain and then finish with a boiling hot pan of water down the drain.

When your garbage disposal needs cleaning, pour some baking soda into the garbage disposal followed by vinegar until the solution bubbles. Then let it stand for ten minutes before running hot water down the garbage disposal. Then you can add three ice cubes and turn on the garbage disposal to grind up the ice, which sharpens the blades.

Tarnished Pots and Stain Removal from Plastic

Kitchen cleaning tips for tarnished pots is easy if you have some Heinz ketchup. Place a fine coat of ketchup on the tarnished and dirty part of the pan. Allow this to sit for about thirty minutes. Then simply rinse and wash for a clean looking pan.

Have you ever placed tomato soup or tomato sauce in plastic containers and left it there? If you have, you know that the tomato base will stain your plastic. To remove stains from tomato-based products from plastic, run hot water into the bowl and add some tablets for cleaning dentures. Let this stand for about four hours and then empty out the solution and wash.

Kitchen Cleaning Tips for the Microwave

The inside of the microwave can become full of splattered foots and dried on grease. If you need to clean the inside of the microwave and you do not want to scrub all day, you can place a wet dishtowel in the middle of the microwave and turn on high for about thirty seconds. Then wipe with a damp clothe. Repeat this process until the inside is clean and free of any build up that can cause bacteria.

Ceiling Fans Leading the Future

The Current Market

Ceiling fans have been gaining in popularity for the past 20 years. What started as a cost effective alternative to air conditioning to cool your living room bedroom or kitchen has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry. Ceiling fans are now offered in many styles and price ranges from the very basic to high end designer styles. They can cost from less than one hundred to several thousand dollars and are being made to suit any taste or preference.

The ceiling fan manufacturing industry has evolved to provide very high quality fans at reasonable costs and has built the consumer market for these products. This led to explosive growth in the sales of fans through the home improvement retailers like Home Depot, Lowes and others. The days of showroom sales for the mid to high level fans may be in for a change due the marketing efforts of these industry giants.

Marketing data suggests that approximately 70% of all ceiling fans are being installed by the homeowner within 2 years of occupying their home. They are replacing the existing lighting fixtures with higher grade fixtures and ceiling fans in the bedroom and kitchen area. The living room is also a popular choice for fixture replacement with ceiling fan and lighting kit combinations being installed in greater numbers.

The consumer is faced with so many choices in the market today that it can be a bewildering experience for today’s consumer. The average purchaser is going down to their favorite home improvement store to choose their new fan or lighting fixture or even making their choice on the internet. They come to a lighting specialty store or showroom only after being overwhelmed by the choices in the home improvement stores aisles which provide little if any service or assistance.

The choice of fans today is greater than at any time in past 5 to 10 years. Many of the major brands are also selling products in the home improvement market. Companies like Hunter are distributing several models in Home Depot this trend is expected to increase as they gain market share.

Changing Technology

Numerous manufacturers have been paying attention to this trend in the consumer market and are providing fans that meet the needs of today’s consumer. The ease of assembly and use of pre-assembled components speed the installation of their products.

Westinghouse Lighting Corporation has a line of fans that captures all of these needs and they claim can be installed in 15 minutes on average. The weak link in all of these improvements is the ceiling box itself. This is the component that the fan is attached to and must bear the static and dynamic loads of the fans operation. It also houses the electrical wiring for the fan. This utilitarian component has been under going improvement for the past 10 years or more to make its’ installation quicker, cheaper and easier than the traditional metal box of yesterday.

The electrical contractor of today is using products that increase his productivity and maximize the potential profit of his labor. They have a large choice of nail-on products that already have the fasteners attached to the ceiling box and all they have to do is hold it in place and nail or screw it into a joist or truss for it to be secured. Many of these boxes are thermoplastics which are inexpensive and easy to manufacture. They also have the added advantage of not needing to be electrically grounded so this saves the additional labor that metal boxes require.

This fact is not lost on the ceiling box manufacturers that are producing ceiling, outlet and junction boxes that are quick to install and are made of plastics that require less and less labor to install properly. This has gotten to the point that there is now a lighting box that only needs to be pushed onto a wooden stud for it to be secured; no fasteners are needed at all!

The ceiling fan manufacturers however may not be keeping pace with the trend in ceiling box installation practices. They advise the consumer of their products to reinforce or replace the existing fixture with a fan-rated ceiling box which is prudent, though are the consumers heeding their installation directives?

The installation instructions for many of the fans available today show a metal type box that has screws going through the box and into blocking above the box. This is not what is installed in most of the newer construction homes which use the labor saving nail-on products. As a general rule builders and contractors do not provide blocking above the ceiling box with a nail-on product as the added material & labor is not cost effective.

The average nail-on plastic ceiling box is rated for only supporting a 35 pound static load. They are also not fan-rated. This requires that the ceiling box be replaced with a fan-rated box before the installation of a ceiling fan. Fan-rated boxes are capable of holding 70 pound loads and are rated for this application. This is easier said than done! The nail-on products do not lend themselves to be reinforced easily since labor savings have also been applied to the construction of homes themselves. In many circumstance the average home does not have an attic, only a narrow crawl space between the trusses is provided. This combined with blow-in insulation makes the location of the ceiling box difficult if not impossible when a fan is to be hung on an upper floor.

For installation of a ceiling fan between floors leaves little choice for this task since it cannot be accessed easily from above or below the ceiling since the upper floor is directly above the ceiling box. Cutting a hole in the floor or knocking out the ceiling is not prudent just to place blocking above a ceiling box. Medallions are available but the added expense, labor and time can be prohibitive, especially if the medallion is painted to match the ceiling. The brace type of products that are sold today are an alternative though they work better in theory than in practice as the old ceiling box needs to be removed before they can be installed. Home Depot has a web page devoted to this process which they claim can take ½ a day to complete.

A Better Way

Following the trends used in the construction methods of today’s homes has led to the development of a new and simple method to reinforce an existing ceiling box to that of a fan-rated box that is consumer friendly. Access is gained through the ceiling box itself with a small bracket being utilized in what is in most cases is wasted space within the ceiling box itself. Two fasteners are driven through the ceiling box and into the joist or truss with the bracket being firmly held in position. This bracket has been shown by independent testing by a leading product testing laboratory to allow the ceiling box to sustain very large dynamic loads.