Monthly Archives: September 2017

The Rice Cooker: A Blessing to Your Family

The Rice Cooker - A Blessing to Your Family

A rice cooker, just as the name suggests, is a cooking appliance dedicated to the preparation of rice. If you enjoy a plate of rice on a daily basis, then the rice cooker will be beneficial to you. Let us look at various aspects of this cooker and what to expect when you buy one.

How Does it Work?

This appliance cooks rice by heating a plate located at the bottom of the pan. As the pot of the cooker sits on the bottom of the hot plate, it heats up via conduction. Turning on the cooker after placing in the ingredients heats up the water to a boil, cooking the rice in the process. The pot will remain at this temperature until all the water evaporates. Once the last drop of water evaporates, the inbuilt sensors detect this and switch the cooker off.

These cookers come with various features to make the procedure fast and effortless. One of the best features of the appliance is the inbuilt timer. Using a microprocessor unit, the cooker monitors the change in temperature and decides on how long it will take to cook the rice. The microprocessor will then adjust the amount of heat that reaches the heating plate. Advanced models allow you to keep the cooked rice warm for hours, while others make use of an advanced timer which cooks the food at a set time, even when you aren’t around.

Do You Need a Rice Cooker?

Yes, you do. Here are the golden reasons why you need to have it on your next shopping list.

Enjoy High-Quality Rice

The best rice cooker uses fuzzy logic technology to make better rice for you and the family. The technology monitors how the rice is cooking and makes fine adjustments in cooking time and water temperature. When compared to the traditional way of cooking rice, the results are better and will always be consistent. The process might take a little bit more time, but the excellent flavor, texture, and quality are worth the wait.

Access to a Wide Range of Settings

Apart from the innovative fuzzy logic technology, modern rice cookers offer you a wide variety of settings to pick from depending on what you plan to cook. You get to choose from brown rice, white rice, mixed rice, risotto and sushi rice. Every setting is meant to prepare a selected rice variety to the best quality with the whole process being pre-programmed.

It Saves You Time

You save a lot of time when using the rice cooker. For one, after you set up the rice in the pan, you don’t have to stick around and supervise the cooking. All that is left to do is to get out the rice and serve it while still hot.

No need to worry about burning the food even though you are not around to check on the food. In-built timers make the whole process easy and effortless.

Some Are Multipurpose in Use

You choose the capacity of the cooker depending on what you need. To make a perfect choice, make sure you understand how much rice your family consumes in one go. Get a cooker that prepares the proper amount of rice for the family. This is convenient, especially since some cookers can keep the food warm for more than 2 hours.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are preparing brown or white rice, having a rice cooker is the best way to do it. However, make sure the type of cooker you choose gives you a wide number of options so that you get a chance to experiment with new recipes. The cooker should also have the right capacity to suit the needs of your family.

Signs That Your Sewer Line or Drain Pipes Are Clogged

Professional Plumber

Although being one of the most vital components of any residential plumbing, many people don’t know much about the sewer line, other than the fact that it transports waste products from the home into the public drainage system. Usually, this component rarely receives much attention until a problem occurs and the effects start to get felt within the home.

The effects of a broken or faulty sewer line are numerous, including backing up of raw sewage into your home leading to unhygienic living conditions and the risk of illnesses. It also leads to a considerable mess in your home that you will spend time cleaning. However, before the issue reaches such levels, the sewer line would have shown various signs that it is clogged up. The moment you notice these signs you need to call in an expert tradie company like these guys to diagnose the issue and handle it. Let us look at these signs.

Changes in Water Flow

A clean and flawless sewer line will encourage quick flow of waste from the appliances and fixtures in the house. For instance, water should flow from your bathtub quickly once you remove the valve. If you notice changes in the flow of wastewater from these appliances, it is a sign that something is wrong with the drain pipe. Usually, the issue arises from a clog that is inhibiting wastewater flowing past the blockage. If the flow is inhibited in only one fixture, then the clog might be in the drain pipe leading away from that particular fixture. On the other hand, if the issue affects multiple fixtures in different parts of the house, then the clog might be in the main sewer line.

Strange Behavior from Your Appliances

When the sewer drain starts backing up, it shows up in your appliances and fixtures that are connected to your plumbing system. For instance, after the washing machine or dishwasher finishes a task with the water draining out of it, another drain might percolate from a separate appliance or fixture in the house. The sound will seem as if water is draining from this appliance or fixture as well.

A closer look might reveal water has spilled out of the basement drain or has backed up through the drain in your shower or bathtub.

Water in your sink should drain away fast and smoothly under normal circumstances. When your drain is clogged, you will notice strange behavior from other plumbing fixtures when you turn on a faucet. To confirm this, turn on the faucet on your kitchen sink and let the water run for some time. Go and observe what happens to your toilet bowl. If the drain is clogged, you will notice water entering the toilet bowl from the tank or air bubbles rising from the bowl. Bubbles occur when air that is trapped in the pipes due to the blockage gets displaced and is pushed up through the plumbing system. This is a sign that the sewer line is clogged.

The Toilet Doesn’t Flush Normally

Normally, when you flush the toilet the wastewater ought to drain off to get replaced with clean water from the tank. Clogged sewer drains change the direction of the wastewater. Since it doesn’t have anywhere to go, the wastewater in your toilet will back up and come back through the lowest level of the plumbing system, which can be the drain in your bathtub or shower, or in the basement.

Foul Smells

This is a dead giveaway of a blocked sewer and the most unpleasant symptoms of all. If something has blocked your drain and it begins to decompose, you will certainly smell it. The foul smell might come first before any visual signs occur. Therefore if you start catching a whiff of raw sewage then don’t just sit back and wait to see what happens next.

The Remedy: Call in a Professional Plumber

When you notice these warning signs, you need to call in a plumber fast. The priority will be to find the exact spot where the clog is and remove it. Your plumbing system’s structure is like a tree, with the stem representing the main sewer line and the branches representing the drain pipes from different fixtures. It needs experience and expertise to find out the exact location of the clog in this network of pipes, reason why a professional plumber is vital to this process.

The Growing Need for Loft Conversions

Loft Conversions

In the current housing market, loft conversions enable you to get an extra one or more rooms for the family. Converting the loft would be a better idea when you consider the fact that moving just to get extra rooms would be much more expensive and will take more effort. With a loft conversion, you don’t have to look for new schools for your kids or get a storage unit while you get things in order.

Converting your loft into usable space is more than just a lifestyle – it also adds to the resale value of your home. Adding two rooms to the house can increase the resale value of your property by up to 30 percent. It is therefore no wonder that many people are going for loft conversions across the country.

What Could You Use the Loft Conversion For?

If you are expecting your family to grow, you might need an extra study room, bedroom or playroom for your kids. The increasing unemployment rate has seen most kids get back home to find something to do. Having a loft conversion can give you the extra space you need for your child. He can use it as an office or his bedroom.

As days go by, your aging parents need to have someone close by. One way to keep them within reach is to let them come stay with you. This can mean having a separate room for them. It becomes expensive if you try to buy a bigger house – it is much better to convert the loft. You can use the resulting room as the bedroom and leave your ground bedroom for your parents to prevent them from handling the stairs.

Maybe you need your private office to hide away once in a while and catch up with some work. Working from your dining room can be tough considering the fact that kids won’t give you any peace. Using one of the new rooms as your private home office can be convenient for you.

Whatever your needs are for a new room, a loft conversion is the best idea compared to a move to a bigger house.

The Conversion Process

Before you think of having a conversion, make sure you understand what you need and communicate this to the company. If you are looking for expert Builders, Mansfield offers a wide variety to choose from. However, make sure you go with a company that gives you value for your money in terms of experience and fast delivery.

The company comes in to inspect the status of the loft, making sure to factor in the available space and the headroom. The company also seeks to identify whether there are any structural problems in the walls, roof and the rest of the house.

The team then seats down with you to discuss your expectations versus the reality. The company will quote a price for you and wait for permission to start. A typical conversion takes between 5 and 7 weeks. You can talk with the team to decide on the right time to start the job. A site manage will always be available to answer your queries as he oversees the job on the ground.

Final Thoughts

A loft conversion is one of the best ways to give your family an extra room to enjoy. You can give the kids an extra bedroom or have a home office for yourself. This process eliminates the need to move to another home just to get extra living space. It is relatively inexpensive and requires just a few weeks to be complete. Once done, you get to enjoy a 30 percent increase in property value.

Three Most Common Types of Brick to Build With

Brick is one of the oldest and most common building materials to be used in the construction of structures from houses and public buildings to roadways, pavements, and driveways. It is versatile, sturdy, and long-lasting with one of the longest lives a building material has. While used as the go-to material for centuries, because of the age of industrialization and the pioneering of many other construction materials that are a lot cheaper to produce, brick has unfortunately become a little dearer on the price scale of modern conventional building materials. However, it stills stands out in quality and so is worth the investment for the guarantee of long-term durability. Here are the three most common types of brick out there in the building market, all available for residential or commercial use with positives and negatives to each one.

The first most common type of brick is the mud brick. The mud brick is by far the oldest of the three categories, having been in use for thousands of years. Because the process to produce the mud brick is to air dry it once the clay has formed into the shape of the brick, this is the easiest of the methods, and while the drying process takes some time, it’s also the most efficient and simplest. Because of its simple design, it’s used less these days, particularly in developed countries who prefer the other types of brick.

The second most common type of brick is the most popular in the 21st century as it has been for hundreds of years – the fired brick. Shaped into a brick and then put into a kiln, these bricks are dried using fire which solidifies their shape and makes them a sturdy, reliable option. The fired brick is used in the construction of many structures, specifically the driveway. In England, most driveways consist of brick. Check out Driveways Nottingham for some excellent ways to get a driveway done in brick.

The third and final most common type of brick that is also a popular choice in the 21st century – brought into existence because of modernity and the industrialization era – are chemically set bricks. These types of blocks, unlike the other two most common ones, are made out of lime instead of clay. Then they go into an autoclave that accelerates the setting process, saving time in the production. This produces a very accurately shaped brick which is desirable now that we have created other ways to provide near-perfectly shaped building materials.

Whether they are building their ultimate home from scratch, renovating an existing one, or adding on a much-needed driveway to their recently purchased house, brick is a fantastically durable material that has proven to last the mile in being one of the most popular building materials to date. When choosing to build or renovate with brick, it’s good to do research and discover just what’s out there when it comes to what kind of blocks can be used. Each of the three most common types has its positives and negatives, which means that upon reading about them and finding out more information they’ll be able to decide exactly which type of brick is going to fit the specified construction criteria. It’s no coincidence that their neighbor’s house or driveway consists of brick, and their neighbors too – it’s a reliable option to go for that will ensure the longest life out of home and driveway.

Trimmers and Edgers Best Practices

Are you having a hard time trying to get stubborn weeds out of your lawn despite using chemicals and putting in some extra work? Perhaps you are using the wrong approach to the whole weed issue. I guess it is time you changes the tool for weed removal. The right tool to consider in such an instance when everything else isn’t working is a string trimmer. These tools are handy for trimming weeds, grass and small bushes.

This machine works by utilizing a nylon thread spinning at very high speeds. The thread is strong enough to cut through even the toughest weeds and shrubs. The machine is light in weight, allowing you to use it for hours on end without feeling tired, a problem you would have experienced when using heavier trimmers. To get the best out of this tool however, you need to follow some best practices.

Have the Right Machine

As with any type of equipment or tool, you are faced with a variety of choices in terms of the brand, size, engine capacity, weight and cost. If you can afford it, opt for a professional trimmer that has a minimum engine capacity of 20cc and a 2-cycle displacement engine. This type handles any residential lawn grass and will still serve you efficiently if you decide to move to a bigger home. You can even contract it out for weekend grass cutting to make some money on the side. Trimmers and Edgers stock a wide variety of these machines and you definitely get what you need from them. Check them out!

Now that you are armed with a heavy-duty, well-manufactured, reliable trimmer, let us look at some of the ways to maximize its usefulness and make it serve you longer.

Read the User Manual

Read the manual that accompanies the machine and understand its operation to the fullest. Don’t dispose of the manual after this; instead keep it in an accessible place that you can refer to at any time. Know the type of gasoline to use and the gas/oil ratio required for smooth operation, the maintenance issues that might arise and how you need to tackle them, etc.

Clean/Change the Spark Plugs and Filter Often

This is one of the easiest things to do to keep this trimmer working perfectly. Make sure you remove the spark plug and clean it regularly. As the fuel burns, the spark plug accumulates carbon deposits that lead to loss of power and poor ignition. When replacing the plug, make sure you buy the right one as indicated in the user manual.

You also need to pay some attention to the filter as well. It is usually a spongy material located in the intake mechanism. This component gets dirty regularly from the fine grass and dirt particles that you produce when trimming. Don’t forget to remove the sponge periodically to clean and oil it as per the directive in the user manual. Re-insert it in the required position properly before use.

Only Use it in Perfect Weather

Make sure you use the trimmer when the weather is ideal. Using this machine in the rain is entirely possible, but it will lead to issues with the trimmer. The trimmer will take in water which can damage some of the delicate parts. Apart from damage to your machine, the trimmer will sling wet weeds and grass on to your concrete pathways and create a hard-to-clean mess.

Proper Storage

When not in use, store the trimmer in a secure place away from the reach of children. If you are storing the trimmer for long, let’s say during the winter months; make sure to drain the fuel from the tank. Long-standing fuel solidifies and will make it hard for the fuel to flow next time you need to use the trimmer.


Using trimmers makes weed management an easy and effortless task for you. However, to make this task much easier, you need to have the right trimmer for the job. Armed with this, you need to master the user manual so that you know some aspects of maintenance and how to perform some tasks. Don’t forget to pay some attention to the spark plug and filter, which can affect the performance of the trimmer. Finally, always store the machine safely for future use.

The Allure of the Log Cabin Home

Log cabin homes are more popular today due to a wide variety of reasons. To say the least, the popularity of these homes has more than doubled over the past few years. And as we speak, there are a lot of people who are dreaming of owning a log cabin soon. Let us look at the key features of these homes, and what you should know about them.

Log homes have advanced from the initial primitive cabin, which means you should take these houses seriously. These cabins come in a wide variety of sizes and designs with many added conveniences as well.

The Advantages

These cabins have the capacity to hold various luxurious features ideal for any family living. They come with skylight windows and heated terraces as well. The houses are also beautiful and durable as well.

You can have the log cabin custom built or buy one that is already finished. They are usually constructed to higher standards than many regular homes. This means you stand to get a better resale value on the home as compared to regular homes. Moreover, these homes are sturdy and built to last longer. The oldest log cabins in the world are more than 700 years old.

Log homes are also ideal for the environment, and if you are a fan of healthy living, then log living should be your forte. They are energy efficient and easy to maintain.

Choosing Your Logs

If you plan to build a custom log home, then you need to have logs. Let us look at what options you have at hand.

Milled Logs

Most log builders use these logs in the current building environment. The major advantage with these logs is they allow precise joinery, which in turn reduces the materials you use and makes for faster joining.

These logs have passed through a logging machine that makes all the logs uniform in diameter and in shape. The resulting shapes can be round, rectangular or square. They are short in length as compared to other types, and therefore, easy to work with and easier to store.

If you desire a specific tree species, you can choose a milled log from a wide variety including pine and cedar.

Hand-hewn Cabin Logs

These are made by hand, just as the name suggests. The delivery time for these logs is much slower than their milled counterparts but is ideal for recreating the feel of a vintage home.

These two are the most common types of logs you can have for building your log cabin home. However, regardless of the type of log you have at your disposal, you must consider the moisture content before putting it to use. The right moisture content can save you thousands of dollars in repair and restoration costs. The optimum moisture content for any log is between 15 and 18 percent. Green logs contain over 19 percent of moisture, which has to be reduced in a kiln or via air-drying.

Once you have the logs, you might have to cut them to size. Using axes is manual and time consuming. Instead, make use of log splitters from Splitting Wood to split them into sizeable pieces fast. You have the option of manual, electric or hydraulic splitters for the task at hand. These tools are also vital when you are performing a restoration and you need smaller pieces of logs for the task.

Safety of Use

If you plan to use the splitter for the whole duration of building a house from scratch, you need one with a strong engine. If you plan to use it commercially, then go for the biggest motor size.

Since these splitters can split any log, make sure you use them sensibly. They can pose a safety risk and be fatal if you don’t use them the right way. Follow the user manual that comes with the splitter for better results.

Final Thoughts

One of the best ways to enjoy your holiday is to have a log cabin to serve as your getaway. This cabin comes with a lot of benefits for you and the family, including a higher resale value. Make sure you choose the right type of wood and use the right tools to build it.