How to Pick the Perfect Electric Tea Kettle

Electric Kettle

With a little homework, you can find the pot that fits your family’s needs.

All electric teakettles are not created equal. They come in a myriad of shapes and sizes, have varying degrees of wattage, and can contain various safety features. Don’t get intimidated though! Picking the right electric tea kettle is hardly a chore, and may just become one of your most used and beloved kitchen appliances.

Here’s how to make sense of all the different features when choosing an electric tea kettle.
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4 Common Freezer Types and Their Benefits

Freezers have become a household necessity since they were first introduced to consumers in the late 1940s. Not only do freezers have the ability to keep foods from developing bacteria or mold and from rotting, but they allow consumers to buy items in bulk so that they can shop less frequently.

Freezers are also the perfect solution for keeping ice cream and other favorite treats frozen and on hand. While there are thousands of makes and models of different kinds of freezers, they can all be separated into the following four basic styles, each with its own unique advantages. Let’s take a closer look at each type of freezer.
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Top 10 Uses for a Portable Air Conditioner

EdgeStar Portable Air Conditioner (AP12001S)

Modern portable air conditioner units are quickly gaining popularity as a solution to unique air conditioning challenges. From tight rooms with limited window access to older construction that lacks ductwork, portable A/C units can accommodate spaces that window air conditioners can’t.

Additionally, many portable A/C units can be fitted with specialized filters that can reduce the presence of airborne particles like allergens, bacteria, and irritating chemical odors, allowing you enjoy cooler temperatures while simultaneously improving your indoor air quality.

Let’s take a closer look at these A/C units and all the possible uses you might not have thought of.

1. Irregular & Non-Standard Window Openings

While window air conditioners can often be installed fairly easily, they typically do best in windows with standard measurements. Portable air conditioning units can be used in combination with windows of any size, and can even be adapted to use a ceiling or other alternate vent.

In addition to being easily adapted to just about any type of room or window configuration, portable A/C units won’t block valuable sill space and natural light as conventional window units often do.
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Dehumidifier Maintenance Tips: How to Clean, Maintain & Troubleshoot Your Unit

Owning a dehumidifier can be extremely beneficial for a homeowner in a number of ways. The main purpose of the dehumidifier is to remove the excess moisture in the air, thereby reducing the humidity in the room in which it is located. Removing the excess moisture in the air helps to prevent mold and mildew buildup, and it may also help in controlling allergies, asthma, and other health issues that relate to respiration.

Dehumidifier

Additionally, having a dehumidifier in your home also makes a room more comfortable and free from any musty smells that may arise, particularly during seasons that have high humidity.

Given all of the benefits that a dehumidifier is able to bring, it is important to understand how to clean and troubleshoot your unit, as well as these basic dehumidifier maintenance tips that can help in generating a deeper understanding of how you can keep your unit working smoothly for years to come.

Keeping Your Dehumidifier Clean

It should be obvious that it is important to keep any appliance clean in order to ensure its proper and continued function. Dehumidifiers are no different, and the water collection tank, air intake, and exhaust grilles should all be cleaned on a regular basis. The water tank should be emptied frequently, and cleaning only requires the use of a disinfectant or the simple use of soap and warm water. If the tank is left unclean, mold and mildew may develop, dispersing through the dehumidifier and into the air.

In addition to cleaning the water collection tank, both the air intake and exhaust grilles should be vacuumed at least once every season. The buildup of dust and debris can impact how efficiently your dehumidifier is able to run, and blockages may result in damage and deterioration.
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Why You Should Use a Filter in Your Ice Machine

Having an ice maker is extremely convenient. Gone are the days when you need to remember to pull out, fill, put back that ice tray in the freezer, and wait for the cubes to freeze. Any time that you want ice, you just need to go to your ice maker, pull out the bin, and put the ice in whatever container you want. Depending on whether or not you have a filter in your machine, you may notice the ice changing over time.

Clear Ice Cubes

Filters are not required for our ice makers, but we think they provide some clear benefits:

  • Improving ice quality
  • Reducing maintenance and repair needs
  • Assisting in better ice production

Although a filter may be an extra cost to consider for your ice maker, by examining the benefits, you might find it to be a good idea for you and your machine.

Improves Quality by Removing Contaminants

Many ice machines will produce great ice at first, with or without a filter. Without a filter, you might notice that your ice slowly changes. It may become cloudy and somewhat soft. In some cases, the ice may have a faint odor or undesirable taste. Although you may not be able to see it, these problems are often caused by contaminants getting into your ice.
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Introducing SMEG Retro Refrigerators

blue smeg retro refrigerator red smeg retro refrigerator pink smeg retro refrigerator

A recent addition to our line of kitchen appliances is SMEG, an Italian manufacturer that has been in the household appliance business since 1948. The brand is best known for their line of retro style refrigerators which we currently have available in ten eye popping colors (pictured are:  pastel blue, red, and pink).  Here at Living Direct, we are always looking for products that offer the maximum functionality for smaller spaces. SMEG retro refrigerators fit the ticket offering adjustable shelving, a wire bottle rack, a smaller energy footprint than regular sized refrigerators, and a clean minimalist design that works great in smaller apartments or homes.  Truly a statement piece, SMEG refrigerators are sure to liven up your kitchen by adding some retro pizazz with a burst of color.

Great Products for Outdoor Summer Fun

This time of year here in Austin, and I’m sure across the country, most people want to be outside – in the evening anyways. The heat can get pretty unbearable during the day in many places, but it’s the perfect time to throw an evening cook out. Families and friends can gather outside for barbeques and other outdoor fun. That’s why I’ve put together a list of products to help your outdoor get-together go off without a hitch!

1. Patio Sets

Royal Teak 5 Piece Patio Set

Everyone will enjoy hanging out and chatting with each other in your beautiful patio set. The Royal Teak Collection 5 piece patio set encourages your guests to take a seat and stay for a while.

2. Grills

Bayou Classic Grill

Your hungry friends and family will love you for cooking them up a tasty meal in this Bayou Classic smoker grill.

3. Frozen Drink Maker

Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker

Long, hot summer days will have you looking for relief. Cool off with a fun and delicious frozen drink! With this Margaritaville frozen concoction maker you can make an assortment of refreshing, cold drinks.

 4. Outdoor Lighting

Real Flame Fire Column

Your party can go late into the night with the right lighting.  Lighting can create such a welcoming and beautiful environment.  This Real Flame Modesto fire column is sure to give your backyard a touch of flare!

5. Outdoor Electronics

Sunbrite Outdoor TV

What better way to entertain your guests than with an outdoor television!  You can enjoy being outdoors while still watching your favorite sports or TV shows.  This SunBrite 32″ all-weather outdoor LCD TV is a durable high definition television with aluminum casing designed for outside use.

 

Whether you’re hanging out with your family or entertaining friends, these items are sure to be winners.  Make your outdoor space into the welcoming oasis you’ve always wanted it to be.  And be sure to invite me over once you do!

Father’s Day Sale & Gift Ideas

Father's Day Banner

Just say NO to ties! Whether your dad uses the backyard to house his grill or his garden, keeps wine or beer in stock, we have the perfect gift to make his Father’s Day extra special – and none of them can be worn around his neck (at least not comfortably). Plus, we are currently offering an extra 5% off most products that are already discounted 20% off! Break the tie tradition and get on Dad’s good side with any of these choices:

For the Beer Enthusiast:

Krups Beertender Mini Kegerator   Nostalgia Electrics Kegerator   EdgeStar Dual Tap Kegerator   28 Quart Jockey Box

from left to right: Krups Beertender Mini Kegerator ($141.55*), Nostalgia Electrics Kegerator ($399.99), EdgeStar Stainless Steel Double Tap Kegerator ($616.55), 28 Quart 2 Faucet Red Jockey Box ($398.05)

For the Wine Lover:

Summit Countertop Wine Chiller   EdgeStar 26 bottle Wine Cooler   Koldfront 4 Bottle Wine Cooler   EdgeStar 155 Bottle Wine Cooler

from left to right: Summit 8 Bottle Countertop Wine Chiller ($341.24), EdgeStar 26 Bottle Dual Zone Wine Cooler ($699), Koldfront 4 Bottle Wine Cooler ($94.99), EdgeStar 155 Bottle Dual Zone Wine Cooler ($1499.99)

For the Grill Master:

 Outdoor Greatroom Company Portable Gas Grill   Minden Master Gas Grill   Napoleon Mirage Grill   Grill Dome Infinity Series Kamado Grill

from left to right: Outdoor Greatroom Company 20″ Portable Gas Grill ($219), Minden Master Gas Grill ($479), Napoleon Mirage Grill w/Infrared Rear & Side Burner ($1899), Grill Dome Infinity Series Kamado Grill ($799.95)

For the Gardener:

Exaco ECO Square Rain Barrel   Brill Razorcut Push Reel Lawn Mower   Good Ideas Compost Wizard Standing Bin   Exaco 39 sq ft Green House

from left to right: Exaco ECO 70 Gallon Rain Barrel ($208.99), Brill Razor Push Reel Mower ($239.99), Good Ideas Compost Wizard Standing Bin ($128.25), Exaco 39 sq ft Green House ($427.49)

*NOTE: All prices are valid as of 6/14/12, but are subject to change.

What are you getting Dad this Father’s Day?

Top Commercial Products: EdgeStar Mini Fridge Freezer

EdgeStar Compact Fridge Freezer

We have exciting news about our compact refrigerator / freezer! The restaurant corporation, OSI, that owns Outback, Carrabbas, Bone Fish Grill and Flemmings is currently testing our compact refrigerator in the Houston, TX, market. So far, the results are overwhelmingly positive!

OSI has developed a new frozen cocktail that is being introduced in their Carrabbas stores. They have chosen the sleek, compact look of our CRF150SS as the storage unit for this new drink. Over the next month, we will be rolling out our unit to the national chain of Carrabbas. This is sure to be followed by Outback, Bone Fish Grill and Flemmings. So if you are at one of these fine, popular restaurants, be sure to order one of their new cocktails and take a look behind the bar – chances are you’ll see the EdgeStar CRF150SS keeping the libations frozen!

Is it Better to Make Baby Food from Scratch?

Baby Brezza Baby Food Maker

With celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian, Tori Spelling and others touting the benefits of making their own baby food, baby food makers are creating a huge buzz in the press lately. Most fads surrounding the Hollywood scene don’t have staying power, but this time they are definitely onto something.

Making your own baby food is great for your baby, because it allows you to know exactly what your little one is eating. You can maximize the nutrition count while avoiding the preservatives, additives and other potentially detrimental ingredients. In fact, the benefits of making your own baby food span beyond just health. In doing so, you are eliminating the use of all of the packaging, which ultimately reduces your family’s environmental footprint. And, possibly the best benefit of making your own baby food, you will end up with extra cash in your pocket! Recent studies show that you can save 50% or more on your baby food costs if you make it yourself at home.

The Baby Brezza baby food maker is an all-in-one solution, perfect for busy moms. Simply add your ingredients in the bowl, set your steam time and let the baby food make take care of the rest! The simple automated process steams and blends the food for you. Worried about creating a mess? Don’t be. Both the bowl and blade are dishwasher safe. Furthermore, the BPA and phthalate-free construction ensures that this product is safe for your kids.

Here is a great recipe from Baby Brezza for children 6 months & up:

Homemade Baby Food Recipe: Sweet Potato & Banana Puree

Ingredients

1 Medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice (2 cups, 10 ounces)
1/2 Small banana, peeled and sliced (1/3 cup, 1-1/2 ounces)
Optional: cinnamon or nutmeg to taste

Directions

1. Steam sweet potato for 20 minutes
2. Add banana and puree to smooth
3. Remove from bowl and add water, breast milk or formula to desired consistency
4. Optional: Stir in cinnamon or nutmeg to taste

Yields: 13 oz.