Home Appliances

Home appliances make life easier, but what's really going on inside them? HowStuffWorks Home Appliances articles take a look inside common household appliances.

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If you unplug any appliance in your house, there's a 98 percent chance than the two flat prongs have holes in them. Find out the reasons for these holes.

If you don't have a low-flow toilet, you're flushing away more than just your bodily waste. You're flushing away your money. How can a low-flow toilet save you a few bucks?

By Barbara Boughton

In today's economy, with rising fuel prices and dwindling resources, homeowners are looking for ways to save money wherever they can. And some are taking a lesson from the 1970s and turning to solar power to heat their homes.

By Heather Kolich


Humidity is bad enough when it's outdoors. When it seeps into your home, that moisture-filled air can make you uncomfortable or even ill, as well as cause damage to your home. How can a dehumidifier prevent this?

By Nina Holmberg

A three-way bulb has two filaments, which allows the light to be turned on at different light levels. Learn about a three-way bulb.

Solar panels sit atop buildings, homes and tents, and power any number of gadgets and appliances -- including refrigerators. But can the sun still power a fridge without the panels?

By Julia Layton

Your refrigerator keeps your milk cold, your veggies crisp and your leftovers ready to see a new day. Why would someone want to unplug that boxy center of the kitchen?

By Julia Layton


About 17 percent of a home's energy usage stems from its water heater. Hybrid water heaters could save the average family hundreds -- possibly even thousands -- each year.

By Sarah Siddons

Everyone loves a fire. But the chopping and storing and constant stoking of firewood can be a drag. Now there's an alternative that's not only more convenient, but also cost-effective and environmentally friendly: the wood pellet stove.

By Emilie Sennebogen

For busy families, every minute in the kitchen counts. But for some chefs, it's less about how long it takes to cook and more about how long it takes to clean. That's where nonstick cookware comes in.

By Jessica Brown

For a time, toilets were called necessaries, one in a long line of euphemisms used to describe the business end of handling a simple biological process. And now it's necessary to do what we can to conserve water. Enter the dual flush toilet.

By Sara Elliott


In a pinch, you could probably do without most of the appliances in your home -- but would you want to? Life would certainly be different without these 10.

By Sara Elliott

A levitating lounger, a toilet seat that rises to greet you, a fold-out balcony. Some of these household gadgets are useful, and some are absolute fluff. Which ones are the wackiest?

By Jennifer Pocock

Steam is a powerful cleaning agent. It sterilizes without detergent and can effectively detach dried-on muck from plates and cups. But do steam dishwashers live up to their hype?

By Jane McGrath

We know which is greener when it comes to gas and electric cars. But which is greener when it comes to stoves: gas or electric? There's more than one way to save energy when you cook.

By Cristen Conger


Burned chunks or gooey paste can be the disappointing result of rice gone wrong, but a rice cooker can even the odds for even the klutziest cooks in the kitchen.

By Jessika Toothman

We've all heard of a potty break, but have you ever heard of a potty breaking the bank? What's the most expensive toilet in the world made of?

By Josh Clark

Your water heater's just bought the farm, and now you're in the market for a new one. Where to start? From fuel source to size, here's what you need to know.

By Charles W. Bryant

The green movement is bringing tankless water heaters to the forefront of the appliance market. They last longer, don't take up much space and give you as much hot water as you want. Is there a catch?

By Charles W. Bryant


It's either too cold or too hot in your house. So, you turn a dial, press a button or move a lever -- do you know what happens after that? Look inside a home thermostat and see how it controls your indoor climate.

By Karim Nice, Patrick Brothers & Emilie Sennebogen

The garbage disposal is often overlooked until it breaks down or starts to smell. Find out how to clean, fix and buy a garbage disposal with the help of this article.

Make your kitchen feel like new with our instructions on sharpening knives and scissors; fixing china, porcelain, and glass; making a polish for brass, silver, and copper; and making new potholders out of old towels.

By Editors of Consumer Guide

Give your home lighting a stylish and inexpensive update with these easy instructions for making a table lamp, building a stovepipe lamp, or covering a lamp shade for a brand new look.

By Editors of Consumer Guide


Aside from burning cleaner, gas furnaces have the advantage of being relatively easy to maintain. Most problems will involve the pilot light or thermocouple. Learn how to repair your gas furnace.

By Fix-It Club

Without the refrigerator, you'd be salting your meat, tossing leftovers and drinking everything warm. Examine the inner workings of this food-preservation icon.

By Marshall Brain & Sara Elliott