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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The toilet. The john. The loo. The commode. The porcelain throne. No matter what you call it, there's no doubt it's a true technological marvel. Look beyond the commonplace bowl and see what a sophisticated water-handling system your toilet is.

By Marshall Brain

You probably don't give your water heater much thought until your shower goes cold but it's an important appliance in your home. If your water heater's temperature is off, you'll want to learn how it works, including how to turn up your hot water heater.

By Sara Elliott & Talon Homer

Want to know what happens to your clothes after you give them to the dry cleaner? Do they actually stay dry? Take a behind-the-scenes look at the dry-cleaning process.

By Debra Luhring, Nate Marks & Patrick J. Kiger

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A fascinating look inside an electric razor!

By Marshall Brain

For many people, their bathroom scale is an indispensable part of watching their weight and keeping healthy. Learn how your weight – no matter how much or how little – is evenly distributed to provide an accurate measure of your weight.

By Marshall Brain

Microwave ovens are popular because they cook food in an amazingly short amount of time. They are also extremely efficient in their use of electricity because a microwave oven heats only the food -- and nothing else.

By Marshall Brain

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

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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

Ribs, chicken and lots of barbecue sauce. Steaks, burgers, hot dogs and assorted veggies. Summer is prime grilling season. Ever wonder how these treats get so tasty?

By Jeff Tyson

You see fluorescent lighting all over the place -- in offices, homes, stores, dressing rooms. But there's a certain mystery to it. Find out what's going on inside these glowing tubes!

By Tom Harris

The light bulb hasn't changed a whole lot in its 120 years -- the original design was just that good. Apparently, you can throw together a filament, a glass mount, an inert gas and a bit of electricity and change the world. Learn what happens when yo

By Tom Harris

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A regular light switch takes care of off and on. A dimmer switch handles off, on and everything in between. Find out what this clever switch does with electrical current.

By Tom Harris

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

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

Americans spend an estimated $250 million annually on air purifiers for their homes. Asthma and allergy sufferers are responsible for most of these sales. How can you benefit from owning an air purifier?

By Ed Grabianowski

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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

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

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

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Lots of people like the relaxing massage they get from the water jets in a hot tub. But some people prefer a gentler touch. How are air tubs different from whirlpools?

By Dan Fontaine

There's nothing worse than having your AC go on the fritz in the middle of summer. And one of the biggest reasons for air conditioning failure can be easily prevented.

By Patrick J. Kiger

Thermometers are used in everything from medicine to cooking. Find out how thermometers gauge temperature and learn how to make your own!

By Marshall Brain

How can the same device keep hot things hot and cold things cold? Find out what goes on inside a Thermos!

By Marshall Brain

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You probably have at least one light that is controlled by two separate switches -- either switch can turn it on or off. Find out how the light knows what to do with two sources of input.

By Marshall Brain

A washing machine is actually an amazing device once you get inside. Learn about the agitator, the pumps, the controller and much more!

By Karim Nice