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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How Liquid Motion Lamps Work

With bright colors and mesmerizing displays, lava lamps have become a popular icon of pop culture. Watch a quick video and read the article to learn more about the history and science behind these groovy liquid motion lamps.

How does the lighter in a BBQ grill work?

A BBQ lighter uses something called piezoelectricity to generate a nice spark that lights the grill. Learn more about how this lighter works to grill up your favorite foods.

How Toasters Work

Ever wonder how a toaster knows when something is done? Does it pop it up regardless? Does it really care if you pick "Light" or "Medium" or "Dark"?

How Does a GFCI Outlet Work?

In my bathroom there is a plug that has a "Test" and a "Reset" button. When I push the "Test" button, it cuts off the current to the outlet. What is this? How is it different from the fuse in the fuse box?

What is the ideal temperature for a refrigerator?

You know that the purpose of a refrigerator is to slow down the growth of bacteria, but what temperature should you set your refrigerator to so that it slows bacteria, but doesn't hurt food that doesn't freeze well? Find out in this article.

How can I tell if the light in my refrigerator goes off or not when I close the door?

This will sound like a joke, but it's not: How can I tell for sure if the light in my refrigerator goes off or not when I close the door?

How does a frost-free refrigerator work?

If you have an old refrigerator or one of the small dorm refrigerators, you know all about the frost that forms around the coils that cool the freezer. Learn how newer refrigerators keep this frost from forming.

How does a halogen light bulb work?

How do halogen lights work? How are they different from normal light bulbs? Why are they sometimes called "quartz halogen"?

When buying gas appliances, why do you always have to specify whether you are using LPG or natural gas?

Gas appliances are used in homes and business for purposes ranging from bathing to grilling food. But did you know that not all gas appliances use the same kind of gas? Find out the difference between LPG and natural gas appliances in this article.

What is the crystalline substance found in disposable diapers?

When we change our baby's diaper, he often has what we politely refer to as "crystal butt." There are little clear crystals on his bottom. It seems like they come from his diaper. Do you know what these crystals are?

Are fluorescent bulbs really more efficient than normal light bulbs?

You might have heard that fluorescent bulbs are supposed to be more efficient than normal light bulbs, but is this really the case?

How does a candle work?

How do candles work? What keeps the wick burning, seemingly forever, when the same twine would completely burn up in a matter of minutes if it weren't engulfed in wax? Why won't the wax burn without a wick?

Why are my power bills so high? Which appliances use the most power?

Just reading a power bill is a tricky way to determine what appliances are using the most power. Learn what appliances are sucking your pockets dry.

How do sodium-acetate heat pads work?

Heating pads are made of a plastic pouch and a clear liquid. Inside the pouch is a metal disk that when clicked crystallizes the liquid causing it to heat up. Find out how heat pads work.

How can an electric toothbrush recharge its batteries when there are no metal contacts between the toothbrush and the base?

I have an electric toothbrush. Somehow, placing the plastic-handled brushing unit into a plastic holder/recharger will recharge the toothbrush unit. If no metal electrical contact is made, how can this recharge the toothbrush?

What is the difference between a fluorescent light and a neon light?

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a fluorescent light and a neon light? We'll explain both technologies in this article.

How does a time-of-use program with the power company work?

Chances are your power company in your area advertises a "time-of-use" program. But what exactly does this mean and can you really save on your power bill by signing up for this type of service?

How much ice would I have to store up in the winter in order to air condition my house all summer?

We use ice to cool many things from drinks to desserts. But what if ice could cool your home? Take a look at how much would be needed to keep your home comfortable during the dog days of summer.

Why is the back of a refrigerator painted black?

The color of the back part of your refrigerator really has nothing to do with being visually stimulating, so why did the back of your fridge arrive painted black?

Can anyone hear my baby monitor?

I have read that it is possible for people to listen in on baby monitors. Is this true? Can people hear my baby monitor?

How does a fluorescent starter work?

Fluorescent starters are used in several types of fluorescent lights. The starter is there to help the lamp light.

What is the function of the fan in a refrigerator?

You refrigerator is already cold, right? So then, why does it need a fan? Find out in this article.

What causes the loud banging noise in my home's pipes?

What causes the loud banging noise in my home's pipes? For example, when I turn off the faucet I hear it. Is there a way to prevent it?

How much does it cost to run an electric blanket?

We use electricity everyday to run a number of appliances and lights. But how much does it cost per hour to power these things? Find out how much it costs to leave an electric blanket on all day in this article.

How does a water softener work?

Hard water can be a problem because it causes pipes clog and some people just don't like the way it feels. Using a water softener can help solve this problem, but how does it work?


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