Household Appliances

Household appliances and amenities surround you every day, but do you ever wonder how they work? Explore household items and learn how they work.

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Instant messaging is a handy tool, both for fun and for work -- but most of the competing IM services are incompatible. How can one program manage them all?

By Stephanie Crawford

In these modern times, wouldn't you figure that everything that needs to be invented already has been invented? Perhaps. But now people are combining inventions to make an entirely new product.

By Kathy Price-Robinson

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.


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.

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


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

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

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

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

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


Coffee makers, vacuum cleaners, hair dyers -- you probably have one or all of these in your home? Learn about the differences between heating appliances, motor appliances, and combination appliances in this article.

By Editors of Consumer Guide

A home intercommunication system is more than just an easy way to call the family to dinner or to summon someone for a phone call. Learn more, including how to install one in your home.

By Dan Ramsey

Is the water in your home not getting hot? Chances are the pilot light on your hot water heater has gone out. Find out how the pilot light in your furnace or water heater works.

By Marshall Brain

When the floor needs a good cleaning, most of us reach for the portable vacuum cleaner and drag it around the house. Well, what if your whole house were a vacuum? Find out how central vacuum systems work.

By Allison Klein


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

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

The sewing machine took a time-consuming, laborious task and made it super fast and easy. Find out what goes on inside this ingenious device (and check out the high-tech upgrades!).

By Tom Harris

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


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

Electric vacuum cleaners have been helping us keep our homes clean for over a century. There's a lot going on inside these devices -- learn how they suck up the dirt (and whatever else finds its way onto your floor).

By Tom Harris