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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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

You may not have given it much thought, but your hair dryer is specially designed to prevent bad things from happening to you and your head. Why is it that your hair dryer doesn't get too hot to hold? And how does it avoid burning your scalp?

By Jessika Toothman & Ann Meeker-O'Connell

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.

By Tom Harris

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

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.

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?

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

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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?

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.

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.

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

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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?

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.

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

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

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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?

We use electricity everyday to run a number of appliances and lights. So how much does it cost per hour to power something like an electric blanket?

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?

By Nathan Chandler

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

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

By Marshall Brain

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

You probably don't give it much thought until the shower goes cold, but water heaters are part of our daily lives. Find out how these ever-important appliances produce hot water -- and what may be wrong if they don't.

By Marshall Brain & Sara Elliott