Today, our household machines are our servants. They have given back valuable time-and improved results.
Small appliances add gilt to the gingered but the appliances described here are the ones worth saving up for, buying on hire-purchase or begging relatives for Christmas and birthday contributions towards them.
The Big Buys
Cookers are obviously essential and range from the very basic to computerized complex. Don't be seduced into believing you need a model with expensive extras unless you are sure you will use them. If you are a novice cook or hard up, consider buying secondhand; otherwise look round electricity and gas showrooms and department stores. If you are installing a fitted kitchen you will find that the installer presses you earnestly to buy a particular make which is tied in with his units. If it's not what you want, resist and say that you will supply your own model-even if you do lose an alleged discount.
Basically cookers come free-standing come free-standing or spilt level. Free-standing cookers have hob, grill and oven in one unit while spilt level separates hob from oven and grill. You can also buy built-under ovens incorporating grills which are sited below separate hobs and slip-in cookers which can be fitted into runs of units or across corners, giving greater flexibility in kitchen design. One advantage of separate hob and oven is that you can mix fuels, although the newer slip-in cookers are available with one part gas and the other electric.
Fridges and Freezers
Fridges and Freezers should be chosen with size in mind. If you shop infrequently buy big on both; if you shop fairly often but cook in bulk, freeze food from your garden, or buying in bulk, buy a small fridge and larger freezer; if you just need a few emergency supplies at hand buy a large fridge and a small freezer. Whether you choose separate appliances or a fridge/freezer is a matter of personal choice and space availability. In general fridges and freezers are reliable machines which don't break down often and have a long life, so choose with long-term use in mind., perhaps larger than you need.
Laundry Machines save time-consuming trips to launderettes and mean you can wash and dry clothes and household lines to suit the fabrics they are made from. Washing machines may be automatic or twin-tub. need you to stand over them to adjust temperature and timing of washing. They are however cheaper to run. Automatics can be built in often-with a decor panel to match units-but twin-tubs cannot. When choosing look for choice of wash and spin programmers, for controls that are easy to use.
Spin driers aren't necessary if you have a washing machine with a choice of spin speed the highest being 800 rpm or more. But they are boon if you can't afford or don't have space for a washing machine. Tumble driers are expensive to line, but they do get things completely or ironing level dry-a real advantage if you don't have access to a drying line or have great deal of washing nappies, towels) that takes a long time to dry. Most tumble driers can be stacked on top of washing machines of three same make if you buy a special stacking kit. Washer/drier machines are also available and combine both functions in one dry simultaneously (possibly a problem with large families) but does give you two machines which fit into the space of one.
Dishwashers are often thought of as a luxury. But the large amounts of crockery, cutlery and cookware with which they cope and clean result they produce cost virtually the same as washing up by hand. The outside dimensions of dishwashers vary little from make to make but there is often a great deal to make, but there is often a great deal of difference in their capacities. usually expressed as the number of place setting they can hold-10,12 or sometimes 14place services. Consider which machines will best suit the demands you will make on it and look for one where you can rearrange or remove the inner baskets to cope with large pots and pans. If you have an open-plan kitchen or often eat in the kitchen try to find a particularly quiet-running machine, as some are surprisingly noisy.
Fortunately modern cleaning aids have transformed housework from the time-consuming chore it used to be. Nowadays it should be possible to keep surfaces free of dust and dirt without too much effort.
Unless you have no soft floor covering at all you will need a vacuum cleaner. There are two main types, upright and cylinder. Upright cleaners work better on carpeted areas because they incorporate a beater bar which raises the dirt to allow it to be sucked up easily. They are less convenient than cylinder cleaners for use on stairs and under furniture. A large upright model will cover big areas more quickly and easily than a cylinder type, but may be very heavy to lift-especially up several flights of stairs. Look for such features as pile adjustment-which means you can move the beater bar up or down to cope efficiently with all types of carpet from sage pile to cord. A light on the front is useful too for picking out bits of fluff under pieces of furniture.
A cylinder vacuum cleaner is lighter and more maneuverable on stairs. It is also more effective than an upright model on hard floor surfaces such as wood or vinyl. Most models have suction control and have more powerful attachments than uprights.Wet and dry vacuum cleaners are intended for use both inside and outside the home and are particularly useful for picking up leaves on patios, wood shavings from garage floors and so on. They are really best kept for outdoor work only as they do not perform very well indoors.
Make full use of the attachments which come with a vacuum cleaner. All dirt picked up through them goes straight into the bag and is not merely shifted-as with a duster-from one surface to another. Vacuum cleaner can be used to collect dust from solid and upholstered furniture, curtains picture rails skirting boards and virtually all household surfaces.