Best Bread Maker Options for Your Baking Needs

For homeowners that wish to make their own home made bread, making the decision of acquiring a bread machine is an excellent idea. A bread machine can automatically make home bread effortlessly, all that is required from the user is the correct measurements of ingredients and the proper customization of the program, in order to receive the desired results.

With that said the type of bread machine you will purchase will vary in price from approximately $50-$300, all depending on the type of bread you wish to create. Here are a few things to consider when comparing bread machines.

Loaves created from bread machines contain no added synthetic preservatives like the ones used in commercially available bread and as such, it does not last as very long in comparison. One thing to consider when comparing bread machines is how big of a loaves you need.

The typical bread machine creates loaves ranging from 1-5 pounds. While there are a few machines that cater to one specific size such as 1.5 pounds, which is sufficient for a family of 2-4 people, there’s a wide selection of machines that offer the selection of up to 2-3 sizes.

All bread machines offer some level of programming, while the traditional programming usually only consisted of selecting the option of light or dark crust, kneed dough without baking, etc, with the advent of modern innovations, many manufacturers now offer a deeper level of customization. Some bread machines offer a more sophisticated level of programming that gives the user an option of creating specific types of breads such as: art breads, sweet breads, french breads and many more.

They are able to do this because some bread machines have built in programs that give details of the specific ingredients needed to create your bread of choice, along with a time indicator that signals the best time to add those specific ingredients during the process.

While the traditional bread makers were recognized upon site due to the fact that it created only one specific shape of bread. Modern bread machines can cater to a wide variety of sizes and shapes of loaves, ranging from the commonly known rectangular commercially available loaves, down to more horizontal loaves that’s mostly associated with subway’s infamous 12 inch footlong. Some machines even give the option of creating other things such as pizza dough, cakes and even Jam.

So in a nutshell whenever you’re comparing bread machines, the three main things you need to consider are the shapes of the breads you will need such as vertical or horizontal, the weight of the bread you need and the level of customization you require.

Winterize Your Home: 10 Tips

1. A smart thermostat is worth the money!

Winters can be brutal in the U.S. Last year my husband and I began thinking in earnest about having a smart thermostat installed in our home. We have had our new smart thermostat for three months and we are seeing a sharp decrease in our energy bills.

2. Eliminate drafty areas

The U.S. Department of Energy states that almost 30 percent of energy consumption in homes is due to drafty doors.

Several years ago we took care of our drafty doors by placing draft excluders on the bottom of our inside doors. Draft excluders can be premade or you can make one by taking old towels, rolling them up and placing them against the bottoms of the doors. What a difference they have made!

3. Don’t forget to install storm doors and windows

Living in the northeastern part of the U.S. we get some brutal winters. Several months ago, we had to install a storm door and windows. We couldn’t do the job ourselves, so we hired professionals to do the job. My husband and I are happy that we took this action because it has considerably improved the energy efficiency in our home.

4. Be on the look-out for gaps

I didn’t realize it until my husband mentioned it; but we were losing a lot of heat from the gaps around our door frames and windows. As we checked out the windows and doors, I was amazed at the cold air coming in. Our rooms are much warmer now and our heating bills are less costly.

We have also checked other areas in our home where cold air was coming in. We now follow a rule that many have done for years. We light an incense stick and move it around the wall and windows; areas where there are tiny gaps. If the smoke begins to waver, we find a leak and then seal it up.

5. Insulating is the way to go!

For a home to be comfortable and warm during the winter, it must be properly insulated. We live in a home that is well-insulated but if your home is not properly insulated, place quality insulation between walls and where there are large gaps around the window frames.

6. Don’t forget the pipes

As you winterize your home, keep in mind the pipes. Most importantly, a lot of energy can be wasted with hot water pipes.

You see, if pipes are not insulated, heat will escape. Our water heater is in a location where insulation is not necessary; however, if your water heater is in the basement where it is cold, purchase some pipe foam and install it over your pipes.

7. Cleaning is necessary for optimal performance.

Cleaning is necessary for almost everything in your home, especially your furnace filter. It is important to change your furnace filter often, every three months. My husband checks our filter every two months and we also have a HVAC company that checks our new furnace twice a year. Dirty filters can clog up your heater and make it work harder than it should.

8. Energy use needs to be monitored

You can tell how much energy your home uses with an energy monitor, smart meter or smart plugs. In addition, you can also see how much energy your homes uses with weekly and monthly reports. When our new furnace was installed last September we were given statistics on how much more effective it would be and we see the difference in our monthly bills.

9. Dress for the Season

Many like to wear summer attire during the winter; however, when you do this your thermostat has to be raised in order to feel comfortable and warm. Instead of wearing summer clothes, pull out your sweaters, pull on some thick socks and enjoy the season.

10. A Chimney Balloon is energy saving

Currently, my husband and I don’t have a chimney but when we did and didn’t use it, our home was cold because the chimney pulled heat right out of our home. What we should have done was install a chimney balloon. It could have saved money on heating bills and prevented heat from escaping our room.

How to Build a Shed Easy As Can Be

A cool wooden shed can be a much-needed storage space for any homeowner, or you could use it as an artist studio. These simple instruction will have your wooden storage shed up in no time. The wooden shed we are constructing has a door, fix window along with a stylish apex roof. These instructions could easily be applied to most shed assembly kits.

Before you begin any project, read carefully through the instructions twice then gather all needed tools and materials. Please carefully adhere to all safety precautions with regard to eyewear as well as power tools so you can be safe.

The Shed Kit

The size of shed the homeowner selects shed to be based on their needs and space allotment. They also should consider what all they will store in the shed with regard to space. Please allow ample time for the shed to arrive in case of order error or missing parts.

The Shed Base

This is almost as important as the shed itself because the base provides stability to the shed, and allows water to flow away from the shed bottom. If homeowners skimp on this step then the shed will not last as long. The shed based can be made of either cement pavers, blocks or plastic. The shed base needs to be level to allow the shed to be square and plumb.

The Assembly

Please note you can drill pilot holes to make the process easier, and have a helper to help hold the heavy pieces. If you can’t find a helper, then you can use braces to hold pieces in place.

Step 1. Place the center of the shed floor in the center of the shed base. Then mark the center point of each edge of shed sides. Lift the side shed piece ( without the window ) attach it to the back shed panel. Next, attach the other side shed panel in the same manner. Next, attach the front shed panel, and adjust to make all pieces a good fight.

The Roof Assembly

Step 2. Attach the roof support beam in place, and notice it has a slotted groove to fit in. This is a good point to check that the door opens properly. The L bracket is used to secure them to the beam.

Step 3. The roof panels need the pilot holes drilled according to directions while on the ground, then with nails or screws secure the eases to the panels. Attach the roof panels one at a time while making sure they are secure. The inner support bean should all be square at this point.

Step 4. The finished roof is made of special roofing felt. Roll out the roof felt and cut the felt to the size of the roof panel. Please allow for an overhang of a few inches of felt. Nail down the felt with some overhang at the gables. Attach the side and gable shed panels to the base with screws or nails provided. Repeat on the other shed roof panel.

The Window Installation

Step 5. Attach the roof fascia to the piece that mirrors the roof apex. Secure each corner trim piece. Now, we are going to install the window. Most shed windows just slide into the frame. Expect the hinges to fasten into place once the window is inserted.

Step 6. Attach the windowsill into position for a fixed window design. Nail on the cloaks in order to secure the windowsill. Move to the inside of the shed, and secure the window glazings which further secures the windowsill, then place the beading over the window glazing. Take off the special covering from the window glaze.

The Door Assembly

Step 7. Some builders pre-assemble the doors onto the panels, but other times the door must be attached to the hinges. Put the door in place then attach with screws plus any bolts. Please check to ensure the door is level and plumb before attaching the screws or nails. Next, attach a padlock to keep your items secure.

The Finishing Touches

Step 8. Your shed is complete at this point, or you can seal the woodshed with a quality oil, paint or stain that will protect the wood from the elements for years. You can also install shelves and organizers inside the shed to keep it neat and clean.

In conclusion, the shed easily came together over a few hours with the help of a few friends. Now you can enjoy a spacious storage shed for your tools and or garden supplies. The apex style roof is a nice design feature to keep it interesting. The fixed window allows natural light to shine into your shed. The door has a lag-bolt and pad-lock design for security. These instructions can easily be applied to other basic woodshed assemblies.

Looking for an impact driver for your DIY projects? The most common DIY cordless drill is the basic cordless drill, and a cordless impact driver is like a basic cordless drill with a torque upgrade, it contains a different mechanism to drive the bit, so it can only use bits with a hex shank.

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