Read these 6 Kitchen Accessories Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Fixtures tips and hundreds of other topics.
Hot-water dispensers are just what the doctor ordered for expediting, not to mention speeding up, all kinds of kitchen tasks: You'll have instant hot water for any and all tasks and/or occasions from instant soups and cereals to baby bottle warming and stain removal. At $400 and up, high-end models can be pricey, but you can get perfectly adequate dispensers for around $100. On the decor side, you will be able to find a dispenser look that goes with your sink. Hot water dispensers come in the most common kitchen colors and finishes: white, black, almond, chrome, and brass. Spout styles range from standard, streamlined faucets to goose-neck. Some units feature a twist grip that releases water with a quarter turn. Other common "turn-ons" include a lever release, top button, or combinations of L-spout and lever handle.
An automatic soap dispenser is a great way to clear up the clutter around your sink and always have soap on hand! These babies come in both plastic and metal varieties, so be sure to follow the first rule of do-it-yourselfing: Read the directions.
Few things are more fun than spending a leisurely afternoon or three installing your new garbage disposal. Here are ten easy steps you should follow to get that pig up and running. Using large channel lock pliers or a pipe wrench, unscrew the nut that holds the drainpipe (tailpiece) to the sink drain. Loosen the compression slip nut that holds the tailpiece in the trap. You should be able to remove the tailpiece now. Your next task is to take out your sinks strainer. Find the large nut underneath that holds the strainer to the sink itself. Unscrew it. The strainer should pop out easily. Clean away the old plumber's putty around the hole where the basket once resided. 3. Now you're ready to put a bead of plumber's putty around the drain opening. About a ¼” thick. Take a ball of putty and roll it into a snake (like in kindergarten). Then place the strainer body flange into the drain opening and press it into place. Go now to the underside of the sink. You will see a fiber gasket and ring. With one hand slide them onto the sleeve and hold in place. With your other hand, slip on the mounting ring and snap ring. Tighten the three mounting screws (with either hand). Tighten each screw a little at a time until you see that the mounting assembly is tight against the bottom of the sink all the way around.
Now you're ready for the electrical portion of our show. You need to hook up the electrical wiring. By law, in most states, an electrician should do this. But if you insist on being an outlaw do-it-yourselfer, make sure you shut off your circuit breakers. (If you don't know what a circuit breaker is, stop reading this and call an electrician.) Place the disposer on its side under the sink so you can make the electrical connections. Once again, make sure your circuit breaker is off.
You'll see a plate on the bottom of the disposer. Remove it. You should see wires. Using the twist-on wire nuts supplied with your disposal, connect the white wire from your disposal unit with the white wire from the power supply. Do the same with the black wires. Hook up the ground wire from the supply to the ground on your disposal. Put the cover plate back on. If you have a dishwasher, take a close look at your disposal. Do you see a little stub sticking out? That's where you hook up your dishwasher drain hose. Before you can attach it, you'll have to knock out a little plug inside that stub with a hammer and screwdriver while the disposer is lying on its side. Now you are ready to mount the disposal onto the sink. You'll see three mounting “ears.” Line them up on the sink mounting assembly. Holding the disposal steady, turn the lower mounting ring until you get all three mounting ears locked into the mounting assembly. Take the discharge tube and install it with its gasket to the hole on the side of the disposal. Turn the disposal until the discharge tube lines up with the trap. You can cut the tube if it is too long. If it's too short, you'll have to buy an extension tube. Connect the dishwasher tube to the stub on the disposal. Use the special tool that came with your disposal to lock it into the sink mounting assembly. Test the disposal for leaks, switch your circuit breakers back on, flip the switch on your pig to see how it runs.
The kitchen garbage disposal is not known as "the pig" for nothing. They live to grind up leftovers and other food waste so that it can makes a one-way, non-stop trip into your sewage or septic system. When you add a disposal, you need to make sure that your sink has a standard full-size drain opening. New disposal units need to be hard-wired to a dedicated circuit from the breaker panel, if possible. You can hook into to an existing circuit close by, but you need to double check to see that the circuit can handle the load. When in doubt, call an electrician. Many manufacturers sell an optional power kit that allows you to plug the disposal into an outlet. Garbage disposal systems come with different horsepower capabilities (1/4hp, 1/3hp, 1/2hp), reversing capability, and warranty terms. If you have a septic system, you'll need to get a special type of disposer that is compatible with your situation.
If you don't have time for the pain of wiping away finger marks on your appliances, you're going to want to choose your appliance finishes wisely. Stay away from colors that are too light or too dark. White appliances and accessories need constant attention. To avoid marks and blemishes on your white furnishings, you will have to wash them constantly. Like a movie screen, white makes spills and shmutz stand out. Dark backgrounds make dust more visible. Just look at your dining room table with a dark wood finish. Seems like you have to dust it every five minutes. That's because the dust reflects the light bouncing off the table's dark surface. Stainless steel comes with its own set of problems. If you are into stainless steel and don't want to see the dirty parts that clearly, go with a brushed or matte finish. They can hide a good deal of the unpleasantness. The shiny mirror finishes are, on the other hand, brutally honest. They will show every smudge, fingerprint, grease speck down to the molecular level, practically. Mirror-finishes just don't care.
Hot and cold water dispensers go together like ebony and ivory -- well sort of. They work in perfect harmony, at least. While they all do the same thing, models differ as to how water is dispensed. Some dispense hot and cold water through one spigot. The cold water can be hooked up to a chiller. Alternatively, both supplies can be hooked up to a water treatment system. This set up eliminates the need for having a separate purified cold water spout at the sink. If your sink does not have a mounting hole for a new faucet, you can replace a purifier spout with one of these and enjoy the best of both worlds.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|