Monthly Archives: August 2014

Dirty water in your dishwasher after the cycle? Clean out your air gap

When’s the last time you cleaned out your dishwasher’s air drain gap? Check out this blog post by and see how she checked and cleaned out her dishwasher’s air drain gap when she discovered dirty standing water at the end of her dishwasher’s cycle. Check out the photo of the gunk she found inside her drain gap!

Dishwashers and air drain gaps

What’s an air drain gap?

The air gap is a cylinder looking item on your countertop above the sink. An air gaps helps prevent drain water from the sink from backing up into your dishwasher and contaminating your clean dishes.

Signs of a clogged air gap or garbage disposal hose include:

  • water coming out of vent holes in the air gap and spilling on to the counter when you run your dishwasher
  • white crusty residue on, or leaking from, the air gap

It’s important to note that you might not have an air gap as part of your dishwasher’s installation, but in case you do, here’s how to fix it following these tips from Greg Chick of Ramona’s Plumber.

First, remove the metal outer cover and inner plastic cover (unscrew or unsnap) to expose the drain gap.

  1. Cover the air gap opening with an empty paper towel tube and blow into the other end of the roll from above. Sometimes the force of your own breath can free any clogged food particles blocking up the gap.
  2. Use a bottle brush to clean out any fat or deposit build ups inside the pipe (see video)
  3. Use a wet-dry vacuum to suction out the air gap. First, run hot water down the sink drain. Place your wet-dry vacuum hose over the air gap opening and turn on for 30 – 40 seconds. The hot water will help dislodge any clogs.


Note: not all dishwashers have air drain gaps as part of their installation, so this may not apply to your appliance.

If you are still getting water coming out of your air gap, check your dishwasher drain hose and the hose running to the garbage disposal. Look for kinks or clogs in these hoses.

For fast-shipping dishwasher parts and garbage disposal parts, visit

Why does my washing machine smell?

Bad smells of mildew and mold is a common problem in front-loading high-efficiency washing machines. This is because these types of washers use less water by design and therefor, require less detergent as well. However, too many people use too much detergent and that excess detergent (along with dirt and moisture from washing) gets left behind on the gasket seal of the washer. Bacteria and spores soon start growing in the moist, damp environment, leaving to bad smells.

Open washing machine with colorful laundry spilling out

To get rid of this, Continue reading

Simply Delicious Crostini

Instead of throwing away stale bread, take some leftover toppings and make crostinis! Great snack and a great way to use up left over cheese, herbs and other toppings.

lards and epinards

Leslie Camera 549

Sometimes I find myself surrounded by remnants of meals past; some mozzarella and basil from that lasagne I made, some tomatoes from that sauce I cooked, some bread from me eating that loaf of bread… you get the picture. I hate throwing out food since it’s wasteful and not cost effective, but it can be hard to concoct a meal out of leftovers. How are you supposed to find a recipe that uses everything you have laying around your kitchen? Often, you can’t, but if you only have to run out and  buy one new thing in order to make a recipe that involves most of your leftovers, why not?

I came up with this crostini recipe when I saw that an old loaf of Italian bread was about to be thrown out. I looked around and saw that we had some tomatoes, which we normally keep in the house…

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Refrigerator not cooling? 5 things to check to fix it yourself

Is your refrigerator is not cooling ? Before you call the repairman, here are a few simple things to check first.

First, make sure your appliance is getting power. Does the light come on in your fridge when you open it?

Next, check your freezer. Is your freezer still cold? If so, make sure the vents on the back of your freezer are not blocked. Cold air is made in your freezer and circulated into your refrigerators via this vent. If the vent is blocked by packages of frozen foods, then it might by why your refrigerator is warmer than normal.

Also, if you notice your freezer’s back panel has a layer of frost, this could be a sign of a defrost issue. Frost build-up is a sign that the coils behind the back panel of your freezer are not defrosting. This could be due to a bad defrost timer, heater or defrost thermostat.

Refrigerator/Freezer Thermometer inside Refrigerator next to fruit

Is your refrigerator is not cooling ? Before you call the repairman, here are a few simple things to check first.

Next, check your refrigerator condensor  coils (be sure to unplug your refrigerator first!) to make sure they are not dirty or covered in pet hair.  If it’s been a while since your cleaned your refrigerator coils (or never) and if you have pets, you could have a whole bunch of dust and pet hair covering your refrigerator’s coils preventing it from dissipating heat.

After cleaning your coils with a refrigerator coil cleaning brush, plug your fridge back in and see if it cooling. You might want to buy a refrigerator thermometer to make note of the temperature inside your fridge. The temperature inside your refrigerator should be between 34 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit (optimum 37 degrees Fahrenheit).

Check the temperature controls and settings on your refrigerator. Make sure they are set properly in case they were changed accidentally.

Check the gasket or seal around your refrigerator. If it is loose, cracked or sagging, then cold air is escaping from your fridge. Other signs that your door gasket is the problem include:

  • sweating or condensation inside your fridge
  • ice forming on the freezer walls
  • temperatures inside refrigerator is warmer than normal

To test the seal on your refrigerator, take a dollar bill and close it in the door of your refrigerator or freezer. Pull on the dollar and see if you can feel any tension or grip. Tension or grip indicates a tight seal. Do this test along different parts of the door. If the seal is not tight, then this could mean either you need a new gasket or the door needs adjustment.

If none of the above suggestions are the reason for your refrigerator not getting cold, then there could be a number of other issues going on with your appliance, including problems with the compressor, temperature control thermostat, main control board, evaporator fan or condensor fan.

For more refrigerator parts, or to find a part for your appliance, visit

Save more on National Thrift Shop Day, Sunday, August 17

Get ready to pop some tags, National Thrift Shop Day is Sunday, August 17 and to celebrate, some second-hand stores will be holding sales and specials on or around that date.  Check with your local second-hand shops to see if they will be offering any extra savings or specials during or around this day.

Shopping second-hand is not only a great way to save money and recycle, but is a popular way to express your own style. Young, hip and trendy shoppers love the thrill of the hunt and scouring stores to discover unique vintage décor shoes, jewelry and similar merchandise that you can’t find anywhere else. Tons of blogs out there are dedicated to be being fashionable via second hand stores and stores like Buffalo Exchange and Savers have a devoted following.

If you are in New York City, members of ReuseNYC will all be holding special sales to celebrate Thrift Store Day on Friday, August 15 with store-wide sales across all five boroughs. Organizations that run second-hand stores such as the Goodwill and Salvation Army will be participating along with other organizations such as HousingWorks and Recycle-a-Bicycle. To see the specials and a list of participating stores, along with a map, visit

Of course, second hand stores sell more than clothing; stores like Habitat for Humanity ReStores sell new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials, and appliances. Find a ReStore near you.

Get inspired by second-hand fashion:

Find a thrift store:


Tips for getting the most out of second-hand and thrift shopping

  • Go there often and be flexible in what you are looking to buy. Stock changes all the time and you will have better odds of scoring a great find the more you go and the broader your search.
  • Shop later in the week and avoid weekends and holidays, when the stores are more crowded and picked over. You can also call and ask what day of the week new inventory arrives.
  • Thrift stores have discount days too. Find out via online or ask at your local store.
  • Shop off-season. Buy winter items in the summer and vice versa.
  • Bring cash and consider your purchases carefully as most stores have an “all sales are final” policy.
  • Come dressed to shop. Some stores do not have fitting rooms, so dress in a way that you can easily try on items over your clothing.
  • Bring a bag in order to carry home your new purchases. If you are purchasing furniture or larger items, make sure you have rope or any other materials you need in order to transport your new purchase home.
  • If you are buying electronic items or baby items, check the Recall Finder from to make sure the product was not recalled due to safety reasons. You can search by product description or browse by category on their website.


Certified bear-resistant cooler for outdoor enthusiasts

Ideal for the hunter, fisherman, or general outdoor enthusiast, the Deep Blue Cooler by Engel can keep ice, drinks and food cool for days and also allow for plenty of abuse without breaking, warping or bending.


Engel Deep Blue 25 quart white cooler

This high-end performance ice cooler, available in 25, 65 and 80 quart volumes, features two-inch polyurethane insulation on the top, sides and bottom with a silicone food-grade gasket which keeps ice eight to ten days. The re-enforced I-beam lid allows for sitting and standing without warping.

For the fisherman and boater, the no-skid lid and feet allow for secure positioning and the chest’s built-in hand grips and rope handles allow it to be easily carried and tied down if necessary.

For the hunter and outdoorsman, the dual padlock holes allow for locking and making it “bear resistant.” In fact, it is certified bear resistant by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee.

Additional features:

  • Flush-mounted marine grade latches and stainless steel backing plates
  • Pitched floor allows water to self-drain completely
  • One-turn easy-open drain plug with hole for lanyard

Choose your size:

For more information, or to purchase, visit

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