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Top 10 Hob and Oven packages

Top 10 Hob and Oven packages

Buying a hob and oven together is a great way to save cash when you don’t have much kicking around. Most of the big brands give good discounts in the form of packages, allowing you to buy both at the same time and getting a more impressive model than if you were to buy separately.

Here’s 10 of the best:

  • Zanussi ZPVF4130X Electric Fan Oven And Ceramic Hob Pack. Ultra modern touch sensor control with ThermaFlow fan oven and an enamel easy-clean interior. Double glazed oven door. Nine power levels and grill pan/trivet included. Costs around £310.
  • CDA CBC200SS Ceramic Hob And Four Function Single Fan Oven Pack. Has four functions – fan oven, defrost, grill and fan grill. Interior light is halogen. Six power levels and a removable glass door to make cleaning easier. Costs around £360.
  • Matrix MBG002SS Four Function Electric Oven & Gas Hob Pack. Has integrated anti-tilt shelves and double glazed removable door. Grid pan and handle is included with this 55 litre capacity oven. A energy rating with four functions – defrost, fan oven, full/half grill. Costs around £320.
  • Bush AE6BT built-in electric oven and A60C ceramic hob. Fan assisted oven with double glazing on door and easy clean interior. Grill pan is included with this 56 litre capacity oven. Rotating side controls. Costs around £320.
  • Hotpoint, SH89PX-G640SX, Built In Single Oven & Gas Hob Pack. An A energy rated electric fan oven with a 56 litre capacity. Triple glass door and four hob areas. Eight functions in total. Costs around £480.
  • Indesit, FIMD13IX-VIC641X, Built In Double Oven & Electric Hob Pack. With a large 74 litre fan oven and induction hob, this electric combo is AA rated making it extremely cost-effective. Has a double glazed oven door. Costs around £500.
  • Whirlpool Package – Single Fan Oven and Hotplate Hob Pack. With an A energy rating, this electric oven and hob in stainless steel has four burners and a residual heat indicator. Comes with six power levels. Costs around £330.
  • Baumatic OSF60GHPK Pack – Electric Oven and 4 burner gas hob. A single built-in fan oven with programmable timer and four cooking functions. Flame failure devices keep the gas safe in the event of no flame. A rated; finished in smart stainless steel and glass. Costs around £290.
  • Cata Single Oven & Gas Hob Pack OVPKGA. Electric oven has a very reasonable 52 litre capacity and five different cooking functions. Auto-ignition and safety flame failure feature included. A rated for energy efficiency. Costs around £230.
  • Elektra and Montpellier – Oven and Hob Pack. A smart stainless steel electric oven and ceramic hob combination, these appliances include modern touch sensor controls and a 56 litre capacity fan oven with double glazed door. Costs around £290.

Happy Shopping!

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7 Troubleshooting Tips for Fixing a Leaking Dishwasher

7 Troubleshooting Tips for Fixing a Leaking Dishwasher

If your dishwasher starts leaking water on to the kitchen floor, don’t worry. It doesn’t necessarily imply that you need to spend loads of money on dishwasher repairs or buy a new dishwasher. A few basic checks may remedy the leak and save you a great deal of trouble.

Before you begin the inspection, turn off the dishwasher and unplug the power chord. Here are some faults that could possibly be causing the leak:

1) Dishwasher overloading: One of the most common reasons for the dishwasher to leak water is overloading it with dishes. Too many dishes may block the spray of water and cause the water to leak out.

2) Damaged spray arms: Remove the spray arms to check for blockages and clear any debris with a toothpick. Frequent overloading can also damage the spray arms and prevent them from spinning properly. Replacement spray arms will cost you between £10 and £30.

3) Dishwasher not level: If the dishwasher is not completely stable, it will raise the water level in the tray and cause the water to leak.

4) Damaged door seal: A common reason for the water to leak from the dishwasher is worn out door seals. Check that the upper door seal (running through the side and top of the dishwasher) and lower door seals are clean and in good condition. Upper seals are easy to replace but replacing the lower door seal can be tricky. It may be a good idea to call the appliance technician for the job.

5) Excessive dishwasher detergent: Using the incorrect quantity of dishwashing detergent will cause excessive foaming and may result in the dishwasher leaking water. Ensure that you use the right quantity of detergent, as specified in your appliance manual and as per the type of detergent used.

6) Blocked drain filter: If you see water in the dishwasher after the cleaning cycle is completed, it may be due to a blocked drain filter. Clear the blockage using a plunger.

7) Damaged inlet hose or drain hose: The leak may be due to a broken drain hose that needs replacement. Worn out washers on the ends of the inlet hose will also cause the water to flow out. Remember to specify the dishwasher model when buying replacement parts.

As part of the dishwasher upkeep, it’s a good idea give the dishwasher a thorough clean once a month to keep get rid of food debris clogging the water inlet/outlet and remove hard water deposits/scale. Also, keep the salt-dispenser drawer topped up.

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Top 10 Largest Capacity Microwaves

The Top 10 Largest Capacity Microwaves

When it comes to big families, a large capacity microwave oven is a must – especially if you cook a lot of money-saving casseroles. But special occasions also require plenty of cooking space. After all, how many of us have spent Christmas Day regularly checking our ovens to see how that turkey for 10 guests is getting on?

Fear not if you’re worried you won’t find a microwave big enough to cook large or bulk items all at once. In the following list there are plenty ofextra-large’ microwaves to whet your appetite.

  • Samsung MC455TBRCSR Combination Microwave. The largest microwave oven on the UK market at present, the Samsung microwave is powerful in the extreme with a 45 litre capacity and microwave power of an astoundingly high 1550 W. There’s six auto programmes including bread and yoghurt making choices. Costs around £300.
  • Sharp R959SLM Combination Microwave. This Sharp model has a very impressive 40 litre capacity with a turntable measuring 360mm in diameter. It has eight auto programmes and a grill for a crispy finish. Microwave power of 900 W. Costs around £250.
  • Panasonic NN-CF873SBPQ Combination Microwave. There’s more power in this microwave at 1000 W. The oven capacity is 32 litres and it comes with a quartz grill. Includes an accessories shelf. Costs around £430.
  • Whirlpool JT 366/SL Microwave with Grill. With a capacity of 31 litres and a microwave power of 1000 W, the Whirpool microwave and grill also has a quartz grill and steam technology. Has eight cooking levels. Costs around £260.
  • Kenwood K30GSS13 Microwave with Grill. One of the least expensive large capacity ovens, the Kenwood can take up to 30 litres and has a microwave power of 900 W. There’s also nine auto-cook functions and a grill. Very good at browning. A snip at around £100.
  • Russell Hobbs RHM3003B Microwave. With a 30 litre capacity and a microwave power of 900 W, this oven has five different power levels and is stylishly set in black with a mirrored door. Costs around £140.
  • Daewoo KOC9Q3T 28 L Freestanding Combination Microwave. A 28 litre capacity oven with 10 power levels and 900 W microwave power, this oven has a steam cleaning function and a child safety lock. Costs around £90.
  • Electrolux EMS30400OX Free-Standing Microwave. Has a capacity of 27.5 litres, just nudging ahead of its 27 litre competitors. Microwave power is 900 W. A good looking appliance in stainless and glass. Costs around £180.
  • Panasonic NN-CF778-SBPQ 27L Combi Microwave. Another 27 litre model, this Panasonic oven has a drop down door for easy access as well as no turntable. Boasts 16 different programmes. Microwave power of 1000 W. Costs around £300.
  • Panasonic NN-CT579S 27L Slimline Combination Microwave. Again, with power of 1000 W and a 27 litre capacity, this microwave has 13 programmes with a grill and a child safety lock. Costs around £220.

Due to their popularity new microwave ovens with even bigger capacity are coming out all the time. And to that end, we’re sure this time next year there’ll be another well-known brand name topping our list.

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Top 10 Quiet Fridges

Top 10 Quiet Fridges

It’s enough to drive you crazy if you’re already feeling a bit on the sensitive side thanks to a headache or just a desperate need for peace and quiet. A noisy fridge may just seem annoying at first but the more that humming and vibration persists the more irritating it becomes until it seems to have amplified everything out of proportion and you’re almost ready to unplug the darned fridge and throw it out the window.

If you suffer from ‘noisy fridge syndrome’ then you’ll be glad you’ve found this post because on it we’ve researched and found  what we believe are 10 of the quietest fridges out there. All received a top 5/5 score by Which for the noise and vibration category.

But first, why are certain fridges noisy in the first place?

Possible reasons your fridge is noisy

The compressor (i.e., motor) makes a noise while it circulates the gas necessary to keep the fridge cool. This runs for more than half the time that the fridge is switched on. Newer, and more expensive, fridges contain linear compressors which operate in the same manner as a dimmer switch ie they only use as much power as is necessary which means the fridge runs at a quieter level.

Some frost-free fridge freezers can make a whirring noise which is the result of a build-up of ice around a fan and means the fridge isn’t cooling properly so should be looked at.

Certainly though, one of the first things you should try if your fridge noise levels are at a higher decibel than you’d like, is to defrost it and see if that makes a difference. If not, if may be time to call in a fridge repair man or buy a new one depending on your current financial position.

Our top 10 quiet fridges:

  • Beko CHILL53W. Costs around £130.
  • Liebherr T1404. Costs from £230.
  • Hotpoint RLA36P. Retails from £190.
  • Beko TLD673APS. Costs around £280.
  • AEG S71700TSW0. Retails from £270.
  • Siemens KU15RA51GB. Costs from £380.
  • Smeg FAB10RR. Retails from £650.
  • Neff K5604X7GB. Costs from £420
  • Miele K12820SD. Retails around £720.
  • John Lewis JLUCLFS6007. Retails at £320.
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Top 10 High Capacity Dryers

The Top 10 High Capacity Dryers

If you’re a big family then you absolutely want to be buying a high capacity tumble dryer. That’s one that can take at least 8kg in one load.

In reality your dryer should actually have twice the capacity as your washing machine so that there’s enough room in the dryer for your laundry to come out fresh and ready to wear (it makes sense!). A larger dryer, provided you have the laundry to fill it, is much more economical since it means you can dry more at the one time and have the machine on less

Best big tumble dryers

  1. Hoover’s Dynamic (9kg). Energy efficient with a delay start mechanism and four levels of sensor drying, the Dynamic has easy empty drawers and an LED display. Costs around £300.
  2. LG RC9011 (8kg). Quiet and reliable this LG machine has an energy saving mode and a choice of programmes with options. Comes with sensor drying to cut down on electricity costs. Costs from £500.
  3. Hotpoint TCM580P (8kg). This condenser dryer has a fast drying cycle and is quiet too. Energy efficiency isn’t great but it’s not bad either. Very easy to use. Costs £250.
  4. Bosch WTE84309 (8kg). Has a decent energy efficiency rating and some nice functions such as ‘sportswear’ and ‘reduced ironing.’ Has sensor and LED display screen showing how much of the cycle is left. Costs £400.
  5. Whirlpool AZB97801 (9kg). Machine has ‘6th sense colour technology’ which the company says preserves fabric colours. Decent energy efficiency and has an LED display screen. Four drying levels. Costs £500
  6. Indesit IDCA8350BH (8kg). Fast and even drying of laundry and very easy to use. Door lies flat against body of machine giving good access. Costs around £230.
  7. LG RC8015C (8kg). Very efficient drying sensor which gets all fabrics dried evenly. A sturdy machine that is easy to operate with a light inside the drum and large type on the LED display screen. Retails from £500.
  8. Candy GOV580C-80 (8kg). A vented dryer which is very energy efficient and different heat settings for delicate clothes. Effective drying sensors. Price £160 upwards.
  9. Hotpoint TCEM80C6G (8kg). Fast and even drying of laundry with this condenser dryer; especially when it comes to cottons. Light indicates when the water tank is full. Costs around £250.
  10. Candy GCC 590NB (9kg). Has a very effective iron-dry programme which makes clothes damp and easier to iron. Senor drying but can override it to a manual setting. Costs from £300.

What’s your experience with large capacity tumble dryers? Is there one we haven’t included on our list that you think should be there? Please let us know.

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Top Washer Dryers with Child Locks

The Top Washer Dryers with Child Locks

Child locks in dryers have two purposes really – they lock the door of the machine which prevents any child climbing into the drum and accidentally locking themselves in when the machine is out of action. The second purpose is to stop a little one – or anyone else for that matter – changing the dials when the machine is in full flow on a spin cycle.

In terms of a child’s safety then, and the long-term workings of your washing machine, a child lock can be pretty crucial. As a result most washer dryer manufacturers these days are beginning to supply them in machines as standard (certainly, with the likes of Mumsnet having such a huge influence and extended media reach these days, it’s not really surprising).

The only difficulty with child locks in washer dryers it seems is being able to switch them off (if you’ve lost the manual and have nothing to refer to). Also, in some cases the lock jams due to a fault (like electronic windows in cars it can seem as if it’s just something else to go wrong!). Often though, it’s simply a case of holding in the start button for five seconds or so in order to release the lock.

Here is our choice of top washer dryers with child locks.

  1. Bosch WVD24460GB. This has an automatic display that shows when the child lock is active by flashing up a key on the LCD panel.
  2. Samsung WD806U4SAGD 8kg Ecobubble. A child lock is available but optional.
  3. Beko WDA91440W. This instantly locks all the buttons on the machine meaning the programme can’t be altered by enquiring little fingers.
  4. EVO 14104LW Grand’O Evo. This washer dryer from the Candy staple has an effective child lock built in.
  5. Servis HydroDrive. All HydroDrive machines have an incorporated child safety lock as standard.
  6. Electrolux EWW1486HDW. Another washer dryer with child lock built in as standard.
  7. LG F1480RD. Like the above machines, the LG child lock stops children and others altering the current spin cycle of the machine.
  8. Hotpoint WDPG8640G. Another effective child lock, although this is one of the machines where we read individuals had difficulty with switching the lock off.
  9. NEFF  V7446X0GB. A child lock which does exactly what it says on the tin.
  10. Daewoo DWCLD1421. Another impressive function which stops small hands prying.

Admittedly a child lock on a washer dryer is another facet that can go wrong and may need repairing but a child being able to press buttons and change the machine’s programme half way through an on-going cycle would probably lead to far more damage to the machine, not to mention a hefty repair bill. Because of this, we would definitely recommend a child lock facility when you select a washer dryer for your home.

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Most Reliable Washer Dryers

The Most Reliable Washer Dryers

When it comes to the day-to-day functioning of the bigger white goods in your kitchen, your washer dryer is unfortunately the item most likely to stop working, burst a leak or become blocked.

Why is that, we wonder? One of the reasons, we reckon, is because we use our washer dryers so much – machines in a large family home can often be on daily or even both morning and night. So, when you think of the amount of pummeling they’re getting, it’s no wonder our washer dryers start to flag out faster than other white goods.

However, it’s precisely because they’re used so much that it can quite frankly be pandemonium when they go wrong. It’s important therefore when you’re buying a new machine to get one you feel confident won’t do a wobbly on you the night before the weekly washing of the school uniforms. And that’s why we’ve compiled the following list:

Top washer dryers for reliability

  1. Miele WT2780. A quiet machine with an impressive energy efficiency performance, this Miele also boasts excellent cleaning and a drying cycle which won’t shrink clothes. On the negative side it is costly, retailing at more than £1200.
  2. Bosch WVH28421 GB. Great cleaning, energy efficiency and a good looking machine (as you’d expect from Bosch). What wasn’t so impressive was the large water usage. It’s not cheap either, coming in at just under £800.
  3. Zanussi ZKG7165. Easy to use, gets clothes very clean and, like the Bosch, a good-looking machine to sit in your kitchen. Very good price-wise but can be a bit noisy. Expect to pay around £400.
  4. AEG L75480WD. This machine has an impressive cleaning performance and, like the Zanussi above, is very easy to use. It does use up quite a bit of energy though and goes through at quite a rate too. Retails around £600.
  5. Siemens WD14H520GB. Very energy efficient and extremely quiet, also cleans very well. Quite expensive and uses a lot of water. Retails at more than £900.
  6. Samsung WD8704RJD. This machine can dry clothes just as well as it washes them and boats plenty of wash programmes. It can take a while to dry though. Costs around £450.
  7. Hotpoint Aqualtis AQ113D 697S. Can handle big loads and has a powerful spin cycle, also very quite. Like the Samsung though, can take a while to get through a cycle. Retails for around £600.
  8. Indesit IWDC6125. An entry level machine that works well considering its low price. The quick wash only takes a very small load. Prices start from £300.

On the whole, the worst problem householders report regarding their washer dryer is with the machine wobbling. Another big bugbear is blocked filters while on a more serious note water leaks and blockages are also a concern.

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How To Choose The Best Washer Dryer

How To Choose The Best Washer Dryer for you

A washing machine is one of the more expensive and durable appliances you will buy for the house, and given the almost daily requirement of washing clothes, it is crucial that you buy a machine that serves your purpose well.

Washing machine vs. washer dryer

In all likelihood, your decision to buy a washing machine will begin with choosing between buying a washing machine and tumble dryer separately, or buying a washer dryer combined.

Buying a washer dryer is obviously more economical than buying two appliances. In addition, if you have a space or budget constraint, then a washer dryer is definitely the best solution for you. However, you must also consider the following drawbacks of a washer dryer:

  • A washer dryer is more suitable for a household of 1-2 people. Most washer dryers have a 6-7 kg drum and a typical washer dryer cycle lasts 4 hours. In case you have a large family with heavier wash loads, the washer dryer will run several times a day, lead to greater electricity consumption, and increase your overall cost of doing laundry.
  • Because a washer dryer is a dual-function machine, it will not have the same advanced features and performance levels as a separate washing machine and a tumbler dryer. For instance, a standalone tumbler dryer will have a larger drum capacity and will therefore dry clothes a lot faster and with less creases than a washer dryer with a relatively smaller drum.
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Choosing the best washer dryer

Washer dryers are now more technologically advanced and energy efficient than before. If you have decided that a washer dryer is a good fit for your home, then the next step is to select the best model. Compare the various models available within your budget against the following features:

  1. Spin speed: Since the washer dryer has a relatively smaller drum, one way to ensure that the clothes dry faster is by choosing a machine with a higher spin speed (measured as revolutions per minute or rpm). Therefore, a washer dryer with a 1600 rpm will dry your clothes more quickly than one with 1200 rpm.
  2. Guarantee offered: Since a washer dryer works twice as much as a standalone washing machine, there is greater wear and tear on the machine. Compare the various washer dryers for guarantees offered on free of charge replacement of machine parts.
  3. Energy efficiency: Check for the EU energy efficiency ratings displayed on the washer dryer. Most washer dryers are rated between A and F, where A signifies a washer dryer with the most efficient energy consumption. The more efficient the machine, the less it will cost you to run.
  4. Wash programmes: Different washer dryers offer varying number of wash programmes. A model that offers additional features such as quick wash, steam cleaning, and anti-crease wash will cost you more than a basic model that will offer fewer functions.
  5. Additional features: Some washer dryers have an inbuilt sensor drying feature that turns off the machine when the clothes are dry. Another feature is the auto load control that adjusts the water levels to the laundry load.

AEG and Prime are some of the value for money (£450- 550) washer dryer brands. Bosch and HDB have machines in the range of £700- 750, and Miele offers a high-end range in excess of £1000.  Research company Which? has reviewed 88 washer dryers available in the UK. You can access this information by registering with the website.

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To Use a Dishwasher – or Not to Use a Dishwasher…

To Use a Dishwasher – or Not to Use a Dishwasher…

In terms of cost (both financial and to the environment) is it better to use a dishwasher or to hand wash our pots and plates?

On the surface it would seem that hand washing would be more energy efficient surely since there’s no need to switch on an electric appliance. But don’t be too sure… many surveys have been done which show that, depending on what type of heating you have in your home ie gas or electric, at times there’s not much in it.

And bear in mind too that the efficiency of dishwashers has come on leaps and bounds, especially within the past decade or so. In the 90s, for instance, a typical dishwasher programme would use around 13 gallons of water; today your average dishwasher uses four.

Why using a dishwasher is as energy efficient as washing by hand

Like cleaning your teeth, do you sometimes leave the tap running in between brushes? If so, chances are you do the same when washing the dishes, leading to more hot water being used than is necessary. This is where the cost adds up, say scientists, and why if you use a dishwasher rather than hand wash you’ll be better off financially.

Use a dishwasher or hand wash? Advantages of the former

  • Hygiene. Dishwashers are up to 400 per cent more hygienic than washing by hand (ie there is less bacteria and other ‘nasties’ left on the plate
  • Time. It takes far longer to stand at a sink and wash dishes than it does to load a dishwasher (up to four times as long say researchers)

How to cut your eco footprint even more using a dishwasher

  • Use the dishwasher at night (1am to 5am). By doing so you’ll be taking advantage of the low tariff which means your utility bill won’t cost as much. Incidentally you can set the timer – you don’t actually have to get up in the middle of the night.
  • Load up fully. Never use the dishwasher when it’s only half empty. That’s just a waste of electricity.
  • Use the eco programme. Most machines have one of these. It works by heating the water up slowly over a far longer time than a normal cycle would. In doing so it saves energy (up to 20 percent say some surveys). Newer machines will even recycle the water.

So there you have it – these days it seems the answer to the question about whether to use a dishwasher or hand wash is that it’s probably far more economical and eco-friendly to use the former. And it’s definitely better for your hands.

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Be Amazed at the Quality: Washing Machines Under £200

Washing Machines Under £200

Thinking of buying a new washing machine but can’t exactly afford to splash the cash? Then worry not for these days you’d be amazed at the quality of the technology available in washing machines under £200. And here are our fab four:

Bush A126Q Washing Machine – White (£169.99 Argos)

The Bush A126Q is a simple-to-use washing machine which has a larger drum than is typical for its size. The appliances is fitted with 23 separate programmes including an eco wash and sports cycle, in addition to a rinse, drain and spin option.

In terms of energy efficiency it boasts an A+ rating and the 6kg drum means its large enough for family wash days. There’s a child (or should that be cat) lock on the door. The spin speed is a very respectable 1200rpm which means clothes are only slightly damp when removed.

Beko WMB61431W Washing Machine – White (£199 Next)

With an A+ energy efficiency rating, the Beko WMB61431W has an adjustable temperature and spin speed for all programmes and the 1400rpm spin speed means clothes don’t need much airing to dry afterwards. It has a very useful digital display feature informing users the time left for a programme to run.

A good looking machine with a fair amount of capacity and which won’t wake up the household while its working (in other words it’s fairly quiet), it’s one of our favourite washing machines under £200.

ProAction A105Q Washing Machine – White (£169.99 Argos)

The ProAction A105Q is an A+ energy efficient machine which features a quick wash of just 30 minutes (so perfect for that impromptu party). There is a choice of 15 programmes and a 1200rpm (quiet) spin speed.

There are no complicated operating instructions which mean it’s extremely easy to use. It’s also compact in size so will fit easily into a small kitchen – great for a family with a limited budget.

LOGIK L612WMS13 Washing Machine – Silver (£199.99 Currys)

An attractive machine in contemporary-looking silver, the LOGIK L612WMS13 can take up to 6kg of garments and boasts a spin cycle of 1200rpm. An electronic programme selector means you don’t have to worry about choosing the right one for your fabrics. The screen comes with LED technology making it easy to see in the dark.

There are 16 different wash programmes and a door which opens 180 degrees making it easy to insert and retrieve garments. Handily, the wash programme can be pre-set 24 hours in advance.

Only problem now is – you actually have to choose between one of these fab washing machines under £200.

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