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Posted by on October 9, 2014    |    Leave a reply   

Shower Optimization: Keep Your Shower Clean, Efficient, and Safe

The shower is your faithful servant, helping you get clean as a whistle before you begin your day. Have you taken the time lately to repay the favor? It may seem counter-intuitive, but showers too need to be cleaned from time to time, in order to remain safe and do their job efficiently.

It is important to take preventative measures to clean your showerhead and drain, before they start showing symptoms of malfunction such as clogs. This infographic provides chemical-free solutions for maintaining your shower’s functionality. Make cleaning your drain a routine that you practice every one to two months, to avoid a buildup. Follow our tips for keeping your shower curtain clean, free of mold, and mildew resistant. Finally, use white vinegar to clean mineral clogs from your showerhead, ensuring an even spray that is free of mineral buildup.

What causes these mineral buildups? The usual culprit is hard water. If you find yourself constantly encountering mineral clogs, it may be worth your while to take a hard water test, in order to find out what you’re dealing with. In addition to rendering your cleaning products less effective, hard water can also leave your skin feeling itchy and dry. If the test confirms you indeed have hard water, consider installing a water filtration system. In addition to improving the quality of your hard water, it can help to weed out harsh chemicals. The amount of chlorine that enters the body during a shower is actually more than is consumed when drinking unfiltered tap water!

If you think the cleanliness of your shower might not be up to par, read on for great cleaning tips that will soon become routine!



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Posted by on July 9, 2014    |    Leave a reply   

Decoding Diets: Paleo, Ketogenic, Vegetarian, Vegan, and Anti-Inflammatory

Picking a diet can be overwhelming due to the sheer number of different types, and the misinformation surrounding each. A few trend diets gain attention each year, and are usually just a variation on the same theme. These fad diets are often so extreme in nature that they become unsustainable after a short period of time.

The key to sticking to a diet plan successfully is selecting the right one for your lifestyle. Your motivating factors for wanting to adapt your diet should determine which one you choose. Reasons for choosing a diet plan in the first place can be as varied as wanting to eat healthier or to lose weight, training for a fitness event, or trying to eat local, simple food. The diets we describe in this infographic align with a variety of these motivating factors. For example, the ketogenic diet is low-carb, and is often employed by bodybuilders attempting to achieve a certain look before competitions. If you’re looking to simply eat healthier, it is not necessary to conform to such a strict low-carb diet, since restricting yourself in that manner will likely lead to disregarding the diet completely. Instead, try the anti-inflammatory diet, which is a variation on Mediterranean-style eating. This diet has is known as being one of the most “lifestyle friendly,” meaning it isn’t difficult to adapt to and sustain over long periods of time.

The best diets aren’t about restrictions: they’re about finding new ways to enjoy healthy foods!



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Posted by on May 16, 2014    |    Leave a reply   

This for That

We’ve all been in this situation: you’re mid-recipe and realize that you’re missing a key ingredient. There’s a reason that going next door to borrow a cup of sugar is such a cliché – because it happens! Our guide to baking substitutions means you can save the potentially embarrassing trip next door, because we have an alternate ingredient for almost every baking need, some of which are quite surprising.

Anyone who has baked before knows that it’s almost like a science. Replacing a key ingredient is easy if you get creative. You have to make sure the consistency of the ingredient is similar so it has the same effect, but the taste doesn’t necessarily have to be the same. For example, if you’re craving buttermilk pancakes but don’t want to visit the store first, mix one cup of milk with a tablespoon of vinegar for the same effect. Or, you can use a quarter-cup of canned pumpkin or squash as a substitute for an egg!

Some baking swaps are done not out of necessity, but rather to make a sweet treat a little less decadent. A great trick when making muffins or cupcakes is to use apple sauce in place of margarine. You can also swap out sour cream for plain yogurt for far less calories.

Once you start making these baking substitutions, you’ll find yourself even more confident when experimenting with recipes in the kitchen!



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Posted by on April 10, 2014    |    Leave a reply   

Maximize Your Flower Power This Spring

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the U.S. has 11 separate grow zones. Each zone is 10 degrees warmer or colder in winter than the neighboring zone. Determining the grow zone should be one of the first steps an aspiring gardener takes, since it will help determine which types of plants and flowers to grow.

If a certain flower isn’t in your grow zone that does not mean you can’t attempt to grow it, especially if it’s in a nearby grow zone. This map is meant to serve as a guide for gardeners who are curious as to where certain flowers flourish best. Also, the USDA grow zone map can be subject to change over time, especially as temperatures fluctuate. But for now, these are some of the best flowers to plant, based on region:

South: pitcher plant, crested iris, and hardy hibiscus.

Southwest: autumn sage, wine cups, and Mexican tarragon.

Midwest: spiderwort, goldenrod, and swamp milkweed.

West: compass plant, prickly pear, and yucca.

Northwest: goatsbeard, miniature hollyhock, and shooting star.

Northeast: foamflower, Jacob’s ladder, and merrybells.

In addition to the grow zones, many other factors play a role in the success of your garden. Even if a certain flower is smack in the middle of your grow zone, it still needs light, moist soil, and specific humidity levels to thrive. Keep this in mind when planning your spring garden!

Flower Power

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Posted by on December 9, 2013    |    Leave a reply   
Every year, more and more Americans are choosing to ditch the expensive repair shops in favor of repairing their products at home. The reason is simple: You’ll save a lot of money.

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