Thursday, April 26, 2018

Let's talk appliances

Two in particular:

*   electric (battery powered) lawnmowers:    I recently bought one and I'm quiet (quite, I meant, although they are quieter too) impressed.   I've never enjoyed mowing, partly for the fumes and the messiness of petrol spills and (in the case of two stroke) getting the right proportion of oil.   Electric mowers do away with all of that aspect, making the whole experience cleaner and lighter work (my Ryobi weighs considerably less than the old Victa, and is easier to get up the few stairs necessary to get to the back yard.)  It's no longer the case that I necessarily feel the need for an immediate shower after finishing.

And something I didn't realise would be a benefit:  you know how on all TV gardening shows they encourage not cutting lawn too low because that helps weeds get ahead of grass on regrowth?   And then how, with a petrol mower, you think "I don't care, I'm going to cut as low as I can 'cos I hate this job and don't want to do it again for as long as possible"?   Well, with the electric one, there's no doubt that on longer lawn it is less powerful than any petrol mower, meaning you really do have to cut at higher height.   But the result has been - yes, I can see what those gardening/lifestyle shows have been saying all those decades is right.   The lawn is thicker and any weedy parts do seem to be being out-competed.   Who knew that having a less powerful mower would force me into doing the right thing by my lawn?

*  front loading washing machines:    I think they are terrific, especially if you have a model like ours which have a short cycle for things that aren't all that dirty.

But, right from when it was installed, we were warned that fabric softener can cause problems with glugging up their pipes.   Finally (it has taken years, though), I can see what they mean.

Which led me on the weekend to investigate the way the fabric softener gets from the "drawer" into the machine:   it would seem that nearly all front loaders use a syphon system to get the softener section of the drawer empty of the water that sprays into there to wash the conditioner into the machine.

This strikes me as peculiar:   I just didn't expect that the old fashioned idea of a syphon would be so crucial in a modern and fairly complicated bit of electro-mechanical gear like a front loading washing machine.   I was somehow expecting something mechanical - a hatch that opened and shut.  But no, just a syphon effect.

I must admit it works, though, and apart from the ease with which the hole through which the conditioner passes can clog and prevent the syphon working, I suppose it is kind of elegant in its simplicity.

I wonder who came up with that idea....

Update:   Look, I've even found a website with drawings and way more detail than you ever thought you needed to know:

1 comment:

John said...

I've never enjoyed mowing, partly for the fumes and the messiness of petrol spills and (in the case of two stroke) getting the right proportion of oil.

An under appreciated health risk because the lawnmower is spitting out noxious fumes right under our noses. So if you're concerned about passive smoking you should be terrified of moving the lawn the old way.