From our blender to our toaster and our hair dryer to our fan, small appliances play a big part in making our lives easier and more comfortable. Learning as much as you can about how they work makes sense. Take our quiz to see if you know how they do their magic.
In electrical devices, current flows to the device through the hot, usually black, wire and returns through the neutral, usually white, wire.
The difference in voltage between a hot wire and a neutral wire moves the electric current that provides power for your appliances.
Heating appliances pass current through a special wire called an element. Electrical energy turns into heat when it meets the resistance of the element.
A motorized appliance converts electrical energy into magnetic energy that turns a shaft. For example, the blades attached to the shaft of a food processor chop, while the blades of a fan circulate the air.
Inside a small appliance, cord wires are connected to a switch with solder, a wire nut or connectors.
Wires used in appliance cords come in different gauges. A higher gauge means a thinner wire.
Most small appliances are ungrounded and rated at less than 15 amps.
Appliance controls regulate the flow of electricity to an appliance. They include timing mechanisms, switches and thermostats.
Since a rheostat controls the amount of current flowing to an appliance part, you'll find one in a multispeed blender.
Toasters often break because bread crumbs can clog any of several internal mechanisms.
The toaster's crumb tray is a mini marvel. Simply unlatch the door, hold it over the garbage can and brush away all that mess!
Though toaster ovens are used to toast bread like toasters, most can bake, broil and roast as well. They are larger and more expensive than toasters.
Though you might need to replace a faulty main switch to get the toaster oven to work, sometimes just cleaning it will do the trick.
Place the probe of a continuity tester at either end of the thermostat. If the thermostat is defective, it's best to replace it with a new one.
In most food mixers, a set of gears transfers the motor's movement to the rotating action of the beaters. The opposing rotation of the beaters is very effective at blending ingredients.
Liquid that leaks or overflows into the blender motor can ruin it. A blender usually has a seal around the motor coupling.
Preventative maintenance will keep your blender whipping up smoothies for a long time. The two most important things you can do are not to overload the blender and to keep the seals tight.
When water leaks from underneath a garbage disposal unit, the problem is usually a leak in the flywheel seal. Remove the garbage disposal from the drain system and replace the seal.
Both upright and canister vacuums use a rotating beater bar with a brush to loosen dirt. The beater bar is located in the power head and driven by a smaller motor
If the heating element in your hair dryer gets too hot, the thermal cutout switch shuts off the dryer immediately.