Painting the outside of your house is a big job and one you probably don't want to undertake yourself. But a new coat of paint can add value to your home so it's worth the investment. And avoiding some tempting shortcuts can ensure you a paint job that lasts 10 years or longer. Here's some tips from the paint pros at Consumer Reports.
There's so much more to grilling than burgers, steaks and hot dogs. Fish, veggies, whole roasts, and pizza are also great on the barbecue. But you'll need more than the old burger flipper to whip up those dishes. Special gadgets such as grilling baskets, woks, cooking racks and pizza stones will give you the tastiest and neatest results. But which ones are really worth it? To find out, Consumer Reports' experts tried eight new grilling gizmos and found some big differences in those that are designed to do the same job.
When you choose a product that's easier on the environment there's often a trade-off, such as a higher price or lower performance. Take washers, for example. Front-loaders use less water and extract more of it than top-loaders, but typically take longer. That's why the Maytag Maxima and Whirlpool Duet front-loaders Consumer Reports just tested turned our heads. They did an excellent job in 45 minutes.
A cold beer may already be your go-to barbecue beverage. But like wine, different types of beer taste better with some foods than others. Here's our experts' beer menu for which types of beer go best with what foods, from pre-party nibbles to dessert (yes, dessert).
As refrigerators have gotten bigger and better—often boasting more than 30 cubic feet of claimed capacity and neat features like LCD displays and seltzer water dispensers—prices have also increased. Nearly half of the 60-plus models on our list of recommended refrigerators cost $2,000 or more, and you can easily spend many times that on a pricey built-in. But there are also plenty of less-expensive, yet still high-performing models to choose from. Here are five to consider if money is a concern.
If the spring showers haven't already forced you into a dehumidifier purchase, the dog days of summer to come should. New models often appear in late spring and early summer, so be on the lookout for sales and in-store promotions. Delay too long and you might have to settle for a less-than-optimal dehumidifier—either a unit that's sized incorrectly to your needs or one that comes up short in Consumer Reports' dehumidifier tests.
It's National Home Remodeling Month but don't make the mistake that many homeowners do when they attempt home repairs for which they have neither the skills nor the know-how. Doing so can cost you time and money or even put you in the hospital. Repainting the dining room is likely doable but rewiring the chandelier, probably not. The National Association of Home Builders says there are some jobs that are best left to professionals.
A growing list of free websites and smart-phone apps can help you narrow your choices of paint colors, figure out how much paint you'll need—and even "paint" your house before you open a can. When you're ready to buy make sure you get a paint that can weather the elements. Not all do, as Consumer Reports discovered in its exterior paint tests.
Things are getting a bit messy in the detergent aisle. More laundry detergent containers are starting to resemble food packaging, of all things, and if that doesn't throw you the labels might—gluten-free and vegan claims? Consumer Reports' latest laundry detergent tests found some clear winners and some confusing containers.
Green may be all the rage on the runway. But when it comes to the outside of your house, think blue if you're selling and more neutral colors if you're staying awhile. Experts we talked to about colors that help sell a house say traditional trumps trendy. No matter what color you choose, pick a paint that lasts. In Consumer Reports tests of exterior paints, the best still looked excellent after six years and very good after nine.
There are just a few things to know about Mother's Day. First, remember the holiday. This year Mother's Day takes place on Sunday, May 12, so you don't have many shopping days left. Second, book a table. Restaurants are packed on Mother's Day, so if you're going out to celebrate, get on Yelp, OpenTable, or some other dining site now. And third, don't limit yourself to the classics and the clichéd. When choosing a Mother's Day present, the sky's the limit, as you'll see below in our selection of gifts for the mom who . . .
It's never been wise to play around with lead paint, the kind kicked up during the renovation of homes built before 1978. Nowadays, doing so can be costly in more ways than one, as the Environmental Protection Agency continues to fine violators of its Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting rule (RRP).
A hot summer forecast—and air-conditioner prices that are going up with the mercury—could mean an early run on window units. But you needn't wait and sweat it out: Consumer Reports testers just named 15 top room air conditioners that include several small and mid-sized models priced at around $200 or less. But the volume of some we tested could keep you up at night. And a few might have you struggling with less-than-intuitive controls.
Garden hoses can be unwieldy so the promise of a lightweight, expandable hose that takes up little space was hard to resist. Consumer Reports tried out three 50-foot models of this new breed of garden hose, which weighs as little as one pound and stretches like an accordion to roughly three times its original length with the water on. And while the so-called pocket hoses don't really fit in your pocket, they live up to most of their claims.
Six months ago Superstorm Sandy knocked out power to millions in the Northeast and the homes of Consumer Reports readers were no exception. When we spoke to 8,389 of our subscribers who live in the affected areas of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, 76 percent said they lost power for at least a day and the median number of days without power was seven. A fortunate few, 19 percent, used generators during the outage and, in part, because of the unavailability of fuel, those who owned portable models fared worse than those with stationary models.
Our testers put 100s of products through their paces at our National Testing and Research Center. Learn more about how we test for: