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Must read! How to clean your greasy cooking hood filter or cover - the amazing use of Baking Soda!

If you have a cooking hood installed in your kitchen, and if you have tried cleaning it yourself, you will definitely have a hard time trying to clean it and you probably regret installing one.

I have a very nice Rinnai hood in my kitchen, it is not just a decoration but also a good hood in filtering the smoke and oil from my cooking.
However, I have a serious problem on the filters, which I have tried numerous method to clean them but to no avail, including using vinegar as suggested by the so-called expert featured on TV!

The filters were so greasy that I almost wanted to call Rinnai to purchase for its replacements, just before I have given up on cleaning the filters, I found the amazing use of baking soda!

Yes, baking soda, which you could purchase from the baking section in supermarket for just S$1.80. According to my research, the filter need to be boiled with baking soda added into the boiling water. As I couldn't find a pot big enough for my filters, I tried putting the filters in my basin and pour in the hot water.

These are what I used for the cleaning:
Baking soda, a thong to flip the filters, a toothbrush to brush the grease away.

Sorry for this blur picture, I was trying to show that even the toothbrush is cleaner after cleaning the filters. In my past experience, I would need to throw away all the toothbrush used in cleaning the filters, as they are too greasy and dirty after the cleaning.

As you can see the water turned so muddy and dirty, I hope I have taken the picture of the grease left on my basin, but I was in a rush to clean the filters and thus unable to take the picture.

See? The filter looked so much cleaner after cleaning with the baking soda! According to my research, it can be as clean as a new piece if you were to boil it in hot water, which I believe totally. For using just hot water, I have already achieved 80% cleaner on the filter, I should really get a pot or tray to boil this filters next time. 

Another close up picture of the filter, although there are still a little grease on it, but I'm already very satisfied with the result, I have never seen my filters this clean other than they were first installed!

If you have a cooking hood, please save your energy and money by trying out this method!

The recommended way:
1) cook a pot or tray of hot water
2) put in a spoon of baking soda (you may put more if you're boiling a big pot of water)
3) put a few drops of dish detergent into the hot water
4) put in your filter and boil for about 15 minutes, you may use a toothbrush to gently brush away the grease

If you don't have the pot or tray, you may do the same like me by putting the filter in a basin (remember to put stopper to keep the hot water in the basin), pour in a big pot of boiling hot water and the baking soda and detergent as described above.

Why you should not buy furniture from Ikea

I have always advise my readers not to buy furniture from Ikea, but I think most still buy due to the excellent marketing strategy, it is hard to resist if you've visited their showroom.

You can definitely buy the accessories from Ikea, but if you're looking for big furniture like sofa, table or wardrobe, please consider properly. Is it really value for money?

I've bought a bookcase from Ikea many years ago, the bookcase collapsed after I arranged my books on it; when I was still staying with my brother, he bought a shoes cabinet from Ikea and it collapsed after a week of use. So I have always thought that Ikea's furniture is not lasting.

Early this year, when I was looking for a bookcase for my children, my hubby suggested we give Ikea a second chance. He thought, maybe the first bookcase we bought was too cheap and was not able to hold the number of books we have. I agreed with him and we visited its showroom and we set aside a higher budget for the bookcase.

After a few round of 'investigation', we thought this cabinet is more sturdy and should be able to hold the children's books:

This cabinet looked sturdy, it cost me around $130++, for this price for just two drawers, I would expect it to be of better quality.  But sadly, it still broke down after a week.

 This time round, the bottom of the cabinet cracked and warped, as shown in the picture.

A closer examination of the 'wood', can you consider the material as 'wood'? It is more like a hard paper to me, not even the low cost plywood material!

Ikea has definitely ruined the second chance I've given to them, for this incident, I'll definitely not buy any furniture from them in future.

I bought a small bookcase from NTUC (NTUC! Not even a furniture shop!) at just $16 (after 20% discount). It serves the purpose well and I could stuff all my children's books on it without fearing of it collapsing. This is truly 'value for money'.

So why buy from Ikea? Cheap? Don't think so. Value for money? Definitely not.

Do visit the neighborhood furniture shop and compare the price if you're really on tight budget, forget about going to Ikea!

Should you buy BOSH washing machine?

I blogged about how wonderful my Bosh front load washing machine before, after 2 years of using it, it put me down 2 times and I spent $298.85 on its repair last week.

The first time it went down was just before the warranty expired, so I did not pay for the repair cost. Last week, it went down again, and to my horror the technician quoted me $300 for the repair, and it might not be functioning even after the repair! He said, per his experience, the machine can function after he replace a part in the washing machine, but there were cases where this particular part was changed but other problems found, and the cost of repairing was beyond justification. So, he told me to make a decision.

I like my Bosh washing machine, and I've only used it for two years, it is still in good condition (other than the part spoiled), I definitely need to repair it. The cost is really too high, which I should have foreseen this problem. My Bosh is German made, the parts are all imported, I should have expected this high cost of repairing.

At the end, I paid the $300 repair cost, and thank God it is functioning after the part is changed.

If given a chance again, will I purchase this Bosh washing machine? Yes, but I will definitely buy the extended warranty.

My lessons learned:
1) In choosing a washing machine, price does not guarantee durability.
2) If you are buying an expensive machine, you should buy the extended warranty
3) The more expensive the machine, the more expensive the repair cost. E.g. LG charges $40 transport fee, Bosh charges $85.
4) Consider the end users, if your maid is using the machine, don't buy too expensive one, or you must buy the extended warranty.
5) I might consider other brands of washing machine, but it must be front load with warm water selection.

If you're on tight budget, you might consider Sumsung or LG front load washing machine, which I will explore these 2 brands if my machine were to spoil again.

Promotion for Foscam IP camera! $110 each

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For each unit of the IP camera, you'll enjoy another 12% discounts off the already discounted price of $125!  i.e only $110 per unit!

For details on the IP camera, please refer here.

To enjoy the discount, please enter the quote "mylittlecasa" when you placed your order on:

Offer till 28 February 2013!

How to save on curtain costs

I'm surprised to see people paying more than $3000 for the curtains for their houses. I'm not exaggerate on this figure, you will believe me if you are getting a quotation for the curtains for your sweet home.

Customised curtains are expensive, and a house can't be complete without nice curtains, so this is normally the headache or even an unbudgeted costs to many new home owners.

I received many emails asking me where to get cheap curtains, I would say if you're venturous enough, try sourcing from JB Malaysia. It means you'll have to drive into JB at least 2 times, to source and to collect your curtains. It doesn't mean you can get any super deal from those curtain makers coming into Singapore from JB, cause they know they can get big buck from you, so why give you discounts?

If you do not wish to go into JB for certain reasons, you can try my method here:

1) I walked into a few curtain shops in those shopping malls, looking at the designs of the fabric that I like, talked to the owner to get a quote.
2) Using the code of the fabric I've chosen from step (1), I went to those curtain makers at the neighbourhood shops, and get a cheaper quotatation.
3) As Living Room and MBR are the two rooms more important to me, I only custom made curtains for the windows in these two rooms. Living Room is important because all my guests and visitors will see it, MBR is important because a good curtain will block away the sunlight and give me a good afternoon nap.
4) For other rooms, I bought those off the shelves curtain from the shopping mall during promotion or Sales.
5) All in all, I spent less than $800 on the curtains for my whole house.

The curtains in my living room. I like its colour combination with my furniture, TV console and wall paper. I believe the first sight is very important, this is what my guests will be seeing when they walk into my house, who cares about other curtains in other rooms?

A closer look on the fabric. Many insist on 100% sunlight block out curtain, or  day night curtains (i.e. one 100% block out + one half transparent curtain), but I chose a 70% sunlight block out  curtain. The reason why I did not choose 100% sunlight block out is because it is more expensive and a 70% can do the job pretty good, why should i pay more to get a total blackout?

If I can choose again, I probably will buy a half transparent curtain for my living room, so that it'll not be so dark when the curtains are down, and yet it can block away the strong sunlight during the day. But I'll still buy the same fabric for my MBR for a better afternoon nap.

An advantage of choosing a dark colour for curtains is that it does not get dirty easily.

My curtains run on this type of track. Which is easier to hang and fix.

For my study room, I bought this curtain blind from IKEA, which costs me only $49. 

A closer look at the blind:

 For curtains at those corners of the rooms, I bought this type of off the shelves curtain, full length, only about $25 per piece.

 I hope this post will give you an idea on saving cost on curtains :)

Crizto - Good and Satisfactory service!

I've mentioned in my earlier post on the cost of repairing my rain shower, but here I would like to praise the good service received from Crizto.

I bought my Crizto rain shower set from Royal Fanco, there was a problem with the diverter as water flow down from both the handheld shower head and the rain shower head. I did not rectify this problem and miss the warranty period, and I only get it repaired recently. The cost of repairing the diverter is $123 inclusive of $30 transport and 7% GST.

I called Royal Fanco about the problem earlier this year, the lady (I think is Harry's wife) noted my contact and Crizto called me in the same day. An appointment was fixed and the person turned up on the day and replaced the diverter. 3 months warranty was given.

I called Crizto hotline last week regarding the diverter, which was not functioning to my satisfactory and appointment on the weekend was given and the man turned up on time, he replaced another diverter for me FOC. According to the man, my old diverter was the old design where it loosen easily, he given me a new design where it controls the diverter better.

Overall, I'm very satisfied with the services provided. The person answering my call attended me professionally and the man repairing my item turn up on time. Appointment was given in the same week I made the call, unlike many other big brands who can only give me a late appointment.

The cost of repairing a set of rain shower

I've previously mentioned that I do not like rain shower, here I would like to explain why.

No doubt rain shower is a cool item to have in your bathroom, but you might want to consider the cost of it before revamping your bathroom to have this facility, especially for HDB owners.

For me, I do not like rain shower, but I stay in a Condo where water heaters were already installed by the developer, so I would stick to water heater and rain shower set.

The reasons I dislike rain shower are:

1) Its cost, a water heater would cost at least $200, a set of rain shower with  conceal mixer, shower head, connecting nod and etc would cost close to $300, you may refer to my earlier post here.
2) Again, the cost! The cost of maintenance is high. I've recently repair the diverter for one of my rain showers, and it costs me $123 inclusive of labour and GST (I'll have a separate post on this), I remember a new set of electronic water heater with shower head is only around $160 to $180.
3) It takes longer time to heat up the water compares to electronic water heater, as this type of water heater tank is bigger and it heats the water and store inside the tank, whereas electronic water heater does not store the hot water, it just heats and use as and when you on the button.
4) As it takes longer time to heat the water up, you'll need to let your water run from the rain shower for about 2 to 5 minutes to get the hot water, it thus wastes the water.
5) When the water heater is on, it heats the whole tank of water, thus higher electronic consumption.

Having said that, I would still install the rain showers in my bathrooms if given a chance again, the reasons are:
1) It is really a cool and clean design, you'll need it if you want the classy look of a hotel liked bathroom.
2) It saves up space for my small size bathrooms.
3) The water tank heater were already build in by the developer, no extra cost incurred to install the water tank, but if I were to stay in HDB, I would  rather choose electronic water heater.

I hope the above give you an idea of the pros and cons of a rain shower and help you in your decision making :)
The little nod pointed by the red arrow is the diverter which costs me $123 to repair. This diverter functions in changing the water flow from the handheld shower head to the rain shower head and vice verse.

Important Notice

Please note that all photographs posted on my website are my proprietaries. Should you need to use any of them, kindly email to winnyyap@hotmail.com to seek my approval.
Use of photographs without my consent will be treated as copyright infringement and I will make police report against any company or individual for doing so.

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    The Purpose of this blog

    The purpose of this blog is to share with you my experience in renovating my house. Renovation can be a hassle for most people especially in sourcing for contractors and supplies. I hope the information I've shared here can shorten your time spent on doing research or marketing.
    Feel free to drop me a comment or question on all my posts, I assure you that they'll be answered in shortest possible time.

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