Thursday, September 15, 2016

Oxygenics PowerMassage Model 88446 Showerhead Review

The Oxygenics PowerMassage Model 88446 Showerhead provides five spray patterns, all of which offer robust sprays. The company claims that its "dual Oxygenics Engine" creates the impression of greater spray pressure than standard design showerheads. There would appear to be some credibility to this claim since the 88446 uses only 1.75 gallons per minute, far less that the "water saver" showerheads that use 2.5 gallons per minute.

Oxygenics also gets bonus points not only for printing easy installation instructions on the box, but for including Teflon tape as a needed item in the parts. Labels on both ends of the connecting hose ensure that the  correct connections will be made. Installation is simple, easy, and straightforward. However, if you have problems, there is support through a Web site, an email contact, and an 800 toll-free telephone line. There is also a QR code on the box, promising video of the spray patterns and features.

All the needed installation parts were included in the box. If your old showerhead is stuck on tightly, or if the threads on the pipe are seriously stuck with teflon tape, you might need some slip joint pliers and an  awl (to help dig out the old tape). Otherwise, the installation is a hands-only, fifteen-minute job.

The five spray patterns are well chosen: multi, wide stream, focused stream, flood, and massage. The selector handle turns easily but gives a solid feel to the head. The water sprays with plenty of energy, feeling at least like a 2.5 gallon-per-minute head. The head works well, as advertised, and adjusts easily.

The only quibbles we could discern are:  (1) The hose connecting the faucet to the showerhead is very stiff. This five-foot hose needs to be worked with so that it doesn't stick out sideways from the wall. It might be that after a sufficient amount of hot showers flow through, the hose will soften and relax. Meanwhile, some bending is needed to help out. (2) The proprietary "pressure chamber" that mixes the water and air together drains when you turn off the shower in the same way those outdoor hose bib anti-siphon valves drain when you turn off the hose.

Bottom Line
Showerheads grow increasingly fancy with multiple spray patterns (I saw one at the store boasting 35 patterns) and various features. Some heads are huge, approaching ten inches in diameter.  A few are metal and  quite heavy. The Oxygenics PowerMassage Model 88446 is made of a sturdy plastic with a beautiful brushed nickel finish. It's light enough for anyone to handle easily. It works very well.

Highly Recommended. Five Stars *****.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Black & Decker TLD100 Thermal Leak Detector Review

The Black & Decker TLD100 Thermal Leak Detector is an excellent tool, and I haven't even tried it for its designated use yet. The TLD100 s positioned as an air leak locator, finding temperature irregularities that signal heating or cooling leaks.

In actuality, the TLD100 is an infrared thermometer. It can read the surface temperature of objects in a range from minus 22 to 302 degrees Fahrenheit, from a few inches to four or more feet away. Understanding this, you can see the versatility.

1. Say you microwave some leftovers for thirty seconds or a minute. Did they get hot enough? All over? I nuked some refrigerated casserole for six minutes. The TLD100 reported that the food had reached only 115 degrees. So I rezapped it for a couple more minutes and the TLD100 said it had reached 165, which is perfect.

2. I bought the TLD100 as an adjunct in locating a water leak. Yes, I realize that this is "off label," but think about this. I might be able to locate, say, the hot water pipe under the slab by noting floor temperature differentials. The unit is designed to compare questioned area temperatures with reference temperatures.

3. Open the fridge or the freezer and check their temperature.

4. Is the parking lot or the beach sand too hot to walk on in bare feet? Check the temp with the TLD100 and find out.

5. How cool is the air coming from your air conditioning vent? Measure the surface temp of the vent as a proxy.

6. How hot is the air coming from your heater vent?

7. Maybe measure the surface temp of your pool water. Bathtub water?

8. You can even use it for its intended purpose!!!

Bottom line: At the reasonable price it sells for, I recommend getting one of these TLD100 Thermal Leak Detectors. If you have kids, you could teach them about temperature and various surfaces. (Plants will have a lower temp than asphalt, for example.)