Friedrich built their name in the room air conditioner market, but their line of portable room dehumidifiers caught my attention while looking for a new dehumidifier to replace our now defunct Kenmore model. The design and overall features looked perfect for our wants and needs, so time to unwrap this thing and do a complete install, including continuous drainage.
Benefits of a Dehumidifier
A garage, basement, or any other space experiencing excessive humidity can wreak havoc on tools, cabinets of all materials types, clothing, etc., and create damaging mildew on your home when not controlled.
Our basement, for example, averages 10% higher humidity when no dehumidifier is active. That’s a substantial increase during the hot and humid months. We want to keep the amount of humidity in check so we don’t cause unnecessary damage that can cost into the thousands of dollars to replace and repair.
Dehumidifier capacity is usually measured in pints per 24 hours and is determined by two factors: the size of the space that needs to be dehumidified, and the conditions that exist in that space before dehumidification.
Friedrich has 3 models of dehumidifiers (D25, D50, D70) and created an easy to understand guide for sizing the right dehumidifier to the space and conditions.
|Room Conditions||Small to
100 – 1,000 sq. ft.
1,000 – 2,000 sq. ft.
Area feels damp and has a
musty odor only in humid
Area always feels damp &
has a musty odor & may
exhibit damp spots on walls
Area always feels and smells
wet and the walls & floors
sweat or seepage is present
Area has wet floors or exhibits
Why Choose a Friedrich Dehumidifier?
There are a lot of brands making dehumidifiers as part of their diverse product lines. This time I wanted to try a brand that has a more focused product line. Friedrich primarily makes in room air conditioners and 3 models of portable dehumidifiers. Nothing else. We’ll see if their limited prioritization equates to a better product.
|Dehumidification Capacity* (Pints/24 hrs)||25||50||70|
|Built-in Drain Pump||No||Yes||Yes|
|Bucket Capacity (Pints)||11.5 approximate||16.2 approximate||16.2 approximate|
|Easy Roll Casters||Yes, included||Yes-built in||Yes-built in|
Top Panel Control Features
The dehumidifier functions are very accommodating and easy to understand. The only feature missing and I would like to see added is a notification light when the filter is dirty.
Easy Access Filter
The filter with handle is conveniently placed in front of the control panel and accessible from the top. Lift up for removal…slide in for insertion. No need to remove other parts or dig for the filter internally.
Once the dehumidifier is removed from the box; the dehumidifier is mainly assembled; you’ll want to remove the drain bucket to access the included accessories.
- The D25BNP model will have casters that need to be installed, whereas the D50BP and D70BP will have the casters already attached.
- A corrugated continuous drain hose (middle hose in image) is included in all 3 dehumidifier models.
- Models D50BP and D70BP include another smaller clear vinyl hose( left hose in image) for the built-in drain pump feature.
Note: Far right part in drain bucket (blue tape covered) is the float that activates the built-in drain pump or shuts the dehumidifier off when the bucket is full.
Two Drain Options
Who wants to keep emptying a bucket of water daily! Many dehumidifiers have a continuous drain feature, but what if you don’t have the luxury of draining downwards into a floor drain? Maybe you need to route a hose upwards into a sink?
Larger capacity models D50BP and D70BP have built-in drain pumps that can pump condensation vertically or horizontally up to a combined distance of 15 feet.
Option 1 – All 3 models (D25BNP, D50BP, and D70BP) have the continuous drain port. This works by gravity alone, so the hose needs to route downward and into a drain. The drain bucket will not be filled.
- Remove the drain cap and rubber plug. Store the black plug in a safe place in case you need to reinstall it again. The drain bucket is a good option since it won’t be filling with water anyways.
- Insert the supplied rubber o-ring into the flange end of the corrugated hose. Slide the cap over the other end.
- Tighten the cap back onto the threaded fitting.
Make sure the drain hose is flowing downward. A sump pump basin or floor drain makes displacing water maintenance free.
Option 2 – Choose either the D50BP or D70BP models and the humidifier will include another drain port that’s connected to a built-in pump. Now you have the ability to pump condensation vertically or horizontally up to a combined distance of 15 feet.
This drainage option, however, does allow the drain bucket to fill, then once the float is activated, the pump will turn on and empty the drain bucket.
- Locate the built-in pump drain port.
- Locate the supplied drain hose with pre-attached locking key.
- Push the hose and key assembly into the port until you hear a “click” sound.
Note: The hose and key assembly are easily removed by push the ribbed portion of the button to unlock.
Plug In. Power Up. Remove Humidity.
Like most portable dehumidifiers, the installation is fairly straightforward once you sort out your drainage needs. The settings control panel is simple to understand. Plug the dehumidifier in a 115VAC outlet, push the power button, and adjust your settings.
If you have any additional questions, concerns, or pre-purchase product queries, the dehumidifier Installation and Operation Manual in the Brochures tab can be helpful.
Not in the Manual
Once the setup was complete, there were a few concerns I had about how the Friedrich D50BP dehumidifier was operating, and the answers I needed weren’t found in the manual, so I called customer service.
- Removal and reinsertion of the drain bucket has around a 2.5 -3 minute lag before the dehumidifier auto restarts if power was never turned off. Friedrich confirmed that this is normal.
- Humidistat seemed very inaccurate (5% variance) on turning the dehumidifier off / on at setpoint. Friedrich advises to set the humidity control at the lowest setting of 30% for a day or two. The humidistat will adjust itself to the environment, then setpoint should be more accurate.
We’ll continue to check back and log long term results of our Friedrich D50BP dehumidifier.
- June, 2015 – Initial installation
- May, 2016 – A long winter but finally enough humidity in the atmosphere to justify the need for a dehumidifier in the basement. The unit was plugged back in and turned on with zero problems. Note: Now’s a good time to check the filter and inspect the drainage, if connected.
I give our Friedrich Dehumidifier 5-Stars and highly recommend the brand, but there are plenty of other highly-rated dehumidifiers to choose from as well.
Review: Bosch Power Box 360 Jobsite Radio
A radio designed with a rugged environment in mind and packed full of multi-tasking features.
The Bosch Power Box 360 Jobsite Radio is built with a muscular exoskeleton of sorts to withstand the abuses of a jobsite. Add in the many features and striking appearance, and you have a radio that can appeal to many situations. With such a lengthy list of positives, Bosch seems to have a clear winner. Or do they?
The Bosch PB360 drew my interest for a few specific reasons:
- When having several Bosch batteries, could the PB360 be used as a short term portable generator, supplying power to the 120V power outlets? Read on for the answer!
- When in the market for a jobsite or shop radio, the stylish Power Box radio easily tops a list. It screams durability and coolness.
Bosch PB360D vs. PB360S vs. PB360C
This review is based on the Power Box 360D and 360S models, which are discontinued, but may still be available, and replaced by the 360C. However, many of the main features remain the same.
The PB360D (deluxe) radio includes all the features of the PB360S, while adding a few more options.
- Remote control
- Sirius radio compatibility
- GFCI rated 120v outlets
As mentioned the PB360C is the latest Power Box radio, which addresses ever changing technology and a few other details.
What’s changed with the most recent PB360C model, compared to the older PB360D and PB360S?
- GFCI outlets (deleted)
- 12V DC Outlet (deleted)
- 12V DC Fuse (deleted)
- SD/MMC – MP3, WMA Compatible – Card Port (deleted)
- Line Out Port (deleted)
- Bluetooth® connectivity for internet radio and stored music with range of up to 150 feet has replaced the plug-in ports for mobile devices. (added)
Having a radio on the jobsite has made quite the transformation. We have gone from small – lightweight radios that could tune in your favorite channels…to the multi-tasking behemoth you see in this article.
- 14.5″ x 14″ x 13.5″
- 24.2 lbs. (bare radio, no battery or accessories)
The Power Box 360 Jobsite Radio incorporates a brawny cage and shock absorbing design to keep the radio and internal components separated from impacts.
Radio / Tuner
The radios 20 FM / 10 AM Presets are probably more than any user may need, but better than not having enough.
Reception? Finding a strong signal wasn’t any better…or worse…than all the radios I have had over the years. Get too far inside the walls of a home or building, and reception is gone. Stay near exterior windows or have the radio outside, the reception is fine. There is a short (5″) swivel based antenna that tucks neatly away, or can be revealed and adjusted for reception.
The tuner dial isn’t the quickest to scroll through frequencies. I’ve had radios that could span the entire frequency range with a quick spin or two of the dial. The PB360 tuner dial can be turned as fast as you want, but the speed never changes from it’s very slow click-by-click setting.
For a portable jobsite and shop radio, the 4.5″ subwoofer is substantial, and does provide ample bass.
4x speakers surround the top portion of the radio housing for 360° sound.
Volume has a scale of 1 – 20; noticeable distortion begins around the 12-15 mark, depending on music and media type, but still loud enough to annoy any nearby neighbors.
The sound can be fined tuned with 5 Preset Equalizer settings, along with separate Bass & Treble controls.
Digital Media Bay
SD Memory Cards – MP3 & WMA files will be recognized whether in folders or uncategorized. The radio doesn’t recognize individual folders though. All the songs will be listed in order from 1 – to – however many songs are on the card.
USB – Will charge small devices from the AC power or Bosch Lithium-Ion battery.
Apple products compatibility – I couldn’t get any of my Apple products to work with the PB360 and it’s features, and this seems to be a hit or miss from other reviews I have seen. Wanting to use as an emergency back-up to charge an iPhone, or power an iPad in case of an extended power outage? Not an option!
- iPod won’t connect and play music through the radio
- USB port won’t acknowledge and charge an iPhone, iPad, or iPod.
My Nikon point-and-shoot camera connected and charged from the USB port with no problem. I just can’t think of why I would ever need to to charge my pocket camera via the radio.
Note: I haven’t purchased and tested the latest PB360C model to confirm if Apple product compatibility is more stable through the USB and if Bluetooth is 100% effective.
AUX 1, AUX 2, and Line Out – With the emergence of bluetooth and other technology, I tossed my converters for these ports some time ago, and was unable to test.
12V Outlet & 120V Power Outlets
The PB360 is not a generator that can supply power to the power outlets from the battery pack. The PB360 only supplies power when plugged into 120v AC power.
Did I expect to work on a jobsite all day and operate power tools? No! But, I was hoping to plug in a Bosch 18V FatPack battery and power my strobes for a handful of remote location photographs, charge a phone if need be, or run some small corded power tools for a short time if I needed portable power.
Not having cordless portable power negated the need for me to have outlets on the Bosch Power Box. My shop is swarming with outlets to plug into, and I already have a heavy duty extension cord with a multiple outlet end for jobsites, which is rated for 15A, compared to the 10A outlets the radio provides.
AC Outlets = 10A
DC Outlets = 1A (fused for protection – replaceable)
A compatible Bosch Lithium-Ion battery only powers the radio and digital media ports when not plugged into a 120V outlet.
When the unit is plugged into a power outlet and a Bosch battery is inserted into the battery bay, you’ll notice:
- The LCD will display the “CHARGING” ICON on the front of the unit. This indicates the battery pack is charging.
- When the word “CHARGING” next to the battery ICON disappears, charging is complete.
Note: The battery bay also includes a small door that houses 2 AA batteries, which are needed to keep current time when unit is not plugged in.
The Bosch Power Box 360 Jobsite Radio is bold, rugged, has premium sound when comparing portable radios, plays music in a variety of ways, and puts a lot of features into one package. My problem was finding an admiration and use for this all-in-one device that fit my lifestyle and needs.
Abode Home Security System Review
Living on the top floor of a condo building for the last six years provided me a feeling of security that couldn’t be matched by a home security system. I felt no need to install motion sensors or door/window sensors throughout our unit as I was pretty confident that nobody would be scaling up the building to break into our unit, nor did I feel that anyone would dare break in the front door past the locked security door and barrage of building security cameras. It wasn’t until we moved into an actual house did I feel the need to research home security systems to protect me and my family.
When I first started my research I went to all of the big names first, like ADT and Xfinity. I even had ADT people coming to my door for at least 3 weeks after we first moved in, but I wasn’t ready to pull the trigger. In actuality, I just didn’t want to sign a contract that forced me into paying almost $30 a month for a service that, in all likelihood, I would never use.
I grew up in a house without a security system and never once did we have an issue with break-ins… (knock on wood).
I was completely skeptical about the whole security system thing in general, but my wife felt that it would be a sound investment for our protection, and the protection of our children, so I pressed on.
After getting things settled around the new house, I started talking to an electrician friend of mine about home automation and what we could do around the house to take advantage of all the new smart home tech hitting the market, and that’s when we started talking about Abode.
At first glance, Abode seemed to offer everything I was looking for in a security system. It integrates with a lot of home automation products, it only charges you for off-site monitoring if you choose to pay for it, it’s easily controlled from a smart phone, and all of the components are wireless and easy to install. It sounded like a no-brainer, so I went ahead and ordered the starter kit along with a few additional sensors.
Abode Starter Kit
Abode puts together a very nice starter kit to ensure that you have a well-rounded set of sensors to protect your home right out of the box. If you have a larger home, or a home with more than two entrances, you will want to consider picking up some extra sensors, but the starter kit does a good job of, well, getting you started.
The starter kit comes with the Abode Gateway, which is the brains of the operation. The gateway connects directly to your internet router and comes with a built in 93db siren, 12 hour backup battery, ZigBee, Z-Wave and AbodeRF support (for home automation compatibility), as well as cellular backup if you choose to enable it.
In addition to the gateway you also receive 2 door/window sensors, 1 indoor motion sensor w/camera, 1 remote key fob, iOS and Android app access as well as web access to control the system. All of this comes to you without any sort of monthly service fee.
If you’re looking to jump right in with a security system then the start kit is the way to go, but I was looking to add a little bit more than the starter kid offered so I also received an additional 2 door/window sensors, 1 motion sensor w/camera, and 1 wireless keypad.
I work from home so I wanted to make sure I had some extra protection for my home office, so a door/window sensors in addition to the motion sensor seemed like a good way to make it secure. And the wireless keypad was a suggestion from my friend as a way to let my parents or friends into the house when we’re not around, allowing them to manually turn off the alarm system if needed.
Installation and Setup
Installation of the actual devices throughout your home is very simple and intuitive. All of the sensors and cameras adhere to your doors, windows, and walls using 3M tape that is included on the devices. If you’re a little skeptical about these devices being installed by just a piece of tape, I was too, but there’s no reason to worry. The heavy-duty 3M tape that is used on the devices is more than enough to keep them stuck in place for years to come. The devices themselves are extremely lightweight and I’ve hung other things in our home using a similar tape with no issues.
Taping the devices in place was very easy and straight forward, however the one issue I did have was you have to make sure that the door/window sensor pieces line up exactly so that they know when the doors/windows are open and closed. The doors in our home have trim around them, so I had to angle the sensors on the trim in a way that allowed the sensor pieces to communicate with each other each time the door was opened or closed. Depending on the way your doors are setup, you may have to experiment with the actual placement of the sensors to ensure that they properly detect the doors/windows opening and closing.
Setting up the devices with the app was also pretty straight forward and a fairly easy process. If you order the starter kit then the devices within that starter kit are already linked to the gateway and ready to go. Once you get through the initial setup of the gateway, those devices will automatically appear as part of your system and be ready to go once you remove the little plastic piece preventing the batteries from making a connection.
When it comes to adding extra devices, outside of the starter kit, I did run into a small issue. I could not get my 2nd Motion Sensor w/ Camera to link to my system and had to contact customer support. Support had me go through a slightly convoluted process within the web app in order to set the gateway into pairing mode and allow it to recognize the new device I was trying to add.
It was just this one Motion Sensor that I had issues with, I had no problem pairing the wireless keypad or 2 other door/window sensors to the existing system, but that leads me to the Abode smart phone app itself…
When it comes to arming the system and basic settings through the app, I had relatively no issues, but when it came to adding certain devices (even 1st party Abode devices), the app was less than intuitive. For some devices you can’t use the smart phone app and instead you have to open up the web app either on your phone or on your computer in order to add them. I understand that Abode may not be able to determine, out of all the smart devices out there, which device you’re trying to link up, through their app, but it was odd to me that for an actual Abode product, I couldn’t go through the smart phone app itself. So that process was a little wonky for me and I hope they come up with a better solution in the future.
Outside of pairing devices and manually arming the system, you can also setup geofencing and time schedules which allow you to customize how and when your security system is armed.
Again, I had to use the website on a computer to set these up, but in this case I wasn’t too bothered by it since it probably would have been tedious to do on a phone in the first place.
Location activation lets you setup a radius around your home that will trigger the security system activation and deactivation when you leave or arrive home. If you have more than one person in the home, who has a smart phone, you can add users to your account and set it up so that the alarm activates when the last person leaves the home, and deactivate when the first person arrives back home. This is a great feature since I know I would forget to arm the system manually every time we left the house.
The geofencing activation/deactivation works pretty well and is usually pretty accurate. I hadn’t had any issues with the system arming and disarming as intended until a couple weeks ago, and now it seems like it’s not activating as we leave the intended area, but rather activating at a random time after we leave, sometimes up to an hour later. I’m not sure if this is due to my cell service, my phone, or communication between the Abode app and it’s servers, but something has definitely changed in the last few weeks to make this feature not as effective, so I’m hoping it gets figured out.
As I mentioned above, I went with Abode because it tied into a variety of different smart devices, but also because it doesn’t force you into any sort of contracts, and doesn’t even require any monthly payment to maintain your secure home. However, if you want that added protection, it is available to you.
One of my favorite features of Abode is the fact that if we are going out of town for an extended period of time I can purchase 24/7 protection just for a long weekend, or weeks at a time. I don’t have to sign a contract, I don’t have to pay for an entire month… I only need to pay for monitoring during the time when I am away. Of course you can always pay for 24/7 monitoring all the time if you’d like as well.
In addition to that, you can also purchase plans for cellular backup in case you lose internet connection and still want your security system to notify you when an alarm goes off.
Since the system is limited to a siren in your home (if you don’t pay for monitoring), and a notification to your smart phone, if you lose internet connection at your home, you won’t know if your alarm is going off or not. Abode will notify you if it loses connection though, so you can troubleshoot the issue, but if you’re out of town and that happens, you’re not really secure anymore. That’s where the cellular backup plans come into affect.
If you want to ensure that your alarm will always notify you when it activates, then a cellular backup plan is what you’ll want. This ensure thats if you lose internet connection, your Abode gateway can still communicate with the Abode server through a cellular data connection instead of your local internet connection.
Overall Thoughts on the Abode Security System
After having used the Abode system for a few months now I can honestly say that I’m pretty happy with it. I like the lack of monthly fees and contracts, I like how easy it is to install and setup, and I like how I have the ability to add-on to the system as my needs increase (in the form of 3rd party smart devices or more Abode devices). All my love for the system doesn’t come without a few gripes though…
I do wish the mobile app was a little more intuitive and allowed me to more easily set up different devices without having to use a computer or the web app. And I hope that the geofencing arming, disarming, issue gets resolved soon, whatever the issue may be. Other than those two things though, I really would recommend the Abode security system if you’re looking for a great way to protect your home and family, as well as a great way to tie all your smart devices together.
As of the publishing of this article, the Abode starter kit is on sale for $299 (normally $359), if you don’t require any sort of monitoring. That’s not a bad deal for everything you get out of it. So head on over to their website and take a look, it might be just what you’re looking for out of a home security system.
Review: Dottus 3-Drawer Metal Shoe Cabinet
A slim, sleek and concealed shoe organizer that provides quick access to several of your everyday shoes.
The Italian designed Dottus metal shoe cabinet provides a slim and sleek shoe storage solution that easily mounts on a wall. Use multiple cabinets in a modular layout for additional storage.
One of my minimizing phases led me to reducing the amount of excess automotive tools I had, which freed up the lower half of a tool chest and works great for neatly storing 35-40 pairs of flats, high heels and boots for the household.
Now, we just needed a little more shoe storage for the most common worn shoes near the garage entry door to keep the trend of a clutter-free floor. The shoes needed to hidden, but we also wanted a cabinet with an inconspicuous presence as well.
Sure, a fully decked out garage can be nice, but not always needed. I love the existing Gladiator Garage Work products we have, but in my opinion they only look nice when covering a whole wall, and we already achieved that.
A single Gladiator large Gearbox placed by the entry would be too bold and look like a mishmash just on it’s own, and we definitely didn’t need, or budget, for another wall of cabinets. On to another resolution.
There’s a Container Store in our area, which I know has a ton of organizing solutions, and this is where I discovered the Italian designed Dottus metal shoe cabinets. Yes, the cabinets are a little pricey, but the perfect answer to our problem, and a quality product pays for itself in the long run. The white epoxy coated finish blends with our white walls and the slim profile camouflages the cabinets even more. We now have quick access to several of our everyday shows without them being sprawled on the floor.
- 20″ x 6″ x 41″ h
- Textured epoxy coated metal structure, available in platinum or white.
- Included are plastic bars, 1 per drawer, which horizontally lock in on both sides to help secure shoes when the drawers are folded close.
- A vertical metal bar connects all the drawers together, making all drawers open / close at the same time. Get access to all your shoes with one motion.
- Comes fully assembled and is easy to install with wall anchors.
- Multiple cabinets work well in a modular layout for maximum storage. Stack and place side-by-side.
Note: I’m happy we were able to get the 4-drawer version before it was replaced by the 3-drawer model at The Container Store. Dottus makes several drawer configurations and finishes, and being such a great product from our experience, I’m not sure why the full product line isn’t more readily available and in demand to the U.S. market.
Shoes that fit – there are limitations
I find that some high heel shoes with solid backs angle back too far and can get hung up on the back of the cabinet wall in the middle of the opening and closing process. This can lead to the drawers getting jammed. Placing shoes with heels on their sides, as shown, works better in our experience. High heels with strap backs flex more easily and can be placed upright.
Each drawer is 12.5″ deep and easily stores the following:
- Two pairs of men’s dress shoes up to size 10, per drawer.
- Two pairs of men’s sneakers up to size 11, per drawer.
- Two pairs of women’s dress shoes with heels and one pair of flats, per drawer.
What I don’t like
This type of cabinet design, where the shoes are stored vertically when the doors are closed, tends to allow sandals and flats to tip and fall sideways. Why? These shoes are shallow, which doesn’t allow them to fit tightly between the drawer floor and plastic crossbar, therefore flopping around as the drawers open and close.
However, the shoes remain secure inside each drawer, but if you’re like me and want things in perfect order, you may find yourself doing shoe alignment more times than you’d like.
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