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Getting into a steamy tizz over your ironing?

23 Apr 2013, 16:06

Getting Into A Steamy Tizz Over Your Ironing?

Nobody likes ironing, so why not take a quick look at our guide to buying an iron. Having the right iron could not only speed things up for you,
it could make the the job a whole lot easier.

Where to start?


There are 2 main types of iron available today. Firstly, the steam iron that has an in built water tank used for holding water for generating
steam on demand by pressing either a button or trigger.  Some models offer continuous steam, normally set by the 'mode' dial or a 'slider'.
Secondly is the steam generator models that have a separate water tank which holds considerably more water than the conventional steam iron allowing
for longer ironing periods between refills.

Conventional Steam Iron

A Conventional Steam Iron And Steam Generator Iron.

The steam irons having built in water tanks are smaller than the generator models and take up less space making them easier to store.
They heat up quickly so you can get on with the ironing almost immediately. You can have a shot of steam on demand for those tougher creases with the
simple press of a trigger or button. Some models even have continuous steam functions allowing you to have a continuous stream of steam without having to
hold in the steam button. The built in tank makes a steam iron ideal for those with smaller ironing piles or those that do smaller amounts of ironing.
Steam irons are generally less costly than most steam generator, but prices do vary considerably depending on individual characteristics and features.

Steam generators have an external water tank which allows for much longer ironing periods, anything upto 3 times longer between refills than a conventional
steam iron. Steam generators are usually more powerful and far more suited to heavier tasks or larger loads. With the water tank not being an integral part of
the iron the 'handset' is much lighter than a steam iron. The extra power and larger tank makes steam generators perfect for those with larger ironing piles
or for those that prefer to get all the ironing done in one go with minimum stoppages for refills. Most generators have a vertical steam function making them
ideal for steaming things while they are hanging, such as large, heavy curtains, delicate ornate clothing or simply sprucing up business suits. Steam generators
can be harder to store and take up considerably more space than steam irons. Generator irons are generally more expensive to purchase than steam
irons but again this varies greatly depending on individual characteristics and features.

Some key features and functions to look out for.


Limescale can drastically reduce the lifespan and performance of your iron, both steam and generator models come with different 'self clean' or 'descale' settings
that take measures to breakdown the limescale. This function should be used regularly to maintain the peak performance of your iron. In harder water areas where
limescale builds up quicker, using the self clean or descale should be done after every ironing session. If you live in a very hard water area then possibly
one of the larger steam generator irons with replaceable filter cartridges maybe the best solution. This does add an extra running cost but weighed against
having to replace your iron every year will work out much more cost effective. The cost of cartridges differs greatly depending on manufacturer and model of iron
so checking these prices would be a good idea before choosing your iron. How often you replace the cartridges depends on how much ironing you do per week and the
hardness of the water in your area. As a rough guide, if you iron for 2 hours per week you should replace your filter in soft water areas twice a year, In medium
hardness areas 4 times, and in very hardness areas 8 times. This varies and manufacturer guidelines should always be followed to obtain the best results from your
appliance.

Length of leads and hoses should be noted. Is the socket you use when ironing at floor or worktop level? do you have ample work area to safely store your iron or
its tank without catching the lead or hose. Make sure you have plenty of lead to be able to carry out your ironing safely and effectively, you should be able to
iron the whole of the surface of your ironing board without snagging, stretching the lead or having to repeadedly move the ironing board.

Continuous steam is extremely useful when ironing items while they are still hanging as mentioned earlier, although not all models allow continuous steam on lower
temperatures. If you have delicate, embroidered or decorated items you are wanting to steam on lower heat settings then checking the vertical steam specification
of the iron before buying.

Safety cut outs are paramount as accidents can happen. The 2 main safety cut out features are that if the iron isnt moved, even in the vertical
position for a set amount of time, the iron switches itself off. The second cut out feature is that if the iron is laid flat for a set amount of time, then
again the iron switches itself off. There are other safety features such as hose clips to prevent hoses becoming trip hazards etc. These vary by
manufacturer and model, so careful consideration is a must prior to purchase.

Cord, hose and general storage should also be considered before investing in your iron. Nobody wants an untidy tangled mess to negotiate when ironing, so where
you are going to store your iron when not in use could be important when choosing the right iron for you. Generator irons can take up twice the space of a
steam iron due to the external tank and having a hose aswell as a mains lead, so check how tidily they can be stored and the space they need.

Steam pressure is a factor that most people recognise as a factor when choosing an iron. This can be rated as a shot (single short burst of steam)
or continuous (a steady stream of steam). The steam output is generally measured in g/min and the higher the figure the greater the amount of steam produced per
minute. The amount of steam you require depends on the amount and type of ironing you want the iron to be able to carry out. Heavier ironing or longer
periods of ironing will be made easier by having a higher rated amount of steam, where as lighter ironing or shorter periods could be carried out on a lower
rated iron.

These are just a few key features and points to help find the right iron for you and hopefully take some of the hard work out of your ironing. If you would
like to find out more about any of our steam or generator irons, please feel free to talk to one of our friendly and helpful sales team. You can contact them
at sales@brennands.co.uk or give them a call on 01484 940011 and they'll do all they can to help.
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