# Dishwasher Vs Hand Washing: Save electricity, water and time?

We have an energy efficient dishwasher that we use efficiently and it only consume 0,15 euro in electricity and 0,024 euro in water per load.

Note that here the most important keyword it is EFFICIENT. Our dishwasher it is an ENERGY EFFICIENT APPLIANCE that we have learnt to USE EFFICIENTLY by learning what cycle consumes less energy and water.

For us it is a much better option to use the dishwasher rather than washing the dishes by hand because we are saving a considerable amount of time by using the dishwasher while saving water and not significantly increase the electricity cost.

Still, every case is different so we are going to show how you can find out if you are saving money, time and effort by using the dishwasher or if it makes more sense for you to clean your dishes by hand.

## Dishwasher Vs Hand Washing: Electricity consumption

– Dishwasher –

Our dishwasher, like any other dishwasher, has several cycle options. We have measured every cycle power consumption using a plug in power meter so we can know what cycle is the most economic. The results are displayed on the table below.

CyclePower consumptionTotal cost
70 degrees1,21 kWh0,31 euro
Auto0,80 - 1,10 kWh0,20 - 0,28 euro
Auto + Vario Speed1 kWh0,28 euro
Eco0,60 kWh0,15 euro

If you would also like to measure the power consumption of your dishwasher, have a look to the article where we show how to use a plug in power meter.

Since we came to know that the most economic it is the ‘Eco’ cycle, we are using this cycle every single time. It takes 3,5 hours to complete the cycle, but we leave it working overnight so this is not an issue for us.

– Hand washing –

But, how much electricity would we be consuming by heating the amount of water needed to clean the plates by hand?

Well, first we need to know how much water we are using for cleaning the plates by hand and then calculate how much energy in kWh our boiler uses to heat that amount of water.

By washing the dishes by hand and measuring the water consumption, we know that we use 14 liters of hot water to clean by hand the same amount of dishes that we can fit on our dishwasher.

It is difficult to find out how much does it cost to heat up 1 liter of water but out of doing some research we estimate that it takes 0,05 kWh.

As we are paying 0,217 euro per kWh, that means that it does cost us 0.1519 euro to heat up 14 liters of water.

Power consumptionTotal cost
Dishwasher0,60 kWh0,15 euro
Hand Washing0,7 kWh0,1519 euro

RESULT

Energy wise, it does cost us the same to clean the dishes by hand or by using out dishwasher.

Even assuming that we are using the dishwasher 20 times a month (this estimation takes in consideration vacations) we are saving a meager 0,5 cents a year by using the dishwasher.

## Dishwasher Vs Hand Washing: Water consumption

– Dishwasher –

We have measured the amount of water needed by our dishwasher to complete a cycle. For this, we just started a cycle and checked on the water meter the amount of water consumed from start to finish.

As we know that we are paying 2 euro per cubic meter of water, we can easily calculate the water cost. The results are shown on the table below.

Standard Cycle15 liters0.3 euro
Eco cycle12 liters0,024 euro

We have an efficient dishwasher so it consumes very little water. If you would also like to measure how much water your dishwasher is using, have a look to this article where we show how to read a water meter.

Also, if you want to calculate the water cost but you are not sure how, start by having a look to this article where we explain what a cubic meter of water is.

– Hand washing –

Now we need to know how much water, hot an cold, we would be using to clean by hand the same amount of dishes that we are able to fit in our dishwasher. For that, we will also check on our water meter the amount of water consumed from start to finish.

The results are that we are consuming 12 liters of cold water and 14 liters of hot water to hand wash the dishes. Let’s not that we have tried to use as little water as possible.

Dishwasher12 liters0.024 euro
Hand Washing26 liters0,052 euro

Water wise, it does cost us just an extra 3 cents more to clean the dished by hand.

Assuming that we are using the dishwasher 20 times a month (this estimation takes in consideration vacations) we are saving 7,2 euro a year on water by using the dishwasher.

Also, from the environmental point of view, we are saving 220 liters of water per month, or 2640 liters of water per year.

RESULT

Water wise, we are saving water and money by using the dishwasher rather than washing the dishes by hand

## Dishwasher Vs Hand Washing: Time consumption

– Dishwasher –

It takes us around 5 min to load the dirty dishes to the dishwasher and another 5 minutes to unload then dishwasher. This is, a total of 10 minutes per load.

– Hand washing –

To clean that same load by hand and then put back all the dishes to their place it takes us 30 minutes.

RESULT

As we are using the dishwasher almost once a day, that means that by using the dishwasher we are saving a total of 20 minutes per day that we can use for other activities.

By estimating that we use the dishwasher 20 times per month (this estimation takes in consideration vacations), we can calculate a total saving of 400 minutes (or 6,6 hours) per month by using the dishwasher instead of cleaning the dishes by hand.

This is 6,6 hours per month or 80 hours SAVED per year, well over three full days, by using the dishwasher.

Time consumed (per month)
Dishwasher3,3 hours
Hand Washing10 hours

Just note that it takes over 3 hours for the ECO cycle to finalize. Those three hours in any calculations because our time it is not being consumed.

## Dishwasher Vs Hand Washing: Supplies consumption

– Dishwasher –

For washing the dished at the dishwasher, we use one dishwasher tablet per load that costs around 0,13 euro per unit. Also, every month we need to use some dishwasher care liquid to clean the dishwasher and each bottle does cost us around 2,5 euro in supplies.

– Hand washing –

By washing the dished by hand, we need to have some dish washing liquid that it cost us around 2,5 euro per liter. Also we need a dish washing sponge that it cost us around 0,3 euro per unit.

Assuming that we are using 2 sponges per month and 1 liter of dish washing liquid, washing the dished by hand does cost us around 3 euro a month.

Assuming that we use the dishwasher 20 times per month (this estimation takes in consideration vacations), using the dishwasher does cost us around 5 euro in supplies.

RESULT

From the supplies perspective, the difference between hand washing or using the dishwasher it is nearly negligible.

Supplies cost (per month)
Dishwasher5 euro
Hand Washing3 euro

## Conclusion

From the direct costs perspective (water and electricity), it is nearly cost us he same to wash the dishes by hand or using the dishwasher.

ElectricityWaterSuppliesTotal cost (per month)
Dishwasher3 euro0,48 euro5 euro8,48 euro
Hand Washing3,03 euro1,04 euro3 euro7,1 euro

Still, two other major factors they need to be taken in consideration:

– The cost of having to purchase an energy efficient dishwasher, which is approximately 700 euro

– The time saved by not washing the dishes by hand, which is approximately 6,5 hours a month.

Even though 700 euro seems like a big cost, if we assume that the dishwasher will last us for 5 years, using the dishwasher is taking out of our budget only around 12 euro per month.

ALL IN ALL

Using the dishwasher does cost us more money than if we would be washing the dishes by hand. Approximately an extra 13,5 euros per month.

Still, we consider that in our case, those 6,5 hours that we save every month by using the dishwasher are worth more to us than those 13,5 euro per month that we would be saving by washing the dishes by hand. That time is better spent playing with our children, relaxing or writing this article.

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If you are looking for tips and advice on how to save some electricity, have a look to this video that we have prepared about this very same topic.

All our videos can be found in YouTube, in both and Spanish languages.

We hope that you have found this post informative and of value for you. If so, do not forget to share so others can also benefit from it.

# Do rechargeable batteries save money and reduce waste?

Rechargeable batteries Vs disposable batteries: Is it really worth the hassle of buying a battery charger and charge the batteries when they run out of power?

Is it not way easier to change an already discharged battery for a new one and just keep that expended battery on a box until you have time to take it to a collection spot?

Well, disposable batteries may have both an economic and a environmental impact so keep reading to know if in your particular case it is is worth to start using rechargeable batteries.

IKEA has recently made an announcement stating that:

Following IKEA’s commitment to inspire and enable people to live a healthier and more sustainable life at home, all non-rechargeable alkaline batteries will be removed from the global home furnishing range by October 2021.

With this decision, IKEA wishes to inspire consumers who need to frequently use batteries to make a switch to rechargeable batteries.

Regular use over time enables consumers to both save money and reduce waste at home.’

On the same announcement, IKEA mentions that:

‘Already after 10 charges of a rechargeable NiMH battery, such as the LADDA range sold in IKEA stores, greenhouse gas emissions are lower as compared to using alkaline batteries to obtain the same amount of energy.

When about 50 charges are reached, the overall environmental impact [2] of NiMH batteries is equal or even less than the impact of using alkaline batteries.[3]‘

As well as:

‘ IKEA sold roughly 300 million ALKALISK alkaline batteries last year and estimates that discontinuing them could lead to a reduction of 5,000 tons of global waste if all customers switched to rechargeable batteries and used them at least 50 cycles (which is just 10% of the 500 charge/discharge cycles each LADDA battery is rated for).’

Well, from IKEA’s perspective, it really looks like that it makes sense to change to rechargeable batteries but let’s have a look to what is the economic and environmental impact for the average household.

## Is it worth to buy and use rechargeable batteries?

A rechargeable battery it is roughly 4 times more expensive that a disposable battery and on the top of that we also need to buy a battery charger.

Also, charging the batteries must consume some electricity so, does charging batteries increase our electricity bill?

All those factors need to be considered as well as each one’s individual case.

If you are an individual and you only use batteries for the TV remote control and maybe for your wireless mouse, then having to buy a batteries charger for the more expensive rechargeable batteries makes no sense.

This is because maybe you will be using a pack of 8 batteries per year so the payback period would be far too long. In your case, from the money perspective, it makes sense to use disposable batteries

Still, if as an individual you have a hobby (e.g. photography) that requires the frequent use of batteries, than it really makes sense to buy rechargeable batteries.

On the other side, if you have one or more children at home you must know that many toys consume batteries at an alarming rate so in your case it is quite probable that you will be saving money by using rechargeable batteries.

As shown on the picture above, it takes only 16 recharges to pay back the battery charger and the extra cost of having to buy rechargeable batteries. For some families, 16 battery recharges can take place over a single Christmas period…

But, how much does it cost to recharge the batteries? This factor should be considered when deciding if buying rechargeable batteries it is worth, isn’t it?

Well, personally I pay 0,217 per every kWh I consume and using a plug in power meter I have measured that charging 4 AAA batteries has cost me just over 2 cents. The cost of charging the batteries it is nearly negligible.

## The environmental impact of disposable or rechargeable batteries

But, apart from the cost, there is another very important factor that we need to have in consideration. The environmental impact.

According to a publication on  ‘For the impact categories Acidification, Human toxicity (cancer effects), and Particulate matter, an “inefficient” use of the rechargeable devices (for only 20 charge cycles or less) could cause higher impacts than the employment of disposable batteries.

Additionally, in the same publication it is stated: ‘Moreover, for the Ozone depletion, NiMH batteries are hardly environmentally better than alkaline batteries even with 150 recharges.’

And as conclusions and recommendations, the following it is mentioned in the publication: ‘The number of uses of rechargeable batteries plays a key role on their environmental and energy performances. When compared to disposable batteries, a minimum number of 50 charge cycles permits a robust reduction of the potential impacts for all the analyzed indicators excluding the Ozone depletion. Hence, the use of rechargeable batteries should be mostly encouraged for high consumption devices such as cameras, torches, and electronic toys.’

Well, all in all we come back to the same situation. If you are an individual barely using batteries, it may actually not be environmentally friendly to buy rechargeable batteries.

If you are an individual using a big quantity of batteries because you are into photography, or you have a hobby that requires many batteries, most probably you will be recharging the batteries 50 or more times within a few months. In your case, using rechargeable batteries you would be reducing your impact to our ecology.

And, in the same situation, if you have small children at home and plenty of toys using batteries, from the environmental perspective it makes sense to buy rechargeable batteries.

## Conclusion

It seems that the key factor to decide what type of battery is better for you it is the number of times you will be recharging it.

If a rechargeable battery is disposed before going through 50 recharges, the environmental impact is greater than using disposable batteries.

From the money saving perspective, if you are using a significant amounts of batteries per year, or even per month, it is really worth to consider to swap to rechargeable batteries.

## Where to buy a battery charger and some rechargeable batteries

It is up to you but I personally use the most basic and economic battery charger I found in the market.

If you want to have an idea of the cost range, have a look to the battery chargers in Amazon. Amazon sells some rather economic AAA/AA battery chargers as well as an assorted range of rechargeable batteries.

Have a look, compare the reviews and decide which one suits your needs.

________________________________________________________________________

If you are looking for tips and advice on how to save some electricity, have a look to this video that we have prepared about this very same topic.

All our videos can be found in YouTube, in both and Spanish languages.

Additionally, if you are looking for energy saving opportunities but you don’t know where to start, use our electricity usage calculators to become aware of your electricity consumption, the electricity costs and the potential savings.

A few ‘Electricity usage calculators‘ examples:

#### Laptop

We hope that you have found this post informative and of value for you. If so, do not forget to share so others can also benefit from it.

# - Laundry washing ball - How to wash without detergent

We have been using a laundry washing ball at home at we can state that it works for us.

For those clothes that do not have any major stains, the laundry washing ball it is more than enough to have the clothes washed properly.

DETERGENT

We are paying 15 euro for a 3,5 liters detergent bottle that, at 70 ml of detergent per cycle, allows us to run 50 cycles per bottle of detergent.

Or, what it is the same, a cost of 30 cents per washing machine cycle.

LAUNDRY WASHING BALL

We have paid 16,95 euro for our washing ball and it has a lifespan of 1000 washing cycles, or three years, which gives us a cost of 0,016 euro per washing machine cycle.

Cost per cycle
Detergent30 cents
Laundry washing ball0,016 cents

## How does the laundry washing ball works?

The washing ball that we are using works by using a combination of magnets, minerals and ceramic balls.

This combination it is used to increase the water PH value so impurities can be loosen more easily and washed away.

You just need to put the washing ball inside your washing machine drum along the clothes, and that is it. Your clothes will be washed and no harmful substance or bleaches from detergents will finish up as part of the groundwater.

You can even add some fragrance for a natural laundry scent.  During the washing process, the fragrance is distributed throughout the laundry.

Just remember that after 25 washes should you place your washing ball in the sun to reactivate the effect of the mineral and ceramic balls.

## Sustainable washing

Conventional detergents release ingredients into the ground water that are difficult to degrade and cannot be fully filtered by sewage systems.

The fragrances, bleaches and ingredients contained in detergents are a burden for the ecosystem.

Additionally, many of these ingredients cause allergic reactions in humans.

By using a laundry washing ball instead of detergents, you will be actively avoiding the pollution of the ground water and protecting the environment sustainably.

## Save money on your laundry and reduce the cost per load

Do the math. It is very simple.

You must already know how much you are paying for your laundry detergent and how many loads you can run per bottle or per pack.

Now just divide the cost of the detergent by the number of loads and you get the cost per cycle.

A laundry ball can be used up to 1000 times so it is just matter of dividing the cost of laundry ball by 1000 to know the cost per cycle.

Cost per cycle
Detergent30 cents
Laundry washing ball0,016 cents

## Choosing a laundry washing ball

Clicking on the picture below will redirect you to the Amazon Germany website and to the product we have purchased for own use but, if you cannot get the same exact product in your country, there are many other vendors to choose from.

Just have a look to the product reviews to find those with the most positive feedback.

We want to leave very clear that for those clothes with major stains the washing ball may not be able to fully remove the stains. In those cases we are using detergent, until we come up with an eco friendly alternative.

For those clothes which just require to be washed up and refreshed, a laundry washing ball it is perfect alternative to detergents.

## An efficient lifestyle reduces waste and expenses

As we are within the water topic, you may be interested on learning how to reduce your water consumption and save money on your water bill. Click on the video below and let us show you other ways to conserve water.

All our videos can be found in YouTube, in both and Spanish languages.

Additionally, if you are looking for water saving opportunities but you don’t know where to start, use our water usage calculators to become aware of your water consumption, the water costs and the potential savings.

A few ‘Water usage calculators‘ examples:

#### Toilet

We hope that you have found this post informative and of value for you. If so, do not forget to share so others can also benefit from it.

# - How to test the quality of your drinking water at home -

In our household, for at least four years, we have been drinking bottled water on daily basis and just recently we have learnt that most probably we have wasted hundreds and hundreds of euro.

The reason of why we started using bottled water was that we used to live in a country where the water quality was not the best.

Additionally, we were aware that the water pipes that were used to bring water to the houses were very old.

And the government was using chloride to keep the drinking water within acceptable quality levels

Even by using chloride, the situation was so bad that there was once an instance when an entire city had to advice the citizens to stop using tap water for drinking and for weeks and the citizens had to purchase bottled.

Then, a few years ago, we moved to another country and, as we were used to, we kept buying bottled water for daily use. But, some months ago, we decided to challenge this decision and our motivations:

Is our tap water really that bad, or, does our tap water contains any harmful substances that makes necessary to purchase bottled water?

After all, we were spending many hundreds or euro every year buying bottled water.

## Drinking water test kit

We did look around for a test kit or device to test our tap water and we came across a test kit that seemed quite complete.

The water safe test kit measures the levels of Bacteria, Lead, Pesticides, Copper, Iron, Nitrates, Nitrites, pH, Hardness and Chlorine.

This test kit comes with quite clear instructions and so were able to perform most of the tests within one hour. Still, the only exception was the bacteria levels test which for which it takes up to 48 hours to shown a result.

And… all the test showed that our tap water is absolutely perfect to drink. Furthermore, the tests show the results in particles per million (PPM) and all our tests results were within the lowest levels of particles.

From one side, those were very positive news, that means that we can drink our tap water without any problem

On the other side, that means that over the years we had spent many hundreds of euro buying bottled water for nothing.

And you, have you ever wondered how clean is the water coming out from your taps and if it contains have harmful contaminants or substances?

## Water conservation

As we are within the water topic, you may be interested on learning how to reduce your water consumption and save money on your water bill.

Just click on the video below and let us show you other ways to conserve water.

All our videos can be found in YouTube, in both and Spanish languages.

Additionally, if you are looking for water saving opportunities but you don’t know where to start, use our water usage calculators to become aware of your water consumption, the water costs and the potential savings.

A few ‘Water usage calculators‘ examples:

#### Toilet

We hope that you have found this post informative and of value for you. If so, do not forget to share so others can also benefit from it.

# - How to use a plug in power meter -Measure your home devices and appliances electricity usage

## Older Vs Newer building - Thermal camera results

If your objective it is to decrease your electricity consumption and save money on your electricity bills, the first step that you need to take it is to measure how much electricity you are consuming.

Afterwards, you need to find the most effective ways to reduce your electricity consumption and measure how much electricity you are actually saving.

All of our house appliances and devices like the washing machine, the dishwasher, the TV or the printer are plugged to a wall socket. So, with a power consumption meter we can determine how much energy our appliances or devices are using and, more importantly, we can measure the electricity usage over a period of time.

The image below shows the power meter that we are using during our tests. For more details and specifications, clicking on the image will re-direct you to the product page in Amazon.

## Learn how to use a power consumption plug in power meter

Following the principle that one image is worth one thousand words, we have made a video where we show how to use a plug-in power meter and how it can be used to measure our appliances and devices power consumption.

We are working towards making the videos available in different languages so, if English is not your main language, have a look to our YouTube channel for other language options.

Do not forget to ENABLE the CAPTIONS.

As explained on the video, we did measure the power consumption of the different dishwasher cycles and that did allow us to know that we were not using the most efficient cycle.

We were mostly using the Auto cycle, which consumes more electricity than the Eco cycle. Even though there is only a difference of 13 cents per cycle, in the long run we will be saving quite a bit of money on electricity by using the Eco cycle.

CyclePower consumptionTotal cost
70 degrees1,21 KWh0,31 euro
Auto0,80-1,10 KWh0,20 - 0,28 euro
Auto + Vario Speed1 KWh0,28 euro
Eco0,60 KWh0,15 euro

In our opinion, a plug-in power meter is a cheap an easy to use device which make us become more aware of our daily electricity usage.

And, as we have proved already, to save money it may just be matter of being more aware of how our habits (lifestyle) can contribute towards reducing our energy and water usage.

As an example on how our habits define our electricity and water consumption, have a look to this video where we review what it is more economic, if washing the dishes by hand or using the dishwasher.

## How to save electricity at home

If you are looking for tips and advice on how to save some electricity, have a look to this video that we have prepared about this very same topic.

All our videos can be found in YouTube, in both and Spanish languages.

Additionally, if you are looking for energy saving opportunities but you don’t know where to start, use our electricity usage calculators to become aware of your electricity consumption, the electricity costs and the potential savings.

A few ‘Electricity usage calculators‘ examples:

#### Laptop

We hope that you have found this post informative and of value for you. If so, do not forget to share so others can also benefit from it.

# What is hard waterHow to measure the water hardness level at home

When water passes through or over limestone or chalk deposits, chalk and magnesium ions dissolve into the water and it is their presence that makes the water ‘hard’.

One of the most visual ways of knowing if you have hard water at home it is by having a look to a kettle.

If your kettle looks as the one on the picture above, you most definitely have hard water coming from your kitchen’s tap.

Drinking hard water it does not pose a health problem so most of the people ignores the deposits on the kettle and continues using it for as long as it lasts.

But, as more and more scale accumulates on the heating elements, the more inefficient they become and then more time and electricity it is needed to boil the water.

Before installing a household water filtration system, we were cleaning the kettle once a week. Since we installed the filtration system, three years ago, we haven’t had to clean the kettle even once.

## The consequences of having hard water at home

Having hard water at home has also some effects that are not as obvious as the accumulation of limescale on a kettle.

Hard water builds up on the pipes causing reduced water flow and drop of pressure. And, if the accumulation continues for a long period, it may be even necessary to replace the pipes.

Additionally, the hottest parts of the house plumbing system are more prone to limestone precipitation so water heaters will be specially affected, leading to a decrease of efficiency and by default an increase on the electricity usage.

Drinking hard water does not pose a health problem but, according to a study from the World Health Organization, using hard water in combination with soaps or shampoos may cause skin irritation or exacerbate eczema because hard water prevents soaps from rinsing off from the skin, causing contact irritation.

The Royal Society of Chemistry explain in an study that when soap is used in combination with hard water, a substance denominated scum is formed which does not dissolve in water and which has limited cleaning capacity

This substance, the soap scum, apart from the already mentioned skin irritation problems, builds up on the hair causing the hair to look rough and dull and it also may damage fabrics and clothes making them scratchy.

Soap scum can also leave stains in sinks, showers, bathtubs and water fixtures as well as on shower glass which will increase the cleaning frequency and the use of cleaning chemicals.

## How to measure the water hardness level - FiltraSoft test kit

We have measured our home water hardness level using a FiltraSoft test kit and found out that we have slightly hard water.

The apartment block building where we are living at the moment has a hard water filter system that reduces the water hardness level. Still, we know that we live in an area which has high hard water levels.

We have proven this fact by collecting water samples from friends and colleagues who live within 50 km from our house and all of them, because they don’t have a hard water filter system, have much harder water than ours.

Clicking on the image below will re-direct you to the Amazon page where you can find more details about the FiltraSoft test kit.

We have made a video showing how to use the FiltraSoft test kit. Do not forget to ENABLE the YOUTUBE CAPTIONS because they display important information and details

For those with soft water at home, the journey does finish here, but for those who have hard water at home, it may be time to take steps towards reducing the water hardness.

The approach may differ for those living in a house or an apartment block, or for those who own  a property or those who are renting a property. Here we are going to suggest some solutions for any and all the cases.

## How to reduce water hardness level

The most efficient way to reduce water hardness it is to install a household water filtration system.

This system is connected to the main water supply and that provides filtered water to the whole house. This system is relatively easy to install but it requires a little bit of handiwork and a big load of common sense. You don’t want to make a lousy installation and then get water leaking all over the place. In case of doubt, better to hire a professional or a handyman.

It may be that for some people it is not feasible to install a household filtration system, specially for those renting or living on an apartment block.

Still, there are alternatives like the one shown on the right hand side picture, which are clamps that can be attached to the water pipes and reduce water hardness and limescale by generating a magnetic field.

Some people have been able to noticeably reduce water hardness and limescale while other people state that it does little or nothing.

For those who have noticed the negative effects on hard water while showering, because of the effects of hard water on soap, a very easy and relatively cheap solution is to install a shower head filter like the on shown on the right hand side picture.

This shower head will not only support with reducing water hardness but will also decrease levels of chlorine, fluoride, toxins, heavy metals… and also will support with reducing your bathroom water consumption.

## Water conservation

As we are within the water topic, you may be interested on learning how to reduce your water consumption and save money on your water bill. Click on the video below and let us show you other ways to conserve water.

All our videos can be found in YouTube, in both and Spanish languages.

Additionally, if you are looking for water saving opportunities but you don’t know where to start, use our water usage calculators to become aware of your water consumption, the water costs and the potential savings.

A few ‘Water usage calculators‘ examples: