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Geothermal Heat Pumps

The Right Dishwasher

Laundry Sensor Technology

Spray Away Mold And Mildew

Range Hoods New Features

Microwave Safety

Smart Safety For Snowbirds

Save Money And Energy

 

Geothermal Heat Pumps Generate Savings

(NAPSI)—Here's hot news: Homeowners who invest in a geothermal heating and cooling system receive savings not only at the time of installation, but well into the future. The system reduces energy consumption, lowers utility bills and increases home resale values.

How it Works

A geothermal home comfort system taps into the abundant source of free solar heat energy stored in the earth and uses a series of pipes (called an earth loop) buried in the ground to move that heat into the home during cold weather and remove it during warm weather. This same heat energy can be used for a radiant floor system or domestic hot water heating.

Lower Taxes

Homeowners who install a geothermal system before December 31, 2016, can take advantage of a federal renewable energy tax credit that offers a tax incentive of 30 percent of the installed cost of the system. What's more, the credit is retroactive to January 1, 2009 and can be used in combination with utility rebates and other tax incentives, where available, to make geothermal systems more affordable than ever.

An Improved Economy

Once installed, the system significantly reduces energy consumption, saving homeowners as much as 70 percent on their heating and cooling bills throughout the year. Because geothermal systems use the free renewable supply of energy found in the backyard, the use of geothermal reduces U.S. dependency on foreign oil while encouraging energy production in the United States and helping to create jobs in renewable industries.

Less Pollution

Meanwhile, homeowners can reduce their carbon footprints. That's because geothermal systems do not emit carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide or other greenhouse gases that are considered major contributors to environmental air pollution.

More Money and Time

In many cases, having a geothermal system means a higher resale value for the house. According to the experts at WaterFurnace, homeowners who invest in geothermal systems and plan to stay in their homes can anticipate an average system life span of more than 24 years—compared to 15 years for a traditional system—less maintenance and lower life cycle costs.

Learn More

To learn how you can experience the long-term benefits that the investment in a geothermal system delivers, visit www.waterfurnace.com or talk to a WaterFurnace expert at (800) GEO-SAVE.

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Deciding On The Right Dishwasher

(NAPSI)—If you're done with doing dishes, you're not alone.

According to a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive, 21 percent of women cited washing the dishes as their least favorite household chore.

Before deciding on a dishwasher, consider the following shopping tips from the Whirlpool Institute of Kitchen Science:

• Load it up: If everyone had the same set of dishes, cookware and serveware, one dishwasher would fit all. But that is not the case. So take stock of your dishes before shopping to better judge if your dishes will sit comfortably in the racks. Most dishwashers also now come with holders to prevent silverware from "nesting," so make sure your set fits the slots.

• Check under the hood: Sort of. Most people don't know the difference between filter- and disposal-based systems, so be sure to look at the bottom of the dishwasher, as the difference is significant.

Filter-based systems, which use water filtration to separate food particles from the water washing your dishes, are generally quieter and more energy efficient—but they also require a periodic rinse of the filter.

Disposal systems, which use a blade to chop particles and separate them from the water, do not require the same amount of maintenance, but can be louder and less efficient.

• Do your homework: Request any information the salesperson may have on how the dishwasher stacks up to the rest. Check the machine's energy efficiency rating. These ratings change, so be sure to select a model with the best available rating.

• Evaluate yourself: Those who are not inclined to spend quality time with their dishwasher's owner's manual can benefit from a model equipped with a sensor cycle. Sensor cycles will choose the best wash cycle for the load by detecting just how dirty the dishes are, and can help save energy.

• Get in the zone: Spray zones are important when it comes to those dishes with hard, stuck-on food particles. Check the back of the washer, where the sprayers are, and ask if they're targeted to specific areas. Targeted sprayers can get to caked-on baking dishes so you don't have to prerinse or scrub them. Prerinsing can waste up to 20 gallons of water!

Using a dishwasher doesn't just save time; it also saves water. Hand-washing dishes can use 27 gallons of water vs. one cycle in a dishwasher that uses 3 gallons of water.

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Laundry 101—Making Sense Of Sensors

(NAPSI)—There’s good news for those who feel they waste too much time on laundry day, waiting for their dryer to catch up with their washer.

Innovations in sensor technology make it possible for a washer and dryer pair to work better together to deliver clean clothes in a timely manner.

While consumers may be aware that sensors exist, many are still skeptical when it comes to how they can get the machines to “do what they do.”

According to a recent Whirlpool Corporation survey conducted online by Harris Interactive®, 84 percent of U.S. adults who do their laundry recognize that their clothes dryers have sensors, but 40 percent of those surveyed confessed that they were still skeptical when it comes to believing the dryer is able to know how long it takes to dry clothes.

Here is a quick look at how these sensors work—and how to find a washer/dryer pair that fits your laundry needs.

Washer Sensors—Maintaining Water and Suds Levels

Getting the best clean most efficiently from a washer can be partially attributed to the use of several sensors within the machine.

The motor is able to measure the size and weight of the laundry load to determine the correct spin cycle speed. The spin speed then determines how much water is extracted from the laundry, which helps reduce final drying time by minimizing the moisture in the load before it even hits the dryer.

Pressure sensors measure water level, ensuring laundry loads have the appropriate amount for a thorough washing, whether it is a small load or laundry for a family of five.

Dryer Sensors—Preventing Wrinkles and Overdrying

With the help of sensors inside the machine, dryers are able to safeguard while drying.

“Look inside your dryer and there are two small stripes a few inches long near the lint screen. These are sensor bars,” says Donald Erickson, Engineer of Fabric Care Technology at Whirlpool.

“They measure the moisture content remaining in the load, and determine how much time the load should tumble based on the dryness level selected. Typically, you want 4 percent moisture to reduce wrinkles and protect against overdrying.”

It’s Automatic

Sensors are designed to activate when each cycle begins. This means consumers can trust that their clothes are protected and they don’t have to overcompensate with more water or dryer time than needed. Sensors make it possible for consumers to get back to life and let their washers and dryers take care of the laundry.

To learn more, visit www.whirlpool.com.

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After The Storm: Tips For Dealing With Exterior Mold And Mildew

(NAPSI)—After the winds have subsided, the rain has stopped and floodwaters have receded, many homeowners find themselves facing the real challenge of a hurricane or tropical storm: the cleanup. Even if you are fortunate enough to escape major property damage, you may find your home’s exterior is covered with dirt, grime, mold and mildew, which is common after a storm.

“It’s not unusual for mildew growth to be one of the unfortunate aftermaths of a severe storm like a hurricane. It’s also common after flooding or a season of heavy rain and high humidity,” says Rust-Oleum brand manager Dirk Sappok. “Mildew can make the exterior of your home look dirty and unattractive—and if left unchecked, can damage paint, wood and siding, so it’s important to remove it as soon after the storm as possible.”

According to Sappok, removing mold and mildew used to mean countless hours of scrubbing or power washing. Fortunately, those days are gone. Thanks to products specifically formulated to effectively kill mold and mildew while removing dirt and grime, cleaning your home’s exterior is easier than you think. Here’s how:

• Are the black spots on your house just dirt or are they really mildew? Since mildew is usually black and can look a lot like dirt, do this simple test: Apply a drop of household bleach to the discolored area. If it disappears, it’s mildew and must be removed with a cleaner specifically formulated to kill mold and mildew.

• If it is mildew, use a house cleaner that contains an EPA-registered mildewcide, such as Zinsser JOMAX House Cleaner and Mildew Killer. It will kill the mold and mildew and loosen dirt and stains without scrubbing or power washing. And unlike bleach alone, which can effectively kill mildew but can also damage wood, etch aluminum siding and damage shrubs, plants and grass, it’s formulated to kill mildew without damaging your home or surrounding foliage.

• After you’ve cleaned your home and killed the mildew, consider repainting with a high-quality water-based paint. Consider a paint like Perma-White Mold & Mildew-Proof Exterior Paint. It’s guaranteed to prevent the growth of mold and mildew on the paint film for five years and is backed by a lifetime guarantee to keep your home mildew-free long after the storm.

For more information on removing and preventing mold and mildew or for other home improvement tips, visit www.zinsser.com.

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Get Ready to Cook up Some Comfort Foods

(NAPSI)—Cooler weather is perfect for cooking up some of your favorite comfort foods.

Before the weather prompts you to close the windows and stay indoors, you may want to consider upgrading your cooking experience—improving ventilation, kitchen lighting and reducing noise. One easy way to do this is to replace your old range hood with one that offers great new features.

For example, the new BROAN EVOLUTION Series of under-cabinet range hoods features a best-in-class lighting output with four halogen lights specially designed to direct light to the cooking surface for a better view of your culinary efforts.

The series includes four models—the QP1, QP2, Consumers Digest “Best Buy Award”−winning QP3 and QP4.

This tiered approach provides budgeting flexibility without sacrificing key improvements. Each model more effectively captures odors with an active filtration area that is up to 40 percent larger than those of other range hoods in the same class.

Additionally, the range hood has an automatic light sensor for nighttime safety—eliminating potential bumps and bruises when you’re satisfying a midnight snack craving.

The quietest hoods in their class, this series has the quietest operation at normal operating speed, making them virtually silent.

In addition, a sloped bottom design funnels smoke, odor and moisture into the filters.

Smooth surfaces and a fully enclosed bottom reduce grease buildup, and easy-to-release, dishwasher-safe filters with protective antimicrobial coatings allow for easy cleaning and fewer odors between washings.

If you operate your old range hood on high all of the time to get the exhaust you desire, this may be an indication that the wrong hood was installed and that it’s time for a replacement.

The range hoods operate for less than $10 a year in energy costs. To learn more, visit www.BROAN.com.

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Hot Tips On Safe Microwave Use

(NAPSI)—You can protect yourself and your family from the dangers of foodborne, illness-causing bacteria, such as Salmonella, if you heed the “Cook It Safe” campaign by the experts at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. There are four things you need to do:

1. Read and follow package cooking instructions. Most frozen or refrigerated convenience foods must be properly cooked before you can eat them. The label can tell you whether the product needs to be thoroughly cooked or simply reheated. Uncooked meat or poultry, for example, must be cooked to a high enough temperature to destroy harmful bacteria.

2. Know when to use a microwave and when not to. Sometimes, thorough cooking requires the use of a conventional oven, not a microwave. Microwave oven cooking times may not be enough to cook some foods to a safe internal temperature. Microwave ovens—even those equipped with a turntable—can cook unevenly and leave “cold spots” where harmful bacteria can survive. You may need to use a conventional oven, convection oven or toaster oven. So always follow the package cooking instructions.

3. Know your wattage. If your microwave’s wattage is lower than that required in the cooking instructions, it will take longer for the food to reach a safe internal temperature. The higher the wattage of the oven, the faster it will cook food. If you don’t know the wattage of your microwave, check the inside of the oven’s door, the serial number plate on the back of the oven or the owner’s manual.

You can also do a “time-to-boil” test to estimate the wattage: Mea?sure a cup of plain tap water in a two-cup glass measuring cup. Add ice cubes; stir until water is ice cold. Discard ice cubes and pour out excess water so only one cup remains. Set the microwave oven on high for four minutes. Watch the water through the window to see when it boils. If it boils in less than two minutes, its wattage is 1,000 watts or more. If it takes 2½ minutes, its wattage is about 800 watts or more. If water boils in three minutes, its wattage is 650 to 700, and if it takes more than three minutes, it’s 300 to 500 watts.

4. Always use a food thermometer to ensure a safe internal temperature. After the microwave or conventional oven cooking time is over, observe any “stand time” specified in the cooking instructions. During this time, the food continues to cook even with the oven off, and the temperature of the food continues to rise. No matter how you’ve cooked the food, use a food thermometer in several places to make sure the dish has reached a safe internal temperature.

You can learn more at www.fsis.usda.gov/Food_Safety_Education/Cook_It_Safe/index.asp and www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/Microwave_Ovens_and_Food_Safety.pdf.

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Avoiding Ruffled Feathers: Simple And Smart Safety And Tech Tips For Snowbirds

(NAPSI)—If you’re thinking about spending winter in a warmer climate this year, you’re not alone. According to the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research, almost 1 million North American “snowbirds” plan to migrate south. But before these snowbirds can settle into their Southern roosts, it’s important for them to secure their Northern perches. Best tips include:

Security and Remote Monitoring—Before the bags are packed, you may want to investigate new products that put technology to work while you’re gone. For peace of mind, new services now remotely monitor and control your home’s security and thermostat from a smartphone or computer. You can remotely arm or disarm the alarm system and control lighting, household appliances and the thermostat—which can save money on utility bills. With connected cameras, you can monitor the home from anywhere in the world—even receive instant text messages when doors are opened or closed.

Telecommunications Services—David Gregg, new product journalist and senior editor, behindthebuy.com, shares the following advice on telephone, cable TV and Internet services: “Instead of making two separate calls, check out www.cablemover.com for disconnecting your TV, phone and Internet at your current home and reconnecting at your winter address. And it doesn’t matter if your cable service provider is different in each location. The best part is, once you are ready to return, you can use the same service again to reverse the process.”

Freshen Up!—A dormant home will inevitably become stuffy. Keep it return-ready with a new type of air purifier that cleans the air and prevents the spread of allergens such as mold or mildew. Air purifiers with true HEPA filters capture 99.9 percent of particles and impurities. Put the unit on a timer and your air purifier automatically senses air quality levels and neutralizes viruses/bacteria, keeping your indoor air clean.

Don’t Forget the Basics—Gizmos are great, but remember to turn off your refrigerator—or turn it down to the lowest setting—and unplug your electronics. For those items that can’t be unplugged, be sure to use a surge protector. Consider new devices that power down appliances and tech devices that consume phantom power—power you continue to use even after you hit the off button—saving you money on your electric bill.

For more tips and ideas on how to smooth your annual snowbird migration, check out www.cablemover.com.

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New Cable Boxes Help Save Money And Energy

(NAPSI)—A growing number of consumers are getting the picture when it comes to energy and their cable box.

Surprising as it may sound, a cable box uses energy even when you’re not watching TV. In fact, nearly two-thirds of energy use occurs when people are not watching TV or recording a show, costing Americans an estimated $2 billion each year.

A home with two standard boxes can use more electricity than a new refrigerator. To help, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program is partnering with pay-TV service providers to offer energy-efficient set-top boxes to their customers.

Qualified set-top boxes can power down when not in use and are designed to be at least 40 percent more energy efficient than other models. Experts say if every set-top box in the nation met ENERGY STAR requirements, it would save about $1.8 billion a year and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

To learn more, visit www.energystar.gov/products.

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