Power Outage Prevention

Silicone Caulk Energy Savings Home Safety Tips West Nile Virus Reduce Risk Food Safety Microwave Tips Geothermal Heating and Cooling Innovative Devices Home Sewing Chalkboard Tintable Paints

Power Outage Prevention Facts And Myths

(NAPSI)—You can feel more secure that your home can weather any storm if you've got a generator to keep the lights and appliances on in an outage. First, however, it helps to understand a few facts about generators. Common myths include:

Myth: Portable generators and standby generators are the same.

Fact: A gasoline-powered portable generator typically powers a few appliances for a few hours at a time. A home standby generator is permanently installed and can keep the power on when the primary power source goes out, so you can run more appliances continually, such as air conditioners, heaters, refrigerators, clothes washers/dryers and lights. Portable generators can power a wide range of essential items and be used in multiple applications, such as camping or tailgating. Standby generators use your home's existing fuel source (propane or natural gas) and turn on automatically.

Myth: You have to go outside in a storm to start a standby generator.

Fact: One benefit of standby generators is the seamless transition of power. The generator goes on automatically within seconds after utility power goes out. When power is restored, the standby generator powers off automatically.

Myth: A large, expensive standby generator is necessary to power a house.

Fact: Power management systems, such as those from Briggs & Stratton, electronically control electrical loads. This lets you power more with a smaller generator.

Myth: Standby generators are clunky eyesores that must be placed in the middle of the yard.

Fact: Recent design advancements may give homeowners more placement flexibility. For example, select Briggs & Stratton standby generators meet strict National Fire Protection Association standards, so they may be placed closer to the house than in the past.

Myth: Standby generators require constant care and upkeep.

Fact: Standby generators are programmed to exercise regularly—often once a week—to ensure that they are in working condition in the event of a power outage.

Myth: Portable generators can be operated anywhere on your property, even inside your house or garage.

Fact: Portable generators must always be operated outdoors and far from doors, windows, vents and other openings to prevent carbon monoxide—a  poisonous, odorless, colorless, deadly gas—from getting trapped inside the home or garage. Protect your family with a carbon monoxide alarm whenever running a portable generator. To learn more about safe operation of portable generators, visit www.briggsandstratton.com/safetyfirst.

Note to Editors: September is National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Ready Campaign.

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Score Energy Savings With Silicone Caulk

(NAPSI)—Cold weather means it's time for two activities: fantasy football and home maintenance. This year, manage your home improvement projects—like sealing gaps and cracks—the same way you manage your fantasy football team.

How? Add top picks like silicone caulk to your home weatherization product lineup and ignore poor performers like acrylic caulk. Acrylic caulk may get you the first down, providing savings for the present, but silicone caulk is the lasting solution that scores energy savings season after season.

Block Air Leaks

Gaps and cracks around the home lead to air leaks that can blitz your wallet and cause energy bills to soar. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you could save up to 10 percent on energy bills by simply air sealing your home. Look for gaps and cracks in all susceptible areas—windows, doors, siding, trim, molding, baseboards, vents, around wires/pipes, attics and basements.

A silicone caulk like GE Silicone II Window & Door is an all-pro defensive blocker for sealing these areas because it is permanently waterproof and weatherproof, meaning it will never break down and sacks air leaks before they rush your home. Acrylic caulk, on the other hand, succumbs to a punishing ground game. It can degrade over time when exposed to harsh weather and freezing temperatures, leaving gaps for air and water to seep through and energy to escape.

Tackle Harsh Weather

Damaging outdoor elements challenge your home throughout the year, but these harsh conditions are no match for silicone's outlasting flexibility. Silicone caulk can stretch and compress without cracking, and fills the crack just as it did when first applied to keep air leaks from returning.

Silicone is shrink-proof, impervious to all weather conditions and won't be benched with costly cracks. Acrylic caulk, however, fumbles home protection in the presence of tough opponents. It can lose flexibility in freezing temperatures and crack over time. Extreme heat and the sun's UV rays can also cause some acrylic caulk to dry out, crack and crumble. This can lead to gaps and cracks around your home that let energy out and water and snow in, resulting in water damage, mold growth and higher energy bills.

Silicone is the player that will help you score lasting energy savings. Poor-performing acrylic caulk can leave you with a losing season. Add silicone caulk to your team now. Find out more at www.caulkandsave.com.

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Tips On Feeling Safe And Secure At Home

(NAPSI)—If you are like most homeowners, you know that few things are as satisfying as the sense of security that comes from being in your own home. For many, that's a feeling that comes from being able to close the door, turn the key and relax, knowing the dangers of the world are locked away.

A recent survey found that 70 percent of American homeowners say having deadbolt locks on their entry doors makes them feel safe and secure when at home.

The survey also revealed that 44 percent of respondents feel that having more than one deadbolt lock on their entry doors makes them feel safe and secure when at home.

Kwikset, the leader in smart, simple security, conducted the Harris Interactive survey to learn more about what makes Americans feel safe in their homes.

Tips to Feel Safe and Secure at Home

To help you and your family feel safer in your home, here are five simple safety tips from the experts at Kwikset:

1. Not all locks are created equal. Make sure you have quality locks. For maximum safety, choose high-security locks. For example, look for locks that feature BumpGuard technology, such as the Kwikset SmartKey Deadbolt, which protects against drilling and picking.

2. Light it up! Illuminate your home, inside and out. A timer or solar-powered light on the front, back and side of a house makes it more difficult for burglars to hide and gives the impression that someone is home. Install a lamp or TV timer when away so it appears someone is inside after dark.

3. Mow your lawn already! Overgrown grass is a sure sign that no one is home. Don't give the impression that your house has been left vacant for an extended period of time.

4. Don't brag about your vacation. Think twice before posting upcoming trips on Facebook or Twitter. According to a study out of the United Kingdom from Credit Sesame, approximately 78 percent of ex-burglars use Twitter, Foursquare and Facebook to single out empty homes.

A good way to counter the technology used by the bad guys is to upgrade your own equipment. Using wireless technology like Kwikset Home Connect can protect your home by integrating a home automation system to monitor who enters and exits your home from your smartphone or Internet connection.

5. Remember to protect your spare key and your goods. Leave one with someone you trust. Never leave it on the property. Keyless entry locks with electronic keypads are another option to consider.

Learn More

You can learn more about locking in safety and security at www.kwikset.com and (800) 327-5625.

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Reduce The Threat Of West Nile Virus Deaths at New High and Climbing

(NAPSI)—Late summer and early fall are when West Nile-infected mosquitoes are most active, and they will surely add to the more than 2,000 cases and increasing number of deaths already reported. There is one simple step you can take to greatly reduce your risk of contracting this often-fatal disease: Eliminate all standing water on your property.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, this is essential. Empty any pots, barrels and containers at least weekly. Since the CDC advises that gutters are usually the leading source of standing water, you may want to consider replacing your gutters with Rainhandler, a system for handling roof runoff that eliminates standing water.

It's a set of seven aluminum louvers that take the roof runoff and convert it to gentle rain-sized drops, which are spread in a swath three feet wide away from your home. It requires no cleaning or maintenance and there is no ground erosion.

Rainhandler has a one-year, money-back guarantee and a 25-year warranty. To learn more, visit www.rainhandler.com or call 800-942-3004.

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Don't Sacrifice Safety When Using A Microwave

(NAPSI)—The convenience of microwave cooking can also present a few challenges—such as making sure that food prepared in a microwave is cooked to its safe temperature.

The consequences of not preparing food properly can be significant. Every year, one in six Americans will fall ill due to some form of food poisoning. Often, it's the result of not cooking food to the required temperature.

To help, the USDA's Food Safety And Inspection Service (FSIS) has created the Cook It Safe campaign.

The campaign offers these tips:

Read and Follow Package Cooking Instructions. Many convenience foods are not ready-to-eat products and must be properly cooked first. Reading the product label and package directions tells you whether the product needs to be thoroughly cooked or simply reheated.

Be sure to follow all package instructions for microwaving food, such as covering or stirring the food or allowing a "stand time" between cooking the food and eating. Skipping these key cooking directions may allow harmful bacteria to survive and lead to foodborne illness.

Know When to Use a Microwave or Conventional Oven. Some preprepared products may appear to be fully cooked but actually consist of raw, uncooked product. It may be tempting to cook these foods quickly in a microwave, but doing so may result in unsafe food.

It's important to use the appliance recommended on the food package instructions. The instructions may call for cooking in a conventional oven, microwave, convection oven or toaster oven.

Know Your Microwave's Wattage Before Microwaving Food. If your microwave's wattage is lower than the wattage recommended in the package cooking instructions, it will take longer than the instructions specify to cook the food to a safe internal temperature. If you don't know the wattage of your oven, try looking on the inside of the oven's door, on the serial number plate on the back of the oven or in the owner's manual.

Always Use a Food Thermometer to Ensure a Safe Internal Temperature. To be sure food has reached a temperature high enough to kill any bacteria that may be present, use a food thermometer and test the food in several places. This applies when cooking in microwaves or any other heat source.

For more information, visit www.fsis.usda.gov.

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The Geothermal Alternative To Traditional Heating And Cooling Technology

(NAPSI)—Homeowners looking to reduce their utility bills are beginning to explore more-efficient alternatives—like solar panels and geothermal systems—to traditional technology to heat and cool their homes.

Although solar panels are primarily used to generate electricity, homeowners have begun to expand the functionality of solar energy to heat and cool their homes as well. However, the success of solar panels depends on the climate and the location of the home. Homeowners living in the Southwest, which generally gets up to 300 days of sunshine a year, would benefit more from solar panels than residents of the Northeast, where it's only sunny about 50 percent of the time.

Geothermal, on the other hand, relies on temperatures beneath the ground's surface, which remain constant all year long, regardless of the location. A geothermal system consists of pipes that reach beneath the frost line. To warm the home, the system utilizes a compressor to pull the heat from underground and circulates it through the home as either forced air or hot water for radiant heat. The process is reversed when the home needs to be cooled: The compressor removes heat from inside the home and transfers it back to the pipes. The remaining cool air is circulated throughout the home.

Homeowners should also consider costs of the two systems. Solar systems produce a limited amount of energy per square foot and take up a considerable amount of space. In addition, accommodating the heating and cooling needs in a home requires a large number of costly solar panels, while just one geothermal heat pump can effectively cool and heat an entire home.

Finally, most geothermal manufacturers offer hot water equipment that can provide hot water to the home. These systems can heat water at three to five times the efficiency of traditional gas or electric heaters, and unlike solar solutions, provide hot water 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Many geothermal units are eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit and may qualify for utility and state rebates. Meanwhile, states are beginning to acknowledge that geothermal systems offer as much benefit through energy conservation as wind and solar provide through clean generation. The state of Maryland, for example, recently enacted legislation making it the first state in the nation to allow utilities to claim renewable energy credits for the installation of geothermal heat pumps.

To find a geothermal system that fits your needs, visit www.waterfurnace.com or talk to a WaterFurnace expert at (800) GEO-SAVE.

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Innovative Devices Make Home Sewing Sweeter

(NAPSI)—Whether you're an expert on sewing or just wish you were, innovative devices can make it easier and more enjoyable.

For example, there are now nine new machines from Brother™ International Corporation: the Dream Weaver™ Quilting & Sewing Machine, DreamWeaver™ XE Quilting, Sewing & Embroidery Machine and the DreamMaker™ Embroidery-Only Machine; the highly anticipated Simplicity® Limited Edition Sewing and Embroidery Line by Brother,™ which consists of five new sewing and embroidery machines; and the Duetta® 2, an affordable and easy-to-use machine that does sewing, embroidery and quilting.

All three V-Series models have:

• A chassis offering an oversize 56 square inches of workspace.

• The extremely bright, technologically advanced, seven-inch LCD touch screen display that displays 260,000 colors.

• Vibrant 10-inch Runway® Lighting that is 50 percent brighter than any other Brother™ machine.

• A range of built-in stitches and embroidery designs, including 91 Disney® and Disney® Pixar designs in the DreamWeaver™ XE.

• Sew Straight™ Laser Vision Guide, a built-in laser to ensure straight, uncomplicated sewing.

MuVit™ Digital Dual Feed, a digitally controlled, direct motor-driven, dual feed foot for virtually perfect stitching.

• Multifunction foot controller, which allows up to three features to be programmed.

• Droplight™ Embroidery Positioning Marker, useful in identifying a precise needle drop position.

Partnering for the first time with Simplicity® Pattern Company, the new and affordable Simplicity® Limited Edition Sewing and Embroidery Line by Brother™ features four sewing machines and one embroidery-only machine. Features vary by machine but include a free arm for sewing cuffs and sleeves; Easy Bobbin Winding System; Brother™-exclusive My Custom Stitch™ for personalized stitches; advanced needle threading system and automatic thread trimming; and a wide table for larger projects.

The Duetta® 2 sews, embroiders and quilts. Features include seven-point feed dogs that grip fabric and make feeding easy—even with hard-to-handle fabric; an Automatic Height Adjuster™ AHA® to sense fabric thickness and adjust presser foot pressure accordingly; enhanced, large 8.9", diagonal LCD touch screen display to make custom creations, edit and preview them on screen; bobbin case; Perfect Placement Kit; and ELS® Embroidery Lettering Software.

Learn more at www.brothersews.com, www.facebook.com/BrotherSews, www.twitter.com/BrotherSews, www.YouTube.com/BrotherSews, and (800) 4-A-BROTHER.


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New Chalkboard Paint Can Tackle Blackboard Blahs

(NAPSI)—If you think the world is your chalkboard, you're in luck. In what's been described as "another paint color coup," a popular paint manufacturer has introduced a new edition of its chalkboard paint.

This latest version from Benjamin Moore is tintable in any color. And with more than 3,300 hues in its system—plus the ability for unlimited color matching—the color choices go far beyond the classic black and green chalkboards that most generations grew up with.

"We've just infused a lot more fun and imagination into a communications staple that, since the schoolroom slates of the 1800s, has remained almost unchanged," said Sonu Mathew, ASID, IIDA and Benjamin Moore's senior interior designer. "Now, the opportunity to enliven and invigorate a space has exploded by dialing up the color options so extensively."

The new latex topcoat turns virtually any interior surface into a chalkboard. It is easy to apply, dries in a matter of hours to a durable eggshell finish, is easy to clean and is fully washable. It is also formulated to minimize any lingering odors, making it ideal for a child's playroom, bedroom or even the kitchen as a message center for shopping lists and household reminders.

"There's no rule book that says chalkboard paint is for walls only," said Mathew, who offered up a slew of other suggested uses. "Think about treating a toy chest, tabletop or other piece of furniture, a closet door or cupboard facade. Any place where you want to see temporary art or a shared family communiqué is prime real estate for a coat of colorful chalkboard paint."

Another tip: Think about using the paint in combinations. "Can't you just hear the giggles of glee that a chalkboard composed of broad bands of red, yellow and green might elicit? Play with pattern. Experiment," Mathew added.

Benjamin Moore Chalkboard Paint is sold in quarts only.

For more information, visit www.benjaminmoore.com.

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