From The Earth: Geothermal Heating
to the Department of Energy, the average family in the United States
spends about $1,900 a year on utility bills-a lot of that energy is wasted.
Fortunately, there’s a way to keep heating bills from making you hot under
For example, consider a geothermal home comfort system. These tap into
the abundant source of free solar heat energy stored in the earth and use a
series of pipes (an earth loop) buried in the ground to move that heat into
a home during cold weather. Most systems are easy to install in both new
and older homes.
The energy source is free and renewable and the average system lasts for
more than 24 years-compared to 15 years for an ordinary system.
In many cases, the monthly savings the system offers let it pay for
itself quickly. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency considers
geothermal systems to be among the most efficient heating and cooling
Once installed, a geothermal system requires less maintenance than a
conventional heating and cooling system and operates more efficiently,
delivering an astounding four units of energy for every one unit of
electrical energy used. That translates to a 400 percent efficiency rating
and savings up to 70 percent for heating, cooling and hot water costs.
Another plus: A geothermal system uses no fossil fuel and emits no
carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide or other greenhouse gases.
In addition, homeowners who install a geothermal system before Dec. 31,
2016, can take advantage of a federal renewable energy tax credit of 30
percent of the total investment for the system, through the American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Homeowners may also take advantage of
utility rebates and state tax incentives where available to make geothermal
systems more affordable than ever.
To find a geothermal system that fits your needs, you can visit www.waterfurnace.com or talk to a
WaterFurnace expert at (800) GEO-SAVE.
New Ways To Wow Them This Holiday
more than a quarter of the country expects to celebrate Thanksgiving at the
same time and place this year as last year, the fare they’ll be eating may
be very different indeed.
The latest “Juicy Secrets Survey” from Char-Broil LLC discovered home
cooks plan on making the menu more interesting than ever. The survey also
uncovered a few new facts and debunked conventional wisdom about how
Americans prepare and enjoy their holiday feasts. While 40 percent of the
people surveyed said they serve the same menu that mom created, more than
half say they’re open to trying new recipes or techniques to make the meal special—and
a full 10 percent make it a tradition to do so each holiday.
Frying Has Fans
Frying the turkey is at the top of that “must try” list, with one in
three Americans reporting they’ve eaten fried turkey. The majority said it
was better than traditional oven-baked turkey. The primary reason: It’s
juicier. Of the few who didn’t like their turkey fried, more than half said
it was because of the grease.
Cooks Warm to Infrared
Fortunately for them, Char- Broil has created the first oil-less
infrared turkey fryer: The Big Easy. A safer and healthier alternative to
traditional oil-based fryers, it uses natural infrared heat to cook moist,
flavorful turkey in significantly less time than an ordinary oven.
Now, with The Big Easy oil-less fryer, the idea of “frying” a turkey doesn’t
have to mean loads of calories, safety hazards or messy cleanup at
More Timesaving Tips
Other popular ways home chefs save time and trouble include:
• Letting guests bring a side dish
• Using frozen vegetables
• Serving store-bought desserts
• Adding dry mix to get the gravy just right.
For more information, tips and recipes, go to www.charbroil.com. The Big Easy can be
purchased at Lowe’s, The Home Depot, Bass Pro Shops and Amazon.com.
Incentives For A More Comfortable Home
recent tax credit lets homeowners looking for a more energy-efficient way
to heat and cool their house get a new geothermal heating and cooling
system. A onetime tax credit of 30 percent of the total investment is
offered to homeowners who install residential ground loop or ground water
geothermal heat pumps.
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 (an earth loop)
buried in the ground to move that heat into a home during cold weather.
The Tax Break
Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, homeowners who
install a geothermal system before Dec. 31, 2016, can take advantage of the
federal renewable energy tax credit for the system. Homeowners may also get
utility rebates and other tax incentives.
Even without the tax break, the long-term return on installing such a
system can make it worthwhile. The energy source is free and renewable and
the average system lasts over 24 years-compared to 15 years for an ordinary
system. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency considers them to be
one of the most efficient heating and cooling systems available.
According to the experts at WaterFurnace, most geothermal systems are
easy to install in both new and older homes. Once installed, the system
requires less maintenance than a conventional heating and cooling system and
operates more efficiently, delivering an astounding four units of energy
for every one unit of electrical energy used. That translates to a 400
percent efficiency rating and savings up to 70 percent for heating, cooling
and hot water costs.
Another plus: A geothermal system uses no fossil fuel and emits no
carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide or other greenhouse gases. Homeowners
experience added comfort, improved indoor air quality and less noise as
they reduce their carbon footprint.
To find a geothermal system that fits your needs, you can visit www.waterfurnace.com or call (800)
Humidifiers: A Must-Have For Cold Weather Comfort
outdoor air doesn’t have to mean uncomfortable indoor air that can leave
you feeling dry, itchy and congested. Using a humidifier is an easy way to
help counteract the effects of dry harsh air by adding essential moisture
to any room.
As cold temperatures set in, humidity levels drop, leading to dry indoor
air. Humidifiers raise indoor humidity levels and help keep indoor air
moist for more comfortable living.
A comfortable humidity level should be between 40 and 60 percent. This
helps provide temporary relief from dry-air discomforts as well as
temporarily relieve congestion and cough. According to a published study in
Environmental Health, keeping indoor air at a relative humidity level
between 40 and 60 percent reduces the survival of flu viruses on surfaces
and in the air when compared to relative humidity levels that are lower. It
also indicates that when used as directed, a humidifier can achieve and
maintain this 40-60 percent relative humidity level.
Now it’s easier than ever to make your home more comfortable during the
dry winter months with Honeywell Easy to Care and Germ Free Humidification
Easy to Care Humidifiers were developed to make it simple to add
moisture to your room without adding hassle to your busy day and clutter to
your home. The breakthrough design incorporates the top-fill feature-making
them as easy to fill as watering a plant. Filling can be a snap, with no
more heavy tanks to lug back and forth to the sink. Simply pour water into
the humidifier as you pass by. These humidifiers have dishwasher-safe
components and easy-wipe surfaces that eliminate struggling to clean
grooves, crevices and tough-to-reach places. Flowing water lets you know it’s
working and easy-to-operate controls make it as easy as the flick of a
wrist to set.
Select humidifier models with germ-free humidification are equipped with
UV technology, which, based on independent laboratory testing, kills up to
99.9 percent of bacteria, molds, fungi and viruses in the tap water used in
your humidifier. This provides the assurance that the moisture the
humidifier emits is virtually free of germs. The new unit with Germ- Free
Humidification also incorporates features to make operating simple, such as
self-regulating evaporative technology, which maintains optimal room
humidity levels, dishwasher-safe parts and a break-resistant water tank.
Humidifiers can help you enjoy your day, breathe better and sleep more
comfortably at night.
Save Time, Energy And Trouble
the holiday festivities are at your house this year and you’re concerned
about the cooking, you’re not alone. According to a recent online survey
conducted by Harris Interactive, more than 80 percent of respondents said
they cook for their guests when entertaining but many still struggle to
reduce time, energy and mess in the kitchen. Thirty-five percent said they
mostly cook what they know but might try a new recipe when entertaining.
Tips To Help You
To help make cooking more fun and efficient, consider these tips:
• Use pots and pans with flat bottoms that fit the burners. A 6” pot on
an 8” burner wastes over 40 percent of that burner’s heat.
• Try cooking food in as little water as possible to save energy and
• Don’t open the oven door during cooking; each time you do, you can
lose about 25° to 30° of heat. Try cooking with a full oven, too, and using
the broiler when possible, which needs less energy and doesn’t require
• Use the leftover heat as a food warmer and turn off the oven
immediately when you are finished cooking. An oven retains heat for up to 30
minutes after it’s been turned off.
A double oven range can help increase efficiency in the kitchen-from
preparation to cleanup-without the need for major renovations. For example,
with the Whirlpool® double oven range, you can roast a turkey while simultaneously
baking a vegetable lasagna for those non-meat eaters. You can bake the
green bean casserole at the same time as the cookies so you don’t have to
jump up in the middle of the meal to take them out on time.
For more information, visit www.whirlpool.com
Is Your Roof Ready For Santa?
following a few simple steps, you can help prepare your roof for Santa’s
arrival and the harsh weather that may follow.
Roof maintenance begins on both the inside and outside of your home, and
taking a few moments before winter hits can save headaches later.
• Clean rain gutters: Clean water and debris from the gutters. Clogs
could force rainwater or melting ice under the eaves of your roof, leading
to extensive damage.
• Check the metal flashing fitted to the roof intersections around your
chimney. Incorrectly fitted flashing can lead to leaks. Check all other
metal areas for warps and holes and, if found, repair.
• Apply waterproofing products to help protect your roof from water and
preserve and condition your roof as well. Standing water, melting ice and
snow can lead to a wide range of issues.
• Proper attic ventilation can extend the life of your shingles, so
consider adding attic vents to help prevent ice damming if you don’t
already have them, or clean out the vents you already have to reduce heat
and moisture buildup in the attic that can cause damage to your roof.
Finally, if your roof is getting up in years, you may want to consider
replacing your shingles. This may be an appropriate time to speak with a
general contractor about a new roof installation.
With each passing winter on an aged roof, the chance for greater
structural damage increases. Roof repairs are not something to delay as
they can ultimately lead to more expensive home repairs. And with
continuing increases in the price of building materials, waiting could mean
paying more later. Asphalt shingles are still the most economical and
popular roofing material, covering nearly 85 percent of U.S. homes.
You may want to consider a premium asphalt shingle, which typically
comes with a longer warranty that could save money in the future. For
instance, TAMKO’s Heritage Vintage laminated asphalt shingles resemble wood
shake and have a lifetime limited warranty. It’s advised you read the
limited warranty for complete details and restrictions when considering a
TAMKO also offers other products for winterizing your roof, such as
flashing, waterproofing and cements, and a variety of roof vents, including
a new solar attic vent that is powered entirely by energy from the sun.
For other home-winterizing tips and to learn more, visit www.tamko.com or call (800) 641-4691.
Scents Of The Season
good news for the estimated 50 million American homeowners who opt for the
convenience of artificial holiday trees.
Choosing this no-fuss festive decoration no longer means depriving
yourself of the nostalgic scent of fresh pine. There’s an easy way to add
that inviting scent to fake trees and other holiday decorations.
One way to make the mood in your home merrier is to decorate with
scented ornaments called ScentSicles.®
Infused with pure fragrance oils, the ornaments can make any tree smell
fresh cut for weeks. You can stash them in the tree, hang them as
decorative ornaments, or use them in floral arrangements. They also make a
timely holiday hostess gift.
Easy to use and biodegradable, the ornaments are safer for children and
pets than other home fragrance products.
There are three distinct fragrances of the season: Douglas Fir, Blue
Spruce or White Pine. The ornaments are available seasonally at Walmart,
and Beyond, Michaels and Hallmark stores. For more information, visit www.ScentSicles.com and www.HomeDepot.com.
Taking A Vacation? Make Sure To Secure Your Home
to five minutes-that could be the difference between whether or not your return
home from vacation is ruined by a burglar.
According to experts, that's the maximum time most thieves will spend
trying to break into a house before giving up in search of easier prey.
That holds true year-round, whether you're blissfully off on a winter ski
getaway or spending the summer on the beach.
"People don't realize that going on vacation can be an invitation
for would-be thieves," says Mike Convery, vice president and chief
claim officer at MetLife Auto & Home®. "Or that the average
burglary will result in a loss of more than $2,000."
In fact, the Insurance Information Institute indicates nine out of 10
break-ins could have been prevented if homeowners had burglar-proofed their
properties. The simple act of locking your doors before leaving home can go
a long way toward deterring a burglar. According to the U.S. Department of
Justice, more than 50 percent of burglars use an unlocked door or window to
gain access to a home.
How else can you avoid returning to a home that's been ransacked? Read
on for some "Do's" and "Don'ts" from the experts:
DON'T advertise you're away. Arrange to have the lawn mowed, put lights
and electronics on variable timers, and-to really complete the illusion-ask
a neighbor to park a car in your driveway.
DO make would-be thieves feel both exposed and contained. Choose picket
or chain-link fencing instead of solid fencing to create a physical barrier
that's less easy to hide behind. Keep hedges clipped to around waist level.
DON'T hesitate to rearrange things. Those expensive belongings,
including TVs and stereo systems, might as well have a sign on them saying
"Take Me" if they're left in plain view from windows and doors.
DO get an assist from technology. A solar-powered, motion-sensor light-which
doesn't require an electrician to install-illuminates your property so that
lurking intruders are easier for neighbors and passing patrol cars to spot.
DON'T hide keys in "secret places" outside your home. Most
burglars know where to look. Better to leave a duplicate with someone you
DO invest in a burglar alarm. The most effective ones notify an outside
service of trouble, but any kind is a good deterrent. Just make sure
there's a friend or family member available to turn it off if it's set off
in your absence.
One last thing: "In addition to those preventive measures, all
homeowners should complete a personal property inventory," says
Convery. "That way, if you are burglarized, you'll already have a
detailed list of your valuables for the authorities, which can be a
difficult task after the fact."
You can get a free Personal Property Inventory brochure from MetLife
Auto & Home by calling (800) 608-0190.