Posts Tagged ‘consumer reports’

They’re ba-ack: the rip-off portable heater ads

September 19, 2010

It’s not even Halloween yet, but with the changing season the horror of portable heater rip-offs are luring in unsuspecting victims with their full page ads.  

If you see this ad, hide your wallet and run! Don't waste your money.

And so, just like I need to rake the leaves every year, I have to sound the alarm.  We’ve covered this elsewhere:  Don’t buy the “Amish Mantle” heater with the “miracle” technology from China.  And making my “don’t buy” list again this year is also the Eden Pure Heater, even if Bob Vila smiles and offers you a Bob Vila coupon or a Bob Vila toaster.    I’m not the only one who’s warned folks about this.  Consumer Reports gives the Eden Pure heater a cool reception.   

As with the “MIRA-COOL” which I mentioned four weeks ago, generally, you should be very skeptical about ads for products that would seem to defy the laws of physics, tout miracles that they (and only they) have somehow tapped into, or that use a lot a scientific jargon and confusing units to try to make you think that’s the case.  If you want to save energy and save money (and be more comfortable), you’ll have to keep the heat in and produce it more efficiently.  You might be able to close off the entire house and only heat one room as a last ditch measure–but even that isn’t as easy as it sounds.  Often that room wasn’t engineered on all sides to keep the heat in.  And turning off heat in other areas of you home can lead to problems with plumbing, with furniture, and with the building structure.  It’s not as simple as plugging in an overpriced electric heater.   

Eden Pure’s humidity claims rely on some smoke and mirrors.  And while they are more “efficient” than a typical fireplace (many fireplaces actually rob homes of heat), that doesn’t mean an Eden pure is an better than the $30 heater you can buy at many stores this time of year.  Don’t spend hundreds of dollars on something than should cost you 1/10th the price.  Save your money–and put it into insulation and air-sealing.

Thanks,
Mike

Consumer Reports

September 18, 2009

The October 2009 Consumer Reports dives into home energy savings—and it’s good to see that they point folks in the right direction at the top, emphasizing things like air-sealing, insulation, duct sealing, and BPI certification for auditors and contractors.

They also clear up a few myths.  I’m glad they included a quote from Chandler von Schrader, of the US EPA:

“Homeowners have been hearing forever that replacing their windows can save 40 percent.  These claims aren’t justified and they create a false expectation.”

Right on!  GreenHomes does install replacement windows.  But we feel it’s important to be very upfront about the energy savings expectations from windows.  New windows can improve the look of your home, make you more comfortable, protect your furnishing from UV, and even save energy.  But windows themselves are usually far down on the list if all you want to do is save energy, and that’s why for energy-savings, we emphasize the important things as pointed to by Consumer Reports.

Thanks,
Mike

Cool Surge: A “Don’t Buy” Recommendation

July 23, 2009

Energy Myth:  The Cool Surge Air Cooler Can Defy Physics!  The reality is, it can’t!

We continue to get a lot of inquiries into the Cool Surge Portable Air Cooler.  As explained in my previous post about this scam-tastic offer, the Consumer Reports review, and elsewhere (like this Regruntled post), this doesn’t make sense for most people.  SAVE YOUR MONEY—DON’T BUY ONE!   There are better ways to stay cool.   

[August 2010 Update:  This appears now be marketed in a slightly repackaged manner as the MIRA-COOL.  Different name, same “DON’T BUY” recommendation.]


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