I hadn’t realized the importance of regular furnace inspections until my furnace went out one year in the winter. I wasn’t able to get heat for about two days and had to suffer through the cold. After a technician came out to my house, they took the time to explain to me that this problem could have been prevented had I simply taken the time to get a regular furnace inspection.

I did some research online and was surprised to find that there is a number of reasons to get your furnace regularly inspected. The most important reason is in the active prevention of a possible furnace fire. A furnace that has not been regularly inspected could be dirty and worn down, putting it at a much higher risk for potentially breaking down.

Another reason to get your furnace regularly inspected is to lower the cost that you have to pay for heating and cooling. A furnace that is not regularly inspected and maintained can become clogged and energy inefficient, resulting in a higher monthly heating bill. This was one of the issues that I was having with my furnace and was very glad to find that my heating and cooling bill was lower on average after I started getting furnace inspections done.

I was surprised to find that in many cases regular inspections are covered by your heating and cooling company. This means that you can typically get your furnace inspected for free by simply making the effort to contact your company.

I also found that after getting regular inspections for awhile the company decided to replace some of the equipment for free. Specifically, they upgraded my old mercury thermostat to a digital one. This was a big plus, as I have kids around that could have potentially been exposed.

cleaning coffee makers

In my house, the coffee maker is one of the most often used appliances. On some days, I brew up three pots, depending on how many visitors I get or how much work I have to do! That much use leads to lots of coffee residue and staining. A lot of people use regular cleaning chemicals to get those stains out, but I wanted a solution that would be healthier for me, and for the environment!

So, I decided to research the most eco-friendly solution, and was not at all surprised by what I discovered. The age-old favorite cleaning solution, used for hundreds of years, for hundreds of reasons. Of course, I’m talking about vinegar.

Vinegar is one of those miracle liquids that seems to be able to do so much more than just taste great on french fries! Vinegar is great for cleaning glass and other surfaces, and is an awesome disinfectant.

Here’s what you do. Mix together one part white vinegar to two parts water in the amount you need to fill up your coffee pot. Then, pour that vinegar mix into your water reservoir of your coffee maker, and turn the machine on, allowing it to run through. Once its run through completely, let the heating element cool by turning the pot off, then run cold fresh water through the cycle. It’s best to do the rinse process twice.

Doing this once a month or so, depending on how much use your machine gets, will keep your coffee tasting fresh, and your coffee maker in clean working order!

washing dishes vs. dishwasher

Changing our habits to save the environment is an everyday challenge that needs to be met! One topic up for debate is washing dishes by hand versus using a dishwasher to wash dishes.

One solution shows washing dishes in a dishwasher are better because it uses less water than washing by hand. However dishwashers are energy efficient appliances when the rack is full of dishes, dishes not cleaned in advance, using less heat and having a newer model. The other solution shows washing dishes by hand are better than a dishwasher because people use the dishwasher for a handful of dishes and it may not be eco-friendly. This only works with a sink full of water and dishes without using running water to rinse the dishes.

Because there are two answers to this question what is the real solution? Because of the flip flop answers I personally believe the real solution comes from washing habits. The first thing to consider is the time it takes to wash dishes vs. using a dishwasher. Using a dishwasher may be effortless but can be a problem if there are no more clean dishes.

Another consideration is water. Don’t use water to wash each dish. It’s always a good idea, if you have one, to make sure you have an energy and water efficient dishwasher. Dishwashers that aren’t use more water and make hand washing a better option. The energy used to wash dishes is another one. High or heated dry settings use more energy than washing by hand. Taking these considerations and making the effort to change those habits can make washing by hand better than a dishwasher.

American Comfort Portable Air Conditioner

Get cool this summer with the American Comfort Portable Air Conditioner. It has an 8,000 BTU cooling capacity which can cool up to 150-200 Sq Ft. This air conditioner has an electronic control panel with an LED screen, 2 fan speeds, full thermostat control, 24 hour programmable timer, auto-shut off and all necessary components to easily vent hot exhaust air to the outside. It also provides an activated carbon filter that helps to remove odor as well as a washable air filter that collects dust particles and helps to prevent bacteria build-up.

SoleusAir Efficient Portable Air Conditioner

This multi-season air conditioning unit is energy efficient, so will be a great appliance for the eco friendly home. The air conditioner has 13,000 BTU cooling power, and 12,500 BTU heating. An innovative evaporative technology increases energy efficiency and reduces the need to drain condensate. This portable air conditioner has been designed to efficiently cool, dehumidify, or heat your home, all without the high cost of a full installation.


Samsung Home Appliances launched several new major appliances at day one of the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Among the new products are refrigerators with Wi-Fi enabled LCD screens, allowing users to access apps for the kitchen, and a new Flex Oven range that can be divided into two separate oven chambers. Samsung is also exhibiting its 5.0 High Capacity Front-Loading Washer.

James Politeski, senior vice president of home appliance sales and marketing, Samsung Electronics America, said the app-enabled fridge lets users access the weather and recipes while getting kids ready for school or preparing dinner.

The RSG309 side-by-side and RF4289 four-door French Door model refrigerators offer an industry-first, Wi-Fi enabled 8-inch LCD screen integrated directly above the water and ice dispenser on the front of the appliance to provide access to a series of kitchen-relevant applications. Apps allow users to reach recipe collections, check the weather, leave notes, review the family calendar, check the headlines on AP news, or play a photo slide show.

The dividable range oven lets users rethink meal preparation, he added. “They can now simultaneously bake cookies and cook salmon in the same appliance,” said Politeski.


This Whynter GREEN ARC-12S portable air conditioner features the more eco-friendly CFC free GREEN R-410A refrigerant and lead free RoHS compliant components. This particular air conditioning unit features the advance self-evaporating technology, which uses and recycles moisture collected during cooling and heating process to produce cool air. This unit can cool up to a 400 sq. ft. space, so it might be good for you if you live in a small apartment.

cash for appliances

Beginning late this fall, the new “Cash for Clunker Appliances” program will allow rebates of $50 to $200 for purchases of high-efficiency household appliances. The money is part of the economic stimulus bill passed earlier this year in which the Energy Dept. has set a deadline of Oct. 15 for states to file formal applications. The Energy Department expects that most of the $300 million to be awarded by the end of November. Unlike the cash for clunkers auto program, people won’t have to trade in their old appliances. It remains to be seen if this new Cash For Appliances program will just give people an excuse for a second deep freezer at a discount.

“These rebates will help families make the transition to more efficient appliances, making purchases that will directly stimulate the economy,” Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement announcing the plan. Only appliances covered by the Energy Star seal will qualify. In 2008, about 55% of newly produced major household appliances met those standards, which are set by the Energy Dept. and Environmental Protection Agency.


Taking a shower is better for the environment, and your wallet, than having a bath (which uses 80 to 100 liters of water). But a new power shower can use twenty liters of water a minute, easily putting out 100 litres in five minutes. Different showers mean water use varies from home to home, so while timing your shower is a good step, it doesn’t tell you how much water is being used.

The ECO Showerdrop is a low cost universal shower meter that is designed to let you know how much water you’re using and alert you when the recommended amount of water has been dispensed. The savings can be substantial in terms of water and energy: a family of four could save over $400 per year, as well as 40,000 liters of water and 2/3 tonne of CO2.

xeros washing machine

This incredible washing machine, which could save billions of liters of water each year, has been designed at the University of Leeds. It uses less than 10% of the water of regular washing machines and 30% less energy by replacing most of the water with thousands of tiny reusable plastic beads to attract and absorb dirt under humid conditions.

Xeros, who developed the technology, will start selling the washing machine to commercial customers such as hotels and dry cleaners before bringing the product household consumers.A tiny amount of water and detergent is needed to dampen the clothes, loosen stains and create the water vapour that allows the beads to work. After the cycle is finished, the beads fall through a mesh in the machine’s drum and can be re-used up to a hundred times. Xeros has signed a deal with GreenEarth Cleaning, an environmentally friendly dry-cleaning business, to sell the technology across North America.