Mastering the Alaska Home Heating Test

Posted by Héctor H. Zorrilla On 10.29.2009 1 comments

(NewsUSA) - If a wall-hung boiler can heat a home in Alaska problem-free for 10 winters, then it can heat a home anywhere, according to mechanical contractor Mike La Fay.

La Fay, owner of Meadow Lakes Supply in Wasilla, Alaska, installed his first Baxi Luna modulating wall-hung boiler in early 2000. Since then, he has installed more than 100 of these high efficiency, eco-friendly heating appliances in homes throughout Matanuska Susitna County, which is a 50-minute drive north-east from Anchorage.

"It can be 30 below zero here for three weeks straight, so a reliable heating appliance is essential for both home comfort and survival," La Fay says. "I have not experienced any significant problem with Baxi Luna performance. With Gensco, the exclusive Baxi distributor in Alaska stocking parts and accessories, I am really looking forward to my second decade as a Baxi contractor."

Gensco is a leading wholesale distributor of heating supplies and equipment, selling only to qualified contractors trade in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana since 1947. More recently, Gensco supplied 250 Baxi Luna boilers for an award-winning community redevelopment of Seattle Housing Authority, which reported 37 percent energy use savings over another hydronic heating system.

"My neighborhood just got natural gas recently, so I now have a Baxi Luna heating our family home and my shop. Our former oil fuel bill was up to $500 a month, and now we are spending around $150 for gas," La Fay notes. "You simply can't get better than that -- saving lots of money while knowing your heating system will withstand the coldest challenges of our winter."

Baxi is one of Europe's largest heating products manufacturer and has been making leading wall-hung boilers since the late 1960s. The firm's Bassano, Italy, plant has been producing Baxi Luna wallhung heating since it opened in 1978 and now makes 4,000 boilers a day for export to 70 countries, including the United States. Baxi heat exchangers are stainless steel and bear the ASME H-Stamp.

"I can recommend this appliance to homeowners with confidence, knowing it has a proven Alaska track record for quality, safety and environmental performance," says La Fay, who does ongoing maintenance of his installations and remains committed to learning more about the product. "I have learned a lot from a Baxi Luna training and contractor-certification CD-ROM. It is a great tool for a contractor located in Alaska."

To learn more about proven Baxi energy-efficient, eco-friendly heating solutions, including modulating, condensing or near-condensing boilers

(in either combination central heating and domestic hot water mode, or heating-only), visit

Make Pool Maintenance Mindless, Eco-Friendly

Posted by Héctor H. Zorrilla On 10.22.2009 0 comments

(NewsUSA) - Most people want to enjoy their pools, not spend time maintaining them. And with today's busy schedules, it's easier than ever to make mistakes, like running pool equipment too long or letting the water go green -- and not in the eco-friendly sense.

But automating pool functions can save up to 75 percent of a pool's annual energy costs, while also reducing chemical use and maintenance time. Pool owners can customize pool functions to their schedule. For example, someone may set their pool's filter pump to run longer or more often on weekends, when the pool experiences heavier use.

Pool Maintenance
The pool experts at Hayward offer the following tips for Americans looking to enjoy their pools with minimum effort and maximum savings:

- Replace your pool's filter pump. A pool pump may be your home's second or third largest energy consumer after air conditioning units. But a multi-speed, energy-efficient pump can save up to 75 percent on your pool operating costs. Hayward recommends its Tristar 2-speed pump or Variable Speed pump that features up to eight programmable speeds. Owners can further reduce energy consumption by setting each action's time, speed and duration, or setting the pump to work during off-hours.

- Use a robotic cleaner. A robotic cleaner can quickly pay for itself, saving up to 94 percent of the energy used by a pressure cleaner and booster pump. The best models, like the TigerShark, use little energy themselves, operate independently from other pool functions and shut off after cleaning.

- Are you still flipping switches? Save energy by managing your pool and spa functions with automation. The new OnCommand automatic pool controls can be retrofitted to your pool for less than the price of your next big-screen TV. Program and control up to 4 functions such as your multi-speed filter pump, booster pump, pool/spa lights, heater or pool cleaner.

For more information, visit

(NewsUSA) - Pioneering new product solutions can transform any bathroom from a water-and-money-waster to a water-and-cash-saver without sacrificing style or performance. Think that your bathroom doesn't offer a significant potential for cash savings? Think again.

Let's do a little math with the help of the Water Savings Calculator ( created by American Standard. Using an average residential cost of $6.06 per 1,000 gallons of water per year, consider this:

* Install new 1.28-gallon-per-flush (gpf) high-efficiency toilets to replace older (pre-1990) 3.5 gpf toilets currently in your home. With the average toilet being flushed 12 times per day, replacing two older toilets saves $118 and 19,447 gallons of water per year.

* Replace three 2.2-gallon-per-minute (gpm) faucets with 0.5 gpm WaterSense-labeled faucets and use them the same 40 minutes per day. The result: Save $451 and 74,460 gallons per year.

* Swap out two 3.0 gpm showerheads for new 1.5 gpm models and save $265 and 43,800 gallons per year.

Grab the calculator -- in one year, the average household can save $834 and more than four swimming pools' worth of water!

Bulking up your wallet and saving water become all the more appealing when combined with a new generation of plumbing products that offer peak performance. Remember these product selection tips as you outfit a new, greener bathroom for your home:

* Look for the WaterSense label. Created by the Environmental Protection Agency, this label certifies that products reduce water usage by 20 percent or more without sacrificing performance. The WaterSense label is currently available for high-efficiency toilets (HETs) and faucets. American Standard has the most high-efficiency toilets independently rated to flush more than two pounds of solids. All American Standard bathroom faucets are WaterSense-certified, and they comply with stringent new no-lead requirements.

* Keep performance front and center when going green. The goal is conservation without sacrifice. Using as little as 1.0 gallon of water on the light setting, the H2Option Dual Flush HET scours the sides of the bowl with a strong push-and-pull siphonic action created by a forceful, but quiet, jetted action under the rim. The FloWise three-function showerhead has the option of a full 2.5 gallon flow rate, but an internal turbine also delivers invigorating sprays at lower water-use settings.

Get Organized for Holiday Entertaining

Posted by Héctor H. Zorrilla On 10.16.2009 0 comments

(NewsUSA) - As you start preparing for holiday guests, take a look at your home. Is it crowded with clutter? If so, you might want to think about getting your home in order. After all, you need to make room for a Christmas tree, gifts and stockings!

Not sure how to start? Here are some tips from, where folks have been making space work better for almost 50 years. If you need more efficient storage space, they have the answer:

- Maximize your space. If you have an old-fashioned closet with just one shelf and one hanging bar, install shelves and use all the vertical space you have. Most closets only utilize about 50 percent of their storage capacity. With a properly designed shelving system, you can use nearly all of the available space.

- Make items easy to find. You don't want to waste time pawing through closets or searching under beds to find what you need, so don't just jam clutter out of sight. Create a more efficient storage space. Use labeled bins in your closet. Box up and store off season items. Use shelves and drawers to categorize items.

- Decorate with storage space. Put ottomans in the living room, and use them to store magazines or board games. Hang attractive shelves to decorate along your walls. Instead of end tables, use antique chests or drawers that also provide useable storage space.

Keeping calm during the chaotic holiday season starts at home -- clutter creates stress and will certainly disrupt the peace and joy of the holiday season. Start with one project (say, a single room or closet) before tackling another.

An efficient home is a happy home. Become happy and organized with the help of The Shelving Store. Visit their Web site at for ideas. They offer free shelving designs for just about any space in your home.

Must-Do Kitchen Maintenance

Posted by Héctor H. Zorrilla On 10.07.2009 0 comments

(NewsUSA) - As cooler weather approaches, folks start preparing their home for the long winter months, when entertaining moves from the deck to the kitchen.

As you clean your home, consider giving your appliances tune-ups to keep them running more efficiently. The home economists at Whirlpool Corporation offer several quick tips and tricks to prepare the kitchen for the holiday entertaining season:

Kitchen maintenance
* Change the water filter. Be sure to change the refrigerator water filter every six months to keep water fresh and free of contaminants.

* Use the dishwasher. According to ENERGY STAR, the U.S. government program that certifies energy-efficient appliances, washing dishes by hand uses much more water than using a dishwasher. Using an ENERGY STAR-qualified dishwasher instead of hand washing will save 5,000 gallons of water, $40 in utility costs and 230 hours of your time each year.

* Stop pre-rinsing dishes. When you pre-rinse dishes, the detergent doesn't have any grease or grime to stick to. As a result, the detergent will attack dishes, making them appear cloudy, scratched or etched.

* Get rid of dust bunnies. Use a slender vacuum attachment or hosiery wrapped around a yardstick to clear out dust and debris from behind and underneath the refrigerator. Dusting will help the fridge run more efficiently.

* Switch to electric. Electric cooktops are about twice as energy-efficient as gas. Electric elements have high-efficiency insulation surrounding the element, and the close proximity to the pot or pan allows efficient heat transfer.

* Do a clean sweep. Cleaning appliances on a regular basis can keep unwanted odors at bay, since it has the tendency to exist anywhere moisture is present in a closed environment. Dishwashers and garbage disposals fit the bill -- clean them every 30 days to prevent odors from leftover food particles and residue.

To help make this chore a little easier, Whirlpool Corporation developed affresh Dishwasher and Disposal Cleaner, the only two-in-one product on the market that removes unwanted odors in dishwashers and garbage disposals. Recommended for monthly use, consumers simply drop the tablets into the dishwasher and disposal for a convenient and affordable solution to unpleasant odors.

For additional information and product availability, please visit

Professional Ranges Make Gourmet Meals

Posted by Héctor H. Zorrilla On 10.01.2009 0 comments

(NewsUSA) - Watching food programs has become a favorite activity for many Americans, but recreating the gourmet meals onscreen is often easier said than done. True, television chefs often have cooking degrees from fancy schools and years of restaurant experience, but you don't need to be a professional to put an impressive meal on the table. What you do need is professional-quality cooking equipment.

Americans looking for the professional cooking experience can buy professional ranges for home-use. These ranges mimic the power and larger cooking surfaces of commercial models in a heavy duty, stainless steel package with the insulation and convenience features required for cooking at home.

Professional range
A burner on a standard stove has a power output of about 9,000 BTU, whereas a professional range for the home will average 15,000 BTU. Putting even more power to work for home chefs, Thermador's Professional Series ranges and rangetops feature star-shaped burners with an output of 18,000 BTU each. The results: with this much power on every burner, large pots of water will boil in a fraction of the time, and overall faster and more even heating results, allowing the most challenging recipes and techniques to be mastered at home.

Thermador, which started making professional-style ranges for home use in the 1990s, recently introduced its fourth-generation Star Burner. The burner's unique design directs heat evenly from the center of the pan to its edges creating a more even and superior distribution of heat than the standard circular burner, reducing cold spots, which ultimately affects the way the food will cook. Thermador Professional Series ranges also feature patented ExtraLow simmer burners, which have an output of 375 BTU per hour. This precise simmer control system enables home cooks to heat delicate sauces or melt chocolate without scorching or stirring.

Professional ranges for the home also offer a streamlined, professional look. With a bold, chiseled profile, high-grade stainless steel knobs and an angled door handle, the Professional Series from Thermador creates a classic, robust feel in any home kitchen.

For more information, visit

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