Help Your Home Ward Off Winter’s Chill

<b>Help Your Home Ward Off Winter’s Chill</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – When you feel that special nip in the air, you know it’s time to pull out your woolen sweaters and warmer jackets. But are you taking steps to keep you home cozy through the winter?

Winterizing your home will not only keep you more comfortable, but also minimize your heating costs. In some cases, winterizing can also help improve your home’s safety.

Before curling up with some spiced cider, take the following steps to winterize your home:

– Check all windows and doors for drafts. A poorly insulated home lets warm air out and cold air in, making heating systems work harder to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. All that extra energy translates into higher heating bills. Look for cracks around windows, doors and perimeter walls. If you notice gaps or cracks, buy a caulking gun or home insulation kit at your local hardware store, then put it to use.

– Clean all ducts and vents. Clogged vents increase energy costs and can pose fire hazards. Take your dryer -; clogged dryer vents cost homeowners an extra $18 to $24 every month and cause 15,500 fires each year. Most manufacturers suggest that you clean your dryer vent once a year, so make it part of your winterizing process. One company, Dryer Vent Wizard (www.dryerventwizard.com), professionally inspects and cleans clothing dryers, ensuring a safer and more energy-efficient home.

– Check your pipes. Pipes that lack proper insulation can crack and leak, damaging your home. Thoroughly drain all garden hoses before putting them in storage. Drain air conditioner pipes, and turn off your air conditioner’s shut-off valve. Hot water composes a hefty chunk of your utility bill, so consider purchasing a water heater blanket for your water heater. Make sure that all hot water pipes are insulated. You can purchase heat tape or pipe insulation at hardware stores.

– Clean your heating system. If your HVAC has clean vents and filters, it will produce more heat more efficiently. Consider hiring a professional service to make sure that your HVAC runs efficiently this winter.

Are Laundry Costs Leaving You High and Dry?

<b>Are Laundry Costs Leaving You High and Dry?</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Depending on the size of your household and the number of laundry loads you do each week, cleaning clothes can put a huge strain on your budget.

According to EnergyStar.gov, the average American family washes about 400 loads of laundry a year. Since many households often have to dry the same load of laundry twice, families might dry as many as 800 loads. This might explain why dryers are the second most expensive appliance after refrigerators — over its lifetime, the average dryer costs its owner $1,530.

All well-maintained dryers use about the same amount of energy, but homeowners can take steps to make drying clothes less expensive. Reducing the amount of clogged lint in a dryer can reduce drying times by 50 percent, giving many people one-cycle-per-load efficiency while extending the life of their dryer. Dryer Vent Wizard says that clogged lint can cost homeowners an extra $18 to $24 each month in electric bills, not to mention pose a considerable fire hazard. In 2006, 17,700 home fires started in washers or dryers, causing $194 million in property damage.

Dryer Vent Wizard professionally inspects and cleans clothing dryers for homeowners as well as apartment and condo complexes. Aside from a professional annual inspection, Dryer Vent Wizard offers the following tips so that homeowners can reduce their dryer costs:

– Always clean out your lint trap. A clogged lint trap will reduce air flow, making your dryer use more energy to do the same work. Additionally, lint is highly flammable and can easily cause a fire.

– Don’t overload your dryer. You don’t want to dry only a few items at a time, but neither do you want to overload your dryer. Dryers work by circulating air around tumbling clothes. If your dryer’s packed too tightly, air won’t circulate, and you’ll have to run the dryer an extra cycle.

– If you’re doing several loads of laundry at once, reload the dryer right away. The dryer will already be warm, so it will use less energy to dry that second or third batch of clothes.

Dryer Vent Wizard recently partnered with Brand Source, the fourth-largest distributor of appliances and electronics for the home. For more information, visit www.dryerventwizard.com.

New Appliances Make Laundry Day Easier

<b>New Appliances Make Laundry Day Easier</b> (NU) – Traditionally, the washer and dryer have been necessary annoyances in the home. They’re loud, inefficient and hard on clothes, but they’re the only way to tackle the ever-growing mountains of laundry that families produce week after week.

Now, some innovations in laundry are changing the way people look at these appliances. New lines of front-loading washers and dryers save time, save wear and tear on clothes, and help save the environment.

According to Best Buy, over the past year, sales of front-loading washers and dryers have surged to make up 15 percent of all laundry sales. That makes front-loading washers and dryers the fastest growing category of appliances in the country.

“People don’t often think about getting a new washer or dryer until their old one breaks, but when our customers learn about all the benefits of these new units, many of them are choosing to make an immediate change,” said Lisa Smith, business general manager of appliances for Best Buy.

One key difference between front-loading washers and top-loading washers is the amount of water they use. The newer front-loaders automatically adjust the water level to the size of the load, consuming 35 percent to 50

percent less water and using half as much energy per load.

Another key benefit of front-loading washers is that they are easier on clothes. Top-loading washers rely on the center agitator inside the tub to move the clothes around. These agitators can stretch and tangle clothes and contribute significantly to wear and tear. Front-loading washers don’t use agitators. Instead, they gently cycle the clothes through the water. Even delicate clothes can be washed in front-loading washers, meaning fewer trips to dry cleaners.

Like the washers, front-loading dryers also offer substantial benefits. They have multiple settings to conform to specific drying needs and help prevent overheating. The newer dryers also spin faster, reducing the time it takes to dry the clothes. The reduced drying time can save as much as 30 percent on the energy bill from the dryer.

The benefits and style of these new washers and dryers still may not make doing laundry fun, but they can make the chore easier. These new appliances have vastly increased capacities, with some holding up to 22 bath towels at one time.

For more information about front-loading washers and dryers, visit any Best Buy store or go online at www.bestbuy.com.