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Follow These Portable Heater Safety Tips to Stay Warm and Safe

Spring may just be around the corner, but much of the U.S. and Canada is so cold that you may think you’re in Antarctica.  During colder months, many of us turn to portable heaters to keep living rooms, bedrooms and even offices warm.  When used properly, these heaters are perfect at warming up a cold room without the need to turn up the furnace, which may be inefficient.  However, each year a number of unnecessary fires occur because the heater’s instructions were not properly followed.

Today’s New York Times has an informative article describing how manufacturers made portable heaters safer and more energy efficient wrapped in more contemporary and sleek designs.  For years portable heaters have had safety mechanisms that shut them off automatically if the internal temperature gets too high or if they tip over.  And, other safeguards exist too, such as motion sensors and models that are cool to the touch.

Click here to read the entire article.

No matter what type of portable heater you use, AHAM recommends the following safety tips:

  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels before using your portable electric heater.
  • DO NOT leave operating heater unattended and always unplug heater when not in use.
  • DO NOT use your heater with a power strip or extension cord. Overheating of a power strip or extension cord could result in a fire.
  • String out cords on top of area rugs or carpeting. Placing anything, including furniture, on top of the cord may damage it.
  • Keep combustible materials, such as furniture, pillows, bedding, papers, clothes and curtains at least three feet from the front of the heater and away from the sides and rear. DO NOT block heater’s air intake or exhaust source.

To view more safety tips, visit AHAM’s Heater Safety website. Additionally, you may order copies of AHAM’s Portable Electric Heater Safety brochure by clicking here.

Peek Inside the Refrigerator of a Top Chef!

124081Ever wonder what was in the refrigerator of some of the country’s top chefs? The New York Times asked 11 top chefs in New York City, and their answers might surprise you.  Peek inside their fridges and you’ll see that many of them probably don’t look all that different than your own – yogurt, half-empty bottles of pickles, inexpensive beer and the occasional leftover.

They also provide tips on everything from utilizing space in a small refrigerator to their policy on leftovers and what foods they always keep around.  Some of them explain their idiosyncrasies when it comes to food and refrigerators.

Einat Admony, a chef at Balaboosta, explains why she has no leftovers: “We don’t want anything in there getting moldy and forgotten. My husband comes from a French family, but they also lived in Africa for seven years, so he’s very aware of waste. And I grew up with an Iranian mom in Israel who wouldn’t throw anything in the garbage — anything. When she would break an egg, she used to take her thumb and scrape out all of the egg white. I remember when I came to New York and I started to do that at a restaurant, the chef looked at me like, Wow, that’s interesting.??

Bryan Schuman, a chef at Betony in Midtown, explains why his refrigerator is taped shut. “That’s because I have a cat named Bud. There’s roast beef in the fridge, so I have to tape the door shut. We went out of town once, and I was dry-aging a duck in there. When we came back, the place was permeated with the smell of death. The fridge is open, the duck is on the ground, half ripped apart, and the cat is looking really nonchalant. ‘What? I got the duck, so what?’??

Read the full article here.  This might sound comical, but some of today’s refrigerator features, like built-in air purification systems to keep food fresher longer, and door alarms might help these two chefs.

Beat the Heat with a New AHAM Verifide Room Air Conditioner

It’s that time of the year when many consumers find themselves in the market for a new room air conditioner.  Upon walking into a store to purchase one, one of the first things a consumer may notice is the AHAM Verifide label on the product’s box.  Room air conditioners carrying the AHAM Verifide mark have been tested by an independent laboratory to verify that the unit will perform according to manufacturers’ claims for cooling capacity in British Thermal Units (BTUs), Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) and electrical energy in Amps.  Additionally, those models carrying the ENERGY STAR logo have been rated as being 10 percent more efficient than non-ENERGY STAR-qualified room air conditioners.

Ralph Hudnall, AHAM’s Director of Product Certification and Verification, explains that the independent laboratory’s testing conducted on room air conditions are designed to be as close to the consumer’s use as possible, and each model tested undergoes the exact same test to ensure uniformity.

Ralph explains, “At the lab, there are two adjoining rooms with one room configured as though it’s outdoors (hotter) and the inside room is the room that is to be cooled. Various sensors are set up to make sure the environmental conditions are correct and each unit is operated for 24 hours.?? Upon completion of the tests, the results are verified against the manufacturer’s claim and, if approved, the unit is given the AHAM Verifide seal.

More information about selecting an AHAM Verifide room air conditioner can be found here, and additional information about ENERGY STAR can be found here. This Old House’s website has some tips for choosing the right room air conditioner.

Take the Work Out of Vacuuming Your Home with These Tips


Of course you know how to vacuum, right?   Well, maybe not, according to Consumer
Reports that suggests that if you are vacuuming the wrong way, you may be making
more work for yourself.

Consumer Reports
magazine has 10 helpful tips that will leave your carpet cleaner and can leave
you less worn out after doing a chore that most people would rather not do.  Here are three to get you started:

Stick to a schedule, Make multiple
passes to clean deeply, and Spot-treat spills.
  You can read the rest of CR’s
tips here

An editor at Better
Homes and Gardens
magazine has additional tips in a Tampa Bay Tribune article. He
recommends saving vacuuming only after all of the other chores, such as
dusting, have been done and move all furniture out of the way.

“Professional house cleaners call this ‘top down cleaning’ —
you start at the top of the room, so particulates settle. Tackle ceiling
corners, window treatments, furniture and finally the floors,?? the article

And after you’ve finished reading those tips, you can see
how far vacuum technology has come since the days of this 1950s Singer commercial. And if it
weren’t for this Hoover commercial,
you may have forgotten how vacuuming in the 1980s was such an exciting
experience that you may have worn a mink stole and lace gloves to clean the

What are your top tips for vacuuming?   
Have you discovered anything that makes this chore a bit easier?    Share
with other readers by commenting below.

Allergy Season is Coming: Are You Prepared?


The good news for the millions of Americans who suffer from allergies is that they can take action against symptoms before they start.

Dust and pollen are common airborne allergens that cause these symptoms. Here are some everyday steps you can take to help you avoid them.

  • Keep windows closed in the car and at home and limit outdoor activities, especially when the pollen count is high.
  • Shower before you go to bed to help remove allergens that may have collected on you or your clothes throughout the day.
  • Do not hang laundry outside to dry where it may collect pollen and other allergens. Use a dryer or hang the clothes inside instead.
  • Use a portable room air cleaner in your bedroom to filter airborne particles and help you breath–and sleep–easier. In a recent survey conducted by AHAM, removing dust was the top reason for purchasing an air cleaner. These portable appliances can be moved from room to room, and a portable air cleaner that's received a Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) seal may reduce the level of airborne pollutants.

Before purchasing the air cleaner, you should know the size of the room in which you'll use it. You can search the directory found the AHAM Verifide website and compare models. Look at the ratings for tobacco smoke, dust and pollen, and find the models that have the highest ratings since they will clean your room the fastest. You can then weigh the importance of product features, such as noise levels and design, to find an air cleaner that fits your needs.

You can also obtain your free copy of AHAM's Directory of Certified Air Cleaners here.

Breathing Clean Air Made Easier with a Room Air Cleaner

An article in the Dec. 10th edition of the New York Times, titled “Want to Live Longer? Breath
Clean Air,??
highlights a new study published in the journal Epidemiology that found a direct correlation between a
decrease in air pollution with an increase in life expectancy.

As the article notes, there are other factors which
contribute to life expectancy, including income, other health facts and whether
or not one smokes.

 The article quoted a
Harvard School of Public Health professor who noted that even with declining
levels of particulate pollution, continuing to clean the air is still
important.   Fortunately, there is one
great and practical way you can improve the air quality around you and that’s
by using a portable room air cleaner in your home.  Room air cleaners help to filter the air and
reduce particulate matter that is circulating in the air.  You can find a complete directory of
certified room air cleaners on the AHAM Verifide website.  Look
for a room air cleaner that is appropriate for the size of your room and meets
the Clear Air Delivery Rate (CADR) for your needs.  All AHAM Verifide room air cleaners will have
the AHAM Verifide logo on the product’s package and the
CADR rating will be clearly labeled. All products that carry the AHAM Verifide
mark are independently tested by a third-party laboratory to ensure that they
meet the manufacturers’ claims for removal of tobacco smoke, dust and pollen.  Manufacturers are not required to be a part of
the AHAM Verifide program, but doing so demonstrates a commitment to honest
ratings and keeping customers’ trust. 

Search and Compare Appliance Ratings with AHAM

Visit AHAM’s new searchable directories of verified products to find the refrigerator, dehumidifier, room air conditioner and room air cleaner that meets your needs.   Search and compare appliances that are listed in AHAM’s Verification Programs to find models that have undergone performance and energy testing.    AHAM’s Verification Programs validate the energy ratings made by manufacturers through random testing conducted by an independent laboratory.   Product directories for clothes washers and dishwashers will be available soon. 


How to Find an Air Cleaner that Works for You

Shopping for an air cleaner can seem overwhelming, which is why AHAM wants to help make your decision easier!  AHAM staff members Wayne Morris and Jill Notini answered some common questions in an article in House Beautiful that explains how the three most common types of air cleaners work.  This is definitely a must-read before you start shopping!

CADR_clr Your next step should be to look through AHAM's Directory of Certified Air Cleaners to find a model that has been tested and had it's performance verified in an independent testing lab.  Look for an air cleaner with the AHAM seal so you can compare the CADR ratings and check for your recommended room size. 

Air cleaners are a great way to help improve your indoor air quality in addition to routine cleaning!

Indoor Air Pollution is a Big Threat in Winter Months

You may think that allergies are most troublesome in the spring, but there are actually higher pollution levels in the winter months.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor pollution is 2 to 5 times higher than it is outdoors, and when people are weatherproofing the cold air out, they are also sealing airborne pollutants inside.  This can be problematic for those with asthma and other allergies. 

MSN recently published an article with tips for clearing the air inside your home.  You should also consider purchasing an air cleaner, which can help reduce pollutants like dust, pollen and tobacco smoke.  To be sure you are purchasing an air cleaner that will work for your home, visit www.cadr.org/consumer to view a list of units that have been tested by an independent lab and had their performance verified by AHAM.  Use the online directory to sort the units by their recommended room size and find the one with the highest CADR ratings. 

Use an air cleaner to help reduce indoor allergens in your home… and other tips!

An article posted yesterday on CNN.com lists lots of helpful tips for those suffering from indoor allergies.  It is important to keep your home clean by vacuuming and dusting regularly, and reducing clutter.  You can also look for an air cleaner to help reduce the dust, pollen and tobacco smoke particles that may be floating in your air. 

AHAM has hundreds of certified air cleaners listed on www.cadr.org, where you can search for the model that will work the best in your home.  AHAM tests for the reduction of dust, pollen and tobacco smoke and gives each air cleaner a recommended room size.

The article also mentions fighting off any mold in your basement with a dehumidifier.  AHAM also tests and certifies dehumidifiers and lists the results in an online directory.