Innovative solutions for creating healthy, efficient, eco-friendly homes

September 2001

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Understanding Energy Star

Refrigerators are among the biggest successes in energy conservation.

Off the Grid

The man from the power company had to agree: The site Fred Todd and his wife, Ann Pistell, had chosen for their new home in Maine was a splendid one. But to bring in power from the road would take 12 poles - at $1,000 each. As for laying the cables underground -- which the easement for the lot required - well, the cost for that was anyone's guess. Even $50,000 might not cover it. The figures spoke for themselves.

Replacing Your Water Heater Element

Changing a water heater element is easy. Shown here is a screw-in element. If your water heater suddenly produces less hot water - and you haven't added a teenager to the household - you've probably burned out one of its heater elements. But don't worry. Unless the tank is leaking, it isn't dead.

Going Wireless at Home

The Nokia 9290 combines phone, fax, e-mail, calendar and imaging in a handheld unit.Americans communicate today in two parallel ways: their landline service at home and their wireless service on the go. Some people, however, are deciding to simplify their communications by doing away with the landline and relying entirely on cell phones.

Is Your Garage Making You Sick?

The time was when garages, mimicking the stables of earlier years, were built separate from the house. That changed after World War II, when architects began including garages in the house structure. Attached garages make life a little more convenient for homeowners, but they also have an unwelcome effect: They can, and frequently do, pose a health hazard for the home's occupants. A recent study in Anchorage, Alaska, found that attached garages readily leak or funnel airborne pollutants, most notably carbon monoxide (CO) from idling cars, into adjacent living quarters.

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