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

September 2003

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What's New With Hot Water

Boiling Over There's a rift in the home-heating industry that pits professionals on the water side against those on the air side. That is: hydronic vs. forced warm air. Some contractors prefer one type of heat to the other, but many have learned that to serve their customers well they must offer both types of heat. The term hydronic heat may sound like an obscure, futuristic form of heat production. Yet, it has been around for centuries and is widely regarded as the finest type of heat available for the home.

Burying The Main Power Line

One of the considerations when building a new home or upgrading electrical service to an existing home is whether to string the main power line from a nearby electric pole or bury it. The biggest advantage to burying a power line is aesthetics. Most people prefer the clean, natural look of buried service as opposed to the cluttered look of aerial lines. This is reflected in the fact that most new developments advertise buried power lines as a positive feature.

Keep Home Fires From Burning

This photo shows the damage that can be caused when the fire department has to be called into your home.More than 90 percent of American homes today have smoke detectors. Since their widespread introduction in the 1980s, smoke detectors have cut the number of home fire deaths in half.

Not the Time to Fall Behind

  Freeze-proof faucets are self-draining -- as long as no hose is attached to them. Traditional faucets require removal of the hose and closing the valve inside the house to prevent bursting.

Your Tap Water: Fit or Failing

A recent report from the Natural Resources Defense Council graded the municipal drinking-water supplies of 19 major U.S. cities, and they were found to be lacking. While none of the cities failed outright, only Chicago earned a rating of excellent, and that was in only one of three categories tested.

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