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

September 2007

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Bristling at Waste

Think about your paintbrushes. The handles never need replacement - just the bristles, right? So why do you have to buy a whole new brush? The theory behind the Envirobrush is a solution to this problem. The bristles can be easily removed and replaced by flipping a small clamp on the brush handle. The bristles, held together by a solid block of plastic at one end, are sold separately at a fraction of the cost of a full brush, the manufacturer says. The Envirobrush comes in three widths up to 2.5 inches. www.envirobrush.com

A Home Inspection Checklist

Your home is probably the most significant purchase you will ever make. Most homebuyers focus first on finding a real estate agent and shopping around for the best mortgage and interest rate. While some important details of homebuying include the number of bathrooms, the lot size or the proximity to good schools, you should also be sure to have your new home inspected professionally before you buy. It's important to understand that no home is perfect.

Electricity 101: How Home Wiring Works

Most homeowners fear electrical wiring. No doubt this has saved a few lives. But it's not much help for homeowners who want to know how things work or to repair them when they don't. Electricity is simply the movement of electrons through a wire, and because electrons are invisible, it helps to think of electricity as water flowing through a pipe (see Illustration 1). The electrical half of the water analogy is obvious. A power plant creates an electrical pressure (voltage), which propels a current of electrons through a wire.

The Alternative-Energy Puzzle

While I was putting together this issue of Smart HomeOwner (my first as the magazine's new managing editor, by the way), someone in our office made an interesting comment about our special home energy section. If all these alternative energy sources we're writing about are so efficient and environmentally friendly, he mused, why aren't they more popular? Good question.

Hiring the Right Installer

When it comes to automating your home, selecting the right contractor to install the smarts in your living space is a crucial decision. If it is done methodically, and you do your homework before calling a home automation installer, the selection process is easier, and satisfaction is almost assured. The first step is yours, and it is an important one: Read and plan. Educate yourself about what is available in the various areas that interest you. List as many wants and desires as you can.

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