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.

Double-Duty Water Heaters

Hydronics the practice of using hot water to distribute heat through baseboard convectors, freestanding radiators or in-floor radiant coils is enjoying a revolution. As more people discover the comfort and reliability of hydronic heating, particularly radiant floor heating, the pressure increases to find more economical installation methods. The temptation to cut corners and compromise consumer safety, knowingly or not, has resulted in the option of cross-connecting the potable-water system and hydronic loops, with a single domestic water heater as the energy source.

You're Fired

Most of us never think about our fire extinguisher. We assume that when we need it, it will work. But fire extinguishers lose pressure over time. That's not something you want to learn while there's a fire burning in your home. Mija has developed a home fire extinguisher that has an active electronic monitor. Called En-Gauge, it signals an alert (both visible and audible) when the extinguisher is removed from its location, when it loses pressure or when the battery is low.

Choosing A Chain Saw

Made to look inordinately scary in horror movies, the chain saw is nonetheless an important tool for any homeowner with woody plants on or near their property. From trimming for landscape improvements to home construction (and destruction) applications, a chain saw can be invaluable, particularly during storm-related emergencies or when getting some low-cost winter heat from cordwood. But it's important to choose the right chain saw for the jobs ahead.

Sounds Good

More and more homeowners are taking the plunge and purchasing high-end home theater or sound systems with the hopes of kicking their home entertainment experiences into the stratosphere. But after researching various products, sound-testing them in audio showrooms and writing big checks, many buyers are frustrated to find that once these systems are set up at home, they don't sound nearly as good as they should. That's because, as industry professionals know, a system's speakers and electronics contribute only 50 percent to the quality of the sound.

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