Heating/Air Conditioning/Filtration

Air Conditioners

There are basically two types of air conditioners available for home use. These are room air conditioners and central air conditioners. Understanding the differences between these air conditioners is important to choosing the best type to fit a buyer's needs and being cost-effective. Each website contributes a different aspect or point for purchasing an air conditioner. When all three sites are used together, a comprehensive understanding of air conditioners and how to purchase the right one for the consumer's needs is provided. The third cite, Appliance Energy Data, includes lists of air conditioners with their energy efficiency ratings (EER) and brands of air conditioners to help consumers better pick the AC that will be best suited for their needs.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Energy-Efficient Air Conditioning
  2. The Basics: Air Conditioner
  3. Appliance Energy Data

Air Filters

It seems like the biggest factors in determining what kind of air purifier is right for you are these:

1. What is the purpose of getting an air purifier.

2. What size area are you hoping to clean with your air purifier?

3. How often do you want the air purifier to run?

4. How much of an air filter do you need, do you necessarily need the best one.

Because purposes and needs for air purifiers can be drastically different, there isn't a specific air purifier that all websites recommend. It largely depends on the previously related reasons when purchasing one. Some purifiers are better at removing smells, while other purifiers are quite good at removing microscopic viruses and bacteria. It would be a mistake to buy the most expensive kind if you just wanted to remove smell, as these kinds of filters can usually be available relatively easily.

They can help many different issues that relate to personal wealth, like health, medications, and similar things. This is an undervalued consumer product.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Air Purifiers - Allergy and Pollution Air Purifiers
  2. Allergy Relief Products
  3. Indoor Air Quality - Air - US EPA

Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans were used before the days of air conditioning and are now relatively inexpensive, easy to install, and easy to operate. They save a substantial amount of energy as they are a great alternative to air conditioning, and in hot climates, a ceiling fan combined with air conditioning can successfully create a comfortable living environment at a lower cost than a purely air conditioned home might.

The science of a ceiling fan can help to illustrate this concept. In warm weather, the blades of a ceiling fan push the air downward, pushing the cool air down at the floor’s surface outward towards the edges of the room and mixing the cool and warm air together. This process can cool down an entire room by four degrees or more, allowing for less air conditioning and more savings. An average ceiling fan can be run on roughly the same electricity as a 100-watt light bulb—for mere pennies a day. Interestingly enough, most ceiling fans have a switch that allows the blades to turn in reverse, pushing the air upward toward the ceiling, in order to drive the warm air back into the main area of the room. This is especially effective during the winter, when more even heating and better heat circulation is needed to combat such problems as the sweating windows that most people have due to condensation on the glass. In other words, a ceiling fan is great and inexpensive both in summer and in winter!

When shopping for a ceiling fan for your home, certain aspects of the fan should be considered, the fan motor being first on the list. A noisy ceiling fan usually has a problem in the motor, and a poor motor design can create future problems. One that works too hard or is too powerful may expire early or spend inefficient amounts of energy. Permanently lubricated ball bearings make for a maintenance-free ceiling fan, and a motor that is created especially for ceiling fans is the most desirable. A Casablanca motor is made especially for ceiling fans, although it is the most expensive, and other companies such as Emerson, Hunter, and Minka Aire, offer the same Limited Lifetime Warrantee for a cheaper price. Next on the list of considerations are the blades. The blade pitch, or angle, determines the amount of air movement a ceiling fan can generate. A blade pitch of at least 14 degrees is excellent for maximum air movement efficiency. Beware of a cheaply priced fan with a 14 degree blade pitch, however, as this requires a motor that is strong, and is most likely not going to be the least expensive. (Casablanca and Hunter fans provide the best quality, considering that the blades are weighed and matched to within one gram before leaving the factory!) The material from which the blades are created also matters a great deal. Solid wood can warp over time, creating noise and wobbling. A multi-layered hardwood veneer is recommendable. Finely, equally-distributed weight should also be considered.

Lighting is also a factor that should be considered. Some ceiling fans come with built-in lighting, and others have optional light fixtures. Most ceiling fan retailers allow their clients to customize their fan to their own style and home décor. It is best to buy the fan and customize it within the same brand, as different brands can create different styles with the same name. The room in which you are placing it should also be considered for its lighting, and most fans now include a remote control or wall control system that allow you smooth operation of the lighting as well as of the fan itself. Details of the ceiling fan are also to be considered, as they are the marks of the fan’s quality. Durability, high-quality paint finishes, fit, and how it will look with the rest of your interior decoration are each important. When selecting the fan for a certain room, details such as the room’s dimensions, décor, and electrical wiring must be considered. Finally, the cost of a fan is to be considered, and an important saying to remember is, “You get what you pay for.” A more expensive fan will last longer than a cheaper fan, but in all cases, examine the warranties of your purchases. The most reliable (however, the most expensive) ceiling fans I can recommend would be Casablanca and Hunter.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Fan Works Outlet
  2. The Lamp Depot: Ceiling Fans
  3. About.com: Interior Decorating: Ceiling Fans

Central Air Conditioners

For many people, central air conditioning is a necessity to the comfort of their home. However, choosing which air conditioning unit to purchase and install requires a great deal of consideration. The consumer must consider the energy efficiency and installation.

Although the more energy-efficient the air conditioner is the more expensive it usually is, the consumer must remember the long-term benefits. In the long run, an energy-efficient unit will save the consumer hundreds of dollars. The environment friendliness of such units is a bonus to the monetary savings.

Also, installation is something the consumer must consider. Choosing a contractor that will install the unit correctly is imperative. It will ensure that no extra costs are added to fix major installation problems. It will also ensure that the unit functions as efficiently as possible thereby saving the consumer more money.

Top Online Resources:

  1. EERE Consumer's Guide
  2. Consumer Reports .org
  3. Central Air Conditioners: ENERGY STAR


In looking to purchase a fireplace, there are many attributes to keep in mind. The look, fit of the fireplace in your home, heat efficiency, fuel source, and cost will all be important. With the help of the following websites, your search can be simplified and thoroughly pleasant.

It is important to determine what kind of fireplace you want. The choices start at the traditional wood stove and go to electric or gas fireplaces. If you are replacing an existing fireplace, you might want to determine the space that will be occupied and find one that fits. Also, by determining the amount of work you want to put into the upkeep of your fireplace will help you determine the fuel source desired.

There are various price ranges for all types of fireplaces, so determining the type first will help you in your search. Finally, after you decide the type of fireplace you desire, you can add a mantle or other decorations to make this the home addition of your dreams.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Fireplaces and Wood Stoves
  2. Fireplace Station
  3. Fireplaces


Most Utahans have noticed the need for effective, cost efficient and environmentally friendly furnaces. For those Utahans and for millions of consumers around the globe, the internet provides a gamut of resources which indicate advantages and disadvantages to the variety of furnaces available to them as consumers. Some possible issues that might concern potential purchasers and current consumers involve ease in repair, environmental impact, price, cost efficiency, and value. There are several websites that are dedicated to encourage unbiased discussion concerning the quality and problems of furnaces.

Furnaces start around $500.00. The high value furnaces tend to cost between $1,200 and $2,000. They come in different shapes, sizes and models. So while a furnace to heat a school might cost more than $2,000.00 it still might not be effective, but a furnace to heat a small one bedroom single-family home might only need a smaller furnace. No matter if you are buying a Simpson, Dayton or a Honeywell, and if you are going to use it at home, the office or for your ski lodge, there is information and forums available to help consumers find the best deals for them.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Furnace Ratings: Gas Furnace Ratings, Reviews
  2. Heating and Air Conditioning Forum
  3. Warmair.com - About Gas Furnaces


My topic was humidifiers. There was a large amount of information available on different kinds of humidifiers and the variations in quality and performance. Each website took a different approach, but each provided interesting and useful information.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Humidifier Information
  2. Humidifiers - comparisons, ratings, reviews
  3. Aprilaire - Fresh Ideas for Indoor air

Non-Electric Heating Devices

When it comes to heating a home or any space, there are several options available. Although electric space heaters are common and well known, they are unreliable during power outages, more expensive per unit of heat energy produced, and less environmentally friendly. Fortunately, natural gas and propone heating is an efficient and reliable alternative.

Because gas heats the surrounding air through a process known as convection, gas heaters are often reported to have a 99% rate of efficiency. When selecting a non-electric heater, ensure the heater is equipped with built in safety properties that manage carbon monoxide levels. Although natural gas is a popular alternative as well, propane especially is a proven excellent alternative to electricity that burns clean, is non-toxic and is consistently reported to be cost effective.

There is a variety of products on the market that encompass both indoor and outdoor heating devises. These products can range from small portable heaters to systems that can heat large areas of a home. Several internet sites have been provided that allow the consumer to easily compare prices, efficiency and learn more about non-electric heat alternatives. Using non-electric heating devises provides reliable, safe, environmental benefits.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Propane: Exceptional Energy
  2. Online Shopping at Become.com: compare prices and research products
  3. Space Heater Buying Guide

Portable Air Conditioners

Portable Air Conditioners come in an enormous variety ranging from prices, size, strength, controls, efficiency, and so forth. There is an EER energy level required for all air conditioners set at 9.7 and most meet or exceed the 10.7 EER to allow more efficiency. As said before, there are a variety of products available on the market to me the different needs of consumers. You should consider how much cooling you want first, or how large the room is, and then where you are going to put the air conditioner. You can find yourself needing air blowing in all different directions. There are other smaller details that might help. It is suggested that you don’t buy features you don’t need, that would cost more for nothing essentially. It is also good to have more source of approval on the product. So check to see if there are other certified tests that have proven the effectiveness of the product.

Depending on the product, there are several things to remember also. Some air conditioners have hoses to attach, or they have small containers that collect water that must periodically be emptied. These air conditioners are much easier to move around the house but must be managed daily.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Consumer Guide Products
  2. Consumer Reports.org
  3. Web Stores America

Space Heaters

Space heaters are appliances that are just what they sound like. They are heaters that are often used for different parts of the house or other buildings, but can also be used for outdoor purposes. They are normally quite small in size so they do not take up much space. However, they will only heat the nearby space and not the entire house if they are in a certain room.

There are many different types of space heaters which may use different forms of energy to heat. They may be kerosene heaters, electric, wood burning, or gas. Each of these works differently and has different potential hazards when being used.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Space-heaters-guide.com
  2. Heater shop


Many different kinds of thermostats exist, from the incredibly basic to the cutting-edge. Some might assume that simply buying the cheapest thermostat you can find (many sell for under $10) is the best for their money. Why would you need a bunch of buttons and a big display for that little box on your wall? With the proper perspective though, that extra $50 investment could turn into a million dollar choice.

What kind of options are there, then, and why are they so important? Well, first off, it's important to realize how much of your energy costs go to heating and cooling. According to the Department of Energy, some 40% of your utility bill goes to "space conditioning." As the Federal Trade Commission states on its website: "Heating and cooling systems are some of the most important investments you'll ever make in your home," especially with the ever rising cost of energy. I think all of us have at some point or another cringed after receiving that heating bill after a particularly harsh winter. So, how will a thermostat help protect your pockets from the cold grasp of bills? With two things: accuracy and efficiency.

Accuracy is fairly simple to explain. You can see for yourself how a thermostat works at http://home.howstuffworks.com/. You'll notice that most run using a fairly simple wire coil thermometer that activates heating or cooling switches. ConsumerReports.org reported having tested one top model of thermostats as being as much as four to five degrees off of the actual temperature. Other thermostats showed less steady temperatures than desired. If a thermostat is inconsistent, or shows a temperature different than what you would like, it could cost you in heating or cooling as you manually adjust to "make it right." Moral: make sure the one you get is accurate in both those aspects.

Efficiency is always a good thing, right? You can save hundreds a year with an efficient thermostat (and accompanying system, in many cases). This is where all those fancy buttons play a big role. A thermostat with a program function can make a big difference in your utility costs--if away from the house during the day, you can tell your thermostat to start heating just before you arrive home and stop again after you leave to work. Many even have built in energy-saving programs estimated to cut energy costs by 20%. Almost any search you run for thermostats on the internet will bring up at least a few articles applauding the energy efficiency of programmable thermostats (which don't even have to cost you over $50!). One of my favorite energy saving ideas is called "system zoning." You can read about it in detail also at home.howstuffworks.com/, but it basically functions by dividing your home into different areas each with a separate thermostat that regulates dampers in the ducts, restricting or increasing airflow to those areas needing it most. The website reports an estimated savings of 30% on heating and cooling costs which adds up over time.

A programmable thermostat will do wonders for your heating/cooling bill. To use a popular infomercial slogan, you just "set it and forget it." While thermostats have other differences that might make it difficult to determine which brand you would like to use, most have quality products and brands like Honeywell and Lux are favorites. ConsumerReports.org will tell you some of their experiences with various models and help you to determine which is right for you.

Top Online Resources:

  1. ConsumerReports.org
  2. How Stuff Works
  3. Federal Trade Commission

Water Filters

Water filters can be found in many American homes today. Their purpose is to remove harmful hard minerals that are present in tap water. These hard minerals often do not show an immediate effect on the average adult but negative effects do exist and they are more harmful to children. Everyone should consider the welfare of their family by researching water filters to find out whether or not they would be a benefit in their lives.

A person would need to consider many different aspects of a water filter to find the best one for them. The first and most obvious consideration is cost. Then the efficiency would need to be taken into consideration. This would be the percentage of hard substances removed by the water filter. Service is the next component of research that would be necessary. If a company makes support available it shows that they are confident with their product and have pride in it.

A water filter seems to be a money-well-spent investment. Especially if the price is right and the least expensive water filter brand with the most beneficial components is Aquasana. It is the least expensive product both initially and in the long-run while it is still consistently leading with some of the highest percentages of removal of hard substances. Purchase of this product is even equipped with a lifetime warranty and tech support is available.

Top Online Resources:

  1. waterfiltercomparisons.net
  2. Aquasana Factory Direct Website
  3. consumer reports.org

Water Heaters

In today's world, Water Heaters have become essential to almost every consumer household. Most people don't realize all of the options that they have when purchasing a water heater. Many decisions that are made lose consumers money in the long run. However, some decisions depend only upon the preferences of the consumer.

Most people choose to use the conventional "storage water heater" which has a large holding container for heated water. You may choose to buy an electric water heater which uses electric coils to heat the water, or you may use a gas-powered heater which uses a burner for heat.

Though many agree that the conventional storage water heater is the best option, some people opt for the other commonly known water heater. It is tankless. It heats the water as it is needed, thus eliminating the need for a storage unit. This method is not usually considered cost-effective.

Whatever your preference, there are many, many decisions to be made by the consumer when purchasing a water heater.

Top Online Resources:

  1. U.S. Department of Energy
  2. ServiceMagic
  3. How Stuff Works