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Come clean: The truth about energy-efficient washers and dryers

Published: Monday, November 13, 2017 @ 5:39 PM

The average American family washes and dries about 300 loads of laundry each year ENERGY STAR doesn't rate dryers because their efficiency has been about the same for years Maintenance will not do much to make a washing machine more efficient Only products that have earned the ENERGY STAR are certified independently to save energy ENERGY STAR-certified clothes washers use about 25 percent less energy and 45 percent less water than regular washers You can save $490 over the lifetime of an ENERGY STAR-certi

The average American family washes and dries about 300 loads of laundry each year, according to Energy Star. So, you may think it would be wise to replace washers and dryers with newer models.

Yet dryers can last longer than washers since dryers have not changed much in recent years. Instead, they can be maintained just by cleaning the lint tray before or after every use. However, the story’s a bit different for washers.

In the case of washers, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s appliances guide, upgrading washers every 10 years or so can save you more.

RELATED: Is an energy-efficient dishwasher worth the money?

The EnergyGuide label can be a useful tool when comparing appliances. Here are a few facts about energy-efficient washers and dryers to consider before making your next purchase:

The truth about energy-efficient dryers.

ENERGY STAR doesn't rate dryers because their efficiency has been about the same for years, according to LifeHacker.com. The average cost of a new dryer is $550.

Regular dryer maintenance will keep your dryer from breaking and heat clothes a little quicker which can save you money. In addition to cleaning the lint trap every load, vacuum the area below the lint trap periodically to decrease the dry time and save a few cents every month.

Whirlpool Duet washer and dryer.(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The truth about energy-efficient clothes washers.

New models have become more efficient by switching to the front-load clothes washer, using around 50 percent less water and 37 percent less energy. The average price of a new ENERGY STAR washing machine is $750, also according to LifeHacker.com.

Maintenance will not do much to make a washing machine more efficient.

If your washer is over 10 years old or a top-load washer, you could save up to $135 a year on both water and electricity by buying a new or newer front-load washer.

The truth about HE vs. energy-efficient.


Beware of high efficiency (HE) claims since this designation is intended to match certain washer types (for example, front load) with specially designed laundry detergent.

With no standards for energy efficiency behind the HE label, only products that have earned the ENERGY STAR are certified independently to save energy.

Last word from ENERGY STAR

Clothes washers are the second largest water user in your home. If your clothes washer was manufactured before 1999, according to the federal government, you should consider replacing it with an ENERGY STAR-certified washing machine that uses four times less energy.

ENERGY STAR-certified clothes washers use about 25 percent less energy and 45 percent less water than regular washers.

Clothes washers and dryers that have earned the ENERGY STAR use advanced features, saving $490 over the lifetime of an ENERGY STAR-certified clothes washer and more with a washer/dryer pair.

Another cool energy-saving fact: If all clothes washers and dryers sold in the U.S. were ENERGY STAR-certified, the savings would be more than $4 billion each year and prevent more than 19 billion pounds of carbon pollution annually −equal to the emissions from 1.7 million vehicles.

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Recall roundup: canopies, monitors, and home goods

Published: Friday, June 15, 2018 @ 11:44 AM

source: cpsc.gov
source: cpsc.gov

Floor lamps, mirrors, artwork, and video monitors are among the latest product recalls, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

source: cpsc.gov

Signature Design by Ashley Amnon floor lamps under recall have reportedly caused four incidents of minor property damage due to melted switches.

The issue is with the product label which incorrectly states that a 40 watt bulb can be used in the lamp. 

Stop using the lamp with the model number L207971, unplug it, and contact Ashley Furniture at 800-477-2222 to receive a full refund. 

FOOD RECALL: Honey Smacks cereal may be contaminated with salmonella

source: cpsc.gov

One person has been injured by a falling mirror with faulty hanging hardware the brand name Uttermost. 

The recall involves various mirrors, art, and wall decor sold with an adjustable j-hook hanging hardware with the item number 1703, 1704, 1705, or 1706, which can fail.   

There are a total of 13 reports of falling wall decor and mirrors. 

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If your product’s hanging hardware is part of this recall, remove the items from the wall and contact Uttermost at 800-678-5486 to receive a free replacement hook. 

source: cpsc.gov

There are 328 reports of expanding and overheating batteries in certain models of video surveillance monitors by Lorex. 

This recall involves monitors with multiple sizes, model numbers and serial numbers which can be found here. 

If you have one of the recalled monitors, stop using it and contact Lorex at 844-265-7388 for a full refund. 

source: cpsc.gov

Tractor canopies by A&I are under recall because they may cause injury.

The canopies can cause the Rollover Protective Structure to fail to protect the tractor operator.  

No one has been hurt but stop using the canopies sold in green, blue, orange, red and dark red. 

Contact A&I at 800-657-4343 or an authorized John Deere dealer for a free repair. 

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source: cpsc.gov

Recessed downlights by Ketra are under recall because they have incorrect wiring that could lead to an electric shock.

Only Ketra D3 downlights with the date codes between K4816 and K1118 are part of the recall. 

Don’t use the lights and contact Ketra, Inc. at 800-940-5917 to schedule a free inspection and repair.  

source: cpsc.gov

More than 34,000 Amerisun PowerSmart snow blowers are under recall due to eight reports of them getting stuck in drive mode, and a total of 20 reports of loose pulley bolts.

There are multiple models and serial numbers under recall, click here for the full list. 

No one has been injured but stop using the recalled snow blowers and contact Amerisun at 800-791-9458 for a free repair kit or information on how to receive a free repair. 

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FCC adopts new rule to protect consumers against slamming and cramming phone scam

Published: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 @ 5:58 PM

Recently Jazzmen Morgan of Miamisburg has been noticing some suspicious charges on her phone bill.

“It’s extremely frustrating,” said Morgan. “Some of the things don’t add up.” 

She suspects she is a victim of cramming, or unauthorized charges on her bill. 

The FCC has adopted new consumer protections to prevent cramming and the unauthorized switching of your phone service provider, otherwise known as slamming. 

Slamming and cramming were more prevalent in the 1990s and early 2000s, but consumers are still dealing with the problems, according to Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Spokesman Matt Schilling. 

“If you are not vigilant in looking at your bill every month, you could end up paying a lot more than what you used to be and what you actually signed up for,” Schilling said. 

Under the new protections, the FCC is banning shady sales calls and invalidating any changes not expressly authorized by the consumer, and prohibiting any unapproved charges on phone bills. 

“What that’s going to do for the FCC is it’s going to make enforcement a little easier or their end when they do find instances of slamming and cramming,” said Schilling. 

If you suspect you are a victim, you should first contact your phone provider and then report the incident to PUCO and the FCC, Schilling said. 

“As more complaints come in and the FCC reviews those, the FCC has the power to take enforcement action against those violators,” Schilling said.

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Dayton Startup Week event offers seminars, advice for small business owners

Published: Monday, June 11, 2018 @ 5:26 PM

Whether you are struggling to start a local business or need help expanding your company, Dayton Startup Week may be your answer.

The third annual event started Monday and goes through Friday, and is being held at the Steam Plant building on East Third Street. It features more than 75 free seminars to help entrepreneurs launch a new business, expand their brand or take the next step in funding or growth. 

Yellow Springs trust to buy WSU property for senior living options 

“We are on track to see close to a thousand people during the course of the week, so we are by far demolishing the rate we saw the first year and last year,” said Tiffany Ferrell, organizer and marketing and communications manager for the Wright State Research Institute.

Carlos Portis of Dayton will be attending seminars and launching his new business, Texted Cards, at this week’s event.

“Seeing a lot of the fun things that people are working on here in the Dayton community is very, very inspiring,” said Portis. “It’s a great opportunity to be able to network.” 

Mile Two startup founder Jeff Graley said Dayton Startup Week is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs in any stage of development.

Philanthropist Pat Carruthers, who with his wife gave millions of dollars to Hamilton

“I think that’s pretty cool—the diversity of folks that are either just starting up or are four or five years ahead of us that have done it,” he said. “They have been through the same struggles, challenges, and celebrations as you grow.”  

The Dayton Startup Week seminar schedule and registration can be found here: https://dayton.startupweek.co/.

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12 things you should never buy secondhand

Published: Monday, June 11, 2018 @ 11:45 AM

More than 25,000 Child Car Seats Recalled

To the popular saying, "Reduce, reuse and recycle," today's conscientious shoppers are adding a fourth "re": Resell. Peer-to-peer and online secondhand sales business are booming, from Facebook Marketplace with its 4 million-plus followers to secondhand clothing marketplace thredUP, which paid out more than $58 million to participating sellers between 2012 and 2017.

»RELATED: The age of consignment

Add on Craigslist, Ebay, yard sales, thrift shops and flea markets, and the possibilities for environmentally- and budget-conscious used item purchases are unlimited.

But before you rev up the laptop or pack a bundle of ones to hit the Saturday morning garage sales, take a second to get familiar with secondhand purchases that are a bad idea.

Some of these "don'ts" fall in the "buyer beware" category: There are simply too many costly things that could go wrong and ruin even a minor investment. Other items should be avoided at any price because once they're used, they may involve health or safety issues.Here is the expert take on 12 things you should never buy secondhand:

Car seats. Unless you know the seller and the seat still has an owner's manual that states its expiration date, protect your kid by purchasing a new car seat.

That's right, car seats have a "shelf life," or a literal expiration date, according to Money & Career Cheat Sheet. "Most expire after six years, a date often printed on the owner's manual (which we doubt you'll get when buying it secondhand),"according to the personal finance blog.

"Plus, technology improves over time. The safest car seat for your child will likely be a recently manufactured one. There's also no way to know if the seat has been involved in an accident, a fact that the seller likely won't tell you if they're trying to pawn their used car seat."

A laptop and iPhone display the home screen for the Netflix original series "Stranger Things" in an arranged photograph taken in New York on April 12, 2018. MUST CREDIT: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg(Bloomberg)

Laptops. Buying just anyone's posted laptop is usually not a good idea, according to the Cheat Sheet experts. "Laptops are portable and therefore subject to the wear and tear that desktops are spared," it explained. "Think back on all the times you've dropped your laptop or left it loose in your bag to bump into all your other electronics. If you buy a used laptop, you usually don't get the warranties and tech support you get buying a new device." This doesn't rule out refurbished laptops, though, since the tech company reselling such electronics has usually inspected them and cleared them for resale and often offers guarantees and returns.

Shoes. That "walk a mile" thing should not be taken literally, according to "Reader's Digest." "Used shoes have been molded to their previous owner's feet," it explained. "Poorly fitting shoes can cause pain and health problems over time. Running shoes, in particular, have probably lost most of their absorbent cushioning by the time their first owner is finished with them."

Mattresses. Even with modern-era mattress toppers, cushy comforters, stylish duvets and lots of decorator pillows on top, preowned mattresses can be subject to mold, mites, bed bugs, fleas and various other bacteria over time. "A used mattress can be terrible for your back, too," Cheat Sheet noted. "Even top-quality mattresses are only intended to last eight to 10 years."

(kohls.com)

Vacuum cleaners. There's usually a reason someone doesn't want a vacuum cleaner anymore. (And the stories about "little old ladies who only vacuumed on Sundays" won't really ring true, either.)

The models that cost more than $1,000 new can still be super-tough to clean, according to CS. "It's unlikely a used vacuum cleaner will ever work as well it once did, and they're also fairly expensive to fix — even pricier than if you just bought a new one to begin with," it added. A better idea: instead of trying to save by purchasing a used vacuum, buy a new but smaller, portable vacuum that's easier to use and clean.

Bike helmets. Each helmet is really only designed to withstand one accident, according to Wise Bread, contributing to "U.S. News and World Report." Unless you personally know a helmet's entire history, it's much safer to buy a new one.

Summer hats. Some of the "save your money" ideas apply even to the lowest-cost secondhand items, and hats are a prime example. "Have you ever figured out how to clean a straw hat? Nope? Then it's a safe bet that the person selling you their old vacation head cover hasn't, either," CS explained. "A used hat may come cheap, but it also probably comes with skin infections, old sweat stains and the remnants of hair gel or, even worse, dead skin."

Most speakers. Smart phones and televisions might receive kid glove treatment, but lots of owners treat their speakers more casually, which can compromise the fairly sensitive technology. "The audio equipment doesn't hold up as well as many think," CS warned. "Think about how the performance might be compromised by how loud the former owner blasted their music. The damage won't be obvious, so use caution if buying a used speaker."

Microphones. This is another often mishandled, sensitive audio item you shouldn't buy used, according to Wise Bread. If the mic has been dropped one too many times, you can't necessarily see the damage but its performance will be compromised.

Wetsuits. If a wetsuit has done anything but sit unused in the closet (and there probably are some of those on the market from over-optimistic hobbyists), don't pick it up even on sale. The constant change in water pressure with scuba diving wears a wetsuit out and will make it very likely to tear after you buy it (if it hasn't already.)

Secondhand dog treats may taste as good, but don't buy them: They could be recalled or infested with bugs.(Contributed by 74211.com/For the AJC)

Pet food or treats. Sure, your best friend eats anything. But in the secondhand market, that's not always a good thing, according to "Reader's Digest."

"While buying gently used pet toys or food bowls is probably safe, you'll definitely want to stay away from buying pet food or treats secondhand. They could be expired, recalled or even infested with insects or their eggs."

Cat trees. "Animals can spread fleas and fungal infections just by contact, so you risk bringing those diseases into your home by buying used," CS noted.

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