July 27, 2014

Space Heater Safety – Keep Your Loved Ones Safe

A portable electric heater can be a great convenience in cold weather, but if not used properly can be a fire or electric shock hazard. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) has developed this helpful list of tips for safely using a portable electric heater. Take time to review the information in
this guide, as well as the use and care manual provided by the manufacturer.

These safety tips apply to all types of portable electric heaters.

    Read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels before using your portable electric heater.
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    DO NOT leave operating heater unattended and always unplug heater when not in use.

    DO NOT use your heater with a power strip or extension cord. Overheating of a power strip or extension cord could result in a fire.

    String out cords on top of area rugs or carpeting. Placing anything, including furniture, on top of the cord may damage it.

    Keep combustible materials, such as furniture, pillows, bedding, papers, clothes and curtains at least three feet from the front of the heater and away from the sides and rear. DO NOT block heater’s air intake or exhaust source.

    Keep flammable materials away from the heater.

    Unless the heater is designed for outdoor use or in bathrooms, DO NOT use in damp or wet areas. Parts in the heater may be damaged by moisture.

    Check periodically for a secure plug/outlet fit. If the plug does not fit snugly into the outlet or if the plug becomes very hot, the outlet may need to be replaced. Check with a qualified electrician to replace the outlet.

    Unplug the heater when not in use by pulling the plug straight out from the outlet. Inspect the heater’s cord periodically. DO NOT use a heater with a damaged cord.

    DO NOT plug any other electrical device into the same outlet as your heater. This could result in overheating.

    Heaters should be kept away from children and not be placed in a child’s room without supervision.

    Place heater on a level, flat surface. Only use heater on table tops when specified by the manufacturer. DO NOT place your heater on furniture. It could fall, dislodging or breaking parts in the heater.

Energy Standards for Refrigerators Upgraded

Advocacy groups and appliance manufacturers hailed a 25 percent increase in energy efficiency for most new refrigerators, starting in 2014, thanks to new efficiency standards that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced today, continuing a 40‐year trend of improving energy efficiency for this essential home appliance.

The groups said the new standards are the first step in the department’s implementation of the
recommendations they proposed to DOE in July for new minimum efficiency standards, tax credits and ENERGY STAR incentives for smart appliances affecting six major categories of home appliances.

According to the proposed rule, a typical new 20‐cubic‐foot refrigerator with the freezer on top would use about 390 kilowatt hours (kwh) per year, down from about 900 kwh/year in 1990 and about 1,700 kwh/year in the early 1970s. On a national basis, the new standards would, over 30 years, save 4.5 quads of energy, or roughly enough to meet the total energy needs of one‐fifth of all U.S. households for a year. Over the same period, the standards will save consumers about $18.5 billion. DOE will finalize the standards by year’s end, and they take effect in 2014.

“This big step forward for refrigerator efficiency proves that the well of innovation leading to energy savings is very, very deep,” said David B. Goldstein, energy program director for the Natural Resource Defense Council and winner of a MacArthur Prize for his work on refrigerator efficiency. “These standards pave the way for manufacturer investments in a next generation of products that demonstrate ever‐increasing energy and cost savings.”

Based on the July agreement, home appliance manufacturers and efficiency, environmental and consumer advocates have agreed to jointly pursue with Congress and the administration new standards for six categories of home appliances (refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers, clothes dryers, dishwashers and room air conditioners), a recommendation that ENERGY STAR qualification criteria incorporate credit for Smart Grid capability and a package of targeted tax credits aimed at fostering the market for super‐efficient appliances.

As part of the new refrigerator standards, ice maker energy consumption also will be reflected in product energy‐use ratings, giving consumers a better way to gauge actual energy use when making a choice among refrigerators.

“Even though refrigerators have become much more energy efficient, they still account for about 10 percent of household electricity use,” observed Alliance to Save Energy Vice President for Programs Jeffrey Harris. “With the new standards, consumers will not only save energy, they’ll also have a better picture of total energy use, because the ratings will include automatic ice makers.”

Several prior refrigerator standards, including those put in place in 1993 and 2001, are also the result of joint industry/advocate agreements.

A table showing the percent energy savings achieved by the proposed standards relative to current standards for select categories and the complete press release can be seen at AHAM.org

Read This Before You Buy Your Next Appliance

Purchasing a major appliance is a major decision. To ensure satisfactory return on your investment, comparison shop before each appliance purchase.

The following pointers from The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers can help ensure your satisfaction with appliance purchases:

• Ask your dealer for specification sheets from several manufacturers who build the types of appliances you plan to purchase. Compare available features, designs and capacities;

• Read the warranty before finalizing your decision. Does the warranty cover the entire product? Only certain parts? Is labor included? How long does the warranty last?

• Ask you dealer for the appliance’s use and care manual and read it carefully before you buy the appliance. The dealer should have available manuals from the floor models. Reading the manuals will help you ask pertinent questions, tell you how the product operates and inform you of any special care the product needs;

• Decide which features you will really use. Consider the possibility of adding features at a later date, such as installing an icemaker in a refrigerator;

• Decide what capacity or size your family requires. For example, when purchasing a room air conditioner, know the dimensions of the room you want to cool and the number of windows, so you can select a model with sufficient cooling capacity;

• Check the space available for the appliance to make sure you select the right size unit and make sure halls and doorways allow clearance for entry and installation;

• Establish the cost of delivery and installation — are they included in the appliance’s price?

• Make sure authorized factory service is readily available in your area for the brand you select;

• Check the product’s design carefully to make sure it meets your needs and accommodates your habits and favorite cookware. Compare the designs of different models and brands;

• Compare price in relation to convenience and service, which will vary by model. Price tends to increase as features are added;

• Avoid overloaded circuits by making sure your house has adequate electrical service for the appliance. Check for adequately grounded, three-hole receptacles.

By doing your homework and being prepared, you can be an appliance buying superhero, avoiding the purchasing pitfalls that trip up ordinary shoppers.

Is Your Air Cleaner Cleaning the Air?

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) is the trade association representing manufacturers of major, portable, and floor care appliances and suppliers to the industry. Included in AHAM membership are manufacturers of portable room air cleaners. AHAM is a standards development organization for numerous technical, performance based standards for home appliances. AHAM also administers third party appliance rating verification programs which are available to members and non-members alike.
Portable Room Air Cleaner Performance Standard
In the early 1980s, AHAM developed an objective and repeatable performance test method for measuring the ability of portable household electric room air cleaners to reduce particulate matter from a specific size room. The standard, ANSI/AHAM AC-1-2006, Method for Measuring the Performance of Portable Household Electric Room Air Cleaners, is designed to evaluate portable household electric room air cleaners regardless of the particle removal technology utilized. The resulting performance metric in the standard is called the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR). CADR is a measure of the appliance’s ability to reduce smoke, dust, and pollen particles in the 0.10 to 11 micron (ìm) size range from the air. In ANSI/AHAM AC-1-2006, CADR is defined as “the rate of contaminant reduction in the test chamber when the unit is turned on, minus the rate of natural decay when the unit is not running, multiplied by the volume of the test chamber as measured in cubic feet.”

Comparing CADR Performance
The terms “CADR” and “Clean Air Delivery Rate” are general terms used to make performance claims for many types of products other than portable room air cleaners. CADR values for other products may not have been calculated in accordance with the AC-1 definition of CADR.

Since its original development in the early 1980s, the ANSI/AHAM AC-1 test method has increasingly become the credible industry standard for evaluating portable room air cleaner particle removal performance. In 1989, the FTC confirmed that ANSI/AHAM AC-1 was a reasonable basis for measuring the degrees of reduction of airborne solid p 2 particulate matter from household rooms.

What is Not Covered by ANSI/AHAM AC-1?
Research efforts and experimental tests that have been conducted to develop the method have included only portable devices that are normally placed in a room during operation. One of the key principles of the test is that particles are not to be forced through the product – rather, the product is being tested as it is used – it is placed on a table or on the floor in the chamber in order to allow the unit’s own design and air flow patterns to dictate how many particles go into the unit. In addition, other portable room air cleaner performance characteristics such as the ability of the air cleaner to reduce gases, odors or microbiological components, or the sound and ozone emissions levels of the product are outside the scope of ANSI/AHAM AC-1-2006.

Industry Certification Program (www.cadr.org)
Since 1985, AHAM has administered a portable room air cleaner certification program based on the ANSI/AHAM AC-1standard whereby AHAM, acting as third party using an independent testing laboratory, will verify product ratings certified by program participants.

The seal provides the consumer with a simple tool to compare the performance of room air cleaners, making the purchasing decision easier. It includes the participant’s certified CADR rates for tobacco smoke, dust and pollen, and a suggested room size that is based on the tobacco smoke CADR results. Using the CADR rating seal, consumers can comparison shop, selecting the unit the meets their room size and performance needs. By knowing the size of their room, consumers can choose an effective air cleaner. Portable air cleaner models included in the program are independently tested on a periodic on-going basis to ensure that the units meet the claimed ratings. The models to be tested are randomly selected and are obtained from either the participant’s warehouse or the open market. Units that do not successfully pass the on-going verification process must be re-rated or withdrawn from the market.

Comsumer Rebate Program for Appliances

The US stimulus bill recently signed into law by US President Barack Obama includes a $300 million provision to fund the Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program.

This program will be administered through the 50 US states and will  provide financial incentive to encourage consumer spending and target it to energy savings through consumer rebates for the purchase of Energy Star appliances.

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) urge the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to quickly disburse funding to state energy offices for the Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Programs so that consumer rebates will be available for the summer months to purchase ENERGY STAR appliances.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009  will stimulate demand for home appliances, provide consumers with tremendous savings on the initial purchase cost and long-term utility costs of appliances, and will also provide an important environmental benefit by way of a significant decrease in energy consumption.
“Once the states receive funding from DOE for their rebate programs, consumers can begin to benefit
from an immediate savings on the purchase cost of an ENERGY STAR appliance and on utility bills,” said
Joseph McGuire, AHAM President. “AHAM urges the Department of Energy to quickly provide this
stimulus funding to the states so they can get the money into the hands of consumers.”
In a joint letter, AHAM and RILA requested that DOE distribute the funds to state energy offices quickly
and simply and allow existing and new state programs the flexibility to establish programs that meet
regional needs. The associations provided DOE with broad guidelines for releasing the stimulus funds.
AHAM and RILA also believe the benefit should include consumers with non-working appliances and
consumers who are upgrading to energy efficient products before their current appliances cease to
function.

Universal Measurements for Washing Machines

AHAM, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, is developing a voluntary, uniform industry test procedure for product manufacturers to determine clothes washer drum volume which is expected to be finalized by the end of 2009.
This new procedure will result in standardized volume measurements that can be applied
across all washers—traditional and high-efficiency top as well as front loaders—and can be
used by the consumer to compare washer volume. It is possible that, if appropriate, AHAM will request government adoption of this measuring test procedure.

Manufacturers already follow the U.S. Department of Energy drum volume measurement procedures to calculate energy and water consumption. This is the same procedure used for ENERGY STAR and for calculating the data found on the FTC EnergyGuide label.

The Department of Energy drum volume procedure provides an accurate measurement for the purpose of calculating energy and water consumption. Because of the advancements in clothes washer technology and energy and water efficiency, the DOE method may not provide the most meaningful representation of useful volume to the consumer when making a purchase decision among various product choices.

As a result, manufacturers have employed different rating systems to provide meaningful purchase evaluation information to the consumer. With consumers continuing to demand the best performing products that are energy and water efficient, AHAM members desire a simpler uniform test method to determine washer volume which can be easily communicated to the consumer.

This AHAM effort of developing a uniform procedure is on a fast track and will be completed by the end of 2009.

Five Appliances That Can Help You Save Money

 Many Americans are finding themselves looking for ways to save money. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) has come up with a list of five appliances that may already be in your home, which can help you save money.

Coffeemakers —Save on pricy coffeehouse blends by brewing your morning cup at home. Resisting a three dollar cup of coffee will save you nearly $1,000 per year!

Freezers —Stock up on frozen foods when they are on sale. In 2008, shipments of home freezers were up five percent as consumers started to realize the savings in stocking up on frozen sale items. Also, remember to shop for an ENERGY STAR freezer to save even more on energy costs.  

Water filters —Use a water filtration system in your refrigerator instead of buying bottled water. This practice will save you money, and will help the environment by reducing the number of plastic bottles that clog landfills.  

Portable electric heaters —Turn down the heat and use portable heaters in rooms that are used frequently. Keeping the thermostat down will save money while portable heaters provide direct and quick warmth.  

Electric Oven—An electric oven turned on for 1 hour on 350ºF only uses 2kWh of electricity, costing just 24 cents. The cost of dining out can add up quickly. Try cooking at home for a low-cost meal.

For more tips for saving money and energy around your home, visit www.aham.org/consumer.

 

Appliance Sales are Down

Here’s some bad news for appliance dealers (if they haven’t already noticed the effect in their own markets)

 Twice.com reports that according to AHAM (Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers), January shipments of major appliances fell 17 percent to 3.9 million units compared with the 4.7 million major appliances sold during the year-ago period.

Taking the biggest hit was the home-comfort sector, which was dragged down by a nearly 60 percent drop in room air shipments. The decline was only minimally offset by a 2.8 percent increase in dehumidifier sales, AC’s sister category.

The cooking category also felt the heat, down 15.6 percent year-over-year to nearly 1.2 million units. Leading the decline was microwave ovens, off nearly 19 percent in January. Among ranges, ovens and cooktops, gas-fueled models fell 10.7 percent while electric models saw an 11 percent decline last month. Gas cooktops were singed by a 17.2 percent decline, marginally offset by a 1.2 percent increase in gas oven shipments. By contrast, electric cooktops enjoyed a 5.1 percent gain, while shipments of electric ovens dropped 10.6 percent.

Among the other core appliance categories, kitchen cleanup dropped nearly 14 percent to some 808,300 units, food preservation fell nearly 9 percent to approximately 623,700 units and home laundry slipped 3.1 percent to about 964,000 units.

There were, however, several bright spots. Besides the gain in electric cooktops, portable dishwashers saw shipments climb 21.3 percent and wholesale sales of gas clothes dryers were up nearly 6 percent. But among their category counterparts, electric dryers declined 3.1 percent and washing machine shipments were off by 4.5 percent, to about 519,300 units. Similarly, shipments of build-in dishwashers declined 7.8 percent, disposers fell 19.4 percent and compactors dropped 19.5 percent.

Within food preservation, refrigerator shipments declined 8.8 percent to some 513,700 units while freestanding freezers fell 9.5 percent, led by a 12.7 percent decline in chest-style models.

Summarizing the month is the AHAM 6, an amalgam of the industry’s core washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer, range and oven categories. Factory shipments for that grouping fell 7 percent in January, to 2.4 million units.