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Consumer Reports advice on buying HDTV, Plasma TV, LCD TV setsConsumer Reports advice on buying HDTV, Plasma TV, LCD TV sets
[Mar. 15, 2006] A combination of holiday deals on high definition TVs, hoopla surrounding HD television broadcasts of the Super Bowl and Olympics, and the arrival of sets with bigger screens and lower prices will find many consumers pumped up about buying an HDTV. And the March 2006 issue of Consumer Reports magazine suggests that there’s no reason to hold off that purchase but also offers consumers some must-have advice when shopping for a new HDTV set.
 
Consumer Reports guide to choosing the right televisionConsumer Reports guide to choosing the right television
[Mar. 15, 2006] Not sure where to start when buying a new TV? A lot has changed in the past few years, and you have more choices than ever.
 
Make your March Madness party a slam dunkMake your March Madness party a slam dunk
[Mar. 15, 2006] March Madness is nearly upon us, and with it comes a slew of exciting basketball games and the opportunity to throw a fantastic party. If you are hosting a March Madness event this year, keep in mind that the small details are what turns a good party into a great party. By planning ahead, you can set your event apart from the rest.
 
Home lighting for aging eyesHome lighting for aging eyes
[Mar. 5, 2006] We may get wiser as we get older, but we also have a harder time “seeing the light” – literally. At age 60, most people need four times more light to see as well as they did when they were 20. Fortunately, the lighting industry offers a wide range of design-friendly options to satisfy the needs of senior eyes.
 
Energy Wise LightingEnergy Wise Lighting
[Mar. 4, 2006] Lighting is an element of our home and work environment that affects our life in many different ways.Lighting lets us see to carry out the daily tasks of life; it affects our comfort and mood, and it can provide safety and security. Lighting and lighting fixtures also play a major role in the interior decoration of our homes.
 
Warm Up Any Room with a FireplaceWarm Up Any Room with a Fireplace
[Jan. 10, 2006] What’s hot for your home? A second fireplace installed anywhere in the house. Traditionally, homes have been built with one wood-burning fireplace in the living or family room. Now, there is such a wide variety of styles and sizes available, that the idea of adding a second fireplace in another room of the house is spreading like wildfire
 
Advanced features to look for in a heat pumpAdvanced features to look for in a heat pump
[Nov. 8, 2005] A number of relatively new innovations are improving the performance of heat pumps. Unlike standard compressors that can only operate at full capacity, two-speed compressors allow heat pumps to operate close to the heating or cooling capacity that is needed at any particular moment. This saves large amounts of electrical energy and reduces compressor wear. Two-speed heat pumps also work well with zone control systems. Zone control systems, often found in larger homes, use automatic dampers to allow the heat pump to keep different rooms at different temperatures.
 
Operating and maintaining your heat pumpOperating and maintaining your heat pump
[Nov. 8, 2005] Proper operation of your heat pump will save energy. Do not set back the heat pump's thermostat if it causes the backup heating to come on; backup heating systems are usually more expensive to operate. Continuous indoor fan operation can degrade heat pump performance unless a high-efficiency, variable-speed fan motor is used. Operate the system on the "auto" fan setting on the thermostat.
 
Siler City environmental developer and NCSU team up to monitor stormwaterSiler City environmental developer and NCSU team up to monitor stormwater
[Sep. 26, 2005] A North Carolina Division of Water Quality (DWQ) grant for $25,000 will enable researchers from North Carolina State University (NCSU) to monitor stormwater runoff before and after development at Walk Softly’s latest ecologically friendly community in Siler City. By Judy Sharman
Also: Earth Renewal Shelter
 
Clean burning wood stoves and fireplacesClean burning wood stoves and fireplaces
[Sep. 15, 2005] The traditional pot-bellied stove is a thing of the past - today’s wood stove models feature improved safety and efficiency. They produce almost no smoke, minimal ash, and require less firewood, They can be sized to heat a family room, a small cottage, or a full-sized home. The best choices are appliances labeled by the Underwriters’ Laboratories of Canada (ULC) or another testing and certification body for safety. They should also be certified to be low-emission according to EPA standards
Also: EPA
 
Landscaping for energy efficiencyLandscaping for energy efficiency
[Aug. 24, 2005] Are you looking for cost-effective yet eye-pleasing ways to lower your energy bills? Planting trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, and hedges could be the answer. In fact, landscaping may be your best long-term investment for reducing heating and cooling costs, while also bringing other improvements to your community. Carefully positioned trees can save up to 25% of a household's energy consumption for heating and cooling.
 
How does one become a Master Gardener?How does one become a Master Gardener?
[Jul. 12, 2005] Master Gardeners are volunteers for the Cooperative Extension Service. Activities that Master Gardener Volunteers perform are consumer horticulture educational activities within the scope of the mission of the Cooperative Extension Service to help people put research-based knowledge to work for economic prosperity, environmental stewardship, and an improved quality of life. By Al Cooke, Extension Agent
 
Carpenter beesCarpenter bees
[Jun. 8, 2005] Carpenter bees are large, black and yellow bees frequently seen in spring hovering around the eaves of a house or the underside of a deck or porch rail. They are most often mistaken for bumble bees, but differ in that they have a black shiny tail section.The carpenter bee is so-called because of its habit of excavating tunnels in wood with its strong jaws. The round half-inch diameter entrance holes are usually found on the underside of a board. A tell-tale trace of coarse sawdust is often found on the surface beneath the hole. By Stephen B. Bambara and Michael Waldvogel
 
Spring cleaning, backyard styleSpring cleaning, backyard style
[Mar. 29, 2005] Now that the wintry weather is gone and the colorful blooms are back, it’s time to think about spring cleaning. But while you’re washing windows, scrubbing walls and dusting corners inside the house, don’t forget about rolling up those sleeves and giving the outside a once-over, too. Spending some time in the backyard as soon as spring rolls around can really pay off.
 
Color forecast 2005: Hot color trends in home decorating for the New YearColor forecast 2005: Hot color trends in home decorating for the New Year
[Mar. 22, 2005] Will copper-colored oranges continue to outpace spicy reds in home décor colors in 2005? Will warm neutrals replace a bevy of popular blue hues? According to trend watchers, the 2005 color forecast reveals subtle shifts, rather than extreme color palette changes.

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