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Remote Oven Control: The New Killer App


I'm all for the integration of advanced technology into household appliances -- I love hood fans that turn on automatically when they detect heat from the range, double-ovens and pan detection features on induction burners. But when the ringing of a nearby cellphone can cause the oven to turn on without warning, I start thinking about lines and sand.

If the Maytag oven in question met the safety standards of the Underwriters Laboratory and the American National Standards Institute, is this just a case of a "rogue oven" -- or is this an indication that the safety tests for potentially dangerous products in our homes are woefully inadequate?

This electromagnetic "crossing of the streams" also has me wondering what other appliances in the home we'll see affected by proximity to cellphones. Microwaves? Dryers? And what does this say about the devices we're holding two inches from our brains half the day?

All I know is that I won't be leaving my cellphone on the kitchen counter anytime soon.

Workers install a white roof in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo courtesy of US Department of Energy.

Raise the (White) Roof

There's a move afoot (or well, over-head), to encourage you to make your dark roof, white. Nobel laureate physicist and Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, is on a campaign to cut Americans' air conditioning costs (which has the side benefit of reducing global warming), by advising you to paint your roof white.

So far California, Georgia and Florida are encouraging builders to install white roofs on commercial buildings. But critics say that white roofs in cooler climates create higher heating bills in the winter.

Is this something that would work for you? According to About.com, painting a 2,000 square foot roof will require about 14 gallons on the first coat, costing about $482 using HyperGlass Cool Top Coat (shipping not included). A second coat would require seven gallons, costing around $241.

And how much savings would result? If you know the technical details, you can calculate the payback with an energy calculator from the Department of Energy. Warm weather readers, we'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

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