How Clean is Your Air?

AQI-Forecast

You’ve probably read all about the importance of air purifiers in your home. They’re virtually required for ensuring you have clean air in your home and minimizing asthma and allergy symptoms. But have you ever wondered just how polluted the air is outside?

Luckily, numerous US government agencies put their heads together and created the the Air Quality Index (AQI). The AQI is designed to tell you how clean or polluted your air is, as well as to give you an idea of the potential health effects. On a scale of 0 to 500, the higher the AQI for your area, the worse your level of pollution. There are six basic categories of the AQI:

  • 0-50: Good air quality
  • 51-100: Moderate
  • 101-150: Unhealthy for sensitive groups
  • 151-200: Unhealthy
  • 201-300: Very unhealthy
  • 301-500: Hazardous

A value of 100 corresponds to the national standard for air quality, while anything greater than 300 would trigger emergency health warnings.

You can check out your current AQI forecast at AIRNow.gov. There you can get real-time AQI information for cities across the US, as well as learn more about how different levels of polluted air can affect your health. Just remember, the EPA also warns that indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outside. So even though your town might never experience a wave of poor air quality, and air purifier might still be a good idea to keep your asthma and allergy symptoms at bay.

Misting Fans More Effective in Extreme Heat than Normal Fans

Extreme Heat WarningMillion of Americans use some type of electric fan every day to stay cool, especially right now as we sit in the midst of one of the hotter summers in recent memory. But according to a new medical report, an electric fan by itself is really not an effective means of staying cool. There is one exception, however: misting fans.  Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency medicine physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York elaborated to CBS News:

“Electric fans, only when used with misting spray in healthy people, may have the ability to promote cooling,” says Glatter.

Extreme heat can be dangerous, especially for young children and the elderly, and at least 46 people have died due to heat-related issues this summer alone. In addition to using a misting fan, CBS News provided a few additional tips for dealing with the heat this summer:

  • Seek out public places with air conditioning if you don’t have an indoor AC
  • Drink plenty of cold water
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing
  • Avoid excessive caffeine, alcohol and sugary drinks, which can all lead to dehydration.

For more on this study and some additional tips for dealing with the ongoing summer heat, be sure to check out the CBS News article below:

“Electric fans’ effectiveness during heat waves questioned in new report” — CBS News

Misting Fans Save the (Race) Day in Indy

Indianapolis 500 Race Track

Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 was nearly the hottest race day on record, with the temperature topping out at 91 degrees. The on-track temperature was even warmer, hitting 133 degrees midway through the race. Luckily for race fans, officials in Indy were prepared for the heat. According to the Indianapolis Star, track officials set up 78 misting fan stations throughout the Speedway. They received rave reviews from fans too:

“Those little misting stations are awesome,” Rose said. “It’s making it easier to stay cool.”

Thanks to proper planning and the large number of misting areas available, there were fewer medical issues and emergencies than track officials had initially feared. While roughly 200 fans were treated at the Speedway on Sunday, the majority were the result of intoxication.

As the summer goes on, expect to see misting fans pop up at outdoor events across the country to keep people cool and safe from the heat.

US Economy Gaining Steam in 2012

There’s been a lot of good news regarding the US economy lately! The latest Consumer Confidence Index shows a nice increase for February – from 61.5 to 70.8. Additionally, the National Retail Federation reported an increase in retail sales for January of nearly 1% from December, and 4% year over year. And if that’s not enough to put a smile on your face, both new and existing home sales rose in the month of January as well.

While the effects of the latest economic slide are still being felt across the country, these most recent figures further the notion of optimism in many circles. The upward trends of these reports, combined with the recently reported decrease in unemployment should provide at least some hope and optimism that the US is rebounding from a difficult couple of years. We don’t pretend to be economists, but it certainly makes sense that these are the types of numbers that can lead to a snowball effect. As consumer confidence continues to grow, spending will naturally increase. With an increase in spending comes more profits, more jobs and thus, even more spending. And in our little corner of the world, the timing couldn’t be better.

The Shift in Luxury: From Shopper to Investor

According to an article today from Appliance Magazine, luxury consumers are more focused on value than ever before. The article even goes so far as to equate today’s luxury shopper with an investor:

“This new affluent customer is keen on finding value when they shop so they look to maximize their investment in spending,” said Unity Marketing President Pam Danziger. “They expect the goods and services they buy to deliver the maximum return on their ‘luxe’ investment. Luxury marketers must make sure their brands give these customers a high yield when they buy.”

It certainly makes sense, as convention wisdom says that consumers will always look for the most “bang for their buck,” but luxury consumers had traditionally been seen in a different light. Luxury goods and their buyers had previously been seen as “recession-proof,” meaning the business would remain steady since traditional economic factors did not affect this market as much. But luxury spending and consumer confidence have both dropped to recent lows, and luxury spending was down 15% in the fourth quarter of 2011. With this recent report, it’s becoming more and more evident that the luxury market space has in fact been negatively affected by the recent downturn.

The fact that value-driven shopping has found its way into the luxury space shows that now more than ever brands have to ensure they are providing a clear and needed value with their products. It’s not enough to simply make a good product – you have to make a valuable product.

Not to toot our own horn, but this idea has been firmly implanted in our own company since its inception. You can even read it directly from our About Us page:

“Always at the forefront of our industry, our goal is to offer the best quality product and consumer value on the market.”

In our eyes, the only way we can be successful in this business is to give customers confidence in the quality of our products and our brand. After all, it’s your hard-earned money, and the least we can do as a manufacturer is ensure you’re getting the highest return on investment possible.

Northern California Company Saves Big with Evaporative Cooling System

An olive producer in Northern California was recently honored by the Pacific Gas & electric Company for their recent green initiatives that are projected to save more than 2.7 million kilowatt hours of electric use each year.

The company, Bell-Carter Foods, Inc., has undertaken several projects to save money and resources, including the development and implementation of an evaporative cooling system for their plant. Evaporative cooling utilizes the power of evaporation to provide cooling to an area at a much more energy-efficient rate. In areas with warm and dry climates, evaporative coolers, or swamp coolers, can be quite effective at lowering the temperature substantially, without the need for a compressor-based air conditioning unit. This is just part of the company’s ongoing commitment to sustainability.

 “We are going to be able to save a lot of money, make our product cheaper and do the right thing for the environment by using less energy,” Ron Kerr, Bell-Carter Foods Inc.

As Kerr notes in the interview, not only are these initiatives environmentally-conscious, they’re also smart business decisions. Any time you can save money on a constant such as energy costs, it has a major impact on your bottom line.

We’re obviously well-versed in evaporative cooling here, and are always excited to see new companies take advantage of this energy-efficient cooling method. While evaporative cooling technology is not new by any means, it continues to advance and improve over time.  As it does, expect to see more and more companies take advantage of its benefits.

Be Safe When Enjoying Your Appliances

According to a recent investigation from Consumer Reports, home appliances cause early 150,000 fires a year! While some were due to defective units or manufacturing issues, the vast majority were a direct result of human error. The good news, and the most important tidbit within this report, is that the majority of these fires are in fact preventable. There are a number of simple things you can do to ensure your safety when purchasing and installing your next home appliance.

  • Read the instruction manual! How many times have you purchased a new appliance or toy, taken it out of the box and almost immediately discard the included manual? We’ve all been guilty of this at some point, so you’re certainly not alone. However, proper set up and installation of your new appliance is paramount to ensuring there are no safety issues. And if you’re ever unsure about installing something — hire a professional! It’s a small price to pay to ensure your long-term safety.
  • Register with the manufacturer. Another thing that gets discarded almost immediately is the registration card that often comes with a new appliance. While typically overlooked, these cards do serve a purpose. Registering your new appliance allows the manufacturers like us to communicate with you — which is especially important if there are problems or issues that come up. Here’s another inside tip: we usually provide those that register with special coupons and other bonuses as well, just for registering.
  • Turn off your appliances when no one is home. Major appliances, like dishwashers, washers, and dryers should only be run when someone is at home. Before leaving your home, make sure that all of your appliances are turned off to ensure no issues occur when no one is around.

While the above tips sound fairly simple, they can make quite a difference. After all, major appliances are supposed to make our lives better! By following these, and any other guidelines provided by the manufacturer, you can ensure that you’re getting all of the benefits from your home appliances without any of the hassle.

Our Favorite Super Bowl Ads

Whether you’re a football fan or not, there’s something transcendent about the Super Bowl. A single game brings most of the US, as well as much of the world, together in unison. Last night’s big game was most likely one of the highest rated in recent memory, which meant a huge stage for advertisers. Traditionally, companies spend a fortune on Super Bowl ad space and use the time to showcase their very best work. The best commercials typically have a good mixture of comedy, cunning and wit to go along with a general feel-good emotion. And this year was no exception.

Our clear favorites this year came from Pepsi and Budweiser, two corporations that are known for taking full advantage of the Super Bowl ad stage. Pepsi’s add is heavy on humor, and Sir Elton John plays his role perfectly. We’re also a big fan of the cameo at the end.

Our absolute favorite from last night, though, comes from Budweiser, which focused on combining the purity of rec-league sports with the unbridled joy of playing in front of a crowd of admirers. This ad only aired in Canada, however thanks to the wonder of YouTube, we’re all able to enjoy it. Anyone who has ever played a game in an empty arena will appreciate this one. The best part about this ad is the simple joy on the face of the two teams as they enjoy playing in front of the loud flash mob of a crowd. Is there a clear message? Not really, but there doesn’t need to be. For this ad, the connection is all about emotion, and it’s just about perfect.

Five Things to Look Forward to in 2012

2011 was an exciting year for the Luma Comfort team, and if all goes well, 2012 will be even bigger! We’re not alone, however, as this seems to be a common theme across many different industries. And with good reason! There is a lot to look forward to over the next year, whether you’re a sports fan, movie buff or political hound. Here are the Top 5 things we’re looking forward to in 2012:

The Summer OlympicsLondon Summer Olympics 2012 logo

The best athletes in the world from more than 200 nations take center stage in London for the Games of the XXX Olympiad. Predictably, most of the US will be focused on Michael Phelps and the nations Swim Team. But we’re personally much bigger fans of the track and field events, especially the shot put and javelin.

February 29

That’s right, 2012 is a leap year, which means we all get a bonus day, absolutely free! While for many it will be a day like any other, we recommend taking advantage of the extra day to do something fun and outrageous. After all, this day only comes around every four years!

The Election

The year 2012 also means the next US Presidential Election. Based on the coverage of the primaries thus far, we expect to see record voter turnout this year, as well as a record number of political sketches on Saturday Night Live over the next 10 months.

The Dark Knight Rises

Do you know anyone that didn’t enjoy Batman Begins or The Dark Knight? Yeah, we don’t either, which is why we’re sure you’re psyched about the upcoming release of The Dark Knight Rises in July.

Our New Products!

You didn’t think we could go a full blog post without talking about ourselves, did you? 2012 will be a huge year for Luma Comfort, as we launch our initial line of products.   Stay tuned for more information in the coming months, and keep an eye out for Luma Comfort in your local home improvement store!

 

“Smart” Appliances at CES 2012

January has been a busy month for us at Luma Comfort, and unfortunately our
team wasn’t able to attend the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Vegas this
year. But that didn’t stop us from constantly refreshing our favorite tech blogs
for hour-by-hour updates on this year’s hottest products.

LG Thinq Technology

Source: LG

For the uninitiated, CES is the industry’s annual showcase where companies hawk their hottest new electronics. Whether it’s the flattest flat screen or the smartest smart phone, chances are you’ll probably find it at CES. In terms of product offerings, although appliances don’t have as huge of a presence as consumer electronics at CES, big name appliance companies still take the opportunity to show off drool-worthy home gadgets. And this year was certainly no exception.

One of the companies that had everyone talking in 2012 was LG. Last week at CES, the electronics giant unveiled a new line of appliances with their
proprietary Thinq technology. This line of “smart” washers, dryers, microwaves, refrigerators and ovens have built-in wifi capabilities that allow users to do what they never could with their regular home appliances.

With a Thinq appliance, you’ll be able to remotely operate your appliance
from your iPhone or Android, program your appliance to run only on off-peak
hours or even have a customer service representative troubleshoot a product from
across the country.

LG wasn’t the only company to showcase a smart appliance this year. Whirlpool
debuted a $1,500 washing machine that will be connected to your home network and
a device like an iPad. You’ll get alerts on your device when your laundry is
done and you’ll be able to do cool things such as schedule a repair appointment
from your wireless device.  Whirlpool estimates this smart washer to be available in
2013.

Whether or not these high tech functions are more gimmicky than useful is
really up to the consumer to decide, but here at Luma Comfort, the one product we were really wowed by was LG’s new “Blast Chiller” compartment found in one of their new high-end refrigerators, which also debuted at this year’s CES.

This handy slot actually chills down a can of soda or a beer in less than
five minutes (we can already imagine the possibilities). To be fair, stand alone instant beverage chillers utilizing this technology have been available on the market for years now, but we’re glad to see that this invaluable feature is now something you can find in your kitchen’s most essential appliance. Now if only we had an extra $3,000 to spend on a new, fancy LG refrigerator….