Posts Tagged ‘Amish heater’

“Amish” Heaters: Trick or Treat?

October 20, 2011

OK, one sign of halloween, as made clear from his zombie post yesterday, is that Jason has been watching (too many!) horror movies.

Example of an Amish Heater Ad

The ads are different this year, but the advice is the same--don't waste your money on the so-called "Amish" heater.

But the other sign, all too predictable over recent years, is that those darned full-page “Amish” heater (the Heat Surge…or it is the Heat Scurge?) ads are running again.  Miracle?  No.  But predictable and scary, maybe even scarier than one of those Zombie movies.  And from the ad, it looks like Sears has joined the game.

And although they’re now advertising the ” Heat Surge HT” with their trademarked “Hybrid-Thermic” technology, it doesn’t change what we’ve talked before (see reviews and commentary here, and here, and here, for example).  I won’t spend a lot of time on the retread except to warn people NOT to waste their money.  A lot of hype, expensive ads, and a tremendously overpriced product.  This gets my “Don’t Buy” recommendation once again.

In some circumstances, space heaters can help, but in most homes it’s usually less expensive to heat your whole house with gas or oil than it is to run even a couple electric heaters.  And even then, you can find units that will deliver the same heat at a much lower price (albeit without the goofy ad).  Save your money.  Make your home more comfortable and save energy with both simple tips and more extensive–and  smarter–home improvements like insulating and air-sealing.

Thanks,
Mike

Heat Surge–A “Don’t Buy” Recommendation.

December 13, 2010

Arrgghh.  Those expensive full-page ads touting revolutionary heating hocus pocus drive me nuts.  And when the temperature drops, they pop up like blisters on a Grand Canyon hike.  Heat Surge?  How about Money Drain?  Please read the previous posts and save your money.   If you really want a portable electric heater (typically a very expensive way to heat!!–with savings only possible it you turn the heat way down in the rest of your home, something that could cause problems of its own!!), you can get the same result with models that are hundreds of dollars cheaper.   The expensive price doesn’t buy you better performance.  It buys big full page,  color ads in papers throughout the land.  (Ditto on the EdenPure.)   A summary of my review:  Don’t buy one!

They’re ba-ack: the rip-off portable heater ads

September 19, 2010

It’s not even Halloween yet, but with the changing season the horror of portable heater rip-offs are luring in unsuspecting victims with their full page ads.  

If you see this ad, hide your wallet and run! Don't waste your money.

And so, just like I need to rake the leaves every year, I have to sound the alarm.  We’ve covered this elsewhere:  Don’t buy the “Amish Mantle” heater with the “miracle” technology from China.  And making my “don’t buy” list again this year is also the Eden Pure Heater, even if Bob Vila smiles and offers you a Bob Vila coupon or a Bob Vila toaster.    I’m not the only one who’s warned folks about this.  Consumer Reports gives the Eden Pure heater a cool reception.   

As with the “MIRA-COOL” which I mentioned four weeks ago, generally, you should be very skeptical about ads for products that would seem to defy the laws of physics, tout miracles that they (and only they) have somehow tapped into, or that use a lot a scientific jargon and confusing units to try to make you think that’s the case.  If you want to save energy and save money (and be more comfortable), you’ll have to keep the heat in and produce it more efficiently.  You might be able to close off the entire house and only heat one room as a last ditch measure–but even that isn’t as easy as it sounds.  Often that room wasn’t engineered on all sides to keep the heat in.  And turning off heat in other areas of you home can lead to problems with plumbing, with furniture, and with the building structure.  It’s not as simple as plugging in an overpriced electric heater.   

Eden Pure’s humidity claims rely on some smoke and mirrors.  And while they are more “efficient” than a typical fireplace (many fireplaces actually rob homes of heat), that doesn’t mean an Eden pure is an better than the $30 heater you can buy at many stores this time of year.  Don’t spend hundreds of dollars on something than should cost you 1/10th the price.  Save your money–and put it into insulation and air-sealing.

Thanks,
Mike

Avoid Portable Heater Confusion, “Amish”, Miracle or Pure Malarky

October 25, 2009

It must be that time of year.  The leaves are turning, the temperature is dropping, and misleading advertisements for miracle heaters are starting to fill the papers and the weekend supplements.  We’ve covered this elsewhere:  Don’t buy the Amish Mantle heater with the “miracle” technology from China (and don’t buy the Cool Surge Portable Air Cooler).  And making my “don’t buy” list this year is also the Eden Pure Heater, even if Bob Vila is “interviewed” in their big ads (here’s what Consumer Reports has to say about Eden Pure).   Generally, you should be very skeptical about ads for products that would seem to defy the laws of physics, tout miracles that they (and only they) have somehow tapped into, or that use a lot a scientific jargon and confusing units to try to make you think that’s the case.  If you want to save energy and save money (and be more comfortable), you’ll have to keep the heat in and produce it more efficiently.  You might be able to close of the entire house and only heat one room as a last ditch measure–but even that isn’t as easy as it sounds.  Often that room wasn’t engineered on all sides to keep the heat in.  And turning off heat in other areas of you home can lead to problems with plumbing, with furniture, and with the building structure.  It’s not as simple as plugging in an overpriced electric heater.   

Stay warm.  Stay safe.  Our winter tips can help.

And offer your thoughts–what can we do to help people not waste their money on over-hyped stuff like this?

Another scam?!—the Cool Surge Portable Air Cooler

June 20, 2009

I occasionally read USA Today when I’m travelling.  Flipping through an edition last week, I came across an ad that looked a lot like the Amish Heater nonsense I commented on earlier.  Same type of incomplete and misleading information, same sleazy marketing hooks.  Digging deeper, it looks like it’s put out by the same company. 

My short recommendation:  Don’t buy this!  See what Consumer Reports has to say.

This “Cool Surge” window dressing is essentially a small “swamp cooler”, a fan that blows across water.  This can actually provide some cooling, but is really only effective in very dry climates like in the Southwest US, and even then this particular unit would generally be insufficient to even cool one room in most conditions.  But I’ll stick with my “don’t buy” comment even for those areas primarily because you can buy the equivalent equipment for 1/3 the price (less than $100, without the expensive national advertising campaign).  In humid climates like the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY on a swamp cooler and certainly not this product!

The savings claims are silly, especially if you were to use their “glacial ice block”.  This is really just a freezer pack that you stick in your freezer—and guess what—you pay the electricity to freeze the block, but you run that electricity through your freezer rather than the bogus cooling unit.  The ad’s electricy claims don’t account for this.  Worse, and not captured by the Consumer Reports review, the waste heat from your refrigerator/freezer (you generate heat when your refrigerator is cooling) actually warms your house!  “Miracle” advertising—even full-page, color, miracle advertising—doesn’t change the laws of physics!

Bottom line:  don’t buy one of these—and don’t support misleading advertising.

[If you’d like information on staying cool and saving energy, see our cooling tips and cooling myths, or signup for our quarterly newsletter.]

Thanks,
Mike

Beware: “Amish” Heater Mythology

March 9, 2009

I just pulled out a copy of USA Today from a recent trip.  In it there is an ad for the “Amish Mantle and Miracle Invention”.  This reminded me of a recent conversation about this baloney.  The bottom line is that this advertising is misleading at best.  What they are selling is an expensive electric heater—and nothing better than you could get for $40 at your local hardware store.  The Amish?  Electric heat?  Please give me a break.

An example of the silliness, the ad states that the heater generate an “amazing 5,119 BTUs on high setting.”   If you crunch the numbers, you see this is simply a 1,500 watt heater—not so amazing.

If you really what to save on your heating bill, air-seal and reduce drafts, improve your insulation levels, and invest in high- efficiency furnaces or boilers—the basic home efficiency measures.

For more discussion and reviews debunking this so-called Amish heater foolishness, see

Buyer beware!

Thanks,
Mike


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