by Tim Trott - Tim Trott has lived in Jackson County since 1994 and owns Cyberchute Web Hosting (Cyberchute.com) and Tim Trott Productions (TimTrottProductions.com). He has provided video services for several of the early Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET.US) trade shows.
The letter came in the mail with an invitation to a dinner presentation at a restaurant in Blountstown, about saving money on electricity. I was curious, I happen to know a little about energy efficiency technology, and I knew the restaurant, so we signed up and went to see what it was about.
As we entered the reserved room, it looked like something out of a science fair, with “experiments” set up at the front of the room. There was a power meter, a motor and wires, and a box with spotlights mounted over a section of pink insulation. There was also a video screen showing products promising to save money by reducing electricity costs. Later we would see promotional videos which are also featured on the company’s website, a site that is long on claims and somewhat short on “testimonials.” 79562001
The presenter was promoting a series of products boasting energy conservation and savings. Some listed on the website but not mentioned in the presentation are valid ways to conserve energy and save money. Those included water-saving shower heads, which are mandated by building codes (search “Water Star”
floridawaterstar.com/). Other products, like the perforated foil “Ultimate Blanket,” designed to be placed over attic insulation, are not new, only the marketing, and … the installation price.
A metalized aluminum, breathable attic roof foil house wrap radiant barrier product is offered online, 500 square feet of it runs around $79 (16 cents per square foot). The product promoted in the presentation is claimed to be “superior” with a guarantee, but how complicated is a roll of perforated foil that it would run much as $4 per square foot installed?
Claims: “BLOCKs 95% of Heat - 99% RF Signals SCIF RFID” Radio signals? RFID product tracking cards? Seriously? The demonstrator’s “experiment” did not seem like a valid representation of what it sought to illustrate. A flood lamp was mounted over pink fiberglass, with and without the perforated foil barrier. Digital thermometers were placed, not below, but inside the insulation. First, the sun does not shine directly on attic insulation unless the roof has blown off, in which case you have more serious problems. Second, people do not live buried inside insulation. There are too many variables for the experiment to have any validity or relevance. The demonstrator also discounted questions about “R” factor, which is the standard common to any comparison of insulating properties.
The next demonstration involved a motor and a meter measuring counter EMF. That’s a bit hard to explain in simple terms, but it has to do with the way all electric motors work, and by law (UL) all motors include circuitry to filter out power “noise.” The demonstration promoted the “Tripcon” product, promising “whole house protection against spikes, surges and lightning strikes.” Whole house Metal Oxide Varister surge protectors have been installed on homes for decades. However, the claims for the “Tripcon” stretch beyond MOV protection to claim that it “takes harmful EMF (radiation) to a safe level in your home, improving your health” (really?) and “makes equipment in your home run cooler and last longer.” Among the touted benefits are surge protection, harmonic filtration and power factor correction. Okay, there’s an invention that can do some of that, but it involves a large transformer, but a 200 amp toroid transformer won’t fit inside the 8” x 8” x 6” Tripcon housing. How can that “optimize the use of electricity” and result in saving “up to 23% on your power bill” as the website claims? Simple math would suggest otherwise. 78427001
I have another problem with the power “filter” idea. WFEC offers a program, H20 Plus, that offered savings in return for placing a device on my water heater that can remotely conserve energy during peak periods. Any “RF filtration” would seem to filter out the signal the H20 Plus device uses to communicate with the power company. There goes that savings.
Another device being promoted at the event was their “Nature Clean.” When asked, the demonstrator inferred this device generates hydrogen peroxide and injects it into the water supply to a washing machine. I looked up the chemical process for creating hydrogen peroxide (H02) and it’s a lot more complicated than passing water through a box plugged into a transformer. The claims “never use hot water again”, “clothes dry in half the time” and “whiter whites, brighter colors” seem a bit exaggerated at best, especially when its “magic powers” are based on hydrogen peroxide. Gee! Why didn’t Tide and Cheer think of that?
Another device attached to air conditioning. The “Duct Pure” is contained in another small box, connected to a transformer, designed to protrude into ducting that “provides aggressive ionized oxidizers that are distributed throughout the home or office” using “Photo-catalytic oxidation” which destroys pollutants including “mold, bacteria, viruses, odors, and volatile organic compounds.” It would appear this device is
likely an ultraviolet light, like the one my wife uses to purify tooth brushes. There’s no indication of any actual filtration.
Want real information about saving money on energy? Just ask West Florida Electric Cooperative for your own energy audit. If you would like to schedule an energy audit, just call one of the WFEC district offices or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can start with the survey found at customsurvey.yourcooperative.com/wfec/.
Real actual energy efficiency is not magic and there are no “secrets” that the power company is keeping from you. The right investment in energy efficiency can bring a good return, but buying into questionable, unproven or “magical” solutions can be a waste of money. So, what can you do? Check the WFEC website for simple, inexpensive and easy ways we can all save money and work to make our homes and offices more energy efficient.