Recall On H20 Mop Steam Cleaners

Last week the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission annouced a voluntary recall of the Thane International’s H20 Mop Steam Cleaners, affecting a total of 580,000 units sold between June 2007 and December 2008. The Thane International company has received upwards of 18 complaints regarding the machine’s electrical cord shocking or burning consumers after repeat use. Consumers are asked to stop use of these products and contact Thane to receive a free repair kit. Although GoVacuum doesn’t sell these H20 Mop Steam Cleaners, consumers should be aware that they may have purchased these steam cleaners through Thane’s “television infomercials; on the Web at www.thane.com; by QVC, through its televised shopping program; and by retailers nationwide.”

For those who are unsure if their machine is affected, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission gave this description of the machine’s: “The H2O Mop is an electrically-powered appliance for cleaning a variety of floor surfaces that uses microfiber or disposable cloths on a cleaning head through which steam is dispersed. H2O Mops are white with a purple water tank with the “H20” and “M” symbol printed on the top of the cleaning head. The model numbers of affected units are 808.092 and OEM-TV-001. This recall only includes H2O Mops with the following reference numbers printed on the label on the back of the product: 200709198 to 200803148 or H20M1000 to M-H20M1198.”

For those looking for more information on this recall, please contact, Thane anytime at (800) 485-0017 or visit the firm’s Web site at www.h2omopservice.com

GoVacuum Takes on Wired Magazine

As an avid reader of Wired Magazine, I was ecstatic to see the that their writers were able to extend their normal geeky/amazing coverage to my world: vacuums. Considering my normal high regard for Wired‘s product reviews (from motorcycles to electronics), I was pretty shocked to find that their vacuum reviews fell short, mainly by becoming victim of aggressive marketing campaigns and ignoring critical factors like performance, reliability and price.

If you didn’t catch Wired’s June 2009 edition, which featured a side-by-side comparison of four upright vacuums, then you can catch the reviews individually on their website. Featured in this comparison were the Sebo Automatic X4, Dyson DC28 Animal, Eureka Boss 4D Pet Fresh Bagless Upright and the Hoover Platinum Collection Lightweight Bagged Upright. Among these four upright vacuums, which ranged in price from $150 to $699, Wired Magazine declared the Dyson DC28 Animal as the “Editor’s Pick”, leaving me a bit baffled considering the lackluster reviews we’ve heard from our customers. Another sticking point was the fact that Wired actually missed out on an entire market of vacuums, that being canister vacuums. True, the US market heavily favors the upright vacuum market, but the versatility and performance of many canisters (and let’s not forget their dominance worldwide) cannot be ignored in a product review from a magazine of Wired’s stature.

But, in order to give an intelligent rebuttal to Wired’s review, I sat down with GoVacuum’s product specialist, Chris Jones.

“While it was nice to see my favorite upright, the Sebo X4, finally getting some overdue respect from the media, especially Wired Magazine, I was not very impressed to see that the Dyson DC28 beat it for the top spot as ‘Wired Editor’s Pick,’” Chris said. Citing its ease of use, Chris also highlighted the superiority of the Sebo X4 because of its automatic height adjustment (as opposed to having to manually select on the Dyson) and the fact that the Sebo’s are among the easiest machines to repair, due to its direct access to the beater bar without the need of any tools.

The Dyson, on the other hand, requires the vacuum repairman equivalent of a rocket scientist to successfully repair the machine without breaking machine’s cheap plastic casing. And the do-it-yourselfers among Wired’s readership may be thoroughly disappointed by the fact that repairs on a Dyson require proprietary tools, not your common flathead or Phillips screwdriver. Even a belt change becomes an arduous task; one that generally requires you paying your neighborhood vacuum shop to do, quickly diminishing any cost savings between the Dyson and Sebo (or any other machine for that matter).

Price is obviously a consideration for those purchasing a vacuum, especially in this economy, so it was no surprise that Wired highlighted the $699 price tag on the Sebo X4, but it was a bit odd that similar criticism wasn’t given to the Dyson, despite a mere $100 difference and big difference in quality. Remarking on the machines’ longevity, Chris pointed out that the Dyson’s would be lucky to get 7-10 years of consistent performance, meanwhile the Sebo’s have been impressive by lasting over 20 years, guaranteeing a better return on investment with your Sebo (and a cleaner house).

Lastly, Chris told me he was excited “to see the new Hoover Platinum Collection Lightweight Model on their list, this is an excellent choice if you are in the market for a powerful, yet lightweight model. But consumers should realize that as a lightweight upright, you lose some features that full size models offer, like on-board attachments.”

Obviously, I am going to continue to be an avid reader and follower of the products that Wired recommends. But I can’t help but feel disappointed when offered the opportunity to shed light on an easily dismissed industry (vacuums), Wired’s review, frankly, sucked (excuse the pun).

Quick Tips For Green Living

We do have the power to change our world. Every single individual on this planet creates an energy that can hinder or help our planet. If each one of us does our part to reduce our individual footprint, no matter how small it may seem, this collective energy can move mountains. Here are the essentials that are easy to remember, easy to implement, and key for creating a healthier present and future for our world.

Want Not, Waste Not
Only buy what you need.
Buy products that use limited packaging materials.
Buy in bulk.
Don’t buy toxic products. Read the labels.
Make your own whenever possible, such as cleaning products.
Buy organic foods.
Grow a garden.

Recycling is Key
Know where your local recycling centers are located.
Buy products that are recyclable.
Buy products that are made from recycled materials.
Learn how to compost foods and scraps.

Durability is Key

Buy products that you can reuse.
Maintain what you already own.
Repair what is broken.
Reuse containers, bags, and the like.
Share, borrow, or rent things that you don’t use often.
Sell or donate materials you don’t need anymore rather than throwing them out.

Spread the Word
Let your local merchants know your Green preferences.
Educate your family, friends, and local groups on Green consciousness.
Teach your children well.
Be a good example.
Be pro-active.

Independence Day: Red, White, Blue and…Green!

Picnic tables, friends and family, fireworks, and lots of backyard barbequing… that’s the vision most of us have of 4th of July celebrations throughout the years. Why not change it up a bit this holiday and add a new color to independence day by planning your festivities with Green in mind.

Green Picnic Ethics

Take a break from plastic cutlery, cups, and plates. Pass on the paper napkins. Instead use your everyday dishware along with washable cloth napkins. Keep those landfills empty of your debris while you eat and drink your fill during the celebrations.

Go Light on Plastic Water Bottles
Instead of investing in cases of water bottles, put your money on a large water dispenser that you can reuse after the party. Bring it outside, place it in the shade, and let your guests refill their glasses to their heart’s content. Quenching thirst doesn’t mean overloading our landfills with unnecessary plastic. Make a batch of ice tea as a substitute for bottles of soda. Its healthier and you’ll be doing the planet a huge favor.

Grill the Propane Way
Your barbecue will create less smoke than charcoal or wood as you grill the clean way using propane. You’ll also have an easier time getting the grill going, which will let you spend more time having fun with your guests. Make sure you refill your propane tank or recycle it once it is empty.

Change the Menu
Instead of hot dogs, white bread buns, and hormone-filled meats, invest in your local organic markets. Find some interesting recipes for salads and finger foods. Put out a plate of local cheeses and homemade breads. Think and eat healthy as a way to celebrate your independence from your old habits.

Ward of Insects Naturally
Light citronella candles around your picnic table to keep away those pesky insects. Use natural insect repellents instead of those laden with toxins. Look for alternatives in your local health food store or online.

Save your Skin
Make sure you put plenty of non-toxic sunscreen on your skin to keep from burning. Keep your bottle out for your guests to use if they plan on spending time in the sun.

Hold off on the Fireworks
The big bang should be reserved for scientific research, not for noise pollution in your back yard. If you must use fireworks, which admittedly are quite festive, use those that make less impact. Ask your local municipality to invest in the earth-friendly fireworks that are now available, such as the compressed air method that is becoming more popular.

By Michele Kadison

Renovating Green

If you are thinking of renovating your home, there are many ideas to consider that can contribute to a more eco-friendly way of living. Some may cost a bit more initially, but they will certainly save you lots down the line.

Insulation
We all know how important the right kind of insulation is for your home. Once an enormous danger to the environment, current insulation methods have changed and are now safe and healthy to use for our homes and the planet. Consider using insulation components made of soy-based material, which is mildew and mold resistant. A non-petroleum based product that is also free of formaldehyde, this type of insulation comes as a foam or in rigid form. Another option is to use insulation made of recycled denim.

Paint
There are now VOC -free (volatile organic compound) organic paints available in the marketplace that are free of damaging toxins. Coming in a wide variety of colors, you can now be assured that no matter what shade you choose, you can always make it “green.”

Reclaimed and Recycled
This can apply to glass countertops, fixtures, and furniture. Look for creative companies with innovative designs that do not require the use of new materials.

Flooring
A long-time source of pollution, flooring now can be installed without adding to your carbon footprint. Use recycled floorboards, VOC-free stone flooring, carpets made from recycled fiber, or sustainable woods that are harvested responsibly.

Skylights
New innovations in skylighting fixtures are now available. The new technology creates structures that look like huge telescopes with glass ends. Channeling sunlight through the tube, the light emerges in a manner that illuminates an entire room. Called “daylighting,” the tube eliminates the need to use electrical lighting during daylight hours. At night, it can be illuminated by a compact florescent bulb, which create a wide spectrum light while using up less energy.

-Michele Kadison