New electric gadgets will make your life easier

7 Июн 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи New electric gadgets will make your life easier отключены
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New electric gadgets will make your life easier

It’s no wonder the symbol for a brilliant idea is the light bulb. Every day, electricity provides the energy for another new idea that will make your life easier, safer and more energy efficient.

Do you remember when microwave ovens first came out? Now you can’t find a kitchen without one. Today, more than ever before, electricity is powering many new gee-whiz gadgets that will soon be as common as the microwave.

You may not have heard about some new electric technologies, like the induction cooktop stove, but many are already available.

For instance cordless electric lawn mowers are now easy to find, cost $200 to $300 and offer many advantages over gas powered mowers. Don Van Houten, field services representative for the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives has used earlier electric mowers, the new cordless mower, and of course, gas powered mowers. My gas mower at home takes 12 pulls to start every time.

I don’t get along with gas mowers, said Van Houten. The new Black Decker cordless electric mower he uses at work will never be hard to start, never need a tune up or oil change and will not pollute the air or Van Houten’s lungs as he walks behind it.

Van Houten says the Black Decker cordless mower he uses will mow a quarter-acre yard on one charge. It cuts well. The last time the grass was fairly thick and wet, but it went right through it just fine.

Cordless mowers are also quiet, safe and cost less to operate. Eliminating gasoline storage alone improves home safety year-round. A single lawn cutting uses less electricity than it takes to burn a 60-watt light bulb for a day. An entire year of mowing costs less than $4. On the environmental side, the typical gas mower emits eight times more nitrogen oxide, 3,300 times more hydrocarbons and 5,000 times more carbon monoxide per hour of operation than a cordless mower.


The study accounted for power plant emissions produced while generating electricity to charge a typical electric mower.

The new induction cooktop stove is also becoming widely available. The technology is really not all that new and has been used for years to melt steel. The cooktop has high frequency induction coils just below an easy to clean ceramic surface. Don’t worry, the cooktop never becomes hot like earlier ceramic cooktops.

Clean up is a breeze.

Don Van Houten likes Black Decker’s cordless electric mower because it is easy to start, needs very little maintenance and he doesn’t have to store gasoline.

So how does it work? Remember the microwave oven and how only the food becomes hot? With an induction cooktop only the metal pan becomes hot, not the stove.

Induction coils create magnetic fields that cause electrons in metal pans to vibrate and produce heat.

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The cooktop stays cool-to-the-touch, reducing the possibility of burns. Spills don’t bake on. Also, a side benefit in the summer is the stove doesn’t heat up your kitchen and add to your air-conditioning bill.

The induction cooktop stove uses 40 to 47 percent less energy than either gas or electric stoves. The cost of the stove is about $1,000.

Another new appliance being developed is the horizontal-axis washing machine. A front loading washer, it uses 50 percent less energy and less water. Clothes, rather than being fully immersed, are lifted and tumbled through a shallow pool of water in the bottom of the washtub.

Horizontal-axis washers dominate the European market, but vertical-axis washers account for 98 percent of the United States market. Several domestic manufactures are producing, or intend to produce horizontal-axis washers. For drying clothes, what would you think about a microwave dryer?

Researchers are working on that idea too.

Other new electric technologies will improve heating and air conditioning equipment, water purification, air quality in hospitals, grain and produce storage, electric cars, batteries, and yes, even the light bulb.

— Story and photo by John Lowrey

JUNE 1997 ILLINOIS COUNTRY LIVING 21

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