Q I've seen ads for the EdenPure heater. It costs $400, but if it cuts our heat bills in half, it's worth it. We're considering investing in one, but then I saw your report about the Amish heaters being overpriced space heaters. I'm wondering about EdenPure. Is it worth it?
A You decide. The $400 EdenPure is a space heater, and it does the same job as a $60 electric space heater.
You might think the EdenPure is worth the money because of all the advantages it claims to offer, but those don't always hold up.
• The ads say it's new technology, an advancement in space heating. That's not exactly true. EdenPure uses electricity to power quartz light tubes that heat copper, which, with the help of a fan, dissipates heat into the room. That's not new or special, said Phil Smith, energy specialist with the Minnesota Department of Energy Security. Other materials, such as metal, water or oil, will hold heat and then release it over time, and that technology is available in other space heaters. You might remember the Sun Twin heater heavily promoted in this area about 25 years ago. It's the same technology, and both are made by Ohio-based BioTech Research Co. The only difference is that the Sun Twin has a wood cabinet and sells for $450; the EdenPure, in a high-density plastic cabinet, sells for about $400.
• The ads also say the EdenPure produces clean fresh air because, unlike furnaces, it doesn't produce dust. But furnaces do not produce dust. Studies show that household dust is composed of tiny fibers from clothing, carpet, drapes and furniture, pet and human hair and skin cells, minute particles of rock, soil and sand tracked in from outdoors, etc. Furnaces actually can clean the air. As the furnace fan circulates the air in a home, the filter captures the dust, especially if that filter is the pleated or high-efficiency type.
• Ads also claim the EdenPure lowers heating bills by up to 50 percent. Your "heating bill," as in your cost for gas, may go down, but your electric bill will go up. Whether you will come out ahead depends, among other things, on how much you use the heater and the price you pay for electricity. It is almost always cheaper to heat with gas than electricity. In addition, the wording "by up to 50 percent" is important to note. To reduce the heat bill, EdenPure recommends you set your furnace at your desired temperature, then turn it down and use the EdenPure to maintain the heat in the room you are in. If you want to heat more than one room, you'd need to get another heater. Again, this is how you use electric space heaters, including those costing a fraction of the EdenPure.
Last year, Consumer Reports magazine tested and rated space heaters. EdenPure was at the bottom of the 20 space heaters tested. The top performers, all of which were much cheaper than the EdenPure, include:
• Honeywell Electric heater HZ-519 or HX-515, for about $60.
• Holmes Quartz Tower, $60.
• DeLonghi SafeHeat Flat Panel, $80.
The bottom line: You can get a space heater for a lot less money than the EdenPure, and reduce your gas bill, too, depending on how you use it. If you like the idea of stored, radiated heat, consider an oil-filled heater.How do you wash dishes?
People have preferences when it comes to cleaning up after meals, loading and unloading the dishwasher: to rinse or not; silverware up or down; dry or not. How do you think it should be done? Do you have any dishwasher debates at your house?
Send to Fixit in care of the Star Tribune, 425 Portland Av. S., Minneapolis, MN 55488, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Past columns are available at www.startribune.com/fixit. Sorry, Fixit cannot supply individual replies.