A show of hands, please. Who checked their tire pressure in the last week? Last month? OK… last three months?
The Car Talk guys recommend that you check the pressure at least monthly, preferably more often. Eyeballing your tires is rarely good enough. Maintaining the correct tire pressure not only keeps you safe, it also saves gas. Properly inflated tires can increase fuel efficiency by 1 – 2 miles per gallon.
Unfortunately, checking your tire pressure is also a bit of a pain. So…enter possibly the best gadget I’ve encountered this year. LED Tire Alerts let you know when your tire pressure drops. Best of all, they install in seconds:
- Pump up your tires. Tire Alerts calibrate the first (and only) time they’re installed, so it’s important that you have the right pressure to begin with.
- Replace your tire caps with the Tire Alerts. Simply screw them on. You’re done.
- Wait and watch. Your Tire Alerts will flash if the pressure in the tire drops more than 4 PSI. That’s your cue to put more air in the tires.
I should point out that Tire Alerts are not really meant to be a substitute for checking your tire pressure regularly. They’re just an additional safety net for those times when you forget!
When Wal-Mart announced earlier this year that it had sold its 100 millionth compact fluorescent light, you might have believed that the swirly bulbs were the future of lighting. Not so. LED bulbs are popping up all over. Plenty of cars now have them for brake lights, and most modern traffic lights are fitted with LEDs. The advantages of these bulbs are legion:
- LEDs are twice as efficient as CFLs
- They burn cold
- They last for 50,000 hours
- They don’t contain mercury
However, there are still some downsides that prevent LEDs from achieving widespread consumer adoption yet. First, they are not very powerful. The pure white bulb (which we’re stocking) gives the equivalent light of a 35 – 40W bulb. That’s not bright enough for many domestic applications. Second, they’re directional, so won’t work too well in many lamps (for example). Finally, they’re far from cheap. You can often find CFLs for around a dollar these days. A half-decent LED bulb will set you back 30 times that.
You might be wondering why we’re stocking them. TerraPass members have shown they’re willing to take risks and support new technologies that will have long term benefits for the environment. While it’s limited in its applications, the LED bulb is a great technology. You’ll still save money (the break-even point is around 5,700 hours at today’s energy prices) and get to impress your friends by touching a bulb while it’s on without burning yourself. I have one of these in my desk lamp at home, and it’s perfect. You don’t need to kit the whole house out — yet.
Just try one, and leave a review at our new Energy Savers store.