Healthier Living | Child Safety | Eco Friendly Tips

Barbara Staib, President of Safe Home Products, is an expert on child safety, emergency preparedness, pet training and even pest control. She has personally helped thousands of customers since SHP started in 1999. Here you can find Q&A with Barbara to foster safer, healthier and simpler living.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Geraniol, A Safe Outdoor Mosquito Repeller Can be Used with Mosquito Traps

Question about Using Geraniol as a Mosquito Repellant and with Mosquito Traps.

Q: "We entertain outdoors and want to keep the mosquitos away from our guests. I've been told that geraniol is a safe option to yard sprays or applying Deet to exposed skin. What is it? How do you use it to keep mosquitos away?, etc. I see you sell wristbands, pillar candles and bucket candles. How do you combine these products with a mosquito trap?" Thanks. Sara

Answer: Geraniol is a safe option to Deet and insect sprays. It is a natural essential oil, a “green” product that uses oil extracted from plants such as lemon grass that have a natural ability to protect themselves against feeding insects. There is no known toxicity to the environment. Jerry Butler from the University of Florida, in Gainesville developed this insect repellent after 15 years of tests on more than 3,900 compounds. Geraniol protects people and pets against everything from mosquitoes and ticks to tiny “no-see-ums.” It was tested to be more than 400% more effective than citronella.

Among the pleasant smelling geraniol options are:
  • Geraniol wristbands that use geraniol imbedded in plastic bracelets you can loop around wrist, ankle or bell or place out of reach of a baby on a stroller
  • Geraniol bucket candles. Each weighs just over a pound, is in a silver colored and burns for about 50 hours.
  • Geraniol pillar candles. Each 3 inch by 3 inch pillar candle weighs about 11 ounces and burns for about 36 hours.
Koolatron recommends that you place the candles about 8 feet apart for maximum no-see-um, mosquito, biting fly, etc. protection. To improve the odds you won't get bitten by mosquitos, we also recommend that you place mosquito traps down wind from your party and keep them running continuously during the mosquito/biting insect season. The best unit is the all propane mosquito trap since you can place it anywhere you choose without an electrical outlet nearby. We also sell Koolatron UV 12 volt DC Biting Insect Traps that can be used with AC adapters, are inexpensive and can be placed just beyond the "candle range" to attract biting insects.

Candles may also be burned inside. Do remember the dangers of leaving candles burning unattended.

Thanks for your question. Enjoy a summer with fewer bug bites. For those that get past, try an Itchsoother.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Replacing 12V Propane Gas Alarms in an RV or Trailer

Question about replacement 12 volt propane gas alarms for a motorhome.

Q:" How do I choose the correct 12 volt propane alarm for my motor home? The brand that was in my motorhome is no longer available?" Thanks. Joe

Answer: Currently, we are selling Safe-T-Alert propane alarms, USA manufactured, that meet all RV standards. Unfortunately, we are unable to locate a manufacturer that sells a unit with the third wire, that one that closes the propane gas valve if a leak if detected.

Choose a unit by answering these questions:

Is the current propane alarm mounted flush with the wall? If so, measure the opening. The units we sell are:
  • 30-442 (Flush Mount)Case Dimensions:6.375"W x 2.875"H x 1"D
  • 40-442RV Flush Mount Gas Alarm: Case Dimensions Recessed portion = 3"H x 4"W. Depth = 1 1/8". Flush mount portion = 4"H x 4 7/8"W. Screw Holes = centered, 4 1/2" apart.
Is the current propane alarm surfaced mounted, ie. not flush with the wall?
  • 30-441 (Slim Line Surface Mount): Case Dimensions: 6"W x 1.875"H x 1.5"D
  • 40-441RV Case Dimensions: Bottom (where mounted) = 3"H x 5 3/8"W. Top = 3"H x 5"W. Depth = 1 3/8". Screw holes = centered, approx. 5" apart.
Do you want a brown unit?
  • 40-442A-BR is chocolate brown and a flush mount. The 40-441A-BR is the corresponding surface mount unit.
  • The 30-441A=BR is the chocolate brown surface mount propane alarm and the 30-442A-BR is the chocolate brown flush mount model.
What is the maximum amp draw you want?
  • Both the 40-441 and 40-442 draw 46 milliamp (0.046 amp.)
  • The 30-441 and 30-442 draw 76 mA. This 30-442 can replace the CCI-7770 Propane Alarm that is discontinued.
The warranties are longer on the 40 series units. If you are interested in the product manuals, we have them listed below the pictures of each product.

I hope this helps answer your question. We do recommend that you test your propane alarms and your RV carbon monoxide alarms at least once per month.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Using Power Inverters Connected to a Lead Acid Battery to Run Appliances.

Question about the Cobra Cpi 2575 - DC to Ac power inverter - 2.5 kW or the Go Power 2500 watt inverter.

Q: "hi, i am interested on your Cobra Cpi 2575 - DC to Ac power inverter - 2.5 kW Item Code WTCPI2575 or a similar model by Go Power. i was wondering if it can run amicrowave, a tv and two fluorescent bulbs connecting it to a lead acid battery, and for how long it can provide light to my mountain house, since i have no electricity. i would also like you to recommend me if you know a product for my needs, thank u"

Answer: The power inverters we typically sell convert 12V DC to 120VAC. Your email address indicates that you live in the United Kingdom where power is typically 240VAC. The first unit you refer to has this description: This inverter provides household power on the go! It converts battery power to 120 V AC household power, allowing you to power up multiple loads such office equipment and major household appliances from your vehicle. This unit is ideal for microwave ovens, mini fridges, coffeemakers, laptops, TV sets, video games, CD players, DVD players, cellular phone chargers and much more!

What you missed is that you have to have a vehicle with the engine running in order to power the inverter. If you attach the inverter to a charged 12 volt battery, you will quickly drain the battery of its charge. Remember that watts equals volts times amps. I am not an expert on power inverters. What I do know is that most microwave ovens here in the USA are 1000 watts. This power inverter could power most smaller microwaves if it were connected to an operating vehicle but not to a battery.

A gasoline generator would power your appliances. Another option would be solar panels.

Thanks for your question.
Sincerely, Barbara

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Maintaining an Amaircare Roomaid HEPA Air Purifier

Question about the Roomaid Air Purifier.

Q: "I am interested in purchasing the Roomaid since I understand the unit can be operated both in a motor home or car on a 12VDC power adapterand also on standard AC power. My concern is maintaining the unit. What is involved with that? Do you have any personal experience with the unit? Thanks. Mary

Answer: The Roomaid is made in Canada by Amaircare. I've run a "white" ( it is really cream colored) Roomaid in my home office continuously (except for when I wash the prefilters) for over 9 years. I've changed the HEPA once and the pre-filter maybe 4 times. By the way, I have allergies and have run an Amaircare 3000 continuously in our bedroom for 9 years as well. Original motors still purr along quietly. (German motors.)

Both units are especially needed since Buddy the Siamese cat joined the family a year ago. Since Buddy likes to sleep in his cat bed right next to my monitor, the Roomaid prefilter does pick up a lot of cat hair over the course of a month (don't believe everything you read about Siamese shedding very little). The annual filter kit includes both pre and post filters There is also an optional VOC carbon filter if you are sensitive to formaldehyde or other volatile organic compounds.

To maintain the unit, turn the unit off and wash the prefilters in soapy water, rinse thoroughly and allow to dry. Remember that HEPA filters can become a source of mold or bacterial growth if air does not move through them nearly continuously. Never have an air purifier with a HEPA filter sit idle for more than 3 or 4 days or you need to replace the HEPA.

To change the snap on HEPA replacement filter you just jank a bit (or maybe use a knife for leverage) and pull off the entire top of the unit which is the HEPA. There are 4 or 5 little peg inserts that snap into the bottom of the Roomaid where the motor is. Then push the new unit on and put on the new prefilter. The post filter sits in the middle of the HEPA unit.

You could add a scent to the top of the HEPA unit. There is a little round container for scent. I choose not to since I am allergic to begin with.

For use in the car, there is a seat belt clip included with the optional 12volt power adapter.

In my opinion, there is not a sturdier unit available in this price range. And certainly maintenance is simple as well.

Thanks for your question.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

120VAC/DC Converter for 6 amp or less 12V Thermoelectric cooler or warmer?

Question about using a thermoelectric cooler/warmer indoors on AC power.

Q: "Which AC/DC converter do you suggest for a larger thermoelectric cooler/warmer that draws up to 70 watts or 6 amps? We'd like to use our cooler indoors as an extra fridge or pre-cool prior to going camping." Thanks. Thomas

Answer: The best choices for any thermoelectric coolers are the TravelMate units which we sell, at this time, under three different labels. This is the only one we know that can power a unit that draws up to 6 amps. (Most power only up to 4 amps). Vector actually makes all three units but they are marketed under the brands Rubbermaid, Black and Decker and Vector. Since all three have different UPC codes, we sell all three brands.

TravelMates Advantages are:
  • Plugs into any standard 110-volt AC outlet
  • Instantly converts 110 volt AC current into 12 volt DC
  • Auto thermal and overload shutdown
  • Extends the convenience of your 12 volt device: use indoors or when camping where 120VAC power is available.
  • Powers all Vector thermoelectric coolers
  • Powers most Igloo, Coleman and other 12Volt thermoelectric products that use 6 amps or less.(70 watts or less).
  • Item Dimensions: 9 x 4 x 8.5 inches
  • Weight: 1 lb.
  • Warranty: 2 years manufacturer, Vector
Thanks for your question.


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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Go Power RV Solar Kits: Do I Need a Digital Regulator?

Questions about RV solar panels by Go Power.

Q: "I see that you sell the Go Power brand solar panel kits for RV's. What is the advantage of a digital regulator on a solar panel kit? I own an RV, want to go to areas without electricity and am not sure which one to purchase. Also what is the difference, besides cost, between the 50 watt, 80 watt and 110 watt kits?" Thanks. Joe

Answer: We recommend the solar panel kits with the digital regulators unless you plan to monitor the battery or power pack very closely. A digital regulator keeps track of the battery charge and stops power to the battery once it is fully charged. Overcharging batteries can result in explosions or damage to the battery.

The higher the wattage, the faster the battery or powerpack will recharge. The other factor is, of course, the amount and intensity of sunlight that hits the solar panel. For example, a 1500 watt powerpack like the Xantrex XPower 1500 unit, would require about 72 hours of direct sunlight to recharge fully with the 110 watt solar kit, 144 hours with the 50 watt solar kit and about 108 hours with the 80 watt solar kit. Most portable powerpacks like the Xantrex 600HD are no more than 600 watts so figure about half that time for a complete recharge.

Before you make your choice, I recommend that you consider how many appliances you plan to use each day, what the watts are used per appliance and how long each day you plan to operate them. Also how many days do you plan to be off the electric grid? If your preference is a more primitive campground, the larger units are a better choice if you need to run blowers on furnaces, etc.

Thanks for your interesting question. Sincerely, Barbara

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Monday, January 5, 2009

Solar Panel Charging a Xantrex XPower Powerpack 1500 Watt Inverter

Question about using a solar panel to recharge a Xantrex XPower Powerpack 802-1500.

Q: "I would like to purchase a Xantrex 802-1500, but can I charge it with a solar panel and would a 40 watt panel do the trick? Do you sell solar panels or would you know which one I would need. Thank you, John D."

Answer: A solar panel can be used to recharge this large capacity, cart mounting 1500 watt power inverter with built-in battery pack. According to the product manual, a 12-volt solar panel rated to produce a maximum of 12 amps can be used to charge XPower 1500 via the DC Power Socket. Once the solar panel’s DC plug is inserted into the DC Power Socket and the solar panel is placed in the sun, XPower 1500 will charge automatically just as with the AC Charger. With direct sunlight, a typical 3 Amp solar panel will charge XPower 1500 in about 24 hours. If the solar panel does not have a regulated output, disconnect it immediately after XPower 1500 is charged.

Remember that a solar panel large enough and with enough power to recharge the unit is quite expensive. For example, we sell the Go Power 110 Watt Solar Kit with Digital Regulator . This would take about 72 hours of direct sunlight to fully recharge the unit AFTER the initial charge. The specs are :Output Power: 110 W. Rated Current: 6.7 A. Rated Voltage 16.5 V. GPR-25 digital regulator Dimensions of panel 62.4 x 26 x 1.5.

There is risk of battery pack damage if you use a solar panel: 1. with an unregulated output 2. with one that exceeds 15 volts DC. 3. with a generator output not intended for battery charging. 4. if you leave a solar panel with an unregulated output connected after charging is complete.

Initial charge is about 36 hours. The 120VAC option is more certain if you don't have lots of sun. Using a 12V DC outlet takes 24 hours to recharge. Using 120VAC takes 6 to 8 hours' time to recharge a 100% discharged battery. Recharging time is based on using the supplied 5 amp charger, or charging from a vehicle lighter socket.

I recommend that you stay in an RV park periodically where you can recharge using AC unless you opt for a very expensive solar panel module. Thanks for your very interesting question. Sincerely, Barbara

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Friday, August 8, 2008

Do Heated Seat Cushions Heat Only a Few Minutes?

Question about the Wagan Heated Seat Cushions for Cars: The Wagan Heated Seat Cushion with Hi Low Switch, Wagan Deluxe Heated Seat Cushion and the Total Rest Heated Seat Cushion with Dual Voltage and Magnets.

Q: "Do these heated car seat cushions heat for only a few minutes and then shut off. I see that the heated seat with high low switch indicates that."

Answer: As of this date, Safe Home is selling several different heated cushions that can be used in a car. The thermostat regulates the temperature so the turning on and off is subtle, not noticeable to the seated person. Each heated cushion has different features:

  • The ES-WA-9738 has a hi/low switch and a thermostat that turns the heat on and off to maintain a temperature of either 120 degrees F on the high setting or 90 degrees F on the low setting.
  • The ES-WA-2282, the deluxe model heats quickly and maintains a comfortable 110 degrees to 120 degrees F.
  • The WA-9888 is a heated seat with magnets and massage (optional) that can be used as a 12V heated seat cushion or on standard AC current with the adapter (included), Wagan did not supply us with a temperature for this unit. I used on in my office chair and I find the heat comfortable without being too hot.

Until I purchased a minivan with heated seats, I used the basic 9738 heated cushion. In comparison with my minivan seats, this cushion heated within a few minutes to toastly warm. I remember flying into Cedar Rapids from Minneapolis on a bitter cold day in January. Before I reach the tollbooth in the parking lot (and the Eastern Iowa lots are not far from the booth), my seat was warm through my coat. I turned the temperature to low before I got to I-380. I was not aware that the heat turned on and off as there is not signal.

My minivan seats never get that warm and I don't feel the heat for about 10 minutes in the winter. (I used my heated seats in the summer, too. Great on the back.)

Thanks for your question.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

How Long Will My BoomBox Run on this Power Supply?

Question about the Product: VEC1026BD Black and Decker Portable Power Supply 250W.

Q: "How much time will this unit give me in the 120VAC mode to use my small boom box which uses about 12 watts of power? Does the 250 watt on the power unit mean that when charged fully it holds 250 watts of power? Therefore my radio boom box should run approx. 20 hours?thanks-Bob."

Answer: This portable power supply has a 10 amp hour battery in it, so your boombox should run about 10 hours if the unit is fully charged. We do sell other units such as the Wagan Power Dome that are larger with more watts of power. The Wagan has 450 watts and, fully charged, would run a boombox that draws 23 amps about 8 hours. For a 12 watt draw, that would be closer to 16 hours.

Thank you for your question.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

When No Cigarette Lighter is Available for an Inverter

Question about the product Product Code: = GP-300 Go Power 300 Watt Modified Sine Wave Inverter 12Volt .

Q: "Hello, I would like to connect this inverter to a 12 volt 32.5 ah Deka agm battery. What cables would I need to use? Do you sell the cables? In the description it says that it uses a cigarette lighter. Can I connect it directly to the 12 volt battery without a cigarette lighter? Thank you. -Thomas."

Answer: This power inverter does not have an option for battery cables. I suggest you look at a 400 watt inverter as all the inverters above 300 watts do require the use of battery cables. These power inverters cost just under $100 or more at this time. Among the inverters that are 400 watts to 600 watts with battery cables are the Xantrex XPower Digital Micro Inverter 400 Watts and the Go Power 600 Watt Modified Sine Wave Inverter 12Volt. Please remember that manufacturers are constantly updating/revising their products so these particular models may not be available in the future.

Please contact us if you need additional information.
Sincerely, Barbara


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Sunday, June 22, 2008

How Cool Does A Cooler Cool?

Question about the product, Koolatron Krusader 12V Thermoelectric Cooler 52 Qt.

Question: Your information says these coolers keep items cool to 45-50 degrees below the ambient temperature. Does that mean if the inside temperature of my car is 80 degrees it will cool items in the cooler to 35-40 degrees? Thank you in advance for your response." Gary

Answer: We checked with Koolatron, the manufacturer of the Krusader and other thermoelectric cooler models. Here is their representative's response:

"Your customer is correct, the ambient temperature is the temperature within the environment where the cooler is placed. If the cooler is in his car, and it is 80 degrees, the Krusader or other Koolatron coolers will cool down to a low of 35 degrees inside the cooler. Please note that thermoelectric coolers do not reach freezing, so 35 degrees is the coldest the cooler will get inside. In other words, if the inside of the car is 65 degrees, the temperature inside the cooler will go down to around the 35 degree level, not down to 15 to 20 degrees F."

We recommend that you purchase an AC adapter and precool the unit before moving to your vehicle. During your trip, use AC to power the cooler at night if your camp site has AC available or use AC in your motel or hotel room.

Please contact us if you have additional questions. We sell several brands of thermoelectric coolers and warmers including Koolatron and Vector.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Is there a more powerful power dome for emergency power outages?

Question about the Product: Wagan 400W Power Dome Portable Power Source Generator Product Code: : WA-2354

Q: "Is there a more powerful unit other than this one here. I live in Northern Ontario, Canada and the winters up here can be very brutal. Last year I was taken to the hospital with hypo thermia. I got hypo thermia while I was inside the house that I was renting. Something to run the radio and lights a little while later would be nice."

Answer: A power inverter or portable power pack like the 400 watt one is not what you need. You need to purchase a generator that runs on either gasoline or propane. Our experience with the gasoline generators is that they run about 4 to 5 hours before running out of fuel when run at full power. Depending upon the size, you could at least operate an electric heater or an electric blanket or electric throw plus a few other appliances. A 5500 watt gasoline run generator would power your furnace motor so if you heat with natural gas, you'd stay warm. At 50% power, these units are supposed to run 10 to 12 hours.

Hope this helps. Thanks for your question.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Using Power Inverter to Run a Sump Pump?

Question about the product: VECTOR 1200 Watt Power Inverter VEC053D.

Q: "My fix-it man wants a Vector Model 056D power inverter. He reports that we need 16 amps minimum to run 2 same model sump pumps (Wayne Submersible pumps 4200 GPH, 15 amp min, 120v, 60 hz, 1/2 HP, ) Can't find the VEC056D and most info on inverters do not include amps info. Will this one work for my 2 pumps?

Answer: We consulted with our Vector distributor about this answer. Here is what Devin responded:

"I would go with the VEC051D to be safe. This would put out 27.5 amp continuously and 55 amps for start up loads for a short period of time. The reason I suggest this one is because all of those pumps have a start up draw (surge) that is higher than the power they use when already running. It’s like riding a bike. It’s easier to peddle a bike once it is already moving than to have to get the bike to begin to move from a stopped position."

Thanks for your interesting question.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

How does a thermoelectric cooler work?

Question about the product: KN-P27 Koolatron Voyager 12-Volt Cooler 32 Quart

Q: "How does a thermoelectric cooler work? I am considering purchasing the Koolatron Voyager but need more information." George

Answer: Thank you for asking this question. I did not know the answer so I went to the Koolatron site where I gleaned this information.

Thermoelectric coolers use a principle called the "Peltier" effect. In 1834 Jean Peltier noted that when an electrical current is applied across the junction of two dissimilar metals, heat is removed from one of the metals and transferred to the other. Koolatron uses this principle to keep the Voyager and other Koolatron thermoelectric coolers cold.

Thermoelectric modules are constructed from a series of tiny metal cubes of dissimilar exotic metals which are physically bonded together and connected electrically. When electrical current passes through the cube junctions, heat is transferred from one metal to the other. Solid-state thermoelectric modules like the ones used in the Koolatron coolers are capable of transferring large quantities of heat when connected to a heat absorbing device on one side and a heat dissipating device on the other.

The Koolatron cooler's internal aluminum cold plate fins absorb heat from the contents, (food and beverages): the thermoelectric modules transfer it to heat dissipating fins under the control panel. There a small fan helps to disperse the heat into the air. The system is totally environmentally friendly and contains no hazardous gases, no pipes no coils and no compressor. The only moving part is the small 12-volt fan.

Thermoelectric modules are too expensive for normal domestic and commercial applications which run only on regular household current. They are ideally suited to recreational applications because they are lightweight, compact, insensitive to motion or tilting, have no moving parts, and can operate directly from 12-volt batteries.

Advantages of a KoolatronThermoelectric Refrigerator (Cooler) Over Compressor Coolers (Freon Using), Absorption Coolers (Ammonia Solution Using) and Ice Chest Coolers:
  • Compact: More usable space due to small size of cooling components: thermoelectric module is the size of a matchbook.
  • Weight: Weigh 1/3 to 1/2 as much due to lightweight cooling system. Ex. A 36 qt. capacity unit weighs only 17 lb.
  • Lower Cost: 20% to 40% less expensive than compressor or absorption units.
  • Portable: carry with one hand. Unaffected by motion or tilting.
  • Low battery draw: average is about 4.5 amps - less than your car's headlights
  • No Melting Ice: Food and beverages are kept cold and dry. Helps preserve ice 3 to 4 times longer than an ice chest.
  • Cooling Performance: Koolatron units will refrigerate in sustained ambient temperatures of up to 95 degrees F. If Koolatron coolers are kept full, they will refrigerate satisfactorily even if peak daytime temperatures reach 110 degrees F as the temperature of the contents lags behind the ambient. The food will be just starting to warm up when the air cools off in the evening which will bring the food temperature back down to normal.
  • Reliability: Koolatron thermoelectric modules do not wear out or deteriorate with use. They have been used for military and aerospace applications for years because of their reliability and other unique features.
  • Ease of Servicing and Maintenance: Koolatron units have only one moving part, a small fan with 12 volt motor which can easily be replaced with only a screw driver. Most parts are easily replaced by the end-user.
I hope this answers your question about not only how a thermoelectric cooler works but also why this is the best choice for most people needing a portable cooler.



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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Explain Workings of the Replacement 12V Propane Gas Shut-Off Valve

Question about Replacement 12V Propane Gas Shut Off Valve, No Detector

Q:"Is this a normally open or normally closed valve? If not open, then does it shut off the gas flow when power is applied?" - old-falcon

Answer: This valve is part of a 12 Volt gas leak detection system for a motorhome or RV. Occasionally the shut off valve wears out or is faulty and needs replaced. Some people prefer to replace the entire system at that time. We sell systems, too.

Although we have labeled it as a 12V valve, it is actually a 9V valve that works with a 12Volt propane gas shut off system. The ball valve is open until a significant propane leak activates the system and closes the valve.
If the power source is disconnected, or if the power is otherwise interrupted, the detector light will go out and the gas will be shut off. When the power source is reconnected, the detector will alarm and the gas will remain off until the detector is reset. The gas cannot be turned on unless the detector is powered and the air is free of combustible vapors.

This is from our website:

Automatic gas shut off valve is used with the CCI Control Gas Detector Alarm Model 7719 in flush mount beige, brown or polar white.

When a gas leak is detected in an RV, trailer or camper, the propane alarm sounds and shuts off the gas supply via this UL listed LP gas valve. The CCi gas detector draws 162mA per hour of power, less than an instrument panel lamp. Turn off the gas detector when the motor coach is not in use.

The CCI 7719 propane detector (sold separately) detects LP gas and sounds an alert at 20% of the LEL (Lower Explosion Level) for propane gas. The automatic gas shut off valve and propane gas detector and alarm are intended for detection of LP gas only.

CCI Controls Replacement Propane Automatic Gas Valve Control Model 7718 Features:
* Goyen 3/8" Solenoid Gas Shutoff Valve Model 7718.
* Note: Must be used only in conjunction with CCI Control Model 7719 LP Gas Detector.
* Warranty: Limited 2 year manufacturer.

Hope this helps answer your question.



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Friday, May 2, 2008

Question about Hours of Operation of a 300 Amp Jump Starter

Question about the Black and Decker 300 amp Jump Start System VEC010BD.

Q: "I am considering purchasing a Black & Decker 300 amp Jump Start System VECO10BDM, and would like to know how many hours this product will operate (on a full charge) pulling a continuous 5 AMP load?"--Jay.

Answer: On a full charge, this unit will operate for slightly under 2 hours when pulling a continuous 5 amphere load.

If you have other questions, please do contact us.



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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Using a PowerPack to Power a Heater?

Question about the XPower Powerpack 400 Plus Radio and Air Compressor.

Q: "Can this powerpack be used to operate a heater when camping and if so for how long?" Rickey

Answer: No, this powerpack cannot be used to operate a heater when camping. Electric heaters typically draw 1000 watts of power. This is a 400 watt power pack with a 600 watt surge. Plugging in a 1000 watt electric heater would cause either the circuit breaker to trip or a fire to cocur.

My suggestion: purchase one of the new generation of catalytic heaters that use propane. Catalytic heaters are a safe, portable option. I do recommend that you purchase and use a Costar 9RV, a recreational vehicle rated carbon monoxide alarm. We've sold these to the military to use in tents where catalytic heaters are used.

If you have other questions, we'd be happy to help.


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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Why do I need to unplug a 12V heated seat warmer?

Question about the Wagan Heated Seat Cushion, ES-WA-9738.

Q: "My question is, why does it say to unplug when not in use, if it has an auto shut off? Do I really have to unplug it everytime I get out of the car? Thanks." Maddy

Answer: For safety reasons, manufacturers recommend that you always unplug all 12 volt devices when not in use. Some vehicles are wired so that power to shut off to 12V sockets when the engine is shut off. The automatic shut-off feature for this heated seat cushion means that once it has reached either the high or low temperature it will stop heating or shut-off. It will resume heating once it drops below the set temperature.

Unplugging is easy. Just grasp the plug and pull straight out.



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Monday, March 24, 2008

Can this Power Inverter Plug Into a 12V Outlet?

Question regarding Vector Black and Decker 1000-Watt Power Inverter.

Q: "Can this power inverter plug into the 12V cigarette lighter outlet in my car?"

Answer: No, all 1000 watt power inverters like this model draw too much power to be plugged directly into a 12V light socket. If there was such a plug, the high wattage draw would damage your car, at the least throwing a circuit breaker and at the most causing a fire.

Most high wattage (400 watt and over) power inverters include battery cables that connect directly to the vehicle battery positive and negative poles. Some power inverters under 400 watts have two connection methods available. Those that plug only into the cigarette lighter (accessory power) socket are rated no more than 300 watts.

Larger is not necessarily better with power inverters. To decide what wattage would meet your need, remember that watts=amperes times volts. So read the instruction manual of the product you want to plug into the power inverter before you choose an inverter. You need to know what the surge power is, i.e. the amount of power the appliance will draw when you first turn it on. Then choose a unit that slightly exceeds that maximum as far as the surge power is concerned.

Remember that medical devices often need a pure sine wave output to operate properly. True sine wave inverters cost 2 to 3 times more than the more typical modified sine wave inverters.

If you need more assistance to choose a power inverter, please email us and we'll make a few suggestions. Or phone our customer service reps with your questions.




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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Can you set a temperature on a Koolatron cooler?

Question about the Koolatron Voyager 12-Volt Cooler 32 Quart

Q:"Can you set this cooler to a certain temperature?" Kip

Answer: No, there is no temperature setting on the Koolatron Voyager and other non-commercial Koolatron cooler units. These units cool 45 to 50 Fahrenheit degrees below the ambient temperature. "Ambient temperature is defined as "the temperature of the medium surrounding an object or. . . the prevailing room temperature." So if it is 90 degrees in your car, the temperature of the cooler will be 40 to 45 degrees F. We do suggest you pre-cool the unit using an AC adapter. This unit also can serve as a warmer to keep food warm for a picnic or other event where food will be consumed within 45 minutes or so.

If you have need for a commercial cooler, please contact us with your requirements and we can get a price for you dependent upon the size of the unit.


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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Can a 12V power inverter run a 36V battery charger?

Q: "Question about the VECTOR 400 Watt Vehicle Power System (VEC024B). Will this run a 36 volt battery charger to a golf cart?" Thanks, Charlie.

Answer: This is a 400 watt power inverter with an 800 watt surge. The unit has both battery cables and a plug for the 12V accessory outlet. For your purpose, the battery cables are necessary, the vehicle engine must be kept running and the unit then may be large enough to power the battery charger.

What is important is the amperage draw of the battery charger (which you would be plugging into one of the AC outlets on the power inverter).

The specs on this unit are that it will handle a maximum draw of 3.6 amps. If the battery charger draws less than 3.6 amps, you could plug in the battery charger and then connect it to the golf cart battery. What I don't know is how quickly the battery would charge. Also you would need to know the power surge of the battery charger. Watts=amps x volts. So if the amps are 3 and the volts are 36, then the watts required would be 108 and this power inverter would work fine.

I do not know the weight of a golf cart battery or the difficulties in swapping a dead one out for a fully charged unit. Swapping it out might be easier than using the power inverter to charge the one that is installed. And perhaps less expensive at the current cost of gasoline.

I hope this helps.


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Monday, January 21, 2008

Can I use this power inverter while driving?

Question about the Xantrex XPower Digital Micro Inverter 400 Watts 813-0400-01.

Q: "I haven't read anywhere that this thing works while driving and if it does is the power drain on the vehicles battery less than if the car is turned off? Also is there any noticeable power drain to the vehicle while driving?

Answer: This 400 watt power inverter will operate while you are driving. The unit uses power from the 12V accessory plug and draws power from the car or truck battery. While you are driving, the alternator is constantly charging the battery so there is no noticeable power drain. When the vehicle is turned off, the vehicle battery powers the inverter.

This tiny 400 watt power inverter offers protection with an over-temperature shutdown, a low battery voltage shutdown (10.5 VDC and automatic reset), a high battery voltage shut down (15.5 VAC and automatic reset)and an overload shutdown.

This micro-inverter provides 320 watts continuous power with 700 watts surge. The battery drain with no AC load is a mere <0.25 amps DC (at 12 V input). The unit runs: Cell phone, camcorder, stereo, laptop computer, 20" TV/VCR combo, 27" TV.

Hope this helps.

Thanks again.


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Saturday, January 19, 2008

How the Lunchbox Stove Heats

Q: "How does this stove heat? Heating element? Steam? Can you put the shelf type meals such as Denny Moore, in them to heat up?" Thanks. Jackie.

Answer: The Koolatron lunch box stove plugs into a 12V auto accessory plug and heats food using an internal coil. The maximum cooking temperature is 300 degress Fahrenheit. If you are preparing food that requires a higher temperature than 300 degrees F, first cook the food at home and then take it with you in your car, truck or motor home.

Please contact us again if you have questions about any of our products.

Sincerely, Barbara


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Sunday, July 8, 2007

What does turbo cooling mean on a power inverter?

Question about the product: Vector Black and Decker 1500-Watt Power Inverter VEC050D.

Q: "This VEC050D has Turbo Cooling. Does this mean that the inverter has an electric fan? What is the warranty? Who holds the warranty?"

Answer: The Vector 1500 watt power inverter has an internal electric cooling fan to keep the unit from overheating , thus protecting the internal lparts. This cooling fan is called "turbo cooling." The warranty is 2 years and is held by the manufacturer after the first 30 days.

If there is a problem with the inverter within the first 30 days after purchase, Safe Home will coordinate replacement. After 30 days, please contact the manufacturer directly. Customers report that Vector Black and Decker is easy to deal with about warranty issues.

This 14 pound power inverter has a 3000 watt surge capacity and maximum continuous power of 1500 watts. Use the 3 AC outlets with grounded or ungrounded plugs. The efficiency rating is 87%. This is a great power inverter for tv sets as the noise-free technology filters modified sine wave and eliminates horizontal lines and static that can appear on TV sets .

Thanks for your question.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Sunday, July 4, 2004

Do the XP3 Hornet Deer Repellers Need Special Cleaning?

Question about the SM-XP3-V120 Hornet V-120 Electronic Sonic Deer Avoidance System

Q: "I am interested in installing a Hornet on my motorcycle. Air activated devices need to be clean in order to function correctly. Since this device is electronic, is there any special cleaning involved? Other then not getting water in it when washing, does the barrel need occasional cleaning?" John

Answer: Instructions say the unit is water resistant and not affected by normal weather conditions. The manufacturer cautions is to avoid direct high pressure water spraying into the intake barrel.

Thanks for your question.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Sunday, March 7, 2004

Does the Back Seat Heater Plug Into the Lighter Socket?

Question about the Product: ES-TT 3000 Back Seat Heat Plus 1100 btu heater.

Q:"Does this product hook into the lighter socket or will I need to have it wired into the car? Thanks."

Answer: Hard wiring this heater is the only option. The Back Seat Heater Plus is a 12V unit that draws 300 watts. There is no cigarette lighter type plug as this would burn out the lighter socket. There is an on-off switch, a heat control, a heat with fan or fan only modes. The vehicle engine MUST run in order to use the heater and fan. The Back Seat Heater is popular for taxis, vans, trucks and vehicles where the heater is not as efficient as the customer would like it to be. We also sell a 24 volt model with a 600 watt power consumption that generates 2100 BTU's with a 25 amp power draw. The Back Seat Heater Plus 24 V requires a 24V electrical system which is common in large construction equipment.

We do sell a smaller unit that folks like to defrost their side window or warm their feet. The Koolatron Auto Heater, 12 Volt is popular as an instant defroster. Specs are that is draws 160 watts, 13.33 amps, has a 5.5 ft power cord, an automatic safety limit switch, and can be attached either by screws or adhesivea using a mounting plate. People either love it or are disappointed because it doesn't heat up their car like the Back Seat Heater does.

Thanks for your question.



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Friday, July 4, 2003

Choosing a Power Inverter

Q: "Which car power inverter is best for operating a Canon pc 420 copier?"

Answer: To choose the correct power inverter, first learn the amps, the volts and the maximum watts surge that a copier, television set or other appliance will draw when first turned on. Look in the product manual or on the case for this information.

Then use this equation you (and I) probably learned and forgot from high school or college physics:

Watts = Amps Times Volts

Always buy an inverter that supplies a higher wattage or surge than the minimum you need. Remember that only low wattage power inverters plug directly into cigarette lighter type outlets. (Higher wattage units would burn out the outlets.) To operate appliances that draw 150 watts or more of continuous power, the power inverter must connect to a 12V battery using a positive and a negative battery cable. Most power inverters' low battery feature shuts off the inverter when input voltage drops below 10.5 volts.

Most appliances like copiers don't need a pure sine wave power inverter. (Some medical appliances do.) Safe Home Products sells pure sine wave power inverters and modified sine wave power inverters by Wagan as well as modified sine wave power inverters by Xantrex.

Feel free to email if you have more questions or concerns.

Sincerely, Barbara

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