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Homeowners May Be in Hot Water With New Water Heater Regulations

Lifestyles - Wed, 02/04/2015 - 9:40am
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(NewsUSA) - In less than two months, new water heater efficiency standards will take effect and may end up hitting homeowners with an unexpected (and costly) expense.

To grasp the coming regulations, as imposed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), homeowners need to understand the impetus behind it -- which is that, according to the DOE, by replacing residential water heaters, pool heaters and direct heating equipment, consumers will save up to $10 billion and prevent the release of up to 164 million metric tons of carbon dioxide over 30 years.

"These energy-conserving appliance standards are a critical part of the Administration's overall efforts to save energy in homes and businesses nationwide," said former DOE Secretary Steven Chu. "By raising the energy efficiency requirements of our every-day appliances, we will save money for American families and companies, reduce carbon pollu-tion, and enhance our energy security for decades to come."

While no one is arguing the benefits of going green, the down side is the upfront cost to the consumer.

"Our customers could face price increases of up to 15 percent to 35 percent," said Mary Kennedy Thompson, president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing. "Not only will the cost of water heaters increase an average of $120, but installation and maintenance costs will likely rise as well. As a result of new regulations that require a more complicated installation and increased amount of system parts necessary, homeowners could face a hefty replacement fee in the short run."

The added expense, says Thompson, comes in the form of the larger size of the new water heater units. Electric hot water heaters larger than 55 gallons -- the minimum required for most residential homes -- will require a minimum of 128 cu. ft. with a duct to a larger space in order to comply with the new standards. This means that homeowners will have the added burden of not only replacing a water heater, but potentially also undergoing a major renovation involving construction.

To combat a potentially high-priced situation, homeowners should consider checking the age of their hot water heaters. If they are getting close to the 10-year mark, they can be replaced before the new regulations take effect.

For more information on the right plan for your home, visit

Gray Defeats Maroon In Tuesday's Intrasquad

Bulldog Beat - Tue, 02/03/2015 - 10:53pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. - A two-out RBI single by Seth Heck was the difference Tuesday night as Gray defeated Maroon, 3-2, in Mississippi State baseball's seventh intrasquad scrimmage of the spring.

State Upends Volunteers 71-66 For Road Victory On Rocky Top

Bulldog Beat - Tue, 02/03/2015 - 10:12pm
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Mississippi State shot its way to a road victory in the Southeastern Conference Tuesday night.

MSU 19th In Coaches Poll; Cohen To Speak At Thursday's Luncheon

Bulldog Beat - Tue, 02/03/2015 - 3:38pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – On the same day it came in at No. 19 in the USA Today/WBCA Coaches Poll, Mississippi State women's basketball announced Bulldog baseball coach John Cohen would be the guest speaker for Thursday's Hail State Hoops Luncheon.

#DawgFam15 Live Wednesday, Fans Invited To Signing Day Party

Bulldog Beat - Tue, 02/03/2015 - 10:32am
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Following its highest final national ranking in 74 years, Mississippi State football will welcome one of the nation's top recruiting classes Wednesday on National Signing Day.

Renovations Key to Boomers Looking to Age-in-Place

Lifestyles - Tue, 02/03/2015 - 9:28am
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(NewsUSA) - With the vast majority of the 10,000 or so baby boomers turning 65 every day for the next 15 years wanting to remain in their current residence as long as possible, "aging in place" may hinge on how well outfitted for health, safety and comfort their homes are.

"You need to plan for reduced eyesight, poorer balance, diminished flexibility and less energy for upkeep," designer and home improvement expert Vicki Payne. "Making upgrades now to accommodate changing needs can make the difference between staying in your home or having to move."

On the inside, common age-in-place renovations include no-slip floors, bathrooms with grab bars and curb-less tiled showers, upgraded lighting, wider doors, levers instead of knobs, drawers instead of cabinets and higher electrical outlets.

On the outside, automatic lights and well-trimmed shrubs, no- or low-step entryways, and wide, textured, non-slip sidewalks can improve safety, and durable, low maintenance cladding like vinyl siding can reduce upkeep.

"For boomers' peace of mind and quality of life, vinyl siding is an ideal solution," Payne said. "It withstands sun, heat, cold and strong winds, never needs painting or re-caulking, and it only requires periodic cleaning with a garden hose, soft-bristle brush and a bucket of soapy water. In addition, insulated siding can save energy costs, improve comfort by preventing drafts and reduce noise."

And because vinyl siding does not absorb water, and its rainscreening design does not trap water behind the siding, a vinyl-sided home is less susceptible to water damage and the serious issues it can cause -- not an insignificant consideration, according to a study by home remodeling and design website

The study said one in five homeowners perceive their home as having a negative impact on health, with Baby Boomers and Gen X'rs being the most critical of their homes' environment; nearly half said preventing health problems and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are motivating factors for home renovation. Homeowners who rated their homes as healthy were more likely to have made upgrades in the past 12 months.

"Homeowners are recognizing that their homes can have considerable impact on their well-being -- physical, psychological and economic," Payne said. "Retirees don't want surprises. That's why materials selection is an important part of any renovation, and partly why vinyl siding has been the number-one choice in exterior cladding for the last 20 years."

The NAHB Remodelers of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), in collaboration with Home Innovation Research Labs, NAHB 50+ Housing Council and AARP, developed the Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) program to work with boomers who will soon require home modifications. While most CAPS professionals are remodelers, an increasing number are general contractors, designers, architects and health care professionals. More information can be found at

To learn more about vinyl siding, visit at

Encuentre los regalos perfectos para El Día del Amor y la Amistad

Lifestyles - Tue, 02/03/2015 - 9:17am
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(NewsUSA) - NewsusaInfographic - Según la Federación Nacional de Minoristas, el consumo en Estados Unidos ha ido aumentando de manera constante para el Día del Amor y la Amistad y la entrega de regalos no se detiene en la compra para esa otra persona significativa. La gente está comprando regalos para los amigos, la familia y demás. JCPenney ofrece algunas grandes ideas para la ocasión a través de varias categorías de regalos.

Ver la imagen a tamaño completo aquí.

Softball Holds Media Day with Stuedeman, Others

Bulldog Beat - Mon, 02/02/2015 - 5:56pm
Just 72 hours away from the opening game of the 2015 Mississippi State softball season, head coach Vann Stuedeman and three student-athletes spoke with the media to preview the upcoming season.

Mississippi State Rises To No. 17 In Associated Press Poll

Bulldog Beat - Mon, 02/02/2015 - 5:45pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Wins against Auburn and Vanderbilt combined with a valiant effort on the road against No. 6 Tennessee moved the Mississippi State women's basketball team up one place to 17th in this week's Associated Press Top 25 poll.

Women’s Track & Field Team Ranked No. 19 Nationally

Bulldog Beat - Mon, 02/02/2015 - 4:14pm
Starkville, Miss. – Following a win at the New Balance Invitational in New York City this past weekend, the Mississippi State women's track and field team moved up to No. 19 in the U.S. Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association rankings.

Warning Signs Your Homeowners Insurance Premium Is About to Increase

Lifestyles - Mon, 02/02/2015 - 3:17pm
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - Worried that you'll soon be paying more for your homeowners insurance? That's a lot more reasonable a concern than, say, Gwyneth Paltrow fretting about the burdens of being famous.

In fact, in some states premiums have risen so dramatically -- Texas being Exhibit A, with recent hikes of as much as 14.9 percent -- that they've become a hot political issue. So what triggers a rate increase? Well, if you understand that a lot of it involves actuarial calculations -- insurance companies' need, as it's been described, to "collect enough money and pay only a few claims in order to make a profit after business expenses" -- you'll at least have a shot, in some cases, of avoiding the hit.

Read on for some of the biggest warning signs of an impending rate increase.

* Filing a claim. Consider your suspicions more or less confirmed. According to a recently released report by, putting in for even one claim results in an average hike of 9 percent nationwide and as much as an average of 32 percent in Wyoming.

"Even a denied claim can cause your premium to go up," says senior analyst Laura Adams.

And don't even ask what kind of spike you're looking at should you file a second claim. (Okay, an average of 20 percent, per the report, with Michigan policyholders particularly soaked for as much as 71 percent.)

* Improper roof care. You've undoubtedly heard how your home's "curb appeal" can determine whether prospective buyers flock to (or run from) your residence without even exiting their cars. Well, insurance adjusters can -- and do -- perform "drive-bys" of their own. And their main concern is how well your roof is performing.

If it looks in bad shape, insurers can jack up your rate or cancel your policy entirely. "Insurance carriers would prefer not to cover a home when a roof looks like it's about to fail," says one expert.

If, on the other hand, the same adjuster sees that you've got a snappy new roof, your rate may actually decrease.

Prefer the latter scenario? Jason Joplin, program manager of the Center for the Advancement of Roofing Excellence, says to check out the Timberline collection of shingles from GAF ( -- North America's largest roofing manufacturer -- since those shingles have the advantage of being "rugged, good-looking, and affordable" all at the same time.

* Change in circumstances. Has your once-cozy suburban neighborhood ballooned in size? Not good, but consider yourself toast if the actuaries spot a pattern -- and they will -- of your neighbors having recently filed any of those dreaded claims.

Bulldogs Travel To Tennessee Looking For Two-Straight Wins

Bulldog Beat - Mon, 02/02/2015 - 11:24am
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Coming off a huge home win against LSU on Saturday, Mississippi State travels to Knoxville to take on Tennessee Tuesday night, looking for its first win at Thompson-Boling Arena since 2011.

Former Bulldogs White, Skinner Claim Super Bowl Rings

Bulldog Beat - Sun, 02/01/2015 - 10:52pm
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Former Mississippi State linebackers Chris White and Deontae Skinner became the latest Bulldogs to win the Super Bowl as their New England Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks in thrilling fashion, 28-24, on Sunday night.

Maroon and Gray Play To 3-3 Tie Sunday

Bulldog Beat - Sun, 02/01/2015 - 7:03pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Senior infielder Matthew Britton sliced a game-tying two-RBI single in the bottom of the final frame, resulting in a 3-3 tie between Maroon and Gray.

No. 23 Bulldogs Upended By No. 42 Texas Tech As Rally Falls Short

Bulldog Beat - Sun, 02/01/2015 - 6:07pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Forced indoors due to inclement weather, the 23rd-ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs (5-2) were upset by the No. 42 Texas Tech Red Raiders (8-2) 4-2 in men's tennis action Sunday at McCarthy Gymnasium.

Valiant Effort By No. 18 Bulldogs Falls Short Against No. 6 Lady Vols

Bulldog Beat - Sun, 02/01/2015 - 6:00pm
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – A spirited second-half rally fell short as No. 18 Mississippi State dropped a 79-67 Southeastern Conference women's basketball decision to No. 6 Tennessee Sunday afternoon at Thompson-Boling Arena.
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