It happened again.  I was contentedly reading my NY Post sports section when I was confronted by a familiar, official looking two-page add.  cools_1.jpgA photo of a lab coated, glove-wearing dude (obviously not a Chinese engineer) holding up a penny, over the headline, “Public staying cool for just pennies” – no doubt signifying my savings to come.  Reading further I found that a free giveaway was launching a breakthrough in home cooling technology. Upon further reading, I found that if I ordered a unit within the next 24 hours I’d get a second $298 (plus shipping – they always get you on shipping) Cool Surge, for free.  A rolling air cooler that contains no nasty freon, needs no vents and rolls from room-to-room like you mother-in-law.  Hand me the phone?

Okay, not so fast.  We had a lot of discussion and complaints on AltCon about this company’s other piece of questionable technology, also created by those “genius” engineers off the coast of China (Taiwan?), The Heat Surge Roll & Glow Heater.  Like the Heat Surge, the Cool Surge Portable Cooler professes to be an energy saving breakthrough.  The Cool Surge is proclaimed to use the same amount of power as a 60 watt bulb and 96% less energy than a traditional air conditioner, while cooling the average sized room “all day and night”.  If you read all the marketing blather in the ad you sort of find (these marketing guys are very adept at obfuscation) that the Cool Surge comes with 2 sets of reusable “glacier blocks” which provide 8 hours of cooling power, presumably 4 hours per set of glacier blocks.  Basically the same cooling effect can be achieved by having a fan blow over a block of ice.

One teensy problem with the energy use estimates.  They don’t include the heat and energy used and expelled into you home by your refrigerator constantly refreezing those “glacier blocks” all the time.  They even have the audacity to call this “eco-friendly”.  Any of you electricians or mathemeticians willing to run the numbers on the energy used in this endeavor can please chime in.  The ad even has a vibrantly color-coded map of the USA dividing the country into 3 zones, Sizzling, Scorching and Scalding (I don’t recall seeing these desiganations on the Weather Channel).  All very “global warming”.  It also appears that the Cool Surge has been around for a while.  Buyer beware.

Oh, this just in, Consumer Reports found the unit to provide “negligible cooling.”  Save your money.