Safe power backup for a condo, IPL hair removal devices (Week 25, 2021)

Sound Advice
By Don Lindich

Week 25, 2021

Q. I am looking for a power backup source for my condo in Houston, TX due to power outages from hurricanes. What I would like to find is a natural gas powered portable inverter generator in the 2,500-5,000 watt range, to be used with a manual transfer switch. It would go on my condo patio and I would use some sort of dryer vent and hose to guide the exhaust upward and outward, approximately 12′ above ground and up into the atmosphere. Why are there not more natural gas powered portable generators available? During an emergency there are long lines for gasoline and propane, plus they have to be stored. Hooking the generator up to the natural gas line eliminates these problems.

-S.A., Houston, TX

A. What you are describing is a portable, manual version of a permanently installed, natural gas powered standby generator. I have never heard of such a device as you describe it. Even with your idea to redirect the exhaust fumes I would not use a generator on a condominium patio due to the incredibly high risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Even with your makeshift exhaust system you don’t know where the fumes will be taken by the wind, and they could affect someone in another unit. What’s more, if the dryer vent hose gets disconnected from the generator exhaust you are going to have fumes right by your living space. The exhaust gases may also be too hot for the dryer hose as well.

An internal combustion generator is not an option here. Fortunately there are many battery-powered
backup options that store power from the grid that are a better fit. Check out the Tesla PowerWall, Generac PWRcell and the Generark HomePower One.

IPL Hair Removal Devices: The columns about the TLOVII Sonic Electric Toothbrush were the most popular I have written this year. There is a lot of reader interest in home health and grooming products, and I have located a few more to tell you about in the coming weeks.

The first is an IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) hair remover, a category recommended by one of my PR contacts as these devices are becoming increasingly popular. They can be used at home to remove unwanted hair while inhibiting or eliminating its regrowth, while making skin feel smoother and softer. It takes a few applications to completely remove the hair, and maintenance sessions spaced at few months apart afterwards keep it from growing back.

I did some research and found that many of these products are quite expensive, selling for $300 to $500 or more, and the numerous cheap models had spotty reviews. The AODAYS IPL Hair Removal Device hit the sweet spot with consistently outstanding reviews and a $169 price. If you are looking at the high end with prices to match, check ought units from Philips, Remington and Braun.

According to the manufacturers, IPL hair removal devices are not for everyone. The manufacturers state they should not be used by those with epilepsy due to the light flashes, people with very dark or very light skin tones, or those with red, white, light blond or gray hair. Be sure to check with your physician before purchasing and use and be sure to also review the product listings on Amazon where much more detail about the products, their use and potential contraindications can be found and of course, read the instructions thoroughly.