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When did America Jump the Shark?

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The term "jumped the shark," goes back to 1977 when to prove his bravery, the Happy Days sitcom character "Fonzie" literally jumped a shark in a tank of water. It became the catch-all phrase for the moment when validity passes into fraud. Click HERE to read more from Dale on how America has "jumped the shark".

*TRUSTDale Tip of the Day:Fall and Winter Home Maintenance Checklist

Fall is just around the corner, and it's time to prepare your home for cold weather. These steps, most of which you can do yourself, will lower your utility bills and protect your investment

1. Tune up your heating system. For about $80 to $100, a technician will inspect your furnace or heat pump to be sure the system is clean and in good repair, and that it can achieve its manufacturer-rated efficiency. The inspection also measures carbon-monoxide leakage.

If you act soon, you'll minimize the chance of being 200th in line for repairs on the coldest day of the year. Look for a heating and air-conditioning contractor that belongs to the Air Conditioning Contractors of America and employs technicians certified by the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) program. The contractor should follow the protocol for ACCA's "national standard for residential maintenance" (or the QM, short for "quality maintenance").

2. Reverse your ceiling fans. If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, use it to run the fan's blades in a clockwise direction after you turn on your heat. Energy Star says the fan will produce an updraft and push down into the room heated air from the ceiling (remember, hot air rises). This is especially helpful in rooms with high ceilings -- and it might even allow you to turn down your thermostat by a degree or two for greater energy savings.

3. Prevent ice dams. If your home had lots of icicles last winter -- or worse, ice dams, which can cause meltwater to back up and flow into your house -- take steps to prevent potential damage this year. A home-energy auditor or weatherization contractor can identify and fix air leaks and inadequate insulation in your home's attic that can lead to ice dams.

*Source: http://www.kiplinger.com/features/archives/fall-winter-home-maintenance-checklist.html