AMES, Iowa--Consumers get answers to home and family questions that they “need to know now,” when they contact Iowa State University Extension’s Answer Line by phone at (800) 262-3804 or online at www.extension.iastate.edu/answerline/.
“I had calls about odor in refrigerators start to come in this week; that’s a timely topic with power outages across Iowa,” said Evelyn Beavers, Answer Line coordinator. “Food safety questions are a big concern when food is subject to unsafe temperatures.”
Beavers said calls do pick up during emergencies, but food-related calls stay strong all year and account for 63 percent of inquiries. The service received 21,957 calls and 219,979 visits to its Web site in 2006.
Although food questions are the most frequent, Beavers said that indoor air quality ranks as one of the most important topics consumers ask about.
“Usual air quality questions concern mold, mildew and radon gas,” she said. “I tell callers that inside the home, no mold is a good mold.”
We also receive questions about carbon monoxide detectors. They are especially important to have in a home if you’re using emergency space heaters.
Answer Line is part of a national Healthy Homes initiative for Extension. Professional consumer and family scientists answer questions in child development, cleaning, consumer management, food preparation, food preservation, food safety, home environment, household equipment, nutrition, and clothing and laundry.
“When you want to talk to a person, call Answer Line,” Beavers said. “Otherwise, search our Web site or send an e-mail. You’ll get research-based answers supported by ISU Extension specialists and university researchers. Consumers can be assured that they’re getting accurate information.”
Answer Line has answered questions for 32 years through the toll-free phone service. The Web site’s frequently asked questions allow Iowans to access information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Consumers can search by keyword, browse the keyword index or select a topic area to find answers to their questions.
The toll-free service also is available in Minnesota at (800) 854-1678. Calls are answered Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. A Relay Iowa line (phone linkage for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals) is available at (800) 735-2942. Questions also can be sent by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.