HAMILTON -- Jim Maunder has heard the claims before from companies coming to town and offering products that can save a homeowner up to 40 percent in the cost of energy.

“Remember that deal for a free lunch,” said Maunder, who is Ravalli Electric Co-op’s member services manager. “There is no such thing.“

Maunder said he learned that a company will be in Hamilton and Missoula offering products that it claims can save people hundreds off their energy bills next week.

Those products include a radiant barrier that’s installed either in the attic of a home or sprayed on top of the roof of a mobile home.

If you happen to live in the hot climes of the South, those work just fine, Maunder said.

“We’re not a cooling climate here,” he said. “We’re a heating climate. You put one of those in our attic, and that moist warm air from your house will condense on the fabric and drip down into your insulation and make it less-effective.”

Another product that companies will try to sell is called the black box.

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Maunder said it is designed to plug into an outlet and then ship back unused energy to the utility company.

Those work fine in a sawmill or some other place with a large commercial motor.

In a normal residential home, there is no savings, Maunder said.

The other product often offered includes a couple of magnets designed to attach to a person’s water lines. It is supposed to save on the cost of heating water.

“There’s no proven information out there that shows it works,” Maunder said.

If people want information on the best way to conserve energy, Maunder suggests they stop by his office to inquire.

“We’ve been saving energy for 30 years with energy-efficiency measures that work,” he said.

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