Ask Liz: Restaurant Tips, HE Washers & Daylight Saving Time

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By Liz Crenshaw and Katie Roberts
|  Friday, Nov 5, 2010  |  Updated 6:16 PM EDT
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Ask Liz: Restaurant Tips, HE Washers & Daylight Saving Time

Ask Liz: 10-31-08

Why can't you use regular laundry detergent in a high efficiency washing machine? The American Cleaning Institute told us:

  • High efficiency washers are designed differently than normal washers to save water and energy.
  • High efficiency detergents also have an entirely different formulation that works together with the high efficiency washer.
  • Using a regular detergent in place of a high efficiency one can create too much suds in your machine and can cause overflow, overheating and residue build-up.
  • Even using a smaller amount of regular detergent can still impact your washer’s performance-- so always stick with the higher efficiency detergent.

Can restaurants legally require diners to pay a gratuity fee? The Maryland Attorney General’s Office says:

  • Restaurants CAN legally require patrons to pay a gratuity if this information is disclosed in advance.
  • For instance, a restaurant’s menu might read "18% gratuity is added automatically onto the bill"
  • As long as the patron knows in advance, restaurants are free to charge an extra amount for service.

Who makes decisions concerning daylight saving time? We checked with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which acts as the official timekeeper for the United States:

  • Daylight Saving Time was formally introduced to the U.S. in 1918.
  • Today, most of the country observes Daylight Saving Time under federal regulation.
  • The rules for Daylight Saving Time changed in 2007 for the first time in more than 20 years as an effort to reduce energy consumption.
  • So now, Daylight Saving Time begins on the second Sunday of March and ends on the first Sunday of November.
  • This year, daylight saving ends on Sunday, Nov. 7 at 2 a.m.
  • At that time, clocks will be set back one hour and it will become 1am local standard time.
  • Also, remember to change the batteries in your smoke detectors when you change your clocks.

Got a question for "Ask Liz"? Send any consumer questions to askliz@nbcwashington.com.

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