Posts Tagged ‘lower electric bills’

Is Composite Decking More Eco-Friendly Than Cumaru?

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Author: gwatson

You definitely have choices when it comes to quality decking. By far, wood decking is the most diverse and offers advantages that are unique to each species. Cumaru wood is one species known to be the most superior decking material available. It is a high quality natural material that is grown as a sustainable wood. Its durability, strength, versatility, and density make it the perfect option for any outdoor project. Cumaru is naturally durable and has a flame spread rating of Class A, the same as concrete or steel. Cumaru wood offers a lifespan well over 40 years without preservatives. If you do treat it, you can expect an average lifespan of over 80 years. Due to its strength and high density, it is also naturally resistant to rot, decay and damage from wood boring insects like termites. Its versatility makes it a great choice for both commercial and residential decking. Cumaru makes the most beautiful longest lasting decks in the world. Its density helps make Cumaru remain smooth and splinter free. It doesn’t absorb water, twist, splinter, or bow like softer woods.

Cumaru wood is also extremely rich in color and appearance. Its color varies from a golden tan to reddish brown with some dark grain accents throughout the wood. It has an irregular, slightly interlocked grain which is coarse and wavy in texture. Unlike most exotics, Cumaru endures very little color change due to sun light. Its color will slightly mute over time into a more consistent color. It is also very low maintenance and easy to work with. Cumaru wood is far greater than most composite decking products.

Composite decking tries to compete with high end decking materials, but is unable to when it comes to quality. It is made of a mixture of recycled materials and glue. The recycled materials typically consist of a 50/50 mixture of wood fibers and waste plastic. This plastic includes high density polyethylene and PVC (polyvinyl chloride). Many people think that because composite decking uses recyclable resources it is eco-friendly. That is not the case because PVC is known as a toxic plastic and is obviously not good for the environment. Due to the manufacturing process of composite decking, it is extremely porous and soaks up water very easily. This causes it to be prone to rot, decay, mildew, mold and fungus. Also, it will expand and contract according to the temperature, causing loosening of screws and plates. Many of the cleaners for composite decking are extremely dangerous and clean only the surface.

Composite decking products claim to be cost competitive, but they are actually significantly more expensive than real wood products. When you factor in installation costs, maintenance fees, and possible replacement costs, it turns out to be much more expensive than a wood deck made of Cumaru.

Most composite decking materials haven’t been thoroughly tested, but it sure has been thoroughly marketed. This causes home owners to think that composite decking is a great choice. However, with some research, you can find complaints and problems about the quality of the product. You can avoid all this and simply build a deck with Cumaru. Cumaru wood is the ideal choice in decking.

Discover why wood decking such as Cumaru and other species of Brazilian Hardwood is superior to composite decking materials. Grayer Watson enjoys building decks, installing floors and working with people to make their homes better.

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Spruce Up The Bathroom Without Going Broke

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Investing in the bathroom in your home can be the best investment you can make. Time and again it has been proven that the bathroom and kitchen are the two rooms with the most significant impact on home values. That is a very good reason why making improvements to the bathroom is very important, especially if you plan to sell anytime soon. There are a number of companies out there that sell bathroom remodeling jobs that do not require that you do any of the work yourself. These deals might be like a good idea, but they can turn out to be pretty expensive when it is time to pay the bill. As an alternative, there are some very sensible and inexpensive ways to fix your bathroom that are fairly affordable. Here are some handy suggestions that you can use to get your bathroom up to par and save some cash while you’re doing it.

1. Add a Shower Door Instead of the old Curtain. Installing a door on the shower is a great way to add functionality without breaking the bank. You can do the job yourself or install or have someone install a door in the shower without replacing the whole shower. This will avoid a lot of expense and problems.

2. Consider Vinyl Tile. Much of the time, bathroom remodels include chipping up ceramic tile and installing new. Most people think that tile is the only choice there is. Although ceramic tile used to be the only way to go, that is no longer so. New vinyl products have come on the market that are so realistic that it is hard to tell the difference. Flex-floor vinyl gives you a surface with a little cushioning to it as well as durability. It costs less than regular tile, and it can be found in a variety of tile, stone and woodgrain patterns. In many installations you can install it over the existing flooring material. Just fill in the grout lines with patching material, and just lay the thick new material over it. This will save money on tearing up the old tile and on the installing the new. Check into the new vinyl materials out there before you spend money on a new tile floor. For small jobs, any flooring specialty shops will offer remnants that can be perfect for bathrooms.

3. Countertop Remnants. In much the same way as flooring has remnants, many types of counters are made in a way such that there are remnants, or leftover pieces. If you want a particular kind of countertop for your vanity, check with a shop that sells granite to see if they have any remnants. Generally you can pick these up for a small fraction of what it would cost for a full piece of granite. You can still have them install it and get it cut to your counter size, and the price you pay for the stone will be much less.

By using some imagination and careful shopping, you can make a meaningful improvement for a small expenditure. Because of how big a factor the bathroom is to everyday functioning of most families, the modest amount of money you spend on this kind of renovation can pay off big in satisfaction.

To learn all about Broomfield CO homes, go to AutomatedHomefinder.com.

Making Everyday Earth Day – Tips On Energy Efficient And Sustainable Living

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Today is Earth Day!!

For the past 40 years people have come together on April 22nd to celebrate eco-friendly education around the world.

Here are some facts about energy efficient and sustainable living, courtesy of Erica Christoffer, Web Producer for REALTOR® Magazine

Energy Use & ENERGY STAR

Upgrading single-pane windows to ENERGY STAR windows can save a home owner between $126 and $465 in energy costs per year.

An ENERGY STAR washing machine can help save 6,700 gallons of water per year.

Remember to turn off power strips and unplug electronics (TVs, computers, printers, and charging devices) because stand-by power can account for as much as 5 to 10 percent of a home’s energy use.

Building with Brick

Homes with brick veneer use 2 to 7 percent less energy than those with fiber cement siding.

Brick has a 100-year lifespan, or longer.

Clay bricks are recyclable. They can be reused in other structures or broken down to make new brick.

Consumer Waste

Every year, nearly 900 million trees are cut down to provide raw materials for American paper and pulp mills.

In the U.S., about 28 billion bottles and jars are thrown away every year.

Each year, Americans throw away 25 billion Styrofoam cups — 500 years from now, they’ll still be sitting in a landfill.

Full Article: Honor Earth Day By Passing On These Quick Facts

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Save Money! Improve Your Home With Artifical Building Materials

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Believe it or not, you can build with plastic and no one will ever know! It’s virtually impossible to tell the difference between artificial materials and materials found in nature.

And artificial is so much cheaper!

Here are some of the best state-of-the-art building material look-alikes:

Fiber Cement Siding

Average price: $13,000 to replace existing siding and trim with fiber cement
Savings: 25% less than wood

Unlike vinyl siding, which comes in large sheets, this consists of individual shingles or clapboards nailed in place one at a time to closely resemble wood. Made from recycled wood fibers mixed with cement, this siding won’t rot.

home improvement fiber cement siding

Manufactured Stone

Average price: $1,700 to create an interior floor-to-ceiling wall above a fireplace
Savings: 50% less than real masonry

Get the look of real stone for a chimney, a fireplace or porch posts with these artificial rocks that are molded from concrete and then individually tinted to slightly different colors for an authentic appearance.

home improvement manufactured stone

Engineered Stone Countertops

Average price: $2,500 to $5,000 for an average kitchen countertop
Savings: Same price as granite, but needs no sealing

Made from chips of quartz pressed together with resins, the best-engineered countertops look like real stone that just happens to have an extremely uniform pattern on its surface (man cannot mimic a highly variegated look yet – maybe in a couple of years).

home improvement stone counters

Cellular PVC Trim

Average price: $120 per window or door, installed
Savings: Costs 20% more than cedar up front but lasts longer and better

Made by injecting air into vinyl chloride (a liquid form of vinyl) and then forming it into solid pieces of trim, the resulting boards get cut, nailed and even shaped into custom profiles by the same tools and techniques used for wood.

home improvement cellular pvc trim

Stamped Concrete Patios

Average price: $4,000 for a 16 x 20 patio
Savings: Half the cost of bluestone

Instead of laying individual bluestones, cobbles or bricks, a contractor can simply pour a slab of concrete and then emboss and tint its surface to make it look like any one of those far more expensive materials.

home improvement stamped concrete

Find out more about Plastic fantastic building materials at Money.Cnn.Com

How To Make Perches For A Hummingbird Feeder

Friday, March 26th, 2010

How to Make Perches for a Hummingbird Feeder

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit

The best hummingbird feeders are easy to disassemble and clean, and have perches for the birds to sit on while drinking nectar. The most commonly available hummingbird feeders have a base and a removable nectar reservoir, but no perches. You can get more enjoyment out of your hummingbird feeder by adding perches. The birds will be much more likely to stay for several minutes, and you’ll have better luck seeing and observing them. Heavy coated wire can be used to make an inexpensive but effective perch for the birds to sit on.

Steps

  1. Prepare the feeder. Remove the base from the reservoir and place the base on your work surface.
  2. Make the anchor wire. Measure around the point where the reservoir attaches to the fee plus 1″ (2.5cm).
  3. Secure the anchor wire. Bend the last 1/2″ of each end of this wire into a little hook. Bend the wire into a circle and hook the ends together. Bend the wire a little more if necessary to make it round. Fit it over the feeder base. It should be a loose fit.
  4. Make the perch wire. Measure the circumference of a circle about 1″ larger than the circumference of the feeder base. Cut a length of the heavy-guage coated wire equal to this length plus 1″.
  5. Secure the perch wire. Bend the last 1/2″ of each end of this wire into a little hook. Bend the wire into a circle and hook the ends together. Bend the wire a little more if necessary to make it round. Lay it around the feeder base.
  6. Make the connector wires. Measure the distance between the two round wires. Cut connector wires equal to this length plus 1″. The number of connector wires you’ll need is equal to the number of feeder holes in the base.
  7. Use the connector wires to connect the anchor wire and perch wire. Bend the last 1/2″ of each end of each connector wire into a little hook. Hook each onto the anchor wire with the hook facing upward spacing them so that the connectors are between the feeder holes. Put the perch wire into the hooks at the other end of each connector wire. You will likely have to “play” with bending the various wires to get everything to fit together.
  8. Clamp it together. Once you’re satisfied with the arrangement, use the pliers to clamp down all the connector wire hooks. The whole thing should look like two wheels connected by spokes. It should be rigid enough that if you pick it up, the various parts don’t rearrange themselves.
  9. Fill the feeder. Fill the feeder with hummingbird food, and hang it where you can see it.
  10. Enjoy visits from your new friends!


Video (see below)

The hummingbirds will use the perches, and stay at the feeder longer, increasing your chances of seeing them.

Tips

  • If your connector wires are too short, you can always bend the perch wire in a little bit where it meets the connectors.
  • If you don’t have a tape measure, you can just start bending the wire “freehand” around the feeder base and cutting the wire when you meet up with the end.
  • If the heavy wire is not very flexible, (i.e. it doesn’t flop or bend much if you shake it gently) you may not need to bend the ends into hooks. You can just “butt” the ends together bending the wire so that the ends are close together. Hummingbirds are very small and only weigh a few ounces so they aren’t going to bend the wire by sitting on it.
  • Use coated wire as some believe that birds do not like to stand on metal.
  • Don’t worry if it’s not perfect or beautiful — the birds won’t care. In fact, they’ll likely show their appreciation for your efforts by hanging around more.
  • Remember to clean and refill the feeder every few days. Perches won’t entice the birds to come if the food is moldy or the feeder is dirty!


Things You’ll Need

  • Hummingbird feeder with wide base and removable reservoir
  • Heavy-guage coated wire
  • Thinner wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Pliers
  • Tape measure (optional, but helpful)


Related wikiHows

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Make Perches for a Hummingbird Feeder. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Ensure Your Remodeling Project Pays Off

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

You might not be selling your home anytime soon, but you could in the future, and what you’re doing now will have a definite have an effect on on that.

Repairs get the biggest returns

You may think it’s the big things like a updated kitchen or a hot tub that will bring in the buyers, but often times it’s the lack of general repairs that need to be done that really catches their eye.

Austin, TX real estate appraiser Jim Amorin says, “If a property is known to have issues, today’s buyers won’t even look at it.”

He goes on to point out that asking sellers to not only pay for the repairs as part of the agreement, but also pay a penalty to compensate the buyer for the inconvenience is now common practice., and that $20,000 roof repair you never did because you wanted to save money, could very well turn into a $30,000 credit to the buyer.

Remodel instead of adding on

The desire for a large and spacious home is dwindling. But that doesn’t mean you can’t add value to your home.

Instead of adding on to your house, remodel the existing areas to better suit the needs and wants of today’s buyers.

Eco-friendly upgrades can save money

Green-living is huge right now. Why not make your house part of the environment-friendly trend?

Think energy-efficient – with such features as EnergyStar appliances and extra wall insulation.

Perhaps the best way to go green is make the changes while you’re there anyway. For example, when it’s time to replace your furnace, upgrade to a super-efficient model – it could very well save you, and your future buyers, $150 or more in annual heating costs.

Get more tips on how remodeling your home can pay off at Money.Cnn.Com.

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Saving Money by Cutting Home Energy Losses

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Prices are going up in many of the areas that affect how you live. Significant changes are found in groceries, the price of energy and almost everything else you can think of. Maybe you can’t cut back on your insurance premiums, but you can do a lot to cut back your homehousehold [sic] energy costs. In most cases, you don’t need to spend a penny to start on the savings. Use these simple suggestions and you’ll find you can start saving money right away.

Tighten leaky faucets. A leaky faucet can waste hundreds of gallons of water each year. Worse yet, if the faucet leaks hot water you are sending a lot of money literally down the drain. The cost of heating water typically accounts for about 10-15% of household energy costs. Those little drips can add up to a big cost and they are easy to avoid.

Don’t leave your flue damper open. When you don’t have a fire going in your fireplace, make sure the damper is closed. This will keep heated air from getting lost out the chimney.

Install a showerhead with a restricted flow design. It will save water and also the energy to heat that water. You can get one for under $20. Installation is usually very easy.

In the summer, set your temperature to 78 degrees. You can save a lot by increasing the temperature to 78 from 72 degrees. Your AC is probably your home’s most energy intensive system, so even small decreases can offer big paybacks.

Lower your temperature control to 68 during the winter. You can save up to 5% on your heating bill by reducing your temperature setting from 72 to 68 degrees.

Do your laundry in cold water. About 90% of the energy used for washing clothes is in heating the water. Eliminate this unnecessary cost by using cold water for the laundry. Restrict your use of warm water to when you’re doing a load of whites. Modern detergents do a pretty good job so it’s not like in the old days.

Use window treatments to regulate your home’s temperature. In the summer, close your south and west facing curtains or blinds. Keeping direct sunlight out of your home will reduce the burden on your air conditioner. It will make your rooms cooler. During the winter, do the opposite. Open your blinds and curtains on sunny days to let the sun’s rays warm your rooms. As the sun goes down, close them again to keep the warmth from escaping.

Only run the dishwasher when it’s full, so you won’t run it so often. The dishwasher accounts for about 2% of your home’s overall energy usage. Don’t ever run partial loads with it. Wait until it is as full as possible before you turn it on.

Run vent fans only when you really have to. Your bathroom’s ventilation fans can replace all the air in your home in as short a time as one hour! Letting the exhaust fans run for extended periods will suck your cool or warm air from your house and replace it with more air from outside. This will boost your cooling and heating costs significantly.

To learn about Longmont CO homes for sale, click here.

Saving Money by Cutting Home Energy Losses
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