Boise Builders Group

Home Services for Idaho

Boise Home Help: Water Stain Removal

All ValleyBy Kevin Kelso of All Valley Window Cleaning
BoiseNampaWindowCleaning.com

There are many ways to ruin your windows. Every year I am called to try to remedy window cleaning problems due to a lack of knowledge by the homeowner.

One common problem I run into are homes in which the homeowner took it upon himself to clean his windows by hosing them down. He has seen window cleaning companies who pressure wash windows, so he figures he can save some money by doing the same.

What he does not know is that window cleaning companies who pressure wash windows use specially treated water that has no hard solids in it. The water is usually treated by running it through de-ionization tanks or by reverse osmosis. Tap water in the Treasure Valley is laden with iron and calcium carbonate and other solids that will dry on your windows, leaving a milky appearance.

Other homeowners are simply plagued by sprinklers leaving hard water residue when the wind blows sprinkler water onto the glass.

However the stain gets there, it is important to get it off as soon as possible. The longer the stain is left on the glass the more time it has to actually react with the glass and cause etching. Once glass is etched, it is difficult and time consuming to restore clarity. Full clarity may not be possible.

brickHomeRemoving hard water stains can be a real chore, and is usually not a pleasant task. Most window cleaners I know say they “hate water stain removal”. However, it does account for a significant amount of work for us, putting groceries on the table.

In the old days, window cleaners commonly used very harsh water stain removal chemicals containing hydrofluoric acid. Twenty years ago many window cleaning companies discontinued the use of hydrofluoric acid because it was revealed to be one of the most dangerous chemicals know to man. I do not recommend hydrofluoric acid to anyone for this reason.

One window cleaner I know told me a story of when he stored a little hydrofluoric acid in a coffee can over the weekend in his van. When he went to work on Monday morning, he discovered the bottom of the coffee can burnt completely through, then where the can was setting, the hole continued through the floor of his van. When he looked into the hole, he saw that the tail pipe was burnt completely through, then there was a white line on the concrete where the acid had run, followed by an 18 inch diameter circle of asphalt that had turned into gravel. My guess is that it is probably still burning a hole through the center of the earth and out the other side today.

There are safer products on the market today. Most of them seem to work ok on water stain that has not been on the glass for a long time. However, the longer the stain has been there, the more difficult it is to remove. I suggest trying a paste such as “A-Maze”. Put it on a white pad or a piece of “0000″ steel wool. Wear nitrile or neoprene gloves. If it does not work, you may have to resort to an electric polisher with a white pad. Put the past on the white pad and try polishing the water stain off. Remember to use safety glasses when polishing.

It is important to determine if the product you are using is compatible with the glass. I received a call one day from a homeowner whose windows had a cloudy appearance he after he used a water stain removal product on all of his brand new windows. The windows had been lightly water stained from sprinklers, and the product was applied without first testing for compatibility. Little did the homeowner know, there was a low-e coating on the outside of the glass that the product reacted with, producing very cloudy looking windows. I was later called to see if there was anything that could be done and was able eventually to restore clarity to the windows, but only by removing all the exterior low-e coating.

Water stain removal is not a fun job to say the least. Many professional window cleaners are prepared with other chemicals and techniques in their arsenal against water stain removal. We may not be able to always remove 100% of the stain, but most of the time we are able to get most of it off, to where what is left is hardly noticeable.

Beds, Bugs & Beyond

boise bedbugsNo, it’s not a creepy new kind of home accessory outlet! It’s a subject we’ve been itchin’ to talk about! BUGS. More specifically: Bed Bugs! Bed bug activity is on the rise in the Treasure Valley.

Before we discuss when it’s time to call a pest professional let’s talk about what bed bugs don’t do:

1 They do not jump or fly (thankfully!)
2 They do not feed every day.
3 They do not transfer disease.

So, when is it time to call for help?
You will very likely notice once the infestation comes to a boil, but consider these things as well. If you’ve recently traveled and have itchy welts you can’t explain from a normal bug bite, like from mosquitoes or biting flies.

Bad as it sounds, if friends or family visit and they have had a history of bed bugs as these critters do like to travel!

And…of course…if you got a “smokin’ hot deal” on some gently used furniture from Craigslist! :)

There is no need to panic however! If you suspect bed bugs may be an issue give Capitol Pest a call – they can help! They use environmentally conscious products and know bugs better than anyone in Idaho! Don’t scratch and suffer – call Capitol Pest if something BUGS you!

Capitol Pest Management
(208)368.9855
www.capitolpest.net

Homeowners: Go Green to Save Green!

boise green livingCAN ADDING TOUCHES OF GREEN HELP YOU SELL YOUR HOUSE FOR MORE AND SAVE MONEY WHILE DOING IT?

You hear the term “Going Green” everywhere as our resources deplete and the cost of living continues to rise.  What exactly does it mean to go green?

Reducing reliance on oil-based energy sources and using the methods that emit the least amount of pollutants back into our environment is the largest way that we can to make a difference in the impact we have on our environment.

Recycling is a huge way to begin seeing green!  Purchasing only all organic, chemical-free products is another way that many people begin.  Planting and rebuilding in a more sustainable mindset keeps us always inventing new ways to use nature surrounding us.

What about going green when it comes to construction of our homes, offices and businesses?  A frequent remark we all hear is “Going green will be too much in start up costs and materials.”

Myth:  There are so many cost-effective ways to green your home and businesses these days that can actually SAVE you money.

There are several misconceptions about the time and amount of money it takes to implement the green products and services.  There are simple beginners steps you can take to introduce going green in your home.

ELECTRICAL OUTLETS AND LIGHTING – Start with your choice of lighting fixtures or bulbs.  Just changing something so simple as the type of light bulb you use can save you money on your electric bill.

Have you changed your lighting to LED?
You can use Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) CFLs use one-fifth to one-third the electric power, and last eight to fifteen times longer, but they contain mercury which is a neurotoxin & is especially dangerous to children & pregnant women.  Disposing of them can be complicated.
Light-Emitting Diode (LED) is an electronic light source giving off less heat with no UV or IR radiation.  This is a instant on lightiing with low energy consumption & compatible with most dimmer controls. LEDs have a higher color rendering, so everything under them looks more vibrant. They deliver optimal light distribution without glare or hotspots.  LEDs are environmentally friendly containing no mercury or lead.  They also last significantly longer (up to 17 years) than traditional incandescent light fixtures. So they are the most cost-effective lighting source you’ll find.

Power strips, surge protectors, battery backup master cut off switches reduce the amount of electricity your electronics and appliances can use and can prevent a surge of power during an electrical storm or outage.  These can save you money and save your home and equipment at the same time.

INSULATION - Insulation is the key to energy efficiency & a warm & safe home.  Keeping the warm air out in the summer & keeping the warm air in come winter, the HVAC system is responsible for roughly 45% of all the energy used in the home.

Insulation is green by its very nature because it saves energy.  There are so many products on the market now for alternatives to the old conventional fiberglass insulation  Products like soybean foam sprayed into walls or shredded denim, hemp or sheeps wool.  These other options can save the homeowner money, but can also save the environment.

WINDOWS - You can get many different types of energy efficient windows now in many styles taking away the need to compromise beauty for bucks.  Double pane windows are usually seen as the best in energy efficience.  Tax credits for energy efficient windows are given for purchasing new windows for an existing home or if you are in the process of building & that can mean the difference between the average windows & the best energy saving windows available.  Windows lose and gain heat by conduction, convection, radiation, and air leakage.  Always inspect the windows before you pick the ones for you.

HEATING AND AIR – also known as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC), are all-in-one temperature-maintaining units.  These systems can come in electric, gas, dual fuel and other variations.  Some are more energy efficient than others.  You can choose a electric forced-air system or an air to air heat pump system (also called a ‘minisplit’ system) but is geothermal, no drilling is involved.  It’s possibly the most energy efficient electricity-based heating and cooling system.  Tax credits are now available for energy efficient homes heating and air systems so take advantage.

The natural gas system is the most common energy efficient system, but isn’t available to everyone.  There are many efficient gas based heating systems like Viessman or boilers like Munchkin just to name a couple.  But what if you don’t want to install a new HVAC system?  Do you have ceiling fans?  Do you ventilate by opening and closing windows and regulate the light by using the shades instead of moving the thermostat?

Energy Recovery Ventilators or Heat Recovery Ventilators (ERV or HRV) help provide homeowners with air that is healthier, removes more odors, reduces moisture and indoor pollutants.  They take already used heat and moisture from the air that’s exiting the house while mixing it with fresh air entering the house.  Dedicated duct work is recommended because because fresh air is delivered to the living room and bedrooms, while stale air is removed from kitchen, laundry room and bathroom.  If you don’t have a dedicated duct system ERV/HRV can still be installed.

ENERGY STAR APPLIANCES - Replacing old appliances with new energy efficient ones is a great way to save money & now there are tax credits available for certain appliances as well.

LOW FLOW PLUMBING – There are many options that are simple to change in your home that can be installed for very little upfront costs.  Things like faucets, shower heads, washing mashines and dishwashers are all in low flow options now and reduce water usage a great deal.

FINISHES AND FURNISHINGS inside the house have a big impact on home sales.  It comes down to health and durability rather than efficiency.

What kind of floors does your home have?  Hardwood floors are generally more appealing than carpet or vinyl and are durable, long lasting and easier to clean.  Wood cabinets as well as stone or granite manufactured countertops represent clean, healthy work surfaces with beautiful long lasting storage.

THE HOUSE EXTERIOR – Durability and maintenance is a big factor in the exterior of your home.  Always check rain gutters and make sure they are clear of debris and that water is running away from the house top to bottom.  Rain barrels installed to catch runoff at gutter downspouts is a great way to collect water & can be used to wash the car or water plants and gardens conserving on water.
You can always add insulation to the outside of your house if you are re-siding.  It does cost a little more in the beginning, but it can add a lot to your efficient home. Take a look at all of our Boise Home Service Providers to find the one’s you need to get the job done!

New Year Could Mean New Market for Old Homes

Many home buyers are surprised when they hit the market looking for a new home and find that many of them aren’t so new themselves. Perplexing to some but if you have the inside scoop this is not so surprising. In a recent survey by RealtyTrac it was shown that around 70% of single family homes newly listed for sale were built before 1990. This percentage may be slightly off here in Idaho’s Treasure Valley as the past year has shown steady population growth and a number of great home builders still building in the valley.

Even so, it is very likely that the homes you may be looking at will not necessarily be built-to-suit or new construction in many cases. Experts are saying this is due to the “real estate hangover” from the market turn down several years back when home building practically came to a halt. Even with the promising comeback new construction is still down an average of 40% below long term norms.

Is this all bad though?

The average pre-1990 home sold for 9% less than a newer one in the same market – so good news for those looking to buy, but no so much for sellers.

But once again it all comes down to location, location, location, as even older homes can see a boost in value depending on their locale. Custom features not seen in newer homes, like sweeping staircases, crown molding, and others can also help to balance out the loss in market trends as well.

If you are in the market for an older home, here are a few guidelines to follow:

Do the walk through with your home inspector.
This is the best opportunity to find any potential problem areas and to get the insight of a professional on their severity.

Budget for repairs and upgrades.
Consider the difference between installing new more energy efficient systems versus the cost of maintaining an older one. Many such upgrades like solar water heating can pay for themselves over time easily.

Know when to call it quits.
Everyone likes a challenge, but knowing when a home is just too far beyond your time,energy, or budget it a must for saving heart ache down the road. Think long term before making a decision in the now.

Not sure where to even start?
Have dreams of moving up or getting into classic home rehab? Working with a qualified REALTOR is always the first best step, whether you are buying or selling. Paul Heim of the New View Real Estate Team has the experience and know-how you’ll need no matter what kind of real estate opportunities present themselves.

Boise Catering by Carpe Diem Catering

We were fortunate to have Barry Carlton from Carpe Diem Catering cater our last monthly meeting of the Boise Builders Group – what a treat! While we normally have a pretty consistent crowd, this last meeting was in high attendance.

One great reason to consider food for your next business or networking event: while everyone knows you can get a sandwich tray at any grocery store, when you put forth the extra effort to bring something special to the table your attendee’s will definitely notice the difference!

The quality of food for our evening was outstanding! Delicious shrimp, bacon with avocado lettuce wraps as appetizers, mussels in compound butter were decadent, the mushroom and thyme pasta was exceptional, a very fancy roasted potato tian, and the sausage stuffed mini-peppers were out of this world! I was amazed at the presentation of all the dishes, served hot and fresh right at our meeting place – the stuffed peppers, while seemingly a simple thing, were my favorite.

Most impressive was the way each dish had it’s own unique, yet complimentary flavors; with all the dishes being strong enough to stand alone as well.I quizzed Barry afterwards to find out the secret:

“There’s no real deep secret” , he told me. “It’s basic, good, fresh, ingredients, combined with care in the right way.”

I simply can not recommend Carpe Diem Catering enough!

With over 20 years experience serving everything from full course meals to making dinner in your kitchen and styles of cuisine ranges from authentic French, Hispanic, American, Gourmet, Casserole, and more! Whether you have a crowd of 2 or 2,000 they can make your next event or gathering a delicious delight to remember!!

Visit Carpe Diem Catering’s Website
LIKE Carpe Diem Catering on Facebook
CALL to Get More Info and schedule your event! (208) 703-0145.

Dishwasher Blues in Boise?

Boise Appliance RepairYou know the old joke about if your refrigerator is running? Yeah, we hear it a lot too! But seriously: having any one of the appliances in your home working at less than it’s best and your whole household can come screeching to a stand still!

Dishwasher broke, have to do them by hand.

Microwave busted, gotta grandma it and cook everything on the stove.

Fridge broken…EE!! Real problems then, and costly loss of food too!

Unfortunately a lot of homeowners put off repairs longer than they should for fear of the price of having things looked into…but fact of the matter is the COST of waiting to take care of a problem is really what can hurt your pocket book.

Keeping things running great before there is an issue is the best way to go;  we’ve put together some quick tips for your dishwasher to help out!

Gritty residue in your glass can be a real turn off; this is especially true if you have company at your house, it’s the holidays, and you hear “Eeew! Whats this muck in my cup?!”. So try these tips to keep things running smooth!

• Use a granular dishwasher soap instead of gel

• Clean sprayer arms with picture hanging wire and a white vinegar bath

• Remove grit and reside from fine and coarse filters

• Check underneath the coarse filter for grime

• Eliminate hard water scale buildup with Lemi Shine

• Take a vinegar soaked cloth or sponge and wipe the door gaskets and under the door gasket.

These things won’t stop your dish washer from breaking, everything wears down given enough time, but it can help keep it running great for a longer time. We hope you’ve found these tips helpful and will contact us for any of your home appliance repair or service needs. You’d be surprised to know that very often it is much cheaper to repair a broken appliance than it is to replace it!!

Boise Home Appliance Repair

Call Boise Home Appliance Repair today!

208-376-0031

Boise Window Cleaning and Social Media Management

As part of our regular monthly Boise Builders Group meetings we’ve been learning more about our own members as well as inviting guest speakers to come and share their talents with our group. This past month our group speaker was Kevin Kelso of All Valley Window Cleaning and Debbie Morris of Strategic Mobili!

Kevin Kelso has been cleaning windows for over 20 years and has a wealth of knowledge about keeping windows looking their best. He shared with us myths and truths about the 3 common ways homeowners clean their windows:

Vinegar and newspaper.
Sprayaway.
Strip washer and squeegee.

Believe it or not vinegar and newspaper can do a decent job in some cases, and is very affordable. Sprayaway is a great in the can method for small jobs, and the good ole washer and squeegee is still the go to way to get off the gunk.

One of the most common questions he gets from people is “what do you use in your water” ? While we don’t want to reveal any industry secrets we will suffice to say that because of the special mix they us All Valley helps keep windows cleaner, longer! Call All Valley today at 208-323-6187 to get your windows shining, or visit their website for a free estimate!

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We were also honored to get to learn more about social media marketing from Debbie Morris. Debbie is the owner of Strategic Mobili – a great local resource for business owners looking to put social media to work for them!

Strategic Mobili specializes in facebook performance marketing for business, and had these interesting stats to share with us:

Of the 1 billion users Facebook has every month 60% login every day and spend an average of 6 hours a day using their accounts.

Over 700,000 of them are in Idaho.

272,000 ages 25 and up in the treasure valley.

Over one million businesses market on Facebook.

Facebook is a social environment, people do not like hard marketing.

A lot of people want to know how to get better exposure for their website or business online. It’s done using effective social media marketing. With billions of websites online you can no longer simply build your site and expect people to flock to it – you’ve got to advertise! That is where Strategic Mobili excels!

Their Services Include:

Building custom professional business pages for Facebook
Social management services.
Paid Social Advertisement Management.
Ghost posting, and more!

Get connected to this powerhouse of social media knowledge! Call Debbie Morris today at (208) 640-1331 or visit her online!

Create A Photo Button – BBG Spotlight

We love supporting local small business here in the Treasure Valley. Part of how we do that is by helping home owners connect with top shelf service providers for all their home needs. But did you know we also have a number of great business-to-business providers as well? It’s true! Several of our members are ready, willing, and able to provide your business or organization with great services also.

Make Your Own Buttons Boise!We’d like to take this post to highlight one of our BBG members who not only is a great resource for companies who need promotional items but who also can help you share a memory, help get the word out about a fundraiser, or even just create a smile! Create A Photo Button is the brainchild of Jerry Musick – a great guy with a passion for humor and wit who has put his talents to good use by providing the best buttons and magnets available in Idaho — maybe even the world!!

He started his vision back in 1981 and has years of experience in creating wonderful graphics perfect for your button brigade! Whether you need one button or a thousand buttons he can get your order filled with quality as priority number one! You like magnets? He’s got magnets! Some of the most solid, strongest magnets we’ve ever seen!! Perfect to give to friends or customers as a way to make it easy to get in touch or keep them smiling!

We encourage you to connect with Jerry to see what he’s all about and check out the great buttons and magnets he has to offer! You can visit his website here to get started, or check him out on facebook as well!

Boise Home Improvement: 3 Things for Spring!

Spring Home MaintenanceYES! Spring at last! The snow bunnies are tucking their sticks away for next season, the grass is turning green and the temperature’s are getting us ready to complain about how hot it will be in July! Idaho in Spring time is truly a place of beauty; everyone in the valley is just itching to get outside – even if it’s just to take care of the yard work!

While chances are good that you already have a growing list of things to check off of your honey-do list there are a top things to take care of first that will help your home take better care of itself all season. These high-priority tasks may not seem glamorous – no gold plated chandeliers in this episode – but they will help you save energy, money, and maintain the value of your home.

Stop the Drafts!
Home experts will recommend insulating your home and sealing windows in preparation for Winter, but fact is making sure your home is properly insulated helps keep it cool in the longer Summer months ahead too! Make sure all your windows have a good seal and that your attic is properly insulated as well. While these sorts of things can be easy to do yourself – just a little insulation, weather stripping or caulking in the right places – you may not even know where to start figuring out where to start. If you’re stuck with any kind of heating or cooling problem in Boise, give Airpro a call!

Update Your Appliances
This one may run a little deeper into the pocket book if you go for full replacement, but switching to newer, more energy efficient appliances can not only save you money but it’s also generally better for the environment too! Hot water heaters, refrigerators, dish washers, clothes washers — these are all good items to take a look at. And with today’s economy it might not be time to upgrade, or even be feasible right now. As a consideration think about having your current appliances services or repaired. Repairing your appliances or making sure they are in their best working order can in many times be just as good as an upgrade at a fraction of the cost! Talk to Home Appliance Service for more information and options about how they can help!

Gut the Gutters!
Water damage is often one of the most expensive repairs for your home. While the snow is melted we will likely still see a good bit of rain this Spring; one of the areas of concern for leaks can be your gutters. A few sticks and leaves in the gutter may not seem like a big worry, but your home’s gutters are the first line of defense when it comes to taking the water from the sky and channeling it away from your home. All Valley Window Cleaning not only provides great window cleaning services in Idaho but also can help you get those gutters taken care of as well!

A last good general tip is to just take a walk around your home, look for any early warning signs of future issues like cracks in the concrete, mold or mildew, standing water, or any other indicators that there could be a problem now or in the near future! A little time spent doing regular inspections throughout the year can help you stay on top of things before they become a problem.

 

2013 Economic Real Estate Outlook for the Treasure Valley

Idaho ranked 20th Best Business Tax Environment in the US for 2012.  While not in the ‘top ten’ that is a significant improvement over previous years.  I predicted that over the next several years, States that are more fiscally responsible and more tax friendly will start to see more development and migration.   I believe Boise will start feeling that benefit this year as we have already seen the commercial growth to encompass that trend.

Available housing inventory is very low currently as new development has been lagging, which may drive prices up short term on existing homes in some markets . An average market will have up to six months of inventory, we are less than three.  Eventually new housing developments will start to come available and will ease the current situation. Over the remaining part of 2013 however we will continue to see a lower level of available inventory.  Within 18 months the problem should adjust as more new developments come out of planning to fruition and some home owners, who previously were just a little under water, will now be able to list and sell.  We are experiencing that currently.

I anticipate rural land values to start a recovery in 2013.  Whether it will it be as sharp as the housing value correction of 2012 remains to be seen, more than likely it will be a slower but hopefully steady pace.

Get To Know New View RE!

Homes for sale Boise

Paul Heim of the New View Real Estate Team is your source for the best homes in Boise and beyond. Exceptional experience with home buyers, we always go the extra mile! Connect with me on Google+ !

 

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