BOISE: Winter is Coming!
The Winter heating season is already underway; for many in the Northwest this year means even higher energy costs. Heating costs can make up 45% of your Winter energy bill. Hefty energy bills don’t have to dampen your holiday season however! Here are some great tips to help you save on staying warm during the cold months.
First, do an energy audit. You can do this yourself by taking a look at your energy bill and thinking of ways that you can cut back on non-heat related costs. This may be as simple as unplugging electronics that aren’t in use, or turning off lights in rooms that you’re not going to be using.
Set the thermostat at 68 when you are home; even lower if you are not going to be home. Don’t let it slip below 58 degrees if you live in a really cold area. By just setting the temperature a little lower for a few hours a day you can save over 10% on your bill in most cases.
Set the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees to cut back on heat lost to the environment. Heating water can account up to 18% of your energy bill so it’s good to insulate your water heater and also any pipes that carry hot water as well.
Seal up air leaks. Use a candle to test windows for drafts. If you find a draft you can seal the edges of windows with caulking or spray foam depending on the size of the leak. Also consider under door sweeps for exterior doors.
Window glass can be a big reason your home loses heat. Clear windows on the South side of your home to let as much natural light and heat in as possible. If you don’t have double paned windows, you can also keep drapes closed or use a window insulation kit to help keep cold air from coming in from the outside.
Don’t hesitate to contact a local handyman or home service provider to ask them for advice on improving your home efficiency, in some cases they will have tips that can help, or you can even hire them to come and fix the issues for you.
Saving pennies can make sense in the long run! Don’t get all heated up over high energy bills this Winter!
Get Your Mind In The Gutter!
They are easy to forget. They’re just kind of “there” on your house, up high, where you don’t really give them much mind, and since we don’t get a lot of rain here in Idaho they are even easier to not think about.
Truth be told however your gutters provide an important function when it comes to keeping your home safe from the elements. Gutters serve two main purposes: to keep water from gathering on your roof and to divert water away from the foundation of your home – and if they are clogged or not in working order you could be looking at some costly repairs later on.
Possible consequences of poorly function gutters include:
When water accumulates around the base of your home it can cause foundation and even structural damage. As water sits around your foundation, especially over the seasons, it can cause cracks to form in the foundation, and if not remedied even cause the concrete to crumble. This could not only cause flooding in basements and crawlspaces but could even cause structural damage to the house, costing thousands.
Clogged gutters can cause water to accumulate and moisture to stay close to the eaves of your home and attic spaces, making prime conditions for mold growth to take hold. Fungi and other growth can weakened not only shingles but even the roof itself, causing leaks and allowing mold to penetrate your roof space to grow inside your home. Mold is difficult to deal with once it takes hold and may require you to hire a professional.
When gutters aren’t clear and working properly water has no place to go and can accumulate on your roof. If neglected long enough water accumulation can cause surface decay as well as damage to shingles and structure. It’s easy to overlook with such long dry seasons here in Idaho, but a clogged gutter can lead to a much more costly repair – even a roof replacement – if left unchecked long enough.
Erosion is one of the biggest, most frequent kinds of damage you will see from a non-functioning gutter. If a gutter is clogged it can overrun, or if the downspouts are not open or connected, water can dump down with a lot of force eroding the ground. This problem can lead to large puddles in the corners of your home, standing water rife for mosquito breeding, and even loss of lawn or other decorative plants. Make sure your gutters drain properly or install water spout catches to disperse water over an area rather than letting it drill into the ground digging a hole.
Gutter guards can help cut down on how often you need to clean your gutters but the best bet is to get them serviced regularly as the seasons change. All Valley Window Cleaning does more than keep your windows sparkling clean – they also offer pressure washing services for your home or business as well as great gutter cleaning and maintenance! Contact Kevin at All Valley Window Cleaning 208-323-6187 today!
Bugs in Boise?
Yep! It’s Summer time in Idaho, people! And while be close to nature is something most locals love as part of living in our great state that appreciation ends when the outdoors find their way IN!
Nobody likes bugs in their home! And with a somewhat wet Spring and early warm temperatures the creepy crawlies are out in full force! So, you can spend a lot of money and try to do it yourself – using all kinds of chemicals that really don’t tell you how hazardous they can be to your family and pets – and STILL maybe have problems with bugs all year…or you can just call Bob.
Bob Mitchell is the owner of Capitol Pest Management in Boise; they have been fighting the bugs for nearly two decade here in Idaho. They can help you rid your home or business of pests quickly; even offer on-going maintenance programs to help keep those nasties from coming back. They understand the equipment and solutions they use so you don’t have to worry about your kids and pets!
No matter what your type of problem may be Capitol Pest Management knows more about bugs than you will ever want to – including how to get rid of them.
Boosting Business Without Facebook!
Chances are if you’ve been in business for more than a couple years you’ve experienced your share of ups and downs.
Good news is congratulations: if you’ve hung in this long you’re ahead of most businesses already. But times are tough, the economy still isn’t what it could be, and even for experienced business owners it can be hard to find the motivation to keep momentum going in the right direction.
Of course, there’s always social media…the global platform that allows you to communication with audiences of millions at the speed of light with the click of a button…maybe you’ve heard of it?
Many business owners deny any usefulness of platforms like Facebook, citing difficulty in use, it being a “time-suck”, as well as a lack of return on investment – so here are some tips to breathe some new life into the old routine without the help of pesky hipster technology…
Build Your List.
You wouldn’t go to the store without a list so why are you trying to run your business without one?! Of course, in this case, we’re talking about an EMAIL list. And if you haven’t been using one so far it’s sort of surprising that you’ve lasted this long.
Fact is businesses thrive on repeat customers, so even if it’s just sending out a holiday message or a quarterly reminder to your past clients, email is a great way to keep your name in the forefront of people’s minds. If you aren’t actively building and using your list you are literally throwing money out the window.
Small businesses are struggling everywhere and most of them are as anxious to connect with others to help share their marketing load as you are. Find great local, like-minded business owners who are willing to work with you. Notice I said LIKE-MINDED, not like-services…you generally won’t gain much from trying to partner up with someone in the same exact industry as you, so look for complimentary companies. If you’re a wedding planner a florist would be an obvious match, or if you’re a roofer a gutter service would be ideal. This kind of team up might be a referral discount, or even just card swapping. Cold calling can be scary, but making money isn’t, so buck up and make some calls or even hit the street and see if you can find some synergy out there.
People will stalk your business long before they ever pick up the phone. One way they gain valuable information is from the testimonials left by your past clients on social media. It would be good then to consider getting as many great reviews online as possible. The easiest way is just to ask the customer to leave you a review when you do a job. You can make it even easier by providing a SASE or pre-paid-postage card with each job so they can mail their review into you directly.
Serve the Community.
There’s no better way to get your name out there than to be active in your local community. It’s really just that simple – you want local results you’ve got to get out there and make them happen! Whether it be just being part of a local fundraiser, car wash, or cookie sale or if you’re on the board for every rotary kiwanis in the state you simply can not beat the kind of one-on-one referrals that will come from being a part of the community you live in and serving the people there.
I hope these tips have helped you get some new ideas for breathing life into your business this year, and hey you didn’t give Zuckerberg a dime! If you have more questions about how to build better visibility for your business – or heavens forbid how to get more out of social media talk to the masterminds at Geeks Worldwide LLC. They are a local, Boise based development and consulting company with a focus on brand awareness.
Cleaning Quick Tips!
Keeping up with the house can be, no pun intended, a real chore.
Between work, family, the yard, and then trying to have some kind of social life it’s not hard to get behind on the tidying up. So here are some good tips to make the job a little easier!
Put on some music.
Having some music to distract your mind and lift your mood never hurts to help make the time go by!
Go in circles.
Seems counter intuitive at first but if you start at the furthest corner of the house and work your way in you can maximize your time. This is especially true for vacuuming.
Go through and empty and garbage first. Carry a bag or bin room to room and do a quick pickup of obvious trash. Having a clear floor to start will make the whole thing easier and garbage bins will be empty for any new trash you need to dispose of in the process.
Clean top down.Back-to-front.
It really just makes sense. Start high, finish low. By doing this you can more easily get any dust or grime down on the floor before doing a final sweep or vacuum.
Clean as you go.
You don’t have to make cleaning just a weekend thing. In fact, if you take care of smaller messes during the week as you notice them you will have less to do all at once; can spend that extra time actually relaxing on the weekend!
Working a little double duty into the routine can make it less of a rut. Fold clothes while you watch tv, unload the dishwasher while a commercial is on. Just find little ways to work cleaning into your time and you will be surprised at how much you actually get done.
Put things in their place.
A place for everything and everything in it’s place, right? When you use something, be sure to put it right back when you’re done. Whether it’s a remote or a screw driver, putting things where they are suppose to be helps keep things de-cluttered and keeps you from having to put them back later when you are already in full clean mode.
It’s a hassle, sure, but until you train the kids to be butlers or hire a live-in-maid you can at least make it as little of a production as possible. We hope these home cleaning tips have been of some help! If there is ever anything we can do to help, don’t hesitate to ask!
Boise! Is Your Home Ready for SPRING?!
Spring in Boise is here at last! With dust in the air one thing that comes to bear ever year is all the odors that have been sleeping during the Winter.
Despite the conditions of the floors being one of the items most directly correlated with cleanliness in a home it can be easy to overlook how smells impact the perception of your home until they hit you in the face.
Here are some tips we’ve put together to help you keep those nasties at bay:
Fresh flowers are a great way to not only improve the visual aspects of a room but they can also bring in fresh spring-like smells. Don’t go blooming crazy of course! There can be too much of a good thing, but this is always great, especially if you have guests coming over – just make sure they don’t have allergies.
Mans Best Friend
It’s easy to think that musty smell is coming from your carpets, curtains or other upholstery, but fact is you may not need to look that far to find the culprit. Not to worry, there’s no need to throw out your favorite pup! Just make sure to give them regular baths and take care of grooming. Have a kitty? Keep that litter box at bay by cleaning it out frequently; using a little baking soda to help absorb smells.
When Life Gives You Lemons
Lemons are a olfactory powerhouse – and they have a lot of uses for cleaning as well! Throw a “used” lemon into your garbage disposal with cold water to fight stink in the sink. A few peels from a lemon can keep that “fishy” smell down in your trashcan after seafood night.
Coffee to the Rescue!
Yes, this magical elixir is a life saver in any number of situations, but it can be used to fight odor and leave your room smelling great too! Just put some fresh ground coffee in a small bowl, leave it in a closed room overnight, and by the next day the smelly odors will be replaced with wonderful java aromas! You can put a little in a coffee filter and tie it shut to place in closets or footlockers as well.
We hope these tips get you off to a roaring start to Spring! And hey, if you’re having trouble tackling your honey-do list just let us know – we count some of the very best Idaho home service providers among our ranks and we’re ready to help!!
Retire In Boise?
Baby Boomers have always had a big impact on American culture no matter what stage in their lives they are at; it’s not likely that will change any time soon – even as they move into retirement age.
That being the case many seniors today are changing the way they retire, and where they retire too. More and more frequently we’re seeing people looking to retire not to the sleepy little one stop light towns as they had in previous generations, but instead there has been an explosion in those looking for more amenities in bigger cities.
This shift in living is expected to continue with city life becoming even more appealing as we approach the next decade, especially considering the number of Americans over age 50 is expected to triple in the next ten years. Before long it won’t be seniors that are adapting to city life, but rather cities adapting to how seniors want to live! Even today there are a number of reasons why a little bigger city might be appealing, for instance:
The Baby Boomer generation is big on keeping boredom at bay, and one way to do that is by keeping your mental facilities strong and growing. Larger metro areas definitely offer more opportunities to take courses just for learning sake, or for those who missed their chance earlier in life to complete their greater education.
In many cases seniors living in more rural areas may lose their ability to drive and become more dependent on family or others to take care of themselves. Even if physical issues aren’t a problem the cost of owning a vehicle and keeping it running well are often daunting if you are on a fixed income. With more access to city provided transportation seniors can regain some of that lost independence and also save travel costs.
Many larger cities will be able to provide a larger selection of health care providers, including specialists, and a greater number of therapy options. Should you have a medical emergency you can also count on a faster response in the city than you might if you were far out in the wilds.
Shopping shopping shopping!
Cities obviously will have a larger number of businesses to choose from no matter what you might be shopping for; let’s be honest, sometimes we aren’t shopping for anything except to see what there is! Whether it’s a chic boutique, or something so simple as your daily groceries, chances are if you are in the city you will be closer to the source for whatever kind of goods you may need.
Establishing a good circle of friends and social resources is crucial to a satisfying retirement life. Staying active, and interacting with others can help prevent depression, loss of health, and generally promotes a greater enjoyment of living. City life not only offers more social activities like theaters, plays, and get togethers but it is also usually much easier to grow your social circle and meet new friends when there is a larger community of individuals to mingle with.
Without a doubt there are more homes to choose from in the city. Whereas most rural communities have not only a limited type and number of living spaces they also generally have fewer rental homes and retirement living centers as well. More metro areas will have not only more places to choose from on the whole but most of those places will offer more features as well like property management, so maintaining your new home won’t be an added hassle.
Have you considered retiring in Boise? It is a wonderful place to live, work, and play! Not so big of a city to be intimidating, and not so small of a town that you have to worry about doing without, the City of Tree’s has an endless number of great resources for today’s active senior.
A-Max Hardwood : Featured Boise Pro!
This month we are showcasing A-max Hardwood Floors as our featured Boise pro!
They provide a number of flooring maintenance, repair, and installation services throughout the Treasure Valley; excel through their attention to detail and quality.
For instance, more than just basic hardwood refinishing they have an innovative method that keeps your home much cleaner during and after the work is done – and even provide an additional separate “dust free” cleaning service. They also use a superior three coat finish and offer greener, more eco-friendly options as well.
We were impressed recently to learn more about their new UV floor curing method that according to them can not only shorten the overall curing time but also make it a much more efficient process. Here is a quote of some of the advantages direct from their Boise Hardwood Floor website:
Ultra Violet floor coatings for hardwood have a few main features that put the other acid cure, waterbased, polys, or oil finishes behind in the race. These qualities are:
- Instantly cured to be walk on and used
- 2-3x lifespan of water based products
- 100% healthy with no toxicity after it is UV cured
- Very low VOC on application (40-50 VOC!)
- Very clear to allow you to see the grain of the wood as intended
We’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the A-max team and encourage you to get in touch with them for all your hardwood needs.
Contact A-Max Hardwood
Allan Jerman, Owner: 208-724-3827
email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Winter Driving Safety in Idaho
Winter has arrived here in our valley a bit earlier than expected! The first big storm of the season has already left a surprising amount of snow on the ground and local ski escapes like Bogus Basin are looking at opening earlier than they have in almost 50 years!
With holiday trips to see friends and family as well as outings to take care of the Christmas shopping being things most of us won’t be able to avoid – not to mention just getting around in the day to day and going to work – driver safety is a very important item to consider.
Here are a few tips to help you be prepared:
Easier said than done at times, but if the weather is bad you may really need to think twice as to whether going out is truly necessary. Sometimes just staying at home is the best, safest, way to avoid trouble.
Keep It Serviced
If your car needs repairs get them done now rather than later. Breaking down in the warm months is no big deal; you can walk to get help or just wait for help to come. In Winter this may not be possible and may even be a danger in and of itself. It’s a good idea to have your vehicle winterized and to make sure the battery and electrical systems are all working properly.
Some good general maintenance tips include:
Making sure your windshield wipers are in good condition and working.
Making sure your windshield wiper fluid is full ( of fluid, NOT water ).
Making sure your gas tank is at minimum half full at all times.
Keep a bag of sand or cat litter in your trunk – this is good not only for if you get stuck but also to add a little extra weight to your vehicle.
Always keep a blanket or two as well as some clean drinking water and snacks in the vehicle in case you do get stranded somewhere for an extended time.
If you absolutely can not avoid going out the best thing to do is go slow. Four wheel drive is great for keeping you on the road while you are moving but does absolutely nothing to help if you are stopping on the ice. Slow down, plan ahead for even short trips to take a lot longer, and leave early if need be.
Living in the Northwest can be challenging over the long Winter, but it’s one of the things we endure to enjoy the rugged beauty of our state. If you take precautions and stay prepared there is no reason why the snowy months can’t be safe and enjoyable.
Idaho: Is Your Home Ready for Winter?
Fall in Idaho and Washington are beautiful things! The firey touch of color in the hills, the cool crisp mornings. But it won’t be long before the really cold weather start’s rolling in; so it’s important to get your home ready for the long chilly months that are on their way!
We’ve put together a quick checklist to help you keep your heating bills down this winter and also make your home warmer and safer for your loved ones. Check out these ideas!
Things for Indoors:
Saving energy is good, but make sure the temperature doesn’t get below 55 in the house, even when you are not home. This will help keep pipes from freezing and also save you the cost of re-warming the house when you get in.
It doesn’t hurt to leave the cupboard under a sink open in extremely cold tempatures – this lets warm air get in to keep water going. Though wasteful of water you can also leaving the faucet just dripping or trickling a little too.
Change the heating/air filters monthly – this can make a big difference in heating costs!
Make sure any attic access is closed and has a good seal.
Things for Outdoors:
Make sure all foundation vents are closed long before the snow flies!
Keep gutters cleaned – if they are clogged with leaves water can freeze and overflow or the extra weight can cause them to weaken.
Take a look at the seals around your windows and doors. Keep warm air in and cold air out can save you a bundle!
And of course: wrap or insulated outside pipes and hose bibs.
Do you have your Fall/Winter checklist all ready to go?
Got more items on that list than you can handle? We can help! Take a look at our Idaho Home Service Providers to find the home professional that’s right for you! From Window Cleaning to Carpet Installation, Heating and Cooling and more – we’ve got the experts you need to get the job done!