Winter Driving Safety in Idaho

Posted by Boise Home Helper on November 15, 2014

Winter Driving Safety

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:

Stay Home
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.

Go Slow
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?

Posted by Boise Home Helper on September 12, 2014

street


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!

Featured Boise Home Pro: 2 Thumbs Up Plumbing

Posted by Boise Home Helper on July 7, 2014

Summer in Boise is in full swing and it’s a great time to get on top of those project you’ve been putting off or to tackle something new! The good news is we have a full roster of some of the best home service providers in the Treasure Valley today!

Our Family to YoursThis month we are featuring Joe Corcoran of 2 Thumbs Up Plumbing and Remodeling!

With over 12 years of experience serving here in Idaho 2 Thumbs Up has the skills and experience to get the job done!

Insured and licensed they provide top quality work with competitive pricing, and excellent level of skill.

2ThumbsUpPlumbing
Their services include, but are not limited to:

Drain cleaning, Sewer cleaning, water softeners, water heaters, bathroom repair, sink repair, sink installation, bath tubs, toilets, showers, and everything in between!

No matter what the problem with your plumbing or remodeling project 2 Thumbs Up can help! Contact them today and let them know the BBG sent ya!

What’s Happening in Boise?

Posted by Boise Home Helper on June 1, 2014

we love the city of trees!
New to Boise and not sure what’s what? 
Long time local looking to learn something new about the place you already love?

From long time locals to well traveled new comers, one thing they all agree on is that for whatever reason – geographic or otherwise – Boise really has it’s own vibe, unique from any other place. So it can be a little hard to take in at a quick glance.

Listed in several top ten lists over the last several years as a great place to work, live, play, and raise a family, Boise has also drawn a lot of eyes as the potential next technology hub in the Northwest.

We here at the Boise Builders Group strive to provide a living resource for residents throughout the Treasure Valley old and new alike. More than just services for your every home and business need each and every one of our members shares one other thing in common: they KNOW Boise – because they work and live here just like you!

We invite you to visit our Facebook fan page in order to stay up on the latest local events as well as special deals from us!Here too are a few other great online resources to learn more about what’s going on in Boise!

Idaho Links from Paul Heim

Idaho Home Services List

Idaho Technology and Humor

Nampa Bread and Community

Got a local link we should know about? Have a favorite thing about living in Boise that YOU love?!
We want to hear about it! Contact us or post on our fan page to get in touch!

Get to Know Airpro!

Posted by Boise Home Helper on May 5, 2014

Summer is quickly on it’s way Boise! It’s a good time to get things ready for the hot months ahead; that includes servicing your air conditioner and heating systems! We of course recommend Airpro for all your home heating and air needs in the Treasure Valley, and as part of our belief in working with folks we KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST, we want you to also get to know John Bertram from Airpro as well!

John_BertramI grew up in Boise around my fathers heating and sheet metal shop. When I was in college my father had a heart attack and I came home to work for him and never changed my business.   It’s been almost 40 years now.
I find great satisfaction in solving problems for people and serving people with honest pricing and quality products.

In a heating and ac business you get to work with sheet metal, electrical and control wiring, plumbing, refrigeration, indoor air quality, and duct design and installation. I like the diversity of the tasks and even after years doing it I always learn something every day.
This last week I had a customer in Caldwell call me and I was overbooked.
I was not able to make the trip to help him but was able to give him some things to try to correct his problem.

He phoned me the next day to tell me what I told him to do, fixed his problem, he thanked me. Things like this make it worth the effort for me.

If you are having problems with your air conditioner in Idaho , or just need to put in a service call don’t hesitate to pick up the phone! I love helping my customer get exactly what they need!

Boise Air Conditioning

Call 208-853-6556 or visit http://airproheatingandac.com/

Boise Home Help: Water Stain Removal

Posted by Boise Home Helper on April 7, 2014

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

Posted by Boise Home Helper on March 19, 2014

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!

Posted by Boise Home Helper on January 27, 2014

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

Posted by Boise Home Helper on January 4, 2014

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

Posted by Boise Home Helper on November 4, 2013

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.