Homeowners: Go Green to Save Green!
CAN 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!
Dishwasher Blues in Boise?
You 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 Improvement: 3 Things for Spring!
YES! 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.
Boise Builders Group: Good for Us is Good for YOU
The Boise Builders Group is a little bit different than most other business groups in the valley. We aren’t solely focused on leads or hard marketing, we don’t believe in high pressure sales, or pushing a product the customer doesn’t really need. While we’ve adopted the advantages the technological age has provided we have not forgotten what real world experience has taught us.
One of the things that includes is that as a group we invest a lot of time in gaining an understanding of each members business and who they are in character as well – because we know we can’t give a valid referral otherwise.
How does this benefit you, the homeowner?
Our association has a core foundation based on a close knit group of skilled Idaho professionals. As we’ve grown, we have hand chosen each of our new affiliates to provide their specialized services for you based on their exceptional qualities and reputations. They have a proven and sterling track record in their industries; operate from backgrounds of seasoned experience in Idaho – insuring the services you receive will be the very best.
What does this mean to our members?
The BBG offers a constant flow of online and real world support for each of our affiliates by harnessing the power of the internet through today’s most popular social networks, blogs, and news sources.
Members also enjoy monthly brainstorming meetings with a well developed group of partners, as well as benefit from informative guest speakers and business marketing training sessions.
We proudly serve Treasure Valley residents and business with today’s best home services.Please enjoy browsing our website and be sure to visit us on Facebook as well! We love connecting with other area people and organizations; believe our unity is from where we can draw our biggest strength!
See a service we don’t offer? The Boise Builders Group is always looking for new members! We’d love to learn more about your own business or hear YOUR local area suggestions for other great service providers!
New Homeowner Tips: Maintenace
Being a new homeowner is an exciting time in your life
; getting your new home in order is without a doubt one of your biggest focuses after the paperwork and moving is done. Getting the furniture in place and decorating, hanging photos, all these things will no doubt create a whirlwind of energy around you as you settle in.
But it shouldn’t stop there – although it may be less thrilling, it is also up to you to have a plan in mind for your new homes routine maintenance in the coming months.Besides the usual cleaning and taking care of things like carpets and dusting there are a number of things you can do to help maintain your home for years of comfort to come.
Here are some good maintenance tips to keep in mind:
• In late summer or early fall give all your systems( air condiditioning, heating, plumbing) a good inspection.
• Be sure to change air filters at least every three months.(maybe more if you are in the more dusty parts of Idaho!)
• Clean the filters and dust screens on any freezers or refridgerators frequently.
• If you have a gas furnace, keep your pilot light burning during the summer to help keep the furnace dry and prevent corrosion.
• If there is a noise, there could be a problem. Worn washers or loose parts in your faucets can be the source of noisy pipes. It’s good to make sure all washers and parts are tight and in good working order to help reduce vibration that can lead to leaks later on.
• Every four to six years, paint gutters that are not made of aluminum or vinyl to help prevent rust.
• Remove firewood stored near the home. Firewood should be stored at least 18 inches off the ground at least 2 feet from the structure to cut back on pest problems.
• Have a qualified heating and cooling contractor clean and service the outside unit of the air conditioning system. An annual service call will keep the system working at peak performance levels.
• Vacuum the clothes dryer’s exhaust duct at least once a year. If the duct is plastic, replace it. Rigid sheet-metal ducting is best.
These are just a few suggestions. Our experienced home service professionals are more than glad to answer any questions you might have about specific parts of your home. Don’t hesitate to drop us a line here or join us on Facebook to get answers to your home maintenance questions and see what the Boise Builders Group can do for you!
Get Your Home in Boise Ready for Old Man Winter
Now is the time of year to start thinking about preparing your home for winter, because as temperatures begin to dip, your home will require maintenance to keep it in tip-top shape through the winter.
Here are some good things to think about in getting ready for the long cold winter ahead!
1) Furnace Inspection
- Call an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and clean ducts.
- Stock up on furnace filters and change them monthly.
- Consider switching out your thermostat for a programmable thermostat.
- If your home is heated by a hot-water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them slightly and when water appears, close them.
- Remove all flammable material from the area surrounding your furnace.
2) Get the Fireplace Ready
- Cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and birds.
- If the chimney hasn’t been cleaned for a while, call a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote.
- Buy firewood or chop wood. Store it in a dry place away from the exterior of your home.
- Inspect the fireplace damper for proper opening and closing.
- Check the mortar between bricks and tuckpoint, if necessary.
3) Prevent Plumbing Freezes
- Locate your water main in the event you need to shut it off in an emergency.
- Drain all garden hoses.
- Insulate exposed plumbing pipes.
- Drain air conditioner pipes and, if your AC has a water shut-off valve, turn it off.
- If you go on vacation, leave the heat on, set to at least 55 degrees.
- Have any problem areas looked at by a quality Boise Plumber.
These things may seem like common knowledge, but you know what they say about an ounce of prevention…
Still have questions or concerns? Take a look at our directory of Boise home service experts to find the right home professional to fit your specific need! All of our members are trusted and experienced service providers for all household needs big or small!
Home Appliance Service Open House
Don’t Miss This Great Boise Gathering!
Please join us on September 23rd, 11am – 2pm for Home Appliance Service’s Open House!
Boise Chamber of Commerce will be on hand, as well as a representative of Boise City Council! We are located on the NW corner of 5mile and Executive. There will be refreshments, door prizes and lots of fun! Ribbon cutting at 11am.
Home Appliance Service Inc is your number one source for quality appliance repair and servicing in Boise Idaho’s Treasure Valley! We can help you save that old washer or appliance and save cash at the same time!