Energy Saving Tips For Your Roof

April 20th, 2013

Quality comp roofingHave you ever really given any thought to how your roof can save you energy? It can! With the increase of people becoming eco-friendly, we are all looking for ways and products that will help reduce carbon footprint in our world. Saving money is always everyone’s priority, but saving the environment has become a number two priority in most households today. Energy star appliances and hybrid cars are becoming more and more popular. Today, homeowners are looking at how they can save energy with the roof over their heads. This will help them be more eco-friendly and save a lot of money.

Choosing Your Roofing Material – The material you choose for your roof plays a big part in the cost of heating and cooling your home. If you have an asphalt roof, it tends to absorb and attract heat. The heat is then dispersed inside the home. In a multi-level home, this is not good because everyone knows that heat is going to rise. This means that the upstairs level of your home will always be warmer. If you are someone who does not like sleeping in a hot bedroom, you will have to leave a fan on or the air conditioner running to stay cool. During the hot summer months, your air conditioner and fans will be running hard to keep the house cool. If you live in a place that is normally hot all summer, an asphalt roof is not the best idea. A metal roof will deflect and disperse the heat, which will help reduce the cost of cooling.

Insulating Your Roof – Another great way to reduce costs is to insulate your roof. Roofs are not constructed in the same manner they were years ago. If you have recently purchased a new home and live in the suburbs, it is likely that the roof has the bare minimum insulation so that it just passes inspection. If you want to reduce costs, add more insulation to the roof. In the colder months of the year, the extra insulation will keep the heat inside the home and the cold air outside. You will be able to reduce the need for the furnace and heater running so often.

Adding Solar Panels – Another good way to reduce costs is by adding solar panels on the roof. Throughout the day, the solar panels will collect sunlight and change it over into energy. This will help power the house. Of course, the initial cost for installing solar panels might be high, but they will still save you money be reducing costs over the long run.

Knowing which material to use on your roof and how to insulate it better will keep the temperatures inside the home better regulated. By doing so, you will reduce energy costs.

Peter Wendt is an article writer residing in Austin, Texas. He is always finding ways to cut his costs of living down. Recently, he has moved into a ‘green’ phase. Peter would like to create a very green home for his family and has found great tips from these expert Austin roofing contractors on how to improve his roof and quality of living.

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Preventing March Madness: Why You Should Consider Installing Roof & Gutter Ice Melt Systems

March 22nd, 2013

New roof with gutter ice melt system.

It’s that time of year again when the temperature drops, the sweaters come out, and the world turns into a frosted scene of snowy white. However, for many homeowners, this so-called winter wonderland can turn into a winter nightmare all too quickly. Gutter maintenance is probably not the first thing you think of when winter approaches but it is (or should be) an important part of your winter home preparations. In northern climates where temperatures frequently reach levels below freezing, it is imperative to have a properly maintained gutter system.

Ol St. Nick in the snow.

Santa Clause

As snow accumulates on your roof, besides acting as a landing cushion for ol’ St. Nick and a decorative frosting reminiscent of a gingerbread house, it can melt down your roof and refreeze around your gutters. This phenomenon is referred to as ice damming.

Ice dams may cause beautiful icicles to form along your roof, but they can have dangerous and destructive consequences for your home. Ice dams typically occur due to varying rates of melting. The bottom part of the roof is often cooler than the top, meaning that ice and snow will melt and run down to the gutter area where they will refreeze at the edge. This creates a wall of ice that captures subsequent snow melt from the roof, building up a larger and larger dam. This can cause damage to your roof and to the gutters on your home. As ice builds up under and around the roof, it can cause costly leaks, water damage, and a broken gutter.

Although it is March, and you may be thinking that you are in the clear as the warmer weather approaches, think again. While the days are longer and often warmer, temperatures can drop rapidly at night. This can cause all that snowmelt from the day to pool and freeze at the edge of your roof and in your gutters. You may be in for a nasty surprise when those April showers end up inside your house due to leaks caused by ice buildup.

Staying warm in the snowy winter.

However, there are a few ways to combat Jack Frost this season. Roof de-icing cables and gutter heaters are simple, and effective ways to prevent unwanted ice dams on your roof. De-icing cables are simply heated wires that are installed along the bottom ledge of your roof. Their purpose is to melt the snow before it has a chance to accumulate.

Another option is to install a gutter heater. These cables run along the gutter, preventing ice and snow from building up and blocking the drain, as well as preventing further damming along your roof. When gutters become clogged with snow and ice, the weight can cause the gutter to tear away from the roof, damaging both your roof and gutter system, and costing you a pretty penny. Rather than deal with the hassle (and danger) of periodically de-icing your gutters yourself, installing a gutter heater is a great way to ensure minimal ice buildup.

Gutter heating system

The workings of a gutter heating system

There are various roof heating systems available. Some cables only cover the gutter, others will extend from the gutter to the roof. For those with gutter guards covering their gutters, heated gutter caps can be added to heat snow and ice accumulations, letting the runoff drain into the gutter and away from your house. Depending on your house and snow melt needs you can choose the right system for your family. Whatever route you decide on, the best practice is to install before the weather becomes inclement to avoid potential injury. Trying to install a gutter heater in the middle of an ice storm is dangerous and unwise. But if you invest in heaters before the onset of winter, or when conditions are favorable, you will reap the benefits. You can safely avoid dangerous roof maintenance, guard against costly ice and water damage to your home, and prevent self-inflicted damages to your house from shoveling, de-icing, and salting your roof.

Michael David graduated from Utah Valley University with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies. He now lives in New York City and works as a freelance journalist. Michael loves writing about DIY projects, home improvement, and garden-related topics. From Salt Lake City electricians to Miami gardeners, Michael is happy to help.

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When Should You Purchase New Appliances for Your Kitchen?

February 14th, 2013

Remodeled kitchen with new appliancesHow many times a day do you go into your kitchen? Five, eight, ten times? Let’s say on average, you make a trip to your kitchen eight times a day. It may not seem like a lot but if you think about it, it means you end up looking at the same kitchen with the same old appliances nearly 3,000 times each year. After some time, that can get pretty boring. If you’re tired of looking at the same appliances in your kitchen year after year, replacing them with new ones seems like a good idea.

However, before you make that decision, take some time to think about a few things.

Is Remodeling Your Kitchen Something You Can Afford?

For starters, you need to determine whether you can afford to have a kitchen remodel or not. In this economy, we all need to cut back on unnecessary spending regardless of how much money we have stashed in our bank accounts. Remodeling your kitchen and buying an entirely new set of kitchen appliances is going to cost a lot of money. You have to think long and hard about whether you really need to do it now or if you can postpone it for a couple more years.

A Remodeled Kitchen Doesn’t Have to Mean You Have to Buy New Appliances

You don’t always need to buy new appliances to give your kitchen a whole new look. If your refrigerator, cooker, dishwasher, and microwave oven are still in good working condition but you desperately want to give your kitchen a fresh look, first try repainting the walls or changing the fixtures. Sometimes, these small changes are enough to give your kitchen the facelift that you want, which certainly is more cost-effective than going ahead and buying an entirely new items.

When It’s a Good Time to Buy New Appliances

Now, when your products have been with you for 10 years or even more, it puts a different light on the subject. Kitchen appliances that are at least a decade old are probably running at very low performance levels and using up at least twice more electricity than they did when they were new. In this case, consider buying new ones to replace them. The new appliances might cost a lot but they’re in fact a wise investment because they’re more energy efficient than your old appliances. Think about the potential savings in your electricity bill.

Buy New Kitchen Appliances One at a Time

If you feel you need to get new kitchen appliances but you do not have a big enough budget, what you can do is purchase one unit at a time. You can start with the oldest appliance or the one that needs to be replaced the most. Over the next few months, you can replace all the rest of the appliances until you finally get the new kitchen you want. This way, you’ll be able to remodel your kitchen the way you want without going into debt.

When you’re buying new kitchen appliances, think about how they will look when installed in your kitchen. This is particularly important if you’re not planning to change your kitchen’s current design. The style and color of the new appliances should work nicely with the existing design of your kitchen; they need to look like they’re actually a part of the original design.

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Inexpensive Ways to Redecorate Your Bathroom

December 14th, 2012

Frugal Bathroom Makeovers:

Home redecorating can be very costly, especially if you want to completely change the look of a room. Oftentimes, the expenses can reach up to several thousands of dollars. Unless you’re well-endowed financially, redecorating even just a room in your home can put a strain in your family budget. The good news is that there are several things you can do to give your rooms a makeover without spending all that much. For instance, if you want to do a bathroom makeover and you’re on a very limited budget, here are 5 inexpensive moves you can make:

1. Replace old faucets.

Outdated faucets can make a bathroom look older than it really is. If you can afford it, replace your old faucets with new ones that have a chrome or brass finish. They’ll give the bathroom a trendy but elegant look.

Replace Old Faucets

2. Change the lighting.

Lighting can be a huge factor, especially if you’ve got a small bathroom. If you want to make your space look bigger, you can do so by using brighter lights. You can also use sheer curtains to let in more natural light, or install more mirrors to reflect the available light and make the room appear larger than it really is. On the other hand, if you want your bathroom to look cozier and more welcoming, go with softer lights.You can also add a few candles and curtains to change the glow in the room.

3. Update cabinets.

You can replace your bathroom cabinets with newer ones, but this can still be a hard on your budget. Here’s an even cheaper way: If you have wooden cabinets in your bathroom, update their look by staining them a different shade. You can also replace the knobs and handles to give the cabinets a fresher appearance.

Replace Your Old Cabinets

4. Change the bathroom tiles.

Among the biggest and most eye-catching features of any bathroom are the tiles on the floor and the walls. Install new tiles and you can immediately change the entire look of your bathroom. Bathroom tiles are generally not expensive but if you’re working with a truly limited budget, simply change the tiles in a few key areas instead of retiling the entire room. Another cheap alternative is to change the grout’s color and retain the old tiles.

5. Repaint the walls.

If changing the bathroom tiles is going to cost a lot, repainting the walls is the next best thing you can do. It’s a much cheaper option but just as effective in changing the general appearance of your bathroom.

As you can see, you can actually redecorate your bathroom without spending thousands of dollars. You can save more money by doing the redecorating yourself instead of hiring someone else to do the job. If you’re not that handy or don’t have much experience with home redecorating, you can always ask your friends and relatives to help out.

Repaint Bathroom Walls

Contact a Bathroom Pro Today!

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What to Do When Its Time for a Kitchen Remodel

November 15th, 2012

Kitchen Remodeling Project

It’s time to remodel your kitchen if you notice any portion of your floor cracked or badly stained and if burns and scratches are all over your once gleaming countertop. Kitchen remodeling is the only solution to your erstwhile problem of inefficient layout in the kitchen. It is also the perfect opportunity to update the features of your kitchen and increase the value of the whole house as a result. However, you will have to prepare yourself because kitchen remodeling is a strenuous process albeit an exciting one. With a little patience and creativity, you will soon have the kitchen of your dreams.

Should You Go with a Minor Upgrade or Major Renovation?

The extent of work in kitchen remodeling varies from minor upgrades to major renovation. Sometimes, all that is needed for a new look is a change of hardware on the kitchen cabinets or re-facing them.  Sometimes, replacement is required for the whole cabinet system, worn out flooring or countertops. These entail simpler jobs but they can greatly improve your kitchen. On the other hand, if you want to enjoy a brand new kitchen, then what you need is a full-scale kitchen remodeling.

The whole process of kitchen remodeling starts by noting down everything that you want in a kitchen. Evaluate your present kitchen and see which features you want to retain, change or upgrade. It will help to scan magazines or the Internet for ideas for kitchen remodeling. Try to clip or print the pictures of kitchen designs and equipment that you want included in your new kitchen. It’s a godo idea to make a file of the kitchen designs and items you like.

Determining Your Kitchen Remodeling Budget

The next step is setting the budget. Determine the amount that you are willing and can afford to spend for your kitchen remodeling and match it with the kitchen design and equipment ideas that you collected. There are some pretty good deals you can get on a number of items although you might have to settle with a few others. Yet, with careful planning, you can still achieve a stylish and well-designed space. This is the time to consult a kitchen designer to help you out with your remodeling plans.

Picking the Right Kitchen Remodeling Contractor

Do take the time and do your homework before picking a contractor. It is a good idea to check out local home improvement outlets or re-modelers to see their field of specialization and check their references. Discuss your goals with the professionals you’re thinking of hiring and try to assess how comfortable you feel when dealing with the contractor. One of your main criteria in hiring is how well the contractor listens to your ideas, and tries to incorporate them in the remodeling of your kitchen. Strive for a cordial, happy relationship with the contractor so they will give their best to this project.

Preparing Your Family for the Kitchen Remodeling

And before the actual work begins, make sure the whole family is prepared for the commotion and disorder associated with any kitchen remodeling. Troubles may be kept to a minimum by planning ahead but the inconvenience is still something that you should learn to live with. Be clear with the contractor about the project timetable and keep the family informed so they can adjust their own expectations accordingly. Pretty soon, all chaos of the kitchen remodeling will be a thing of the past as everybody at home gets to enjoy the comfort and beauty of the new kitchen.

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