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Home Maintenance

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What light bulb should I buy?

It can be very confusing these days when you go to the hardware store to buy a light bulb.  It used to be you just chose the wattage bulb you needed and put it in the fixture.  I hope the information below helps you find the best bulb for your application.

Read below to understand how each light bulb produces light and check out the table I created below to compare one bulb to the other.

How is the light produced?

 

 

 

Incandescent
An electric current passes through a tungsten filament, heating it to a temperature that produces light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halogen
It is an advanced form of incandescent light. However, the tungsten filament is encased in a quartz envelop which is filled with a halogen gas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CFL (Compact Fluorescent)
An electric current is driven through a tube containing argon and a small amount of mercury vapor. This generates invisible ultraviolet light that excites a fluorescent coating (called phosphor) on the inside of the tube, which then emits visible light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LED (Light Emitting Diode)
An electrical current passes through a microchip, which illuminates the tiny light sources we call LEDs and the result is visible light.

 

 

 

Light Bulb Comparison Chart

*  Did you know that the original Easy Bake Oven used a 100 Watt incandescent bulb to produce the heat required to bake?

 

Repairs And Upgrades: How Much Will They Cost?

During the process of buying or selling a home, your clients often learn about recommended or required repairs and upgrades.  Of course, the first thing homeowners want to know is, “How much will that cost?”

Pillar to Post is pleased to offer their popular Residential Construction and Remodeling Estimates cost guide, which provides estimated cost ranges for repair and/or replacement of the major systems and components in a home. It also includes general guidelines for the life expectancy of those systems. This information can help you make informed decisions when considering home repairs or improvements. Below is just a sampling of a list of estimated costs for hundreds of repairs/upgrades.

Floors

Hardwood Floor Refinish      $3-$6 / sq. ft

Carpet-clean                             $125 / room

Ceramic Tile                             $6-$11 / sq. ft

Kitchen Renovation                $7,500 +

Kitchen counter – laminate    $45 / lin. ft

Kitchen counter – marble      $80 / lin. ft

Security System

Alarm System                            $2,500

Alarm Monitoring                    $35 / month

Deck

Pressure Treated                    $15-$30 /sq. ft

Custom Designed & Built      $55-$80 / sq. ft.

Windows

Skylight                                   $800 and up

Casement – replace                $50 / sq. ft.

These estimates reflect the average basic costs for supplies and installation of building materials in United States and Canada. Costs may vary depending on regions, upgrades, complexity, and disposal fees.

For complimentary copies of our Construction and Remodeling Estimates cost guide, please contact your local Pillar To Post office, or download  from:  http://www.pillartopost.com/costguide

Or download the pdf here   Repair & Upgrade Cost Guide

Tips for preventing a rat problem in and near your home.

Thanks to the city of Littleton, CO for providing this information.

Increase in Rat Activity

Post Date:02/10/2017 1:00 pm

Over the past several months, the City of Littleton has received calls from citizens who have noticed rats around the community.  Littleton Code Enforcement typically manages inquiries regarding rats.  If a property has a persistent rat issue, pest control companies can assist.  Rat issues are somewhat cyclical, based on the predator population.  Disease has decreased the number of coyotes in the southwest metro region in the past several years and rats have been reported on the increase in communities throughout the metro Denver area.  “Mange hit the fox and coyote populations pretty heavily and since they feed on mice, rats, and rabbits, it makes sense that their populations are on the rise,” said Littleton Humane Officer Terry Carr. 

The city’s building permitting process requires that all construction sites are kept free of trash and ensures routine scheduled pick up if there are dumpsters on-site.  Property owners and managers can also minimize rats from becoming a nuisance on their properties with a few simple tips:

  • Keep all garbage cans covered and do not accumulate trash
  • Weather-strip garage doors so they close tightly
  • Provide tight fitting covers for crawl spaces and compost bins
  • Keep garden sheds closed and check garage shelves and storage lofts regularly for evidence of rats
  • Seal all openings around pipes, cables and wires that enter walls and foundations
  • Repair damaged ventilation screens
  • Stack firewood off the ground and away from buildings and fences
  • Thin or remove dense vegetation such as ivy and harvest fruits/nuts regularly
  • Only feed birds, chickens and pets in a cleanable area and pick up pet droppings

    Tips for preventing a rat problem

June 2016 – Home Maintenance Tip

Cut back tree branches that are touching your roof. 

Tree limb

Tree branches damaging roof

Tree Limb

Tree branches damaging roof

Evidence of roof damage

Asphalt granules in gutter

Gutter with granules

Evidence of roof damage

 

 

 

 

 

 

It may not seem like a big deal but tree branches, not matter how small , that  touch your roof can cause significant damage.  When the wind blows the leaves and branches can scrape off the asphalt granules that act as the protective surface of your shingles. Once the granules are gone the underlying materials are exposed to sun, rain, hail, ice and  snow. A shingle that is designed to last 30 or even 50 years will no longer do it’s job.  You may find your insurance won’t cover the repair or replacement should your roof start to leak.  Take care of this relatively simple task today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ice damming and why you should care

Ice Damming

Colorado often has weather conditions causing a freeze/thaw cycle which can cause damage to our homes and it’s components.  The freeze/thaw cycle occurs when the temperature falls below freezing and returns to above freezing at frequent intervals over a period of time. One of the most damaging effects on our homes caused by the freeze/thaw cycle is called “ice damming”.

What is Ice Damming?

Ice damming is caused when the heat from a house begins Ice Damming compto melt the snow on our roof from underneath. This melted snow or water runs towards the edge of the roof.  When the roof has an overhang where the heat does not melt the snow it creates a snow or ice dam at the edge of the roof.  This dam traps the water and prevents it from flowing freely into the gutters and forces it to back up under the shingles or other roof layers. The freeze/thaw cycle will cause this to continue until a leak or damage to underlying roofing materials occurs.

What can cause the conditions that result in ice damming?

Ice damming can occur for a number of reasons.  The most common causes are 1) north facing sides of roof with large overhangs, 2) Improperly ventilated attic spaces, 3) Un-ventilated soffits

Ice Damming pic2

Evidence of Ice Damming

How can I tell if I have an ice dam? 

One of the main indicators that an ice dam may be forming is the presence of icicles.  Although you might find icicles hanging from a roof to be pretty they are most often an indication of a problem.

How do I prevent ice damming?

  • Install heating cable along the edges of the roof where ice damming is occurring.  Installing heat cable is something you can do yourself but you will need 2 very important things.  A reliable, GFCI protected power source and the ability to work on your roof safely.
Heat Cable Installed

Heat Cable Installed

  • Improve attic ventilation and insulation to reduce differences in temperature. Attic ventilation modification should only be done by a qualified contractor and roofer.
Improve ventilation

Improve ventilation

 

 

Maintaining your water heater

Modern water heaters are difficult to repair and don’t require a lot of maintenance.  This disadvantage with water heaters today is that they life span of a typical water heater is between 10 and 12 years.

To increase the life of your water heater here are some recommendations:

  • Lower the temperature setting on the thermostat to 120° F.  This provides sufficient hot water for
    most families, reduces the chance of scalding, and decreases wear on your water heater’s tank.
  • Corrosion happens faster in hotter water. Your water heater is built with a sacrificial anode that helps protect the steel tank by providing a replaceable component that sacrifices itself to the naturally occurring corrosive compounds in the water. This anode should be replaced periodically.
  • Sediment is small particles of debris that settle out on the bottom of your water heater. A drain valve at the bottom of every water heater provides a way to drain sediment from the tank. If your water heater rumbles or makes other noises, you probably have a build-up of sediment in the tank and should consider draining a portion of the water to remove the sediment.
Steps to drain a water heater

  1. Turn off the water supply shut-off valve.  This valve is located on the cold water supply to the water heater.
  2. Turn the temperature dial to ‘vacation’ mode.  This will prevent the burner from actuating while the water heater is draining.
  3. Attach a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater and direct the hose to a safe location.  If you have a floor drain nearby you can drain it there.
  4. Open up the drain valve and beginning draining the water.  If you don’t see any sediment in the water you can stop at any time.  If there is sediment in the water continue to drain until the water is clear.
  5. Close the valve and disconnect the hose.
  6. Turn the water supply back on
  7. Turn the temperature dial back to your original setting.

Keeping out the bugs – repairing your screens

I saw a news report recently about West Nile disease found in mosquitoes in Fort Collins, Colorado.  The report gave some important things everyone can do to reduce the chances of being bitten by a mosquito and contracting this awful disease.

The suggestions were:

  1. Remove all standing water sources from your property
  2. When working or playing outdoors at dawn or dusk use repellent and dress in long sleeves and pants.
  3. Repair all of the screens in your home. 

#3 is one of the recommendations I can help you with. Luckily, repairing screens is so simple it’s crazy not to do it today.

Repairing a plastic or fiberglass screen
Most screens today are made from plastic or fiberglass and small holes can easily be patched.



You can purchase a simple patch with self-sticking adhesive on one side from your local hardware story. The patch comes in a 3″ x 3″ square and can be cut to size. Apply the patch directly over any small hole or cut in the screen and you’re done!

For really small holes you can simply use a small amount of household cement, the patch will be next to invisible.

Repairing metal screens

Although metal screens are much less common they are still around on many homes.  But repairing them can be just as easy.

You can purchase a ready made metal screen repair patch or you can cut a patch from an old screen.  If you’re cutting a piece of screen yourself it should be at least 1/2″ – 1″ larger on all sides than the hole you’re repairing.

Unravel several strands from the patch and if necessary bend the strands along the edges.

Slip the bent strands of the patch through the screen and fold them over on the opposite side to hold the patch in place.

A small amount of household cement on the ends of the strands may help keep them in place over time.




If you’re screen is damaged beyond repair you can easily replace the screen by following some simple steps.  Here’s a link to my blog post that will walk you through the steps.

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