Don't forget these inexpensive essentials
Plants that I have found grow well in Colorado
Simple steps to make your home more energy efficient and cost effective
Why LED's are my only choice for lighting
Prepare your home ahead of time
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by Nick Gromicko and Ben Gromicko
The following items are essential tools, but this list is by no means exhaustive. Feel free to ask an InterNACHI inspector during your next inspection about other tools that you might find useful.
A clogged sink or toilet is one of the most inconvenient household problems that you will face. With a plunger on hand, however, you can usually remedy these plumbing issues relatively quickly. It is best to have two plungers -- one for the sink and one for the toilet.
2. Combination Wrench Set
One end of a combination wrench set is open and the other end is a closed loop. Nuts and bolts are manufactured in standard and metric sizes, and because both varieties are widely used, you’ll need both sets of wrenches. For the most control and leverage, always pull the wrench toward you, instead of pushing on it. Also, avoid over-tightening.
3. Slip-Joint Pliers
Use slip-joint pliers to grab hold of a nail, a nut, a bolt, and much more. These types of pliers are versatile because of the jaws, which feature both flat and curved areas for gripping many types of objects. There is also a built-in slip-joint, which allows the user to quickly adjust the jaw size to suit most tasks.
4. Adjustable Wrench
Adjustable wrenches are somewhat awkward to use and can damage a bolt or nut if they are not handled properly. However, adjustable wrenches are ideal for situations where you need two wrenches of the same size. Screw the jaws all the way closed to avoid damaging the bolt or nut.
5. Caulking Gun
Caulking is the process of sealing up cracks and gaps in various structures and certain types of piping. Caulking can provide noise mitigation and thermal insulation, and control water penetration. Caulk should be applied only to areas that are clean and dry.
None of the tools in this list is of any use if you cannot visually inspect the situation. The problem, and solution, are apparent only with a good flashlight. A traditional two-battery flashlight is usually sufficient, as larger flashlights may be too unwieldy.
7. Tape Measure
Measuring house projects requires a tape measure -- not a ruler or a yardstick. Tape measures come in many lengths, although 25 feet is best. Measure everything at least twice to ensure accuracy.
A hacksaw is useful for cutting metal objects, such as pipes, bolts and brackets. Hacksaws look thin and flimsy, but they’ll easily cut through even the hardest of metals. Blades are replaceable, so focus your purchase on a quality hacksaw frame.
9. Torpedo Level
Only a level can be used to determine if something, such as a shelf, appliance or picture, is correctly oriented. The torpedo-style level is unique because it not only shows when an object is perfectly horizontal or vertical, but it also has a gauge that shows when an object is at a 45-degree angle. The bubble in the viewfinder must be exactly in the middle -- not merely close.
10. Safety Glasses / Goggles
For all tasks involving a hammer or a power tool, you should always wear safety glasses or goggles. They should also be worn while you mix chemicals.
11. Claw Hammer
A good hammer is one of the most important tools you can own. Use it to drive and remove nails, to pry wood loose from the house, and in combination with other tools. They come in a variety of sizes, although a 16-ounce hammer is the best all-purpose choice.
12. Screwdriver Set
It is best to have four screwdrivers: a small and large version of both a flathead and a Phillips-head screwdriver. Electrical screwdrivers are sometimes convenient, but they're no substitute. Manual screwdrivers can reach into more places and they are less likely to damage the screw.
13. Wire Cutters
Wire cutters are pliers designed to cut wires and small nails. The side-cutting style (unlike the stronger end-cutting style) is handy, but not strong enough to cut small nails.
14. Respirator / Safety Mask
While paints and other coatings are now manufactured to be less toxic (and lead-free) than in previous decades, most still contain dangerous chemicals, which is why you should wear a mask to avoid accidentally inhaling. A mask should also be worn when working in dusty and dirty environments. Disposable masks usually come in packs of 10 and should be thrown away after use. Full and half-face respirators can be used to prevent the inhalation of very fine particles that ordinary facemasks will not stop.
15. Duct Tape
This tape is extremely strong and adaptable. Originally, it was widely used to make temporary repairs to many types of military equipment. Today, it’s one of the key items specified for home emergency kits because it is water-resistant and extremely sticky.
Light Emitting Diodes (LED) have been available to the consumer for a few years now and can really add to up to big energy savings. We will explore some of the many benefits of LED lighting and I will explain why LED lighting is the only choice for me.
As a licensed electrician in Colorado, I have watched the development of LEDs over the past 20 years. I couldn't wait to get my hands on them but found that they were expensive. Over the years, LEDs have come down in price and have broadened there marketability by adding many different lighting temperatures to their spectrum. There are many different lighting "colors" (temperatures) available today, 4100K for example. There are also many different light output (Lumen) levels and hundreds of bulb styles available.
Several years ago, when incandescent bulbs began replacing CFL (curlyQ) bulbs, many people were not happy with the inability to have instant light when they turned on a switch, LEDs do not have this issue. Most LEDs on the market today are also dimmable, only a few, very expensive CFL (Compact Flourescent Light) bulbs are dimmable. Adding dimming switches to the home lighting scheme allows for the adjustment of light output levels that help the overall feeling and comfort of a room.
LED lighting in comparison to incandescent and CFL lighting, greatly reduces the amount of waste in landfills and the release of harmful chemicals into the environment. LED lights have a life of up to 50 times longer than a standard incandescent bulb, this reduces the amount of glass and metals in landfills. CFL bulbs do last a little longer than incandescent bulbs, however, CFL bulbs have harmful chemicals and gases with in them that can be harmful to people and the environment.
One of the major reasons that I am so in love with LEDs is the fact that LEDs are available in so many different light temperatures (tones). Your home is your refuge and lighting plays a giant role in the way you feel as well as the functionality of the rooms with in the home. I personally prefer to use "Daylight" LEDs in my kitchen and dining room because they put out light in the same spectrum as the sun and allow you to see the food you are preparing in a clear, white light. I prefer the use of "warm white" LEDs in my living room because they give the room the classic, comfortable feel of the old style "yellow" incandescent bulbs. Add some dimming switches and you are in complete control of your lighting scheme. We all like to save money!
Modern LEDs come in many different color varities, base sizes and styles. There is a LED for any application. LEDs can be used as mood lights, utility lights, undercounter lights, you name it. There are too many benefits to ignore.
Now let's talk about the savings and some of the confusing stuff. One 90 watt incandescent flood light bulb uses the same amount of electricity as four and a half 90 watt equivalent LED flood light bulbs. That means that you can light your entire kitchen with six 90 watt equivalent LED bulbs for the same price it costs to light your kitchen with roughly, just one and a half 90 watt incandescent light bulbs.
Yes, LEDs do cost more up front than incandescent bulbs but remember, LEDs last more than 50 times longer, light instantly in comparison to CFL bulbs, light in just about any environmental temperature, create less waste and come in hundreds of different styles, sizes, and colors.
Go Green, Go LED! and you may never change a light bulb again!
Speed up your home sale by preparing your home ahead of time using the following tips. Your home inspection will go smoother, with fewer concerns to delay closing.
If you are like me, you consider your backyard another room of your home. Out of the thousands of choices of plants to choose from, these are a few that I have found do well here on the Colorado front range.
The picture above is a Knock Out Rose bush. These roses require very little maintenance and can be planted in any amount of sunlight.
Quick tip: Roses love potassium, put a banana peel over the top of your root system.
There are many varieties of Lillies and I have found that most all do well in Colorado's sandy soil.
Perennial plants that can tolerate -10 to -20 degrees usually have no problem surviving the winter.
Incorporating fruits and vegetables into your landscaping provides a fun activity for kids and a nutritious, delicious snack.
Like all strawberries, these wild Montana strawberries do quite well in the Colorado shade.
Although Colorado is known for snowy Rocky Mountains and winter sports, the Front Range can be very dry during the summer.
You may want to consider this when making decisions on which plants to choose for your yard.
Potted annuals, vegetables and herbs are great for small areas. They also create a relaxing atmosphere for your summer BBQ get togethers.
But remember to water potted plants at least once a day and place in appropriate sun or shade.
by Nick Gromicko, Ben Gromicko, and Kenton Shepard
Most people don’t know how easy it is to make their homes run on less energy, and here at InterNACHI, we want to change that.
Drastic reductions in heating, cooling and electricity costs can be accomplished through very simple changes, most of which homeowners can do themselves. Of course, for homeowners who want to take advantage of the most up-to-date knowledge and systems in home energy efficiency, InterNACHI energy auditors can perform in-depth testing to find the best energy solutions for your particular home.
Why make your home more energy efficient? Here are a few good reasons:
1. Find better ways to heat and cool your house.
As much as half of the energy used in homes goes toward heating and cooling. The following are a few ways that energy bills can be reduced through adjustments to the heating and cooling systems:
2. Install a tankless water heater.
Demand-type water heaters (tankless or instantaneous) provide hot water only as it is needed. They don't produce the standby energy losses associated with traditional storage water heaters, which will save on energy costs. Tankless water heaters heat water directly without the use of a storage tank. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit. A gas burner or an electric element heats the water. As a result, demand water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water. You don't need to wait for a storage tank to fill up with enough hot water.
3. Replace incandescent lights.
The average household dedicates 11% of its energy budget to lighting. Traditional incandescent lights convert approximately only 10% of the energy they consume into light, while the rest becomes heat. The use of new lighting technologies, such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), can reduce the energy use required by lighting by 50% to 75%. Advances in lighting controls offer further energy savings by reducing the amount of time that lights are on but not being used. Here are some facts about CFLs and LEDs:
4. Seal and insulate your home.
Sealing and insulating your home is one of the most cost-effective ways to make a home more comfortable and energy-efficient, and you can do it yourself. A tightly sealed home can improve comfort and indoor air quality while reducing utility bills. An InterNACHI energy auditor can assess leakage in the building envelope and recommend fixes that will dramatically increase comfort and energy savings.
The following are some common places where leakage may occur:
Because hot air rises, air leaks are most likely to occur in the attic. Homeowners can perform a variety of repairs and maintenance to their attics that save them money on cooling and heating, such as:
5. Install efficient showerheads and toilets.
The following systems can be installed to conserve water usage in homes:
6. Use appliances and electronics responsibly.
Appliances and electronics account for about 20% of household energy bills in a typical U.S. home. The following are tips that will reduce the required energy of electronics and appliances:
7. Install daylighting as an alternative to electrical lighting.
Daylighting is the practice of using natural light to illuminate the home's interior. It can be achieved using the following approaches:
8. Insulate windows and doors.
About one-third of the home's total heat loss usually occurs through windows and doors. The following are ways to reduce energy lost through windows and doors:
9. Cook smart.
An enormous amount of energy is wasted while cooking. The following recommendations and statistics illustrate less wasteful ways of cooking:
10. Change the way you do laundry.
We are located in Brighton, Colorado but we serve all of Colorado, Montana, Idaho, Nebraska, Wyoming and Kansas.
Inspections further than 50 miles from Brighton, Colorado may require a trip charge.
Inspections more than 120 miles may require a stay charge.
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Brighton, Hudson, Ft. Lupton, Thornton, Broomfield, Westminster, Superior, Louisville, Erie, Dacono, Frederick, Firestone, Longmont, Niwot, Boulder, Lyons, Ft. Collins, Loveland, Wellington, Windsor, Greeley, Johnstown, Aurora, Centennial, Englewood, Lakewood, Littleton, Parker, Arvada, Golden, Castle Rock, Larkspur, Berthoud, Campion, Wellington, Eaton, Ault, Kersey, Keenesburg, Wiggins, Ft. Morgan, Estes Park, Nederland, Bennett, Strasburg, Deer Trail, Colorado Springs, Idaho Springs, Central City, Black Hawk, Lucerne, Kelim, Allenspark, Meekerpark, Jamestown, Brush