Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Energy Rebates and Savings

Denver Water - www.denverwater.org or 303-628-6343By purchasing an eligible high-efficiency washing machine or toilet, customers can receive rebates ranging from $25 to $150. Rebates are also available for outdoor fixtures, such as rotary nozzles, weather-based smart controllers and rain sensors.

Xcel Energy -
www.xcelenergy.com or 800-895-4999
The insulation rebate program will rebate you up to 20% of the total insulation and installation costs for contractor installed attic insulation, wall insulation and air-sealing and weather stripping. Maximum rebate is $300 per customer.
The savers switch program is a free program that helps reduce peak energy usage. By signing up for the program you will receive a $40 credit on your energy bill in October. Sign up at

Energy Savings Tips

  1. Install a programmable thermostat to save money on your cooling and heating costs.
  2. Install motion sensors to control your lights in rooms you use infrequently. Learn how to install these in our Electrical Basics class on April 7th & 9th
  3. Insulation and weather seal helps both in the summer and winter to reduce costs.
  4. Lower the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Chinese Drywall - Toxic?

The issue of potentially toxic drywall manufactured in China seems to be all over the news in the last few days. I am not an expert on drywall or a scientist specializing in product testing and consumer safety. I am however a pragmatist and generally I am skeptical of the media and the tendency to over exaggerate problems for the sake of ratings.

If you haven't heard homeowners in Florida have complained of a 'sulphur' smell coming from their wallboard and copper coils on air conditioners corroding. There are also claims of potential health related issues.

Hopefully to save you time and energy trying to research the validity of the claims. Here is what I have discovered so far.

#1 Neither the EPA (environmental protection agency) nor the CPSC (consumer product safety commission) have any information whatsoever available on their websites. Many of the news reports have indicated that both agencies are investing the issue but obviously no reports or conclusions have been published.

#2 The Florida Department of Health has begun investigating the issue, since the first evidence of a problem occurred there. They have set up a website for the public. http://www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/community/indoor-air/drywall.html
I recommend you read the report on the testing that has been done to date if you have any concerns.

#3 It appears (remember I'm not a scientist) that the problems seem to occur in the presence of high heat and humidity which explains the Florida connection. None of the information to date has come to any conclusions regarding the potential health issues. Obviously much more testing needs to be done before anyone can make conclusions, recommendations or take action.

#4 Of course the lawyers are already involved...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Home Maintenance Inspections - Why???

As many of you may know I am now a Certified Home Inspector with Pillar to Post. I have received extensive training both in the classroom and on site. I am also a member of ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors). This is a goal I have been working towards for almost a year and I'm excited to be able to offer this additional service to my students and the homeowners of the Denver Metro area.

What is a home maintenance inspection?
A home maintenance inspection is a professional evaluation and visual inspection of all accessible systems and components of your home including: structure and foundation, electrical systems, plumbing systems, roofs and attics, basements and crawlspaces, gutters and drainage, walls, floors, ceilings, porches, decks and property. It also includes a visual inspection of your furnace, air conditioner, plumbing fixtures and water heater.

Why should you have a home maintenance inspection?
Traditionally home inspections are done during the buying process. A prospective buyer will have a home inspection completed to highlight any existing or potential problems or issues with the new home. A home maintenance inspection provides the homeowner, whether they've lived in the home for 1 year or 20 , with a thorough and comprehensive visual inspection of the home with specific recommendations regarding the ongoing maintenance, repair or replacement requirements of the home and it's systems.

How long does an inspection last?
An average inspection takes 3 to 4 hours but can vary greatly depending on the size of your house, condo or town-home.

How will the inspection results be reported?
You will receive a comprehensive computer generated report on site at the completion of your inspection. The report will contain a detailed description of the findings, digital photos a summary of the major items to be addressed, and a maintenance checklist presented in a 3 ring binder.

How much does a home maintenance inspection cost?
The cost of the home inspection is directly related to the size and age of your home and is very reasonable. As an example only: a 2000 sq ft home built after 1965 with a basement or a 1600 sq ft bungalow with a basement are $330.00. A 1600 condominium without a basement or crawlspace built after 1965 is only $230.00.

For more information, a quote or just to answer questions give me a call at 303-284-6354 or email me at judy.browne@pillartopost.com .


I look forward to hearing from you!
Judy Browne
"Your advocate in the home inspection business"

Monday, March 16, 2009

Woodworking Classes at Rockler Woodworking

2553 S. Colorado Blvd. Denver, Co. 80222 (303) 782-0588
Updated 2 March 2009 - Subject to change

To hold a position in a class you must sign up and pay the tuition. We must have at least two students for a class to run.

March 7 Saturday 0900 - 12:00
Dovetail Jigs - Set up, Through and Blind Dovetails Al Cummins $70.00

March 8 Sunday 0900 - 4:00pm Pete Holtus $70.00
Woodturning a Natural Edge Bowl (Beginning Bowl class or experience required.)

March 14 - 15 Saturday & Sunday All Day Stuart Batty stu@Stubatty.com
Woodturning Techniques (Single Day) Contact Instructor Directly

March 21- 22 Saturday and Sunday 9:00 am - 4:00 pm Rich Gady $175.00
Marquetry - Making Pictures in Wood

March 28 - 29th Saturday and Sunday, All Day Stuart Batty stu@Stubatty.com
Woodturning Techniques (Single Day) Contact Instructor Directly

April 4 Saturday 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm Al Cummins $70.00
Router Fundamentals hands-on for Beginners! Get started right!

April II - 12th Saturday and Sunday, All Day
Woodtuming Techniques & Woodturning Projects

April II Saturday 1 :00 pm - 5 :00 pm
Custom Mortises for Tri-Leg Pedestal Tables using the Router

April 18 - 19th Saturday 12:30 - 4:30 pm and Sunday 9:00 - I :00 pm Woodworking 101
April 18 - 19th Saturday 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm Introduction to Building Your Own Cabinets
Tracy Gray 303-902-8856 Contact Instructor Directly

May 2 - 3rd Saturday and Sunday, All Day
Woodtuming Techniques & Woodtuming Projects

May 9 - 10th Saturday 12:30 - 4:30 pm and Sunday 9:00 - I :00 pm Woodworking 101
May 9 - lOth Saturday 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm Introduction to Building Your Own Cabinets Tracy Gray 303-902-8856 Contact Instructor Directly

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Keep old office furniture out of landfills

Check out this article in Colorado Biz Magazine http://www.cobizmag.com/articles/how-to-keep-old-office-furniture-out-of-landfills/#

Info from their website www.facilitycycle.com

It’s Time to Solve a Big Problem – Join in Today!

FACILITYcycle is a place where Facility Managers, Non-Profits, Commercial Real Estate Professionals, Recyclers, and other interested parties can come together to solve a big problem – throwing too much ‘stuff’ into landfills! Best of all, registration and usage is FREE!

We hear lots of hype about sustainability and ‘going green’. But how can any of us have an impact on what seems like an almost insurmountable problem? We believe you have to start with what we know...
What we know is that each year, waste from facilities contributes to more than 8.8 million tons of landfill... and that number is growing!

Every day, businesses need to dispose of old office furniture, building materials, and more for a variety of reasons. Most of the time, it’s urgent. Most of the time, there is no good solution - and no time to find one! That's why tons of stuff gets dumped into landfills.

Well, we’ve developed a powerful solution - FACILITYcycle.com! It’s a free, online community resource for business owners, facilities managers, non-profits, commercial real estate professionals, and others who want to help keep their used stuff out of landfills. It’s a place where you can:

Sell or trade used stuff to other businesses

Find and buy used stuff from other businesses

Donate used stuff to charities, startups, and other entities

Recycle used stuff with reliable, qualified local recyclersFACILITYcycle is developing partnerships with charities, non-profits, and key local recyclers who can help you dispose of your used stuff in a way that's kinder to our environment!

Think of it this way... while we can't help you REduce the amount of facilities 'stuff' you use, we can help you REuse (i.e. Buy, Sell, Donate) and REcycle your facilities 'stuff'! FACILITYcycle is that simple - REuse & REcycle - so you can help Keep Our Environment Working!

Free Foreclosure Seminar - Saturday March 14th

If you know someone who might be facing foreclosure please pass along this information.

Saturday, March 14 9:00 AM to 12:00 noon
Foothills Community Church, 8270 W 80th Ave., Arvada

This seminar is being offered by The Colorado Foreclosure Hotline and the City of Arvada
There will be seminars, resource booths and counselors available.
Doors open at 9:00 AM, seminars begin at 9:30 AM.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Now Offering Home Inspections!


---“Single women home buyers need an advocate,” she says

DENVER, Colo.—According to Fannie Mae, an estimated 31 million single women will own homes by 2010, which accounts for about 28 percent of all U.S. households. Judy Browne, founder and lead instructor for Denver’s Workshop for Women, which offers home improvement classes for women, realized in 2008 that many of her students had needed an advocate during the home inspection process.

“It’s a perfect complement to my business,” Browne says. “My focus is on home inspections for single female home buyers and sellers, although I don’t intend to be exclusive in that regard. I feel I can provide a better service to these women who may feel overwhelmed and/or intimidated by the home buying and ownership process.”

When teaching her home maintenance courses at Workshop for Women, Browne always starts by asking her students about their experiences with home inspections. “I’ve heard a lot of stories of inadequate inspections,” she says. “I hear about inspectors who don’t explain everything, inspectors who treat women differently because of their gender. My students talk about how they often feel unable to ask questions because they don’t even know where to start. They don’t feel comfortable following the inspector around or asking too many questions.”
Denver Realtor Sandy Mazarakis says she knows that women will feel comfortable asking questions of Browne. “Judy has an eye for what women need to know about a house,” she says. “In addition to the health and safety issues that women tend to focus on, Judy can explain things in a non-patronizing way. There are few women in the home inspection industry, so Judy’s expertise, personality and thoroughness will appeal to and benefit both female and male homebuyers.”

Browne came to the home improvement/home inspection industry in a round-about way. In 2003, after 20 years as a project manager and manufacturing engineer, she left her job to volunteer full time as an assistant construction supervisor with Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver. After her year ended, she founded Workshop for Women, which offers fun, hands-on classes in basic home improvement skills for women. Browne is a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors and has completed 80 hours of classroom and on-site home inspection instruction through Pillar to Post.

For more information, contact Pillar to Post at 303-456-6789, Judy Browne at 303-284-6354 or judy.browne@pillartopost.com.

Stuff you should know about

Formica Flooring http://www.formicaflooring.com/
They have both wood laminate and tile like flooring that is easy to install by yourself. The cool thing is the wood and tile snap together so no more transition stuff between rooms! You can view this and purchase it through Project Professionals http://www.projectproslp.com/

Club Workshop http://www.clubworkshop.com/
They offer one day or monthly memberships to use their DIY equipment. Everything from automotive, to metal and woodworking, to embroidery. They also have classes. Check out Automotive 101 and Embroidery Basics.

Intro to Woodworking http://www.woodworksstudio.com/
Beginning woodworking class held at Rockler Woodworking on Colorado Blvd, just south of Evans. Tracy Gray is the instructor and the classes are fantastic. email Tracy at tgray00@aol.com

FLOR carpet squares http://www.flor.com/
Flor has great carpet selections for indoor and outdoor! They have a great selection of styles you can EASILY create your own carpet and place them yourself. They are easy to clean and guaranteed.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

STOP it! Interesting new home safety product

I'm always looking for interesting products that can work to make our homes safe and comfortable and that we can install, apply or assemble ourselves.

I just read about a new product that I think you should all know about. It is an anti-slip product that can be applied to a variety of surfaces both inside and outside.

SlipCare® - STOP it was specially developed for coating small areas, one kit will cover about 18 square feet and it costs just under $40. It can be applied to a variety of surfaces such as wood, PVC, granite, marble, glass, steel, stone, plastic, metal, enamel, acrylic and more. In the article I read the author tested it on a concrete patio, bathtub, tile and finished wood floors.

We plan to get some to put on our front porch. I'll report our results in a follow up post.

Check out their website at www.slipcare.biz