Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cleaning & Money Saving Tips for Summer


Here are some simple things you can do yourself to get ready for summer entertaining and also save a little money along the way.

1. Install a programmable thermostat
According to Energy Star the average household can save $180 each year in energy costs by installing a programmable thermostat and setting it to 70 degrees for 6 hours a day and 62 degrees for the remainder. Programmable thermostat prices range from $25 -$100 dollars http://www.energystar.gov/

2. Install motion sensor switches.
Do you keep your porch light on for safety reasons? What if the kids leave the basement light on for days at a time? In Denver a light bulb costs about 7 cents a day to stay lit, it may not seem like much but it can add up quickly. Buy a simple conversion switch that will fit in any light socket for as little as $10

3. Turn down the temperature on your water heater
According to the US Department of Energy you can save from 3 – 5% on your energy bill by simply turning the temperature on your water heater down to 120 degrees and it costs you NOTHING! http://www.energysavers.gov/

4. Clean your outdoor furniture
Whether you’re getting your outdoor furniture out of storage or you’ve left it out all winter it probably needs a good cleaning. I recommend you use a product specifically designed for outdoor furniture. I like the CLR brand of outdoor furniture cleaner (http://www.jelmar.com/CLRoutdoor.htm). It can be used on everything from wood, to vinyl, to rattan and wrought iron. It can also be used to clean your cushions and covers. It also has UV protectants which will protect your furniture from the fading and discoloration caused by the sun.

5. Organize your garage
If you’re spending more time looking for things in your garage than you are using them it’s probably time to get organize. Before you dive in go through all your items and sort them by category. Some suggestions are: Auto Care, Painting, Lawn & Garden, Sporting Equipment & Tools (plumbing, electrical, etc.). Once you have everything in a category put small items in a clear storage tote and label. When storing your items be sure you store all the items in a category together. Be sure items you need to access frequently are easy to get to. You’ll be ready to go for your next project. Take all the items you no longer need and donate them to your local Habitat for Humanity Home Improvement Outlet. http://www.habitatoutlet.org/

6. Fix those leaky faucets.
A faucet that is leaking just 5 drops every 30 seconds wastes 300 gallons of water a year. Currently a gallon of water in Denver costs $1.91 that’s $573 a year or $47.75 a month! A complete faucet repair kit at Ace Hardware is under $15.00.

7. Replace the caulk around your tubs and showers
The caulk around your tub and shower prevents water from leaking and damaging the walls and floors. Often you won’t become aware of a problem until the damage is extensive. A decent caulk gun and tube of caulk will cost you less the $20 but a call to a plumber to figure out the problem and a handywoman to repair the damage can easily add up to $200 or more.
Learn to do all this yourself!

Learn to repair your faucet in our upcoming Plumbing 101 class, offered Tuesday June 16th from 9 am – Noon and again on Wednesday June 17th from 6 pm – 9 pm. Learn how to install a motion detector switch in our Electrical Basics class, offered 2 Tuesdays June 9th & 23rd from 9 am – Noon and again on 2 Wednesdays, June 10th & 24th from 6 pm – 9 pm.

Workshop for Women, LLC, Workshop for Women offers fun hands-on classes in basic home improvement skills especially designed for women. If you’d like register for a class or more about our other classes give Judy a call at, 303-284-6354 or visit our website http://www.workshopforwomen.com/.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Ladder Safety - READ THIS!

Did you know that at least 300 people each year die in simple falls from ladders and that ladders account for about 100,000 injuries each year? It has been documented that ladder safety is one of the biggest safety issues in our homes.

As springtime arrives, it’s time again to take care of many home maintenance tasks that involve getting to places that require a ladder: cleaning gutters, maintaining cooling systems, trimming trees or cleaning windows. Ladders are often one of the most mis-used tools in our homes and it is important to understand the proper use of ladders to ensure your personal safety.

Set up

· Select the right ladder for the job - when using a ladder; make sure it is long enough to work from to avoid any hazardous leaning or stretching.

· Inspect the ladder or step stool prior to use - be aware of any loose hardware that may cause the ladder or step stool to collapse or not work properly.

· Check that the ladder or step stool is fully open prior to use. NEVER use a step ladder in the folded up position.

· Be sure that all ladders and step stools are placed firmly on level, dry ground or flooring.



· 4 to 1 Rule for Extension Ladders – When setting up an extension ladder be sure the angle of the ladder is neither too steep nor too shallow. For every 4 feet that the ladder is extended you should be 1 foot away from the wall.

Use

· Do not exceed the working load for ladders or step stools. Most ladders are designed to support only one person plus materials and tools.

· Always face the ladder or step stool when climbing up or down. Keep body centered between side rails and always face the ladder when you are ascending or descending.

· Never stand on the top step

· When working from a ladder never lean to reach your work. Use your bellybutton as a gauge. When reaching to work, your bellybutton should never be outside the side rails of the ladder.

Learn these and other tips at Workshop for Women’s Basic Home Maintenance class, “The Morning After….Closing”. Our next session is Saturday June 6th at 9:30 am. Register Today! Click Here

Judy Browne is the creator and founder of Workshop for Women, LLC. Workshop for Women offers fun hands-on classes in basic home improvement skills especially designed for women. Classes include: Home Maintenance, Power Tools, Carpentry, Pluming, Electrical, Drywall Repair and more. Visit http://www.workshopforwomen.com/ for more information or give Judy a call at 303-284-6354.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Beware Roofing Scam

There have been several reports very recently about a company, Claim Specialists International, scamming Colorado homeowners. Check out this article in the Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/ci_12350546.

In short this company contacts homeowners and asks them to sign a 'standard' waiver to allow them to inspect their roof. The waiver actually gives them the authority to act on your behalf regarding insurance claims. If your claim is approved they will take your insurance check and not perform the work.

Here are some tips:
1. Never respond to any unsolicited offers to inspect your roof or any other part of your home.
2. Do NOT sign any type of waiver, agreement or contract with any company unless you've read and understood the entire agreement.
3. Contact the Better Business Bureau before agreeing to hire any contractor.
4. Google is your friend, search the internet to find out what other's are saying.

If you'd like more information about your roof and other home maintenance tasks register for my upcoming class, The Morning After Closing - Basic Home Maintenance. Saturday June 6 th at 9 am.
To register call 303-284-6354 or go to www.workshopforwomen.com

Friday, May 1, 2009

How Long Will it Last? Typical lifespans

The following list will give you the typical life expectancy of the major systems and appliances in your home.

Roofing
Standard Asphalt Shingles - 12 to 15 years
Premium Asphalt Shingles - 15 to 30 years
Wood Shingles - 10 to 20 years
Concrete Tile - 20 to 40 years
Slate Tile - 40 to 80 years
Roll Roofing - 5 to 15 years
Metal - 60 years

Heating
Forced air furnace - 10 to 25 years
Water boiler (welded steel) - 15 to 30 years
Water boiler (cast iron) - 30 to 50 years

Cooling
Central Air - 10 to 15 years
Window air conditioning - 10 to 20 years

Plumbing
Galvanized water pipe - 20 to 25 years
Water Heater - 5 to 15 years
Sewer pump - 5 to 10 years
Well pump - 10 years

Appliances
Dishwasher - 5 to 12 years
Garbage disposal - 5 to 12 years
Oven - 15 to 20 years
Washer - 5 to 15 years
Dryer - 10 to 25 years