Friday, February 18, 2011

Home & Garden Show - Information that might interest you.

eI attended the Denver Home & Garden Show last Saturday.  Unfortunately I was unable to find the time to return during the week so I missed many of the exhibitors that were there, but a few I saw were interesting or helpful and I wanted to share those with you.

My favorite by far was The Green Collar Crew, they are an energy audit company with some great products.  As an added bonus the owners are both women whom I hope to do some collaboration with in the future.  Here is a quick summary of what they are offering:
Home Energy and Health Audits
  • Energy Consultation for $99 that includes a visual inspection, thermal imaging and an energy bill analysis
  • Energy Assessment for $199 that includes a blower door test, heating and cooling assessment and an indoor air quality assessment.
  • Comprehensive Evaluation for $399 it includes everything above plus a room by room evaluation, advanced thermal imaging and a full safety test of all gas-fired appliances.
I love Quikrete so I always make a point of stopping to talk to them.  They were also part of some training I did last week for Ace Hardware.

Some of the Quikrete products I like:
  • Polyurethane Self-Leveling Sealant - We used this on our driveway to seal some cracks and expansion joints.  It turned out just wonderfully and it was easy to use.
  • Fast Setting Concrete Mix - This stuff doesn't require any mixing and it really works. We used it to set posts for a railing for an exterior stairway. It was especially nice because we had to set 8 posts on the side of a hill.
  • Patio Pave Jointing Sand - We used this between the pavers on  the walkway from our house to our new gazebo.  It sets up very nicely and it has survived the winter very well.
Window Well Covers by Colorado Cover Company, the folks at the booth were a wealth of information.  They are able to provide custom covers for almost any application.  The covers are both light-weight and very strong.  They have a lifetime warranty, will support over 450 lbs and have a pebbled surface which helps if privacy is a concern.

Complete Basement Systems Inc., These folks were also very helpful and answered all of my many questions.  If you are having problems with moisture or mold in your basement, would like to turn your crawlspace or basement into 'conditioned' space, or need solutions to basement problems in general, I recommend you contact them.  They can do radon and mold mitigation systems along with handling structural problems as well.

If you have a chance to attend the show and would like to share information about other exhibitors or products you liked, please contact me with the information and I'll add it to this post.

If you're interested in learning more about home improvement, home maintenance or home repair you why not register for one of my upcoming home improvement classes.  You'll not only save money but you'll save time and gain peace of mind about your home.

Judy Browne
Workshop for Women

Friday, February 4, 2011

Five things everyone should know about toilets

I got an email from a student this morning asking for some referrals to a good plumber and some advice about a problem she was having with her toilet.  That email prompted me to compile this short list of things everyone (homeowner, renter or living with your parents) should know about toilets.
  1.  Your toilet is NOT a trashcan - never put anything but toilet paper in your toilet.  I don't care if the label on the packaging says it is 'flushable' the marketing people who come up with this stuff do not pay your plumbing bills. NOTHING is flushable except toilet paper and waste and ladies you know what I'm talking about.  Stop it!
  2.  NEVER use drain cleaner in a clogged toilet - This can be very dangerous.  If the toilet should overflow you will have all those nasty chemicals all over your floor and potentially harm yourself, your family or your pets.
  3. Know how to shut off the water supply to your toilet - Every toilet should have a shut off valve.  Know where all your water supply shut off valves are located for your toilets, sinks and water heater.  When you have any problems with your toilet the FIRST thing you should do is shut off the water supply. I have a family member who's toilet started to overflow when I was at his home.  The first thing he did was start throwing every towel he had in his linen closet on the floor as I was yelling, "where's the bathroom?!".  I got the water shut off as quickly as possible...he had no idea he could shut the water off at the toilet, this could have been a huge, and expensive, disaster
  4. Find a good plumber when it's not an emergency and have the number handy - Water is one of the worst enemies of your home.  Even the best handy-person will need a professional at some point.  If you have no other contractor on your speed dial, it should be your plumber.
  5. Take a plumbing 101 class or buy a book and read it - have the skills and/or the information you need BEFORE you have an emergency.  You can handle most of the simple tasks and at the very least you should have the skills and information to prevent a small problem from turning into a big one.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

When your home is in a deep freeze.

With the cold snap that hit Colorado and a large part of the US this week I thought it might be appropriate to give a few tips to deal with the cold temperatures and protect the important systems in your home.
  1. Make sure your furnace is in good working order, which includes: a clean filter, available on sale at your local Ace Hardware; annual maintenance and servicing by a reputable contractor; setting temperatures no lower than 55 degrees F.
  2. Be sure your water supply pipes are protected from freezing.  Any pipes that are near the foundation wall above the frost line (usually the top 18” -36”) should be protected with insulation or heat tape.
  3. Protect all outside faucets and sprinkler system components.  Sprinkler systems should be winterized by mid-October.  Be sure to disconnect all hoses from outside faucets.  Protect outside faucets and back flow devices.
  4. Be careful of isolating areas of your home to save energy, you may inadvertently cause yourself a problem.  If you’ve closed off any heating registers in your basement or crawlspace you may want to open those up when temperatures are extremely low.
  5. Be sure any ice melt products you use on your brick, stone or concrete paths will not cause damage, read the product labels carefully. Another important step, when using ice melt, is to clean it up afterward.
If you're interested in learning more about taking care of your home or want to take on home improvement, repair or maintenance tasks yourself check out our hands-on classes covering a wide variety of topics.