Categories
Weatherizing a house

Peace of Mind in Power Outage Season

Gene and Katie Hamilton
Gene and Katie Hamilton

Last week Gene and I attended a press event in Wisconsin hosted by Generac, the company who make generators that keep a home’s systems and appliances working when there’s a power outage. You only have to experience a weather event that knocks out power once to appreciate an uninterrupted power source.  When power goes out in a winter storm or hurricane, for example, the lights go out, the food in refrigerators and freezers begins to spoil, and there’s no way to charge cell phones. Your sump pump stops working and rainwater floods the basement. You can’t even access your car if it’s parked in a garage with an electric garage door opener.

Home improvement expert Danny Lipford led us on a tour of a lovely estate on the shores of Lake Geneva where Generac units power the multi-level stone home. He talked about preparing a home for damaging weather conditions like having an emergency kit and keeping gutters clean so downspouts can drain properly. For those living in coastal areas, having a shutter system to protect window glass from damage was a key message as well as being prepared before a storm before it hits.

We were escorted on a factory tour in Whitewater where their residential stand-by units powered by propane and natural gas for homes were produced. Generac also manufactures commercial units to supply power to large facilities like hospitals and telecom centers, as well as a line of portable units and power washers.

Being prepared for a power outage is always important to maintain a home, and it’s especially crucial for those living in coastal areas where the threat of heavy winds and flooding can knock out the power source for several days. Many of us on the east coast remember the havoc Hurricane Sandy caused just two years ago.  Hopefully it won’t be needed often, but a generator can give homeowners confidence and peace of mind when a storm threatens their home.

Visit us at www.diyornot.com and m.diyornot.com for smartphones to find the cost of hundreds of home improvement jobs and compare the cost of doing it yourself with hiring a contractor. While you’re there sign up for our newsletter and subscribe to our YouTube channel for weekly updates.

Categories
Uncategorized

DIY Job Costs ala Google Analytics

Gene and Katie Hamilton
Gene and Katie Hamilton

We look at the daily analytical report from Google for our site www.diyornot.com to know what topics our readers are interested in. Google Analytics is a free service that generates detailed statistics about a website’s traffic and traffic sources which tells us the words our readers search on for cost information about improvements they want to make to their homes. It’s a useful tool that tells us the most popular job costs so we can fine tune how we program the content and job costs on the site.

A recent report shows an even split between interior and exterior jobs. The inside projects didn’t surprise us because they included five of the overall most popular jobs – installing a suspended or drop ceiling, replacing a bathtub with a shower, painting a room and refinishing hardwood floors. At this time of year when warm weather turns to cold in many parts of the country we see traffic to our job cost on an energy upgrade like installing cellulose insulation in an attic.

The most popular exterior upgrade costs are for replacing a patio sliding door followed by repairing a broken window pane. And who knew chimney work was on everyone’s radar screen? The cost of cleaning a chimney and installing a chimney cap were most viewed and installing an invisible dog fence rounded out the list.

We find it fascinating to have such a close look at what job costs and projects interest our readers and Google Analytics helps us program our content accordingly.

Categories
Do it yourself

Today’s Kitchen Design Trends

Gene and Katie Hamilton
Gene and Katie Hamilton

Are you in the planning phase of remodeling your kitchen? If so, here’s a quick look at trends from designer Robin Wilson who has licensed her brand to a line of eco-friendly kitchen cabinetry and partnered with Panasonic. Here’s her take on today’s latest kitchen design trends.

The long held “Triangle Design” is still the choice for layout of appliances. That means the refrigerator, sink and oven are laid out in a triangle for the most convenient use.

Appliance-wise, gas ranges that combine one high-powered burner mixed with regular ones are popular; so are dishwashers that feature a light and normal cycle for flexible water use. Stainless steel continues to be the most popular color choice of appliances and those with an EnergyStar rating are strong sellers.

When it comes to kitchen cabinets the move to eco-friendly cabinetry is one of the biggest trends because it has no formaldehyde adhesives and is made with low VOC stains. Frameless cabinets are also popular because they don’t collect as much dust as those with molding.

Silestone is replacing granite as the preferred countertop choice because it’s made from natural quartz and is extremely hard and resistant. It has bacteriostatic protection giving it hygienic properties not found in other material. And the hottest trend in backsplashes is those featuring glass tiles that add a bit of sparkle and appealing glass effect.

To compare the cost of home improvement projects visit us at www.diyornot.com and www.m.diyornot.com where you’ll find the DIY and Contractor costs for hundreds of jobs.

Categories
energy saving lower heating costs Saving Energy

Simple Ways to Lower Your Utility Bill

Gene and Katie Hamilton
Gene and Katie Hamilton

It’s still warm in some parts of the country, but it’s not too early to start thinking about keeping your heating costs to the minimum.  Adding a programmable thermostat, insulating your attic, weatherproofing your home are all surefire ways to cut heating costs. But there are other things you can do about the way you live in your house – that don’t cost anything – that will reduce the energy needed to heat your home. Here’s a few of them.

Keep draperies and window covering open on the sunny side of the house to take advantage of the solar power coming in your windows when the sun is shining its strongest.

Don’t put furniture on top of or obstructing the heating duct in your walls or floors because it prevents the flow of heated air within the room.

Close the doors and heating ducts in unused or seldom-used room because it makes no sense to heat a room that no one uses.

Once a month replace the filter in your heating system so it can work efficiently. A dirty filter blocks the air flow which makes the unit work harder to heat your home.

Set your thermostat as low as is comfortable. Before bed and leaving for work roll back the temperature so you’re not heating an empty house.

Wear sweaters instead of raising the thermostat.

To compare the cost of home improvement projects visit us at www.diyornot.com and www.m.diyornot.com where you’ll find the DIY and Contractor costs for hundreds of jobs.